Football Friday 11/20/20

The sun has risen 7 times since the last Football Friday.  That astronomical sequence of events inexorably leads us to yet one more Football Friday and the first thing on the agenda as usual is to review last week’s Six-Pack.

  • College:  0-0-0
  • NFL:  2-4-0
  • Combined:  2-4-0

Those results lead to this set of season totals:

  • College:  9-13-1
  • NFL:  16-19-1
  • Combined:  25-32-2

 

College Football Commentary:

 

Tommy Tuberville was the head football coach at four schools (Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincy) over a 20-year period.  Earlier this month, he was elected to the US Senate by the voters in Alabama.  I have believed for years that football coaches and politicians are people who have a common skill that makes them successful:

  • Neither football coaches nor politicians are truthtellers.

Obviously, after being declared the winner in his senatorial election, Tuberville was interviewed.  Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times summarized perfectly the most important news nugget from that interview:

“Tommy Tuberville — the former Auburn football coach and newly elected senator from Alabama — rattled off the three branches of the federal government as ‘the House, the Senate and executive.’

“At least he didn’t say offense, defense and special teams.”

Last week, Notre Dame avoided a potential let-down game and beat BC 45-31.  Once again, the Irish rolled out a dominant running game gaining 285 yards on the ground.  Notre Dame still has UNC and Wake Forest on the schedule but last week’s game between those two teams does not indicate that either of them has a defense capable of stopping the Irish.

UNC beat Wake Forest 59-53.  The UNC “defense” held Wake Forest to a meager 606 yards of offense in the game while the Demon Deacons’ “defense” yielded 742 yards in the game.  That’s right, the two teams combined for 1348 yards of offense.  Tar Heels’ QB, Sam Howell posted this stat line for the game:

  • 32 of 45 for 550 yards with 6 TDs and 1 INT

To summarize the UNC/Wake Forest game in two words:

  • “Tackling Optional”.

NC State beat Florida St. 38-22.  The score was 28-3 halfway through the third quarter.  Two meaningless 4th quarter TDs by the Seminoles made this score seem a lot closer than the game was.

Nebraska beat Penn State 30-23.  This is the first time since 2001 that the Nittany Lions have opened a season at 0-4.  Penn State won the stat battle gaining 501 yards while only allowing 298 yards to the Huskers.  Penn State had two drives into the Red Zone in the final 5 minutes of the game but turned the ball over on downs both times.  Therein lies the reason for the result here.

Illinois came from behind to beat Rutgers 23-20.  Rutgers led 20-10 halfway through the 3rd quarter but could not hold on for a win.  The Illini ran the ball for 338 yards in the game.

Northwestern beat Purdue 27-20.  The Wildcats remain undefeated for the year at 4-0.  Purdue’s ground game was non-existent here gaining a total of 2 yards on 17 carries.

Indiana beat Michigan State 24-0.  The Spartans managed only 191 yards total offense for the game and only managed 9 first downs in the game.  Adding insult to injury, the Spartans turned the ball over  4 times.  Indiana WR, Ty Fryfogle, caught 10 passes for 200 yards and 2 TDs.  He gained more yardage than the entire Michigan State team did.

Wisconsin beat Michigan 49-11.  I think the jury has reached its verdict and that verdict is that Michigan is not a good football team.  The Wolverines only managed a total of 219 yards of total offense here and only 47 yards rushing on 19 carries.  The score at halftime was 28-0; there was no drama involved in this game.

Florida beat Arkansas 63-35.  Gators’ QB, Kyle Trask had his way with the Arkansas defense; here is his stat line:

  • 23 of 29 for 356 yards with 6 TDs and 0 INTs

Ole Miss beat S. Carolina 59-42.  This was another game where defense took a day off.  Ole Miss amassed 708 yards on offense; S. Carolina gained a meager 548 yards.  The Gamecocks dominated on the ground gaining 318 yards (8.2 yards per carry); normally that wins the game for you.  However, the Ole Miss passing game gained 513 yards (14.2 yards per attempt) and that trumped the S. Carolina run game.  South Carolina is now 2-5 for the season and in the aftermath of this loss – the third in a row – they fired head coach Will Muschamp and set about the task of hiring his replacement.

