September 27, 2013

Who needs the read-option? + Week 4 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Heading into the season, it was all anybody would talk about: The read-option.

Now, three weeks into the season, last year’s hottest craze isn’t doing so well.

Washington is winless as RG3 hobbles all over the field, the 49ers are back to a power-rushing scheme and the Panthers have just one win, which was against a winless Giants team. Only Seattle looks great, but that’s more so because of its defence.

It looks like defences have adapted. Opponents will either keep a defender on the weakside, ready and waiting to blast the QB, while stacking up against the rush. It’s a remarkably simple strategy that I find it difficult to believe took this long to figure out.

Maybe now we’ll see teams follow the Niners example and head back towards a more traditional running style. As more and more tape comes out about the read-option and how to defend, offensive co-ordinators will be forced to use the gimmicky offence less and less.

But don’t worry, there’s always a new offence right around the corner.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPS.

Minnesota +1.5 over Pittsburgh in London

The Steelers are woeful, but so are the Vikings. At least the Vikes could get a boost if Matt Cassel plays as Christian Ponder is reportedly injured.

Baltimore -3.5 over BUFFALO

The Bills are destined to be a team that plays teams close then loses. But I don’t trust them if C.J. Spiller is banged up.

CLEVELAND +5 over Cincinnati

The Browns can’t even tank properly. They do play well at home in the Battle of Ohio usually though, so let’s take the points.

Indianapolis -9 over JACKSONVILLE

If the Jags don’t win this one, they’ll be staring at an 0-8 record heading into their bye week. With Blaine Gabbert starting, getting nine points isn’t enough.

Seattle -3 over HOUSTON

The Seahawks aren’t as good on the road, but the Texans looked like they were missing something against Baltimore.

Arizona +1 over TAMPA BAY

The Mike Glennon era begins with a loss. I’m not sure how the dysfunctional Bucs are even favoured by one.

Chicago +3 over DETROIT

Typical Bears: Look great at the start of the season and eventually fade. They’re still in the honeymoon phase so take the Midway Monsters.

New York Giants +5 over KANSAS CITY

Just when you rule out the Giants, they usually surge back and win a game on the road that they have no business competing in. It only helps they know all about Andy Reid’s style too.

TENNESSEE -4 over New York Jets

Is Vegas really that down on the Titans, or that high on the Jets? New York has faced a weak schedule while Tennessee has the looks of a 10-win team.

SAN DIEGO +2 over Dallas

The line has skewed towards the Cowboys, for some reason. The Chargers don’t have much home-field advantage, but they can possibly eke one out.

Washington -2.5 over OAKLAND

Which team is more terrible? At least there’s some belief that RG3 can pull this one out. If Terrelle Pryor can’t go, Matt Flynn would have to step in, likely to poor results.

DENVER -11 over Philadelphia

Maybe Chip Kelly should slow it down for this one. If Peyton Manning has the ball for 40 minutes, the Broncos might score 70 points.

New England +1 over ATLANTA

The Patriots are clicking on defence and Brady has started to gain some chemistry with the kids.

Miami +7 over NEW ORLEANS

A battle of undefeateds on Monday night is a welcome change from the usual bores. The Saints are really strong – a Super Bowl contender on both sides of the ball – but the Dolphins are also legit. Taking the points seems smart.

This week: 0-1
Last week: 5-10-1
This season: 20-27-1

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