2016 – Week 5: Time to Invest in a Game

Finding Winners using situations, logic and knowledge.

2016 started off the year with a bang. The big story was, of course, New England and the return of Tom Brady in Game 5. After watching the team play and the birth and development of #10 Jimmy Garoppolo, it became apparent that New England were ready to go, with or without, Tom B. By Week 4 Garoppolo was injured and out as well as their 3rd string Jacoby Bissett who was out with a broken thumb in Week 4. Week 5 was, what we call, a situation game, with Brady’s return to football in Cleveland against the 0-4 Browns. This game was a situation where a good team will beat a bad team and a bad team cannot possibly compete with this particular good team. New England had an easy game winning 33-13 that could have been much higher. After Week 5, we were 1-0. The following week was another situational game: New England at home and Brady’s first home game for 2016 against the Bengals. Who would you bet on? Andy Dalton and Marvin Lewis or Tom Brady and Bill Belichick at home. Final score 35-17 which covered the line. Week 6: 2-0.

Two situations and 2 wins. They are not all this easy but throughout every season there are a handful of games which we call situation games. For one reason or another a particular team does not match up to their competition – a clear mismatch. This game is no longer a wager, it has become an investment waiting to happen. A perfect example was back in 2015 when the Carolina Panthers (14-0) playing the New York Giants (6-8) on December 20 in New York. Odell Beckham Jr fought with Josh Freeman throughout the game and was given a 1 game suspension in their 38-35 loss. The following week the Giants (6-9) played the Vikings in Minnesota. The Vikings (10-5) were fighting for a playoff berth and Divisional Championship. The Giants with no Odell, coming off a tough loss at home and a poor defense were destroyed 49-17. This was a very clear example of one team playing to win at any cost and the Giants merely showing up. There are similar situations every year and we find them.

Now onto Week 7. The New York Giants were playing in London against the LA Rams, who were playing with their new rookie quarterback, a soon-to-be ex-coach Jeff Fisher and a disorganized team. The Giants were nothing to brag about either. However as we mentioned in earlier postings we watch and gather information on the first 4 games of the season. In Week 5 the Giants lost in Green Bay 23-16 and rebounded the next week at home against Baltimore 27-23 where Odell had 222 yards receiving and 2 TDs. They were ripe. The Rams lost in Buffalo 30-19 and followed up with another loss in Detroit. Now the Rams face a third week straight of travel to London in Week 7. A brutal three week stretch – three flights to three different time zones does take its toll. Although, the Giants flew to Green Bay in Week 5 they were home in Week 6 and only had an easy 5 hour flight to London (compared to the Rams flight from LA). After comparing both teams the Giants had played better teams: Dallas, New Orleans, Washington, Minnesota, Green Bay and Baltimore and had flown less in the last few weeks. The one constant issue all week was Beckham’s sore hip. After being spotted the night before out in London hotspots, we went with the Giants. The game was not as close as the score indicates. This was a simple situation of identifying the better team. As it turns out, it was a messy game but the law of averages says that at the end of the game the better team should win and they did. Week 7: 3-0.

Week 8 now brings us to the middle of the season. This was an easy week as New England was playing in Buffalo and their star running back, LeSean McCoy, and others were out with injuries. No running game took Buffalo right out of the game and New England won easily 41-25 and actually covered the line by 1 point. Week 8 (mid-season) 4-0.

Next up: You can’t win all the time!!!

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