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Play, action or pass recap: What we learned in Week 17

Marcus Mariota and the Titans slipped into the playoffs. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

As we discussed last week, you shouldn't look too much into the results of some of the games in Week 17, but the final weekend does give us a chance to sharpen our power rankings on teams advancing to the postseason. What did we learn from some of last week's performances?

FALCONS 22 PANTHERS 10

In a game that had implications for both teams, Cam Newton came up short in an abysmal performance. Many are saying that Cam looked unconcerned during the contest, but I see it the opposite. Cam was entirely into the game, and you can see that on his Quarterback runs and his reactions after them. What affected him was the inability of his wide receivers to create separation in addition to the horrible performance from Greg Olsen. On numerous plays, the two seemed to be on different beats with Olsen running completely different routes and dropping multiple passes. The Panthers have run an unconventional offense the entire year with a playbook that doesn't require a true #1 wide receiver. While it did work the first time around, when playing divisional foes in the yearly rematch, the Panthers only averaged 17.7 points and 260.7 yards a game. Are the adjustments from their opponents in their second meetings a mold of how to stop the unorthodox attack of the Panthers? If so, what does it say when a team sees the scheme for the third time this year? The Saints held Carolina to an average of 17 points in their two encounters this season.

BUCCANEERS 31 SAINTS 24

In a "need" game for the Saints, they failed to win outright as a 7 point road favorite. New Orleans was very fortunate the Panthers lost to the Falcons. Otherwise, they wouldn't be playing at home this weekend. The Saints managed to lose the game with a +2 turnover margin. When you look at the boxscore, and the final stats for the Saints offensive stars Alvin Kamara (9/44/1) and Mark Ingram (13/35), you see modest numbers compared to what we have been accustomed to the entire season. The reason behind these low totals has to be accredited to Tampa Bay's ability to convert on third down where they were 12 for 14, ultimately keeping the ball away from the Saints offense.

TITANS 15 JAGUARS 10

Doug Marrone's decision to play Blake Bortles and the rest of the starters has to be the worst coaching decision of the season. Bortles limped off in the second quarter after a low hit but surprisingly was put back into a meaningless game. Many would use the "gaining postseason momentum" theory, and if that's the case, then the Jaguars achieved the contrary. Bortles finished with a 33.7 QB rating while going 15-34, with a shameful 158 yards and two picks. On the Titans side, we saw what we have been watching all year, a putrid offense that only netted 232 total yards. Tennesse will be a team we look to take advantage of in the playoffs.

BENGALS 31 RAVENS 27

The Bengals looked like the inspired team as  Baltimore had five drops in the first half. The Ravens failed to hold the late lead, and Andy Dalton's late-game heroics punched a ticket for Buffalo's first postseason since appearance since 1999.

VIKINGS 23 BEARS 10

The Vikings finished 6-2 ATS at home while finishing +7.9 in ATS +/- in those contest.

CARDINALS 26 SEAHAWKS 24

Arizona's defense played inspired for Bruce Arian's farewell, allowing Seattle only 13 first downs in a must-win game for the Seahawks.

CHARGERS 30 RAIDERS 10

Not much to be said, the Raiders are the Raiders.

Inside The numbers

Based on the odds of -110 (11/10) for a straight football wager, a handicapper needs to be right 52.38% to break even. If you can manage to exceed that figure, you have beat the book, something many fail to do over a large sample size.

For example, If you make ten wagers to win $100 (risking $110 to win $100) and win 6 out of 10, you won $600. Take out the losses at -110 odds you subtract -$440. So you profited $160.

Let's say you make the same wagers and spilt, five wins and five losses. Now you won $500, but you lost $550 after the -110 odds. Going even ultimately cost you a -$50 result. The one game difference holds a value of +/- $210.

The smallest of percents are critical to your final net gain and losses.

Play Action or Pass went 3-5 in Week 17 bringing the final regular season number to 48-38-2 (55.81%)

Patriots -15    WIN
Raiders+8     LOSS
Packers+7     LOSS
Redskins -3     LOSS
Panthers+4    LOSS
49ers Moneyline   WIn
Teasers 7 point
Panthers+11/ Patriots-8  LOSS
Teasers 10 point
Patriots-5/Vikings-1/Saints-Bucs over 40  WIN

Favorites finished 2017 with a 132-110-9 ATS record.
Home Teams 126-116-9 ATS
Over/ Under 118-133-5 ATS
72 of 110 underdogs won their games outright this season 65%

