Each week, we break down some of the underlying mismatches in the NFL, hoping to give you an inside edge when handicapping the schedule. Here are four of the biggest betting mismatches from Week 4:
New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5, 44)
Giants’ 0-3 panic vs. Andy Reid’s NFC East knowledge
When things get hot and hairy for Giants coach Tom Coughlin, he usually just goes out and wins a Super Bowl. But that seems like a tall order this year. Instead, Coughlin is playing it cool and telling the media that this weekend’s trip to Arrowhead isn’t a “must-win game”. Yeah, and Miley Cyrus is a virgin.
New York matches wits with a familiar foe in Kansas City head coach Andy Reid, who has plenty of tape on the Giants from his time in Philadelphia. Reid – AKA the Kool-Aid Man since sporting the Chiefs’ red – has already taken it to NFC East teams Dallas and Philadelphia this season. Kansas City has forced seven turnovers in those games while the Giants have coughed the ball up 14 times in three weeks. Oh Yeah!
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-3, 47)
Bears' yards allowed per completion vs. Lions’ yards after the catch
Detroit’s offense is squeezing every bit of extra yardage out of its receivers, with guys like Joique Bell, Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson tacking on gains after the catch. Burleson is out with a broken arm due to a pizza-related mishap but Bush is expected to return, giving the Lions some serious pitch-and-catch weapons in the backfield.
Chicago’s defense has done a good job creating chaos and plugging up the run, but has been vulnerable to the pass against three QBs not known for airing it out. The Bears are giving up 294.3 yards through the air per game – 24th – and is watching opponents pick up 13 yards per completion – second worst in the NFL. Top CB Charles Tillman, who will be checking Johnson, has missed time with a groin injury this week, only adding to Chicago’s issues.
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (-3.5, 39)
Jets’ careless play vs. Titans’ flawless football
Even with Mark “Butt Fumble” Sanchez out of action, the Jets haven’t been able to avoid the comedy of errors. New York has turned the ball over eight times this year – six INTs, two lost fumbles – and hasn’t been able to erase those mistakes by forcing turnovers on the other side of the ball. The J-E-T-S have one INT and have been able to scoop up only one of their five forced fumbles.
Tennessee has a clean sheet in the turnovers category so far this year, even though they have put the ball on the ground twice. Quarterback Jake Locker is brimming with confidence after his best career showing in last week’s win over San Diego and RB Chris Johnson is as sure-handed as ever, having fumbled just 15 times on 1,532 career carries. The Titans have also been able to snatch away the football, with three INTs and two fumble recoveries.
Philadelphia Eagles at Denver Broncos (-10.5, 57.5)
Eagles’ tired legs vs. Broncos' thin-air, no-huddle attack
Chip Kelly has gassed his team in the first three weeks of the season. The Eagles, running under a new up-tempo offense, played a frantic opening schedule with three games in 11 days, and looked tired and clumsy in a five-turnover loss to Kansas City last Thursday. Sure, Philadelphia has had nine days off to recharge the batteries but will find itself running on fumes quite quickly against its Week 4 opponent.
If dealing with Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ no-huddle attack wasn’t bad enough – 71 plays per game – opponents coming to Sports Authority Field at Mile High have to do so in the thin mountain air. To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Face it. It’s Science”. Philadelphia’s defense buckled in the crunch versus K.C. and was on the field for more than 39 minutes. The Chiefs run a pretty conservative attack compared to Denver, which averages a league-best 0.596 points per play.