NFL 2018 Season - Week 16
 

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Remote Control
by Dennis Ranahan

For many individuals picking National Football League preseason games is like they are trying to open their garage door with the television remote. How they pick games just doesn’t matchup with what dictates the action.

Tonight, the NFL kicks off the first full week of preseason games. Don’t you know that some bettors are going to head to the window and place money on the Green Bay Packers or New England Patriots because they are good teams and have Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as their starting quarterbacks.

Now, in September, that strategy will sometimes work, but in August, betting on a team based on talent and star quarterbacks is like, well, trying to open your garage with the TV remote.

Brady has played in only one of the past four New England preseason openers, and that appearance consisted of taking only seven snaps three years ago. Bill Belichick has not revealed his plans for tonight, but history tells us that Brady will not be a big part of the action particularly when considering the amount of rain that has fallen at Gillette Stadium in recent days.

With his reliable backup, Jimmy Garoppolo, now miles away and playing with the San Francisco 49ers, the Patriots are not nearly the team they will be when they open defense of their American Football Conference Championship next month against the Houston Texans.

Last year, the Packers were besieged by key injuries. Most notable was Rodgers, but the list of wounded didn’t stop there. Head Coach Mike McCarthy has already indicated that he will be working his team into shape while paying considerable attention to bringing players back from last season’s injuries judiciously.

What does that mean?

A lot, when you are using the right control to manage the right instrument.

The Packers have not had to put any undue emphasis on preseason scores. They are one of those teams that respects they can use the preseason for development and preparation with full expectations of success when the bell rings for real next month.

Tonight, they host the Tennessee Titans, a team on a clear upswing that cracked the playoff field last year and won a postseason game in Kansas City. They did this while totally unsatisfied with their head coach, Mike Mularkey. The week after the Titans won that road playoff game against the Chiefs, they were beaten in New England. Mularkey was subsequently replaced by one-time Patriots star and recent NFL assistant Mike Vrabel.

Tonight, at Lambeau Field, Vrabel will make his NFL head coaching debut, and it should go much better for him that he probably even expects.

First year head coaches have a solid record against the spread on the road in their first preseason game. More importantly, Vrabel is taking a playoff caliber squad into Packersland with more incentive to win than the home team going through their initial drill in preparation for September.

Three plays off the opening preseason schedule currently rank as solid money propositions, and the first on that list is against the Packers in Green Bay.

Qoxhi Picks: Tennessee Titans (pk) over Green Bay Packers