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“Raiders Will be 3-1 Heading Into Denver Showdown; Raiders v.s. Chicago Preview”

raiders-bears-2013-story

Week 4 Preview: Oakland Raiders (2-1) @ Chicago Bears (0-3)

Sunday, October 4, 10:00 AM on CBS

Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois

I had the Raiders winning by a touchdown last week and they made me look good by holding on to a 27-20 win in Cleveland against the Browns. The gamblers had the Browns winning by 3.

Recap of Last week:

Raiders: Derek Carr had another great game and other than the Arizona Cardinals, there is no offensive line playing better than the Oakland Raiders OL. The Raiders OL was dominating with Carr at times having no one near him. The run game again flourished with teams now finally having to respect the Raiders passing game. Latavius Murray rushed for 139 yards on 26 carries and a rushing touchdown.

The Defense had a lot of good moments. In the first half the Raiders blitzed about 80% of the time, almost always sending 5 players to rush the passer on passing plays.   The Raiders dominated the first half giving up only 107 yards in passing at half time.   Unfortunately they tried to rush the passer more with only 4 players and Josh McCown of all people passed for 340 yards total. McCown was pretty much late on most passes he threw but he still brought the Browns back to a potential tying TD. He again threw late in the final drive and Charles Woodsen picked him off to preserve the win.

Chicago:   In college basketball and football they call this a “trap” game.   The Raiders play Denver next week and many times teams look ahead to a big match up and underestimate their opponent and lose. To the Bears credit, they have lost to 3 of the top teams in the NFL; Green Bay, Arizona, and Seattle in Washington. The Raiders have beaten 2 teams with a combined 2-5 record.  THE RAIDERS CAN’T LOOK PAST ANYONE!!!!

Want to know how bad things are going in Chicago? The Chicago fan base and media are already talking about who to pick #1 overall in the next NFL draft. Jay Cutler is an average NFL QB but Jimmy Clausen isn’t. The Bears had little to no chance to score last week against the Seattle defense.

Cutler might play but many doubt he’ll be rushed back. If he doesn’t play, Clausen completed 9 passes all game for 63 yards. In 10 possessions, the Bears punted every time.   Clausen is 1-10 as a starter as well.

Matt Forte is still a solid player but there are now rumors that he will be shopped around during the trade deadline. Even star WR Alshon Jeffery is now ruled out for the game Sunday.

The Raiders will win if:

DEFENSE: The Raiders defense is ranked 30th in yards per game, 30th in passing yards against and passing yards per game, and 27th in points and 19th in sacks. The Raiders played the Ravens who aren’t a juggernaut and who should be 0-4 if the Steelers had a kicker; and the Browns who are a bad football team.

On the good side, Aldon Smith played much better and it showed. Mack had a very good game with 2 sacks. With all of the blitzing, the LB’s ended up with 3 sacks and played a huge part in helping the Raiders pass rush.

Look for the DB’s to finally take a breather. The Browns have very little talent at WR, but without Jeffery the Bears have less.   Look for the small DJ Hayden fan club to at least have one good week.

OFFENSE: If the OL can continue to play lights out, look for Carr to shine again. With no pass rush to deal with an NFL QB can carve up a defense and that’s what Carr is doing. I see another 300 game from Derek.

Look for the run game to shine again like last week. I don’t see the Bears DL being any problem for the Raiders OL to handle.

The Bears will win if:

OFFENSE: The only chance they have to win the game is if Jay Cutler plays. He’s not an elite QB but he’s ok and he is their only shot. If Clausen plays, this should be a fairly easy game for the Raiders. Matt Forte will have to have an epic game as well. The x factor is talented Bears tight end Martellus Bennett. The Raiders safeties have been torched by tight ends all year and look for the Bears to try to feature Bennett who is their #1 pass catcher so far this year.

DEFENSE: The proud tradition of the Bears defense is a long and storied one. From Doug Atkins to the great Dick Butkus to the 85 Bears; it’s as good as any. To see how bad this defense is now is embarrassing.

