Mythical Picks – NFL – Weekend Of 11/20/16


Last week was a “cha-cha week” for Mythical Picks – – two steps forward and then two steps back.  I made 14 picks and the record was 7-7-0.  That makes the cumulative record for the season 82-51-3.

The Curmudgeon Central Coin Flip Protocol was far more successful.  I flipped the coin twice and the record was 2-0-0.  For the season the coin is now in positive/mythically profitable territory at 10-8-0.

The Best Picks of the week were:

  • Cowboys +2.5 against Steelers.  Cowboys won straight up.
  • Titans +3 against Packers.  Titans won by 22 points.

The Worst Picks of the week were:

  • Bears “pick ‘em” against Bucs.  Bears lost by 26 points.
  • Jets -2 against Rams.  Jets lost despite not giving up a TD in the game.

Time for the weekly reminder…  No one should use any information here as the basis for making a real wager on a real NFL game involving real money.  Only a dumbass would do that and here is how dumb that dumbass would have to be:

He thinks Velcro is nothing but a rip off.


General Comments:


In last week’s Thursday Night Football offering, you kinda knew that the game was going to suck from the get-go.  On the first play of the game, the Browns kicked off to the Ravens and nothing of import happened there.  Then, before the Ravens could run the first play of the game from scrimmage, the Browns had to call timeout because someone on the sidelines counted 12 players on defense.  Only, there weren’t 12 players on the field; there were 11.  The game went downhill from there.  As has happened several times this year, the Browns got off to a lead and actually led at halftime 7-6.  Even though rookie QB, Cody Kessler led the Browns to the TD in the first half that gave them the lead there, the Browns pulled him in the 3rd quarter in favor of Josh McCown.  I have no explanation for that decision.

The Ravens’ defense held the Browns to 144 yards’ total offense on 48 offensive plays.  That is exactly 3 yards per play; Woody Hayes was looking down on this game and wondering where the cloud of dust had gone.  The Ravens collected 3 turnovers in the game and managed 4 QB sacks.  How all of that translated to a lead for the Browns at halftime is mysterious even though I watched it unfold.  The final score was 28-7; it was not that close.

The Ravens’ record is 5-4 – which is not particularly noteworthy except for the fact that they now lead the AFC North Division by a game over the Steelers.  This week, the Ravens take on the Cowboys and if they want to be certain to maintain that lead, they are going to have to play a lot better this week than they did last week.

The Steelers lost to those same Cowboys last week 35-30 in what was an immensely entertaining game.  Ezekiel Elliott had 114 yards rushing and another 95 yards receiving and he scored 3 TDs in the game.  Other than that, he was pretty much invisible…  Fellow-rookie Dak Prescott threw for 319 yards.  Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger had one of his 400+ yards passing days in a losing effort; he also managed 3 TD passes.  Perhaps Roethlisberger’s “fake-spike/TD pass to Antonio Brown” was the best play of the year so far?

Staying in the AFC North, the Bengals lost to the Giants 21-20 on MNF.  The Giants dominated the stat sheet but only eked out a win on the scoreboard. Consider:

  • Giants 23 first downs             Bengals 12 first downs
  • Giants 351 yards’ offense       Bengals 264 yards’ offense
  • Giants 2 penalties for 15 yards           Bengals 9 penalties for 60 yards
  • Giants recorded 3 sacks         Bengals recorded 1 sack.

The Giants are now 6-3 and are in a good spot with regard to the NFC Wild Card race.  The Bengals are now 3-5-1 and need to pass both the Steelers and Ravens to get to the top of the AFC North.  While that is not impossible, it is important for the Bengals – the other teams in the AFC North to keep in mind because the way the races are shaping up, it would appear as if only one team from that division is going to make the AFC playoffs this year.

The “legend” of Andy Dalton not being able to win “night games” got another piece of supporting evidence last week.  When the kickoff is at nighttime, Dalton’s record as a starting QB is 5-10.  Last week his passing stats were 16 for 29 for 204 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  While those stats are by no means “Hall of Fame quality” numbers, they are actually inflated and make his performance look better than it was.  In the first quarter – coming from what Jon Gruden called a “goofy formation” – Dalton connected on a 71-yard pass and run to Tyler Eifert.  Therefore, for the rest of the game here is Dalton’s stat line:

