NFL Picks: The Coach's Corner

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NFL Picks: The Coach's Corner


The 49ers will have to overcome Mike Nolan's bad coaching if they plan on upsetting the Eagles.

In this week's edition of the Sports Betting Preview Show, we discussed coaching and how we factor it into handicapping. I, for one, think coaching is a big factor. I always believed this but after working for the Pats and watching Bill Belichick toy with some of these other NFL coaches, it made me an even bigger believer in how important and underrated this factor is when it comes to deciding the outcome of games. So here are the matchups for this week and how I see the coaching advantages.

Raiders at Saints (-7)
The jury is still out on Sean Payton in regards to whether or not he's a good or just an average coach. Right Now, I lean towards average. However, he has a big advantage this week because Tom Cable is making his head coaching debut. However, offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp is now calling the plays and I'm not a big fan of his at all. No contest here.
Big Advantage: Sean Payton

Ravens at Colts (-4)
John Harbaugh is doing a solid job in his first year at the helm but at this point in his career, this is a blowout. Tony Dungy should have his team ready this week after getting a lucky win over Houston. While Dungy has a big advantage over Harbaugh, remember that Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is one of the best in the business and will come up with a strong gameplan to confuse Peyton Manning.
Big Advantage: Tony Dungy

Bengals at Jets (-7)
These are two terrible head coaches in my opinion. However, as bad as I think Eric Mangini is, Marvin Lewis makes him look like Vince Lombardi in comparison. As long as Mangini keeps his nose out of the offense and let's Brett Favre go, the Jets should be OK. Lewis, on the other hand, is purely a sitting duck waiting to be fired.
Small Advantage: Eric Mangini

Panthers at Bucs (-1)
These are two of the best coaches in the NFL. I would probably take John Fox over Jon Gruden if I was forced to pick between the two but I would be splitting hairs. This is a dead heat in my opinion.
No Advantage

Lions at Vikings (-13)
Read what I wrote about the Panthers/Bucs and insert the exact opposite. These are arguably the two worst coaches in the NFL right now. Personally, I think Childress is one of the worst coaches of my lifetime but this week he happens to be matching up against the only guy who doesn't have a big advantage over him. If I had to pick this game, I would go with the Lions only because Childress should never be a 13 point favorite over anyone.
No Advantage

Bears (-3) at Falcons
I'm a big Lovie Smith fan but after one month, I'm also becoming a huge Mike Smith supporter. I like this Falcons coaching staff overall. Emmitt Thomas is a great coach and while Mike Mularkey was a miserable head coach, I like him in the coordinator role. Lovie obviously has the advantage here because of experience but I don't believe it's as big of a gap as others might think.
Advantage: Lovie Smith

Dolphins at Texans (-3)
No contest here in my opinion. Tony Sparano is fast becoming one of the most respected coaches in this league, while Gary Kubiack is fighting for his job. Overall, the Texans coaching staff receives one of my lowest grades. Other than Alex Gibbs, I don't care for most of the coaches Kubiack has brought in. In contrast, Miami has one of the better staffs in the NFL. I actually like this spot for the Texans and I think they will win this game but I won't be playing it because of the major coaching edge I give to Sparano and his staff.
Big Advantage: Tony Sparano

Rams at Redskins (-13.5)
Scott Linehan was arguably the second worst NFL head coach I've ever seen, probably coming in just ahead of the Giants Ray Handley. And while Jim Haslett is an upgrade, he isn't much of one. I've seen Haslett's teams quit on him late in the year three times while he was with the Saints and I'm guessing that will happen again this year. The Rams may get a jolt this week just because that idiot Linehan is gone, however. After a terrible debut, I couldn't be more impressed with Jim Zorn's game-planning and play-calling. Right now, I will give Zorn a normal advantage over Haslett.
Advantage: Jim Zorn

