NFL Week 6 GotW: Carolina @ Tampa Bay (+2)

Carolina Panthers Logo     We have a revenge game for the Elldee Sports Game of the Week.  Back in Week 2, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into Charlotte and outmuscled the Carolina Panthers.  That was a different Panther team and Carolina wants to prove it to the nation.

Tampa Bay is off to a 2-3 start, alternating wins and losses, so far this season.  If the trend holds true, this week is a “win-week” for the Buccaneers.  It also bodes well for the Bucs that one of their two wins came against these very same Panthers just 3 weeks ago.  Now, Tampa are underdogs in their own house and are feeling disrespected!  This is not all that surprising though as they have yet to win a home game this season.  Jameis Winston has not looked horrible this year when he has time to thrown.  The common factor in the losses this season are the number of sacks taken and turnovers committed.  In the three losses, Winston has been sacked 13 times and thrown 4 picks.  Look for Carolina to try and get pressure early and often.

Stated above is the fact that Carolina has not looked like the same team since Week 2 ended.  All-Pro Quarterback Cam Newton revealed his preseason foot injury was worse than known and it affected his ability to transfer weight while passing causing too many overthrows and ultimately an inconsistent offense.  Since lesser known Kyle Allen has taken the reins of the offense, the Panthers are 3-0.  With the passing game becoming a threat again, Christian McCaffrey has finally had room to maneuver.  Carolina is hoping to continue the win streak.

The Elldee Sports team believes that the Panthers will indeed win this matchup.  They have revenge on their minds for a close Week 2 loss and how else to repay the Buccaneers than to return the favor and defeat them on THEIR home turf.  The play this week is to take the Panthers to win on the road.  Until next time, good luck.

Carolina 21 – Tampa Bay 15

Carolina -2 and Under 48

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NFL Week 5 GotW: Arizona @ Cincinnati (-3.5)

Arizona Cards Logo     Two winless teams, both looking for a brighter future.  Each of these teams have reason for optimism but success doesn’t come easy in the National Football League.  Arizona has high hopes for rookie sensation Kyler Murray and his playmaking ability while Cincinnati is leaning on the knowledge and prowess of new head coach Zac Taylor to escape the valley and climb to the peak!

The Arizona Cardinals come into this week’s game with an 0-3-1 record.  They have shown flashes of brilliance this season but not nearly enough to be relevant in the playoff picture.  The season is early, though, and there is still plenty of time to go on a run.  To make a run, the Cards will need to clean up their act as the passing attack is pitiful (21st) and the running game is worse (23rd).  If that wasn’t bad enough, the defense is second to last.  All of this is not surprising and is what was expected with a rookie quarterback and first year NFL Head Coach.  That doesn’t mean that things can’t change in Arizona, especially if the game slows down for Murray.

The Cincinnati Bengals (0-4) aren’t playing much better.  The one thing that you cannot have in the NFL is a one dimensional team and without injured star wide receiver AJ Green, the Bengals are just that.  This has allowed opposing defenses to stack the line and rendered the rushing attack to be less than pedestrian, averaging a meager 49 yards per game.  The poor offensive numbers, coupled with a -5 turnover margin, has put tremendous strain on the defense.  With the offense not producing, the defense has been on the field far too much each game.  Taylor is a quality coach and has won everywhere he has been so you can count on a turnaround before all is said in done.  AJ Green should be returning soon which could right the ship but it won’t be this week.

Both teams would love to begin a turnaround this week but only one can get the “W”.  In the “Battle for the Basement”, the Elldee Sports Formula says you can count on the Cardinals to stay within the spread and likely pull the outright upset.  This isn’t a must-win for either team but it is getting close to that point.  Until next time, good luck!

Arizona 20 – Cincinnati 14

Arizona +3.5 and Under 47.5

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NFL Week 4 GotW: Kansas City @ Detroit (+6)

Detroit Lions Logo     We have a wild one on tap for this Sunday when the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Detroit Lions.  Heading into Week 4, neither of these teams have tasted defeat but barring a tie, looking at you Detroit, one of these two will lose.  Mahomes vs. Stafford looks to be appointment TV.

