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Monday, August 22, 2011

NFL Preseason Predictions: August 26, 2011

For latest odds check out one of my trusted sportsbooks - 5 Dimes, Bodog or Intertops.

UPDATE #2: The line in the GB/IND game is moving back up to -8.5/-9 after a short dip to -8.  Seems like the Kerry Collins hype was short-lived.

Friday night features a couple of teams that have been all-star fade material up until this point and bookmakers haven't done enough to make us think twice heading into week 3.     

Green Bay Packers vs Indianapolis Colts: GB -9
The bookmakers could probably ask us to lay 20 points and I would still roll with the Packers in this game. If Peyton Manning was playing, I would likely take a pass and watch as a fan. But with him on the sidelines until the regular season, facing the Colts has been the biggest no-brainer of the preseason.  I'm not sure how much analysis is required here because even after IND got severely outplayed against WSH, team GM Chris Polian said, "If they start giving out trophies and people's jobs depend on preseason we'd have to re-evaluate our approach at that point," "But it doesn't count."  Jim Caldwell may try to save face and act upset, but in reality this organization could care less what the final score is.  Caldwell is 0-2 in week 3 games, 2-4 ATS at home, 1-9 straight up, and 2-7 as an underdog. When given the opportunity to play for pride and rebound at home against WSH, they got outscored 415-150 in total yardage, 215-55 in rushing, 22-8 in 1st downs, and 36:29-23:31 in time of possession.  Could IND come out with more effort in week 3?  Possibly, but it's very unlikely it will be enough to cover the spread. 

Things couldn't be more different for GB.  The team doesn't have a lot of free agents or young guys to acclimate into the system, but they continue to go out and put up points on the board.  The O-line will focus on keeping Rodgers upright on Friday, but outside of that it's business as usual.  The trio of Rodgers, Flynn, and Harrell have been outstanding as the three have combined for 619 yards and 5 TDs.  Ryan Grant is also running strong coming off his season-ending knee injury.  Look for Dom Capers to give Painter and Orlosky all they can handle as GB cruise to another win.   Prediction: Bank GB -9.

St Louis Rams vs Kansas City Chiefs: STL -2

This game opened at a pick em, but it's quickly been bet up to -2 and -2.5 at some places. I would try to grab anything less than -3.

There's a good reason why STL is seeing the early money.  They are 4-0 ATS on the road under Spagnuolo, 2-0 in week 3, and 8-2 straight up.  Yes the offense was less than perfect against TEN and Steven Jackson had very few holes to run through, but coach Spags said the offense "relaxed a bit" after their 83 yard touchdown to open the game.  TEN gashed them for big runs in the cut-back lanes, but they've made it a priority to improve their tackling and maintain their gap integrity for Friday's regular season tune-up. UPDATE: The Rams have pumped in crowd noise during practice to prepare for the noise at Arrowhead.  This should give you an idea at how coach Spags is approaching this game.  Bradford also expects to play three full quarters. STL is still a team on the rise with a quarterback excited to take this team to the next level. 

The chance to improve couldn't have come at a better time.  Under Haley, KC is 1-9 straight up, 0-2 in week 3, 0-4-1 ATS at home, and 0-7 as an underdog.  Give them credit for improving their compete level against BAL, but the backups are so far behind the 8-ball that it wasn't really a contest in the 4th quarter.  The defense continues to be two steps behind the offense in practice, and Haley is still preaching fundamentals and getting ready for week 1 of the season. UPDATE: Jamaal Charles tweaked his leg in practice, so I won't be surprised if Haley plays him conservatively on Friday.  Tyler Palko played better, but he's still Tyler Palko.  If KC wasn't playing an up and coming team I'd have reason to pause, but there is nothing to indicate the result will be any different for a 3rd consecutive week.  Fade the Chiefs until further notice.  Prediction: Bank STL -2
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