Football Friday 11/27/20

I presume that everyone had a safe and sound Thanksgiving yesterday and that the tryptophan-induced “’coma” has passed.  That means  you are ready for Football Friday.  As usual, I shall begin with a review of last week’s Six-Pack.

It was another embarrassingly bad week for my selections.  If you recall, I picked eight games; two were not played and the other six were all incorrect.  [Aside:  If I were being dishonest with my accountings here, I could claim both cancelled games as wins because I took the UNDER in one of them and I took the underdog in the other game.  But we do not do weasel-like things here in Curmudgeon Central.] So, here are the damages:

  • College:  0-2-0
  • NFL:  0-4-0
  • Combined:  0-6-0

That drops the season record to these embarring depths:

  • College:  9-15-1
  • NFL:  16-23-1
  • Combined:  25-38-2


College Football Commentary:


Am I the only one to notice that more than a few college football games now take close to 4 hours from start to finish?  Somehow the adoption of hurry-up offenses has managed to slow down the typical game.  Actually, I think there are two other factors that have a bigger time-stretching effect on college football games:

  • Stopping the clock on every first down until the chains are reset
  • Very inefficient replay reviews.

I wish the “Rules Mavens” would make adjustments there…

Bob Molinaro made this interesting point in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot last week:

Fun fact: Since 2016, Florida State has had more NBA first-rounders (five) than NFL first-rounders (three).”

A couple of years ago when Tennessee last went looking for a football coach, their first pick was Greg Schiano – – but there was an uproar and a revolt when the name was put forth because of unsubstantiated rumors that Schiano might have been involved in helping to cover up Jerry Sandusky’s heinous activities with underage boys at Penn State.  The key element here is that those rumors were unsubstantiated in 2017 and remain unsubstantiated today.

Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt and the results after two-and-a-half seasons are not particularly exciting.  The Vols have posted a 9-14 record in SEC games and a 15-17 record overall.  With a fanbase that thinks its team should be a CFP contender, that is serious underachievement.

Schiano was hired to return to Rutgers as the head football coach last December.  In his first incarnation there, Rutgers went to a minor bowl game 6 times in 11 seasons.  When he left; the program collapsed.  In his first year back at Rutgers the record is 1-4 – – but the program is respectable and not a gridiron embarrassment.  Playing a Big-10 schedule, it would be miraculous for Rutgers to win 10 games in a season, but Schiano has shown that he is a solid college football coach.  Meanwhile back in Knoxville, there is a hot seat warming up under Jeremy Pruitt…

Tennessee is similar to Rutgers in that the Vols are in a division and conference that makes it very difficult for them to be a 10-game winner in a season – – and the fan base there wants to be part of the CFP decision process.  The big difference is that Jeremy Pruitt is likely to be fired for failure to make Tennessee relevant while Greg Schiano is probably going to polish his résumé just making Rutgers into something other than a joke.

Tennessee has now lost 5 consecutive games by double digits – – something that has never happened before to the Vols and they have been playing football since 1891.

Before I present you with a news item I ran across last week, let me pose a rhetorical question and let you provide your own answer:

  • Question:  Why move it and not cancel it?

Here is the news item:

“NEWS: Due to current state guidelines in New Mexico regarding college athletics and travel, the 2020 New Mexico Bowl will be staged in Frisco, Texas, at Toyota Stadium, on Thursday, Dec. 24, at 3:30 p.m. ET.”

To save you the time it would take to go and look it up. the tradition of the New Mexico Bowl goes all the way back to 2006.

Speaking about “cancellation”, the Minnesota/Wisconsin game this week has been canceled and this will be the first time since 1906 that the two teams have not met to play a football game.  They had played 100 games before the first New Mexico Bowl game took place…

Back in the summer, UMass canceled its football season – – and then decided to reinstate it for some unknown reason.  The Minutemen’s record is now 0-3 and that is a particularly ignominious version of an 0-3 record.  Consider:

  • GA Southern  41  UMass 0
  • Marshall  51  UMass 10
  • Florida Atlantic  24  UMass 2

Three games and the offense has produced 10 points.  They have played 12 quarters of football and scored a total of 12 points.  The Minutemen have one game left on the schedule against Liberty University today.  I am sure there was a rock-solid reason to reinstate this abbreviated football season – – but I do not know what it was.

