Football Friday 11/15/19

The arrow of time – the macroscopic sense that time flows in a single dimension – has advanced a period that we call “seven days” since the last Football Friday.  So, you know what that means…

Let me begin with some foreshadowing.  If there is a Football Friday next week, it will be a brief one.  We have houseguests visiting next week and we will be traveling late in the week.  The next week is Thanksgiving Week.  I suspect that the next full-blown Football Friday will be on December 6, 2019.  That assumes, of course, that the arrow of time does not reverse itself between now and then.

Last week, the Six-Pack resulted in 4 wins, 1 loss and 1 push.  Here is the cumulative record for the Six-Pack to date:

  • Overall:  26-15-1
  • College games:  14-4
  • NFL games:  12-11-1


College Football Commentary:


The Linfield College Wildcats went on the road and beat the Whitworth Pirates last week 38-31 in overtime in an important Northwest Conference Game.  Whitworth led 31-21 at the end of three quarters but the Wildcats came back to force overtime.  The game winning touchdown was a pass from QB Wyatt Smith to his younger brother, Colton Smith.  This win assures Linfield of the Northwest Conference title for 2019; they have been conference champions in 10 of the last 11 seasons.  This week, Linfield hosts the George Fox University Bruins in their final regular season game.  The Bruins are 5-4 for the season and bring a 3-game win streak to the contest.  Go Wildcats!

Based on LSU beating Alabama last week in Tuscaloosa, the Tigers have moved into the top spot in the CFP ranking.  The undefeated Tigers have played a far more difficult schedule than any of the other unbeaten teams – – Baylor, Clemson, Minnesota and Ohio State – and strength of schedule deserves to be cited here as the reason for the ranking

This is Nick Saban’s 13th season as the head coach at Alabama.  His record there is 149-22 with 5 national championships.  Impressive, no?  Well, here is something else to consider:

  • In almost 13 full seasons, Saban’s teams have lost only 5 games in Tuscaloosa.
  • LSU owns two of those home defeats for Alabama since 2007.

Minnesota beat Penn State last week in a battle of undefeated Big-10 teams.  Minnesota has a pretty clear path to the Big-10 West championship and a slot in the Big-10 Championship Game on December 7 in Indy.  They are not a mathematical certainty to be there, but a win this week will all but nail that down for the Gophers.  Their opponent there remains to be determined.

Minnesota is 9-0 so far this year.  The last time a Minnesota football team was 9-0 was back in 1904.  Here are six happenings in 1904:

  1. The Russo-Japanese War began.
  2. The US bought the Panama Canal Zone for $10M and construction of the canal began.
  3. The first line of the NYC Subway system opened.
  4. Teddy Roosevelt won re-election as President.
  5. Dr Seuss was born.
  6. Anton Chekov died.

Minnesota coach, PJ Fleck deserves serious consideration as the Coach of the Year.  Fleck took over a Western Michigan program that was not a powerhouse in the MAC.  His first year there in 2013 was a miserable 1-11 experience.  However, his teams went 15-9 in regular seasons in the next two years and that got him hired at Minnesota starting in the 2017 season.

For the 7 seasons prior to his arrival at Minnesota, the Gophers’ regular season record was a cumulative 40-37; it was not horrible nor was it laudatory.  In his first two seasons there, Fleck’s teams were 11-13 in the regular season – – and now this year they are 9-0.

As a result of another embarrassing loss last week, Arkansas fired head coach Chad Morris.  Last week, I said in Football Friday that if Arkansas lost to Western Kentucky, Arkansas would be a SHOE Tournament candidate.  Well, the powers that be in Fayetteville decided that they had seen enough and chose to move on from Coach Morris.