Kentucky beat Vandy 38-35.  That result is a lot closer than most folks thought it would be; Vandy is 0-6.  The Commodores’ four remaining opponents are Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Mizzou. They will be serious underdogs to Florida and Georgia and probably a touchdown underdog to Tennessee and Mizzou; things are looking bleak for Vandy. The Kentucky running game was potent in that game gaining 308 yards on 34 carries (9.1 yards per carry).

Boise St. beat Colorado state 52-21.  This was a nice bounce-back game for the Broncos after being beaten badly two weeks ago by BYU.  Two of the Boise St. TDs came on blocked kicks in the first quarter – – one was a blocked punt the other a blocked field goal attempt.  Another Broncos’ TD came on a second blocked punt in the second quarter.  The special teams coach deserves the game ball here.

Cincy beat East Carolina 55-17.  This was another dominant performance by the Bearcats’ defense.  Cincy is 7-0 on the season and looks to be the best team in the so-called Group of 5 conferences.

 

College Games of Interest:

 

            If I have counted correctly, there are 16 college football games either cancelled or postponed this weekend.

Iowa – 2 at Penn St. (47):  Back when the season started, who saw the possibility that Penn State might open its season with 5 straight losses?  I certainly did not…

Cincy – 5.5 at UCF (63.5):  The Cincy defense has allowed an average of 12.4 points per game in the first 7 games of the 2020 season.  UCF’s defense allows 28.7 points per game.  On offense, both teams average just over 40 points per game.

Clemson – 35.5 at Florida State (63.5):  Trevor Lawrence has been cleared out COVID-19 protocol and is expected to start in this game.  The Seminoles’ defense ranks 101st in the country giving up 36.1 points per game.  This will be a rout but laying 5 TDs plus a hook is not going to happen here.  The more interesting possibility is that Clemson’s defense – – 12th in the country in total defense and 18th in the country in scoring defense – – might just shut down the Seminoles’ offense to the point where Florida St. does not get out of single digits.  In that scenario taking the UNDER here would make sense; I always try to make sense, so I’ll take the UNDER here; put it in the Six-Pack.

Missouri – 6.5 at South Carolina (57):  It might be interesting to see if interim coach Mike Bobo can change the fortunes of the Gamecocks in this game against a less-than-fearsome opponent.

Indiana at Ohio State – 21 (66):  Both teams arrive at the kickoff undefeated; the Hoosiers are ranked 10th in the country this week.  Nonetheless, Ohio State is a 3 TD favorite in this game.  I gave this one “Game of the Week” consideration.

Michigan – 10.5 at Rutgers (54.5):  Rutgers shocked Michigan State in the opening game back in late October but they have lost their last 3 games including a come-from-ahead loss to Illinois last week (see above).  Michigan opened the season with a big win over Minnesota, but they too have lost their last 3 games.  Michigan could not run the ball at all last week (see above) while Rutgers could not stop the run at all last week (see above).  Who knows what will happen here/

LSU – 1.5 at Arkansas (62.5):  Arkansas opened the week as a 1-point favorite over LSU.  I doubt many people saw that coming as the season got underway.  I am tempted to take this game to go OVER because the LSU defense is miserable giving up 33.6 points per game; it also ranks 112th in the country in total defense yielding 478.6 yards per game.  Chalk it up to a lack of willpower on my part; I will succumb to the temptation and take the game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Kentucky at Alabama – 29 (58.5):  The Wildcats’ defense has allowed only 21.3 points per game in their first 7 games.  It will be interesting to see how it fares against Alabama this week.  I think Alabama will score between 35 and 40 points.  The key here is the Alabama defense which has been scary good recently; if they shut down the Kentucky running game, they might hold the Wildcats to single digits.  I like this game to stay UNDER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Mississippi State at Georgia – 24 (44.5):  I know that the Mississippi State offense has sputtered ever since the opening game and that Georgia has an elite defense.  Having said that, I am stunned that the oddsmakers think the Georgia offense is worthy of being a 24-point favorite over another SEC team.  Very puzzling…

Wisconsin – 7 at Northwestern (44):  Here is a meeting between two undefeated teams in the Big-10 West.  Because these teams are in the same division of the Big-10, I gave this “Game of the Week” consideration.

