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NFL 2019 NFC Perview

NFL 2019 NFC Perview 1 week 4 days ago #510502

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Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Monday 8/12/19
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NFL 2019 NFC Perview 1 week 4 days ago #510503

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NFC East Preview
By Marc Lawrence

2019 NFC EAST PREVIEW

Dallas – Cowboys will face zero opponents both with a bye and coming off a bye next this season ... had only one double-digit win last season ... +2 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

New York – Giants will face 4 opponents in the 2nd+ away games this season ... played ‘under’ their regular season win total 7 of the last 8 years ... suffered 6 wire-to-wire losses last season ... +2 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Philadelphia – Eagles will face 3 opponents coming off a by this season... suffered 5 wire-to-wire losses last season ... -6 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Washington – Redskins will face 3 opponents in the 2nd + away games by this season ... had 6 wire-to-wire wins but suffered 5 wire-to-wire losses last season ... +7 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Dallas Cowboys

TEAM THEME: COWBOY UP

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9 (under -130)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 128.5

It’s been said that the NFL needs its mediocrity and that Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is doing his best to fill the void. Garrett’s nice-guy persona and ultra-conservative approach to the game was never more on display than last year when his play-calling continued to deny his team chances to win games. So was it any surprise when they fell to the LA Rams in the Division round of the playoffs last season? Not really, not when you consider the last time the Cowboys won consecutive games in the postseason was 22 years ago in 1996 when they last captured a Super Bowl. That team featured grit and toughness under Barry Switzer and resilient WR Michael Irvin.

As Garrett enters the season on the final year of his contract, he faces a mandate to win in 2019 or else. QB Dak Prescott’s 24-3 SU mark in games in which he fails to turn the ball over is a start. Then again for the reigning division champs, maybe it’s time for this year’s edition to finally “Cowboy-up”. As our good friend and native Dallas legend Norm Hitzges said on an ESPN 30/30 documentary, “If you're gonna be a dirty program, you better be good at it. You better understand that the group handling the dirtiness has to be committed.” Are you listening, Jason?

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Cowboys are 2-22-1 ATS at home following a SU conference loss since 2009, including 1-18 ATS as a favorite.

PLAY ON: vs. LA Rams (12/15)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Cowboys are 37-10 SU and 31-15-1 ATS the L5Y in games where they won the stats.

New York Giants

TEAM THEME: MANNING THE FORT

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 6 (under -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 125

Dave Gettleman is not a popular figure in the Big Apple these days. Not after the Giants GM dismantled the team and then made highly questionable moves in the NFL Draft. To paraphrase ESPN’s evaluation of the moves: The Giants traded away one of the game's great playmakers (Odell Beckham) and one of their better pass-rushers (Olivier Vernon). They used the first-round choice acquired for Beckham on a 350-pound nose tackle, seven months after trading away a 350-pound nose tackle (Damion Harrison). They acquired a 23-year-old safety drafted in the first round (Jabrill Peppers) to replace a 25-year-old safety drafted in the first round (Landon Collins).

Making matters worse, they over-reached for QB Daniel Jones with the 6th pick in the first round (he would have been available with their 17th pick later in the round). For some, it felt as if the Giants were like a basketball team sinking 2-point shots while its opponents were hitting 3s. Jones is the heir apparent to 38-year old veteran QB Eli Manning, who will likely assist in his development. The offseason additions of WR Golden Tate and OG Kevin Zeitler help, but they won’t fill the holes of the players that have departed. Meanwhile, Gettleman will be reminded on a daily basis that Kentucky LB Josh Allen at No. 6 would have been a smarter move than Jones.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Giants will not play consecutive road games for the first time since 1992.

PLAY AGAINST: at Chicago (11/24)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Giants are just 23-43 ITS the last four seasons.

Philadelphia Eagles

TEAM THEME: BIRDS OF PASSAGE

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9.5 (over -150)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 123.5

Talk about putting all your eggs into one basket: the Eagles appear to be doing just that with QB Carson Wentz this season. After letting Super Bowl MVP QB Nick Foles leave via free agency, Philadelphia will depend on Nate Sudfeld should the oft-injured Wentz go down once again this season. However, if Wentz regains his health, the offense could be lethal with speedy receiver Desean Jackson returning, plus RB Jordan Howard joining the backfield. The Eagles made the most of their five draft picks as well when they landed Washington State redwood Andre Dillard to better protect Wentz, while also adding RB Mike Sanders form Penn State and WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside from Stanford. And on a sidebar note: look for former four-year Northwestern starter Clayton Thorson to secure a spot on the Eagles roster, as QB guru coach Terry Shea insists his skills were the best of any quarterback in this year’s draft.

