Tuesday’s Den: Notes, trends for AFC teams…….

Baltimore Ravens
— Won Super Bowl in 2012; since then, they’re 2-4 SU in playoffs.
— Last three years, they’re 9-0-1 ATS as an underdog.
— Harbaugh is 13-9-1 ATS as a road favorite in division games, 24-29-1 out of division.
— 5-1 ATS in last six series openers.

Buffalo Bills
— Last two years, they’re 3-2 in playoffs; previous 18 years, they were 0-2.
— Last four years, they’re 9-0-1 ATS as an underdog of 3 or less points.
— Under McDermott, Bills are 24-14-2 ATS on the road.
— Last two years, over is 10-4-2 in their road games.

Cincinnati Bengals
— Last year was first time they won a playoff game on the road. Ever.
— Bengals were even in turnovers LY; previous two years, they were minus-21.
— Last two years, they’re 6-3-2 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last seven years, they’re 13-7-1 ATS in AFC North road games (2-0 as road favorite)

Cleveland Browns
— Last 20 years, they’re 1-2 in playoff games; Baker Mayfield was QB for the win.
— Under Stefanski, they’re 7-12-4 ATS as a favorite.
— Last three years, they’re 7-14-2 ATS coming off a loss.
— Last ten years, Browns are 10-19-1 ATS in AFC North home games.

Denver Broncos
— Denver hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2015.
— In his 10-year career, Russell Wilson is 9-7 in playoff games.
— Last five years, Broncos are 6-12-2 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last five years, Denver is 4-10-1 ATS in AFC West road games.

Houston Texans
— Last two years, they’re 8-25 SU; Smith is their third HC in three years.
— Last three years, Texans are 2-8 ATS as a home favorite.
— Since 2016, they’re 1-5-2 ATS as a road favorite.
— Smith went 89-87 as head coach of the Bears (3-3 in playoff games)

Indianapolis Colts
— Ryan will be the Colts’ 6th different starting QB the last six years.
— Last seven years, they’re 1-2 in playoff games.
— Last two years, Colts are +24 in turnovers; they were 9-8 LY with a +14 ratio.
— Last five years, they’re 14-3-1 ATS as a favorite of 3 or less points.

Jacksonville Jaguars
— Last four years, Jags are 15-50 SU; Pederson is their 3rd coach in three years.
— Last three years, they’re 8-15 ATS in Jacksonville.
— Last four years, they’re 3-7-2 ATS in AFC South road games.
— Pederson went 42-37-1 coaching the Eagles, and won a Super Bowl.

Kansas City Chiefs
— Mahomes is 50-13 SU in regular season, 8-3 in playoffs.
— In the 16 years before Mahomes, KC was 1-7 in playoff games.
— Last six years, they’re 13-5 ATS as an underdog.
— Under Reid, Chiefs are 43-26-1 ATS on the road.

Las Vegas Raiders
— Since losing Super Bowl in 2002, Raiders are 0-2 in playoff games.
— Last two years, Raiders are 18-15 SU, despite minus-20 turnover ratio.
— Last five years, they’re 2-7-1 ATS as a road favorite.
— In two years in Las Vegas, over is 11-5-1 in Raider home games.

Los Angeles Chargers
— Chargers made playoffs twice in the last 12 years.
— Last seven years, they’re 12-8-1 ATS in AFC West road games.
— Last 10 years, they’re 22-34-5 ATS in games with spread of 3 or less.
— Last 20 years, their starting QB’s: Brees-Rivers-Herbert. Pretty good QB’s (5-7 in playoffs)

Miami Dolphins
— Last 20 years, Miami is 0-1 in playoff games (game was in 2008)
— Last two years, Dolphins are 19-14 SU, missed playoffs both times.
— Last three years, they’re 20-14 ATS as an underdog.
— Last four years, they’re 11-6-1 ATS as a favorite.
— Week 17 last two years: lost 56-26 at Buffalo/lost 34-3 at Tennessee.

New England Patriots
— 17-16 SU in two years since Brady left town.
— Last seven years, they’re 31-17-3 ATS as a home favorite.
— Last 10 years, they’re 34-16-1 ATS in non-divisional home games.
— Last eight years, under is 35-19-1 in their road games.

New Jersey Jets
— Haven’t made playoffs since 2010, when Rex Ryan was coach.
— Last six years, they’re 27-70 SU (39-54-4 ATS)
— Last five years, Jets are 0-4 ATS as a road favorite.
— Last four years, they’re 2-10 ATS in AFC East home games. 

Pittsburgh Steelers
— Last four years, Steelers are 0-2 in playoff games (previous 16 years- 15-8).
— Last four years, they’re 4-0 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last six years, they’re 20-13 ATS in games with spread of 3 or fewer points.
— Last three years, they’re 7-2 ATS in AFC North home games.