Kansas City has picked up right where they left off last season.  They are far and away the top passing team, leading the second ranked team by over 80 yards.  Patrick Mahomes has certainly not fallen off and is on the path to being one of the best ever statistically.  As long as Head Coach Andy Reid is there, the offense will never struggle.  The defense on the other hand is up and down, doing just enough to enable the powerful offense to win games week-in and week-out.  The defense appears to be getting better but it is early in the year and 2 of the 3 opponents, Jacksonville and Oakland, are not exactly known as offensive juggernauts.

The Detroit Lions have been a bit of a surprise to Elldee Sports.  The offense has been slightly above the league average and the defense has been slightly below the league average.  That is no shock but the win-loss record is, posting a 2-0-1 through 3 Weeks.  Those two wins are over the Chargers at home and the Eagles on the road, not exactly pushovers.  Head Coach Matt Patricia, a Belichick disciple and defensive extraordinaire, will look to confuse Kansas City’s young quarterback.  Look for Detroit to slow the game down and expect Patricia to call his old boss for advice on slowing down the Chiefs.

Elldee Sports expects to see the Detroit Lions to jump to a quick lead and hang on for a victory.  If KC gets up early and forces pressure on the Lions, this could get out of hand in a very short amount of time, though.  The Elldee Sports Formula is calling for a close Detroit win in a high scoring affair.  While the Total and Money Line predictions are not over 80%, the determining line for Elldee Sports, the Spread is, so take Detroit and the points!  Until next time, good luck.

Detroit 31 – Kansas City 27

Detroit (+6)

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Week 2 NFL GotW: Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans (-3)

Indy Colts Logo     Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL season.  The excitement of a fresh season is beginning to wear off and it is time to get to the nitty-gritty of hard-nosed football!  The Elldee Sports Game of the Week for the NFL is the Indianapolis Colts at the Tennessee Titans.  After the Titans dismantled the Browns last week 43-13, the Las Vegas book makers are backing Tennessee to win this divisional matchup.

None of the experts knew exactly what they would get with the Colts this season after the shocking retirement announcement from All-Pro Quarterback, Andrew Luck, just days before the season began.  While watching the first half of last week’s game, I am not sure if the Colts themselves knew what to expect.  They started slow against the LA Chargers before coming alive in the second half but ultimately losing in Overtime.  Once Indianapolis settled in they didn’t look all that bad.  Jacoby Brissett looks like he can lead this team to the playoffs going 21-27, 190 yards, and 2 TDs.  Not bad for a player who didn’t expect to play until 2 weeks ago.

One of the most hyped teams in the offseason was the Cleveland Browns and all of their young talent.  The Tennessee Titans didn’t care what the newpapers had said and proceeded to thoroughly handle the young team by 30 points.  Looks can be deceiving though, statistically speaking, as the Titans are 22nd in passing and barely cracked the top 10 in rushing.  Derrick Henry did not break 100 yards last week and QB Marcus Mariota finished the day with a 53 QBR.

Regardless of stats or surprise starts, this is a divisional game and the competition will be fierce.  The Elldee Sports Formula is calling for a 16-7 Indianapolis victory.  Many times, recency bias can create a fog when thinking about who will win from week to week.  The fact that the Colts lost and are without a star QB while the Tennessee Titans hammered a team that was a pick to be much improved has caused the public to believe that Tennessee is better than they are and worthy of being 3-point favorites.  Don’t count on it.  Until next time, good luck!

Indianapolis Colts 16 – Tennessee Titans 7

Colts (+3) and Under 44

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Green Bay @ Chicago

NFC Logo     It’s finally here…the NFL season kickoff!  The first game is a Thursday night doozy between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.  Divisional matchups are always hotly contested and this one will be no different as both of these squads have their eyes on the playoffs.  Although it is only Week One, this game may have enormous implications by season’s end.

Green Bay will have it’s passing game rolling behind the offensive IQ of Aaron Rodgers but do not have much of a running game to keep the defense honest.  The threat of the pass may open running lanes but if the Bears can contain the run without committing too many defenders to the box, this could turn into a laugher.  The Bears have an average offense that plays with good balance, making them unpredictable when the coaches call a good game.  Luckily for the Packers, their defense is serviceable as well giving neither team a real advantage when Chicago has the ball.

