Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM
Another very busy schedule in the NFL this weekend, with marquee matchups all over the card. Let’s jump right into our weekly look at JIM HURLEY’ key indicator stats for each showdown. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order. Note that schedule strength rankings come from Jeff Sagarin’s numbers at USA Today.
Denver: 6.1 on offense, 5.0 on defense, #4 schedule, -1 turnover
NY Jets: 5.0 on offense, 5.1 on defense, #15 schedule, -6 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Denver by 9.5, total of 47.5
The line keeps going up because sharps don’t have any faith in New York’s quarterback situation. Geno Smith has struggled. Michael Vick has reportedly been phoning in his preparation all season after announcing publicly he wasn’t interested in competing with Smith for the starting job. You can see that this is a mismatch offensively, with Denver 1.1 yards better per-play with the ball while having fewer turnover issues. In terms of winning the AFC, it’s still a problem for Denver that they can’t figure out the risk/reward ratio better!
Pittsburgh: 6.1 on offense, 5.5 on defense, #32 schedule, -1 turnover
Cleveland: 5.8 on offense, 6.4 on defense, #21 schedule, +3 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Cleveland by 1.5, total of 47
Cleveland has a knack for dramatic comebacks, which doesn’t show up in their overall numbers. On the whole, they’re a very disappointing defensive team that only moves the ball on offense once they’ve fallen way behind. Pittsburgh remembers that from the season opener. Note that the Steelers still haven’t managed a positive turnover differential despite playing the NFL’s easiest schedule.
Jacksonville: 4.7 on offense, 5.9 on defense, #8 schedule, -6 turnovers
Tennessee: 5.7 on offense, 5.4 on defense, #6 schedule, even turnovers
Las Vegas Line: No line at publication time
Tennessee’s quarterback situation is up in the air as we compile these notes for you. It’s amazing that they’ve managed to great out fairly well given their tough schedule and QB injuries. Jacksonville is still helpless, as they hope Blake Bortles gradually gets things figured out this year so he can be the QB of the future for the franchise.
Chicago: 5.4 on offense, 6.0 on defense, #9 schedule, +1 turnover
Atlanta: 6.6 on offense, 6.1 on defense, #12 schedule, -2 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Atlanta by 3, total of 53.5
Big game here, as the Bears are playing their fourth road game in five weeks while trying to stay relevant in the tough NFC North. The poor defenses suggest a fireworks show on the scoreboard, which is why the Vegas total is so high. Should be a great game to watch indoors on a fast track. Can the Bears hang tough given their fatigue-inducing early schedule?
Green Bay: 5.6 on offense, 5.1 on defense, #10 schedule, +6 turnovers
Miami: 5.1 on offense, 4.7 on defense, #27 schedule, +2 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Green Bay by 3.5, total of 49
The YPP differentials are comparable, but you see that Green Bay has achieved those against a much tougher schedule. And, Miami ran up some stats on Oakland over in England. That’s why Green Bay is favored by more than a field goal on the road despite relative stat equality. Will the Packers be flat off three straight divisional games? Having extra time to get ready off a Thursday Nighter should help. Miami is rested off a bye.
Detroit: 5.2 on offense, 4.7 on defense, #23 schedule, -1 turnover
Minnesota: 5.2 on offense, 5.7 on defense, #5 schedule, -2 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Detroit by 1.5, total of 44
Minnesota’s another team dealing with quarterback injuries. They did have extra time to get ready though. Detroit lost a gut punch game at home to Buffalo last week, and may be starting to sour on their new head coach. The offense isn’t firing on all cylinders because Megatron is hobbled. Minnesota has a chance to close the year strong if Teddy Bridgewater can keep his head on straight as he continues to learn the ropes. Equalize the schedules, and these teams are closer to even than many realize.
Carolina: 5.3 on offense, 5.9 on defense, #25 schedule, +5 turnovers
Cincinnati: 6.2 on offense, 5.3 on defense, #14 schedule, +4 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Cincinnati by 7, total of 44
One of the biggest surprises of the year is that Carolina’s defense has fallen apart while playing a soft schedule. Everyone knew Cam Newton would be trying to gut it out with bad ribs. Where did the defense go? Cincinnati was humiliated this past Sunday Night at New England, and will be chomping at the bit to make up for that. Vegas seems to have priced that into the number already though.
