Week 6 provides plenty of examples of why you shouldn’t gamble on the NFL

Jason ElamFar be it for me to tell someone how to live their life. But as I sat on my couch watching Week 6 unfold in the NFL, one question kept popping up in my head: Why would anyone gamble on pro football?

For the record, this isn’t about bashing gamblers because, to be brutally honest, I am one. In fact, anyone that shells out a little coin in office pools or even fantasy football is a gambler to some degree. So as it stands, I’m referring to myself when I write this.

This article is about shinning even more light on how unpredictable the NFL is, and how quickly a football game can turn on its head. It has to be easier to predict winning lotto numbers than it is to predict which teams will cover the spread on a consistent basis.

Below are just three examples from Week 6 of how snake-bitten you can be as a gambler of the NFL. And remember, I’m using just three examples from one week of the season. Think about how many times a gambler could get screwed over the course of an entire NFL season and it’s enough to lose your lunch.


Read the rest after the jump...

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Searching for blame in latest Bears’ collapse

David Haugh of The Chicago Tribune is left searching for answers as to whom to blame for the Bears’ 11-second collapse that led to the Falcons winning 22-20 on a 48-yard Jason Elam field goal as time expired.

Lovie SmithMuch debate will center around Lovie Smith’s decision to squib-kick rather than ask Robbie Gould to boot it deep to Norwood. That’s convenient second-guessing rooted in frustration more than fact. Remember, Norwood had just burned the Bears for an 85-yard return on the previous kickoff, and the same injury problems that plagued the secondary had decimated special teams.

It made more sense for Smith to rely on his defense to make one stop outside field-goal range than trust a kickoff-coverage team littered with rookies…

“The call didn’t work, and that’s my fault,” Babich said.

He raises a valid point.

The Falcons had the ball at their own 44-yard line. Why Babich couldn’t come up with a three-deep scheme to monitor the sideline routes better could be a question Chicago will still be asking in January if the Bears miss the playoffs by one game.

But Hamilton’s execution of Babich’s Cover-2 call hurt the Bears worse than the decision to use it.

In that zone defense, Hamilton typically has the responsibility of the routes in front of him but needs to drop deep enough at first to take away the corner route Jenkins ran. That buys the safety precious seconds.

Understand that with six seconds left in the game and the Bears protecting a one-point lead, no pass caught in front of Hamilton matters. A 10-yard gain would not have been enough to put Elam in field-goal range. A 15-yard gain probably wouldn’t have either. If Hamilton had dropped a few yards deeper, Matt Ryan never would have thrown that ball.

Yet for reasons that could nag the Bears all winter, Hamilton broke forward to take away a potential completion to Jerious Norwood in the right flat that would have ended the game happily for the Bears.

Haugh is right – the defensive call by Babich to stay in Cover 2 was worse than the squib kick. As Haugh points out, Norwood had just busted off an 80-plus yard return and while hindsight is always 20/20, at least not kicking it deep made a little sense.

But to leave the sideline rout open when all the Falcons could run was a sideline rout in hopes of getting into field goal range is inexcusiable. I realize Hamilton failed to get in the correct position that allowed Jenkins to get open, but coaching plays into that, too. If you’re Babich and you know you have a slew of young corners on the field, why not call for more blanket coverage to take away the sideline rout? Bad decision.

Rookie Matt Ryan is the real deal

Matt RyanIf one were to grade the success of Thomas Dimitroff in his first year as general manager for the Atlanta Falcons, there’s no doubt he would receive close to perfect marks. The hire of Mike Smith as head coach and the drafting Matt Ryan – two of Dimitroff’s first moves as GM – have been slam-dunks thus far.

Ryan (22 of 30, 301 yards, 1 TD) was absolutely unbelievable in the Falcons’ exciting 22-20 win over the Bears in Week 6. Chicago was definitely at a disadvantage playing without their two starting corners (Peanut Tillman left the game early with an injury), but most of Ryan’s throws were on the money and well-timed, including his perfect 26-yard toss to Michael Jenkins with 11 seconds remaining in the game to set up Jason Elam’s 48-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

Give the Falcons credit. They knew they had something special in Ryan and even though the success rate for rookie quarterbacks in this league has been low, they believed in him and made him a starter anyway. He’s a young man playing on a young team, but his maturity so far has been incredibly impressive. And how about the play of the Falcons? This is a team that goof ball Dr. Z of SI.com predicted to win one game this year and they’re 4-2. They’ve got the makings of a nice team.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say anything about Kyle Orton, who was outstanding himself on Sunday. He drove Chicago 77 yards on 11 plays to set up a 17-yard TD to Rashied Davis, which temporarily gave the Bears a 20-19 lead. Orton has really distinguished himself as a quality quarterback in Chicago, which is something the Bears have been craving for a long time.

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