Tennessee Titans
— Last two years went 23-10 SU, but were 0-2 in playoffs, both at home.
— Last five years, they’re 9-3 ATS as a home underdog.
— Last three years, over is 17-7 in their road games.
— Last five years, they’re 18-12 ATS in AFC South games. 

Monday’s Den: Baseball thoughts at the All-Star break

13) I’m still amazed that the pitching coach of the Minnesota Twins was making $350,000, so he quit and became the pitching coach at LSU, where he now makes $750,000.

13 pitchers on a team that has 26 players on it; pithing coach is basically the manager for half the team, and he makes half what the minimum wage is for a player ($700,000)? Wow. 

12) Can we just give Baltimore skipper Brandon Hyde Manager of the Year right now? Last year, Orioles were 52-110, a dreadful team. This year, they head to the All-Star break 46-46.

Part of the improvement goes to management, which made left/left-center in Camden Yards way bigger, which has to have helped their pitchers’ confidence.

11) Further evidence of the excellent job Hyde is doing:

Baltimore’s total payroll for 2022: $32,918,626
Max Scherzer’s salary for 2022: $43,333,333

10) All five teams in the American League East are .500 or better; last time a division had all of its teams at .500 or better on July 17? Back in 2005, the National League East. 

9) Freddie Freeman heads into the All-Star break 16 for his last 24; he is probably sad not to play again until Thursday.

8) Red Sox P Chris Sale has been on the injured list seven times since 2018; he is headed for trip #8. A line drive broke the pinky on Sale’s pitching hand Sunday- it didn’t look good. 

7) Apparently the business of baseball is doing well:
— Aaron Judge turned down a contract $31M a year.
— Juan Soto turned down a 15-year, $440M deal

Agents for both players obviously think their client will wind up making more $$$. 

6) Since June 28, Los Angeles Angels are 3-0 when Shohei Ohtani pitches, 0-13 when anyone else is the starting pitcher. 

5) Texas Rangers’ SS Corey Seager has a .976 OPS in his home games, which is really good; his OPS on the road is .634, which is terrible. Weird thing is that Texas has a pitchers’ ballpark, so you figure he would hit better on the road.

OPS is on-base %age plus slugging %age. 

4) Boston Red Sox are 12-26 against their division rivals, 36-19 against everyone else. Boston has fallen out of the playoff picture; they’re still really close, but they need to pick it up against their AL East rivals.

3) Philadelphia Phillies are 27-14 since they changed managers, 11-8 since Bryce Harper broke his hand. 

2) Colorado is 28-22 at home, 15-27 on the road; do opposing teams struggle playing in Denver, and if so, why? Rockies haven’t gotten much from newly-signed Kris Bryant until recently; will they be a better team after the All-Star break?  

1) Trade deadline is August 2nd; with 12 teams making the playoffs now, will be interesting to see which teams sell off players for prospects and which teams try to fortify their roster. 

Thursday’s Den: Notes on NFC teams

Arizona Cardinals
— Last three years, they’re 18-8 ATS as an underdog.
— Last three years, they’re 18-7 ATS on the road.
— Last two years, they’re 5-11 ATS at home.
— #1 in $$ spent on their offensive; #17 at QB. When will they pay Murray?

Atlanta Falcons
— 7-2 LY in games decided by 8 or less points; 0-8 in games decided by 9+ points.
— Last three years, they’re 5-10 ATS as a favorite.
— Averaged 2.2 yards/rush on 3rd down LY; NFL average was 4.5.
— 31st in NFL in $$$ spent on QB’s salary.

Carolina Panthers
— Averaged 4.9 yards/pass attempt on 3rd down LY; NFL average was 7.2.
— 2-6 last year in games decided by 8 or less points.
— Last two years, they’re 4-8 ATS as a favorite.
— Since 2019, they’re 6-18 at home; 4-9 as favorite, 2-9 as underdog.

Chicago Bears
— Favorites covered all eight of their home games LY.
— Last three years, under is 17-7 in their home games.
— Last three years, Bears are 9-15 ATS at home.
— Chicago is 31st in NFL in $$ paid to players on offense.

Dallas Cowboys
— Went 12-5 LY with +14 turnover ratio, but lost first playoff game at home.
— Over is 17-7 in last 24 home games; under 11-6 in last 17 road tilts.
— #2 in $$$ spent on offense, #31 on defense.
— Covered eight of their nine road games last year.

Detroit Lions
— Last three years, Lions are 11-37-1 SU
— 0-9 SU in last nine playoff games; last playoff win was in 1991.
— Over is 17-6 in their last 23 home games.
— Were underdog in all 17 games last year (11-6 ATS).

Green Bay Packers
— Went 13-4 LY with +13 turnover ratio, but lost first playoff game at home.
— 5-1 last year in games decided by 3 or fewer points.
— Last three years, Packers are 8-2 ATS as a road underdog.
— Last three years, Packers are 31-17-1 ATS in regular season.

