Football Friday 9/13/19

There are great confluences in the world such as:

  • Chocolate and peanut butter
  • The Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers
  • Buddy Holly and The Crickets

Today commemorates a significantly minor confluence of events.  Football Friday takes place on Friday the Thirteenth.  All triskaidekaphobics can stop reading here…

Before going into this week’s offering, let me look back on last week’s Six-Pack.  The record was 4-2.  The two losses were Seattle – 9.5 over Cincy and Pittsburgh +6 against New England.  Neither of those two games was even close.

 

College Football Commentary:

 

Linfield College begins its 2019 season this weekend traveling cross-country to play Rowan University in pursuit of yet another winning season in football.  Go Wildcats!

Starting off on a sort of sad note, Les Miles is no longer undefeated in Lawrence, KS.  Coastal Carolina came visiting last week and left with a 12-7 victory.  Kansas started the season with a game against a Division 1-AA school (Indiana State) and a Sun Belt school (Coastal Carolina).  That is the easy part of their schedule; from here on out, they play Boston College this weekend and then 9 games against Big 12 rivals.

Last week, I said that the winner of the Arkansas/Ole Miss game might be looking at its only SEC conference win for the year.  Well, Ole Miss won that game handily by 3 TDs.  If I am correct that Arkansas will go winless in the SEC this year, that will make it 2 years in a row that the Razorbacks will be the doormat of the SEC.  I guess it’s a good thing that Frank Broyles is no longer around to see what has become of Arkansas football.

Speaking of an SEC team that has started out poorly, please take note of Tennessee.  The Vols led BYU 16-13 with 30 seconds to play; BYU had the ball at its own 20-yardline; it was 3rd and 6 for the Cougars.  That is when the Tennessee defense decided to give up a 64-yard pass play that set up the game-tying field goal with 2 seconds to go to send the game to OT.  Not surprisingly, the Vols lost in the second OT 29-26.  Tennessee is now 0-2 for the season with losses to Georgia State and BYU; this week Tennessee hosts Tennessee-Chattanooga in what has to be a must-win game because the next 4 games on Tennessee’s dance card are:

  • At Florida
  • Vs Georgia
  • Vs Mississippi State
  • At Alabama

A loss this week might have the Vols looking at an 0-7 start to the 2019 season…

Missouri beat West Virginia 38-7; please do not confuse Missouri with the powerhouses in the SEC; Mizzou is one of the lower-middle class of that conference.  That leads me to wonder what the [bleep] is going on with football in Morgantown WV?  The Mountaineers had their hands full with Division 1-AA James Madison two weeks ago and then got blown out here.  Not a good omen…

Purdue beat Vandy 42-24 in a game where Purdue QB, Elijah Sindelar merely threw for 504 yards in the game and Purdue WR Rondale Moore contributed to that total by catching 220 yards worth of that total.  Purdue was one-dimensional in the game, however.  Running the ball produced only 31 yards on 18 attempts.

In what was probably the best game of the weekend, LSU went to Texas and beat the Longhorns 45-38.  Times are changing in Baton Rouge.  Who can remember LSU going on the road and winning a shoot-out game against a ranked opponent?  That did not happen often.  Using a spread offense this year, QB Joe Burrow looks like a modern QB.  He shredded the Texas defense going 31-39 for 471 yards and 4 TDs.  The Tigers get a breather this week against Northwestern State.  The line for that game opened at 51.5 points…

Alabama beat New Mexico St. 62-10 and did not cover the 54.5-point spread on the game.  New Mexico St. has now lost its first two games (Washington St. and Alabama) by a combined score of 120-17.  Next up for the Aggies is a visit by San Diego St. – a team that beat UCLA last week.  I suspect that New Mexico St. would be a 9-point underdog to Conjoined Twins College if such a team were on their schedule…

Since I mentioned that San Diego St. beat UCLA 23-14 last week, let me point out two things here:

  • This is the first time in school history that San Diego St. has beaten UCLA in a football game.
  • UCLA is 0-2 to start the season with this week’s task – a visit by Oklahoma – making it look like an 0-3 start to the season.