Oklahoma State at Oklahoma – 7 (59):  The Sooners are 4-2 in conference; the Cowboys are 4-1 in conference.  A loss for the Sooners probably eliminates them from consideration in the Big-12 conference championship game.  A win for the Cowboys points them toward that game because their two remaining opponents both have losing records.  Notwithstanding the two Big-10 games between undefeated teams, I think this one is the college Game of the Week.

K-State at Iowa State – 10.5 (46.5):  This matches the other two teams in the top 4 of the Big-12 conference as of this morning.

USC – 3 at Utah (57):  Here we are in mid-November and this is the first game of the year for Utah.

Washington State at Stanford – 3.5 (63):  I do not love Washington State by any means, but I cannot figure out why Stanford is favored here other than the game venue.  Stanford has not been a scoring machine and it has not shown a stout defense in losing both of its games for the season.  I like Wazzu to win the game outright; I’ll take them plus the points here; put it in the Six-Pack.

Boise State – 14 at Hawaii (57.5):  This is a long trip and a significant change in weather conditions for Boise St.

  • [Aside:  I notice now that I have already put 4 games in this week’s Six-Pack, and I know from glancing at NFL lines during the week that I like more than two “opportunities” there.  Ergo, this week’s “Six-Pack” is going to be numerically challenged.]

 

NFL Commentary:

 

The Cleveland Browns find themselves with a 6-3 record this morning and they are in serious contention for a playoff spot in the AFC.  The last time the Browns made the playoffs was in 2002; they lost in the wildcard round then to the Steelers.  The last time the Browns won a playoff game was in 1994; they won in the wildcard round that year.  Here is why I find that bit of trivia interesting:

  • The Browns’ coach for that last playoff win was Bill Belichick.
  • The Browns’ victim in that last playoff win was the New England Patriots.

Several weeks ago, the Seahawks’ defense had the potential to break the record for most yards allowed per game in NFL history. (440.1 yards per game – – Saints – – 2012)  Last week, the Seahawks’ defense played better; last night the Seahawks’ defense played well holding the Cardinals to 314 yards of offense – – only 57 of those yards on the ground.  In addition, the defense scored a safety to boot.  Carlos Dunlap was acquired in a trade with the Bengals a couple of weeks ago and he played very well last night registering 2 sacks.

I do not know if it was GM John Schneider or coach Pete Carroll or someone else in the organization that identified the need on defense and then matched Dunlop’s skills to that need. Whoever was the one to make that connection deserves a lot of praise from Seahawks’ fans this morning.

In last week’s action, the Bucs beat the Panthers 46-23.  The scoreboard operator had to be on his toes all the time here.  Teddy Bridgewater had to leave the game with a knee injury and the Bucs’ defense clamped down allowing only 20 yards net offense for the second half.  The Bucs produced 500 yards on offense; this game was never really in doubt.

The Browns beat the Texans 10-7.  The scoreboard operator could have been on Quaaludes for much of this game and no one would have noticed.  Field conditions and weather conditions were bleak; winds gusted to 52 mph during the game according to weather.com.  Nick Chubb returned to action for the Browns and averaged 6.6 yards per carry for the day.  Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined to carry the ball 38 times for 230 yards.

The Steelers beat the Bengals 36-10.  The Bengals could not run the ball consistently in the game and put the entire offensive responsibility on Joe Burrow to try to play catch-up.  That might work against a bad defense or a mediocre defense that is having a bad day; it did not work against the Steelers’ defense at all.  The Steelers did not run well gaining only 44 yards for the day – – but Ben Roethlisberger showed why he will be in the Hall of Fame one of these days by throwing for 333 yards and 4 TDs and controlling the game with short passes.