Jags at Broncos (-3.5)
I like the Jags this week but this absolutely no contest. Mike Shanahan over Jack Del Rio is a mismatch of monumental proportions. The only reason I'm favoring the Jags here is because I think the Broncos are good fade material. I just don't like their team but if this game comes down to coaching, Jacksonville has no chance.
Huge Advantage: Mike Shanahan

Eagles (-4.5) at 49ers
Andy Reid is coming under fire in Philly but he's still light years ahead of Mike Nolan when it comes to knowing football. Just look at Nolan's gameplan against the Pats last week for proof of that. I think Mike Martz is a very good offensive coordinator but that gets wiped out because Jim Johnson is my top rated defensive coordinator. Big edge here for the Eagles.
Big Advantage: Eagles

Cowboys (-4.5) at Cardinals
I can't comment on this one. I believe my strong dislike for Wade Phillips makes it impossible for me to be objective. I will say that Jason Garrett is an excellent young offensive mind and the thing I like about him the most is when he has a poor game calling plays, he learns from his mistakes and bounces back strong. Other than that, Wade is a great cheerleader.

Packers at Seahawks (-2.5)
I never liked Mike McCarthy. I didn't respect him as an offensive coordinator and he's made at least five decisions this year that have made my jaw drop. After last season, I thought I was wrong about McCarthy but I'm starting to think he just got lucky. However, Seattle gets only a slight advantage here because Mike Holmgren has already retired. Literally. This is his last season and while the Seahawks have had a ton of injuries, it seems to me that Holmgren should have called it quits after last year.
Small Advantage: Mike Holmgren

Patriots at Chargers (-4.5)
They don't get much bigger than this folks. Here we have my No. 1 rated coach (Bill Belichick) taking on my No. 28 rated coach (Norv Turner). Not only is Turner a terrible head coach but Ted Cottrell is one of the worst defensive coordinators on the planet. I say this all the time. Go look at Cottrell's resume and tell me how he keeps getting hired? Every single thing points to a Chargers blowout here except for the huge advantage Bill Belichick and his staff have in the coaching department.
Huge Advantage: Bill Belichick

Giants (-7.) at Browns
Like I've said in the past, Romeo Crennel is a great guy but he's Taylor-made to be a coordinator. Everyone in New England knew he got lucky last year. On the flip side, Tom Coughlin went from a guy who was about to be fired to one of the top coaches in the NFL. I would argue that one of the reasons Coughlin made the jump is because the Giants have my No. 2 ranked defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. If you break these staffs down from top to bottom, it's a huge mismatch. The Giants win this one easily.
Big Advantage: Tom Coughlin

Coaches Corners Plays for Week 6
Saints -7
Eagles -4.5
Giants -7

Note: These plays are based on an edge in coaching along with the situation the team is in this week. While I believe both Miami and New England have huge coaching advantages, I think they are in bad spots this week and I actually like the other side in both games, making them a no play.

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  • I would think so Altham. Like I said, Garrett has been outcoached before. The playoff loss to the Giants and this year's loss to Washington being his two worst games as OC probably. But like I said, he seems to learn from his mistakes. Either way, he is a guy I would have a lot more trust in than Wade. My guess? Jones doesn't trust him to run this circus. And yes, I see the irony that he trusts Wade Phillips to run the circus. Trust me, I see the irony. lol

  • Great stuff Tommy. I really feel bad that Wade is your head coach. Like you said, Wade is living off of a team Parcells built.  Is there any chance that Garrett is the next head coach?

  • Yes, Dallas does not match up well in this one IMO.....I'll be on Zona for sure, maybe a 8 pt tease to get em to +14......possibly a  Zona +14 to Texas Longhorns +14.5 play.

  • Also, without Terence Newman, that secondary is not only missing it's only playmaker, it means Wade will play 25 yards off receivers instead of just 15, which he considers press coverage apparently.

  • I agree with your assessment of that game 100 percent GF. If Ware and Ellis don't get a lot of pressure on Warner, the Cowboys defense is in for a long day. One thing people don't mention a lot with Dallas is their defensive ends blow. Spears has been a huge disappointment and if Ware can be controlled, they don't have much of a pass rush. And I love their blitzes. The blitzer comes from like 30 yards away. If you are considering teasing that baby, I think that's gold.

