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Super Bowl 55 Game Preview, Part II: Five Thoughts & Prediction

| February 5th, 2021


This might be the most interesting Super Bowl in many-a-moon. A lotta star power. Two jolly, red-faced head coaches. The point spread hasn’t moved off three points, so the game is expected to be tight. The total has fluctuated between 56 and 56.5, so the game is expected to be high-scoring. And if those two things happen, we’re looking at an exciting Sunday evening.

Five Thoughts

  • Something about this game reminds me of those classic Patriots/Giants Super Bowls. A high-powered offense on one side and a big-game quarterback/pass rush on the other. If the Bucs are going to beat Reid and Mahomes, they will need the same Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul that terrorized Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game. With Eric Fisher out, the Chiefs are exploitable along the offensive line.
  • Early in the season, the Chiefs were not particularly threatening down the field. They dinked and dunked opponents to death. Don’t be surprised if they compensate for their issues upfront by taking a similar approach against the Bucs, especially early in the game. That could mean a lot of quick tosses to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Todd Bowles better have his boys in good tackling form.
  • Usually you can identify a special teams mismatch in these games but there isn’t one here. Both kickers are reliable. Both punters are effective but used sparingly. The Chiefs are narrowly better in the return games. When games are perceived to be this evenly-matched, it may not come down to which specials unit makes a play but instead which avoids the big mistake at a crucial moment.
  • Watch the weather forecast, especially if you’re planning to place any bets. There is predicted rain in Tampa Sunday but the belief now is that should be cleared out by the 6:30 PM ET kickoff. If it does rain, I tend to give an advantage to the quarterback who has seen everything and the steadier rush attack.
  • One can not underestimate the achievement of Mahomes winning his second title. Rodgers hasn’t gotten to a second title game. Brees never got to a second title game. Peyton Manning went along for the ride to get his second ring. Mahomes is four quarters away from football immortality. Will he recognize that?

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Four Lessons From the Final Four, Volume II: Chiefs & Bucs

| January 20th, 2021


Chiefs

“Always Be Adding Weapons”

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No one has embraced the modern NFL more than Andy Reid. He’s never content with the offensive firepower on his roster.

Tyreek Hill was not on most teams’ draft boards. The heinous crimes he committed in college were considered a bridge too far. What did Reid do? He drafted Hill. He took the risk because he recognized Hill’s speed would be indefensible in the NFL. You can rightfully criticize this decision but do you think Reid cares now? Do Chiefs fans?

After winning the Super Bowl in 2019 on the back of his offense, did Reid concentrate his off-season efforts on the defense? Don’t be silly. He used the team’s first round pick on a running back and added Le’Veon Bell mid-season. Reid had spent the previous three seasons stockpiling speed on the outside. Now he’s doing the same in the backfield.

Is Patrick Mahomes going to play in the AFC Championship Game? It would be shocking if he doesn’t but concussion protocols in the NFL are draped in mystery. Yet nobody would rule the Chiefs out of that game without Mahomes. The reason is the roster of weapons assembled by Reid.


Buccaneers 

“Turnovers Leave a Bad Taste”

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Bruce Arians got as much production out of the quarterback position in 2019 as any other coach. Jameis Winston threw for over 5,000 yards. He threw 30 touchdown passes. But Arians did not even consider bringing him back to Tampa and no other team so much as floated the opportunity for Winston to compete for their starting job. Why? Because Winston added 30 interceptions to his tally and Tampa’s turnover differential in 2019 was -13. They missed the playoffs.

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Divisional Round Weekend Gambling Guide

| January 15th, 2021


Saturday 3:35 PM CT – Rams @ Packers

Aaron Rodgers to score a touchdown: +550

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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

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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.

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ATM: Bears Need Defense to Buy Time

| February 5th, 2020

There are two lessons to be learned from the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl victory.

(1)A great quarterback is the ultimate trump card.

(2) Sometimes it takes a while to find that guy.

