Not a Wild Weekend
Not a Wild Weekend
By Bryan Power
For a league built on drama and storylines, there weren’t many to be had on NFL Wild Card Weekend. All four favorites won and covered, and all four games went Under the total. None of the games went down to the wire and I’m not sure I learned a single thing about any of the winners or losers that I already didn’t know.
I feel that there were three teams that overachieved this season by getting into the playoffs: Minnesota, Indianapolis and Washington. All three were exposed over the weekend and had unfortunate circumstances affect them even before the ball was kicked off.
How in this age of Twitter and 24-hour sports coverage did no one know about the severity of Vikings QB Christian Ponder’s elbow? As soon as the shocking announcement was made Saturday afternoon that Ponder would be inactive, bettors immediately jumped on Green Bay, betting the favorite from -7.5 to -10.5. We almost had a situation where Minnesota pulled out a back door cover as they had the ball in Packers territory down 24-10 in the final seconds, but that situation never materialized.
Not knowing that Ponder wouldn’t be playing, most of my analysis (I played Green Bay as *10*) centered around the tremendous edge the Packers had at quarterback with Aaron Rodgers. With Joe Webb under center, the Vikings didn’t have a chance. And why didn’t Minnesota run the ball with Adrian Peterson more? I realize they trailed for much of the game, but 22 carries is unacceptable, particularly with a backup quarterback in the game.
Indianapolis lost Bruce Arians to the flu bug the morning of the game, and that clearly had an effect. Arians is my choice for Coach of the Year as he filled in so admirably for Chuck Pagano, and it was somewhat of a cruel twist of fate that after missing Pagano for the balance of the year that Arians absence is what sealed the Colts’ fate.
The only real storyline coming out of the weekend is the Robert Griffin III “situation.” Was RG3 left in the game “too long?” Probably. But, I’m here to tell you that with an injured Griffin, the Redskins had no chance to beat the Seahawks no matter what coach Mike Shanahan would have done. When he finally did get in the game, Washington backup QB Kirk Cousins was ineffective at best, completing only 3 of 10 passes for 31 yards. For what it’s worth, the Skins were LEADING heading into the fourth quarter. And as you’re likely to see this week in Atlanta, pocket passers aren’t a very good option against a Seattle defense that was the best in the league during the regular season. Washington gained only 74 yards total in the final three quarters!
The weekend’s first game was Cincinnati at Houston. The Texans didn’t so much impress me in this one (though they did finish with a 420-198 edge in total yards) as the Bengals really disappointed me. Quarterback Andy Dalton was just awful. He missed wide open throws that if given the opportunity next week, Tom Brady will not against a vulnerable Houston secondary. Cincinnati’s only touchdown was scored by the defense, yet they still had a chance to win the game.
Three of this weekend’s games are regular season rematches and the team that won is favored the first go-around is favored this weekend. Could that mean another drama-less weekend? Perhaps. Does anyone see either AFC underdog (Houston and Baltimore) winning straight up? Not me. Over in the NFC, San Francisco beat Green Bay all the way back in Week 1 at Lambeau. Seattle at Atlanta is the only matchup that’s not a regular season rematch, and that’s the one game where everyone is going to give the dog the best shot.
After winning 17 straight seasons in the Divisional Round, the top seed in the NFC has been one and done four of the last five seasons. The top seed in the AFC had lost three straight years before last season.
- Central Florida
- Teddy Covers
- October 1, 2016 - 12:00 PM
- Offered at:
- 5dimes @ 4 -110 Central Florida
1* Take Central Florida (#151)
UCF went 0-12 last year. 10 of their losses came by two touchdowns or more, as they should have – George O’Leary’s final season was a complete disaster. That included a late November 44-7 home loss at the hands of East Carolina. That was then, this is now.
New UCF Coach Scott Frost has made it very clear what he wants to install for the Golden Knights. The former Oregon Ducks offensive coordinator wants Central Florida to become “The Oregon of the East”. Frost found his starting QB two weeks ago when previous starter Justin Holman got hurt. In two games behind center, frosh McKenzie Milton; a dual threat dynamo against both Maryland and FIU.
Here’s Frost’s quote:
“One of the things that drew me to the job is I knew I could run a version of our offense that was practically identical to Oregon's because we can recruit that type of player here. I don't think you could run Oregon's offense at Wisconsin; I don't know if you would get enough guys that can run well enough to do it. In Orlando, Florida, there's fast guys in high schools in every direction in close proximity that are already running systems in high school that are similar to this and should want to play in it.”
When a formerly dismal team starts to play competitive football, then starts to win, it becomes contagious – these are ‘bet-on’ teams week after week, until the markets show that they’ve caught up. Considering that UCF has covered the spread (in regulation) by double digit margins in each of the last two weeks, I’m not convinced in the slightest that the markets have caught up with their improvement.
East Carolina has faced two solid offensive teams; NC State and Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack gained more than 200 yards on the ground AND through the air against East Carolina, and could have scored far more than the 30 points that they did. Last week, Virginia Tech hung 54 on this stop unit, another balanced attack, and the defense didn’t create a turnover. Expect East Carolina to have a tough time getting stops here; bad news for any favorite.
The Pirates are coming off back-2-back physical, demoralizing losses, and they’ve yet to beat a FBS team by more than a field goal this year. A program in transition following the shocking firing of Ruffin McNeill last December has no business laying more than a field goal to a ‘bet-on’ UCF squad on Saturday. Take Central Florida.
Teddy is hitting 73% in the NFL through the first three weeks of the season, picking up right where he left off during last year's epic 56-27 (67%) campaign! And Teddy is 21-8 (74%) with his last 29 in college, making big $$ for himself and his clients RIGHT NOW! Ride the hot hand & don’t miss a single ‘right side’ winner all weekend long!