By Greg Dempson
In this week 3 dress rehearsal game it should feature starters vs. starters for the first half. The exception in these meaningless games is of course injuries. In a real game situation, players nursing very minor injuries would play…. but since this is exhibition time, running backs Jamaal Charles and Tamba Hali are not going to play. Head coach Andy Reid has stated they are both progressing nicely from their respective surgeries. After sitting out games one and two vs. the Seahawks and Patriots, Kansas City fans might see cornerback Phillip Gaines for the first time, (rehabbing from a repaired ACL surgery.)
When looking at the first half performances in their first two games, when Reid had his starters in for their first game vs. Seattle, on their first possession of the game, quarterback Alex Smith guided the offense for 49 yards on eight plays ending with a one yard run into the end zone for running back Spencer Ware. That was all the playing time the first team offense saw and at the end of the first half the Chiefs were up 13–03. The offensive starters saw more playing time in week 2 at Los Angeles vs. the Rams.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed 9 of 12 passes for 137 yards on a 13 play drive for 75 yards which concluded with running back Spencer Ware scoring on a 2 yard run for an early lead on their opening drive. Kansas City lead 20–14 at the end of the first half. Kansas City’s starting offense scored 17 points in four possessions. Kansas City has an experienced back-up in Nick Foles, he completed 18 of 22 passes for 133 yards.
Reid however, has not been pleased with the play of their defense, so the starters and key back-ups will certainly get more work in this 1:00 ET start.
As for the Bears, in their first preseason game at home vs. the Broncos, they were dominated for the entire game and were down 20–0 at the end of the first half. Denver’s defense, played game one without four regulars (Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Junior,) and still dominated the Bears’ starting offense, including quarterback Jay Cutler, who played the first quarter. Cutler completed 3 of 4 passes for 18 yards and was sacked twice with the team getting one first down in three possessions with him under center.
Denver’s defense sacked back-up QB Hoyer three times in the second quarter and third stringer David Fales was sacked twice in the third quarter, including once for a safety.
In Chicago’s second game at Foxboro their offense played better but their defense played poorly vs. New England, especially in the first half. With Brady not playing, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 181 yards, completing 16 out of 21 tosses including a touchdown while running back LaGarrette Blount rushed for 69 yards on 11 carries including one touchdown in the first half. New England lead after 30 minutes, (17–11.)
Preseason Selections In Review
· Week 1 of the preseason produced a winner with my selection on the San Francisco 49ers at –3 in the first half, (13–07.) Thursday in the EE posting forum I had the Cowboys at +3.5 in the first half, (10–10,) my second winner, 2–0 ATS in NFL-X play.
All Systems Go
· As of this posting, there is no first half line but the number should be up late Friday night as this is a 1:00 ET Saturday kick-off. There are two preseason systems that fit nicely in this game, the first of which is as follows:
· Play against preseason winless home teams in the first half, when the line is + or –1.5 points,) after two or more straight up losses. This system is 25–07 = 78% ATS the past decade as well as 12–02 = 86% the past five seasons plus a perfect 8–0 ATS for 100% in the previous three pre-seasons.
· If the Chiefs are favored by –2 or –2.5 points, the following system would then be live:
· After allowing 7 or more passing yards per attempt in back-to-back games, play against all underdogs in the first half. This system is 38–15 = 72% ATS since 1993 as well as 9–3 = 75% ATS the past three seasons.
· Of the two starting quarterbacks, Alex Smith is more efficient than Jay Cutler. Smith does not take risks, under his leadership the Chiefs control the clock and run a no risk offense. Cutler is apt to throw the ball up for grabs more often than not. Chicago’s offensive line has not been able to protect any of the Bears’ quarterbacks. The Chiefs posses the better overall offense, (Nick Foles as their back-up,) plus Kansas City does have the better overall defense.
· I do not like to lay points in the first half of a preseason game and the line is not posted as of this report, so I suggest the following, take Kansas City on the money line as long as it’s –130 or lower or back the Chiefs at –1 point –120.