  • 15 for 25 for 133 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT

Not good…

The Oakland Raiders had their BYE Week last week but their two main rivals in the AFC West were on the card and they both won.  The Chiefs trailed the Panthers 17-0 at halftime and trailed 17-3 in the 4th quarter.  The Panthers managed to invent ways to lose and the Chiefs found ways to take advantage of every Panthers’ blunder late in the game leading to the Chiefs winning 20-17.  Cam Newton threw a very poor ball that resulted in a Pick Six for the Chiefs and then in the final minute with the score tied, WR Kelvin Benjamin caught a pass and allowed a Chiefs’ defender to steal the ball from him to set up a Chiefs’ field goal that would win the game.  The Chiefs held the ball for less than 25 minutes in the game; the Chiefs were only 2 for 12 on third down conversions; the Chiefs lost the total offense stat by 87 yards; the Chiefs only averaged 4.3 yards per pass.  Nonetheless the Chiefs won.  That puts the Chiefs in first place in the AFC West with a 7-2 record (same as the Raiders) based on a tiebreaker situation.  The Panthers are looking up at the rest of the NFC South with a 3-6 record.  The Panthers are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but unless they find a magic lamp with a genie in it, they are pretty much cooked at this point in the season.

The other AFC West contender, the Broncos, also had a miracle comeback to win last week beating the Saints in New Orleans 25-23.  The margin of victory here was a blocked PAT with about a minute-and-a-half left in the game that was recovered by the defense and returned to the end zone earning 2 points for the Broncos.  This was an “inversion game” for the Saints; their defense played well sacking Broncos’ QB, Trevor Siemian, 6 times; meanwhile, the offense lost 2 fumbles in the 4th quarter giving the Broncos the opportunity to get to the point where that blocked PAT was a difference maker.  The Broncos are 7-3 in the AFC West; their BYE Week comes up this week.  Meanwhile, the Saints at 4-5 – and tied with the Bucs – have ground to make up on the Falcons in the AFC South.

The Falcons gave the other teams in the division a bit of a breather last week when the Falcons lost to the Eagles 24-15.  What happened here is that the Eagles’ defense totally constipated the Falcons offense and shut the system down.  When they kicked off this game, the Falcons had averaged 33.9 points per game as a team; they managed only 15 points last week.  In the previous 9 games, the lowest offensive output for the Falcons had been 363 yards; they managed only 303 yards last week.  The Falcons only ran the ball for 48 yards in the game and were only 2 for 11 on third down situations.  The Eagles held the ball for just over 38 minutes in the game running the ball almost at will for big chunks of yardage.  Led by Ryan Matthews 109 yards and 2 TDs, the Eagles gained 207 yards on 38 carries (5.4 yards per carry).  That Eagles’ victory did not do much for the team regarding the NFC East standings because every team in that division won last week; I mentioned the Cowboys and Giants above so …

The Skins beat the Vikes last week 26-20.  The Vikes got all 20 of their points in the second quarter; other than that, the Vikes’ offense was dormant.  In the second half of the game – if my reading of the Gametracker is correct – the Vikes had the ball for 4 possessions and gained a total of 94 yards on those 4 possessions.  Were it not for the fact that the Vikes’ offense has been pathetic for the entire season, I would call that a dominating defensive performance by the Skins.  The Vikes won their first 5 games of the year and now have lost the next 4.  I am sure that has been done at some point in NFL history but I am far too lazy to go and see when it happened and/or how many times it has happened.  My sense is that it does not happen often…  The Vikes and Lions have the same 5-4 record in the NFC North and the Lions lead the division for the moment thanks to a tiebreaker.


INTERLUDE:  Kirk Cousins stat line last week was 22 for 33 for 262 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs.  For the 2016 season, Cousins had completed 66.9% of his throws; he is averaging 302 yards per game; he has thrown 14 TDs and 7 INTs; he has led 3 fourth quarter comebacks for wins in 9 games.  I mention this because Cousins is playing this year on a franchise tag contract worth $20M in round numbers.  At the end of last year, the Skins did not make him a long-term offer that suited him and put the franchise tag on him.  Reports say the Skins were unwilling to make any offer that was higher than an average of $16M per season over the life of the deal.

  • Memo To Skins’ Braintrust:  Be prepared to go FAR north of those numbers this February.

The Skins have 3 realistic options with Cousins for the years to come.  Underlying all of those options is a simple fact.  Kirk Cousins is their single – and maybe only – best option as a franchise QB for the foreseeable future.  By putting him on the $20M deal for this season the Skins have accomplished the following:

If they franchise him again exclusively, they have to offer him another 1-year deal with a 20% raise.  That means they have to pay him $24M for next year – guaranteed and counting fully toward the Skins salary cap in 2017 – the minute the ink is dry on the contract.