Philadelphia has three straight home games and three consecutive road games. Oddly, no other team plays three consecutive away games this season. And speaking of scheduling quirks, the Eagles will avoid playing on the road the entire month of November, with an open date wedged in between a three-game homestand. And the final four games in December come against division foes. If all falls into place, this team could be better than 2017’s Super Bowl edition.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: It’s been 14 consecutive years since the reigning NFC East division champion (Dallas this season) has repeated.

PLAY ON: at Dallas (10/20)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Eagles are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS after zero turnovers under head coach Doug Pederson.

Washington Redskins

TEAM THEME: CUTTING A NEW SWATH

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 6.5 (under -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 129

After a rash of injuries wrecked the Redskins’ season last year, they picked themselves back up off the mat and slayed the draft this year. It started when QB Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) fell into their laps with the 15th pick in the first round and just got better thereafter. DE Montez Sweat (Mississippi State) was also a steal late in the first round before they added WR Terry McLaurin (Ohio State) and RB Bryce Love (Stanford). With QB Alex Smith out for the season with a gruesome leg injury (broken tibia and fibula), Haskins will likely follow the same path as Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and ride the bench for a few games to learn the ropes behind Case Keenum until he’s ready.

With free-agent DBs Landon Collins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the secondary, expect last year’s 28th ranked Opponent Completion Percentage (67.41) to make major strides in 2019. The loss of LB Reuben Foster to a knee injury in the OTA’s is a major burn, but the hope is former Steeler LB Jon Bostic can be the Neosporin needed to fill the hole left by the 25-year-old impact player. Through it all, with only one winning season under his belt, head coach Jay Gruden finds himself in the hot seat and will likely rely heavily on this year’s youth-infusion. Especially out of the gate when they take on three 2018-playoff clubs.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Washington is 9-0 ATS as a dog when coming off a SU favorite loss of 20 or fewer points under Gruden.

PLAY ON: vs. NY Giants (12/22)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Redskins are 4-32 SU and 5-31 ATS in games in which they are minus in TO’s.
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NFL 2019 NFC Perview 2 days 4 hours ago #511081

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NFC North Preview
By Marc Lawrence

2019 NFC NORTH PREVIEW

Chicago – Bears had 8 wire-to-wire wins last year ... had played ‘under’ its regular-season win total 5 consecutive years until last season ... +12 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Detroit – Lions suffered 6 double-digit losses last year ... will face 4 opponents with a Thursday game on deck this season ... +5 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Green Bay – Packers will face zero opponents coming off a Monday night game this season ... 0 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Minnesota – Vikings had 5 wire-to-wire wins last season but suffered 6 wire-to-wire losses last year ... 0 net turnovers in 2018 regular season.

Chicago Bears

TEAM THEME: DOUBLE DOINK

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9 (over -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 134

As it should be, the NFL will open the regular season – the 100th in its history – on September 5 with the 199th meeting between the Packers and the Bears at Soldier Field. For loyal Chicago fans, the best news out of the NFL draft for the Bears is likely a player they never drafted but signed afterward. He’s Emmit Carpenter, said to be the greatest kicker in Minnesota Gophers school history. Hopefully, he can lay to rest the nightmares caused when PK Cody Parkey hit the goal post twice on the final play of the game in a cruel 16-15 playoff loss to Philadelphia. The one-and-done was especially difficult to swallow given the fact that it was the first time since 2011 that two teams (the Chargers the other) finished the regular season with 12 wins, yet had to play in a Wild Card game.

Still, behind a suffocating defense that forced 36 takeaways, rookie head coach Matt Nagy made a smashing debut as the Bears won the NFC North en route to a 12-win campaign, the most since 2006, which was also the last time Chicago repeated as NFC North champions. It will be imperative for the Bears to come out of their cave with fervor as four of their first five games are against teams that owned losing records last season. Facing three foes playing in the second of back-to-back away games should help as well.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Chicago is 17-6 ATS at home all-time versus AFC West opponents, including 17-3 ATS when not favored by more than 7 points.

PLAY ON: at Philadelphia (11/3)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Bears scored the 4th highest amount of points in 2018 in franchise history.