Chip Kelly’s image as a football innovator and dominant coach is going to be just a bit tarnished by the end of this year…

Staying with PAC-12 teams for the moment, Cal rallied from a 10-3 halftime deficit to beat Washington 20-19 in a game that was delayed by lightening/rain in Seattle for a bit more than 2 hours.  Washington was the consensus choice to win the PAC-12 North this year but this game showed that the Cal defense is for real and that the Cal running attack is serious.  Cal ran the ball 36 times for 194 yards against a good Washington defense.

Utah beat Northern Illinois 35-17 using defense and a controlled offense to win the game.

Oregon crushed Nevada 77-6.  In Week 1, Oregon lost at the end of the game to a ranked Auburn team.  In Week 1, Nevada upset Purdue out of the Big 10.  This game was 35-6 at halftime – – and then things got worse for the Wolfpack.  Not only did Oregon run up 621 yards on offense, the Oregon defense held Nevada to a total of 173 yards total offense.

Hawaii beat a PAC-12 team for the second week in a row.  Oregon St. – not one of the elite PAC-12 teams to be sure – ventured across half the Pacific Ocean and lost the game 31-28.  The margin of victory cane on a last second field goal by a kicker who had missed three field goal attempts earlier in the game.

Colorado rallied in the second half to beat Nebraska.  The Huskers led at halftime 17-0; the final score had Colorado prevailing 34-31 in OT.  I guess the Nebraska defensive unit did not remember to take the field after the halftime festivities…

Brad Dickson had a Tweet about this game musing about the possibility that Ralphie the Buffalo could go into retirement at the end of the season:

“This is Ralphie’s last season. Next year he’s being replaced by a plant-based mascot.  How obnoxious is Ralphie? Even PETA said, ‘Go ahead – use him for animal experiments.’”

Brad Dickson graduated from the University of Nebraska if you had not already figured that out…

ACC teams had some setbacks last week.  Maryland beat Syracuse like drum 63-20.  Maryland scored 79 points in Week 1 against Howard; the question was whether they might be able to do that against a “real” defense.  I guess the answer is “Yes.”  Syracuse was ranked in the Top 25 for what that is worth going into the game.  Maryland ran the ball 45 times for 354 yards on the ground and a total of 650 yards on offense.  The schedule for Maryland over the nest six games looks manageable:

  • At Temple
  • Vs Penn State
  • At Rutgers
  • At Purdue
  • Vs Indiana
  • At Minnesota

Florida State won their game last week – – but it was not a feelgood time in Tallahassee.  The final score was Florida State 45 and Louisiana-Monroe 44 – – in OT no less.  The game was in Tallahassee so all the Seminole fans and boosters could see this game in all its ugliness.  Florida State led 24-7 at the half; the game looked as if were in the bag.  The margin of victory was a missed PAT by La-Monroe in that OT period.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but La-Monroe was supposed to be a “breather” on the Florida State schedule not a “nail-biter”.  La-Monroe is a Sun Belt team and playing against that caliber of competition, 2012 was the last winning season for La-Monroe.  The game was an embarrassment for Florida State.

Clemson is an ACC team that did not soil the sheets last weekend.  Clemson played a good Texas A&M team and beat the Aggies 24-10.  It took a Texas A&M TD in the final 10 seconds of the game to make the game as close as it was – and to give the Aggies a classic backdoor cover against a 17.5-point spread.  Glancing at the Clemson schedule from here on, I really don’t think they are going to face a team ranked in the Top 25 until – possibly – in the ACC Championship Game.  I am not banging on Clemson’s scheduling; that assessment is a cold-hearted view of ACC football for the 2019 season.  Pencil Clemson in as the #1 seed in the CFP this year…

In Big 10 action, it took Michigan 2 OTs to beat Army 24-21.  From my perspective, Army outplayed the Wolverines for most of the game.

Ohio State trucked Cincy 42-0.  After Cincy beat UCLA in Week 1, some people said that the Cincy defense was really good, and we would be hearing about it all season long.  Ohio State ran the ball for 270 yards here and threw it for another 234 yards.  There was one humorous moment in the game:

  • A player for Cincy made a tackle and the name on the back of his jersey was “Tucky”.
  • I said to one of my Las Vegas comrades that I hoped his parents had not named him “Ken”.
  • They did not; the player is Ethan Tucky

Penn State beat Buffalo 45-13.  The unusual stat from this game is the Buffalo had the ball for about 43 minutes; normally, a team that holds the ball that long wins the game.  Not here…

After a dominating win in Week 1 over UMass, I said that Rutgers was stepping up in class with Iowa on the other side of the ball.  The final score was Iowa 30 and Rutgers Nil.