If they offer him a non-exclusive franchise tag, they can let Cousins’ agent seek a long-term deal elsewhere but it would cost the signing team 2 first round picks in addition to what they pay for Cousins. Since that is not a likely scenario, I will ignore it for the moment.

They can reach a long term-deal with Cousins who had great leverage here for two reasons:

If there is no good long-term offer, he can always play next year for $24M.  That is well above the poverty line…

The Skins really do not have a better option to go out and get.  On their roster, they have Colt McCoy who is an excellent back-up/stopgap and Nate Sudfeld who is a rookie QB from Indiana that people speak highly of – but he has never taken a snap in anger in the NFL.  Who are the veteran QBs that will become available this year?  Ryan Fitzpatrick and Colin Kaepernick probably lead the list; there are always the McNown brothers; if a team wanted to trade for Jay Cutler, the Bears might be happy to make such a deal.  If the idea is to draft a franchise QB, then the Skins’ scouts must have uncovered someone that I have not seen in any of the college football games I have watched this year.

Kirk Cousins is the Skins’ best option and he – and his agent – will be using this year’s $20M figure and next year’s default value of $24M as the starting points in the negotiations.  END OF INTERLUDE.


The Green Bay Packers are a team in trouble.  Last week they lost to the Titans 47-25 and it was a real beatdown not a fluke.  The Packers threw the ball 51 times in the game and surrendered 5 sacks; they were penalized 12 times for 107 yards in the game; they converted only 4 of 15 third down attempts and they gave up 5 passing TDs in the game (1 by Titans’ RB, Demarco Murray).  This was a stone-cold bedwetting by the Packers.  At the start of the game, the Packers had the #2 rushing defense in the NFL; the Titans ran for 162 yards in the game.  I understand that the Packers have had significant injuries all over their roster, but in this game, they fell behind 21-0 – and later trailed 35-10 – and seemingly just tossed in the jockstrap early in the game.

The Titans are 5-5 for the year and trail the Texans in the AFC South by only 1.5 games.  At the start of the year, the Titans’ offense was a mirage; in their first 5 games, they managed to score only 79 points; that was 15.8 points per game.  In their last 3 games, the Titans have scored 118 points; that is 39.3 points per game.  Big difference there …

The Bucs beat the Bears 36-10 and the game was not as close as it looks; the Bears’ TD came on Hail Mary with time expiring in the first half.  Other than that, this game was dominated by the Bucs.  The Bears turned the ball over 4 times in this game; that is a bad situation but it was actually worse than that; the Bears committed all 4 of those turnovers in the first half.  When you add 4 sacks given up plus 9 penalties and 2 for 11 on third downs, you can see how the Bears took gas last week.

There is a wagering angle to this game that should be mentioned here.  When I made this Mythical Pick on Thursday morning last week, the line was “pick ‘em” everywhere but 1 sportsbook that had the Bears as a 1-point favorite.  According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, the spread at kickoff time was Bears – 3.  That means there was a lot of money that came in late in the week – lines do not move when people bet tens or hundreds of dollars – and the clear majority of the late money was on the Bears – hence the line movement to entice people to take the Bucs and sort of balance the book.  Given the outcome, the books probably cleaned up on that game last week; all of that “Bears’ money” quickly turned into “house money” …

The Rams beat the Jets 9-6.  This was the totally awaited QB showdown between Case Keenum and Bryce Petty.  Neither QB let the fans down; neither one managed to exceed the truly low expectations anyone had for them.  Here are the stat lines; please do not get your hopes up:

  • Case Keenum: 17 for 30 for 165 yards with 0 TDs and 0 INTs
  • Bryce Petty:  19 for 32 for 163 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.

Be still my heart …

This is the second time this year that the Rams have won a game without scoring a TD; in Week 2, they beat the Seahawks 9-3.  I am sure that teams would win games without scoring a TD more frequently in the 30s and 40s than they do these days but I cannot recall that sort of thing happening any time recently.  The Jets did score a TD; it came on a hook-and-lateral style play from inside the 10 yardline.  That was their only productive possession of the game; other than the TD drive, the Jets had the ball 9 other times; they punted 8 of those times and had the clock expire for halftime on the other possession.  The Rams have scored 2 TDs in their last 3 games; the Rams’ defense is what has kept those games close.  In those 3 games the total scoring by BOTH teams is 65 points.

