Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Earlier this week, I talked about the lack of true quality quarterbacks at the college level these days. In the NFL, we’re also seeing a lot of mediocre or worse performances out of the gate. But, I attribute a lot of that to early season rust or transitions to new personnel.
We KNOW that Tom Brady can pass. Yet, he threw 27 incomplete passes last week in New England’s loss to Miami. Not 27 total passes. That’s 27 incomplete passes on a passing line of 29-56-0-226. Joe Flacco of Baltimore won a Super Bowl two seasons ago. He also had 27 incomplete passes on a 35-62-1-324 passing line in a loss to Cincinnati.
In both cases, we had veteran quarterbacks…dealing with transitions (some new personnel in the case of New England, and an adjustment to Gary Kubiak’s offense in the case of Baltimore)…who were under the gun IMMEDIATELY because they were in divisional games to start the season.
The Jets could coast with Geno Smith at home against a very bad Oakland Raiders team from another division. Several offenses played it safe with “dink-and-dunk” offenses hoping that a receiver would break a long run. Both New England and Baltimore found themselves trailing in divisional games and had to let it fly. What they let fly kept hitting the ground incomplete.
Scoring across the league was down this week compared to recent openers, flying in the face of fears that we would have “video game” scoring because defenses couldn’t clutch and grab any more. Well, it turns out that fresh defenses disguising blitzes can still dominate rusty offenses who have less than a game of full speed action under their belts. Defenses said “we’ll show you what we can do!” even with clutching and grabbing taken away.
I fully believe that students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping should expect offensive production to improve in the coming weeks. Maybe that won’t happen here in Week Two as quarterbacks are still trying to get their timing down at full speed. And, the fact that we have so many “transitional” teams in play might mean that scoring won’t happen until October. (RGIII looks like he may NEVER have another good game for Washington no matter who’s running the offense!) But, it IS going to happen. In terms of the whole season, scoring isn’t going to plummet now that defenders can’t hold!
Here’s some homework for you. Start keeping track of yards-per-pass-attempt for all 32 NFL offenses. You can make a chart by hand if you wish that will let you see game-by-game numbers. If you love working with spreadsheets, do it that way. The point is, you need to make yourself AWARE of developments in the passing game as they happen. It’s very hard to closely watch all 16 games in a given week. It’s very easy to write down passing numbers from boxscores the day after a game is played.
You also need to notate all of the following:
*Which teams are playing first or second year quarterbacks
*Which teams are starting NEW quarterbacks in 2014
*Which teams are playing quarterbacks still recovering from a past injury
*Which teams are playing for new offensive coordinators
*Which teams are playing for new head coaches
*Which teams are playing with rebuilt or restructured offensive lines
Frankly, when you see the ramifications of those six bullet points, last week’s scoring issues are much less surprising. Even settled, veteran teams had some rust. Teams dealing with one or more additional hurdles floundered all over the field.
I still want you to focus on GAMEBREAKERS and PLAYMAKERS when handicapping. Just be aware that high-impact players may have trouble playing to peak capabilities at the given moment because so many extenuating factors are involved.
I’m very much looking forward to this new week of football…from the openers Thursday Night all through the high profile games Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. If you do-it-yourselfers would like some help finding winning options, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions about full season packages can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping will be back with you early next week to talk more football. This is definitely a season where a “read and react” approach is vital because so many complex issues are in play. The course work comes alive when it’s connected to the reality of a developing season. A reminder for you baseball fans, daily BEST BETS are available for purchase online. I won’t be discussing baseball here in the coursework again until the playoffs start in October.
Even though many NFL quarterbacks are still rusty, I’m confident that you students have started the season at peak sharpness! Use that sharpness to carve out a big profit this weekend!