UCF beat FAU last week 45-17.  There was another unusual stat to come out of this game:

  • UCF completed only 7 passes in the game.
  • Those passes went for 245 yards and 2 TDs.

 

Games of Interest this week:

 

Clemson – 28 at Syracuse (65):  Maryland dropped 63 on Syracuse last week; this game is going to be ugly.  The Total Line here opened at 57 and has risen by 8 points during the week – – very unusual.

Oklahoma – 22 at UCLA (73.5):  This has the potential to be another ugly blowout.  The Total Line here opened the week at 66.5 points; it has risen 7 points during the week.  The oddsmakers are rarely that far wrong about public sentiment on such lines.  Oh, by the way, after facing Oklahoma this week, UCLA will get to try to stop the Washington State offense next week.  It is not going to be a happy time in Westwood any time soon.

New Mexico at Notre Dame – 35 (64):  The interesting thing about this game is that New Mexico coach, Bob Davie, will not travel with the Lobos to South Bend.  Davie had a “health incident” after last week’s game and in a statement, he said that the EMTs probably saved his life.  Davie was an assistant coach and an interim head coach for a game at Notre Dame about 25 years ago…

Florida – 8 at Kentucky (48):  Florida had a “breather” last week against Tennessee-Martin; Kentucky had an easy time with E. Michigan.  Here two good defensive teams from the SEC East will bang on one another for about 3 hours…

Maryland – 7 at Temple (67):  Temple has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game after handling Division 1-AA Bucknell in its opening game.

Hawaii at Washington – 22 (59):  This is the third consecutive PAC-12 opponent for Hawaii and they have beaten the first two.  Can they complete the trifecta here?  I doubt it because they are not at home for this game; Washington is a better team than either Arizona or Oregon St.; Washington should be highly motivated coming off a conference loss to Cal last week.  Purely a hunch, but I’ll put Washington in the Six-Pack to win and cover.

Cal Poly-SLO at Oregon St. – 14.5 (76):  Oregon St. has lost its first two games losing badly at home to Oklahoma State and then to Hawaii on the road.  If – I said IF – they lose here to start 0-3, the schedule ahead looks bleak for them.  On the Oregon State website, they have the PAC-12 Championship Game listed as a TBD on December 6.  There are two words that describe Oregon State participating in that game:

  • NOT – – and – – HAPPENING

Texas – 32 at Rice (56):  Rice has lost its first two games to Army and Wake Forest.  Texas scored 38 points on LSU’s defense last week – – even though that was not enough to produce a win.  This game will be over by some point early in the 2nd quarter.

Florida Atlantic – 2.5 at Ball State (65):  Ball St. is 1-1 – losing to Indiana in the opener and then demolishing Division 1-AA Fordham last week.  Florida Atlantic is 0-2 but those two losses have been to Ohio State and UCF.  I like FAU to win and cover here, so I’ll put it in the Six-Pack.

UMass at UNC-Charlotte – 20 (67.5):  UMass is 0-2 having been blown out by Rutgers and then by Southern Illinois.  Any team that loses to UMass this year deserves all the scorn it will get…

Alabama – 25 at S. Carolina (62):  Because of an injury to starting QB, Jake Bentley, the Gamecocks will start a true freshman at QB against Alabama.  Good luck with that…

Florida State – 7.5 at Virginia (58):  The Seminoles looked dispirited and disorganized last week against La-Monroe.  Virginia beat Pitt to open the season and then stomped on Division 1-AA William and Mary last week.  The undefeated team at home is getting points from a winless team on the road…  All right, then.

Oklahoma – 23.5 at UCLA (73.5):  It will be a long day – – and a long season – – for Chip Kelly.  This game should get completely out of hand quickly.  Here is another game where the Total Line has risen during the week; it started out at 66.5 points and is now up a full TD.