Arkansas used to be a top-shelf football program back in the days of the Southwest Conference; Texas and Arkansas played one another as the #1 versus #2 team in the country at one point.  That has not been the Arkansas football status recently.  Last week, Arkansas not only lost to Western Kentucky – – a C-USA team no less – – but here is some of the embarrassment:

  • Kentucky led at the half 35-7
  • Final score was 45-19
  • Arkansas was held to 68 yards passing
  • W Kentucky outgained Arkansas 478-321

That gave the Athletic Director cover to fire the coach and buy him out.  That action is not going to make Arkansas football in 2019 any better – – but it does allow the AD and the boosters at Arkansas to think they have “taken action”.  There was plenty of reason to fire Morris a week or two before this game; consider his record at Arkansas:

  • Arkansas was 4-18 in almost 2 full seasons under Morris
  • None of the 4 wins were over SEC opponents
  • Arkansas record in 2017 – leading to the firing of that coach and the hiring of Morris was better than now.  Team then was 4-8 overall and 1-7 in the SEC.
  •             Somewhere in the cosmos, Frank Broyles is gulping down Rolaids to ease his agita

With Chad Morris out at Arkansas, that makes two Power 5 schools who have fired their coach in mid-season this year.  Willie Taggert got a pink slip from Florida state two weeks ago.  So, are there other Power 5 coaches in trouble?

  • Mark Dantonio (Michigan State) after suffering a hugely embarrassing loss at home last week (see below)?
  • Clay Helton (USC) who is always the target of USC fans’ scorn?
  • Kevin Sumlin (Arizona) who lost to Oregon State two weeks ago giving up 56 points to the Beavers?
  • Jeremy Pruitt (Tennessee) who probably needs to get a bowl bid this year to keep his job?

Let me explain what happened to Michigan State last week in East Lansing.  The Spartans led by 25 points at one point in the game and held a comfortable 31-10 lead at the end of 3 quarters against Illinois.  Fans in the stands were thinking about victory parties and kegs at that point; the big money alums noted that the Spartans were comfortably covering the spread which had closed at 14.5 points.  All was well – – and then:

  • Illinois scored 27 points in the 4th quarter to win the game 37-34 without the need for overtime.

[Aside: And that rally made one of my Six-Pack picks a winner too]

What looked like a Saturday night full of fun and frolic in East Lansing – along with the cashing of some nice wagers on the Spartans – turned into a giant turdburger.  Sparty is 4-5 at this point in the season with the following opponents:

  • At Michigan
  • At Rutgers
  • At Maryland

I think Mark Dantonio’s job would be in serious jeopardy if he lost to either Rutgers or Maryland; I think he will definitely be out of a job if he loses to both Rutgers and Maryland.

Cincy is 8-1 in the AAC along with SMU and Memphis.   It is interesting to compare the losses for those three teams:

  • SMU lost to Memphis
  • Memphis lost to Temple
  • Cincy lost to Ohio State
  • Hmmm…

Boise St. is another team in a “lesser conference” with only one loss.  They won last week but it took OT for the Broncos to subdue Wyoming.  Boise St. won despite playing without its starting QB who missed the game due to an injury suffered the week before.  The Broncos seem to have a breather this week in case their starting QB cannot go again; they host New Mexico – a team that was a SHOE Tournament candidate last week.

Speaking of teams that were missing a top player last week, Ohio State seemed not to miss DE, Chase Young, all that much.  The Buckeyes strolled to a 73-14 win over Maryland.

Wisconsin beat Iowa 24-22 thereby keeping alive their mathematical shot at the big 10 West title.  Here is what has to happen:

  • Wisconsin must win out beating Nebraska this week Purdue next week and then Minnesota on November 30.  The first two games are clearly winnable; the game against Minnesota will be difficult.
  • Meanwhile, Minnesota has to lose to Iowa this week or SHOE candidate Northwestern next week prior to losing to Wisconsin on November 30.  This week’s game against Iowa – at Iowa – is a BIG game in the Big 10.

Last week, Florida State rallied under its interim coach and beat BC on the road 38-31.  That leave both teams with 5-5 records.  Florida State will get its 6th win this week against Alabama State before facing Florida in a season finale on November 30.  Meanwhile, BC will need a win over either Notre Dame (next week) or Pitt (on November 30) to be bowl eligible.