Speaking of Liberty University, NC State beat Liberty 15-14.  That is the first loss of the season for Liberty.  The Wolfpack scored a safety late in the third quarter and that provided the margin of victory.  The stat sheet is a true reflection of how closely contested the game was.  The biggest differences were:

  • Penalties:  Liberty had 7 for 45 yards; NC State had 14 for 123 yards
  • Turnovers:  Liberty turned the ball over 3 times; NC State 1 time.

LSU beat Arkansas 27-24.  The Tigers scored with 4 minutes left in the game to secure the victory.  The game was as close statistically as it was on the scoreboard; LSU had 419 yards on offense and Arkansas had 443.  The biggest difference was that LSU converted 11 of 22 third-down situations while Arkansas was 0 of 10 in third down situations.

Ohio State beat Indiana 42-35.  The Buckeyes led 42-21 after 3 quarters but two quick TDs early in the 4th quarter put the game in doubt, but the Buckeyes held on to that lead through the final whistle.  Indiana WR, Ty Fryfogle had another huge game here catching 7 passes for 218 yards and 3 TDs.  [Aside:  Fryfogle is the first player in Big Ten history to have back-to-back games with 200 yards receiving.  Last week against Michigan State, he had 200 yards receiving on 11 receptions.]  Ohio State dominated the rest of the stat sheet gaining 607 yards on offense with 307 of those yards coming via the ground game.  The Ohio State defense held Indiana to minus-1 yard rushing for the day on 14 attempts.

Illinois beat Nebraska 41-23.   The last time Illinois beat Nebraska in Lincoln NE was back in 1924 when the halfback for the Illini was a guy named Red Grange. Huskers QB, Luke McCaffrey was the leading rusher for the Big Red last week.  When the QB is a team’s leading rusher, that is a stat that can indicate a big win or a big loss.  For this game, it was the latter.  The Huskers turned the ball over 5 times in the game; McCaffrey was the reason for 4 of those 5 errors losing a fumble and throwing 3 INTs.

Northwestern beat Wisconsin 17-7.  With this win, Northwestern takes the lead in the Big-10 West.  This was a defensive struggle; Northwestern gained only 263 yards on offense and got the win; Wisconsin only managed 366 yards for the game.  Northwestern forced five turnovers – four in the first half – and sacked Wisconsin QB, Graham Mertz three times.  Defense was truly the order of the day; there were 17 punts in the game because Wisconsin was 3 for 16 on third down situations while Northwestern was 2 for 15.

Northwestern is 5-0 on the season and this is the rest of their schedule:

  • At Michigan State
  • At Minnesota
  • Vs. Illinois

Other than an opening week blowout win over Maryland, the next four wins for Northwestern have been close.  The four games have been decided by a total of 26 points.

Iowa beat Penn State 41-21.  Penn State is 0-5 for the season; Penn State has been playing football for 134 years; this is the first time it has lost its first 5 games in a season.    Iowa led 31-7 midway through the third quarter .  then Penn State QB Sean Clifford completed a pair of touchdown passes for 96 yards in a 3:54 span that cut Iowa’s lead to 10 with just over a quarter left.  It made the game appear respectable.

Michigan beat Rutgers 48-42 in triple OT.  The game was tied at 35 at the end of regulation; neither team scored in the first OT; both scored in the second OT; Michigan prevailed in the third OT.  The stat sheet was as even as the scoring; Michigan offense was 497 yards; Rutgers offense was 482 yards.

In SEC action, Alabama beat Kentucky 63-3.  The score was 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.  That is as good as it got for the Wildcats last week.  The Alabama defense stifled Kentucky over the course of the game allowing only 179 yards of offense, 2 of 13 third-down conversions and only 3.1 yards per offensive play for the game.