The Dolphins beat the Chargers 31-24.  Ryan Tannehill threw for 240 yards and 2 TDs in this game; those are not spectacular numbers but they do show that the Dolphins won this game without having to rely on Jay Ajayi to run for 200 yards and dominate the offense.  The Dolphins have now won 4 in a row and are alone in second place in the AFC East.  However, even with the Pats’ loss last week (to be discussed next), the Dolphins remain 2 full game behind the Pats.

Philip Rivers is having a good season but he threw up on his shoes in the fourth quarter last week.  Rivers threw 4 INTs IN THE 4th QUARTER alone.  Nevertheless, the score was tied with a minute to play with the Chargers in possession on the Dolphins side of the field when Rivers threw a Pick Six to LB, Kiko Alonzo.  Ball game…  The Chargers record now stands at 4-6 and they are pretty much out of the playoff picture.  Interestingly, the Chargers have to pay a visit to Cleveland on the next-to-last week of the season (Christmas Eve).  By then the Chargers will be “playing for pride” and they will be in a very “un-San Diego” weather situation.  Might that be where the Browns can find a win for the 2016 season?

The Seahawks beat the Pats 31-24.  The Seahawks won this game in the same way that the Pats won their Super Bowl confrontation – with a goal line stand in the final minute of the game.  The Pats had 4 plays from the 2 yardline and did not score.  The Seahawks also intercepted a pass in the game which is news only because it was the first INT thrown by any Pats’ QB this year; it came in the 9th game of the Pats’ season.  Russell Wilson threw for 348 yards and 3 TDs in the game and rookie RB, CJ Prosise contributed 153 yards from scrimmage in the game.  The Pats still control the AFC East; the Seahawks control the NFC West.  If that game is any indicator, I would not mind seeing a re-match come February in the Super Bowl…

The Texans beat the Jags 24-21.  This is the third highest scoring total for the Texans this year so you might think that this was some kind of offensive breakout.  No, it was not…  The Texans got one TD on a Pick Six; the Texans total passing offense was 92 yards.  Once again, the Jags scored a late TD – just over 2 minutes to go in the game – and made a 2-point conversion to make the score appear as if the game was in doubt for much of the 4th quarter.  It was not…

The Cards beat the Niners 23-20.  Form a wagering perspective, this is the first time since Week 1 when the Niners shut out the Rams that the Niners have covered against the spread.  The Cards were 13-point favorites when I did Mythical Picks on Thursday; they were 14-point favorites in Las Vegas and 14.5-point favorites at Internet wagering sites at kickoff.  The Niners covering tells me that the books cleaned up on that game as they did on the Bears/Bucs game (see above).  The story of the game was that the Cards kept turning the ball over (Niners got 4 turnovers) and the Cards just could not score once they got in the Red Zone (Cards were in Red Zone 5 times and got 2 TDs, 2 field goals and lost a fumble on the 5th visit there).

Chip Kelly’s offense relies on being able to run the football more than a little bit.  Last week, the Niners’ run offense was anemic; featured RB, Carlos Hyde ran the ball 13 times for 14 yards.  That stat is best expressed as:


38.77 inches per carry


Before getting to this week’s games, consider these three stats:


  1. The highest scoring team in the AFC is the San Diego Chargers (293 points in 10 games).  The Chargers are in last place in the AFC West.
  2. The second highest scoring team in the AFC is the Tennessee Titans (264 points in 10 games).  At the start of the season they went 5 games until they scored more than 20 points in a single game.
  3. The Vikings’ offense is dead last in the NFL in terms of yards gained per game.  That’s right; they rank below the Rams, Niners and Browns all of whom are certifiably awful on offense.


The Games:


The Broncos have the week off and might just be considering how short a leash Trevor Siemian needs to have.  If Paxton Lynch is showing anything positive in practice …

The Chargers have the week off and players might begin speculating where the team will play next year to get a jump on the real estate market wherever…

The Falcons have the week off and they need to relocate their running game and to get the front 7 on defense back to tackling opposing running backs…

The Jets get an extra week to look at the film and wonder what the hell they were thinking when they drafted Bryce Petty in the 4th round back in 2015…


(Thurs Nite) New Orleans at Carolina – 3.5 (52):  This has happened before; the NFL offers up the Dog-Breath Game of the Week on Thursday Night and gets that stink out of the way before the main presentation on Sunday.  Both teams come to the kickoff with records below .500; no other game this week can make that claim.  To its credit, this is a division game and that might add a smidgen of spark to the contest, but finding lots of nice things to say here is like digging through a mountain of horsesh*t looking for a pony.  Both teams lost horrible heartbreakers last week (see above); perhaps it will be interesting to see which team cones back from that situation better?  I doubt it.  If the Panthers lose this one, their division record will be 0-4 meaning they will not do well in any tiebreaker situations further meaning they will have to win the division to make the playoffs. The Saints are in a similar – but slightly less dire – situation.  Make this purely a venue call; I’ll take the Panthers to win and cover.


