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 Post subject: 2058 Betting Preview - WC Round
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:14 pm 
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Got a little busy the last two weeks, but I had to put something together for the playoffs! I expect Atlanta and El Paso to both get rolled tomorrow so we'll be picking the two EAST conference games today. Division winners as underdogs?? Such value!

New Orleans (-2) at Kansas City - The fortunes of last season are quickly forgotten here as both teams have turned the ship around after disappointing 2057 campaigns.

It's easy to point to a healthy RB Alexander Mueller being the driving force for NOS, but I would actually credit the resurgent defense. Going into the season, I pegged the Voodoos at #13-- a rank I'm comfortable with even now. The emergence of LB Lance Bartrum and immediate impact of rookie CB Joel Lauher are probably as, if not more, important as having a credible rushing threat. Bartrum has been particularly exciting to follow and makes plays all over the field-- the autonomy the DC gives him makes him a huge wildcard. He's good at plugging up gaps, but he is quick to recognize passing plays and can either generate pressure at the line on blitzes or drop back into coverage with equal proficiency. The one downside to his play, I think, is that his angles can use some work. He's so athletic that occasionally his 4.54 dash can make up for it, but you'll often see ball carriers just out of his reach running down the field. That should correct itself over time.

All that being said, the unit still commits pretty costly mistakes and the communication isn't always the best. Their average yardage metrics put them towards the lower half of the league and it comes down to their youth and athleticism that keeps opponents out of the end zone. I'm not confident that will be enough to take down my dark horse pick in Kansas City.

I've been singing their praises all season long, but GM ternvig and the Storm are putting on a heck of a show. Led by their safeties Brewer and Ruddy, the KCY defense has become greater than the sum of its parts. You can look up and down the roster but outside of DE Gavin Taylor, are there any guys that you'd call superstars? The cohesion missing from NOS is here in KCY and QB Graham will have his hands full trying to figure out how stay on his feet, much less put points on the board. DEs Taylor and Simkowitz lead the best pass rush in the league and it might be better to lean on RB Mueller and attack rookies DT Joe Butterfield who has been struggling against zone runs.

The spread offense that KCY runs with QB Grueneich is similarly well positioned to attack the NOS defense. RB Marsh and FB Jordan are probably more likely to catch the ball than they are to carry it which ought to neutralize the talent of CBs Kell and Lauher while forcing Bartrum to hang back just a second or two longer to read the play and will punish his overagression if he doesn't tone it down.

In my eyes, this matchup comes down to the play of NOS's stars and KCY's teamwork. Can RB Mueller consistently move the chains? Can TE Wick and WR Knight get open before the KCY pass rush can get to QB Graham? My money is on the Storm, 27-20 KCY.

Durham (-1) at Shreveport - When was the last time a rookie QB enjoyed this much success his first season in the CFL? I don't know actually-- because I've only been here two seasons-- but what QB Ortiz has put together is pretty exciting. I like the balanced attack from the Bulldogs (basically a 50/50 split between the pass and run) and both threats are credible enough to warrant attention. Opposing defenses simply can't cheat one way or the other. Many analysts thought that perhaps LAS had let go of RB Arnold because his career volume had taken its toll-- does it look like he's lost a step to you? Arnold is able to direct the linemen and read the defense pre-snap, making Ortiz's job that much easier. He's on the most expensive RB contract in the league, but it looks like it's worth every penny.

The offensive line has been excellent as well, giving DUR the luxury of time to make the right read. Though 20 sacks allowed this season sounds like a lot, it's good for top 5 in the league-- with a rookie QB, that's actually insane. Ortiz is still a bit slow progressing through his reads and a few of those sacks are entirely his fault. Defensively, the Bulldogs aren't the flashiest unit, but they get the job done. Starting CB Jackson Garvin is expected to make his return off a minor knee injury and should be shadowing star wideout Geoff Warren.

It's clear DUR is on the up and up, but what about SHR? The Pride hasn't had a losing season since 2050, but the perennial playoff franchise has had just one deep run (and championship) in 2055. Father time has finally caught up to QB Archie Blanchard and 2058 has been a roller coaster for the 39 year old. The head injury in week 2 might have forced the gunslinger to consider retirement, but first... one Last Dance.

When the Pride drafted rookie TE Kaleb Olsen, we all thought it would take the
receiving corps to the next level. Though Olsen looks like a transcendent talent, WRs Warren, Stanton, and Curtis have seen their numbers suffer. I'm not sure why, but it could be that the players aren't up to speed with pass protection assignments. A 5'11" pass catching TE just doesn't have the same kind of blocking ability and I'm sure the schemes have had to change. The success on the ground behind RB C.J. Russell has largely mitigated the Pride's struggles through the air and he is a key figure in sustaining drives. He's also keeping pace with the other elite RBs in terms of touchdowns, getting play up and down the field, and needs to be addressed by DUR's defense.

At the end of the day, I think the quality and experience of the Pride is just enough to take them over the line this week. I expect a well balanced attack from both sides in what is likely going to be a back and forth game. I look to SS Tate to step up in this game and capitalize off one or two mistakes by QB Ortiz. 33-30 SHR.

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 Post subject: Re: 2058 Betting Preview - WC Round
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 6:03 am 
Durham Bulldogs

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Not one reference to the Shreveport-Durham game earlier in the season. Hmmm...


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 Post subject: Re: 2058 Betting Preview - WC Round
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:49 am 
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Location: Holstebro, Denmark
zenzog wrote:
... FB Jordan are probably more likely to catch the ball than they are to carry it which ought to neutralize the talent of CBs Kell and Lauher while forcing Bartrum to hang back just a second or two longer to read the play and will punish his overagression if he doesn't tone it down...


2Q: 15:00 KCY - Brett Jordan 61 pass from Juan Grueneich (Nicolas Gibson extra point)

Ohh soo very right you are Zenzog :-)

Terrific stuff once again.

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 Post subject: Re: 2058 Betting Preview - WC Round
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:10 am 
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Steel wrote:
Not one reference to the Shreveport-Durham game earlier in the season. Hmmm...


The one where Nolan Scott was starting for some reason?? :P

We don't talk about that game...

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