*This is the transcript of our Handicapping group wager chat for this particular game. Taking it as it is, so forgive any typos, etc. It’s just casual opinions shared. Also we may veer way off topic, but that’s half the fun of it.
— The team is back, The Impractical Gamblers, Season Two : Katz, Rabbitt, Skolman (defending champion), Savage and RC. Enjoy!… —
Katz: Welcome to the 2017 season Handicapping group! I’m going to be handling the weekly game discussions this season for RC. We’ll discuss a handful of games each week, just like last season. I will try and pick ones with the most intrigue.
We’re just nine days away from opening kickoff so why not get started with the first game of the season. We have the defending champions taking on an FFM favorite in the perennially underrated Chiefs. The Patriots added Burkhead, Gillislee, and Cooks, but lost Edelman. The Chiefs added Hunt, but lost Ware. What say we?
Rabbitt: My first thought on this is 8 points seems like an awful lot on a defense that good. My second thought is never bet against the pats.
RC: That whole ‘when Andy Reid has two weeks to prepare’ thing…what if he has 24 weeks?
Katz: Remember last year when Bill Belichick had 24 weeks to prepare to face the team that was win away from the Super Bowl the previous year? And he had Jimmy Garoppolo? And he was on the road? How’d that work out?
RC: Don’t forget the Chiefs now have Reggie Ragland…one time top 10 prospect for the entire football community heading into the NFL Draft. The Bills basically cut him to the Chiefs a year later. Much later in the 2016 NFL Draft, some guy that didn’t go to Alabama was drafted…Jatavis Brown.
Side question: Why am I 105% sure Belichick will takeaway Tyreek Hill in this game, as he is want to do, and my entire audience will turn on me with impunity.
Savage: Can’t wait to see these offenses work after all the offseason changes and the two preseason injuries. Even though both teams have had a ton of turnover, I have a lot more faith in the Patriots to get things figured out. 3 straight years the Chiefs have started slow and then caught their stride around week 6 or 7 when the offense “gelled”. This year they face a handful of tough defenses early and will be working unproven guys into larger roles on offense. I’d expect that slow start, strong finish trend to continue. Assuming Belichick takes Tyreek away, and I think he will, I don’t trust Conley and Hunt to make enough plays in this game to keep things close. And if the Patriots are as good as they look paper, this is the type of spot where they make a strong opening statement with a blowout.
Katz: This is one of those games where, on first glance, 8 seems like too many. But when you think about it further, would it really be that surprising to see the Patriots win by 10-14? It’s what they do. The game will be close for a bit and then the Patriots will pull away. My general rule of thumb with underdogs is I don’t like to take an underdog I don’t think has a chance at winning. I don’t think the Chiefs have a chance at winning this game. For that reason, I’m sticking with Bill.
RC: I bet the Pats try to focus on Tyreek, KC exploits early with a Conley score and it’s a 14-10, 17-14 game early…and then the Pats start wearing them down…and then KC goes double heavy Tyreek to get back in it.
Looking at history between the two is meaningless with a Tyreek led offense and a Cooks-Hogan no-Edel, Gronk healthy, 4 RB rotation led offense.
I can’t help but see NE has a better QB, group of WRs, NOW group of RBs, O-Line, D-Line, Linebackers, and DBs…and coach…and scouts…and practice squad…and accounting department…and playing at home. I don’t see a spot where KC is clearly better than NE. NE wins, but can they cover? I have a feeling they will get a double-digit win in the end. I know they are winning so I’ll bet it’s by enough. I can’t make a strong case for KC to win this game…unless Tyreek has 20+ touches, seriously…via carry, pass, and returns.
Skolman: Happy to be renewed for season 2! I just got back to my hotel after watching Holy Cross-UConn…easing into the season with some low level live football.
I’d like to play devils advocate with the Chiefs here…but I can’t. Any outcome is always possible but we are looking for the best chance to win 100 vs lose 110 and that is with the Pats at home after raising the banner. I think the Edelman injury sharpens the focus of the offense. Let do this for Julian!
The Chiefs are a popular pick to underperform this year and I think the drop off from Ware to Hunt is bigger (potentially a lot bigger) than the next man up narrative that is being pushed. Even if T. Hill gets our FF teams off to a great start, I still think this is a cover. Pats 38-17.
Rabbitt: I think what it comes down to is there is no way I’m willing to plunk real money down on this, even though it’s the opener. 8 points is just a lot. If I am backed into a corner, I’m going to take the Pats. They are simply better, but there are plenty of ways it can be “all pats” and still not cover.
