Nick Goff gives his thoughts on week 2 of the NFL season
Welcome back for the second Coral NFL blog of the season. It was difficult to know how much American Football jargon to include in the first blog last week because the UK is home to many serious NFL experts but also many traditional football, cricket or rugby fans just starting to develop an interest into American Football now, as the game’s popularity grows in the UK and I didn’t want to alienate either group.
No matter how basic your NFL knowledge, you’re likely well ahead of my ex-girlfriend, who I took to see Jacksonville play Cincinnati in Florida a few years ago. She’d never seen an American Football game before, and at one point asked me why the game had stopped. I explained that it was because we’d reached the end of the first quarter.
Her reply, and I swear this is true, was “Oh, okay. How many quarters are there?”
HOW MANY QUARTERS ARE THERE? How do you reply to that with a straight face? I don’t know either, so I didn’t keep a straight face. And that was the beginning of the end.
From a betting perspective, Week One wasn’t an unqualified success for this blog with three winners and five losers. I could pretend it was just a minor blip, but I’ve got plenty more losers up my sleeve yet.
There were some superb games in Week One, and many of the usual star names produced the goods, Russell Wilson, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger all having impressive days. However, in this blog we’ll tend to concentrate on the bad and the ugly. After all, sportspeople performing horrendously badly is much funnier than them doing well isn’t it? Peyton Manning throws about 40 touchdowns a week. Boring. Let’s ignore them and have a roll-call of Week One’s pathetic Quarterbacks.
We’re going to have to start with Chad Henne because, well, because it’s my blog and I want to start with Chad Henne. Jacksonville shot off into a 17-0 lead, thanks in no small part to their defence causing two fumbles and recovering both – so let’s not give Henne any undue credit for building this surprise lead. Those of us who were on Jacksonville +10 on the handicap were pretty much counting our winnings at that stage. 17-0 up, 10 points on the handicap, Philadelphia would need to win by 28 points from there to make the handicap a loser. That one looked weighed in.
But it wasn’t. Never, never, never, assume Chad Henne has a game won. He can mess up anything, anywhere, at any time. The Jaguars’ offensive output in the second half was non-existent. On a crucial 3rd Down Henne overthrew an open Marquise Lee by approximately half the pitch. In an even more crucial 4th and 1 situation, Henne missed Tight End Marcedes Lewis. HE WAS ONLY TRYING TO THROW THE BALL THREE YARDS. I think my Grandma, 87 years old, new hip and all, could have made that play. Philadelphia scored 34 unanswered second half points, winning by 17 and killing my +10 bet.
Two much higher profile QBs than Henne had Jarvis Cockers last week too. Tony Romo managed to throw three interceptions for the Cowboys on three consecutive drives, something he usually doesn’t start doing until early December. While Eli Manning managed two interceptions of his own for the New York Giants, who look to have a very long year ahead of them if their thrashing in Detroit is anything to go by.
This Sunday’s live games on Sky Sports are Atlanta at Cincinnati at 6pm and Kansas City at Denver at 9.25pm. The latter looks a bit of a mismatch. Denver are 13 point favourites and could well cover that huge line, their offense looks to have picked up where it left off last season and the defense is improved with some high profile signings over the summer.
Thankfully, the first game promises to be a very good one, pairing two teams who picked up impressive Week One victories. At the current handicap line (Atlanta +5.5), I think I’ll be backing the Falcons. Some newcomers to the betting side of this sport may not be aware that in American Football betting there are some key numbers when looking at handicaps. Around 20% of NFL matches end up being won by a margin of 3 or 4 points, so in what looks like being a very close game we can have an Atlanta win on our side, as well as a loss by either of those key numbers, by backing them +5.5 at 10/11. That looks like a decent bet to me.
Some newcomers may also not be aware that NFL games last four quarters. Enjoy your Sunday night NFL viewing.