Football Friday 10/2/20

Dragnet featured Sgt. Joe Friday.  Robinson Crusoe had a servant named Friday.  Here in Curmudgeon Central, we have Football Friday.

Let me review the results from last week’s Six-Pack:

  • College:  0-1-1    =>    Season Total:  3-3-1
  • NFL:  2-2-0    =>    Season Total:  7-3-0
  • Combined:  2-3-1    =>    Season Total:  10-6-1


College Football Comments:


At halftime last week, Texas A&M held a tenuous 7-5 lead over Vanderbilt.  I imagine there were a few tight sphincters among the moneyed set in College Station who dug deep to hire Jimbo Fisher a couple of years ago for a truckload of cash.  In a Hollywood script, Fisher would have taken his team to the locker room, given them a tongue-lashing and the young lads would then emerge onto the field for the second half and show those upstarts who’s the boss.  What happened is that the Aggies slogged through the second half too and won the game 17-12 despite being a 28-point favorite.  Some folks say that a win is a win no matter the margin of victory; I wonder how the folks who are footing the bill for Jimbo Fisher’s livelihood view the situation…

In another part of Texas, there was a wild and woolly game between Texas and Texas Tech.  The Longhorns prevailed 63-56 in OT.  Last week, I said that there would be “points aplenty” in this game; there were 119 points scored.  Texas had to rally with 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion in the final 3 minutes to force overtime and then win the game.  I am sure lots of folks in and around Austin see the positive aspects of that come from behind victory, but I see it differently:

  • Texas should have lost that game; not only did the defense allow 56 points, the team was penalized 10 times for 100 yards in the game.
  • Texas’ opponent beat Division 1-AA Houston Baptist in the first game of the season by 3 points and gave up 600 yards of offense to Houston Baptist.  And Texas needed a furious rally and then OT to win the game?

Miami and Florida State renewed their rivalry last week.  There was a time when the outcome of this game had a major bearing on the national champion for the season; such is no longer the case.  In fact, the rivalry is diminished because of the severely reduced stature of the Florida State football program.  Last week, the halftime score had Miami comfortably in command 28-3; the final score was 52-10.  The Seminoles yielded 500+ yards, lost by 42 points and were penalized 12 times in the game.  If they continue to play like that, they might just earn a new nickname, the Tallahassee Lassies.  [Hat Tip to Freddy “Boom-Boom” Cannon…]

In SEC action, Florida beat Ole Miss 51-35.  Florida has been strong on defense under Coach Dan Mullen, but they gave up 35 points to Ole Miss here.  Does that mean the Ole Miss offense is really potent under new coach Lane Kiffin?  That could be worth watching.  Another hypothesis you can take from this game and look for verification down the road is this:

  • The Ole Miss defense needs work.

Last week, I said the Mississippi state/LSU game would be a “Game of Interest” because it matched Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense against LSU where strong defense is a way of life.  It was more than a Game of Interest; it turned into a major upset as Mississippi State won the game outright 44-34.  That result was no fluke; State threw the ball 60 times and gained 623 yards in the air for the game.  Someone charted those pass plays and said that there were 5 receivers in the pattern on 48 of the 60 plays; I think it is fair to say it was a “wide-open offense”.  [Aside:  State’s total offense running the football was 9 yards.]  The score was tied at 34 with just under 10 minutes left to play and from that point on it was all Mississippi State.  One more interesting stat from this game:

  • The 623 yards passing by Mississippi State was the most passing yards in a game in the history of the SEC.

Georgia beat Arkansas 37-10; that is not a surprising result.  However, if you tuned in at halftime you would have seen that Arkansas led 7-5 and then Arkansas took the lead at 10-5 soon after the second half began.  Then reality set in…

In another upset from last week, K-State beat Oklahoma 38-35.  You could call this a major upset – – except that this is the second year in a row that K-State has beaten the Sooners straight up.  I said last week this would be an “organized ass-kicking” but thought it would be Oklahoma delivering the kicks and not receiving them.  K-State scored 24 unanswered points in the final 17 minutes here to win the game.  I ran across this stat earlier this week and have not even tried to verify it:

  • This is the 6th time since 2009 that OU has lost outright to a 20-point (or more) underdog.
  • Do the math; that averages out to once every other year…

Another embarrassing factor for Oklahoma here is the K-State played the game with 7 of its starters out or action.  That is not quite like allowing the K-State JV to rally and win the game – – but it’s close…

Another big surprise of this early football season is that UTEP is 3-1.  The Miners beat La-Monroe last week 31-6.  The reason this is a surprise comes from a comparison to the UTEP combined record over the past three seasons.

