GAMBLING GUIDE

Gone in 40 seconds: The Super Bowl 52 mega betting preview

Bill Belichick has two weeks to prepare for Nick Foles and the Eagles. Eagles.com

In the game of football, the game gives you life every 40 seconds.

The number 40 is one that you hear often leading up to this years Super Bowl.

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, over the hill is considered to be: past one's prime.
In your lifetime, you will hear the reference "over the hill" on various occasions. Whether it's celebrating someone's 40th Birthday, or when someone is referring to someone as old or as slowing down.

On Aug. 3, Tom Brady turned 40, leaving us looking for words to describe someone who looks far from over the hill as he ages. Brady threw for 4,577 yards while keeping a 66.3 % completion percentage this regular season. That’s his second-best completion percentage in nine years and his fourth most yardage in that time frame. This season, he became the first quarterback to throw four touchdowns in a game at the age of 40. Not only that, but he led the league in passing attempts and completions giving merit to his arm still being what some describe as "live" and not spent. Is that what we call over the hill?

Maybe it's the same words we looked for in 2009 when 40-year-old Brett Farve threw up 4,202 yards and had a 33 touchdown to 7 interception ratio. The aged Farve led the Vikings to the NFC Championship game, defining the logic in age is a number.

2017 Brady 4,577  32 TD 8 INT
2009 Farve 4,202 33 TD 7 INT

If 40 describes the act of climbing over the hill in life, what exactly is on the other side?

Also, 40%, seems to be the percentage of needed pressure to make Brady uncomfortable. In both of the Super Bowl matchups vs. the Giants, the defense was able to create pressure on over 40% of Brady's dropbacks. The key to keeping Brady frustrated is to collapse his pocket but doing so using as few bodies as possible.

Every Super Bowl Brady has won, he has faced less than 40% pressure on his dropbacks. Just last year, the Falcons failed to continue generating pressure in the second half with the big lead opting to play slightly more conservative keeping the game in front of them.

The Blue Print is exposed, and now it's a matter of having the personnel to be able to execute it. In 2015, the top raked Broncos defense was able to do just that, holding New England to 18 total points in the AFC title game. Again, by generating pressure on over 41% of the defensive plays.

The Eagles created pressure on quarterbacks on 271 occasions this year, besting the second best opponent by 27 (Jaguars). That figure puts them over the fundamental figure of 40% in pressure created this season, transcending the mark that is kryptonite to the New England Golden Child. A huge stat the Eagles have in their favor is they hold the leagues 10th lowest blitz rate, meaning they can get to the quarterback without necessarily having to send extra players. They can do this because of the ferocious front four. Well, let me rephrase that, and this is what makes this team different. They can be described more of a front seven with the depth they have and the amount of rotating they do.

Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Chris Long act as the rushers off the edge. Derek Barnett, Timmy Jernigan, Vinny Curry, and Beau Allen, round out a fierce rotation of 7 players that defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz thrives on keeping fresh. The Jaguars blitzed at over a rate of 41 % through three quarters in the Championship round. The lack of depth from the defensive line caught up to them in the most pivotal moments, and Brady was able to find time when he needed it.

The plan is set and coming into games teams understand the principals of Mission Attack Brady. The only dilemma is you're dealing with a champion, the best to ever do it. This year when under pressure, Brady has a passer rating of 96.6 and a 59.9% completion rate; that’s almost ten higher than his competitor's ratings.

Brady vs. Jim Schwartz’s defense

When looking how you can move the ball on the Eagles you have to find their few weak spots.

As you can see, the Eagles defense is very good in different areas of the field. Where they do struggle is in the middle of the field and against WR 3's and 4's as well as the tight end position. We mentioned how the Eagles defensive scheme allows them to create pressure without having to blitz extra bodies. What those extra men can do in coverage when asked to make a play will be vital in getting the Patriots offense off the field.

A focal point of this game; Philidelphia ranks first in adjusted line yards with 2.99, but they rank 23rd in open field rank. What this tells you is they are elite up front on the defensive line, but the second level struggles in pursuit and limiting open field yards. That’s exactly what the Patriots will thrive on.

Patriots Game Plan

So what adjustments do the Patriots have to make to exploit the weaknesses we have found in the Eagles defense?
None!  The Patriots are notorious for running 11- personnel on over 60% of their offensive snaps. Doing so will keep the extra defensive back to stay in. Look for Danny Amendola or whoever Bill Belicheck rotates in and out of the slot to have success throughout the game. Throughout the years, the popularity of teams running 11-personnel has grown due to its success.

(11 man= one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers).


 

The popularity has expanded with teams seeing the success. In 2016 the Patriots were ranked 1st in DVOA but were off the charts efficient when in 11 man personnel.