This should be a matchup of strength vs. strength.  The high-powered passing attack of the Green Bay Packers against the salty defense of the Chicago Bears.  Elldee Sports believes that the Chicago “D” can force the Pack into becoming one-dimensional.  A team that is predictable is easier to slow.  Tack that on to the fact that the Bears will be playing in front of a raucous crowd at Soldier Field and it all spells doom for Green Bay.  Take the Bears at -3 and under 46 in the season opener.

Chicago -3 and Under 46

Final:  Chicago 17 – GB 6

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AFC North: Will the Old Guard Finally Pass the Torch?

Baltimore Ravens Logo     In the AFC North, there is a good combination of Veteran leaders and youthful potential.  The Pittsburgh Steelers are led by Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger, two men who have lifted this rich franchise to the top of the mountain twice.  The Cincinnati Bengals are a proud franchise that has fallen on hard times yet still harbor championship aspirations.  The Cleveland Browns, a perennial laughing stock since the turn of the century believes they have finally found a leader at quarterback and an innovative young coach to take the reins.  Finally, the Baltimore Ravens, are a mix of young and old, fresh faces and experience, and may have what it takes to raise the Lombardi Trophy.  Will any of this come to fruition?

The Cincinnati Bengals have had the dynamic duo of Andy Dalton and AJ Green carrying the flag for the last several seasons.  While the pair has been admirable, the Bengals have struggled to gain serious traction in the regular season or the playoffs.  Much of that appears to have been due to the ownership’s loyalty to recently released Head Coach Marvin Lewis who underachieved for most of the past 16 years.  They have brought in new coach Zac Taylor and currently have the youngest team in the NFL.  It may also be time to move on from An aging Dalton and Green.  The Elldee Sports Formula is not kind to Cincinnati and projects only two wins this season.

One of the hottest teams in the offseason was the Cleveland Browns.  They have a young stud quarterback in Baker Mayfield, a workhorse running back in Nick Chubb, and added depth to an impressive receiving corps by picking up Odell Beckham Jr..  The defense has star power names but will need to build some chemistry and maybe a new coach to bring a new mentality.  The talent is there yet the team finished last year in 30th for overall defense.  New Coach Freddie Kitchens has come to breath life into Cleveland and was one of the most sought after names this offseason.  Talent alone can only take you so far and the schedule doesn’t do the Browns many favors, either.  The Cleveland Browns will finish the year 7-9, good enough for a 3rd place finish in the division.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL.  “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is an all-time great and will eventually end up in the NFL Hall of Fame.  The offense and defense both finished inside of the top 6 in the league last season.  Inevitably, this team is going to suffer, though, as the offense has lost their top RB and top WR in back to back seasons.  The defense has done a solid job of reloading and replacing old players with fresh faces.  Even though the defense expects to be top notch, they won’t be good enough to carry the offense this year.  Compound that with the rising expectations of the Browns and Baltimore Ravens means that the Steelers will finish 2nd in the North with a 10-6 record, scraping out a #6 seed in the playoffs.

The AFC North Division Championship will run through Baltimore.  The Ravens have a proven coach in John Harbaugh.  He has shown the confidence to adjust his offense to a run first, run second, pass third type of system with electric playmaker Lamar Jackson at the helm.  Mark Ingram was brought in at running back which gives this team a one-two Heisman punch in the backfield.  The defense led the league last year in total yards per game and Harbaugh has shown the ability to consistently produce a top defensive squad.  In fact, this may be Harbaugh’s most talented team and the Elldee Sports Formula is calling for a 15-1 record to go with a #1 Overall seed in the playoffs.

The AFC North should be an exciting race this year with the Baltimore Ravens finishing at the top.  The Pittsburgh Steelers will finish 2nd and earn a wildcard spot.  The continuity of the coaches on these two is what will ultimately push them over the top.  Cleveland has a lot to be hopeful for but will fall short of the playoffs for one more season.  By next year, they may be one of the top teams in the league, though.  Lastly, the Cincinnati Bengals will struggle.  A new coach (also first time NFL Head Coach) and the NFL’s youngest team will prove too much to overcome.  Especially when facing this loaded division.  Until next time, good luck!

 

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