  • UTEP in 2020:  3-1-0
  • UTEP in 2017 – 2019:  2-34-0

Tulane beat So. Mississippi 66-24.  Recall that Tulane lost  to Navy two weeks ago after leading 24-0 at the half.  The So. Mississippi program appears to be in deep yogurt now:

  • The record is 0-3.
  • One loss was by 11 points to South Alabama – – a Division 1-AA school.
  • The head coach resigned the day after that loss to South Alabama
  • The combined score in the losses is 119-75 (almost 15 points per game).


College Games of Interest:


Auburn at Georgia – 7 (45):  Both teams are ranked.  Auburn handled Kentucky last week in a workmanlike fashion; Georgia had to struggle to overcome Arkansas (see above).  Both teams play solid defense so I agree with the oddsmaker here that this will be a low-scoring game.  To me, that line looks fat; I like Auburn on the road plus the points; put it in the Six-Pack.

Texas A&M at Alabama – 18 (51.5):  If there is agita in College Station after squeaking out a win over Vandy, there might be episodes of projectile vomiting come Saturday night.  The Aggies managed only 17 points against the Vandy defense; odds are that the Alabama defense is just a bit better.

South Carolina at Florida – 17.5 (57):  As noted above, the Gators’ defense was torched last week even though Florida won the game.  This game could be a litmus test for that defensive unit…

Arkansas at Mississippi State – 17 (69):  The Air Raid offense scored 44 points against LSU.  Granted, LSU lost lots of very good defenders to the NFL last Spring, but I have to believe that the LSU defense with their “replacements” is at least as good as the Arkansas defense.  I am tempted to take the game to go OVER – – but I will resist that temptation because I do not have a handle on the Arkansas offense and it is a lot to expect for State to take thee game over – – or nearly over – – all by itself.  However, I like Mississippi State to avoid a letdown in its home opener against a bottom-dweller in the SEC; I like Mississippi State at home to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

LSU – 20.5 at Vandy (51):  Vandy held Texas A&M to 17 points last week; is that defense good enough to hold LSU down?  LSU ought to be up for this game after losing at home to Mississippi State last week – – or is this just not LSU’s year?  We will get some answers from this game…

NC State at Pitt – 14 (47):  The Pitt defense is very good.  The Pitt offense – – not so much.NC State is an up-and-down team.  Could be an interesting game that provides insight down the road…

UNC – 14 at BC (54):  BC is 2-0 under new coach Jeff Hafley and they are at home.  UNC has not played in the last two weeks.  So, why the big spread…?  Well, the two wins by BC have come over a less-than-fearsome Duke team and then over Texas State by a field goal.

Va Tech – 11 at Duke  (54):  Va Tech beat NC State last week with almost two dozen players and coaches out of action and they won by 3 TDs.  Duke is winless this year; turned the ball over 7 times last week and simply has not been able to run the ball this year.

UVa at Clemson – 28 (55):  Clemson is ranked #1 in the country; Virginia is 1-0 on the season having beaten Duke last week.  Clemson wants to retain their record and their ranking because they have an eye on the CFP down the road; to see the Cavaliers in that light would require a lot of “magic mushrooms”.  I think Clemson wins in a romp; I usually avoid picking games like this, but I like Clemson to win and cover at home; put it in the Six-Pack.

TCU at Texas – 11 (63):  The OT win last week by the Longhorns was not something the team should be proud of (see above).  The Texas defense has something to prove now.  TCU lost at home last week to Iowa State.

Oklahoma – 7 at Iowa State (63):  Good news for the Sooners here is that they are not favored by 20 points or more?  (See above)  Iowa State has not been impressive so far this year.  Other than looking for info pertinent to future games, this contest elicits a hearty “Meh!”

Navy – 7 at Air Force (45.5):  This is the first game of the season for Air Force; Navy is 1-1.  The reason this is a Game of Interest is that it is a Service Academy game and they are always interesting.

