Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, August 21, 2017 at 5:00 PM
It’s very easy for handicappers to take the second week of the NFL Preseason “off” in terms of real analysis. After Week One, you watched every game either live or on replay. You scoured the boxscores. You missed football so much all summer you couldn’t wait to dig in! In Week Two? You just watched the scoreboard update while you rooted for your bets. Mistake!
This week in particular, you really needed to be paying close attention. Some offenses made statements about regular season readiness, even if they didn’t light up the scoreboard with 38-45 points. Other teams created the illusion of offense thanks to easy points from turnovers or special teams. And, there’s a whole list of struggling teams who were waving red flags about possible issues to start the season.
Let’s start with the highlights…
NFL BEST OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCES
Baltimore: 31 points, 382 yards, 5.1 yards-per-play, 53% on third downs
Seattle: 20 points, 406 yards, 6.0 yards-per-play, 53% on third downs
Kansas City: 30 points, 410 yards, 6.4 yards-per-play, 50% on third downs
Dallas: 24 points, 476 yards, 6.7 yards-per-play, 3 long TD drives
Joe Flacco still can’t play for the Ravens because of back issues. His backups performed well in his stead. Though, it’s possible they were just abusing a Miami team that no-showed the game. In the other spots, you have more than 400 total yards and at least 6.0 yards-per-play across the board for the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Cowboys. Dak Prescott in particular impressed because it was his first exhibition appearance. Seattle and KC are ready for the season to start NOW based on their execution. Seattle’s first unit played much better than “20 points” on the final scoreboard suggest.
NFL “NOT AS GOOD AS THEY SEEMED” PERFORMANCES
Tennessee: 34 points, but TD drives of 13, 16, and 3 yards
Houston: 27 points, but only 281 yards, 4.9 yards-per-play, 36% on third downs
Denver: 33 points, but only 4.7 yards-per-play, TD drives of 11 and 24 yards
Chicago: 24 points, but only 267 yards, 4.4 yards-per-play, helped by special teams’ TD
Very important to pay attention here. The mainstream media tends to rave about big scoreboard totals while showing highlight packages. They don’t tell you about the skeletons in the closet. All four of those teams had air in their scoring totals. Pop those balloons by reading boxscores! You don’t want to bet on teams during the regular season who can’t top 5.0 yards-per-play consistently.
WORST OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCES
Miami: 7 points, 120 yards, 2.4 yards-per-play, 17% on third downs
Buffalo: 16 points, four turnovers, 4.8 yards-per-play, 28% on third downs
Jacksonville: 6 offensive points, 4.9 yards-per-play, quarterback booed!
Cincinnati: 12 points, 4.5 yards-per-play, 29% on third downs
Indianapolis: 13 offensive points, 8% on third downs
NY Jets: 6 points, 4.3 yards-per-play, 31% on third downs, 2 turnovers
Detroit: 16 points, 4.1 yards-per-play, 23% on third downs
San Francisco: 7 offensive points, 5 turnovers
Pittsburgh: 10 offensive points, 15% on third downs, 2 turnovers, 3.4 yards-per-play
New Orleans: 13 points, 21% on third downs, 4.2 yards-per-play
San Diego: 0 offensive points, 29% on third downs, 2.3 yards-per-play
Some of those you can throw out because the regular season starting quarterbacks are known commodities. Cincinnati and Detroit have veteran riflemen. Pittsburgh’s a Super Bowl threat in the AFC. New Orleans has Drew Brees. It doesn’t really matter that those offenses blew off Week Two of the exhibition slate in August.
The rest might be waving RED FLAGS that you should be paying attention to.
Miami: When will Jay Cutler be ready, and is he even the answer?
Buffalo: Very sloppy game for erratic QB’s under a new head coach
Jacksonville: Flirting with disaster as Blake Bortles era may be ending
Indianapolis: Nothing behind Luck, and Lucky may be out for awhile
NY Jets: Backup QB’s are awful, as is the whole team
San Francisco: Another sloppy game for a team with a new head coach
San Diego: A real disaster vs. the Saints, though Phillip Rivers didn’t play for his new coach
There was a sense of urgency or concern in all of those cities entering the Preseason. A lot more reasons to worry now after those disappointing efforts.
JIM HURLEY and his full NETWORK of experts are already hard at work creating a plan of attack for this week’s dress rehearsals. The team is thrilled that the market is going to be so out of whack after last week’s scoreboard results!
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