Tennessee at Indy – 3 (53):  The Titans are on a roll; they are scoring points by the barrel (see above).  The Colts’ defense is 30th in the NFL in yards per game allowed (402.8) and they are 29th in the NFL in points allowed per game (28.4).  So, I have to stop and take a look at that spread and wonder what other factor(s) I must be ignoring.  Well, the Colts had their BYE Week last week to recuperate a bit and to have some extra time to plan for this matchup and the game is in Indy where the Colts are historically much better than they are on the road.  A win for the Colts would give them a sweep over the Titans assuring the Colts the head-to-head tiebreaker if needed in January 2017.  Oh, and Andrew Luck sliced and diced the Titans’ defense for 353 yards in that encounter a month ago.  I have not talked myself into taking the Titans here but I have talked myself into subjecting this game to the Curmudgeon Central Coin Flip Protocol; the coin says to take the Titans plus the points.  That brings everything full circle because that is what I thought I wanted to do in the first place…


Jax at Detroit – 6.5 (47):  How nice was last weekend to the Lions?  They got to sit home and rest and watch the Vikes, Packers and Bears all lose their games putting the idle Lions in first place in the NFC North.  This week, they get to stay home and welcome the Jags who bring their 2-7 record to the kickoff.  I’ll take the Lions and lay the points here.  However, let me also say that I will not be shocked to see the Jags score a meaningless TD in the final 2 minutes to cover here.  The Jags have been known to do that more than occasionally.


Tampa at KC – 7.5 (45):  The Chiefs are hot; they are in first place in the AFC West (thanks to a tiebreaker); they have won 5 in a row; they are undefeated at home.  The Bucs had a big win last week albeit over the decrepit Bears; the Bucs need this game to maintain relevance in their division; the Bucs are better on the road (3-1) than they are at home this year (1-4).  I think this will be a low scoring game and I am tempted to take the UNDER here.  However, in that kind of game, I will choose to take the Bucs plus the generous helping of points.


Chicago at Giants – 7.5 (45.5):  Before I go any further, the Bears stink; let me get that out of the way.  Here is the issue at hand with the line on this game.  The Giants are 6-3 on the season.  They beat the Rams by 7 points; that was the Giants’ largest margin of victory for the season.  The Giants do not score points; they only average 20.2 points per game.  Yes, I know, the Bears do not score either (15.7 points per game) but I find it hard to take the Giants (better team to be sure) and to lay more than a TD’s worth of points.  Purely a hunch, I’ll take the Bears plus the points on the road.  I said at the beginning that the Bears stink so I am holding my nose as I make this pick…


Arizona at Minnesota “pick ‘em” (41):  If you consider the expectations for these teams back in August, you would have to say they are both “grossly underachieving”.  Cards’ WR, Larry Fitzgerald missed practice on Wednesday following a knee injury last week that required an MRI after the game; the team says he is “day-to-day” as if that were not the case for everyone on the planet.  The oddsmaker wants me to pick a winner here so I will take the Cards to win the game because I think they are in a much better place as a team than the Vikes are as of today.


Buffalo at Cincy – 2.5 (47):  With a record of 3-5-1, you would expect that this was a do-or-die game for the Bengals but it really isn’t.  In the AFC North, the Ravens are in the lead at 5-4 and the Ravens face a tough game this week.  The Bills would never say this out loud, but they are out of the AFC East race with 5 losses on the books already.  The Bills represent an interesting public misconception that is based on image and reputation instead of reality.  Folks think of the Bills as a “defensive team”.  Even though the Bills have a sub-.500 record this year at 4-5, they have outscored opponents this year 237-202; in their 9 games, the Bills have scored only 4 fewer points than the Pats have scored – and everyone knows the Pats are an “offensive team”.  I like this game to go OVER.


Baltimore at Dallas – 7 (45):  I think this is the Game of the Week.  After all, it pits two teams that are in sole possession of first place in their divisions against one another.  The Cowboys rush for 161 yards per game – best in the NFL.  Ravens allow 71.3 yards per game rushing – best in the NFL.  In terms of points per game allowed, the Ravens are slightly better allowing 1.2 fewer points per game.  The teams are very similar in passing yards per game.  The big difference is in scoring offense.  The Cowboys are 4th in the NFL scoring 28.7 points per game while the Ravens are tied for 24th in the league scoring 20.2 points per game.  I like the Cowboys at home to win and cover here.