Oklahoma State – 22.5 at Kansas (54):  I am not sure if Oklahoma State is particularly good this year, but I am confident in saying that Kansas at 0-3 is awful.

Ole Miss at Kentucky – 7 (61.5):  Ole Miss scored 35 points against Florida last week; are you sure the Kentucky defense is significantly better than Florida’s?  That line is fat; I like Ole Miss on the road plus the points; put it in the Six-Pack.


NFL Comments:


Surely, you are aware that the NFL is celebrating its 100th anniversary this season; they have been beating us over the head with references to that for a while now.  However, tomorrow October 3, 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of the first NFL game ever played:

  • The game took place in Dayton, OH between the Dayton Triangles and the Columbus Panhandles.  [Aside:  I understand the Florida panhandle and the Texas panhandle and the Oklahoma panhandle – – but Columbus, Ohio?]
  • The Triangles won the game 14-0.
  • Contemporary reports said that the attendance was 4000 people and admission was $1.75.
  • Each player in the game was paid $50.

Things have come a long way since then.  The Dayton Triangles joined other teams in the formation of the NFL by paying a “Franchise Fee” of $25.  The “Franchise Fee” for an expansion team in today’s NFL would surely draw something around $1B.

The Dayton Triangles were very good in that first NFL season posting a 9-1 record for the season.  Eventually, the Triangles were sold to a NY syndicate that moved the team to NYC and became known as the Brooklyn Dodgers – – obviously before the days of trademarking team names.  The football Brooklyn Dodgers morphed into the Brooklyn Tigers until the Tigers folded in 1944.  The Brooklyn Tigers were hardly a successful franchise; after missing the NFL playoffs for 13 straight years, the Tigers went 0-10 in their final season.  So much for the history lesson…

NY  Jets’ fans have expressed frustration and anger on sports radio and in various blogs; there is an online petition seeking the firing of Adam Gase; you get the picture; that is pretty standard stuff for an angry fanbase.  However, it looks as if there is something even worse afoot in NYC – – apathy about the hometown lads.  A fan tried to organize a protest outside the Jets’ team practice facility.  Fans were urged to show up wearing masks and to practice social distancing, but only a handful of folks bothered to show up.  Moreover, the TV ratings in NYC for last week’s Niners/Jets game was not the most watched TV program in its time slot let alone for the day.  The Jets last appearance in the NFL Playoffs was back in 2010; since then the team has been above .500 only once – – and it is not going to be above .500 once again in 2020.

In fact, with 3 games in the books, the Jets have not led for a single second in any of those three games.  That changed in the first quarter of last night’s game against the Broncos; nonetheless it was the case for more than 180 minutes of NFL football in 2020.  Moreover, that dynamic changed on a 45-yard scramble by Sam Darnold – a feat that may never be replicated in this life.  The irony wrapping around all this is that Adam Gase is supposed to be an offensive mastermind.  Here is why Jets’ fans may be seeking solace in apathy:

  • The Jets’ roster had three bona fide top-shelf players back in July.  CJ Mosely just cannot get on the field and stay there; LeVeon Bell has a hamstring injury this year after spending much of last year feuding with the coach; Jamal Adams forced the Jets to trade him and then lampooned Gase’s leadership abilities on his way out of town.
  • Fans cannot show up at the games with paper sacks on their heads to vent their spleen because there are no fans allowed at the games.  So, maybe apathy is the only refuge available…

Last night, the Thursday game between the Jets and Broncos could have had several monikers:

  • It could have been the Bagel Bowl – both teams were 0-3 at kickoff.
  • It could have been the Burnt Butt Cheeks Bowl – – both coaches are on a hot seat.
  • It could have been the No Score Bowl – – the Jets are averaging 12.3 points per game and the Broncos are averaging 15 points per game.
  • You get the idea…

On a much brighter note, the Green Bay Packers are on an offensive roll.  The Packers average 459.7 yards per game and 40.7 points per game so far this year.  Over the course of the off-season, there was a lot of speculation about how Aaron Rodgers might take to the fact that the Packers drafted a QB in the first round of the Draft instead of getting him more “weapons” at WR.  We have not heard much about that lately…

Mitchell Trubisky started the season at 2-0 as the Bears’ QB and he won one of those games with a miraculous 4th quarter comeback rally over the Lions.  Then, in the third game he was benched in the second half with his team trailing.  I cannot recall a starter being pulled under those circumstances in the past.   No matter; it worked; the Bears rallied again – under Nick Foles this time – and won the game over the Falcons.

