Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM
Monday Night Football this week showcases what seems to be a large intangible mismatch. The visitor had a few extra days to prepare after absolutely BLOWING what should have been their second win of the season. The host is in an obvious letdown spot after getting revenge for their loss in last season’s NFC Championship.
Kansas City has every reason to bring PEAK intensity to Green Bay for their ESPN showdown with the Packers. And, nobody would be shocked if Green Bay came out flat after dispensing with business that needed to be taken care of. Does that mean an upset is imminent? Or, will the KC defense that couldn’t stop aging Peyton Manning when it mattered be in huge trouble against Aaron Rodgers at the top of his game?
Let’s dig into JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to try and get a read…
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Kansas City: 1-1 (won easily at Houston but then choked the ending vs. Denver)
Green Bay: 2-0 (won at Chicago and at home vs. Seattle)
This should be a battle of 2-0 teams. But, it could also be a standard issue regular season meeting of the Super Bowl favorite (Green Bay) at home against an AFC team that’s only on the fringes of the Wildcard race. The market is certainly pricing it that way, as you’ll see in a moment. Kansas City was making a statement…but handed the exclamation point away to the other team. Maybe they’re just not ready to step up in class.
Kansas City: 5.2 on offense, 4.9 on defense
Green Bay: 5.8 on offense, 5.7 on defense
Kansas City’s offense hasn’t been as explosive as the scoreboard would suggest. They scored some cheap points in Houston, then couldn’t convert a single third down vs. Denver. Great defense though! Green Bay is following the recent New England model of maximizing efficiency from its yardage. Aaron Rodgers knows how to finish drives…so they get more out of 5.8 YPP than most others do. The defense is prone to sit back and hope for opposing miscues. That works great until the opponent doesn’t miscue! They don’t have the YPP differential of a champion as a result.
Kansas City: -2
Green Bay: +2
Green Bay hopes opponents will be turnover prone while playing catch up all season. Kansas City really doesn’t have a chance to be relevant in the AFC unless they’re on the plus side of zero. There’s no margin of error amidst that big hunk of “decent” teams fighting for the six AFC playoff spots. Green Bay covers Monday Night easily if they’re +2 or better for the game. Kansas City has a chance to spring an upset if they can play clean against a flat defense that’s prone to allow yardage.
Kansas City: 1-1 ATS
Green Bay: 2-0 ATS
Green Bay’s covers have been close…so you can’t really say the market has underrated them. Chicago would have been a nailbiter if not for a failed fourth down conversion by the Bears. Seattle was right there within striking distance for a straight up win much of the night last Sunday. And, Kansas City would be 2-0 ATS if not for the blown finish last Thursday. Nothing yet any sort of market angle for these teams.
Current Line: Green Bay by 7, total of 49
That’s the kind of line that will appeal to both ends of the spectrum. The general public that loves betting on Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks will feel safe with the favorite on the key number of seven. Handicappers who like using intangibles will feel just as safe the other way. They’re getting a whole touchdown with who should be the more fired up team, and the back door could be open in garbage time. What should YOU do in a game that could blow up in either direction?
JIM HURLEY is fully aware that MNF is the most important game of the week for sports bettors. That’s always been true! He’s been focused most intently on how his computer simulations are factoring in Kansas City’s perceived intangible advantages. Are those worth a few points? Are those worth a touchdown? Or, are those meaningless when you’re facing a league superpower?
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The NOTEBOOK never rests because the football TV schedule is always so loaded! Back with you tomorrow to run the numbers in this coming Thursday’s NFL rivalry showdown. Here’s what’s on tap over the next week…
Midweek: NFL TV Preview…Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Alabama at Georgia
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Dallas at New Orleans
Monday: NFL TV Preview…Detroit at Seattle
Last week’s Monday Nighter was a replay of Super Bowl III when the Jets beat the Colts. Will this be a replay of Super Bowl I as the Green Bay Packers continue their quest to win Super Bowl 50 a few months down the road? Ask WORLD CHAMPION handicapper JIM HURLEY!
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