Georgia beat Mississippi St.  31-24.  If you like to see a running attack, this was not a game you wanted to see.  Georgia managed all of 8 yards rushing for the day; Mississippi State was not much better gaining a total of 22 yards on the ground.  This was a back-and-forth game all the way; the biggest lead either way was 7 points.

In the Big-12, Iowa State beat K- State 45-0.  Iowa State sits atop the Big-12 race as of now with a record of 6-1 in conference and 6-2 overall.  As expected from that score, the stat sheet is very lopsided; K- State managed only 149 yards on offense for the game.

Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 41-13.  Oklahoma gained exactly twice the number of  yards as compared to Oklahoma State in the game.  The Sooners scored 3 TDs in the first 9 minutes and never looked back.  Sooner QB, Shane Rattler posted this stat line:

  • 17 of 24 for 301 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INTs.

As a result of this game, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas are all chasing Iowa State in the Big-12; all three schools have 2 losses in conference.  The Big-12 Championship will be decided by a playoff between the two top finishers.  In terms of tiebreakers, Oklahoma has beaten both Oklahoma State and Texas while Texas has lost to both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.  Texas hosts Iowa State this week in a very important Big-12 contest.

In other college football action, BYU beat North Alabama 66-14.  No shock here; BYU was a 47.5-point favorite at kickoff time, and they covered.  The Cougars are now 9-0 with one game left on their schedule against San Diego State on December 12th.

Cincy beat UCF 36-33.  Cincy remains unbeaten and should have a prominent placement in a New Year’s Day bowl game.  Maybe Cincy vs BYU?  Why not?  Potentially a battle of undefeated teams…

Oregon beat UCLA 38-35.  Maybe Oregon is a good team; maybe not.  The reason this game is worth mentioning is that UCLA turned the ball over 4 times (2 INTs and 2 lost fumbles) and all four of those turnovers became TDs for the Ducks.  In the first 10 minutes of the game, Oregon posted 2 TDs on drives of 19 yards and 32 yards.  Just before halftime, the Bruins gifted the Ducks a Pick-Six.  It turns out that UCLA has been sort of the football version of a Secret Santa in its 3 games so far this year.  They have turned the ball over 9 times in those 3 games 7 of those 9 turnovers have produced TDs for the opposition.


College Football Games of Interest:


If I have counted correctly, there have been 19 games either cancelled or postponed this weekend.  19 games off the card; COVID-19; yes, there is a connection there…

The Apple Cup game between Washington State and Washington will not be played this year. It was scheduled for today at Washington State, but according to a statement from the Pac-12, the decision to cancel the game was made because Washington State would not have the minimum required number of scholarship players available for the game based on positive COVID tests and contact tracing.


Kentucky at Florida – 25.5 (60):  Florida has not gotten a lot of attention as a CFP team but their offense is really good and it will be very interesting to watch it go up against Alabama’s defense in the SEC Championship Game – – should that be the pairing.  Kentucky began the year playing good defense, but it shriveled against Alabama (see above) and it yielded 35 points to Vandy.  Florida’s defense is not great either so this should be a scoring-fest; I’ll take the OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Pitt at Clemson – 22.5 (55.5):  I wonder if Dabo Swinney’s blood pressure will have receded to something like 190/155 by game time.  I shudder to think about what might happen if this game had to be canceled at the last minute like last week’s game against Florida State.

Northwestern – 12 at Michigan State (42):  That looks like a big number for Northwestern to cover (see above).  On the other hand, Michigan State has 3 losses for the season by an average of 25.7 points per game.

Penn State at Michigan – 1 (58):  The spread opened the week with Michigan a 3-point favorite.  This morning you can find the game at this number AND you can find it at 2 sportsbooks with Penn State favored by 1 point.  Given the records and performances by these two teams, call this the Disappointment Bowl.

Duke at Ga Tech “pick ‘em” (58):  Here is another game where the line varies significantly from sportsbook to sportsbook.  I found it with Tech as a 1.5-point favorite this morning and I found it with Duke as a 1-point favorite.