The Packers beat the Jags 24-20.  Before you conclude that the close score of this game at Lambeau Field indicates that Jake Luton has announced his presence in the NFL and everyone needs to take notice, look a bit deeper into the stats.  The Jags got a TD on a 90-yard punt return and got 10 points off two turnovers that gave the Jags a short field.  [The TD “drive” after one turnover was all of 16 yards.]  Total offense for the Jags was only 260 yards.

The Giants beat the Eagles 27-17.  The Eagles’ defense took the day off; the Giants arrived with a sputtering offense – – to put it mildly – – and that Eagles’ defense proceeded to give up almost 6 yards per play.  The Eagles’ offense was no great shakes here either; they were 0 for 9 on 3rd down conversions.  Daniel Jones led the Giants in rushing for the game.

The Lions beat the WTFs 30-27.  The Lions led this game 24-3 and tried their darndest to give it away.  Conventional wisdom around DC is that the WTFs’ defensive front is the strength of the team and the piece around which they will rebuild the franchise.  Of the 7 guys up front on defense, there are 5 first round picks.  Now here is a bit of harsh reality regarding that defensive front 7:

  • Rank 21st in the NFL in run defense allowing 126 yards per game
  • Allowed the Lions 105 yards on the ground – – Lions rank 25thin the NFL in rushing offense.

But it gets worse …  Last week, the WTFs tied the score at 27 all with 16 seconds to play in the game; they had all the momentum going into what simply had to be OT.  Here is the sequence of plays in the final 16 seconds of that game by that defense:

  1. Kickoff goes out of the end zone – – ball on the Lions’ 25 – – 16 seconds left
  2. Lions complete a 10-yard pass – – receiver runs out of bounds – – 12 seconds left
  3. Long pass is incomplete – – 6 seconds left – – EXCEPT one of those first round picks on the DL, Chase Young, roughs the passer – – ball placed at the 50 yardline.  [Aside:  Coach Ron Rivera tried to protect his rookie DE saying that the WTFs’ QB had been hit harder than that with no call made earlier in the game.  Fact is that Young took two full steps after the ball was out of Matthew Stafford’s hand before decking the QB.  It was a correct call by the officials, and it was a Meathead of the Week sort of play.]
  4. Lions complete a 9-yard pass – – 3 seconds left – – Time out Lions
  5. Matt Prater kicks a 59-yard field goal to win the game as the clock expires.

Only Wile E. Coyote could have ended the game in a more inept and frustrating fashion.

The Rams beat the Seahawks 23-16.  The Rams were efficient and effective on offense but not explosive.  They did not need to be here because the Rams’ defense played very well.  They did not allow Russell Wilson to throw a TD pass sacked him 6 times and intercepted 2 passes.  The Seahawks have now lost 3 of their last 4 games and have dropped to third place in the NFC West.  [Update:  Their win last night over the Cards puts them back atop the NFC West pending the outcome of the Rams/Bucs game on Monday night.]

The Cards beat the Bills 32-30.  Surely you have seen the replay of the Hall Mary pass that won the game for the Cards. Even without that play, this was an entertaining game to watch.  Two interceptions by the Cards in the second half kept the Bills within reach.  The Cards ran the ball for 217 yards in the game on 35 carries (6.2 yards per try).

The Dolphins beat the Chargers 29-21.  Yes, it was another one-possession loss for the Chargers – – but at least they did not lose after having a huge lead and squandering it.  Call that progress?  The Dolphins took the lead early by blocking a punt by the Chargers after their opening series went 3-and-out and then recovering the blocked punt at the Chargers’ 1-yardline.  Neither offense guided by highly regarded rookie QBs did much business here.  The Dolphins’ total offense was 280 yards; the Chargers’ total offense was 273 yards.