Texas beat K-State last week 27-24 on a field goal as time expired.

Oklahoma squeaked by Iowa State 42-41 last week.  With a loss to K-State already on its record, that is not the sort of outcome that Oklahoma needs to gain favor with the CFP Selection Committee.  The Sooners take on Baylor this week – – another BIG game but this time in the Big-12

Southern Mississippi beat UAB 37-2 last week.  UAB is 6-3 on the season’ they are not a doormat.  Nonetheless, they got steamrollered here…

USC beat Arizona State 31-26.  The Trojans scored 28 points in the first quarter and then went into hibernation offensively.  But a win is a win, right?


The Shoe Tournament Candidates:


As with last week, I will present 12 teams in alphabetical order that I believe deserve consideration for the imaginary SHOE Tournament this year and I will provide the result of their game from last week:

  • Akron:  They had the week off; their record is 0-10.
  • Arkansas:  They lost to W. Kentucky 45-19 (see above); their record is 2-8.
  • Georgia Tech: They lost to Virginia 33-28; their record is 2-7
  • New Mexico State:  They lost to Ole Miss 41-3; their record is 0-9.
  • Northwestern:  They lost to Purdue 24-22; their record is1-8.
  • Old Dominion:  They lost to Texas-San Antonio 24-23; their record is 1-9
  • Rice:  They had the week off; their record is 0-9.
  • Rutgers:  They had the week off; their record is 2-7
  • South Alabama:  They lost to Texas State 30-28; their record is 1-8.
  • UConn:  They lost to Cincy 48-3; their record is 2-8
  • UMass:  They lost to Army 63-7; their record is 1-9.
  • UTEP:  They lost to Charlotte 28-21; their record is 1-8.


College Games This Week:


Before listing individual games of interest for this week, did you happen to notice that Navy is 7-1 this year?  Annapolis is not far from Washington DC and I did not have the Midshipmen on my radar until this week.  Their only loss was on the road against Memphis who is 8-1 for the season.


VA Tech – 6.5 at Georgia Tech (51):  SHOE Tournament interest…

Indiana at Penn State – 14.5 (55):  Penn State can still make it to the Big 10 Championship Game, but it must win this game to keep that door open.

Ohio State – 52.5 at Rutgers (61.5):  Oh, and Chase Young will be ineligible for this game too.  Challenge for Rutgers here will be to score twice…

Minnesota at Iowa – 3 (45):  Minnesota continues to get no respect from the oddsmakers.  I know Iowa is tough at home, but this will be a low scoring game won in the trenches.  I’ll put Minnesota plus the points in this week’s Six-Pack.

Wake Forest at Clemson – 34 (59.5):  This is what passes for a “stiff conference test” for Clemson in the ACC…

UMass at Northwestern – 41.5 (57.5):  Folks, Northwestern scores an average of only 11.1 points per game – – and they are a 41-point favorite here.  That is because UMass gives up an average of 53.1 points per game.  This game is the moveable object facing the trivial force…  I’ll put this game to stay UNDER in this week’s Six-Pack.

New Mexico at Boise St. – 27.5 (59):  Possible SHOE Tournament interest here…

UCLA at Utah – 21.5 (52):  UCLA had last week off and is riding a 3-game win streak.  The oddsmaker is unimpressed…

Navy at Notre Dame – 7 (54):  Not the best game of the week – – but it could be fun to watch…

Arizona at Oregon – 27 (68):  Oregon is looking toward the PAC-12 Championship game; Arizona could wind up with a fired coach at the end of this season…

UTEP at UAB – 17 (44):  SHOE interest…

Georgia – 3 at Auburn (40.5):  Georgia needs this game to keep its path clear to the SEC Championship Game, but the Auburn defense is very good.  Georgia is ranked #4 this week in the CFP rankings; some folks think that is too lofty a position for the Dawgs.  This is the best game on this list so far…  The Total Line opened the week at 45 points and has dropped quickly to this level reflecting the two good defenses here.  [Auburn is at home, getting points with a really good defense so, I’ll put Auburn plus the Points in this week’s Six-Pack.]

