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Dannehy: Late Game Heroics for Fields, Bears Could Come

| November 16th, 2022


The Bears have had the ball with a chance to win three times in the last five weeks and have fallen short every time. But anybody suggesting that means the young quarterback is incapable of leading the team to wins in those situations is misguided. There is no question that at some point the Bears and Justin Fields have to come through with game-winning scores. There is also no question that can develop with experience.

Turn back the clock a handful of years and you’ll see that in Aaron Rodgers’ first season as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, the team went 1-7 in one-score games. Worse yet, they had chances to win most of those games only to fall short.

On Oct. 5, 2008, the Packers had the ball trailing 20-17 against Atlanta with about seven minutes left only for Rodgers to throw an interception. Atlanta went on to score a touchdown and won 27-14. Less than a month later, the Packers had the ball with a chance to break a 16-16 tie but punted. Tennessee missed the game-winning field goal in regulation, only to make it in overtime.

On Nov. 30, the Packers had the ball, trailing Carolina by four before a Rodgers interception. They were tied with Houston the next week but had to punt and the Texans won the game on the next possession. It became three straight weeks in which Rodgers failed to deliver as they had the ball trailing 20-16 before a Jacksonville Jaguars interception essentially ended the game.

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Week Two Minute-By-Minute Report: Bears at Packers

| September 19th, 2022


8:00 PM ET

Thoughts on a day of watching football and researching Hitchcock’s silent stage adaptations.

  • There was some brutal football played in the early window. Saints/Bucs and Giants/Panthers were bad, bad ballgames.
  • I know it seems I have a personal issue with Chris Ballard. And that’s only because I do. But Ballard’s answers at quarterback for a supposedly ready-to-contend roster have been a shot Phil Rivers, a never good Carson Wentz and an elderly Matt Ryan (who looked incredibly shot today). Ballard has been the GM of the Colts for six off-seasons. Is he going to take a risk at quarterback at ANY point?
  • I never hated Mitch Trubisky, but I recognized his extreme limitations against the Saints in 2019. It’s not there. Pittsburgh can delay the inevitable all they want but not playing Kenny Pickett is wasting time. Trubisky is a solid backup option.
  • Every time Tua attempts to throw a pass more than 10 yards it’s an adventure. But there is so much speed in that receiving room. He won’t need to be that accurate deep when Hill is averaging four yards of separation.
  • So many helmet-to-helmet hits across the league. Spare me the “speed of the game” argument. If you can’t see the guy you’re tackling, you are tackling incorrectly.
  • New Orleans did everything a team needs to do defensively against a Tom Brady offense, but they just kept handing him first downs with silly penalties. Ultimately, Brady made them pay for their “mistakes”.
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown is one of the best receivers in the league. Games like today aren’t stories anymore. This is who he is.
  • Through two weeks, the Bengals look like a bad team. Somehow their offensive line is worse than a year ago. But they have now lost to Trubisky and Cooper Rush to start the season. That’s not a contender.
  • Micah Parsons might be the best player in the league. He controls games.
  • Not sure I can remember a rookie head coach looking as out of his depth as Nathaniel Hackett. The Broncos need to monitor that closely and pull the trigger quickly if these performances continue.
  • The Cardinals are not in a good spot as an organization. Kliff got ownership to fully commit to Kyler. If you fire Kliff, the next coach has to want Kyler. How much coaches do?
    • If Kyle didn’t convert on the two-point conversion to end regulation, I’m not sure Kliff wouldn’t have been fired by the time you’re reading this. A delay of game…on a two point…with the game on the line???
    • But you rarely see a team as desperate to lose as Vegas was tonight.

8:16 PM ET

“I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday night” is one of the most ridiculous football concepts around. Other than the fans of the two teams, nobody waits all day for Sunday Night Football. If anything, most NFL fans are exhausted by kickoff. (People forget this slot used to be occupied by a throwaway game for years.)


8:18 PM ET

“The most played rivalry in the history of the National Football League.”

Is that a compliment?


8:24 PM ET

KICKOFF!