The Raiders beat the Broncos 37-12.  The Raiders intercepted 4 passes in the game including one where the Broncos had the ball inside the Raiders’ 5 yardline.  For good measure, they also recovered a Broncos’ fumble while their offense did not turn the ball over at all in the game.  The Raiders controlled the tempo and the game with a running attack that amassed 203 yards on 41 carries.

The Saints beat the Niners 27-13.  The differential here is 2 TDs.  The Niners fumbled away 2 punts in the game both recovered by the Saints and both led to touchdowns.  Ka-beesh?  The Saints’ offense was hampered by the absence of Drew Brees who left the game with a rib/chest injury and did not play at all in the second half.  Turns out that Brees has multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung.  He is listed as week-to-week; I suspect he will be out for a while.  As of this morning, the Saints have a half-game lead over the Bucs in the NFC South.  It is never a good time to have your first string QB out of action; but if there is a silver lining for Saints’ fans here, it lies in the remaining Saint’s schedule and the records – as of this morning – of the teams on that schedule:

  • Falcons  3-6-0
  • Broncos 3-6-0
  • Falcons  3-6-0
  • Eagles  3-5-1
  • Chiefs  8-1-0
  • Vikes  4-5-0
  • Panthers  3-7-0

The game against the Chiefs is clearly the toughest one left on the schedule and it is one month from today on December 20th.  If Drew Brees is really “week-to-week” he might be available for that one…

The Pats beat the Ravens 23-17.  The Pats only managed 135 yards passing in the game, but the air attack did produce 2 TD passes both caught by Rex Burkhead. Normally, that level of performance would indicate a loss.  However, that effort was bolstered by a running game that gained 173 yards on 39 carries.  That is not spectacular by any means – – but it was enough to keep the chains moving.  The Pats had 25 first downs to only 19 for the Ravens.  The Ravens are now 6-3 which puts them 3 games behind the Steelers in the AFC North plus the Steelers own the tie breaker as of now having beaten the Ravens earlier this year.

The Vikes beat the Bears 19-13 in one of the uglier NFL games of the year.  Kirk Cousins finally won a game on Monday night and Nick Foles had to be carted off the field in the final minute of the game with what is described as a “hip/leg injury’.  The Bears’ offense is non-existent; their only TD came on a 104-yard kickoff return to start the second half.  They could not run the ball (41 yards on 17 tries) and their passing game was nothing but check down stuff (31 pass attempts produced 124 yards).  The Bears’ defense is for real; it held Dalvin Cook in check (30 carries for 96 yards) and produced 2 turnovers in the game.  The Bears’ defense is like a single Mom with a deadbeat Dad…

The Bears have their BYE Week this week.  There is no official word on whether Foles can be back for next week’s encounter with the Packers.  Stay tuned…

 

NFL Games:

 

Four teams have a BYE Week this week:

  1. Bears:  They will spend the week figuring out which of the three QBs on the roster is the least worst so they can put him out there next week to throw the offense into neutral.
  2. Bills:  They get a whole week to keep the taste of that Hail Mary pass in their mouths.
  3. Giants:  They get to revel in the glory of their 2-game winning streak – – something no other NFC East team has accomplished this season.
  4. Niners:  In addition to getting time to heal, the Niners should try to figure out why they are 1-4 at home while going 3-2 on the road.

There are plenty of games on the card for this weekend that have significant playoff implications; last night’s Cards/Seahawks game was merely an appetizer.

Philly at Cleveland – 2.5 (47):  The Browns are 6-3 for the season.  In their 3 losses they have scored a total of 19 points (6.3 points per game).  In their 6 wins, they have scored a total of 197 points (32.7 points per game). Call theirs the Night and Day Offense…  The Eagles’ offense is far more predictable; it is never very good.  Sometimes, Carson Wentz & Co. are “mediocre” and on other days they are merely Meh!  The Browns are in the playoff hunt; the Eagles lead the pathetic NFC East for now.  Truth be told, this miserable game has playoff implications.

