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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM

5-1 Week One Of NFL Pre-Season And Winning
Continues Thursday Night With Nationally
Televised (ESPN) Jaguars At Bears

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By Kelso Sturgeon

There is no dispute the National Football League pre-season presents many additional challenges to handicappers but they can be overcome by putting in a few extra hours doing all the work that produces winners. As most of you know I have contended for years the pre-season can be a major profit center and I proved it again in Week One by going 5-1, including a 50-unit winner.

The winning continues Thursday night when the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) meet the Bears (1-0) at Soldier Field in Chicago in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN, with kickoff set for 8:05. There will then be games played each day through Monday when the Cleveland Browns (0-1) take on the Washington Redskins (1-0) in Washington. That game also will be televised by ESPN.

In getting ready for Week Two, one must carefully guard against what one saw in the games of the first week, most of which tell us next to nothing about how each team will perform during the rest of the pre-season or even in the regular season.

Still, one can make some observations.

  • The Houston Texans were crushed 32-0 by the Arizona Cardinals and could not have looked worse in a game that saw its offense grind out 172 yards of offense and go 0-8 on 3rd-down conversions while its defense gave up 407 yards and 27 first downs to the Cardinals who did anything it wished on both sides of the ball. After last year’s 2-14 season, coach Gary Kubiak was fired and replaced by former Penn State head coach and New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, and long-time starting quarterback Matt Schaub was traded to Oakland and replaced by free-agent signal caller Ryan Fitzpatrick who, with all due respect, has been less than mediocre in his 10 seasons in the NFL. Against Arizona he went 6-of-14 for 55 yards, with two interceptions. Even after one glorified scrimmage, it is difficult to find anything good about Houston’s performance. At first glance, a 2-14 season might take a miracle.
  • The Indianapolis Colts have suffered so many injuries the might back up a bit during the rest of the pre-season in hopes of getting its people healthy for the regular season. The biggest problems are on the offensive line—one of the youngest in the NFL—where there is little depth or experienced backups. Quarterback Andrew Luck may have to run for his life if things do not get better.
  • Most rookie quarterbacks played up to their press clippings, but the most impressive of all was a gentleman who had received no attention, despite being a second-round draft choice by the New England Patriots. That would be Jimmy Garoppolo, a 6-2, 226-pound signal caller out of Eastern Illinois, the same college that gave the NFL Tony Romo. He played two quarters against the Washington Redskins and during that time frame went 9-for-13 passing for 157 and a touchdown—and he did that behind second and third string lines.

We obviously will know more about these teams after this week’s play.

My 5-1 NFL Opening Week Release With Reasons Why I Chose Them

Here is a complete list of the games I released in Week One of the pre-season, with my pre-game predictions and the reasons behind each game. You will note but for a single point I would have gone 6-0.

Saturday, August 9

50 Units: NEW YORK GIANTS (1-0)—Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) UNDER 37 Points
Prediction: 34 or less points will be scored
Comments: Both teams have focused on defense this week, signaling this game will be a defensive battle. It also is significant that in the offshore books all the big money that came in this morning was on the under.
Results: Giants 20, Steelers 16 (WIN)

Friday, August 8

15 Units: ATLANTA FALCONS (0-0) -3 over Miami Dolphins (0-0)
Prediction: Falcons by 9-10
Comments: There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the Falcons to win and impress their fans after going an unexpectedly awful 4-12 last season and that should give them incentive to get it done tonight. Miami will most likely be without its 2nd and 3rd string quarterbacks—Matt More (shoulder) and Pat Devlin (hamstring)—and that means after starter Ryan Tannehill leaves the game after a few plays the Dolphins offense will be in the hands of rookies Seth Lobato (Northern Colorado) and Brock Jensen (North Dakota State). The latter fact alone should seal Miami’s fate tonight.
Results:  Falcons 16, Dolphins 10 (WIN)

10 Units: Buffalo Bills (0-1) Pick’em over CAROLINA PANTHERS (0-0)
Prediction: Bills by 6-7
Comments: Cam Newton (ankle) is doubtful for Panthers tonight. Buffalo has a big edge in this game since it is the second one it has played in the pre-season while Carolina plays for the first time. It also is of note solid wiseguy money has showed up in the offshore books in Costa Rica.
Results: Bills 20, Panthers 18 (WIN)

Thursday, August 7

25 Units: NEW YORK JETS (0-0) -3.5 over Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Prediction: Jets by 9-10
Comments: This New York Jets and their coach are an ago-driven that wants people to forget last season’s disappointing 8-8 mark and will most certainly be fired up and determined to win this one to show the home folks they can get it done. This will be a real game for the Jets and a mere scrimmage for the Colts. It also has to help New York that it has two standout 1-2 quarterbacks. Gene Smith will start the game, play a few series before Michael Vick takes over. Vick will play a few series behind the first-unit offensive line and then play behind the second unit.
Results: Jets 13, Colts 10 (Lose)

5 Units: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (0-0) -3.5 over Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Prediction: Chargers by 6-7
Comments: The Chargers have had a run of outstanding practice sessions before this game and appear to be taking this game far more seriously that the Cowboys who will be without starting quarterback Romo, who is coming off back surgery. That leaves the Dallas offense in the hands of the Brandon Weeden et al. Dallas also figures to be working mainly on fundamentals tonight and that should additionally restrict its offense.
Results: 27, Cowboys 7

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hall of Fame Game, Canton, Ohio
10-Units: Buffalo Bills—New York Giants Under 35 Points
Comments: The total on this game opened 31.5 and has since been bet out to 35—a move for which there are many reasons to disagree. First of all, the elimination of two-a-day drills and other new practice restrictions means neither of these teams is physically fit—something that is certain to impact on just how intense any player will be. This lack of practice time also means this will be the first time since training camp opened that either team has had much hard-hitting contact. Neither team has an offensive game plan for this contest but will instead focus on simple fundamentals—things such as making sure everybody lines up in the right spot for each play. The bottom line says this is a glorified scrimmage and the situation in which it is being conducted means there should be little scoring.
Results: Giants 17, Bills 13 (WIN)

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