London game 2! #GoSaints @ #FinsUp

Viewable in the UK on BBC2 this weekend! Won’t even need to use Kodi or Reddit to figure out where to watch it!

We will have a better week than last week, This will be a better game than last week… I keep telling myself both of those things. Well, it can’t be as bad as last week for me anyway, I have no idea how I didn’t even fluke a win. – Thursday night this week at least went OK, 2 wins from 4 and the 2 that lost were the long shots, so half expected anyway. We won on Jordy anytime and the overs, giving us 2 and a bit points of profit from 5 staked. The Packers go to 3-1 with a mini-bye week to get healthy as they really need to! I’m not sure Davantae Adams will be playing the next game after taking a viscous helmet to helmet shot to the head which unsurprisingly put him out of the game. If Danny Trevathan isn’t suspended then the league hates the Bengals even more than I thought (yes i’m still bitter about the Burfict decision)

This is the first time that Wembley has stage back to back games, and is a big test as to the feasibility of maybe having half a season of games over here in the future, something that may well come up when the next collective bargaining agreement comes up in the 2020s. Having 8 games would mean half the league coming over in one season, it’d be pretty damn good having that then the alternate 16 teams the following year! We can dream.

The Dolphins are the nominated home team, ironically given the fact that they have travelled further than any other team in the league so far this season. They’re making the trip over to these isles on the Friday this week, like the Ravens did last week. We all saw what happened to them didn’t we. The Saints have been here since Monday morning, so two different approaches from these teams and it will be interesting to see how it goes. This is the Dolphins fourth trip to the UK and the Saints second visit, they actually played in each of the first two games between them, the Dolphins lost to the Giants in the first one 10 years ago, and the Saints won a shootout a year later.

Were you aware that the a Dolphins have a player who was born in England?  If you didn’t know by now, then you will be, all of the coverage pre-game, during the game, after the game will be about LONDONBORNJAYAJAYI, I believe that’s what he was christened anyway. He is a very good player despite pooping his pants last week against the Jets. This week should be different and if he deals with the added pressure that will be dumped on him for the entire week, he should have a decent game against this 23rd ranked Saints defence. The Dolphins do want and need to rely on the run game, so this should, in theory be a good spot for him.

The entire Dolphins team were awful last week and coach Adam Gase made sure everyone knew how pissed off he was with the offense, he’s not a man who’s scared of making changes, he made some to his offensive line in game, but i’m sure he’ll give his usual guys the chance to redeem themselves this week. The Saints pass rush isn’t exactly fearsome (although the Jets wasn’t either) so they should be able to protect Jay Cutler as he continues his comeback tour. He “did a Jay” last week and it wasn’t pretty. The only score they had all game came with the clock at 0:00 much to the delight of Devante Parkers fantasy owners. He finished the game with 76 yards and a touchdown, most of it coming on that final drive. Jarvis Landry was targeted a ridiculous amount in their opener against the Chargers, catching 13 of the 15 thrown his way for a miserable 6 yards per catch. That’s why he’s the PPR king! He did manage to up that to 8 yards per catch this week, from 6 receptions. Other than that, Kenny Still scored in that opening win in LA, and he’s always going to be a hit and miss down field threat for this team. There’s not a whole lot more in the passing game, their free agency Tight end signing Julius Thomas hasn’t done a thing yet this season, 6 for 42 yards so far this year.

Honestly, that’s about it for the Dolphins. They’ve had a horrible schedule to start the season after the hurricane so I’d imagine they’ll be wanting to get this out of the way to get back home to play the Titans in a weeks time.

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The Saints have had a lovely week so far, they went to the Arsenal game on Monday night and had time to adjust their body-clocks and train over here during the week. Whether this helps or hinders remains to be seen, but surely logically it makes sense to get into the rhythm that you’d normally be in at home? Or maybe, as with the Jags last week, the fact that the Dolphins were here fairly recently will aid them? We’ll see.

Drew Brees is still one of the best in the game at 39, he leads the league year in, year out in passing yardage and he’s up there this year in third at the moment. It’s a combination of him being damn good, and his defence usually conceding a ton of points meaning they have to score quickly to keep up. That has been the same story on the whole this year as well, conceding on average 26 points per game, and that was with a good win against the Panthers last week where they actually looked like a decent unit, albeit against a Cam Newton who is obviously not right at the moment.

Brees’ favourite target is Michael Thomas, who took until this last week to have a game that made you think he was the player he was last year, he put up decent numbers last week against a Panthers defence that most had thought was one of the best in the league finishing with 87 yards and a Touchdown. The rest of the receptions that week went to a plethora of players, Brandon Coleman caught himself a TD for the second week running and Ted Ginn (as always after I give up on a player) scored a long touchdown, as he does, for his first of the season. This week adds Willie Snead to the mix as he returns from a suspension. I would imagine he would be going straight in to play in the slot, probably in place of Brandon Coleman, but he’s impressed so it might not be that straight forward for Snead to get his job back. At tight end Coby Fleener has looked better than last year and has scored in 2 of their 3 games so far this season, though he only had 1 catch last week.

The backfield is a bit of a mess, if it wasn’t for the name value that Adrian Peterson carries he wouldn’t be getting a look in. Shouting at his coach for not getting the workload in week 1 probably wasn’t the best way to start the season, but game scripts haven’t gone to plan for the way he plays so far this season, although they had a comfortable lead last week and he was still barely played, so it’s a weird one with him, although in fairness, his yards per carry have gone up week on week, he’s now nearly at 4 which still isn’t good. Mark Ingram is the one guy in that mix who was there last year, but they clearly don’t like him despite his talent. He and Kamara can operate on the ground and through the air from the backfield, while Peterson isn’t exactly famed for his pass-catching. It means that Ingram and Kamara get more of the ball with AP does. Kamara in fact has been getting more and more and scored with a 25 yard run last week, though that was 1 of only 2 carries for him last week.

All in all the offenses are better than the defences in this match up so you would like to think it would be a high scoring game. 5 of the last 6 Wembley games have been over 50 points, obviously between random teams, so I’m not sure it means an awful lot, but it’s there. The Saints generally play worse away from home, and out of a dome so you’ve got to count that against them, although they did win outside in Carolina last week. I guess what I’m getting at is it’s a really tough match to call! – I would say it will be the Saints at around 28-21 or something like that. It should be a great match for the neutrals in London to watch!

I can’t be taking the Overs on 51 points, and I really can’t be taking either team against the spread. The touchdown scorer odds are pretty poor as well, even Willie Snead who doesn’t have a guaranteed role in this team is only 9/4. I was hoping/expecting Devante Parkers to be closer to 2/1 as well rather than 6/4 best.

Skybet (and now Paddypower) have Jay Ajayi boosted to 10/1 for the first touchdown scorer. He’s already said this week that this game means more to him as he’s “coming home” so it wouldn’t shock me to see this happen.

One that my buddy @chrisjbrophy posted on the OLBG blog that looks like a bit of value is Ted Ginn anytime at 4/1, the sod always seems to let me down but he has the ability to score in any game with big plays, he scored last week and had chances in the previous weeks so that price seems pretty big to me.

  • Jay Ajayi – First TD Scorer – 10/1 (Skybet) – 2pts
  • Ted Ginn anytime – 4/1 (Paddypower) – 2pts

4 point outlay.

 

Good luck if you follow anything, and have fun if you’re lucky enough to be going!

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