Maryland at Indiana – 12 (65):  The Total Line opened the week at 59 points and has risen steadily through the week.  Maryland has not played since November 7th; will they be rested or rusty?  Indiana still has a longshot for the Big-10 title game should Ohio State stumble; I think they recover from last week’s loss to the Buckeyes and beat up on Maryland here.  Give me the Hoosiers to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

Arizona at UCLA – 10 (69):  Given UCLA’s proclivities to turn over the ball (see above), the oddsmaker must not think highly of Arizona at all…

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State – 10.5 (54):  This is a must-win for Oklahoma State if they are to keep hope alive for a Big-12 Championship.

Auburn at Alabama – 24.5 (63):  Even when oddsmakers think this will be a blowout game, the Iron Bowl is a game of interest.  Nick Saban will not be at the game because he tested positive for COVID-19; Steve Sarkisian will be “at the helm” for this weekend.

LSU at Texas A&M – 15 (63):  LSU has been a disappointment this season; the Aggies have been quietly over-performing expectations – – sort of like Florida and the Aggies have beaten Florida this year.

Mississippi State at Ole Miss – 9 (69):  Like the Iron Bowl game, the Egg Bowl game is always interesting.  Which version of the Mississippi State offense will show up here?  I think it will be the potent version mostly because the Ole Miss defense has been paper thin all year long.  I have no doubt that Ole Miss will bring a high-octane offense.  I like this game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Stanford – 2 at Cal (51):  This is The Game.  Neither team has been impressive, but they will put forth best efforts here.

Oregon – 12 at Oregon State (65):  This game has been called the Civil War for years but now that name is considered to be much too outrageous for the sensitivities of some.  They can call it whatever they want, I like the idea of calling it the Civil War.


NFL Commentary:


The NFL has decided to take over an empty sports date on Saturday December 19th.  Two games scheduled for Sunday have been moved up a day giving the NFL Network two “national telecasts”.  The Bills/Broncos game will happen at 4:30 PM EST on Saturday December 19th and then the Panthers/Packers game will happen at 8:15 PM.  When I saw the announcement, I wondered why those two games were chosen to get a “national focus”; neither game appeared to me to be compelling.

Here is a link to the Week 15 schedule for the NFL.  There is not a plethora of games on tap for that weekend that appear all that “compelling” other than the Chiefs at the Saints.

Last weekend, The Panthers beat the Lions 20-0.  The Lions have not been a highly successful franchise over the last decade, but this is the first time they have been shut out in a game since 2009.  Last week, they never got to the Red Zone at all; they never threatened to make a game of it.  Meanwhile former XFL QB, PJ Walker, showed that he is a competent backup-QB for an NFL team throwing for 258 yards and 2 TDs.  The Panthers’ defense sacked Matthew Stafford 5 times and held the Lions to only 185 yards on offense.

The Saints beat the Falcons 24-9.  Sean Payton chose to go with Taysom Hill at QB instead of Jameis Winston and it worked out just fine.  Hill was 18 of 23 for 233 yards passing, 51 yards rushing, and he scored 2 TDs. The Saints’ defense must have made some magical halftime adjustments because the Falcons never crossed the 50 yardline in the second half until the final minutes when the game was on ice.  Matt Ryan suffered 8 sacks and threw 2 INTs facing that Saints’ defense.

The Saints’ QB situation here bears an eerie similarity to the situation with Pats about 20 years ago.  Drew Bledsoe – – THE man in town – – suffered a chest injury.  A “new guy” named Brady came in and played well enough that when Bledsoe had healed, Belichick stayed with the “new guy”.  Now we have Drew Brees on the shelf with a chest injury and a “new guy” named Taysom Hill who played REALLY well in one game as a sub – – and Brees has supposed to be out for at least 3 weeks because he is on IR.