Some will say the Bears are a top 10 passing defense but as many stats are it’s misleading.   (Liars use stats and stats almost always lie). They are rated that high because they’ve been destroyed in 2 games so their opponents just ran the ball to run out the game. They have been terrible against the run ranking 26th.

Conclusion:

Another east coast game at an early time is hard to deal with.  This is the second one of 4 this year. It’s also hard to gauge the Bears because they have had such a difficult schedule. The Raiders ended a lot of bad streaks last week against Cleveland, but in the end it wasn’t easy.

I trust gamblers but again, I’m not sure what they are seeing. Many had the Browns a 3 to 3 1/2 point favorite last week over the Raiders and I’ve seen the spread at 1-2 1/2 points being given to the Bears for this weeks game.

If Cutler doesn’t play, the Bears have little to no chance to win. Even if Cutler plays, it will be a tough game.

I see the Raiders having a good game on defense, and for Latavius Murray to have another solid if not spectacular 100 yard rushing game. Jared Allen and Jon Bostic were both traded which also limits the Bears pass rush. I see the Raiders OL handling the Bears and I feel Carr will again have all day to throw and reach the 300 yard plateau.

Look for Khalil Mack and/or Aldon Smith to continue to get better, especially with the LB’s blitzing. The Raiders linebackers had their best game in years and look for them to continue to blitz and rush the passer. The Raiders can’t call off the dogs though; they need to be aggressive throughout the game. Giving up another 340 game to the likes of Josh McCown is not a good sign. Matt Forte must be kept in check, and talented tight end Martellus Bennett has to be covered.

Final Score:

Raiders 27

Bears 13

The Bears are cleaning house and are in full rebuild mode.  This is again a must win. You can’t lose to the potential worst team in the NFL on the road. With a quality Denver Broncos team lurking ahead, the Raiders need this game. Denver has a real defense and it will be a big test for the Raiders but they can’t overlook the Bears in ANY WAY.  With that being said, I see the Raiders winning going away and the fans enjoying a fun week of trash talk.

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“I’m Going Against the “EXPERTS”. The Raiders Will Go 2-1 Sunday In Cleveland in a MUST WIN Road Game”.

OAK-vs.-CLV

Week 3 Preview: Oakland Raiders (1-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-1)

Sunday, September 27, 10:00 AM PST on CBS

FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio

It’s not a big stretch but I feel the Raiders will win their next matchup against the Cleveland Browns.  Let’s look at the game in depth to see why.

Recap of Last week:

Raiders: Oakland had their best game in years on offense with a 37-33 home victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Derek Carr had a career day. Without much fan fare the Offensive Line had their best day in years with Carr barely getting touched all game.  The OL and Carr were awful against the Bengal’s so this is a nice come back for them.

Carr is not a pure pocket passer so protecting him is a must for his success.   In the first game against the Bengal’s he was rushed. Against the Ravens he was barely touched. Since college, Carr has struggled against a pass rush.

Another must is rolling him out and throwing deep which was done to perfection by proper play calling. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree had great games and there was plenty to smile about on offense.

The Defense is another story. They have been a sieve against the pass and are last or near last in many defensive categories including yards and scoring. They are also tied for last in sacks with 0. Khalil Mack had another forgettable game with only 1 tackle and no sacks all day. The only bright spots for the defense have been the run stopping abilities of Dan Williams and Justin Tuck who are thriving playing together. Curtis Lofton was hurt early in the first game but was a tackling machine in the win against the Ravens.

Cleveland:   Cleveland also got a big win with a 28-14 romp of the Tennessee Titans in Cleveland. Johnny Manziel got lots of publicity due to his 2 touchdown passes, but he was only 8 for 15 for 172 yards and a 75% QBR. Manziel is now benched and Josh McCown will start. Neither QB is scary.

With WR Josh Gordon out for the year due to his 3rd suspension, the only real weapon the Browns offense has is WR Travis Benjamin who is also a great punt returner. He doesn’t catch a lot of passes but due to his speed, the ones that he does usually end up going a long play. The Browns running game right now is average only getting a little over 3 yards per attempt.