Oklahoma – 10.5 at Baylor (67.5):  Oklahoma has 1 loss in the Big 12 and Baylor is undefeated for the season.  This is a very important game for both teams and for the Big-12 conference, so I’ll anoint it as the Game of the Week.

Michigan State at Michigan – 13.5 (44.5):  Mark Dantonio has had plenty of success against Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan team in the past.

Rice at Middle Tenn. State – 14.5 (47.5):  SHOE Tournament interest here…

Alabama – 17.5 at Mississippi State (61):  Bama cannot afford another loss; the Bulldogs are tough at home – – but not that tough.

Wisconsin – 14.5 at Nebraska (50.5):  The Badgers need this one badly…

LSU – 21 at Ole Miss (66.5):  I don’t expect any let down from LSU.  I do expect the Tigers to throw the ball at will against an Ole Miss defense that gives up 275 yards per game.  I’ll put LSU to win and cover in this week’s Six-Pack.

Incarnate Word at New Mexico State – 7.5 (60):  A loss here for the Aggies will guarantee a very high seeding in the SHOE Tournament.


NFL Commentary:


The Raiders beat the Chargers 26-24 last Thursday night.  That win coupled with a Chiefs’ loss last week (more on that later) puts the Raiders only a half-game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West race.  Earlier this season, the Raiders have had a two-game losing streak followed by a two-game wining streak followed by a two-game losing streak followed by a two-game winning streak.  Last week’s win was the second of the last two-game winning streak, but the future looks favorable for the Raiders here.  The next two games are bunnies if the raiders maintain focus:

  • Vs. Bengals
  • At Jets

The Raiders look to have a real shot to be part of the playoffs come January 2020…

Greg Cote had a comment about the Chargers – and their rumored move to London – in the Miami Herald last week:

“Forget the tree falling in the forest. If the Chargers moved to London, would anybody miss them?”

In what was the biggest upset of the week – – and maybe the biggest upset of the season so far – – the Falcons beat the Saints 26-9.  The Falcons defense which had been as effective as a screen door on a submarine sacked Drew Brees 6 times and held the Saints to single digits in scoring.  This is the second loss for the Saints in 2019 and they only scored 9 points in both losses.  Here is a comparison of the rushing stats for the game:

  • Saints ran the ball 11 times for 50 yards.
  • Falcons ran the ball 34 times for 143 yards.

The unanswered question coming out of this game was:

  • Is this an awakening of the Falcons team or was this a one-off effective performance?

The Ravens beat the Bengals 49-13 last week.  For a moment there, I had flashbacks to the beat-down that the Ravens put on the Dolphins in Week 1 of this year.  That game produced a score of 59-10.  Ryan Finley’s first NFL start for the Bengals did not go swimmingly.  He threw a 90-yard Pick Six AND he lost a fumble that produced a scoop-and-score later in the game.  Yowza!

The Browns beat the Bills 19-16 in a game where the Bills’ kicker, Stephen Hauschka, missed two field goals.  Also, the Browns ran the ball 26 times for 147 yards.  The Bills’ run defense has been exposed as a significant weakness over the last couple of weeks ever since the Eagles ran wild on the Bills’ defense.

The Jets beat the Giants 34-27 in an exciting game between two pretty bad teams.  Daniel Jones threw for 308 yards and 4 TDs, but that was not enough given the Giants’ miserable defense.  Meanwhile the Jets’ defense played well enough to win.  The Jets completely shut down Saquon Barkley, sacked Daniel Jones 6 times and provided the margin of victory when Jamal Adams stole the ball from Daniel Jones and ran it in for a TD.