New England: 5.0 on offense, 5.2 on defense, #19 schedule, +6 turnovers
Buffalo: 5.1 on offense, 5.0 on defense, #7 schedule, +6 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: New England by 3, total of 45
Speaking of New England, which Patriots team will show up? The version that lost at Miami and at Kansas City could very easily lose here as well. Buffalo has slightly better season-to-date numbers while playing a tougher schedule. They should be the 3-point home favorite! Well, not against the vintage version of the Patriots we saw against Cincinnati. If New England really has found themselves, the full season stats don’t matter and the line should be Patriots -7.
Baltimore: 5.6 on offense, 5.7 on defense, #16 schedule, +3 turnovers
Tampa Bay: 5.2 on offense, 5.9 on defense, #13 schedule, even turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Baltimore by 3, total of 43
Tampa Bay has played much better since the quarterback switch. Though, they weren’t as competitive at New Orleans as the scoreboard made it look last week. Baltimore needs to stay focused after losing badly at Indianapolis. Potentially a sleeper game because Baltimore may only be a fringe playoff contender while Tampa Bay’s days as a doormat ended when Glennon was back behind center.
San Diego: 5.6 on offense, 5.0 on defense, #24 schedule, +6 turnovers
Oakland: 4.7 on offense, 5.5 on defense, #17 schedule, -3 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: San Diego by 7, total of 43
The Chargers have been getting results, but they don’t look as dangerous in the stats. That differential of +0.6 isn’t great against a schedule that ranks below average. That may not matter against a bad team like the Raiders. The Raiders are worse than the Jets and San Diego just crushed the Jets! We’ll see what happens when Philip Rivers runs into Denver. Oakland’s offense is even worse than 4.7 when not playing in garbage time!
Dallas: 6.0 on offense, 6.4 on defense, #22 schedule, even turnovers
Seattle: 6.0 on offense, 5.0 on defense, #2 schedule, +2 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Seattle by 8, total of 47
This could get interesting. Dallas is playing very well this year, and Seattle has a knack for sleepwalking occasionally in non-divisional games. There’s also a short week in play for the Seahawks because they just played on the East Coast on Monday Night. The problem for Dallas is that poor 6.4 mark on defense coming against a below-average schedule. Can they make it a game if they can’t contain Russell Wilson? And, there’s always the potential turnover disaster of Tony Romo facing THIS defense at THIS stadium.
Washington: 6.0 on offense, 5.5 on defense, #18 schedule, -5 turnovers
Arizona: 5.0 on offense, 5.7 on defense, #1 schedule, +4 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: No line at publication time
Arizona is dealing with quarterback injuries. Washington is dealing with having a subpar roster playing for a new head coach! Arizona only has a chance to compete in the tough NFC West if they can keep one of their top two quarterbacks on the field. Washington’s defense is playing worse than those numbers would suggest, particularly the past few weeks.
NY Giants: 5.1 on offense, 6.0 on defense, #20 schedule, +3 turnovers
Philadelphia: 5.4 on offense, 5.5 on defense, #31 schedule, -4 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: Philadelphia by 2.5, total of 50.5
Great game in what’s suddenly a very interesting NFC East. This result looms even larger if Dallas lost at Seattle earlier in the day. The Giants are playing better than those stats make it look because they’ve surged so hard after getting the hang of the West Coast offense. Philadelphia’s 5.4 mark on yards-per-play has to be considered a BIG disappointment considering where they were last year and the schedule they’ve played this year. And, the Eagles were supposed to be good in turnover differential this year, not bad.
S. Francisco: 5.4 on offense, 5.0 on defense, #11 schedule, +5 turnovers
St. Louis: 5.8 on offense, 6.0 on defense, #28 schedule, -2 turnovers
Las Vegas Line: San Francisco by 3.5, total of 43.5
We’ll talk more about this game in an expanded preview that will run here at the website on Monday. The St. Louis defense looks to have lost a step or two from last year. Austin Davis has actually been a pleasant surprise at quarterback. But, is he ready to lead an upset for a Monday Night home underdog? More on that Monday.
Game day FOOTBALL is always available right here at the website for credit card purchase. Be sure to check out the ALCS (Kansas City at Baltimore) and the NLCS (San Francisco at St. Louis) as well. If you were winning in the bases all summer, why stop now?! If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
Back with you Monday for our next edition of the NOTEBOOK, with an expanded preview of that San Francisco/St. Louis divisional showdown. In the meantime, hook up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK so you can GET ALL THE MONEY!