If the Bears squander their 3-0 start this year and wind up under .500, there will be a call for Coach Matt Nagy’s head on a plate.  Let me go on record here well before that sort of thing is anywhere near the surface to point out that Matt Nagy is NOT the guy who did the scouting and made the drafting decision to take Mitchell Trubisky with the #2 overall pick in the NFL Draft ahead of both Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson.

Last week, the Dolphins beat the Jags 31-13.   That was a different Dolphins’ team than had showed itself in the first two weeks.  “Fitz-Magic” got the best of “Minshew Mania” even though the Dolphins only gained 160 yards in the air.  Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18 for 20 in the game.  The Jags turned the ball over twice in the game and were penalized 8 times.

The Bears beat the Falcons 30-26.  Stop me if you have heard this before, but the Falcons had a double-digit lead in the second half and managed to lose the game.  Nick Foles came into the game trailing 26-10 and rallied the Bears to a win on a TD pass to Anthony Miller with just under 2 minutes left in the game.  The Bears may have a “QB controversy” on their hands, but they won this game and are 3-0 to start the season.

The Falcons – on the other hand – are 0-3 for the season and appear to be in disarray.  In blowing that 16-point lead in the second half last week, the Falcons became the only team in NFL history to blow a 15-point (or more) lead in the second half twice in a season.  That is not the sort of list you seek to be at the top of.  The Falcons’ offense had the ball five times in the fourth quarter and scored zero points to protect its lead; meanwhile, the Falcons’ defense was collapsing.  Chris Berman used to say, “No one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.”

Well, in 2020, no one blows leads like the Atlanta Falcons and this has been going on for a while now.  Is it fair to ask at this point:

  • Who is drafting the players on defense and who is “coaching them up” and should those folks still have the jobs they have?

The Browns beat the WTFs 34-20.  The game was an implosion for WTFs’ QB, Dwayne Haskins.  He threw 3 awfully bad INTs and he lost a fumble on a strip sack.  Those 4 turnovers led to 24 points for the Browns which was more than the WTFs’ offense could produce in the game.  Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined to run the ball 35 times for 154 yards and 2 TDs.  The WTFs actually led the game 20-17 with 11:14 left in the game but then the floodgates opened.

  • As a result of this loss, Washington’s all-time record as an NFL franchise dropped to 604-605-28. This means they are under .500 for the first time in 45 years.

The Niners beat the Giants 36-9.  The Niners had 9 of their starters out of the game due to injuries but not a problem.  Nick Mullens stepped in at QB and went 25 for 36 for 343 yards and 1 TD with zero INTs.  Rookie WR, Brandon Aiyuk, caught 5 passes for 70 yards and ran the ball 3 times for another 31 yards plus a TD.  Here is how bad the Giants’ offense was in that game:

  • Playing against a depleted defense, the Giants never snapped the football inside the Red Zone for the entire game.

The Bills beat the Rams 35-32.  The Bills led this game.  The Bills led the Rams 28-3 with 8 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter.  The Rams came back to take the lead at 32-28.  [Aside:  If you want a primer on how to blow a 28-3 lead, check out the Falcons in the Super Bowl against the Pats…]  The Bills managed to stage one final TD drive scoring with 15 seconds left on the clock to win the game.  The Rams gained a total of 478 yards on offense and ran the ball for 167 yards.  The Bills had the ball in the Red Zone 5 times and scored TDs on all 5 opportunities.

The Pats beat the Raiders 36-20.  Like the Bills in the game mentioned above, the Raiders got into the red Zone 5 times.  The difference is that they only scored 2 TDs on those drives – – and the second of those TDs came at the end of the game in “garbage time”.  On the Patriots’ last 8 possessions in the game (from the end of the first quarter to the final whistle), here are the results:

  • Field goal, Field Goal, TD, Kneel to end the 1st half, TD, Field goal, TD, Kneel to end the game.