Best teams ATS in 2017

Vikings    11-5
Patriots   11-6
Chiefs     10-6
Eagles     10-6
Bills      9-6-1
Jets       9-6-1

Final Regular Season Power Rankings
Patriots
Steelers
Vikings
Saints
Rams

Super Bowl Odds
New England Patriots    +210
Minnesota Vikings    +375
Pittsburgh Steelers    +525
New Orleans Saints    +750
Los Angeles Rams    +900
Philadelphia Eagles    +1200
Kansas City Chiefs    +1800
Jacksonville Jaguars    +2200
Carolina Panthers    +2500
Atlanta Falcons    +2500
Tennessee Titans    +7500
Buffalo Bills    +7500

For any question or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter
 

 




 

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Texans vs. Vikings could have fans in attendance. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Houston Texans say it's time that fans were allowed to cheer on the home team at NRG Stadium. On Thursday, the team announced extensive safety protocols that would put 15,000 fans in the stands for the Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 4.

While the Texans are awaiting permission from city and county officials to host a limited number of fans - socially distant and wearing masks – no plans have been announced how much tickets will cost, and who'll have the opportunity to buy them.

You have to love the free enterprise system: hundreds of tickets for the Oct. 4 game already are on sale on secondary market websites. Lower bowl tickets are going for $800 and up. If you don't mind sitting in the nose bleeds, tickets can be had for around $250.

So the question becomes, if you had the chance, would you attend the Texans game in early October? The tickets are big bucks, and there is a whammy – COVID-19. While the rate of COVID-19 infections is on the decline in Houston, the virus remains a major factor in our daily lives, and there's no guarantee that the pandemic won't spike here again.

Here's the rub, at least for me. Of all the sports we have in Houston, a Texans game might be lowest on my wish list of attending in person. Television does NFL games the best. There are dozens of cameras, so when a receiver catches a pass on the sidelines, we get several views, in slow motion even, to see if the receiver's feet were in bounds. We can almost feel the crunch of a quarterback sack. We get highlights of other games. You don't have to sit next to a face painter like David Puddy.

The NFL is a made-for-TV production. Which is, I suspect, part of the reason the Texans rarely open the roof at NRG Stadium. With the roof closed, the field becomes a controlled TV studio, with no worries of weather pranks.

Television doesn't do basketball or baseball nearly as well. Conversely, the experience of attending those games is terrific fun. What beats eating a couple of dogs at an Astros game? Is there even a traditional food at NFL or NBA games?

The Texans promise that strict safety rules will be enforced. And I believe them. Fans will be scattered over the 67,000-seat stadium. I'm not sure how much of a home field advantage that will be. Most of the crowd noise will come from pre-recorded tapes.

Here's one worry. Sure fans will sit apart and socially distanced. But what will happen when the game is over? Will fans file out in orderly, non-contagious single file? I flew Southwest a few weeks ago. The airline makes a big deal – we don't sell the middle seat. Passengers kept their distance during the flight. When the landed, you know how it is, everybody got up and piled into the aisle, shoulder to shoulder for several minutes.

What will happen if some goofball takes off his/her mask during the Texans game? Will there be enough security to handle each case?

Baseball is planning to have some fans attend post-season games at Minute Maid Park next month. UH Cougars, the Dynamo and Dash are playing in front of small crowds. It remains to be seen how safe – or how risky – allowing fans at sports events will be.

Will parents let their kids attend? Is waiting for a vaccine the smart play? If President Trump is right, that could be only a matter of weeks away. If scientists and doctors are right, nestle in for pandemic life another year. Even if scientists do come up with a vaccine, how many Americans will roll up their sleeve? Some believe, in the case of COVID-19, the cure may be worse than the disease. Not me, the moment Dr. Fauci says the vaccine is safe and effective, I'm sprinting to CVS.

The thinnest of silver linings, if ever there was a year worth sitting out, 2020 has been it for Houston sports fans. The Astros are scratching to stay above .500 (their present position), Jose Altuve hasn't had an extra base hit or RBI in almost a month, and Justin Verlander is throwing bullpens on his way to recovery. The Rockets are searching for a new coach, and possibly another team willing to take Russell Westbrook in a trade. The Texans season could go either way, we'll know if a few short weeks.

Why the rush to fill stadiums? The NBA is thriving in a bubble. Why not baseball and football? There's a fine line between safe and sorry.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo already has safety plans for next year, including masks and distancing. That will be interesting. Good luck controlling crowds pushing and shoving for corn dogs and funnel cakes.

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