The Bears beat the Lions 20-13 in what is best described as a soporific event.  If you a devotee of the punting game and/or punt coverage techniques, this was the game for you.  The Bears punted 9 times and the Lions punted 6 times.  Be still my heart …  The Lions held Mitchell Trubisky to 147 yards passing and sacked him 5 times, and they still came out on the losing end of this game.  The Lions will be the Lions…

Matthew Stafford did not play for the Lions; reports say he has “broken bones in his back” which sounds awfully serious to me but must not be dire because he may be back in a couple of weeks.  [Aside:  This is the first game Stafford has missed since 2010.]  Jeff Driskel took over as the Lions’ QB and did not embarrass himself with this stat line:

  • 27 of 46 for 269 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT
  • Driskel also ran 5 times for 37 yards in the game.

The Bears snapped a 4-game losing streak here; meanwhile the Lions have now lost 5 of their last 6 games – – and don’t know when Matthew Stafford will be back.

The Bucs beat the Cards 30-27; the Bucs negated the Cards’ run offense holding the Cards to 37 yards on 15 run attempts.  Given that information, you should not be surprised to learn that the Bucs dominated time of possession holding the ball for more than 36 minutes in the game.  Also, the Cards turned the ball over twice inside the Bucs’ 20-yardline.  Given all that information, you have to wonder how this wound up as a 3-point game…

The Titans beat the Chiefs 35-32 as – once again – the Titans played up to the level of their opponent.  Patrick Mahomes was back for the Chiefs and he played very well (446 yards passing plus 3 TDs) but the Chiefs’ defense was a no-show.  Derrick Henry gained 188 yards on smashmouth running and he scored 3 TDs.  The Chiefs’ special teams had a hand in the loss too.  They botched a field goal try in the 4th quarter and had another field goal attempt blocked in the final seconds of the game.

Here are data that are interesting in juxtaposition:

  • Andy Reid’s career coaching record in the regular season is 130-93-1
  • Andy Reid’s career coaching record against the Titans is 1-8

The Packers beat the Panthers 24-17.  It took a goal line stand at the 1 yardline at the end of the game to lock down this win for the packers.  Even though the Panthers’ lost, Kyle Allen played VERY well.

The Steelers beat the Rams 17-12 even though the Rams’ defense held the Steelers to 42 yards rushing in the game (on 27 carries no less).  Here are some of the reasons why the Rams lost the game:

  • The Rams faced 14 third down situations and converted only 1 of them.
  • The Rams turned the ball over 4 times – one of them was a scoop-and-score that provided the margin of victory here.

The Rams now have 4 losses for the year.  That puts them 3 down in the loss column to the Niners and 2 down in the loss column to the Seahawks in the NFC West.  That will not be a deficit that is easy to overcome.  I’m not ready to pronounce the Rams dead in the water, but their margin for error in the NFC is minuscule.

The Dolphins beat the Colts 16-12.  The Dolphins are now riding a 2-game win streak.  This outcome certainly does not aid the Colts’ efforts to win the AFC South.   Brian Hoyer – – in for Jacoby Brissett – – threw 3 INTs in the game.  The Dolphins came to the game giving up 32 points per game and held the Colts to 12 points.  On any given Sunday …

The Vikes beat the Cowboys 28-24.  Kirk Cousins won a prime-time game against a team with a winning record on the road; perhaps that will get those monkeys off his back?  The Vikes dominated time of possession by running the ball 36 times for 153 yards and held Ezekiel Elliott in check (47 yards on 20 carries).  Dak Prescott threw for 393 yards in the game, but he was always playing in “catch-up mode”.  The Cowboys’ run defense looked awfully suspect in this game.

The Seahawks beat the Niners 27-24 with the game-winning field goal coming as time expired in OT.  If you did not like this game, you are either:

  • Employed by the Niners
  • Are a blood relative of someone employed by the Niners
  • Bet heavily on the Niners
  • Are a blood relative of Oscar the Grouch.

The Niners did not have George Kittle for the entire game and then Emmanuel Sanders left the game in the first half never to return.  This does not excuse the loss, but the fact is that Niners’ receivers dropped 3 or 4 important passes that hit the receiver on both hands.  Kittle and Sanders tend to catch anything that hits them on both hands.  Meanwhile, Jadeveon Clowney ran wild over the Niners; OL all night long.  He returned a fumble for a TD and he had 5 QB hits on Jimmy Garoppolo in the game.

