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by Al McMordie - 09/24/2008
<>Everyone talks about the great parts of football teams. The Broncos' new-look passing attack, QBs Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb, or coaches like Andy Reid, Mike Shanahan and Tom Coughlin. But sports bettors can also find winning ATS opportunities by going AGAINST certain things. The Arizona Cardinals, for instance, have been a lousy team on the road the last few years. With that in mind, here is a look at some truly bad things about the NFL as we just finished up Week 3.
Detroit pass defense: Some things never change. The Lions came into this season with a new defensive coordinator and a positive attitude after winning all 4 preseason games. What a joke. It just shows you how insignificant preseason is. The new-look defense was shredded for 474 yards against the Falcons in the opener, including 318 rushing to a team with a rookie QB playing in his FIRST NFL game!
Then they allowed 447 yards and 48 points to the Packers (9-of-16 on third down). They are allowing a staggering 460 yards per game. They headed all the way out to San Francisco Sunday and promptly gave up 243 first half yards while falling behind 21-3. 'That's tough,' defensive tackle Cory Redding said. 'That's a hard one to swallow.'
Against the Packers, cornerback Brian Kelly tripped and fell, leaving his man wide open for a 62-yard catch as the defense. Head coach Rod Marinelli and defensive coordinator Joe Barry are not getting the job done and donâ€™t have the personnel to work with. Thanks, general manager Matt Millen! The Lions were the worst defense in the NFL in 2007. In 2007 the Lions gave up 377.6 yards and 28.8 points a game. That average has been bumped up to 34.4 points a game in their last 10 games, nine of them losses. And this was supposed to be the year for improvement? The Lions are 0-3 straight up and against the spread.
Cleveland offense: After a sparkling 2007 season, QB Derek Anderson has found the going rough this season during an 0-3 start with 2 touchdowns, 5 picks and a 57.1 rating. They even brought in WR Donte Stallworth as a free agent, so this offense was supposed to be explosive, though Stallaworth has yet to play. So what gives?
Actually, there likely isnâ€™t anything that's wrong with the offense. The schedule has been brutal, playing the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens â€“ three talented, dominant defenses. However, there is cause for concern. Remember that in his first 10 starts in 2007, QB Anderson had 21 touchdowns passes, 10 interceptions, a 91.5 rating and a 7-3 record. In his past eight starts -- including the first three of this season -- he has 9 TDs, 13 INTs, a 64.2 rating and a 3-5 record.
Coach Romeo Crennel attributed this season's struggles to Anderson missing two weeks in the preseason with a concussion. That, and the injuries to skill players Joe Jurevicius, Braylon Edwards, Stallworth and Josh Cribbs. Also of note is that the Browns played in good weather the first half of last season, then played in poor weather conditions down the stretch. Keep in mind the Browns started 9-0-1 over the total in 2007, but since then they are 8-1 under!
Indy offense: Peyton Manning and the Colts have not gotten it going just yet. Part of the reason is Manning missed all of preseason after mid-July surgery on his left knee. Also note that the team removed the â€œstretch playâ€쳌 from the playbook early in the season to ease pressure on his knee. It requires Manning to take the snap from center, pivot and quickly dash back at an angle to the right or left to deliver the handoff to running back Joseph Addai. Instead of having Manning execute his part of the stretch play, offensive coordinator Tom Moore has had him turn and pitch the ball to the running back. The Colts have been working on it in practice, however, and you should see it returning soon. Until then, they have started 2-1 under the total.
Indy run defense: It has been brutal. The Bears ran right over the Colts' smallish defensive front in Chicago's 29-13 victory. The Bears finished with 183 yards on 39 carries, 4.7 yards per carry. Sunday, more of the same as the Jaguars ran for over 200 yards.
KC offense: When the curtain comes down on this season, the Chiefs (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS) are going to have the worst offense in the NFL. Fewest in yards, fewest in points. Probably fewest in fans, too. It doesnâ€™t help to use 4 quarterbacks in your first 3 games, or three different starters in 3 games!
A week after RB Larry Johnson complained that he believed he was being phased out of the Chiefs' plans, he rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown Sunday. But they still got blown out, a 38-14 loss at Atlanta. So the Chiefs have scored 10, 8 and 14 points in three games. They are 2-1 under the total. Paging Len Dawson! Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.