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Too often it seems the NFL recycles play designers and does not give young designers a chance. So QC wants to recognize two of those young designers. The "Offensive Coordinator of the Year" for the first third of the season is Cleveland's Kyle Shannahan. For years, most have thought Kyle's spot on an NFL staff derived mostly from his being the son of Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shannahan. In his first year away from pops and his protege, Baltimore OC Gary Kubiak, Kyle has proved he belongs. With a QB who had been rejected by several other teams, Brian Hoyer, and no wide receiver that anyone else wanted, the Browns have become one of the most productive offenses in the league. In a 31-10 beat down of Pittsburgh, Hoyer threw for 217 yards on only 17 attempts. Steelers HOF DC Dick LeBeau had no answer. Kyle has emphasized Cleveland's biggest strength, a terrific offensive line that got a lot better and nastier when it added G Joel Bitonio in the 2014 draft. Unfortunately, the Browns lost standout center Alex Mack to a leg injury. But if Kyle keeps coming up with those effective play designs, Cleveland may hang around in the race for the AFC North crown.


The "Defensive Coordinator of the Year" for the first third is Detroit's Teryl Austin. When the Lions hired Jim Caldwell to replace Jim Schwartz, nobody paid much attention when he brought Austin with him from Baltimore and promoted him to DC. But everybody is noticing now. After Detroit throttled Minnesota rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater on the road, the Lions D is tops in the NFL. Most people exepected new OC Joe Lombardi and new WR Golden Tate and TE Eric Ebron to team with QB Matt Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson, and RB Reggie Bush to provide an explosive attack. But despite injuries in the secondary and to rookie LB Kyle Van Noy, it has been Austin's unit that has carried the team.


What is a bad gambling beat? Assume you took 8.5 points against one of the worst designed, most turnover-prone teams in the league against one of the best designed teams. Suppose that your team's productivity was below the JaMarcus Cable and the team finished minus-2 in the turnover battle. Teams that meet those criteria lose by 9 or more points 70 percent of the time. Such was the case in Denver's 31-17 win over the New York Jets. But, because the Broncos got their final points on a pick-6 from Aquib Talib with less than 30 seconds to play, many who put their money on the Jets felt they had suffered a "bad beat." That's not true. Those who bet on Rex Ryan's team suffered a "late beat," but given the final statistics of the game, the outcome was exactly as expected. One of gambling's greatest traps is the "close loss." It has been shown that slot machine players who almost win on a spin of the slot put more money into a machine than those who actually win. It stands to reason that the same dynamic would apply in sports betting. So be careful out there and don't fall into this trap. And, please, don't bet on the Jets.

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