TOUCHBACK!


8:26 PM ET

I would like to preemptively apologize for tonight’s minute-by-minute. I am pretty damn tired and I’m old now and these games feel super late to me. I shall do my best and try to land a few barbs.


8:27 PM ET

Aaron Rodgers looks like Aaron Rodgers.


8:32 PM ET

Angelo Blackson makes a great play in the backfield and then stands over the back. He luckily avoided an unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting. That is being called all over the league. Needs to be coached into these guys pronto.


8:36 PM ET

Kyler Gordon makes a brilliant play on the football, and Trevis Gipson follows that with a sack. That is the kind of sequence fans need to see this year. Young players developing is the primary story of this campaign. Some very good signs through one game and one drive.

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After the Craziest Few Weeks in NFL Off-Season History, Updated Division/Title Odds

| March 28th, 2022


I’m posting these to DBB because over the course of the season, I find myself constantly searching out data like this. Figure it’s easier to store right here on the site. 


NFC NORTH

Packers -175

Vikings +275

Bears +750

Lions +1200

Thought: Green Bay actually feels a bit undervalued at that number. Barring a Rodgers injury, they are winning the division.


NFC EAST

Cowboys -115

Eagles +350

Commanders +400

Giants +650

Thought: The Giants have near identical odds to win their division as the Raiders do to win theirs. Just shows you how awful this division looks to be on paper. If the Cowboys weren’t such a national entity, they’d have plus odds.


NFC SOUTH

Bucs -280

Saints +450

Falcons +1000

Panthers +1100

Thought: What is there to say? On paper, this is the greatest divisional mismatch in the sport. It is Tom Brady vs. three teams that struck out on Deshaun Watson.


NFC WEST

Rams +160

Niners +195

Cardinals +325

Seahawks +1300

Thought: San Francisco is the team I’m most wary of at this stage because Trey Lance absolutely disappeared in 2021. (They had packages for him early in the year.) Is he going to be ready to be the starting quarterback in 2022? Has the bridge been burned with Jimmy G? Too many questions for odds like that.


AFC NORTH

Browns +175

Bengals +200

Ravens +225

Steelers +850

Thought: Deshaun. Watson. 

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Divisional Round Gambling Guide!

| January 21st, 2022

Atlantic City at 40 (Original Photo)


Last week, the guide was actually about gambling (i.e., trying to make money) and my slips in Atlantic City proved that advice to be solid. This week, I’m going to try and nail all eight general bets. That’s every spread and every over/under. Will I achieve that? Of course not. But it’s a worthy endeavor.

As always, all lines from DraftKings Sportsbook.


Saturday

4:30 PM ET

Cincinnati Bengals at Tennessee Titans (-3.5) – Over/Under 47

  • Has a number one seed ever received less attention than Tennessee? They’re the least sexy team remaining but they’re also one that hasn’t been at full strength in months. If Derrick Henry returns – and all signs are pointing to him doing so – I think they move on. But the involvement of the hook (that extra half point) makes me nervous. Still, I’m taking Titans -3.5.
  • Usually when I’m playing the number, I play guess the score. I keep settling in around 23-17. Maybe 24-20? 27-17? One of these teams needs a major offensive output to get over. Under 47.

 

8:15 PM ET

San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers (-6) – Over/Under 47

  • Since I picked the Packers to go to the Super Bowl, I’m picking them to win this game. But I think six is a lot of points for a game with projected weather conditions around 0 degrees. Packers win, because it’s not the NFC title game yet, but it’s a close one. 49ers +6.
  • Kyle Shanahan is going to want this game slowed down to a crawl. Control the line of scrimmage. Keep it in the 20s. And I don’t think this Packers defense is good enough to prevent that, even with injury concerns at QB for San Francisco. Under 47.

