Locks and Keys: Rapid Recap
Tough week on the prediction side of things. I finished the week going 1-3-1, leaving me 3-4-1 on the season. Not exactly the start I wanted, but all hope is not lost. Early season football can be the toughest to predict, usually we don't truly know who teams are going to be until 5-ish weeks into the season.
We got our first full look at the 2019 NFL season, and we had our fair share of upsets, injuries, and potentially season defining headlines. After a tough week on the books, the next step is to factor in what we saw and apply it to the next slate of games. With that being said, let's get to it!
Prediction: Tennessee -3.5 vs BYU (Loss) This one was an unpopular pick. I was certainly in the minority thinking this Tennessee team would be better than their week one performance. Turns out majority ruled here.
After a promising three quarters, Tennessee held a double digit lead heading into the home stretch. Not looking dominant, but looking like they had a solid shot to cover the spread. For the second week in a row, the wheels fell off late for the Vols. BYU ended up cutting it to a three point lead in the 4th, and then capitalized on a blown coverage with less than a minute left to storm down the field for a last second field goal to force overtime.
Tennessee ended up losing outright by three points in double overtime. Tough break; sometimes it feels better to get blown out on the book than to lose like that. Tennessee now starts 0-2 on the season for the first time since the mid 80's. Yikes.
Prediction: Texas +6.5 vs LSU (Loss) Wow, what a game. In the most anticipated game of the week, these teams sure didn't disappoint. It was a back and forth affair that featured two teams that looked like they could be a problem down the road for a lot of elite teams.
The Longhorns looked about like I expected, playing physical on the lines, big at the WR position, and Ehlinger looking poised throughout. It was clear however that the injuries at running back may have held this team back a bit, as evidenced by failing to score on eight plays inside the eight yard line in the first quarter, squandering their chance to take a commanding lead.
The big story here was LSU QB Joe Burrow. The underwhelming leader from last year looks like a different player under the new offensive system in the bayou. He was poised, accurate, aggressive (something we definitely couldn't say about the Tiger offense last year), and he was the better quarterback in this game. He may have been helped by a few dropped interceptions and inferior CB play from the Longhorns, but nonetheless, he showed out.
This was a tough one to swallow. Midway through the 4th quarter it looked like LSU was going to win the game, but it looked like Texas should cover the spread. Down six, LSU hit big plays down the field and put the final nail in the coffin with another touchdown with under two minutes left. I understand the analytics, but the decision to go for two at that stage of the game was a back-breaker for those who had the Texas spread. LSU converted, making the lead 14, and of course Texas drove the field to score one last time, ultimately losing the game by 7 and LSU covers the spread by a half-of-a-point.
Prediction: Fresno State +3 vs Minnesota (Push) Admittedly, I didn't see this game, so this will be a shorter recap. Being a night game on the west coast, it didn't kick off until 10:30 p.m. eastern time, and I unfortunately don't get CBSSN on my basic cable subscription. However, going off of the stat sheet and game breakdowns from espn.com, it sounds like it was yet another tough break.
This is one I expected Fresno not only to cover the spread, but to win outright after an impressive performance in a losing effort Week 1 at USC. Fresno St had the lead for much of the second half, before Minnesota found a way to tie the game on a 4th down touchdown in the final minute of regulation.
After exchanging touchdowns in the 1st overtime, Minnesota struck first in 2nd overtime with a field goal, and then picked off Fresno Quarterback Jorge Reyna in the end zone to end the game 38-35. Although it goes in the books as a push, it feels a lot more like a loss after watching the highlights of all the missed opportunities.
Prediction: Miami dolphins +7 vs. Baltimore Ravens (Loss)
Yuck. I don't even want to get into the breakdown of this game, as it seems this was a loser before Baltimore ever stepped foot on the plane, so instead I'll just explain myself and go sit in the corner.
I really thought Miami would show up Sunday. With the whole country doubting them and expecting them to be atrocious, I thought they'd play with a little more of a chip on their shoulder, and keep this one close.
Their situation reminded me of the 2017 Jets when everybody thought they would go 0-16, instead finding a way to win six games on the season, mostly based on pure grit alone to make up for the lack of talent. Boy was I wrong. This team is in total disarray on both sides of the ball. I mean, they let a running back throw for 5 touchdowns for heaven sakes!
I thought they had enough defensively to slow down a Baltimore offense just enough to keep this a one score game. Turns out having enough doesn't matter when at least half a dozen players have mentally checked out on this organization...allegedly. Oh well, at leat now we know.
Prediction: 49ers +1 @ Buccaneers Remember? I told you I got one right. The 49ers dominated this game, mostly by winning the turnover battle, forcing Jameis Winston into multiple mistakes that ultimately sunk the Bucs at home. Many expected Winston to take the reigns and make a big jump this year, which really is a make-or-break year for him contractually. I'm not going to say I knew he wouldn't be improved, I drank a little bit of the Winston Kool-Aide, but I looked at the supporting cast and just didn't see enough talent on this team to beat the 49ers, regardless of the heat, and the cross country trip, and the home crowd.
However the 31-17 final score isn't far from the score I projected, how we got there was a bit of a surprise. 49ers fans should be happy with the road win, but nervous if Sunday was any indication of what's to come from their $130 million dollar man. Garoppolo threw for under 200 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs. If it wasn't for Winston's total ineptitude, this game could've easily went the other way. This game ball belongs to the 49ers defense for sure. Hopefully for 49ers fans, Garoppolo is just shaking off the rust from last years injury and he will be back to 2017 prodigal form sooner rather than later.