Los Angeles Rams
— averaged 9.8 yards/pass attempt on 3rd down LY (NFL average 7.2)
— 11-2 last year in games decided by 8 or less points.
— Rams covered five of last seven games as an underdog.
— Cooper Kupp had 46 red zone targets LY (next highest Ram: Higbee, 20)

Minnesota Vikings:
— Last two years, over is 21-12 in Viking games.
— Minnesota was 8-9 LY despite a +11 turnover ratio.
— 14 of their 17 games LY were decided by 8 or less points (6-8)
— 30th in $$ spent on cornerbacks; does that mean more zone defense?

New Orleans Saints
— 9-8 LY with +7 turnover ratio, after going 25-7 previous two seasons.
— 2-3 last season in games decided by 8 or less points.
— Last three years, they’re 11-5 ATS as an underdog.
— Last three years, they’re 7-2 ATS as a road dog, 11-5 as road favorite.

New Jersey Giants
— Last five years, they’re 22-59 SU.
— Giants led at halftime in only 21 of those 81 games.
— Last two years, under is 23-9-1 in their games.
— Last three years, they’re 2-5 ATS as favorite, 8-16 ATS at home.

Philadelphia Eagles
— 9-8 last year; 2-4 in games decided by 8 or less points.
— Last three years, they’re 10-15 ATS as an underdog.
— Favorites covered seven of their eight home games LY.
— Have four road games this year where they’re on a short week.

San Francisco 49ers
— 10-7 LY, 5-5 in games decided by 8 or less points.
— averaged 8.7 yards/pass attempt on 3rd down LY (NFL average 7.2)
— Last three years, they’re 10-4 ATS as an underdog.
— 16-9 ATS in their last 25 road games. 

Seattle Seahawks
— 7-10 LY, 0-5 in games decided by 3 or fewer points.
— Seahawks went 7-10 despite a +5 turnover ratio.
— Last three years, Seattle is 7-5 ATS as an underdog.
— Moving on from Russell Wilson at QB presents a BIG downgrade.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
— 24-9 SU with Brady at QB; how does coaching change affect things?
— +10 in turnovers LY, +24 in sacks.
— Last two years, were 11-4 ATS at home (0-6-1 in 2019)
— were favored in all 17 games last season.

Washington Commanders
— 7-10 last year, even with 3-0 record in games decided by 3 or less points.
— Last two years, under is 20-13 in Washington games.
— Last three years, Commanders are 8-15-1 ATS at home.
— covered three of last four games as a road favorite. 

Sunday’s Den: Notes for AFC teams…….

Baltimore Ravens
— Lost last six games LY, with five losses by 3 or less points.
— Minus-11 in turnovers for season.
— Their AFC North road games are in Weeks 14-15-18
— Were #1 in rushing defense, #32 in pass defense. 

Buffalo Bills
— Were 0-6 last year in games decided by 7 or less points.
— Have 11 Sunday games, 3 Thursday games, including Thanksgiving in Detroit
— Have a new OC this season; Brian Daboll coaches the Giants now.
— scored 83 points in splitting two playoff games LY.

Cincinnati Bengals
— Brought in three new starters on offensive line this year.
— Have five night games, three others at 4:25.
— 6-6 last year in games decided by 5 or less points.
— McPherson made 12 field goals of 50+ yards.

Denver Broncos
— Week 1, Russell Wilson visits his old team in Seattle.
— Four of their first six games are night games,
— 0-4 last year in games decided by 5 or less points.
— Their games with Kansas City are in Weeks 14/17.

Houston Texans
— Lovie Smith was 89-87 as head coach of the Bears.
— play 11 games in domes, only six games outside.
— Had 5 draft picks in top 75; took four SEC players.
— Only one nite game; have three 4:00 games.

Kansas City Chiefs
— Three of their first five games are at night.
— 6-4 LY in games decided by 6 or less points.
— converted 52.2% on 3rd down LY, best in NFL
— How do they replace Tyreek Hill’s production? (1,524 yards, 15 TD’s)

Las Vegas Raiders
— Chiefs pounded them twice LY, 41-14/48-9
— won last four games LY, all by 4 or less points.
— were 7-1 in games decided by 6 or less points, 3-7 in other games
— McDaniels was 11-17 as Denver’s HC, in 2009-10.
— Made playoffs LY, despite minus-9 turnover ratio

Los Angeles Chargers
— 1-5 last year if they scored less than 27 points.
— averaged 39 yards/drive (#2), were #5 in scoring
— were 30th LY in rush defense.
— brought in new special teams coach, punter, long snapper

Miami Dolphins
— won 8 of last 9 games, after a 1-7 start.
— figure to use Tyreek Hill the way 49ers used Deebo Samuel
— are on road three weeks in row (weeks 13-15), then go to Foxboro Week 17
— ranked 30th in yards rushing last year.