As a sub-plot to that sort of QB intrigue is the status of Jameis Winston who signed on with the Saints to put a shine on his résumé but he is consigned to the bench when the “main man” cannot play.  That is not a good look…

The WTFs beat the Bengals 20-9.  The loss of Joe Burrow for the rest of the year is far more devastating to the Bengals than the loss of this game. Once he left, any pretense the Bengals may have had regarding “offense” was exposed as a sham.

The Browns beat the Eagles 22-17.  The Eagles are leading the NFC East – – for now – – and still present themselves as a hot mess.  Carson Wentz was under severe pressure every time he dropped back to pass – – even getting sacked in the end zone for a safety one time.  The Eagles running game was working early in the game and then the play calling abandoned it.  The Browns had a Pick Six in the first half and did just enough to win this game, but it was not pretty.  Nick Chubb is back and that is a big plus for Browns’ fans.

The Cowboys beat the Vikes 31-28.  This was a back-and-forth game; the Cowboys were in charge early on; the Vikes had the momentum in the second half.  The return of Andy Dalton to play QB for the Cowboys was obviously a plus but the biggest factor was that for the first half of the game, the Cowboys managed to make Dalvin Cook look like a run-of-the-mill running back.

The Titans beat the Ravens 30-24 in OT.  The Ravens’ offense looked good at times and inept at other times.  When the Ravens won the toss in OT and got the ball, the “inept offense” showed up and it was three-and-out.  The Titans took the ball and marched down the field until handing it to Derrick Henry who took it 30 yards to the end zone for the winning score.  The Ravens’ offense needs work and so does the Titans’ defense if they are to be meaningful participants in the playoffs.

The Steelers beat the Jags 27-3.  Jags’ QB, Jake Luton was under heavy pressure all day long forcing him to throw 4 INTs.  By comparison, Ben Roethlisberger had a leisurely time looking over the defense when he was back to pass.  The score pretty much summarizes the nature of this game.

The Texans beat the Patriots 27-20.  Going into this game the Texans had the worst run defense in the NFL and the Pats strength was their power running game.  So, naturally you understand how the Pats only managed 86 yards rushing in the game.  Sorry, I cannot…

The Broncos beat the Dolphins 20-13.  Tua Tagovailoa had a mediocre game at best and was pulled after 3 quarters.  Maybe Coach Flores was trying to protect his long-term investment in Tua because he had been sacked 6 times while in the game.  Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to work some late game magic, but his magic wand seems to have been in need of a recharge.  The Broncos did not play particularly well but they made the plays they needed to make to keep the Dolphins’ offense in check.

The Colts beat the Packers 34-31 in OT.  The Packers lost 3 fumbles in this game including one in OT that set up the winning score.  The Packers’ defense was on its heels for most of the game surrendering 411 yards to the Colts’ offense; the Colts’ defense did not stifle the Packers but did just enough late in the 4th quarter to get the game to OT.  The Packers had the ball first and goal at the Colts’ 8 yardline trailing 31-28 but could not get the ball into the end zone.

The Chargers beat the Jets 34-28.  The Chargers led 24-6 at halftime; the Jets had them just where they wanted them.  As is their wont, the Chargers gave back that dominant lead and the Jets made a game of it late.  Justin Herbert is the real deal, folks; he threw 3 TDs in this game and amassed 366 yards passing.  Yes, that was against the Jets’ defense, but he made some beautiful throws here.  Keenan Allen caught 16 passes for 145 of those passing yards.

The Chiefs beat the Raiders 35-31.  Derek Carr played Patrick Mahomes to a stand-off in this game; it was a tight and entertaining game from start to finish.  The final scoring drive of the game was vintage KC Chiefs.  With a minute-and-a-half to play, the Chiefs trailed by a field goal with the ball at their own 25 yardline and 1 timeout.  They proceeded to march down the field, score a TD and left about 30 seconds on the clock for the Raiders to play with.  An INT with about 10 seconds remaining on the clock gives you the final score.

The Rams beat the Bucs 27-24.    The Rams dominated on offense 413 yards to 251 yards; neither team ran the ball effectively with the Rams gaining a total of 42 yards and the Bucs only 37 yards.  Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp combined for 23 receptions for 275 yards in the game.