Pittsburgh – 7.5 at Cleveland (47.5):  This spread opened the week at 10 points; it dropped to 9 points almost immediately and has been inching downward for the balance of the week.  People like to talk about “stability” in various sports franchises.  Here is a stat related to “stability” you should keep in mind regarding these teams:

  • Since 1969, the Steelers have had 3 head coaches.
  • Since 2013, the Browns have had 3 head coaches.

When you think of teams with big losing streaks this year, the Browns and Niners leap to mind.  Check carefully, and you will see that the Steelers have lost 4 in a row as have the Vikes.  The difference between the Steelers’ situation and the Vikes’ situation is that the Steelers get to play the JV squad this week.  I think the Steelers will blow up the Browns here; I’ll take the Steelers and lay the points even on the road.


Miami – 1 at LA (40):  This spread opened with the Rams as a 1-point favorite but that did not last long at all.  You can still find this game as a “pick ‘em” game at 2 sportsbooks this morning, but the rest of the books have the game at this number.  The Dolphins are hot; they are in second place in the AFC East and if/when one of the top AFC West teams trips up, the Dolphins are the team in a position to get right in the middle of a race for a wild card slot.  They are not a great road team (1-3 this season) but they are playing the Rams who are not a great home team (1-3 this season).  In terms of scoring defense, the teams are similar; Rams allow 19.2 points per game and Dolphins allow 22.9 points per game.  On offense, however, the Dolphins score 22.7 points per game while the Rams score only 15.7 points per game – lowest in the NFL.  I like the Dolphins to win and cover here.


New England – 13 at SF (51):  I hate double-digit spreads in NFL games.  Here we have a very good team (Pats) coming off a last-minute home loss last week traveling across 3 time zones to play an absolutely horrid team (Niners) that has been outscored by just over 10 points per game this season.  On paper, this is a nightmare game for the Niners, but it is also a relatively inconsequential game for the Pats.  It is not a division game; it is not a conference game; it is a road game; the Pats have a comfortable lead in the AFC East.  I will make this a Curmudgeon Central Coin Flip Game and the coin says to take the Niners plus the points.  YOWZA!


Philly at Seattle – 6 (44):  This is not the Game of the Week but it is certainly one of the most interesting games of the week.  The Eagles’ rookie QB gets to play against the stingy Seahawks’ defense in Seattle against the “12th man”.  When Carson Wentz played the against the Vikes’ defense in Philly, he played well and the Eagles won the game; this is a game against a similarly stingy defense but in a far less cozy environment.  This game has layers of interest beyond the final score.  The Seahawks are undefeated at home; the Eagles are 1-4 on the road.  I like the Seahawks to win and cover here.


(Sun Nite) Green Bay at Washington – 2.5 (50):  I mentioned above Andy Dalton’s “inability” to win night games.  Well, apply that criterion to this game and here is what you find:


In the past 6 weeks, the Packers are 2-0 playing at night and 0-4 playing in the daytime.  That makes them a “Count Dracula Team”, right?

The Skins are more like Andy Dalton and the Bengals here.  In their last 12 night games, the Skins’ record is 2-10.


I have no feel for this game at all.  I can see ways for either team to wax the other one and have no idea which team will show up ready to be efficient and effective.  It is not as if either team is “reliable”.  I will turn this game over to the Curmudgeon Central Coin Flip Protocol, and the coin says to take the game to go OVER.


(Mon Nite) Houston vs. Oakland – 5.5 (46) [Game is in Mexico City]:  This game is the obverse of the traditional argument about the irresistible force versus the immovable object.  This game pairs the worst passing offense in the NFL so far in 2016 (Texans at 187 yards per game) against a very porous pass defense, 30th in the NFL, so far in 2016 (Raiders at 283.2 yards per game).  Which team’s level of “suckitude” will prevail in this confrontation?  I like the Raiders’ offense to take charge here.  I’ll take the Raiders and lay the points in what is actually a road game for both squads.


Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times from earlier this week:

“And in the latest protest news, Buccaneers wideout Mike Evans took a knee during the national anthem Sunday, saying he’ll never stand as long as Donald Trump is president.  Monday, it was revealed he didn’t even vote, and Tuesday he said he’ll be back to standing again.

“In other words, this receiver didn’t go long.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………