  • Totally agree. Parcells seemed more "annoyed" at "todays NFL player"........I mean why didnt Jerry throw out an offer for a guy like Jeff Fisher that he couldnt refuse?? Just dont get it either. I wanted yur take on if you agree with me that Zona +6 is a solid play this weekend. Zona is a beast at home this year and Dallas usually struggles in ZOna anyways....Boldin being out hurts, but I think an outright win by Zona is quite possbile.

  • GF, it pains me to even look at him anymore. As good of a businessman as Jerry Jones is, he just doesn't get it about the coaching. Parcells may not have won anything and if I'm being honest he probably shouldn't have come out of retirement because I don't think he had the same fire when he was in Dallas. But look what he did. He made the playoffs with Quincy Carter as his quarterback and then made the playoffs again in Romo's first season as a starter. He also built up the talent level of this team to where it is right now. All Jones had to do was hire a decent coach for Dallas to take the next step. That's all he had to do. Like I said before, it's a shame for Dallas fans that such a talented team will be held back because of coaching. It's a damn shame. I can't even enjoy the season because I know once the playoffs start, that buffoon will ruin everything just like he did last year.

  • Wade Phillips is a absolute joke!!

  • You are closer to the team. I've never heard you criticize them once. Never. You have bet against them but never said one negative thing about the coaching, a player, nothing. You are a fan. That's what fans do. They watch with blinders. I'm sorry but that's the truth.

  • Here are four off the top of my head Jumper:

    1. Clock management at the end of the first half against the Vikings. Running the ball and letting the clock run down when it was only third down and I believe (correct me if I'm wrong this is off the top of my head), the Pack had the ball inside the 20.

    2. I have no idea what he was trying to accomplish against Dallas. The Packers west coast offense is Taylor-Made to beat the Cowboys. Every time Rodgers did a three-step drop and delivered a quick slant, his receivers were wide open. That was just a terrible job of coaching all the way around in that game. One of the worst coaching performances I've seen all year.

    3. Against Tampa the LT tackle was getting abused all game long and no changes were made at all. Granted, I've seen Bill Belichick and Andy Reid make the same mistake but I thought that was the deciding factor in that game. If your quarterback is getting killed and the pressure is routinely coming from one area, why not give that guy some help? It's not that difficult. Just leave a TE into block.

    4. I also saw the same thing happening in the Dallas game. Who in the hell tries to block DeMarcus Ware one-on-one? No one except the Packers. That guy has been double and tripled team all season long but he had a field day against Green Bay. I don't know off hand who the LT is for Green Bay but he stinks and he has no chance against Ware one-on-one. Yet, Ware was allowed to wreck havoc all game long. He only had one sack but he was getting in there so fast that it caused Rodgers to move in the pocket and other guys cleaned up. That may be the single worst coaching move I've seen all year. I haven't seen any team try that ridiculous method since and I doubt I will all year.

    And like I said, I never liked McCarthy as an OC. He had Deuce McAllister and he would always try to throw it inside the 10-yard line with Aaron Brooks, who led the NFL in red zone interceptions three years in a row. I think he'll be fired in two years. That's my guess.  

  • I know you're serious - he's pounding away at his keyboard right now, and you will have an answer shortly...

  • Green Bay is devistated by injuries, as is Seattle....GROSS game of the week IMO....Lean Seattle at home in a MUST WIN situation.....

  • I'm serious Matty. Tommy makes these brash bold statements like "5 decisions that made his jaw drop". I'd like to hear what they were. I watched every down of every Packers game, I'm much closer to the team than he is, I'm curious what they were. McCarthy doesn't run the ball enough, that's a tendency I don't like, it's not a decision per se. Coaching decision=strategy or lineup move.

  • Brett Favre should have won Coach of the Year last year LOL