Sunday

3:00 PM ET

Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) – Over/Under 48.5

  • Do we overreact to the Rams victory over the Cardinals Monday night? Anybody paying attention over the last six weeks knows the Cardinals have been awful. Do we overreact to the Bucs embarrassment of the Eagles early Sunday? The Eagles have a quarterback who can’t throw and were ultimately 0-8 against playoff teams this season. Sunday is the biggest game of Matthew Stafford’s career. Stafford is the story. I’m taking Tom Brady. Bucs -3.
  • The first time these two played – in September – Brady threw for 432 yards. Stafford threw for 343 yards. That’s nearly 800 yards through the air, folks. This game is going Over 48.5.

 

6:30 PM ET

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5) – Over/Under 54

  • When the line is below three points, I ignore it and just pick the winner. And I find it hard to pick against Josh Allen right now. Steve Spagnuolo’s defense thrives when he’s manufacturing pressure but if the Chiefs overcommit, Allen will eat them alive on the ground. The winner of this game feels destined for the Super Bowl. Bills +1.5.
  • How do these two offenses stay under the number? Buffalo’s defense is very good, but they’ve been diced up several times this season, especially by any team with a competent rush attack. And Kansas City’s discovery of Jerick McKinnon last week gives them an additional element with which Les Frazier’s unit must deal. Over 54. 

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Things To Consider With Tonight’s Schedule Release

| May 12th, 2021


The NFL has turned everything into a television program. And who can blame them? The NFL Draft now does better ratings than almost every other sporting contest AND the damn Academy Awards. (How in the hell did that happen?)

The schedule release does not have the same ratings appeal for two reasons: (1) every local beat leaks the schedule as the day goes on and (2) we consume the schedule in one shot, in about 30 seconds, and then sort of move on.

Three things I’ll be watching with the release tonight at 8 PM ET.

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Number One. Where is the Bears bye?

With a seventeen-game schedule, most teams will be hoping their bye lands as close to the middle of the season as possible. A Week 4 or Week 5 bye leaves a long stretch of uninterrupted football (barring wildcard weekend off) in order to get to the Super Bowl.

But for the Chicago Bears the bye is entirely about one thing: Justin Fields. If the Bears stick with their current plan, and give Andy Dalton the opener, the bye will be every fan’s target to get Fields on the field. A few questions should be asked.

  • What’s the difficulty level of the schedule pre-bye? If the Bears face a murderer’s row of teams and are likely to be going into the bye with a losing record, the transition to Fields will be far easier to execute.
  • Who is the opponent post-bye? If I was making the NFL schedule, I would have the Bears at home to the Lions after their bye. Soft team, terrible defense, crazy atmosphere on the lakefront. (I know right now you’re thinking, “That’s brilliant! He SHOULD make the schedule!” You are right.)

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Championship Weekend Gambling Guide

| January 21st, 2021

4-0 last week.

Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Two more bets for Championship Sunday, as we try and go into the Super Bowl on a bona fide heater. (As always, betting odds come from DraftKings Sportsbook & Casino.)


Sunday 2:05 PM CT – Buccaneers @ Packers

Aaron Rodgers over 2.5 touchdown passes: +145

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Tampa Bay allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns in the sport this season, limiting their opponents to only ten over their first 17 games. So if you expect the Packers to score touchdowns – and I certainly do – you either need to pick his targets accurately or pick his total. The latter seems more appealing and the odds suggest that. (You really wanna lay +115 odds on Robert Tonyan? I don’t.)

Yes, it’s going to be cold but Rodgers has thrown more than two touchdowns in six of last eight games and this does not feel like a low-scoring affair.


Sunday 5:40 PM CT – Bills @ Chiefs

(Note: There are far fewer prop bets available for this contest due to Patrick Mahomes’ concussion/neck/foot issues. He’s going to play, but in what shape will he be?)

Josh Allen to score a touchdown: +135

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Allen looked shaky against Baltimore’s high-pressure approach last week and he should expect more of the same from Steve Spagnuolo’s unit this week. But Allen is a gamer and this feel like an evening where he’ll need to leave EVERYTHING on the field if the Bills are going to return to the Super Bowl for the first time since January 30, 1994. Brian Daboll doesn’t hesitate to call Allen’s number inside the red zone and it could be the perfect remedy to beat an ill-timed Spags blitz.

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