It was a week of extremes in the NFL as every team’s 2019 sample size doubled.
Some samples grew for the better, others didn’t help their cause with a second straight poor performance making some wonder if their season is done while any Halloween decorations are still highly unnecessary.
Week 2 was also a brutal week for some of the big name quarterbacks with bettors, fans and fantasy owners stressing the status of Drew Brees’s right thumb, Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow and .
Since Week 2 is the perfect week for jumping to conclusions, we are going to do exactly that today & give you our 5 Lessons Learned a day early.
1 – Underwhelming, Upsetting Thursdays
Despite these Thursday night games featuring largely sloppy play between two teams that either know each other way too well or haven’t had the time to appropriately prepare for an unfamiliar opponent, it looks like we’re stuck with these games.
What has stood out over the first two weeks, is that in a statistical oddity, the road underdog has won both TNF games in 2019 with an average of 23.5 points per game.
Will that trend continue this coming week?
Well it’s the Jaguars hosting the Titans so automatically the under looks like a good play (unless it winds up at 30 or something ridiculously low) and in all honesty, Gardner Minshew hasn’t looked as bad as his name might suggest so there would be worse plays to take here.
2 – QB Injuries Change Even the Best of Plans
The NFL is a brutal game and injuries are inevitable, you just hope that the guys who do get injured aren’t too important.
On every team there is no player more important than the quarterback, every team wants a good one and in Week 2, we saw what losing a good signal caller can do to both teams.
In the early window, Ben Roethlisberger had to leave the Steelers game with an elbow injury and his backup Mason Rudolph (who seems to see some fill in duty every season), couldn’t get them past the Seahawks.
Then in the feature game in the late window, we saw Drew Brees whack his hand on Aaron Donald’s and he had to exit the game with an injury as well.
Even with one of the league’s better backups in Teddy Bridgewater, it still is a dropoff for the Saints to deal with.
If that wasn’t enough damage to the quarterback fraternity, in the primetime game, Carson Wentz sent scares through Philadelphia after taking a couple of big hits to the ribs.
To top it all off, Sam Darnold is out for the Browns game and possibly the next couple of weeks with mono.
While there’s not much you can do in game when a QB goes down, it does mean that if a guy like Brees has to miss a game or two with injury, it massively changes how you approach betting on that team.
For the Saints next week against Seattle, even with Brees you’d consider backing against the Saints and pounding the under, now… well even more so.
3 – The Really, Really Good & The Really, Really Bad
Sometimes you have to own up to when you misread a scenario and last week we did just that.
There was no way the Dolphins could be anywhere near as bad as they were against the Ravens and the Patriots tend to struggle in Miami…
But as it turns out the Dolphins are just a genuinely awful team and should be backed against until they give us a good reason not to.
In fact going forward, the first play you should look for is “back whoever is playing Miami” because they have the look of a team that has given up, which normally comes about Christmas.
4 – 49ers Get Rolling
We can accept that beating the Buccaneers or Bengals isn’t really an achievement at the moment but beating both of them away from home in back to back weeks is.
The 49ers, the public team of 2018 have actually looked like a decent side that might be able to compete week in, week out in 2019.
This week they crushed the Bengals 41-17, running away with the game after the scores were level early at 7-7.
Things could get even better next week as a potentially Big-Ben-less Pittsburgh side comes to Levi’s Stadium for their home opener and give them their best chance at a 3-0 start in a very long time.
5 – Great Week for the Unders
Maybe it’s a by product of starters playing next to no snaps in preseason but this was a bad week if you’re an overs punter.
There was plenty of… defensively dominated games if you want to be positive (or sloppy play if you don’t want to be all sunshine & rainbows).
With Cleveland and the Jets still to play, just 3 games managed to clear the total points lines in a week which saw some of the usually good overs plays fail to come through.
The high-flying Chiefs got shut out in the first quarter then put up 28 in the second, putting that game well on track to go over 53.5, then both defences proceeded to pitch shutouts.
Of course that shouldn’t put you off backing the Chiefs to score plenty of points as the season goes on, Patrick Mahomes is still producing at a historic pace so they should continue to be a worthwhile overs bet.