“It’s All About the Quarterback”
How good do you think Allen Lazard would be on other teams? Robert Tonyan? Marquez Valdes-Scantling? The answer is simple. They’d be irrelevant.
How many teams could lose their starting left tackle – a star at the position – and not miss a beat? The answer is simple. Not many.
Fans of teams that don’t have a quarterback whine about the offensive line. Fans of teams that don’t have a quarterback criticize the front office for a lack of playmakers on the outside.
Fans of teams with quarterbacks, great quarterbacks, don’t get the opportunity to complain about those issues because the quarterback covers them. The quarterback reads the defense, gets into the right protections, and gets the ball out fast when necessary. The quarterback makes the weapons outside better by getting them the football whenever a mismatch presents itself.
The Packers lucked into Aaron Rodgers, and they were in the position to let him sit on the bench for three seasons and develop. This year, in drafting Jordan Love, they risked not being improved in 2020 because they know it’s more important to have a great quarterback when Rodgers is done (if that ever happens) than another solid piece in the secondary for this coming season.
It’s all about the quarterback.
Josh Allen was not only one of the least accurate passers in the league his first two seasons, he was one of the least accurate passers in the history of the league his first two seasons.
Saturday 3:35 PM CT – Rams @ Packers
Aaron Rodgers to score a touchdown: +550
There’s logic here.
The Packers are going to move the ball. They’re going to get the ball into the red zone. And then they’ll have two major issues when it comes to scoring: Aaron Donald disrupting the run game and Jalen Ramsey taking Davante Adams away. Rodgers’ improvisational skills will be on full display when he takes the ball over the goal line.
Saturday 7:15 PM CT – Ravens @ Bills
Total points even: +106
Five of the the last eight Bills games have ended in even points. So if you’re getting plus odds on that bet, you have to take it. This game was looking like a low-scorer when the forecast called for a snow storm at kickoff but now that forecast has changed and it’s just going to be a typical, cold, blustery Buffalo evening.
Four games. I’ll give you a bet for each. (All odds courtesy of DraftKing Sportsbook.)
Saturday 3:35 PM Central
Bills at Texans (-2.5)
My heart is all-in for the boys from 716 but Josh Allen, facing a good pass rush, on the road, terrifies me. Look for Allen to use his legs a bunch in this one but I still don’t see Buffalo producing enough offense. If this line were a point higher, I’d go the other way. Begrudging Bet: Houston -2.5.
Saturday 7:15 PM Central
Titans at Patriots (-5)
Bill Belichick will go into this game with a one-track mind. If the Patriots stop Derrick Henry, they win. But Henry has quietly become the best back in football and New England struggles upfront against these bruising-type runners. I don’t know if Tennessee wins this game but I like them to keep it close. Bet: Tennessee +5.
Sunday 12:05 PM Central
Vikings at Saints (-8)
I thought the Saints were in the best team in football in 2017. They lost in the playoffs on a ridiculous play.
I thought the Saints were the best team in football in 2018. They lost in the playoffs on a ridiculous call.
I think the Saints are the best team in football in 2019. They’re not losing to Kirk Cousins. Bet: New Orleans -8.
Mitch Trubisky enters Sunday’s game in Miami with a ton of momentum. He’s coming off the biggest game of his young career; a game that would be the biggest game of many-a-quarterback’s entire career. Now it’s time to build off of it and become consistent. That’s what we need to see in the next four games, all against the AFC East. And it is very possible that a month from now, Sunday night November 4th, the city of Chicago will know who Trubisky is going to be.
The young quarterback’s last performance was historic but the first three were anything but. The Bears need him to settle somewhere in the middle and prove he can succeed against good defenses. He’ll get that opportunity as he’ll now face four of them in consecutive weeks.
As I wrote last week, what Trubisky did to Tampa was not a fluke. The Bears found his comfort zone and he excelled. Now defenses have tape on that performance and are going to do everything they can to make him uncomfortable.
The bad quarterbacks fold under such situations.
The good ones manage them.
The great ones thrive.
There are 11 playoff games. My best record against the spread was 7-4 in 2014. This year I will take that record to the woodshed.
Saturday – 3:20 pm CT
Pick: Chiefs -9.
For some reason I’ve been watching a bunch of Titans games lately, mostly to look at Mariota, and something is very clear: the Titans are terrible. Kansas City was 6-2 at home this season and are quietly coming into the postseason on a four-game winning streak. (The Matt Nagy bump?) This profiles as the weekend’s only blowout. Lay the points! 37-16 Chiefs.
Saturday – 7:15 pm CT
Pick: Atlanta +6.5.
I don’t know why I think this but I think there’s a big effort somewhere in this Falcons team. I’m not sure they can win this game on the road because they don’t have a consistent bone in their collective bodies but I still need Jared Goff to win a playoff game before I can get fully on the Ramwagon. 27-21 Rams.
Sunday – 12:05 pm CT
Pick: Bills +9.
I’m just banking on this game being unwatchably low-scoring. 16-9 Jags.
Sunday – 3:40 pm CT
Pick: Saints -7.
These teams played twice this season. Saints won both. Total score: 65-34. If this game were in Carolina I think a Panthers upset would be in-play but I’m having a hard time seeing it in the dome. I’ll be rooting for Chico and the boys but that egg they laid in Week 17 against the Falcons is tough to shake from my mind. 30-17 Saints.
Goal was ten over. I’m nine over. And the pressure is on.
Explanation coming tomorrow but here’s the brief version: I think the Bears REALLY want to go out on a victory. I think the Lions know massive change is coming and won’t want to play in the Soldier Field conditions Sunday.
One team is playing for the postseason. The other team has quit on their coach. Buffalo will probably win – because that’s what the NFL is these days – but I’m going chalk.
Tom Coughlin’s finale home game? Yep, I will take him to go out with a win. And I think Odell Beckham Jr. plays a revenge game.
Season Record: 27-18-3