 

NFL Commentary:

 

Last week, Skins’ coach Jay Gruden did not put Adrian Peterson on the active roster.  Reports in the local media very politely said that Peterson was “upset” by that decision.  Rumors are flaring about how and why this happened; I have no idea if any of these are close to accurate so take the one you like best – – or make up one of your own.

  • Rumor 1:  Jay Gruden wanted to cut Peterson and use that roster spot elsewhere but was directed by “upstairs” in the Skins’ organization to keep him.
  • Rumor 2:  Peterson is very intense on the sidelines lobbying for more carries for himself.  Jay Gruden does not like to be distracted from his play calling duties, so he kept Peterson in street clothes for Game 1.
  • Rumor 3:  Peterson is good friends with Skins’ estranged tackle, Trent Williams, and they have a mutual business interest in Houston.  The Skins’ Front Office wants to minimize Peterson’s role with the team because they see him as a conduit of information to Williams

Here is what I know…  The Skins decided to use Derrius Guice as their featured RB this year – – and of course he injured his knee and had surgery yesterday; he is out between 4 and 8 weeks  Now, the Skins can either use Peterson in that role or try to patch together a running game that features Chris Thompson, Wendell Smallwood and Craig Reynolds (currently on the Practice Squad).

[Aside:  NFL running backs get a lot of injuries.  Derrius Guice missed all last year with a knee injury and now will miss a big chunk of his second year in the league.  The Skins’ scouts and “Draft Board mavens” have shown a propensity to draft RBs who come to the league “pre-injured”.  Guice missed a significant part of his junior season at LSU with – – wait for it – – a leg injury.]

The Miami Dolphins are fielding a junior varsity level team this year aiming for a top draft pick in 2020.  Coach Brian Flores has asserted multiple times that the team is not “tanking” despite the fact that the Front Office in Miami has traded away most of the players who have any trade value.  There was a most appropriate signing by the Dolphins this week:

  • The Tanking Dolphins signed free agent defensive end, Cornelius “Tank” Carradine.

If someone wrote that into a movie script, the film director would have it deleted as too obvious…

Last week, the Jags lost at home to the Chiefs 40-26.  QB Nick Foles had to leave the game in the first quarter with a broken collarbone and the prognosis is that he will be out 8 weeks.  His sub was Gardner Minshew who played last year for Mike Leach at Washington State.  Minshew acquitted himself well going 22-25 for 275 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT.  The fact is that the Chiefs’ pass pressure was tepid last week; this week Minshew will face the Texans who play better defense.

I saw a bit of LeSean McCoy with the Chiefs and while he may not be ready to be a feature RB carrying the ball 25 times a game anymore, he played well.  He ran the ball 10 times for 81 yards and caught 1 pass for 12 yards.  Not bad for a 31-year old RB…

I want to say a word here about Nick Foles.  He is a devout religious man who has said in the past that he intends to become a pastor once his football career is over.  That is a noble undertaking – certainly more noble that writing things called Football Friday and posting them on a website.  Notwithstanding the fact that I am not devoutly religious, I might point out here that God may have a message for Nick Foles that he might want to consider:

  • Nick Foles has had good health and plenty of success when playing for Philly and living in the Philly area.
  • Nick Foles has had limited success and some injury issues when playing for St. Louis, KC and/or Jax.
  • Maybe Nick Foles should consider taking his ministry to the Philadelphia area…?

During the NFL offseason, the Cleveland Browns were the roster building winners.  They traded for Odell Beckham, Jr, and acquired Jarvis Landry to catch those passes from Baker Mayfield.  They will get Kareem Hunt as part of their backfield once his 8-game suspension is served.  Their defense drew lots of very positive accolades.  The Browns were the trendiest Super Bowl pick on the board.  And then they started to play the regular season games…

The Browns trailed the Titans 15-13 with about 2 minutes left in the third quarter.  Then the roof caved in:

  • Defense gave up a 75-yard pass in the flat to Derrick Henry.  Titans 22-Browns 13.
  • Defense gave up 2 short TD passes from Marcus Mariotta to Delanie Walker.  Titans 36-Browns 13.  Time left is 9:03 in the fourth quarter.
  • Baker Mayfield tosses a Pick Six.  Titans 43-Browns 13.  Time left is 3:02 in the fourth quarter.
  • Add these up and you find 28 unanswered points by the Titans in a game that had a 2-point differential with 17 minutes on the clock…

By the way, Baker Mayfield threw 3 INTs in the game and was tackled in the end zone for a safety.  Mayfield and his Browns’ teammates have done a lot of woofing in the offseason about their prospects and about other players in the league.  When it was time to play for real, the Browns reverted to – – being the Browns.