Atlanta at New Orleans – 3.5 (50):  The spread here opened at 7 points; that was before the extent of Drew Brees’ injury was known so the drop is explainable to something other than a flood of “Falcons’ money”.  Jameis Winston will be at QB for the Saints; if he avoids his bugbear – the INT – the Saints could control this game.  The Falcons have won 2 in a row; the Saints have won 6 in a row.  I think the Falcons are catching the Saints at the right time; the Falcons will have their offensive weapons healthy and in action; the Saints will have to adapt to Jameis Winston in place of Drew Brees – – and those two guys are very different QBs.  I like the Falcons plus the points here; put it in the Six-Pack.

Detroit at Carolina – 3 (47):  Teddy Bridgewater had to leave last week’s game with a right leg injury; he is questionable for this game.  If he cannot play, the next man up for the Panthers is PJ Walker or Will Grier.  Walker’s last playing experience was in the XFL last Spring; Grier was the Panthers’ third-round pick out of West Virginia last Spring.  On the other sideline, Matthew Stafford injured his throwing hand in last week’s win over the WTFs, but he finished that game and is expected to play here. (Chase Daniel would take over if Stafford could not go.)  This is one of the games this week with no playoff implications.  And – – until you know which QB will be playing for both teams, making a pick or a wager is akin to playing the lottery.

New England – 1 at Houston (49):  Watch out; the Pats are on a 2-game winning streak; they are not yet looming in the playoff hunt, but Bill Belichick’s teams tend to get better as the calendar turns to late November and December.  On the other side of the field, the Texans are toast; they are 2-7-0 and sit 4 full games behind both the Colts and the Titans in the AFC South.  I think the Pats will run the ball very effectively here; I’ll take the Pats to win and cover on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Pittsburgh – 10.5 at Jax (47):  The Steelers have yet to lose a game; the Jags are 1-8-0.  Last week, the Jags won the turnover battle and scored on a long punt return – – and still lost the game (see above).  If the Steelers do not sleepwalk through this one, they should win it easily.  Nevertheless, I will avoid that spread of two scores plus a hook.  Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel had an interesting take on this game:

“With the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers getting ready for a game against the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wanted to make it clear to the media that, ‘We are not a Big Ten team playing a MAC opponent this week.’ He’s right about that. The Steelers are an SEC team playing a MAC opponent.”

Green Bay at Indy – 2.5 (51):  This spread opened with the Packers as a 2-point favorite.  Lots of playoff importance here; the Colts are tied with the Titans for the lead in the AFC South; the Packers are comfortably in the lead in the NFC North and they are tied with the Saints for the #1 seed in the playoffs as of now.  The Packers had to rally to beat the Jags last week; I think they were looking ahead to this game and almost got beat.  The Colts’ defense is clearly the better defense here; the Packers’ QB is clearly the better QB here.  Therein lies the key to this game.  Here is Fun Fact:

  • The Packers have never beaten the Colts in Indy.

Cincy at Washington – 1 (47):  This is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week and I do not want to see any finger-pointing by fans of the WTFs toward the Jets/Chargers game lower on the card.  These teams arrive with a combined record of 4-13-1; they both stink.  Alex Smith gives the WTFs a patina of competence as their QB; he is surrounded on offense by mediocrity save for Terry McLaurin who has emerged as a good WR.  The Bengals have a budding young QB who is leading the team in a positive direction – – but he too has little help around him.  I will certainly get this game in the early afternoon time slot here in the DC area; count your blessings if your CBS affiliate opts for something else.

Tennessee at Baltimore – 5 (49.5):  Lots of playoff hopes are in play here.  The Titans “trail” the Colts on the basis of a tie-breaker this morning; the Ravens are 3 games behind the Steelers and have the same 6-3 record as 5 other teams in the AFC so they are chasing a wildcard slot.  The Ravens’ offense has been missing any sort of flow or rhythm or continuity for the past several weeks; the Titans’ defense has been missing any sort of lockdown capability for all of 2020 giving up an average of 398.1 yards per game.  If that does not allow the Ravens’ offense to jumpstart, then there is serious trouble in Charm City.  Derrick Henry will surely test the Ravens’ run defense which is giving up 4.5 yards per carry to date.