In NFL results from Thanksgiving Day, 41 is obviously the “Magic Number…

The Texans beat Lions 41-25.  Deshaun Watson picked the Lions’ defense apart all day long ; JJ Watt contributed a Pick-6; this game was not really in doubt much beyond the first quarter.  Both teams are now 4-7; in the AFC, that record is not nearly “playoff relevant”; in the NFC, that record is only “playoff relevant” in the NFC East – – but the Lions are in the NFC North. If any Lions’ fans continue to harbor playoff thoughts, there is probably a “support group” out there for you…

The WTFs beat the Cowboys 41– 16.  On one hand, the WTFs did not dominate the game to the extent the score might indicate.  On the other hand, if the Cowboys continue to call plays as stupidly as they did in this game, then the WTFs are indeed more than twice as good.  Consider these play choices by the Cowboys:

  • 4th and 1 at about the Cowboys 29.  Go for it?  OK.  It is only a yard and you have a running back that you are paying $90M over 6 years.  You will never get to find out if that $90M running back can get you that critical yard because someone decided to throw a pass that was incomplete.
  • 4th and long in your own territory and you decide to try a fake punt.  OK, maybe we can catch them by surprise.  It was not even close; the WTFs had TWO players on defense in position and ready to stop the fake punt for a loss of a yard.  No surprise at all…
  • 1st and goal at the 4 yardline with it still a one score game and the Cowboys trot out a reverse and fake pass by a WR to someone somewhere.  That play never had a chance and lost enough yards that it mandated a field goal try. On 4th down.

Mike McCarthy and Co. own this loss – – and they own it big time.


NFL Games:


There are no BYE Weeks; everyone gets to play this weekend – – even the Ravens and Steelers who were supposed to play last night but saw the game pushed back to Sunday afternoon due to COVID tests among the Ravens.


Las Vegas – 3 at Atlanta (52.5):  This game opened the week as a “pick ‘em” game but it did not stay at that line very long.  The Raiders and Derek Carr played well in a loss to the Chiefs last week; they are still in playoff contention, so they need to bring that level of play with them on the flight to Atlanta.  The Raiders’ pass defense is not very good, so it is not hard to imagine the Falcons moving the ball efficiently here.  I smell a shootout here where the loser is at or near 30 points; I’ll take the game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Arizona – 1 at New England (49):  It will be interesting to see what sort of defensive ploy the Pats use to try to contain Kyler Murray.  Neither team can afford to lose this game in terms of their playoff aspirations.

Giants – 6 at Bengals (44):  Even though the Giants could wind up leading the NFC East (by a tie-breaker) at the end of this game, I still have to call it the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.  Ryan Finley was over-matched when he came in for Joe Burrow last week; did he get enough reps in practice to make it appear as if he belongs in a game at this level?  Here are his NFL stats:

  • 3 of 10 for 30 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

The Giants’ defense is improving; I think they can win this handily.

Cleveland – 7 at Jax (49):  Do not look now, but the Browns are 7-3 and have their eyes on a playoff slot in 2020.  The Jags are not any good; if the Browns avoid complacency and continue to run the ball as their primary offensive weapon, they will prevail here.

Carolina at Minnesota – 3 (52):  this game is a must-win for the Vikes if they want to play relevant games in last December/early January.  The Panthers are not going to the playoffs, but they have been playing hard for new coach Matt Ruhle.  The key to this game is the same key to every Vikes game:

  • How effective will Dalvin Cook be in the running game?