Bob Molinaro had this to say about the Browns in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot last week:

“America’s Team: No franchise is getting more early media play than the Browns. Between Weeks 2 and 5, Baker Mayfield and Co. are featured on Monday and Sunday night games three times.”

Let me turn to another miserable performance by an NFL team last week – – this one also by a team that year-over-year continues to find new ways to disappoint its fanbase.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Detroit Lions.

For 3 quarters of their game against the Arizona Cardinals with that new-fangled air raid offense, the Lions throttled that offense.  The longest “drive” for Cards was 11 yards in the first half.  At the end of 3 quarters, the Lions led 17-6.  Then the Lions reverted to – – being the Lions.

In the 4th quarter, they gave up almost 200 yards of offense to the Cardinals who managed to tie the score at 24 to send the game to overtime.  Time expired with both teams having kicked a field goal on the overtime period, so the game goes into the record books as a tie.  This game was played in Arizona and I swear you could smell the funk all the way up to Las Vegas…

The Miami Dolphins quest to stink out the joint in 2019 was on track last week losing to the Ravens 59-10.  The Dolphins showed no particular aptitude in any phase of this game; it was a rout from start to finish.  Even when John Harbaugh pulled QB, Lamar Jackson, from the game and substituted RG3, the bleeding did not stop.  Here is RG3’s stat line:

  • 6-6 for 55 yards and 1 TD with 0 INTs
  • He also ran the ball 4 times for 9 yards.

There was an unnecessary bit of piling on here.  Leading 35-3 near the end of the first half, John Harbaugh called for a fake punt which resulted in 60-yard run that set up yet one more first-half TD.

The Bills/Jets game was “ragged” – to be polite.  There were plenty of mistakes by both teams that kept the game relatively close.  The Jets led 6-0 at the half and 16-3 after 3 quarters.  Then the Bills rallied to win the game 17-16.  The Jets’ kicker last week was Kaare Vedvick; he missed a field goal and a PAT in this game that was decided by a single point.  Vedvick was cut by the Jets and is now looking for work…  One bright light from the game is that Jamison Crowder – signed by the Jets as a free agent in the offseason – caught 14 passes for 99 yards.

The Bears lost to the Packers 10-3 on Thursday night to open the season.  Mitchell Trubisky soiled the sheets in this game; he kept going to check down receivers and the Packers were having none of that.  Trubisky’s stat line was 26-45 for 228 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT; that is only 5.1 yards per pass attempt.  The Bears’ defense is good enough to keep them in games for most of the season, but that offense has to do a lot more than it showed last Thursday night.  Three points in 60 minutes don’t feed the bulldog…

[Aside: The Bears traded up to take Mitchell Trubisky in the draft.  In that same draft, we saw the Chiefs trade up to take Patrick Mahomes.  Seems as if the Chiefs’ scouts and draft strategists had an advantage over their Bears’ counterparts there…]

The Falcons lost badly to the Vikes last week.  They were pushed around by the Vikes offense and had difficulty gaining any traction against the Vikes’ defense.  Matt Ryan threw the ball 46 times and produced 12 points.  Kirk Cousins only threw the ball 10 times and produced 28 points.  The Vikes ran the ball 38 times for 172 yards.  Somewhere, Woody Hayes gave this game a fist pump…  This was an old-fashioned butt-stomping.

Even thought the Colts lost to the Chargers in Week 1 30-24 in OT, the Colts showed a lot stronger than many folks might have imagined given the late pre-season retirement announcement by Andrew Luck.  Let me be clear; I do not think that Jacoby Brisset is going to lead the Colts to a Super Bowl win next February.  At the same time, he showed last week that he is not a stumblebum who cannot tie his shoes and whistle a tune at the same time.  Austin Ekeler stood in as Melvin Gordon’s replacement for the Chargers and scored 3 TDs for the Chargers.  Melvin Who?  On the Colts’ side of the ledger, Colts’ RB, Marlon Mack carried the ball 25 times to gain 274 yards rushing.