The Pats dominated time of possession by running the ball 38 times for 250 yards and 2 TDs.  Sony Michel and Rex Burkhardt led the charge on the ground.  Just to be clear, that Patriots’ tandem of running backs will never be confused with the tandem of Jim Brown and Bobby Mitchell.  Adding insult to injury, the Raiders lost 3 fumbles in the game.

The Steelers beat the Texans 28-21.  The Steelers had to overcome a 14-3 d3eficit in this game and they did it on the backs of the defense.  The Texans managed only 29 yards rushing for the day and the Steelers sacked Deshaun Watson 5 times.  The Steelers ran the ball on a porous Texans’ rush defense 38 times for 169 yards controlling the ball for almost 37 minutes in the game.  This is not new for the Texans; here are stats from their first three games in 2020:

  • Chiefs:  166 yards rushing and time of possession = 34:47
  • Ravens:  230 yards rushing and time of possession = 34:51
  • Steelers:  169 yards rushing and time of possession = 36:51

The Titans rallied to beat the Vikes 31-30.  Dalvin Cook ran for 181 yards and rookie WR, Justin Jefferson had a big day catching 7 passes for 175 yards and a TD.  The Vikes led 24-12 with 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter; after the Titans rallied to take the lead 25-24, the Vikes scored a TD and missed a 2-point conversion to lead 30-25 with 10 minutes left in the game.  Then the Titans managed two field goals in that remaining time to win by a point.  The hero for the Titans has to be Stephen Gostkowski who kicked 6 field goals in the game three of which were longer than 50 yards.

The Bengals and the Eagles played to a tie at 23-23.  Joe Burrow attempted 44 passes in the game and was sacked 8 times.  Given the state of the Bengals’ OL and Burrow’s status as a rookie, dropping him back that many times might be considered the NFL equivalent of child abuse.  The game was a stinkpot from top to bottom; as an example, consider that the Eagles were penalized 11 times in the game.  Nothing important happened on the field in this game so let me point to a group of folks who went through agony on account of this game:

  • The Total Line for this game was 46.5 points.  When the game went to OT at 23-23, folks with the OVER were probably counting their winnings and folks with the UNDER may have thrown their tickets away in disgust.
  • There was no point in the OT when either team pretended that it intended to score a point.
  • In the OT, the Bengals had 4 drives consisting of 12 plays and generating a net of 14 yards.
  • In the OT, the Eagles had 3 drives consisting of 14 plays and generating a net of 31 yards.
  • The folks with the UNDER wagers cashed even though that was a low-probability event at the start of the OT.

The Colts beat the Jets 36-7.  As noted above, the Eagles, Bengals, Vikes, Falcons and Giants stunk last week.  And then there were the Jets who made all of them look marginally respectable.  Sam Darnold threw a pair of Pick-Sixes and the Jets offense yielded a safety in the game.  The Colts won with their offense on cruise-control.

The Lions upset the Cards 26-23.  Kyler Murray threw 3 INTs.  Unlike previous games this year, the Lions shut out the opponent in the 4th quarter while generating two field goals – one with  4 seconds remaining on the clock – to win the game.  Adrian Peterson ran 22 times for 75 yards here.  For the Cards, DeAndre Hopkins continued to shine catching 10 passes for 137 yards.

The Panthers upset the Chargers 21-16.  Normally, when a team scores 21 points in a game, it is with 3 TDs and 3 PATs.  Not the Panthers…  they scored their 21 points on 5 field goals, a TD and a missed PAT.  Not to worry, they do not award style points in the NFL standings.  The Panthers had 6 trips into the Red Zone and got points as noted here in all six visits.  Two weeks ago, Justin Herbert  looked great subbing for Tyrod Taylor at the last minute.  This week was not quite as good.  Herbert was 35 for 49 for 330 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.

The Seahawks beat the Cowboys 38-31.  The Co0wboys’ special teams were a bubbling mess in the game.  Somehow a kickoff was mishandled and recovered at the half-yardline; that error led to a safety.  Also, the Cowboys missed 2 PATs.  That is the sort of thing you might expect to see in an Ivy League game not an NFL game.  Dak Prescott had a fine day, but it was not enough to overcome defensive and special teams collapses.  Prescott was 37 for 57 for 472 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs; he also ran the ball 6 times for 26 yards.  Did I mention that the Cowboys were penalized 10 times in this game?  On the other side, Russell Wilson had an “other-worldly game”.  Wilson was 27 for 40 for 315 yards with 5 TDs and zero INTs; he ran the ball 6 times for 22 yards.  This is two games in a row where Wilson has thrown 5 TDs and zero picks.

