White Hat Sports Headlines

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Norval, Billy and Brett

Norv Turner the Offensive mastermind
Norv Turner the Head Coach
I feel like someone should introduce these two guys to each other sometime, because at this point in his auspicious (and that's putting it nicely) career he's wilted under the pressure of wearing the nice polo on the sidelines because his success as a coordinator so far hasn't translated into head coaching greatness like Al Davis once thought (No Joke needed here). Let's look at the record.
Started as coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys of the early 90's and when Barry Switzer left, was adored so much by star quarterback Troy Aikman that he claimed Jerry Jones was screwing the team up when he hired Chan Gailey as the head coach. He went to Washington as the head coach and finished his time there 10 games under .500. He then left there for two successful stops in San Diego and Miami as offensive coordinator before taking the job as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Bad idea and he was fired after two seasons winning a combined 9 games and some how got a reprieve to be brought back to San Diego this time as the head coach and here we are. He is ready to step toe to toe with the the greatest coach in the modern era of football, Bill Belichick. If you're wondering if this is enough to bet the farm on the Patriots, stop because it is.
The great Bill Simmons has described the discrepancy the best in his Gambling Manifesto Rule NO. 4 lines one and two saying "How would you feel if they did a split screen of the two coaches and realized that you backed the one who looks like an over matched doofus?" This rule was made for this weekends game, how would you feel, looking at a three time Super Bowl winning head coach (as well as two time Super Bowl winning defensive coordinator with the Bill Parcells Giants) or Norv Turner, resume need not apply? I'd feel like Steve Bartman if I'd picked Norv. By the way, what kind of name is this? Norv? I looked it up, it's short for Norval? It kinda sounds like the kid who's mother dressed him in high school and was usually the manager of every team who ended up somehow buried in sweaty towels.
The Patriots are favored right now by 13.5 over the Norval Chargers. The line opened at 14 and moved as high as 14.5, but has now dropped down a point. Will the pats cover two touchdowns in the playoffs? I would have to say yes. I fully expect the Patriots to win this game and I'm not sure if I'd lay the point so quickly. The numbers support that they will, New England is 4-1 against the spread in the AFC Championship game and 8-3-1 against the spread in 12 home playoffs games. By the way, last week in a home playoff game against Jacksonville, New England didn't cover the 13 point spread, so that accounts for one of their three non-covers at home in the playoffs.
With injuries to Phillip Rivers, Ladainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates this San Diego team looks primed for a blow out. But many thought that was going to happen last week in Indianapolis and not only did they cover, they won the game. In the absence of Rivers Billy Volek came in and helped pull off the W. The combo of Darren Sproles and Michael Turner filled in aptly for LDT. Does this mean that they are better without their three biggest offensive starters? Of course not, the only argument can be made about Mr. Rivers. Billy Volek is famed for his short stints for the Tennessee Titans, where if you extrapolate his numbers for a full 2004 season would be one of only a handful of quarterbacks to throw for 5,000 yards in a season. The thing to remember is that in one of those games he went against the Oakland Raiders (2004 Oakland Raiders are widely considered to be one of the worst defenses of all time. By the way, their head coach? You guessed it, NORVAL.)
The final verdict, take the Patriots to cover at home.

As for the Packers, Brett Favre is a River Boat Gambler, and a favorite of John Madden and honestly I have no idea how to pick this game. I do know that as Favre goes, so do the Packers. He will decide the game either throwing 3 interception or 3 touch downs. I'm staying away from this game because the last time that a team had the point differential in the playoffs and the turn over ratio that the Giants had this regular season it was 2003 when the Carolina Panthers made the Super Bowl. (Thanks to Aaron Schatz at Footballoutsiders.com) The spread is sitting at 7 right now which is decent. Because of what I'm calling the Favre-Factor, meaning all or nothing.
If pressed I would go with the Packers win, the projected forecast for Lambeau field is 3 above zero. So the tundra will be frozen, Lambeau will be dark and Eli will be in trouble. Take the Packers, lay the points and be a River Boat gambler yourself. You hope!

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