Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Saturday, August 8, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Chaos, Injuries Rule 1st Week Of NFL Practice And May Have Already Ruined Texans Season
100% Confident I Will Win Sunday’s NFL Hall Of Fame Game
Thought For The Day“Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners—only survivors.”
Frank Gifford, New York Giants Hall Of Fame Great
By Kelso Sturgeon
The first week of National Football League practice was chaotic enough to give one a migraine and leave one in a state of dizziness. In fact, “chaotic” is not a strong enough word to describe the difficulty of keeping one’s head straight as major weaknesses in some teams have been exposed in their rawest form and injuries to key players have already changed the road map to the Super Bowl.
Despite all of this, when the 65-game National Football League Pre-Season begins Sunday night with the nationally televised (NBC) Hall of Fame Game that matches the Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers I am 100% confident I will win it. I have done my homework and know exactly where this one is going and I am releasing it has a 10-unit play. My success in the pre-season speaks for itself:
--5-0-1 ATS in the last seven seasons (one game was declared no contest for betting purposes)<
--11-7 ATS last pre-season.
--150-82-5 ATS over the past 10 pre-seasons.
To Most handicappers the NFL pre-season is a mine field. To me, it is a Gold Mine and I intend to kick it off tonight with another big winner
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Houston Texans May Be Dead Before Season Even Starts
There is no question in my mind this pre-season thus far has been bizarre and, as noted, “chaos” does not describe it. Let’s start with the Houston Texans, a team that closed out last season on a 4-1 run to finish a surprising 9-7, despite the fact it used three different starting quarterbacks.
Hopes were high in Houston when training camp opened and the Texans were officially 30-1 in Las Vegas futures betting to win the Super Bowl and their projected win total was 8.5 games. By the way, the issue of high hopes and the Las Vegas numbers never made sense to me.
The fatal blow to the Houston season came this week when superstar running back Arian Foster who rushed for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns last season and who caught 38 passes, averaging 8.6 yards per catch, and five more touchdowns, suffered a severe groin injury.
The injury is severe enough Foster—the best offensive player on the roster—will miss at least the first eight games of the season and maybe all of it. If you do not think this puts the Texans and second-year coach Bill Obrien’s offense in a jackpot, please consider the following.
--Houston has big questions at quarterback. Since the Texans let the two quarterbacks who produced eight of those nine wins last season—Ryan Fitzpatrick (now with the Jets) and Case Keenum (now with the Rams)—they now have what appear to be three marginal choices—5th-year man Ryan Mallett (1-1 as a starter in 2014), 7th-year journeyman Brian Hoyer who was 7-6 at Cleveland last season and Tom Savage, a 2nd-year man out of Pittsburgh who has thus far has spent his time watching.
--The Texans lost the best player in their history—wide-receiver Andre Johnson—to the Indianapolis Colts via free agency. He had been with Houston for 12 seasons and last year kept right on producing, catching 85 passes for 936 yards and 3 touchdowns. That leaves it all in the hands of 3rd-year man DeAndre Hopkins who led the team in passing last season, taking down 76 passes for 1,210 yards and 6 touchdowns. Behind him, there is nothing.
There is no question the Houston defense will be good, with defensive end J.J. Watt (6-5, 2.89) and recently acquired nose tackle—from New England—Vince Wilfork (6-2, 325) who is one of the best run-stuffers in football, and linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (6-5, 266)—carrying the mail. But can a defense carry a team when it has an offense that has limited ability to score points?
Ravens On Defense
The Baltimore Ravens were exposed in some of the New England Deflate-Gate drama as the team that tipped off the Indianapolis Colts the Patriots were using a ball of improper weight. The Ravens deny it and I would suggest it is a good thing they do not play this season.
Meantime, the injury bug has struck the Ravens camp. Safety Matt Elam, a first-round draft pick in 2013, was being counted on for big things but is expected to miss the entire season because of biceps surgery. The Ravens first-round pick this season, receiver Breshad Perriman, suffered an injury on the first day of camp and has since been among the missing.
Bills Still Looking For Starting Quarterback
The Buffalo Bills figure to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL but new head coach Rex Ryan admits he is a bit concerned that none of the four in camp, Matt Cassel, E.J. Manuel, Tyrod Taylor or Jeff Tuel have looked good. Insiders say Taylor, a 6th-year player from Virginia Tech, would get the nod if a decision had to be made today.
Meantime, gaining a spot in the starting offensive line is guard Richie Incognito (6-3, 319) who was suspended in 2013 by the Miami Dolphins for bullying fellow starter, tackle Jonathan Martin (6-5, 312), who recently announced his retirement because of a back injury. I still have trouble trying to put my arms around this situation. You mean Martin could not have called out Incognito and had it out with him, man to man?
As former Green Bay great tight end, Max McGee, said, “When it’s 3rd and 10, I’ll take the whiskey drinkers over the milk drinkers every time.” Incognito likes booze.
This ain’t no game for boys in short pants.
Patriots Have Accepted The Inevitable
It is of note back-up quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a 2nd-year draft choice last season, has been running with the first team the past few days, a sign the New England Patriots know Tom Brady will be suspended for at least a game or two for his alleged involvement in so-called Deflate-Gate. This means Garoppolo will be in that spot when the Patriots open the season Thursday night, September 10, at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Garoppolo, a second-round draft choice last season, will step in and there is little in his history that says he won’t be a competent fill-in. He is a second-year man out of NCAA 1-AA Eastern Illinois—the school that produced Dallas Cowboys starter Tony Romo and New Orleans Coach Sean Payton. It is of note he broke all of Romo’s and Payton’s passing records at the school.
Garoppolo started 45 games at Eastern Illinois, completing 1,047-of-1,668 passes (62.8%) for 13,151 yards and 118 touchdowns against just 51 interceptions. He also rushed for eight more touchdowns on 261 carries.
He saw limited action for the Patriots last year, passing for 182 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions and a passing efficiency record of 101.2.