Dallas at Minnesota – 7 (48):  The Vikes have won three games in a row – each of them over a divisional opponent; that does not have them squarely in the playoff race yet, but their schedule is “friendly”.  They have two tough games against the Saints and the Bucs (both on the road), but the other 4 games are definitely winnable.  That is why this week’s game is important to the Vikes’ playoff hopes down the road.  The Cowboys had a BYE Week last week and they got good news when they learned that Andy Dalton had cleared the concussion protocol.  Dalvin Cook has been spectacular this year; Ezekiel Elliott has not.  If Cook can have what for him is an average game, that will expose the Cowboys’ secondary to Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen and I do not see that secondary being able to withstand that.  I like the Vikes at home to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

(Sun Nite) KC – 7.5 at Las Vegas (57):   Andy Reid coached teams are 18-3 coming off a BYE Week; the Chiefs had last week off.  This should be a high-scoring event.  The Raiders inflicted the only loss on the Chiefs’ record this year so maybe there is a “revenge factor” at work here?  Look for the Raiders to run effectively on the Chiefs’ defense and look for the Chiefs’ to move the ball through the air on the Raiders’ secondary which does not get a lot of help from the Raiders’ pass rushers who have registered only 11 sacks in 9 games this year.  Both teams are serious playoff contenders in the AFC.  I call this the Game of the Week.

Miami – 3.5 at Denver (45):  The Dolphins have realistic playoff aspirations; the Broncos – – not so much.  The Dolphins have shown that they can win high scoring games and they can win defensive games.  The Dolphins play and practice at sea level – almost literally – so the altitude will be a challenge for them.  Nonetheless, I like their defense and I have been impressed by Tua’s poise at QB over the last several games.  I like the Dolphins to win and cover even on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Jets at Chargers – 9.5 (46):  I know; this is not a good game.  Break out the Jim Mora rant about “Playoffs?” and you can have some fun with this one.  The Chargers are 2-7-0 but their point differential is only minus-19 points.  The Jets are 0-9 with a point differential of minus-147 points.  The Jets had a BYE Week last week, but they will still be without Sam Darnold at QB – – meaning another week of Joe Flacco dinking and dunking to a mediocre corps of pass catchers.

(Mon Nite) Rams at Bucs – 4 (48):  Plenty of playoff implications here…  A win for the Rams will tie them with the Seahawks for the lead in the NFC West; a win for the Bucs coupled with a loss by the Saints – would leave those teams tied in the NFC South.  Here is another game to be decided by defense.  Both teams can play explosive offense and both teams can have their offenses throttled down.  Which defense throttles down the opposing offense here will determine the winner.

So, let me review this week’s bloated Six-Pack (8 entries):

  1. Alabama/Kentucky UNDER 58.5
  2. LSU/Arkansas OVER 63
  3. Clemson/Florida State UNDER 63.5
  4. Washington St. +3.5 against Stanford
  5. Patriots – 1 over Texans
  6. Dolphins – 3.5 over Broncos
  7. Vikes – 7 over Cowboys
  8. Falcons +3.5 against Saints

Finally, Dwight Perry had this item in the Seattle Times recently:

“A Thoroughbred named Belichick won the $400,000 Breeders Stakes, the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

“In keeping with the theme, Belichick’s jockey wore sleeveless silks.”

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

 

 

4 thoughts on “Football Friday 11/20/20”

  1. If I were a betting person (I am not) I would take the opposite of your OVER and UNDER bets. Also, I like the Falcons to win outright in New Orleans.

  2. Just wondering if anyone else, other than my wife, has noticed a resemblance between Baker Mayfield (Browns) and Sam Howell (UNC)?

    1. Gary L. in El Paso:

      Now that you mention it, there is is a strong facial resemblance. Howell looks much thicker through his torso than Mayfield though.

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