Saturday, September 30, 2006

Week 4 sucker bet

Week 4- Washington Redskins +3

Last week I said I wanted to stop playing the odds, and finding value etc. and just deliver winners. Thats all I did last week, as I was 4-0 ATS and 2-0 on MLs.

Last week the Cleveland Browns were the #1 most unpopular pick at around 76% on Baltimore. Right now, the Washington Redskins are the 2nd most unpopular pick with 73% on Jacksonville right now. ( The Bengals are slightly the most popular pick over New England right now.

I think the Media is really hyping up the Jags. All three of their games so far were Nationally televised. The whole country has seen Jacksonville beat Dallas in week 1, beat Pittsburgh in week 2, and lose on the final drive @ Indy last week. During that same time, everybody saw Washington lose two nationally televised games at home against Minnesota on 9/11 and to Dallas week 2.

The guys on TV (Theisman and Kornheiser) kept making a point to talk about how Jacksonville was 12-4 last year, their defense is for real, and that they are a contender. While I won't agree with all of that, it seems that they are doing everything possible to talk up the Jags. I think last year, people were still wondering if the Jags were for real, but Theisman and Kornheiser TOLD them that the Jags are for real.

I live in Washington and am a big NFC East guy. I probably know more about the Redskins than any other team ( even my own favorite team). I hear the redskins fans every day at work, I hear the talk radio every day before and after work, and I see the ESPN hype machine on gamedays. I even see the redskins around town sometimes.

I like to talk football with everyone. Not everybody is going to be a Herb Herbstreet that knows football, but I like to ask these Joe Public guys what they think about the games as well. All of these causal fans told me that Washington has no chance, the Jags defense is really good, and they have tall receivers that are impossible to cover.

Here are some things to look for...

Brunell the OLD Jags QB, vs Byron the NEW Jags QB.
- Now I am not going to sit here and say so and so is guaranteed to have a good game to show his old teammage up up, because we have seen the OLD and the NEW outperform their counterparts in past matchups. I am not saying who has more to prove, I am just saying to be aware of unusual results which pieces together with my next piece...

Byron Leftwhich has a homecoming in DC
- My hunch tells me that Byron will have a big group of family and friends that will come out to support him this week. My hunch also tells me that if Byron tries a little too hard to impress them, and the results could be disasterous. I haven't been impressed with Byron thus far this season.

I have watched all 3 jags games, and I have seen him run a lot of "set" plays. What I mean by set plays, is that he was dumping off screens, and throwing 2 yard passes, and in the dallas game he was just throwing jump balls up to his tall receivers. Basically, you don't have to THINK to be managing a game like that. I don't call that playing QB in the National football league. Take a look at how Houston runs their offense at the start of games. Gary Kubiak has these set plays, were David Carr might run a bootleg and roll out with a tight end and just dump it off to him ( It's a 1 read play). Jake Plummer had a lot of these set plays where it was pre-determed who he threw the ball to. When teams made Jake play QB last year, he suffered.

My point is that running these screeens, bootlegs, predetermed jump balls is one thing, but playing QB and reading blitzes and defensive coverages is difficult and totally different. Not everybody can run and offense like Peyton, Donovan, Brady, Carson, or Hasselback. Teams draft quarterbacks in the first round to be Quarterbacks, not game managers who dump it off and hand it off and their 3rd and long plays.

Last week Byron ran these high percentage plays. Even on 3rd and goal, his coach called a QB draw for him. On 3rd and long plays, we saw them running these draws, and screens. We didn't see the coaches telling Byron to throw the ball downfield, we saw the coaches telling him to run, handoff, or dump the ball off to the runningbacks in the flats. That tells me the conservative style of Jacksonville, and that they aren't totally confident in letting Byron try and win games. I do NOT think Byron leftwhich is a very good pro quarterback. He has horrible throwing mechanics, horrible footwork, a slow deliberate delivery, and he holds onto the ball forever.( aikman pointed out how he has never seen a QB drop the ball below his waste before he throws). Instead of trying to coach Byron, and correct these horrible mechanics, people say " Just let Byron be Byron... don't try and chance a pro QB... don't try and change the way he plays the game... just let Byron Leftwhich be Byron Leftwhich. I disagree.

I wouldn't be suprised to see Byron take off that game manager hat this week, while facing his old QB, and his family in DC.

Byron on the road...
Let's take a look at how Byron has fared on the road recently.

Loss @ Indy - 16-28, 107 yards, 1TD 2 INT. Not very good numbers at all against a weak Indy Defense. He threw a "walk off" pick to lose the game, and a lot of his completions were these dump offs. I counted 1 or 2 throws that were actually more than 7 yards downfield.
Loss @ New England - 28-3 loss in the playoffs last year. Byron was 18/31 with 179 yards, 0TD 1 INT, 1 fumble and he was replaced by backup David Garrard. He was flustered by the pass rush up the middle, and had a horrible game that was over before it began.
Win @ Tennesse - 258 yards, 3 TDs 0 Int, 1 fumble against a terrible tennesse team
Loss @ St. Louis - 18/31, 213 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Win @ Pittsburgh- 19/35, 177 yards, 1 TD 1 INT 1 fumble. Did Byron win the game, or did Tommy Maddox lose the game?
Win @ NY Jets- 16/23, 177 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble. Beating a terrible jets team
Loss @ Indy - 16/29, 198 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 3 fumbles, his team scored no touchdowns against Indy.

Byron hasn't played very well on the road recently. He looked real rattled to me in that dome last week. This week, the 94,000 will be real loud at the NFL's largest stadium.

I think Jacksonville watched film of the Giants against Indy in week 1. The Indy run defense is terrible. Dwight Freeny just spins himself right out of plays and they made Maurice Jones Drew look like Barry Sanders. It looked like Fred Taylor and Jones- Drew were running the same way Tike Barber and Brandon Jacobs were. I think on that fast turf, opposing runningbacks are going to have huge running lanes on those offtackle plays. The announcer pointed out how Fred Talor would take the handoff, move up 1 step, and then pick a lane and GO.

Byron won't have the Luxary of that run game this week. Washingtons run defense is for real. I think if washington can't get a pass rush going, it might actually hurt leftwhich into having time, and trying to read those confusing greg williams defensive schemes.

I think both teams have good defenses, but Washington is at home, and I think Brunell is more inclined to letting the game come to him, while Byron could play a riskier game and make the key mistakes. If the game turns into a defensive stalemate, I give the nod to Washington.

I also think we haven't really seen Washingtons offense kick it into gear. I don't think they will have an outburst against a tough jags D, but I think Al Saunders could have that offense playing better.

Last but not least, Jacksonville has a ton of injuries, while Washington has not many at all.

I don't see Washington starting out 0-2 at home. I think if the redskins win a close one, they will be 3.5 point dogs at New York next week, and if they win by a touchdown or more they could be 3 point dogs at New York next week. I think the Giants beat them in New York Next week.

I see nearly 75% of the people on Jacksonville, but I don't see them happy sunday afternoon. I think this game should be a pickem at worst. I can't believe 75% of people are on jax. I think a lot of people are paying the juice to take Jax -2.5, while washington betters will pay the juice to take redskins +3.

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