The Daily Sports Beat 01-25-2013
Fall From Grace
After finishing seventh in the NFL in total defense and defeating the then-undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl, New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was a hot commodity for a head coaching job. He took over the Rams and after three years where he went 10-38, he was fired and picked up by the Saints to lead their stop unit.
To his defense, the New Orleans situation he was coming into was a mess with the bounty scandal taking place and the subsequent suspension of head coach Sean Payton. Additionally, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and end Will Smith were suspended so the defense was going to be a work in progress but no one saw what was coming. The Saints allowed 7,042 total yards, the most given up in a single season in NFL history.
Spagnuolo was let go on Thursday by Payton who said it was time for a change because New Orleans is moving to a 3-4 defense but the horrific defensive numbers were the real reason. Where Spagnuolo goes now is anyone's guess as his stock is at rock bottom.
Don't Sleep on the Lumberjacks
The NCAA Tournament is filled with Cinderella's every year and I will be making a case for one this year that no team should be looking forward to playing. Stephen F. Austin is located in the small city of Nacogdoches, TX and at 16-1, it is one of just five one-loss teams in the nation. The Lumberjacks play out of the Southland Conference so competition is light but they do own wins over Oklahoma, Tulsa and San Diego.
Last season, the Lumberjacks finished first in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 56.7 ppg. This season they are first again and the numbers are even better as they are giving up only 49.4 ppg and they have now gone 50 consecutive games without allowing an opponent to score 70 points. In their three wins over Oklahoma, Tulsa and San Diego, all three teams were held to at least 14 points below their season average.
Stephen F. Austin will have to win its conference tournament to get to the Big Dance and at this point, that seems likely. The UPS Team Performance Index measures efficiency and teamwork to highlight teams that are well balanced. Kansas is sixth, Syracuse is fifth, Michigan is fourth, Florida is third and Indiana is second. Sitting atop the rankings are the Lumberjacks.
Questions of the Day
Are the Ottawa Senators for real? After sneaking into the playoffs last year as the eighth seed, the Sens are 3-0 and have yet to allow more than one goal in any game. They go to an improved Tampa Bay tonight and host Pittsburgh Sunday so we will see.
Can Louisville bounce back after consecutive losses? The Cardinals have a test at Georgetown Saturday as the Hoyas, after starting 0-2 in the Big East, are 3-1 in their last four games including a win at Notre Dame last time out.
When will the Lakers win again? They face a well coached Utah team tonight, the Thunder on Sunday and the rejuvenated Hornets on Tuesday. Then comes a seven-game roadtrip. Things could be getting even worse before they start to get better.
- O (ATL at NO)
- Dave Cokin
- September 26, 2016 - 8:30 PM
- Offered at:
- pinnacle @ Over 53.5 -107
This is a 1* free play on tonight's NFL game between the Falcons and Saints.
Rivalry time tonight on the NFL gridiron as the Falcons and Saints get together at the Superdome. The early season data certainly indicates a high scoring game that could go either way.
The Falcons have not been very good at getting their defense off the field. Atlanta has forced only four three and outs in two games. The Saints weren’t able to generate many points last week against the Giants. But that was on the road and we all know it’s at home where QB Drew Brees becomes unstoppable for the Saints. Considering the difficulty the Falcons stop unit has displayed early on, I’ll be very surprised if New Orleans doesn’t have its share of productive drives this evening.
As for the Atlanta attack, we’re starting to see more no-huddle offense, and that’s apparently much to the delight of the players. QB Matt Ryan and superstar wideout Julio Jones have made it clear this is the style of play they favor. Offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan still hasn’t totally committed to the fast break on a full-time basis, but it makes a great deal of sense against a shaky defense like the Falcons will be seeing tonight, and I would be shocked if we don’t see no-huddle at least one third of the time, and hopefully even more than that.
Neither team has been able to exhibit much of a pass rush, and both Ryan and Brees are lethal when given time to go through their progressions and zero in on open targets. I don’t think there’s much debate that these two teams are at their best when the offenses are clicking, and I just can’t see wither defense being especially effective tonight.
Obviously, none of this is lost on the oddsmakers and the O/U on tonight’s clash is clearly on the high side. So I can’t really offer that there’s any particular value on this play. But I expect the shootout to take place and won’t be even remotely surprised if we get a game with both teams getting close to or even beyond 30 points. I’ll play the Falcons and Saints to go Over the Total.
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