2014 NFL Week 5

18-7 YTD

TNF: Green Bay Packers -9 -108

Aaron Rodgers. Lambeau Field. Prime time. Momentum. I was all over Teddy Bridgewater in his first start against Atlanta last week. But to play his second game as a starter on prime time at Green Bay is a whole different story than playing at home against a weak secondary.
Furthermore Bridgewater is “questionable” but likely to play. A “normal” sprained ankle doesn’t get healthy within three days, so he didn’t practice 100% and probably won’t be 100% healthy in the game: “I just want to continue to rehab, do a little exercising today and see where I am these next couple of days.”. SO he gets out of rhythm and his pocket movement will be limited, should be a long night against Clay Matthews and company. That should lead to a few bad decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or two interceptions thrown. The weather could be a factor as well as Thunderstorms are forecasted. Bad for Teddy, good for Rodgers as he knows how to play in bad conditions. If Christian Ponder plays, I will feel the same confidence about my pick as Ponder threw just four interceptions less than touchdowns in his career. The Packers on the other hand will come into this game with a lot of momentum after beating their rivals big time. Minnesota as well should have some momentum, but the GB momentum will automatically lead to a higher confidence, playing at home in front of their home crowd. After the 1-2 start and some comments by the media, they wanna bounce back with back-to-back divisional wins. I expect Bridgewater to struggle and Aaron Rodgers to have a brilliant game. Even though the Minnesota D played very well recently, it’s a different thing against a hot Rodgers in his own stadium. GB have three days to fix some run D problems as they have been the worst in the league. Vikings will probably across the 130 yards running easily, but will it be enough to cover or even win at Lambeau ? Chicago have put decent run numbers on the board last Sunday but lost by a margin of 21 points. When Rodgers is clicking, you need to move the ball effectively by running AND passing. I don’t expect the Vikings to do so. I believe the game will be over early in the fourth quarter.

Denver Broncos -7 -108

I think there is a slight attitude in the heads of the Denver Broncos telling “let’s beat the garbage out of a 3-0 team”. Especially after that overtime-loss in their Super Bowl rematch after getting into it late in the fourth. Broncos players will come out with foam at their mouths.
IMO the Cardinals are overrated. They were behind 6-17 at home against SD and pulled off a late win when SD players were with their heads at their personal Super Bowl against Seattle the next week. At New York they were clearly the weaker team but won due to turnovers by the Giants. Against SF they were as well on a lucky side as the Niners totally collapsed in the second half.
If things had gone slightly a different way, Cardinals could have been 1-2 at this point. I think the 3-0 record was just not a result of their own strength. Their defense is solid and they will probably be a team to talk about going into December, but they are due for a beatdown at Mile High. Defense won’t matter in that game but offense will. The Cardinals can’t compete offensively to hold on with the Broncos. I truely expect a little blowout and the Broncos to express their frustations during four quarters.

New York Jets and the points

You can get the hottest team in the league at home against a turnover-prone 1-3 team within a touchdown. I normally don’t look at the schedule before Tuesday to rate teams isolated from what I saw during the weekend and the last couple weeks. I told myself to go against San Diego this week if they face another good defense. With the Jets they face another good defense. Through the first three weeks the Jets rank #1 in run D, allowing just 63.3 yards per game. They rank #10 in passing D, allowing 228 yards per game even though teams attempted 36.5 passes per game. That’s good for 6.2 YPPA (#6) and better than every defense San Diego have faced this season.
Their defense is the reason the Jets were still competitive in each game. Their turnovers broke their necks. Yes, the Chargers already blanked the Seattle defense. But they brought their A-game and Seattle was in a sandwich spot between their season opener and the SB rematch. Seattles speedy defense had some troubles on the SD turf. The gameplan of San Diego was perfect, it’s hard to reproduce that often. Due to their injuries, the Chargers have a running game that is clearly non-existent which will make their offense one-dimensional against the Jets. The Jets can focus on stopping the SD passing game all week long. San Diego have a defensive INT rate of 0.7% while the league average is 2.4%. This INT rate has to regret to the mean during the next few games. On the other side the Jets are dead last along with the Saints by intercepting just zero balls during the first four weeks – the league average is at 2.4%. Statistically both numbers should regret to the mean as long as the season goes on – why not starting this week when Phillip Rivers is forced to throw the ball very very often ?
The Jets have a phenomenal running game and San Diego looked vulnerable against the run. Last season the Jets responded when it mattered the most and when nobody expected anything from them:

Thursday 09/12/13  @ New England     L 10-13 but covering easily as a 10.5-underdog
Monday 10/07/13     @ Atlanta     W 30-28 after losing 13-38 at Tennessee the week before
Sunday 10/20/13     New England     W 30-27 after losing 6-19 at Pittsburgh the week before
Sunday 11/03/13     New Orleans     W 26-20 after losing 9-49 at Cincinnati the week before

In these games the Jets rushed for an average of 155.5 yards per game and they chose to rush more than 56% of the time. In the last three of these games Geno threw just one INT but four TD. The first one was his second start and than on the road at NE. The gameplan at San Diego should be to run heavily and let Geno just throw some short passes. Maybe we will see some Michael Vick action. If their defense works, they will be competitive and keep that game close IMO. I think the Jets match up very well with the Chargers. I’m waiting for a better line, maybe it jumps back to 7. At the end I would feel comfortable with six points as well.

These are my write-ups for this week. Still working on a few, but I’m on a vacation till Sunday.

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