Believe it or Not - NFL Week 1
Talking heads graced the media, airwaves, and print waxing about the latest insight from NFL Week 1. The storylines were plentiful. From Antonio Brown's departure to Lamar Jackson's arm to Detroit's collapse, there is a lot to sift through. In our Believe it or Not Series, we will look for actionable intelligence to drive our handicapping moving forward. What is fact? What is fiction? Which teams do we fade? Which teams do we play? In this week's Believe it or Not, we answer those questions and more.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Perhaps no team was as impressive this week as the New England Patriots. Sure, the Baltimore Ravens posted a franchise defining performance, but they did it against the NFL equivalent of the Bad News Bears, (more on the Dolphins later). New England dismantled the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team that by many accounts, including my gambling portfolio, will make the playoffs. The Patriots defense made future Hall of Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger look like Antonio Browns feet. It is true that Bill Belichick is incredible when he has time prepare for an opponent. So, perhaps we should temper expectations. However, they are also gaining future Hall of Fame and former Big Ben's favorite target, Antonio Brown, next week. With New England, what you see is what you get. Believe it!
We are going to stay in the AFC East division with the Miami Dolphins. No team showed their true colors on and off the field quite like the Miami Dolphins. They were an embarrassment to the National Football League. Don't believe me? Ask the players. There were reports that the players asked to be released or traded after the game. They traded their best offensive lineman just a few days before the game in what could only be assumed as their hatred for their own quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. That's just a joke....I think. Everything screams that this team is tanking for Tua. This upcoming week they are more than two touchdown dogs to the New England Patriots and I'm not sure that line is high enough. You better believe you should be fading the Dolphins the rest of the way.
Last night, the Steelers ran into a buzz saw in New England on national television. This embarrassing performance, while the country is watching, is exactly the recipe for success moving forward. Everyone saw the Steelers lay an egg, but that is not indicative of who they are or how they will perform moving forward. If you define a team by how they do against Bill Belichick with a summer to prepare, I'm not sure how many teams, if any, would impress. Tomlin has his faults, but he's an above average coach with a quarterback that still has some left in the tank. Fade the noise and play the Steelers moving forward.
The answer to the Baltimore Ravens quandary is a complex. On one hand, their performance this past week was absolutely incredible, but they did it against a team that would be relegated if they played football overseas. Lamar Jackson looked utterly unstoppable this week showing off a new weapon, his right arm. How can defenses prepare for both the best running quarterback in the league who can now throw the ball with pinpoint accuracy downfield? The answer is, it will get easier as the season progresses. John Harbaugh is another coach who is incredible with time to prepare. He has had the entire summer to design a unique offense around his multi-demensional signal caller. However, how many wrinkles were shown already? Does he have more cards up his sleeve? How many cliches can I use consecutively? The answer may be a mixed bag, but when more game film comes out, the more difficult the road will be for the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were undefeated in the preseason and just put up a franchise record 59 points. They will be the public darling moving forward. The Ravens will probably win handedly next week, but moving forward, look to fade the Ravens or pass.
WEEK 1 NOTES
NFL Underdogs: 9-6 ATS (60%)
NFL Road Underdogs: 7-3 ATS (70%)
NFL Divisional Underdogs: 4-1 ATS (80%)
NFL Unders 9-7 (56.3%)