New England Patriots
— 10-2 LY allowing less than 27 points; 0-6 giving up 27+
— 2nd-year QB will have a new voice in his ear when he is in huddle.
— weeks 12-15; all night games, three of them on road.
— Belichick’s career record without Brady at QB: 72-81

New Jersey Jets
— Were 0-8 last year in games decided by more than 7 points.
— allowed 37.4 yards/drive (31st)
— minus-13 in turnovers; how much has young QB Wilson improved?
— 13 of their first 16 games are at 1:00; not lot of hope from schedule makers

Pittsburgh Steelers
— Who is the QB? Trubisky? When does rookie QB Pickett get first start?
— Week 7: Steelers at Miami. Brian Flores is a Pittsburgh assistant.
— allowed 36+ points in their last five losses LY.
— two games against Ravens are weeks 14/17.
— 32nd-ranked rush defense last year.

Tennessee Titans
— were #1-seed in AFC, lost first playoff game at home; that leaves a scar.
— 6-3 last year in games decided by 6 or less points.
— Is Derrick Henry healthy? New WR Woods blocks well in run game.
— drafted Malik Willis; what does that say about Tannehill’s status? 

Thursday’s Den: NFL knowledge on a summer day

13) Cleveland Browns traded QB Baker Mayfield to Carolina Wednesday, for either a 4th or 5th-round draft pick in 2024, depending on how he does.

Panthers will pay $4.85M of Mayfield’s salary this year, while the Browns will pay $10.5M; Mayfield agreed to convert the remainder of his $18.8M salary into incentives to facilitate the trade.

Mayfield was 30-31 starting games for Cleveland, winning a playoff game two years ago, Browns’ only playoff win since re-joining the NFL in 1999 (the old Cleveland Browns are the Baltimore Ravens now).

Sam Darnold (17-32 as an NFL starter), PJ Walker (2-0 as a starter) and rookie Matt Corral are Carolina’s other quarterbacks. 

12) Where does this leave Cleveland? Deshaun Watson doesn’t figure to play much, if at all, this season; Browns’ other QB’s are Jacoby Brissett (14-23 as a starter), Joshua Dobbs. 

11) One of my favorite things is when the NFL releases its schedule in the spring; it tells you stuff, if you read between the lines.

Week 1, this fall: Cleveland at Carolina. We should have known.

There are no coincidences. Someone in New York knew something. 

10) Brian Griese worked on TV for ESPN the last 12 years; this season he’s going to be the QB coach for the 49ers, one of four new assistant coaches on the offensive side of the ball for San Francisco, which lost OC Mike McDaniel to the Dolphins.

9) Miami fired coach Brian Flores, even though his team was 19-14 the last two years; here’s the thing- Dolphins flopped badly in Week 17 both of those years, which cost them a playoff spot.

2021- lost 34-3 in Tennessee
2020- lost 56-26 in Buffalo

8) Last six years, Denver Broncos are 39-58; during that time, they’ve started 10 different QB’s. Now they’ve got Russell Wilson, who is 113-60-1 as an NFL starter, a huge upgrade. 

7) Kliff Kingsbury has been a head coach for nine years, counting college/NFL; here is how his teams break down:

first seven games: 42-20-1
from Game 8 on: 17-45

6) 20 years ago,  Oakland Raiders lost the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay; since then, they’ve moved to Las Vegas, but they haven’t won a playoff game.

2016— lost 27-14 at Houston
2021— lost 26-19 at Cincinnati. 

5) Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow was sacked 70 times last year, 19 times in four playoff games; if the Bengals are going to get back to the playoffs this year, they need to keep Burrow upright.

By the way, Jacksonville’s new offensive coordinator is Press Taylor, younger brother of Bengals’ coach Zac Taylor.

4) When Matt Ryan starts for the Colts in Week 1, he’ll be the sixth different QB to start for Indy the last six years.

2017- Scott Tolzien
2018- Andrew Luck
2019- Jacoby Brissett
2020- Philip Rivers
2021- Carson Wentz
2022- Matt Ryan

3) Big X hasn’t had a player drafted in the first round of the last two NFL Drafts; they had 25 players drafted this past spring, but none in Round 1. 

2) WR Stefan Diggs is going to miss OC Brian Daboll, who is now head coach of the Giants; in his two seasons with Buffalo, with Daboll as OC, here are Diggs’ numbers:

2020- 127 catches, 1,535 yards, 8 TD’s.
2021- 103 catches, 1,225 yards, 10 TD’s.

1) Players taken after the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft:
47th pick (2nd round) Bobby Wagner, by Seattle
75th pick (3rd round) Russell Wilson, also by Seattle
102nd pick (4th round) Kirk Cousins, Washington