The Bucs beat the Broncos 28-10.  Short and sweet, here is how that happened:

  1. Tom Brady threw 3 TD passes
  2. The Bucs’ defense had 6 sacks and recorded a safety.
  3. The Bucs’ special teams blocked a punt.

The Packers beat the Saints 37-30.  The Packers won another shoot-out game; as noted above, the Packers’ offense is running smoothly and efficiently.  As to the defense, I think it might be a good idea for the team to have some tackling drills.  Alvin Kamara had a great game running the ball 6 times for 58 yards and catching 13 passes for 139 yards and 2 TDs.

The Chiefs beat the Ravens 34-20 on MNF.  The game was not that close.  The Ravens had the best scoring defense in the NFL entering the contest yielding only 22 points in the first two games.  That defensive unit saw the Chiefs put up 34 points and gain 517 yards on offense.  Here is a stat that will give you an idea of how dominant the chiefs were on Monday night:

  • The Chiefs were 10-13 on third down conversions – – and one of the “failures” was in the final 2 minutes when the Chiefs were just running down the clock.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense held Lamar Jackson to 97 yards passing – – his lowest total in his still young career.


NFL Games:


In the 14 games listed here, the road team is favored in 6 of them.  That is more than usual.  Should anyone try to divine some deep meaning in that observation, there is none other than this:

  • Six road teams this week are better than the rivals they will travel to meet.

Indy – 2.5 at Chicago (43):  The spread for this game varies all over the place.  You can find it as high as 3 points this morning and as low as 1 point. Both teams arrive undefeated.  Which starting version of Nick Foles will show up for the Bears:

  1. The Nick Foles who lost his starting job to Gardner Minshew last year in Jax?
  2. The Nick Foles who threw 27 TDs with only 2 INTs in a season for the Eagles several years ago?

New Orleans – 4 at Detroit (54):  The Saints did not look good last week losing at home to the Packers – particularly on defense.  The Lions surprised the Cards; can they win two in a row?  It is awfully early in the season to think about “must-win games” but the Saints are 1-2 and need to start playing a lot better – – starting here.  I am tempted to take the game to go OVER – – but will resist that temptation.

Arizona – 3 at Carolina (51):  Was that the “real” Panthers’ team on display last week or was that a fluky win over the Chargers?  The Cards have a franchise history of losing to teams they ought to beat and here is a team that – on paper – they ought to beat handily.

Jax at Cincy – 3 (49):  With the Thursday Night game between the Broncos and Jets off the weekend schedule, this game was an easy choice as the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.

Cleveland at Dallas – 4.5 (56):  This is a confirmation game for the Browns.  Their record is 2-1, but after getting slapped silly by the Ravens in Week 1, those two wins came at the expense of the WTFs and the Bengals – – not exactly the NFL elite.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Cowboys are “elite” either but I do think they are a step up from the WTFs and the Bengals so maybe we can find out where in the picking order the Browns belong in 2020?  Here are two trends that say the Browns have a tough row to hoe here:

  1. In their last 11 road games against the NFC, the Browns are 0-11.
  2. In their last 30 road games of any sort, the Browns are 4-26.

The Browns can run the ball.  The Cowboys’ rush defense ranks 23rd in the NFL giving up 128 yards per game.  That is the matchup that I think will determine the outcome here.

Minnesota at Houston – 4 (53.5):  Yes, I know the combined records here are 0-6 and the combined records for Jax and Cincy are 1-4-1 but this game is a better game simply because these are better teams that are underperforming.  Also, remember that the Texans have lost to the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers.  The Texans cannot protect Deshaun Watson; he is running for his life on way too many plays.  Fortunately, the Vikings do not rush the passer very well this year, so maybe he can take a moment to read a defense without having a defensive end taking him to the ground?  The Vikings offense came alive last week; is that an aberration or the start of something new in Minnesota?  I think the Texans are the better team here, but I am not going to try to pick a game where neither team has shown they know how to win a game.

