Tuesday, October 23, 2007

NFL week 7 wrapup

  • The Patriots numbers thus far are just silly. They have outscored the opposition by a total of 159 points in just 7 games. They've been "held" to 34 just twice. They've scored 36 touchdowns, over 5 per game - only three other teams have more than 20, led by Dallas 27. The average NFL team has 13 more punts than touchdowns so far. Just three have more touchdowns than punts. The Cowboys have 1 more touchdown than punt. The Colts have 6 more touchdowns than punts. The Patriots have 20 more touchdowns than punts through 7 games.

  • What we don't really have any idea about, yet, is the quality of the Patriots defense. They haven't had a big defensive stand late in a game, but they haven't had to. Some of the apparent weakness is a result of the situations they've been in. In the first half on Sunday, the Dolphins had the ball 5 times (plus a 1-play end of the half "drive.") They scored one touchdown, lost one fumble, and punted 3 times. 24 plays, 95 yards, 10:38 time of possession. That's a good defensive half for the Patriots. The 2nd half started with New England up 42-7, and the Patriots put (and left) their nickel defense on the field. The Dolphins, rather than try a hurry-up offense, just ran their normal offense against a prevent defense. And the Patriots let them, their main goal being the preservation of a huge lead while letting time run off the clock.

    We don't know what the defense is, but we know that in points allowed/game, they're in the top 10, and in yards allowed per game, they're in the top 5. And teams aren't running out the clock on them - they're ahead all of the time, and people are trying to score. I suspect that they're better than they've looked. We'll find out.

  • The Patriots scored with 33 seconds left in the second quarter. That made the score 42-7. And somehow, that's now considered "running up the score." Presumably because it was New England doing it.

  • As impressive as the Patriots have been, you could argue that the Colts have been just as good, beating (some) better teams. Certainly, the Patriots victories over the Jets and Dolphins don't look that impressive. But the Chargers and Browns are both .500 and they're over .500 in non-Patriots games. And Dallas is 6-1.

  • If I remember the hype preceding the Dallas game correctly, there has never been a match-up of NFL teams in which both were 7-0 or better. The New England-Indianapolis game in two weeks is shaping up as one of the great NFL regular season games ever.

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say:

    NY Jets at Cincinnati - "How can the Bengals be a 6 point favorite over anyone? Oh, it's the Jets. I see. Cincinnati inspires absolutely no confidence right now. But if both teams play badly, as I expect, they've got enough talent to accidentally score enough points to cover. The Jets don't. I wouldn't put a nickel on this game, but I expect Cincinnati covers in a game that's painful to watch."

    Minnesota at Dallas - "The Cowboys cannot stop a big passing game, but the Vikings don't have one. The real question here is whether the Cowboys have Patriots hangover. It wouldn't be shocking, and they wouldn't be the first team to struggle after being taken apart by New England. I think that they get it together, though, and pull away in the second half."

    Atlanta at New Orleans - "Two bad teams. Too bad teams. Too bad, teams. The Falcons won't win, the Saints won't cover."

  • Evidence that you should be listening carefully to what I say (and betting the opposite [and this evidence continues to pile up]):

    Chicago at Philadelphia - "the Bears lost at home to Minnesota last week - I'm supposed to pick them to go to Philadelphia and win? I'd love to, but I won't. "

    Tampa Bay at Detroit - " If they play this game 10 times, the Lions win 3 of them in blowouts, the Buccaneers win 7 close. This is one of the seven."

  • For the week:
    Winners: 8-6
    ATS: 7-7-0

  • For the season:
    Winners: 64-39
    ATS: 50-46-7

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