Detroit Lions

TEAM THEME: FAMILY REUNION

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 6.5 (over -130)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 129.5

For a team that was outgained in 11 of its 16 games under rookie HC Matt Patricia, a 6-10 SU and 9-7 ATS record might be deemed as acceptable. The key number in those stats, though, is the fact four of the Lions’ five ITS wins came against opponents that all finished the season with losing records, going 23-40-1 combined on the year. What it tells us is Detroit needs to roll up its sleeves and go toe-to-toe against winning teams if it wishes to become a winning team itself. Understand the defense is not a concern as it actually improved both overall and scoring despite the fall from 9 wins to 6. It’s time for QB Matthew Stafford to step up and earn the megabucks contract that he inked two years ago.

The Lions will take on the cushiest non-division strength of schedule foes in 2019 (foes 73.5 projected wins), as well as tackling 4 foes with a Thursday game on tap – the most in the league. This offseason, the Lions already have added several players who played with or for Patricia in New England, including Trey Flowers, Danny Amendola, and Justin Coleman. Those players have an inherent knowledge of Patricia's expectations, making them natural fits in Detroit. Should TE T.J. Hockenson live up to his billing, Stafford just may stand and deliver – provided he can overcome a tough home slate that features four playoff teams, along with the Packers and Vikings.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Detroit has never won the NFC North division. Its last division crown – the NFC Central – was 26 years ago.

PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Minnesota (10/20)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Lions have held 72 of their last 91 opponents to under 400 yards of offense.

Green Bay Packers

TEAM THEME: DAIRYLAND EXPRESS

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 129

The egg on Aaron Rodgers’ face is not a good look. The elite signal-caller suffered only his second losing season last year (the other his first season as a starter in 2006). In addition, Green Bay endured its second losing year in a row for the first time since 1991 as Rogers played through a myriad of injuries for the second straight year. After signing a record-setting $134M contract extension in 2018, it’s a hard pill to swallow for the future Hall of Famer. The Packer brass hit free agency and the draft hard this offseason, shoring up the defense (the line in particular). The biggest change this season, though, will be on offense where new head coach Matt LaFleur brings an offensive mindset.

In contrast, the Chicago Bears turned themselves into standard bearers in the NFC North with a ferocious defense, and just enough offense, under rookie coach Matt Nagy last season. LaFleur’s first job as Packers coach will be to shift the balance of power three hours north. A former offensive coordinator with the Titans last year and the Rams in 2017, LaFleur will likely call the plays, duties Rodgers resisted turning over to former boss Mike McCarthy. In order for the egg to be eradicated, it will be critically important for the two of them to be on the same page. Because, after all, Brett Favre never missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: QB Aaron Rodgers is 15-3 SUATS in division games when the Packers are coming off a SUATS loss.

PLAY ON: vs. Detroit (10/14) - *KEY

INSIDE THE STATS: The Packers are 10-26 ITS in their last 36 away games.

Minnesota Vikings

TEAM THEME: THE YIN AND YANG OF IT

Westgate SuperBook Season Win Total: 9 (under -120)
Opponents’ Collective Season Win Total: 130

As it turned out, Kirk Cousins was not the missing link to Minnesota’s mystery. Coming off an 8-7-1 effort last season, the Vikings have now missed the playoffs twice in the last three seasons, winning only eight games both years. With it, Minny’s stats were down across the board on both sides of the ball in scoring and total yards in 2018. It doesn’t figure to sit well with Mike Zimmer who, despite last year’s shortcomings, is still the best spread-beating coach in the loop. That’s confirmed by his sterling 52-28-3 ATS record overall, including 37-14-2 ATS in non-division battles. It towers over QB Kirk Cousins’ losing record as a starter (34-38-1 SU) in this league. And therein lies the rub.

Can Zimmer elevate Cousins, or will Cousins bring Coach Zim down to his level? What we do know is the Vikes will face a brutal stretch of away games the second half of the season, all against teams that made the playoffs in 2018. They will also need to handle their five prime-time games, which are like poison ivy to Cousins (5-13 in his career, including 0-7 on Monday night). Be sure to circle Thursday, October 24, when Cousins takes on his former team, Washington, who will likely be quarterbacked by a former Viking with a chip on his shoulder, Case Keenum. That will be must-watch TV.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Vikings are 10-2 ATS as dogs of more than 3 points versus AFC West opponent, including 7-0 ATS the last seven.

PLAY ON: at Chicago (9/29)

INSIDE THE STATS: The Vikings have held 17 foes to season-low – or 2nd low – yards the L3Y.
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