Seattle – 6 at Miami (54):  I was not a geography major, but I do believe that the trip from Seattle to Miami is the longest one a team can make without playing in London.  Russell Wilson has been on fire so far in 2020; I do not see the Dolphins’ defense being able to stop him.  At the same time, the Seahawks’ pass defense – – mainly the secondary – – is not particularly good so there is plenty of potential for a “Fitz-Magic” game.  The temptation to take this game to go OVER is strong – – but not strong enough.

Chargers at Tampa Bay – 7.5 (43):  These are two teams with good defenses.  It is still not completely clear if the Chargers will play Justin Herbert or Tyrod Taylor at QB, but I do not think either of them will be super successful against the Bucs’ defense.  Tom Brady will do well enough against the Chargers’ defense to get a win here, but I am not going to pick the game with that hook on top of a full TD in the spread line.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee:  Postponed due to COVID-19

Baltimore – 13.5 at Washington (45):  The Ravens’ defense got torched by Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid on Monday night.  Meaning no disrespect whatsoever, Dwayne Haskins ain’t no Patrick Mahomes and Ron Rivera is not Andy Reid.  If the Ravens’ defense shows up in a nasty mood with the intent of demonstrating that they are indeed an elite defense in 2020, the WTFs are going to be hard pressed to score.

Giants at Rams – 13 (48):  The spread opened the week at 10 points and has climbed steadily to this level as of this morning.  It could go higher by game time since there is one Internet sportsbook that already has the game at 14 points.  The Rams played their guts out in the second half last week and lost a heartbreaker to the Bills (see above).  They should face no such adversity in this game.

New England at KC – 7.5 (53):  And here we have the easy choice for the Game of the Week.  The Chiefs were excellent on Monday night dominating the Ravens (see above).  But if the Pats can run the ball successfully here – they lead the NFL averaging 178 yards per game – they can effect the best tactical maneuver possible against the Chiefs:

  • Don’t let the offense on the field.

I like ;both teams here and I think these two coaches are the two best in the league at this time.  I say that to be sure no one takes my pick here as a slight of any kind.  I like the Patriots plus the points in this game – particularly that hook on top of a full TD – so put it in the Six-Pack.

Buffalo – 3 at Las Vegas (53): This is such an interesting game that I gave it a fleeting shot at being the Game of the Week.  The Raiders have looked quite good on offense this year; the Bills have looked less than expected on defense this year.  The Bills’ offense has been able to stand in there in games that became shoot-outs in 2020, the Raiders defense has allowed 30 points per game on defense.  This is a long trip to the game venue for the Bills – – but I think the coaches and the team see plenty of value in staying undefeated in this first quarter of the 2020 NFL season.

(Sun Nite) Philly at SF – 6 (46):  This game could easily be the “Medicare Bowl” or the “Radiology Bowl” given the number of significant injuries sustained by both teams so far in the 2020 season.  I think the Eagles are in complete disarray while the Niners are merely shuffling the chairs in a multi-dimensional game of musical chairs.  But with both teams playing without very good starting players, who knows what can happen.

(Mon Nite) Atlanta at Green Bay – 7 (56.5):  The Falcons’ defense has gagged away two games in a row and now get to play against Aaron Rodgers and an offense that is dominating NFL defenses to this point in the season (see above).  At the same time, the Falcons’ offense should be able to move the ball and score a bit against a Packers’ defense that has allowed 28 points per game this season.  I see the potential for the scoreboard operator to suffer a seizure from the flashing lights there; I’ll take this game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Let me review this week’s Six-Pack:

  1. Auburn +7 against Georgia
  2. Clemson – 28 over UVa
  3. Mississippi St. – 17 over Arkansas
  4. Ole Miss +7 against Kentucky
  5. Pats +7.5 against Chiefs
  6. Packers/Falcons OVER 56.5

            Finally, it is important for everyone to understand that all the picks here – – and the implied selections here – are subject to being horribly wrong.  For that reason, I think it is worthwhile to contemplate this entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Fallible:  What you are praying that most store-bought pregnancy tests often are.”

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



2 thoughts on “Football Friday 10/2/20”

  1. Jack, San Francisco also has a panhandle, my family was living there when I was born. The Haight-Ashbury is also part of the Panhandle, thank God I was born a long time before that happened!

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