Last night, the Browns beat the Steelers 21-7 but that is not the story of the game.  In the waning seconds of the game, Browns’ DE, Myles Garrett, leveled Steelers QB, Mason Rudolph and then for reasons only known to Garrett and mind readers everywhere, Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and swung it at Rudolph’s exposed head.  As you may expect a “melee” ensued and three players were ejected – – big deal, the game was over anyhow – – and it took more time than it should to re-establish order.

The NFL must hand down suspensions for this mess after reviewing the tapes to see who did what during the incident.  Those suspensions have to be significant; that sort of thing only has a place in pro ‘rassling; it cannot be condoned in pro football.  When that happens, the NFLPA will exercise its obligation to represent the suspended players in whatever grievance process exists in the CBA.  Before that happens, I think that Mason Rudolph should sit down with DeMaurice Smith to ask how he – as a member of the NFLPA – is being represented since he was the one who could well have been the recipient of the ripped off helmet.


Breaking News:  The NFL has suspended Myles Garrett indefinitely and without pay.  According to reports, his case will not be reviewed before the end of the 2019 season.  In addition, Steelers’ center, Maurkice Pouncey, has been suspended 3 games without pay and has been fined by the league for his part in the melee.  And, Browns’ DT, Larry Ogunjobi was suspended for 1 game without pay and has been fined by the league for his participation.  The players and/or the NFLPA have 3 business days to appeal the fines and suspensions.


NFL Games This Week:


Dallas – 3.5 at Detroit (51):  This game presents the Cowboys with a way to re-establish a lead in the NFC West as a favorite in this game and with the Eagles as an underdog this week.  The Lions will need to run the ball well here to stay in the game because the Cowboys’ defense can and will rush the passer relentlessly.  Last week, it was Dak Prescott versus the world; the Cowboys’ run game must give him some help here.  Consider this:

  • Lions are not likely to play Matthew Stafford here
  • Lions are mediocre with Stafford and not that good without him
  • Cowboys need the game much more than the Lions do
  • Game is in Detroit

Given all that; can the Cowboys simply take care of business here?  If not, there are real problems in Dallas…

New Orleans – 6 at Tampa Bay (50):  Was that just a stinker last week from the Saints or is there an offensive problem surfacing?  Even assuming the Bucs can shut down the Saint’s run game, isn’t Drew Brees going to feast on a Bucs’ pass defense that yields 298.9 yards per game (worst average in the NFL)?  I’ll wait before backing the Saints again…

Atlanta at Carolina – 4 (49):  Has a sleeping giant awakened in Atlanta – – or was last week a one-off?  The Panthers are playing solid football and need a win to keep pace in the NFC wildcard chase.  Too many question marks in this game to make a pick including these trends that point in opposite directions:

  • Falcons are 5-16 against the spread in their last 21 road games
  • Panthers are 3-8 against the spread playing teams with a losing record.

Jax at Indy – 2.5 (43.5):  The Jags are coming to this game off a BYE Week.  This game will see the return of Nick Foles (for sure) and the return of Jacoby Brissett (hopefully, if you are a Colts’ fan).  If I were certain that Brian Hoyer would play here, I would take the points, but we will not know that until game time.  Leonard Fournette should have a good game against a mediocre Colts’ run defense.

Denver at Minnesota – 10.5 (41.5):  The Broncos had two weeks to prepare for this game.  The Vikes return home after a very big win against the Cowboys in Dallas last week.  The Vikes are undefeated at home this year and are only 1 game behind the Packers for the NFC North lead.  Although the Broncos have a Top 5 defense overall, their run defense is in the middle of the pack; that is important because the Vikes love to run the ball and Dalvin Cook is a really good RB.