The Niners beat the Bucs despite a lackluster offensive showing by Jimmy G and his cohorts.  Jameis Winston contributed significantly to the Niners win tossing 3 INTs and 2 of them were of the Pick-6 variety.  (He also fumbled the ball twice just to keep everyone in the stands and watching at home on TV awake and alert.)  Bruce Arians was supposed to be the guy who could teach Winston to be more careful with the ball.  One game is too small a sample to declare that supposition a failure – – but it surely was a failure for Week 1.  Since entering the NFL in 2015 Jameis Winston has been the “interception leader” in the NFL.

The Seahawks beat the Bengals in Seattle by a single point.  A win is a win, but this is not a positive omen.  The Seahawks defense gave Andy Dalton his biggest passing day of his career with 418 yards – – and that was without AJ Green catching the passes.

The Eagles were sleepwalking in the first half trailing 17-0 and then 20-7 at halftime against the Skins.  Nonetheless, this game exposed a significant weakness for Skins.  – – the secondary does not cover deep very well.  DeSean Jackson caught TD passes of 51 yards and 53 yards.  The second half was totally different; the Eagles were dominant.  The Skins DL is the source of most fan-pride in this area.  Against the Eagles the unit was AWOL.  Two stats to consider:

  1. On third down, Carson Wentz was 12 for 13 for 178 yards and 3 TDs.
  2. Eagles also ran the ball for 116 yards in the game.

[Aside:  DeSean Jackson is now one of only two players in NFL history to catch 30 or more TD passes of 50 yards or longer.  That “other player” is Jerry Rice.  Jackson now has 31 TD catches in this category; Rice retired having caught 36.]

The Pats humiliated the Steelers 33-3.  They ran the ball at will and they threw it wherever they wanted.  By the way, Tom Brady can still throw the ball downfield when he wants to…  There was an interesting coaching decision in this game:

  • The Steelers had the ball at the Pats 2 yardline in 3rd quarter trailing 20-0.
  • The Steelers chose to kick a field goal – – which kept it as a 3-score game
  • Really?

Ben Roethlisberger finished the game with a QB Rating of 65.6.  I am dubious about QB Ratings when it comes to hair splitting, but 65.6 is a bad rating.  Former Steeler QB, Kordell Stewart had a career QB Rating of 70; any time Roethlisberger has a game below an average game for Kordell Stewart, that is a bad day for the Steelers.   Sony Michel had a dull game for the Pats with 15 carries for 14 yards.

The Saints beat the Texans at the buzzer last week – – but the story here is that the Texans have not solved their OL issues even with Laremy Tunsil at left tackle.  Deshaun Watson was sacked 6 times in the game.  That is not how you win in the NFL – – and more importantly – – that is not how you keep your franchise QB ambulatory.

The Raiders looked very good in beating the Broncos.  I was very impressed with the way their OL stood up to the Denver pass rush.  The Broncos went inside the Raiders 10 yardline twice in the early stages of the game only to come away with field goals.  That cannot be a common occurrence if the Broncos hope to win games this year.

 

NFL Games this week:

 

Indy at Tennessee – 3.5 (44):  This is a big game in the AFC South.  If the Titans win, they will start out 2-0 and the Colts will start out 0-2.  The Texans and the Jags both lost last week and they face each other this week – – so one of those teams will also start 0-2.

Chargers – 2.5 at Detroit (48):  This will be a “body clock game” for the Chargers.  However, I think they are the better team and will cover this spread even on the road.  I’ll put the Chargers to win and cover in this week’s Six-Pack.

Buffalo – 1.5 at Giants (43.5):  The spread opened as a “pick ‘em” game.  The Bills defense was very good last week; if their offense can show up a bit earlier than the 4th quarter this week, the Bills should prevail.  I’ll put the Bills in this week’s Six-Pack to win and cover on the road.