Kansas City’s start with Andy Reid was similar to Chicago’s with Matt Nagy. Both exceeded expectations with a playoff appearance in the first year then disappointed the next year. Through two seasons, Andy Reid was 20-12 with Kansas City, the same mark Nagy has with the Bears.

What followed for Kansas City was a number of seasons in which they were quasi-contenders with records of 11-5 and 12-4, thanks largely to their top-10 defense.

While Reid was trying to get whatever he could out of the offense, their defense ranked fifth, second, third and seventh in points allowed his first four years. They were also top 10 in yardage two of those seasons and top 10 in takeaways three times. Even in 2017, when KC’s defense dropped to 15th in scoring and 28th in yards allowed, they were seventh in takeaways and eighth in takeaways in 2018 as their offense exploded.

While much of the focus is on fixing the Bears offense, the reality is their defense is still the key to winning in 2020 and they must buy more time for the offense to get right.

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Super Bowl LIV Gambling Guide!

| January 31st, 2020

You don’t have to wager a ton of money to have fun gambling on the Super Bowl. But the trick is to space out the bets across the game. That way, even if the game’s a bore, and many of them are, you’ll have something to keep you interested throughout. Here are five bets, all courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.


Bet #1 -Coin Toss: Heads & Kansas City Chiefs (+255)

Why the hell not? (And this bet could be over before they even flip the coin!)


Bet #2 -Patrick Mahomes to Score TD & Chiefs Win (+650)

His running has started changing games because defenses are so afraid of his arm. The pressure from the Niners will be there so I expect Mahomes to take off more than usual. (And I’m all-in on Andy Reid winning this game.)


Bet #3 – George Kittle to Score a TD (+125)

Once Steve Spagnuolo and the Chiefs defense settles into this game, Jimmy G will be under pressure. That means he’ll be forced to get the ball out quickly and that means Kittle. Also, if this game gets away from San Francisco, I could see Kittle catching a million balls underneath deep coverage in garbage time.


Bet #4 -San Francisco to Win the First Quarter (+148)

The Chiefs don’t even wake up in these games until they’re down double digits.


Bet #5 -Total Over 54 Points (-110)

Who the hell roots for low-scoring Super Bowls? These games are only fun when there’s scoring. They’re not football games. They’re television shows. And television shows require action, especially because the experience always feels interminable. (The halftime show just never ends and it’s never good.) This game feels like it’s going to be way closer to Eagles/Patriots than Rams/Patriots.

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Super Bowl Preview: Andy Reid’s Legacy Game

| January 27th, 2020

This week, each of DBB’s writers – myself, Andrew, Data and Emily –  will be writing their own Super Bowl preview post. Then Friday we’ll culminate the week with a gambling guide, as no sporting contest played all year presents this many opportunities to lose money. 


Legacies in the NFL are a tricky thing, for quarterbacks and coaches.

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are two of the most prolifically-talented winners in the history of the NFL. But as each approach the twilight of their careers, their legacies are complicated by only appearing in one Super Bowl a piece.

Eli Manning is, by every conceivable metric, a quarterbacking mediocrity. But for two months, for two playoff runs, he was an immortal. And now, no Giant will ever wear his number again. One of the most storied franchises in the NFL is retiring the number of a quarterback who was .500 as a starter and pitched a career quarterback rating of 84.1.

One Super Bowl victory is pivotal for the great coaches and quarterbacks. It stamps their career as valid. The second Super Bowl stamps their greatness. Three or more are reserved for the legends of the game.

Tony Dungy finally got his Super Bowl title. Two years later, he retired from the game, never to return. Bill Parcells hunted a third title for decades. Mike Holmgren a second. They knew what they needed to achieve to be remembered as they wished.

Andy Reid is 207-128 as a head coach, a .618 winning percentage. That’s better than Parcells. That’s better than Holmgren. Hell, Joe Gibbs is only at .621 and I think Gibbs is one of the two or three best coaches in the history of the league. (Gibbs has three Super Bowls, with three different quarterbacks, and none of those quarterbacks were particularly good.)

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