27

August

Packers Over/Under Scenarios: Touchdowns, Contracts and Kickers

Packers WR James Jones says you better take the over on his line of 11 TDs this season.

Forget the over/under odds that Vegas sets for NFL betting. I’m opening a sports book that only accepts bets involving the Green Bay Packers.

Maybe I’ll name my joint the Acme Swindling Company. Or Hand-Over-All-Your-Green-and-Gold-to Me Inc. Either way, we’re going to have a good time — win lose or draw.

Below are some over/under scenarios involving the 2013 Packers. Let me know which side you’d wager on in the comments section.

(If you want to actually wager on these odds, have your people contact my people. And you better pay up if you lose. I’m going to be a father soon and I don’t want to lose valuable time with my son because I’m busting kneecaps and trying to collect from you deadbeats.)

James Jones: 11 touchdowns
It’s always difficult to predict touchdowns from year to year. A lot of it depends on opportunity and a little bit of luck. Last season, Calvin Johnson had 2,000 receiving yards but – thanks in large part to getting tackled at the 1-yard line five times – only five touchdowns, . Injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson gave Jones an opportunity last season. He seized his larger role in the offense and broke out with 14 touchdowns. Jones’ size and strength make him a nice target in the red zone, so I’m going to say he exceeds 11 touchdowns. It’d be quite the feat to reach 14 TDs again, but you never know.

Aaron Rodgers: 4,500 yards
Rodgers needed only 15 games to exceed 4,600 passing yards in his 2011 MVP season. Last season he “dipped” to 4,300 yards in 16 games. The Packers wide receiving corp and offensive line is already banged up and the season hasn’t even started yet. There also might be a renewed emphasis on running the ball with Eddie Lacy, so I’m going to say Rodgers stays under 4,500 passing yards — but not by much.

13

October

Room for Improvement: 5 Green Bay Packers Underachieving

The Green Bay Packers are 5-0 and favored by more than 15 points in their week six matchup against the St. Louis Rams. Led by Aaron Rodgers and a ball-hawking defense, the Green and Gold machine is producing touchdowns and turnovers at a rapid pace.

Of course, a few parts of the machine could use a tuneup. Even the most finely-tuned machines need a little maintenance in order to continue operating at a high level.

As dominant as the Packers have looked, a handful of players have not quite played up to their potential, or at least to our preseason expectations. These players haven’t necessarily played bad, just not as well as they are capable of playing.

All of these players are good to great players. But in order for the Packers to repeat as champs, they’re going to have to step their games up just a little.

Josh Sitton
Sitton signed a new contract before the season and has played well, but not quite as well as we’re used to. Sitton has already matched his penalty total (three) from last season and hasn’t been erasing defenders like he has in the past. I’d still take Sitton over almost any other guard in the league, but he’s been just a little off through the first five games.

AJ Hawk
Hawk looks slow and clumsy this season. His stats are also way down. Hawk had 71 solo tackles in 2010, but only 11 through five games this season. I know it’s not Hawk’s job to run around the field and make 15 tackles every game, but he needs to be explosive when he’s in position to make a play. It always seems like he’s a step behind.

Sam Shields
Last year’s late-season darling has stumbled out of the gate in 2011. Shields has been chewed up and spit out by several receivers and has also struggled to make tackles. The second-year CB looked better against Atlanta and hopefully has put the slow start behind him.

Clay Matthews
Matthews falls into the same category as Sitton. Both of them are playing well, but not as well as they have in the past. Matthews is making plays in the run game, and starting to get more pressure on the QB, but he has only one sack. The Packers pass rush has been non-existent at times. If the Packers want to repeat as champions, Matthews will have to find a way to get to the QB and bring him down, especially when the team’s pass rush goes into hibernation mode.

6

August

Playing the Over/Under Odds on NFL Season Win Totals: Packers at 11.5

Over/Under Odds on 2011 NFL Team WinsThe MGM Grand in Las Vegas took the plunge and posted Over/Under NFL season win numbers earlier this week. the Packers open at 11.5  I always like to jump on these numbers ASAP, before Vegas makes necessary adjustments.

If you don’t like to throw your money away by trying to outsmart the oddsmakers, season win totals always make for some good discussion. Lets take a look at each team’s over/under and try to figure out a couple of strong plays.

AFC EastJets 10
Besides San Diego and New Orleans, the Jets are the only team with a double-digit total that I would feel comfortable betting the over. With the exception of both New England contests and road tests at Baltimore and Philadelphia, their schedule is filled with winnable games.

Patriots 11.5
Does New England have the pass rush to warrant betting the over? It’s a big number and not a good value bet, but betting against New England probably doesn’t have much value either. I’m staying away.

Bills 5
If Buffalo can manage to avoid starting 0-3 at Kansas City and home against Oakland and New England, they should manage to reach six wins…barley.

Dolphins 8
There’s no way you can find eight wins on the Dolphins’ schedule. Hammer the under.

AFC North

Steelers  11
If the Steelers can survive the first portion of their schedule, they end with Cincinnati, Cleveland, San Francisco, St. Louis and Cleveland. It’s still going to be tough to get to 12 wins, though. Stay away.

Ravens 11
My conservative nature says stay away, but Baltimore has a shot to win 12 games with Cincinnati on the schedule twice and non-conference games against the entire NFC West, right? But 12 is still a big number, and my conservative nature wins. Stay away.

Browns 6.5
Just when you think the Brows are cruising to seven wins and money in your pocket with an over bet, they play the Steelers and Ravens four times in the season’s final five weeks. If they can win one of those games, and beat Arizona in Week 15, they’ll go over. I’m not convinced that will happen, so I’m staying away.

Bengals 7.5
The Bengals are terrible. Hammer the under.

AFC South