So we’re three weeks out from the NFL regular season and preseason games traditionally tell us next to nothing, but NFLbets can’t help thinking that some early goings-on are confirming our suspicions in the cases of five marginal-to-hopeless teams in 2021: the New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers.
From the notebook, then…
• After the New Orleans Saints offense coughed up some six turnovers in a 17-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, bettors would have to be nuts to cover the Saints in preseason futures bets. The mere fact that New Olreans has a QB competition between a guy whose own team describes him not as a quarterback but a “human Swiss army knife” and another who was last seen throwing 30 interceptions and 30 touchdowns in his last full season as a starter should be reason enough to jump off the New Orleans bandwagon right quick. For NFLbets, this preseason game just lent strength to our conviction on the Saints’ fate in 2021.
• Pyrrhic victories may be the best the Houston Texans can hope for in 2021, it seems. As the Texans were getting past the Green Bay Packers, 26-7, WR Anthony Miller suffered what team officials were somehow labeling a “slight dislocation.” (We’d call that slight abuse of the English language: the descriptor “dislocated” cannot carry a qualifier, i.e. the thing is dislocated or not.) NFLbets is having a hard time imagining just what might constitute good news for Houston at this point, but an injury-prone WR 1 succumbing this early, slightly or no, just puts the Texans further into “To Finish with the Fewest Wins in the NFL” prop territory.
• So you’ve probably seen the Dallas Cowboys on Hard Knocks by now, and once again is NFLbets struck by the notion that the show’s producer’s formula for choosing the next season’s focus is actually a method of forecasting sub-.500 teams. Before season’s end, “I’m not coming out of this bitch” could be this year’s version of Jeff Fisher proclaiming “I’m not going 7-9” in the 2016 series. For the record, the Los Angeles Rams went 4-12 that season and we’re guessing that, by 2021’s end, Dak Prescott will be coming out of this bitch and the Cowboys will be going home for the postseason again.
• The Jacksonville Jaguars’ trade of Joe Schobert to the Pittsburgh Steelers, combined with Trevor Lawrence’s sloppy start in the Jags’ 23-13 preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns, can reassure bettors once again that they’ll be able to ignore Jacksonville once again. Meanwhile, Schobert, who as of this writing has yet to play a down for the Steelers, claims he expects to be the team’s defensive signal-caller. Um, why is HC Mike Tomlin making this move to what was a top-3 defense in 2020? Verrrrrrrry suspicious if your ask NFLbets; clearly the sportsbooks knew what they were doing when the Steelers’ over/under wins line was set at 9…
–written by Os Davis
Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.