RC: I won’t bet this game, for one. I’ll pick NE but I respect the Chiefs too much. I worry about the hysteria on the Pats driving a 3-4-5 point line to 8-9-10. I worry Tyreek Hill could single handedly win this game because I don’t care what BB does…it only takes on moment for Hill/ You can’t double him all the time. You can’t contain him if KC keeps shoving him the ball. Only Andy Reid can stop Tyreek. I bet Tyreek returns kicks in this specific game and not many others.
I know the Pats are the better team top to bottom but hard to lay -8.0 to a good football team like KC with 6 mos. to prepare.
The best thing that could happen to KC to win this game – A Smith gets twisted ankle and Mahomes comes in and NE is not prepared and Mahomes is ice water in veins. Patriots probably could write a book on what Alex Smith will do.
Savage: A little off topic, but I was listening to the GM Street podcast with Mike Lombardi yesterday and he listed off his top 5 coaches, in no particular order. The 2 coaches in this game were on the list, along with Tomlin, Carroll, and one Michael John McCarthy. There are two things I find amazing about this. First – other than Belichick, each of these coaches has at least one major flaw, if not several. Two – its hard to make the case that this top 5 list should be any different. What do you guys think? Anyone have a different top 5 nominee? Does RC want to put McDermott in the top 5 before he coaches his 1st game? I know these lists are meaningless, but it seems like we’re always discussing the quality of the coaches when we handicap these games.
Katz: I was going through the list of good coaches with my friends a couple weeks ago. And we concluded that there are only like 6-8 good coaches in the league. And I don’t mean that the other coaches are okay. I mean the other coaches, for the most part (and excluding rookie coaches) are so horrendous at what they do that they all should never get jobs again. Basically about half of the current crop of head coaches are downright awful. I also do not know a single person who thinks Mike McCarthy is a good coach. Not one. I have multiple friends who are Packers fans and they all think McCarthy is one of the worst coaches in the league and has been for years. It takes a truly special kind of stupid to think McCarthy is a good coach. It’s one of those things that if I hear a person say it, I immediately dismiss anything they ever say about football ever because you can’t possibly have anything useful to say if you think McCarthy is good at his job. It’s kind of like how I couldn’t tell you one think Ron Jaworski thinks because I view him to be the most idiotic and unintelligent QB mind in the history of QB analysts. He once said Joe Flacco was the best QB in the NFL. I have no idea what he has said since because it does not matter. And I feel the same way about anyone who would say McCarthy is a good coach.
Savage: Hahaha Katz coming in hot! You might be surprised how many people in Packer country are McCarthy defenders/apologists. Some of them (like Lombardi) I’d even consider smart football people. I don’t need to rehash all the many reasons why he’s bad. The point Lombardi made is that he’s constantly dealing with young players and roster turnover due to their unwillingness to sign or retain veterans. That certainly doesn’t excuse all the in-game stuff and overall strategy he gets wrong, but I do think he (or his staff) deserves some credit for player development. That said, I’d have John Harbaugh in my top 5.
RC: Belichick with ‘no brady’, probably figures out how to dominate. McCarthy with ‘no Rodgers’ is an assistant manager at my local tire store.
Rabbitt: Nope, Mccarthy would be fired for accidentally strangling the customers.
RC: Oh, about my boss, I mean the coach of the Bills Sean McDermott. I’m not sure if he can coach…I just love the way he is dealing with personnel. Stone Cold Sean McDermott is breaking every accepted norm in polite football society. Whether he can coach these guys into anything, we’ll see. Trading Sammy Watkins and Reggie Ragland is a kick in the nuts to Mike Mayock and Todd McShay, and the 99.9% who follow everything they believe about players.
My top 5 would be…
And then I don’t know. A big drop-off.
4) Sean McVay strikes me as a real coach
5) I want to see this year with Quinn and McCoy/NYG.
Jim Harbaugh would be #3.
I still believe Chip Kelly could be a great coach if you keep him from the GM room. Let me pick his players for him.
The dude that went from W Michigan to Minnesota will be ‘the next’ one to watch.
Savage: McCarthy is too interested in establishing the run to work at a place that advocates superior modes of transportation.
I assume you meant McAdoo on #5? To me, he’s a McCarthy clone who was propped up last year by a good defense and OBJ. And even with that, they really only played like an 8 or 9 win team.
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