Jets at Washington – 2.5 (38.5):  This is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week, and I will not listen to any arguments to the contrary.  The combined record of these teams is 3-15; both will start “struggling” young QBs.  I will be force-fed this game on Sunday; if you live anywhere other than DC or NYC, let your network affiliate know you want some other game in your area this week.  I am tempted to take this game to stay UNDER because neither offense is any good, but I really do not want to have any reason to pay attention to this stink-bomb.  If you pick a side in this game, remember these trends:

  • Jets are 3-8-1 against the spread in their last 12 games
  • Skins are 2-6 against the spread in their last 8 games

Buffalo – 6.5 at Miami (40):  In case you had not realized, the Dolphins 2-game win streak is the longest winning streak in the AFC East.  The Bills’ offense is “spotty” to put it kindly but this week it faces a Dolphins’ defense that ranks 29th in the NFL giving up an average of 391 yards per game.

Houston at Baltimore – 4 (50.5):  This is the Game of the Week and it will likely be the most entertaining game of the week.  Deshaun Watson versus Lamar Alexander; do you need anything else?  If you do, this game could have seeding implications for the AFC Playoffs because both teams lead their divisions at the moment.  I’ll put this game to go OVER in this week’s Six-Pack.]

Arizona at SF – 11 (45):  Time to test the Niners’ resilience after a close and emotionally draining loss last week.  Having the Cards come visit would seem to be a good way for the Niners to get rolling again.  Here are problem areas for the Niners:

  • Will they have to play without George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders here?
  • Can they contain Kyler Murray’s running?  They did not do so well last week containing Russell Wilson.
  • Will they “look past” the Cards to see the Packers coming up next?

Given all the questions around the Niners in this game, I think that line is fat.  I’ll put the Cards plus the points in this week’s Six-Pack.]

New England – 3.5 at Philly (45):  Both teams had last week off for some rest and recuperation.  The Pats have a 2-game lead in the AFC East; the Eagles are tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East – but the Eagles have this game followed by a trip to Seattle on the schedule.  This game is much bigger for the Eagles than it is for the Pats.  Eagles must establish the run against a Pats’ defense that was vulnerable to the run in the loss to the Ravens.

Cincy at Oakland – 11.5 (49):  A Raiders’ win here coupled with a Chief’s loss on Monday night would put the Raiders in first place in the AFC West.  Look for Josh Jacobs to have a big game against the Bengals front seven…

(Sun Nite) Chicago at Rams – 6.5 (40):  The spread started the week at 8 points and has sunk below 7 points here.  That is significant; the books do not like to be exposed on both sides of a 7-point spread because that is the value of a touchdown – plus a PAT – and that means bettors can try to get a middle on the game.  There must have been a lot of “Bears money” showing up when the spread was at 8 and then at 7.5 and then at 7 points.  Back in August, this game looked as if it might be a preview of the NFC Championship game in January 2020.  Even with a month and a half left in the regular season, I feel comfortable saying that ain’t gonna happen.

(Mon Nite: KC – 3.5 vs. Chargers (52) [Game is in Mexico City]:  Here are two inconsistent teams playing in a strange place at altitude.  The Chiefs need this game to keep the Raiders at bay; the Chargers need the game to stay playoff relevant – sort of.

Let me review this week’s Six-Pack:

  • Minnesota +3 at Iowa
  • UMass/Northwestern UNDER 57.5
  • Auburn +3 versus Georgia
  • LSU – 21 over Ole Miss
  • Texans/Ravens OVER 50.5
  • Cardinals +11 at Niners

Yes, I know; there are 4 college games and 2 NFL games in the Six-Pack this week.

Finally, Dwight Perry had this NFL related observation in the Seattle Times a few weeks ago:

“The worst city in the US to drive around in, according to a survey is Detroit.

“Unless, that is, you happen to be at Ford Field driving against the Lions’ defense.”

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



2 thoughts on “Football Friday 11/15/19”

  1. Posted Monday morning: If the Tennessee Titans play up to the level of their opponent, then the Oakland Raiders play down to the level of their opponent.

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