On defense they are better but still not world beaters. They have a good pass rush which was seen by an amazing 7 sacks last week, but the Browns run defense is ranked last in the NFL.

The Raiders will win if:

DEFENSE: The Raiders defense has been awful and only Chicago has been worse. What they need is for Khalil Mack to have a big game and Aldon Smith needs to step up and make a difference.  The run game of Cleveland isn’t scary and I think this will be a game that the Raiders defense can play well in. I don’t see the Browns offense doing much this game.

T.J. Carrie will probably be on Benjamin and in reality the rest of the WR are not that good. Due to the Raiders safety situation, watch the tight ends for Cleveland. Tight ends have had huge numbers against the Raiders in the first 2 weeks.

OFFENSE: Carr had a great game and got all the credit but in reality the OL protected him like a fortress.  If they continue to roll Carr out and throw deep; his 2 strengths; look for another good game from the young QB.

Latavius Murray will have his chance to shine. He should get 20-25 touches at RB and look for a 100 yard game and a touchdown. If the Raiders fall in love with the pass and don’t run, look for a much harder game.  With this OL, the Raiders should be able to run well.

The Browns will win if:

DEFENSE: Cleveland needs to keep Carr in the pocket. Carr has really good accuracy on the run, so they need to put pressure on him when he rolls out. They also need to get to him to stop the 5 and 7 step long passes. He’s much better in the pocket when he has great protection than fighting pass rushers which he struggles with.

Players like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers have amazing pocket awareness and footwork and can handle the rush without problems; ever since college it’s just not Carr’s talent.  Carson Palmer is having a great year but his career shows he will make bad throws if he’s pressured.  Arizona has allowed ZERO sacks and it’s not a coincidence that Palmer is having an amazing year so far.

The king of not handling a rush is Peyton Manning and he’s struggling.  Denver’s OL is playing badly and Manning’s been sacked 7 times this season already and in some years at Indy he wasn’t sacked 10 times all year.  Some QB’s can handle a pass rush and some can’t.

The Browns also need to take away the run game and make the Raiders more predictable so that they can unleash their pass rush. Cincinnati’s DL and corners played great in the first game and the Raiders had no answers.

OFFENSE: They will win if they can run the ball successfully. If they can’t run the ball then their passing game becomes predictable and their passing game isn’t very good.

McCown also needs to not be conservative and try to get the ball downfield to Benjamin. The Raiders are vulnerable against the pass and the Browns have not shown much of a passing game.

Conclusion:

It’s amazing how bad west coast teams play when traveling east and playing the early game so that is a concern. The Raiders have lost their last 11 road games and their last 19 out of 20 being the visiting team. These are mind blowing statistics of futility.

I trust gamblers. It’s uncanny how right sports books are when making point spreads and they have the Browns as a 2.5 to 3.5 point favorite. Some sports books have 70% of the gamblers taking Cleveland.

As my followers know, I’m very unbiased though and I go by what I see, and I just don’t why everyone is picking Cleveland. The Browns are awful on offense and are terrible against the run on defense.

I see the Raiders having a good game on defense, and for Latavius Murray to have a solid if not spectacular 100 yard rushing game. Look for Khalil Mack and/or Aldon Smith to get their first sacks and for Curtis Lofton to lead the linebackers to improve their game. I don’t see a 300 yard epic passing game for Carr, but I do see a solid hard fought win. The Carrie v.s. Benjamin battle will be something to watch as well. Johnny Manziel coming off the bench is a probability.

Final Score:

Raiders 23

Browns 16

This is a MUST win for the Raiders; the Browns are just not very good and road wins are at a premium. Good teams don’t lose games like these.

They have 6 tough AFC West games, along with games against the Steelers, Packers, and 3 more brutal early east coast travel games against the Bears, Lions, and Titans.   I see the Raiders going to 2-1 with a hard fought win in the Dawg Pound and then look forward to playing the Chicago Bears.