The Patriots will look to exploit the Eagles defense with 11 man personnel while moving Gronkowski around. Word is getting out that Malcolm Jenkins may shadow the tight end. If thats the case, look for New England to split Gronk out wide frequently, creating one on one and moving an extra run stopping safety away from the middle of the field.

Special teams

The Patriots lead the league in opponent starting field position. The league average is opponents starting drives at the 28-yard line. Just last week, Jacksonville had four drives start inside the 16-yard line, three of which were inside the 10 yards line. Since 2009, every year the Patriots special teams have ranked inside the top six overall according to football outsiders.  In the Championship round, the Jaguars started their drives on the 20-yard line the league average is 28. This year the Patriots special teams rank third overall weighted DVOA, while the Eagles sit at 16th.

The game will start somewhat conservative, and the halftime adjustments will be critical. In a game that will be won by in-game adjustments, I have to lean to the Dark Side. Patriots struggle in the beginning but Tom Brady will eventually beat the blitz, forcing Nick Foles to be relied on to make plays. With two weeks to gameplan for the one hit wonder backup, Bill Belichick gets the last laugh.

Patriots -4
First Quarter Under 9.5
Eagles Team total under 21.5
First Half under 24

7 point Teaser
Pats+3
Under 55.5

Any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.

Plenty of bad but recently some great on the short week game for Texans

Throwback Thursdays: Texans history is so so in Thursday games

Tim Warner/Getty Images

This is a list and a few thoughts from the five Thursday Night Football games where Bill O'Brien has been the head coach for the Texans.

2014: The almost comeback for the ages - Texans lose 33-28

This game sucked early, but then almost sucked a lot less. It still sucked in the end but it had one of J.J. Watt's best plays of his career.

The Colts jumped out to an early lead thanks to a Pat McAfee onside kick and a huge T.Y. Hilton play from Andrew Luck. It was one of the signature Hilton games in his time against the Texans. The Colts would lead 24-0 at the end of the first quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Arian Foster along with some stellar defense would get the Texans back in the game but it wasn't enough.

This was the first Thursday game under Bill O'Brien and would be right in the middle of a three game losing streak coming off a bad overtime loss to the Cowboys and ahead of a Monday disaster against the Steelers.

2015: Sick Hasselbeck makes Texans fans sicker - Texans lose 27-20

I always describe this game as the one where Matt Hasselbeck was crapping his pants on the sidelines and still beat the Texans. I am not too wrong about this. He was so sick he didn't practice and yet still had enough for the Colts to beat the Texans. He was also 40 years old too by the way.

This one hurt as it was Andre Johnson's return to Houston but he was wearing a Colts uniform. He scored the opening touchdown and it was pretty much the only good game he had for the Colts that season. He also scored what would be the deciding touchdown in this one.

It also marked one of the quarterback indecision moments of Bill O'Brien's tenure. Ryan Mallett took a big hit and asked out of the game and Brian Hoyer returned to the game and played pretty well. He completed a long pass as time expired to Jaelen Strong (remember that name!?) to get the Texans their first touchdown. Trialing by seven Hoyer threw an interception in Colts territory ending the Texans comeback attempt.

2016: Brissett blows out Brock - Texans lose 27-0

This is one of the worst losses of the Bill O'Brien era. The Patriots were down to their third-string quarterback in the midst of a Tom Brady suspension and Jimmy Garoppolo's injury. Enter Jacoby Brissett and the best coach of all-time to torture Brock Osweiler and the Texans. Oh, by the way, Gronk was hurt too I think.

A field goal by New England put the first points on the board and the Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff which then moments later saw Brissett take a rush 27 yards to the house. The Texans wouldn't get on the Patriots side of the field until there was a couple of minutes left in the third quarter and they were down 20-0.

We should have all known Osweiler stunk when he couldn't score in this game, but it took me a few more weeks before I really jumped off the Brock train.

2017: The first one for the chosen one - Texans win 13-9

Tom Savage was benched and Deshaun Watson's era began. A short week after sitting behind Savage in training camp and then getting thrown to the Jaguars defense in the second half of week one didn't matter to Watson. It was the start of his coming out party.

The defense kicked ass in this game helping Watson get the first win. The big run above was the moment many of us will never forget when it comes to this Thursday night affair.

2018: Welcome Back Brock - Texans win 42-23

Ah yes, the Brock Osweiler revenge game! The Texans had won four straight after a dreadful start to the season and were coming off a physical game with Jacksonville. This was Brock Osweiler's chance for revenge on the team that jettisoned him after the 2016 season.

There would be little revenge. Credit the Dolphins, they kept the game fairly close until Deshaun Watson started cooking in the second half. Four touchdowns in the second half was quite the efficient showing on just 10 pass attempts.

It was a fun Thursday night contest especially given the Texans history on the short week under O'Brien.

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