Arizona at Baltimore – 13 (46):  The Total Line here opened at 41.5 points and soared to this level pretty quickly.  This is a game matching two “scampering QBs”; Kyler Murray looked miserable for 3 quarters of the game last week and then looked sensational in the 4th quarter.  Lamar Jackson dominated the Miami junior varsity defense.

New England – 19 at Miami (49):  The spread opened at 14.5 points and has been climbing all week; I would not be shocked to see it go even higher.  Do not forget, however, that in each of the last two seasons, the Pats lost to the Dolphins in Miami – – even though the Pats went to the Super Bowl both years.  I hate double digit spreads in NFL games but just for fun, I am going to follow an old Groucho Marx adage:

  • If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, chances are it’s a duck.

This looks and smells like a blowout.  I’ll put the Pats in this week’s Six-Pack to win and cover here.

Dallas – 6 at Washington (46.5): This spread opened at 4.5 points and has been creeping upward all week.  The Cowboys are clearly the better team, but the Skins always get up for this game in Washington.

Jax at Houston – 8.5 (43):  The Jags will give Gardner Minshew his first NFL start here on the road against a good Texans’ defense.  The Jags’ defensive unit has done a lot of woofing about how they are an agglomeration of bad asses; with Nick Foles on the shelf, that defense needs to show up in a big way.  I think that line is fat.  I’ll put the Jags plus the points in this week’s Six-Pack.

Seattle at Pittsburgh – 3.5 (47):  The Steelers looked awful and lost last week; the Seahawks looked bad – but won last week.  The Steelers need this game badly.

SF at Cincy – 2 (45):  This spread opened with the Niners as a 1-point favorite and then flipped.  This is the second consecutive road game in the Eastern Time Zone for the Niners 

Minnesota at Green Bay – 2.5 (43.5):  Call this the Game of the Week.  Both defenses looked very good in Week 1.  The Vikes’ offense was dominant while the Packers’ offense sputtered in Week 1.  I see this as a low-scoring game that will be in doubt until the final possession.

KC – 7 at Oakland (53.5):  The Raiders’ defense was excellent last week against Joe Flacco and the Broncos.  This week, that unit faces a slightly different challenge with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

New Orleans at Rams – 2 (52):  This is a ”revenge game” or a “vindication game” depending on which team you like better.  I have no idea who is going to win this game – – but if you must think about a wager here, I would be tempted to take OVER.

Chicago – 2 at Denver (40):  Based on Week 1 performances, this should be a dreary game; both offenses were AWOL.  This is a big game for the Bears.  If they lose and start 0-2, they will be two games behind the winner of the Vikes/Packers game in the NFC North.

(Sun Nite) Philly – 2 at Atlanta (52.5):  The spread opened as a “pick ‘em” game.  Can the Falcons really be as bad as they looked last week against the Vikes?  Can the Eagles really be as bad as they looked in the first half against the Skins?

(Mon Nite) Cleveland – 6.5 at Jets (44):  This is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.  There are plenty of interesting pairings in Week 2 and somehow ESPN gets this pile of doggy-dooty for MNF.  That was my thinking BEFORE it was announced in mid-week that Sam Darnold has mononucleosis and will not play this week – – and maybe for several weeks.  Jets’ fans need to say hello to Trevor Simien at QB.  Meanwhile, the Jets’ defense will try to do to the Browns what the Titans’ defense did last week.  The best thing to do with this game is to flush it.

So, let me review this week’s Six-Pack:

  1. Washington – 22 over Hawaii
  2. Florida Atlantic – 2.5 over Ball State
  3. Chargers – 2.5 over Lions
  4. Bills – 1.5 over Giants
  5. Patriots – 19 over Dolphins (just for fun)
  6. Jags +8.5 against Texans

            Finally, since one of the features here is a Six-Pack of possible wagers, let me close with Damon Runyon’s commentary on betting:

“It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong – but that is the way to bet.”

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

 

 

2 thoughts on “Football Friday 9/13/19”

  1. Hopefully NMSU and FSU will not be SHOE teams this season, but things are looking grim. However, it is early in the season, and hope springs eternal.

    1. Price:

      It is way too early to project SHOE Teams seriously – – but I will go out on a limb and say that New Mexico State and UMass are early candidates to make the “tournament”.

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