Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Monday Night’s victory for the Philadelphia Eagles over the Washington Redskins (which was a lot more impressive if you went to bed at halftime) has many in the media wondering now if the whole NFL is on a runaway train to fast break football.
*Teams increasing tempo are winning
*Teams incorporating the read option for quarterbacks are winning MORE
*Defenses, already hurt by rules changes, are flailing and gasping for air
This storyline has been in the making for a few years, given how well Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have performed at high speeds. When the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly from Oregon…where he had been dominating college football with a fast break style…there was a sense that EVERYONE was going to be moving in this direction. Find creativity…even if it’s at the college level!
The bookend performances in the NFL for the East Coast media (who didn’t stay up for Houston-San Diego because it started after 10 p.m. their time) only magnified the issue. Peyton Manning threw seven touchdown passes in a blowout win for Denver on Thursday Night. Philadelphia led Washington 26-7 at halftime of the Monday Nighter…and it should have been 29-0 or 33-0 given that Washington’s only score was on a 90-yard defensive return.
The problem is…there was a lot inside that sandwich that shows you how far the league has to go before it’s a wall-to-wall free-for-all.
*Eyeballs are naturally attracted to action. The NFL’s Red Zone channel shows you all the scores. That means, there wasn’t much coverage given to all the LOUSY offensive performances last week. Miami and Cleveland were both trying to pick up their pace this year. They only reached 33 points in a dud of a ball game. Jake Locker of Tennessee is supposed to bring a run/pass threat. Tennessee/Pittsburgh ended 16-9 with a late touchdown. Two of the most dangerous run/pass guys in the league…Cam Newton and Russell Wilson squared off in Carolina. The game ended 12-7. It wasn’t a week where every game reached 60 points. It was a week where the main TV games reached 60 points
*There aren’t 32 quarterbacks right now who can thrive at this pace! Imagine if Major League Baseball had 10 starting pitchers who could regularly reach 100 mph on their fastballs. That wouldn’t necessarily mean the league was trending toward nothing but 100 mph hurlers. Those are rare! There are roughly 150 rotation starters at any given time (5-man rotations for 30 teams). What superstars are doing isn’t necessarily what everyone’s going to be doing.
*Running fast break football with a run/pass threat…or even just relying on a run/pass threat in a slower game…can lead to injuries. We’ve seen that through the years with a variety of running quarterbacks (and RGIII last year). What’s happening to young legs before the inevitable ankle and knee injuries…concussions on hard hits…shoulder injuries on hard tackles…can create a false view of reality. Donovan McNabb had escape-ability for awhile. Kordell Steward was “slash” until defenses adjusted and he was slowed by injuries. All these fast young guys will find it hard to play 16 games a season.
It’s definitely true that the game is trending faster. The ceiling to what’s reasonably possible may be closer than what the mainstream media and the betting markets currently believe. Over/Unders went 8-8 for the weekend…needing Overs in the last five games to force the tie. Not every game is a mix of the old AFL and basketball’s ABA.
Something for you to think about as you handicap this weekend’s games. Week Two of the NFL begins Thursday when Tom Brady and New England host the NY Jets. Possible fast-break games this Sunday are San Diego/Philadelphia, Cleveland/Baltimore, New Orleans/Tampa Bay, and Denver/NY Giants. The prime time games Sunday and Monday featuring divisional showdowns…with the possible NFC championship preview of San Francisco/Seattle Sunday followed by Pittsburgh/Cincinnati on Monday Night.
JIM HURLEY already has the weekend mapped out in college and pro football based on the midweek numbers. Line moves may create additional possibilities. You can purchase BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card (build your bankrolls for football with Wednesday Night baseball!). If you want to talk with a representative about seasonal service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
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