"All warfare is based on deception," Sun Tzu wrote in his classic military manifesto, "The Art Of War." And few people know that better than NFL coaches. If teams won games based on predictions or by having the more skilled players, there would be no reason to play the game.
Alas, I remember watching the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl against the Giants of New York. The Patriots were heavy favorites, however, I saw an advantage that lay in favor of the Giants. Most football junkies I discussed my assertion with discarded it as mere foolery.
Nevertheless, my theory was simple, attack their strength-- their QB and WR. The Giants did so and scrapped away a win.
For my "Featured Prediction" this year, I will start with the Houston Texans. The Raiders will use three military strategies from Sun Tzu's "The Art Of War" to dismantle the Texans high-octane offense.
Strategic Point #1: "If he is taking his ease, give him no rest."-- Art of War
Against a team with a good quarterback, don't let him have the ease of sitting in the pocket. The Raiders will blitz all day long, giving Matt Shaub no time to rest.
Strategic Point #2: If equally matched, you may engage him"-- Art of War
Andre Johnson is the best receiver in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha is the best CB. Look for Asomugha to shadow Johnson all day, while the front seven blitzes Shaub. This approach will take Shaub out of his comfort zone and force him into riskier throws to less capable receivers.
Strategic Point #3: "When five times his strength, attack him"-- Art of War
The Texans are weak in the run game, so expect Richard Seymour and Rolando McClain to attack the running backs up the middle and from sideline to sideline.
In conclusion: The Raiders used this strategy last year against the Philadelphia Eagles. The mixture of zone coverages and blitzes caused sacks and confusion, which shut down the 2nd highest scoring offense in the NFL. The Texans, like the Eagles, have one go to receiver and tight-end with a suspect running game.
Thoughts? Further predictions?