Tennessee at Indy – 3 (51.5):  I dub this game as the Game of the Week.  Both teams are 7-3 in the AFC South race but the Colts beat the Titans earlier this month so another win for the colts would give them the equivalent of a 1.5-game lead in the division with 5 games to play.  Both teams played well last week winning in OT.  This game may not be flashy, but it should be a really good one…

Chargers at Buffalo – 5 (53):  The Total Line opened at 50 points and has been climbing slowly all week.  Josh Allen versus Justin Herbert portends a lot of passing yards and a lot of big plays.  The game is important to the Bills and their playoff push; the Chargers are not going to the playoffs.  I checked because it is almost December and this game is in Buffalo.  The forecast for Sunday is 50 degrees with only a 10% chance of rain and 15 mph winds.  With that weather, I like this game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

Miami – 7 at Jets (44):  The Jets have played better in the last couple of weeks and the Dolphins threw in a real stinker last week against the Broncos.  I am not calling for the Jets to win their first game of the year here, but I want to note the Money Line odds on a Jets’ win are +260 this morning.  That is a lot lower than those Money Line odds have been for the Jets in quite a while…

New Orleans at Denver – 7 (46):  The Saints’ defense has been excellent of late and the Broncos’ offense has been nothing better than OK.  I don’t think the Broncos can score much more than 10 points here, so I like this game to stay UNDER; put it in the Six-Pack.

SF at Rams – 6.5 (44.5):  It is a short week for the Rams, and this is a rivalry game.  Picking this game is like picking a coin toss…

KC – 3 at Tampa Bay (56):  I am sure some folks wonder how this cannot be the Game of the Week.  Well, the Chiefs lead in their division is secure and the Bucs are 1.5 games behind the Saints in their division; such is not the case with Tennessee/Indy.  The Bucs’ run defense is very good  (tops in the NFL), but their pass defense is not nearly as good yielding 237.5 yards per game.  A porous pass defense is not a good thing to bring to a game against Patrick Mahomes…

(Sun Nite) Chicago at Green Bay – 8.5 (45):  One sportsbook has this game at 10 points this morning, but all the other sportsbooks have the game at this level.  No, I cannot tell you why that is the case.  What we have here is a study in contrasts.

  • The Packers have a prolific offense that is ranked 3rd in the NFL in scoring at 30.8 points per game.  Meanwhile the Bears’ defense ranks 6th in the NFL allowing only 20.9 points per game.
  • The Packers have a defense that allows 25.8 points per game.  However, the Bears’ offense is a mess ranking 31st in the NFL scoring only 19.1 points per game.  [Aside: Only the Jets score fewer points per game than the Bears do; the Jets’ average is an embarrassing 14.9 points per game.]

Baltimore at Pittsburgh – 4.5 (45):  Given the extent of the COVID-19 testing results on Ravens’ players, I have no idea who will be eligible to play and who will not.  Obviously, this game has more pragmatic meaning to the Ravens who arrive with a record of 6-4 and reside in 3rd place in the AFC North.  Yes, the Steelers will want to preserve their undefeated record – – but that is more of an emotional thing than a pragmatic thing.

(Mon Nite) Seattle – 5 at Philly (50):  Before you look at this game and think that it is a long journey for the Seahawks go get to Philly for the game, recall that the Seahawks went to Philly twice last year (once in the playoffs) and won both games by a score of 17-9.

So, let me review the Six-Pack for this week:

  • Kentucky/Florida OVER 60
  • Indiana – 12 over Maryland
  • Mississippi State/Ole Miss OVER 69
  • Raiders/Falcons OVER 52.5
  • Chargers/Bills OVER 53
  • Saints/Broncos UNDER 46

Finally, with Thanksgiving dinner in our recent memories, let me close with a quotation ascribed to Benjamin Disraeli regarding gratitude:

“I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.”

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



2 thoughts on “Football Friday 11/27/20”

  1. Curmudgeon Central may be making a mistake here that is not acceptable. The PAC-12 is wide open this short season. The Washington Huskies may be the standard-bearer in the 2021 Rose Bowl, yet you have probably not yet named this team in any column. Why is that? Go back and look at USC – Arizona and then Arizona – Washington.

    1. TenaciousP:

      I have not mentioned Washington because I have not yet been moved to notice anything about them that either extremely positive or is extremely negative. Oregon was suppolsed to be the tall dog in the PAC-12 and they took gas against Oregon State. Maybe that leaves the door open for Washington to assume that mantle. Hi ho…

Comments are closed.