When I was a kid, the Howdy Doody Show was must-see TV. It began with Buffalo Bob asking the kids in the peanut gallery, “What time is it?” The answer was always a feisty, “It’s Howdy Doody time!”
That was about 70 years ago so let me bring that up to date here. What time is it?
- It’s Football Friday time!
As usual, I begin with a review of last week’s Six-Pack.
- College: Last week = 2-1-0 Season = 6-5-0
- NFL: Last week = 1-1-1 Season = 4-4-2
- Money Line Parlays: Last week = 1-2 Season = 3-6
- Parlay Profit/Loss: Last week = minus-$97 Season = minus-$216
Paraphrasing Tony Kornheiser at the end of every PTI episode, I’ll try and do better the next time…
College Football Commentary:
The Linfield College Wildcats had last weekend off. Their record for 2022 stands at 2-0 as they pursue another winning season in football – – something they have accomplished in every season since 1956. Tomorrow they will open their Northwest Conference season hosting the Loggers from Puget Sound University. Go Wildcats!
A third college football coach from my list of Coaches on a Hot Seat found himself out of a job before October 1st this year. Georgia Tech fired head coach Geoff Collins and went further up the hierarchy in the Athletic Department and fired the AD too. I do not seek to revel in the accuracy of my predictions here and I can assure you that I placed no hex on any of the coaches on my list.
Georgia Tech is 1-3 this season and Collins complete record at Tech was a less-than-gaudy 10-28. When Collins came to Tech, one of his “objectives” was to recruit heavily in the Atlanta area and to “keep local kids at home”; that was a sensible strategy because there are good players in the Atlanta area. Here’s the problem:
- Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Clemson are close by Atlanta.
- Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Clemson are bigger football schools than Georgia Tech.
- Georgia Tech historically has had higher academic admission standards than those other 4 schools.
I am not sure that Geoff Collins – – or any other coach – – would be able to recruit Atlanta significantly more successfully than he did. I wonder if the administrators at Georgia Tech have an over-inflated view of where their school stands regarding the football pecking order in 2022 …
I was having a conversation with a friend about college football and I said that the USC/Utah game looked like it would determine the winner of the PAC-12 South Division. My friend reminded me that the PAC-12 had ditched the Division format for football and that the PAC-12 Championship Game would feature the two teams with the best conference records. I had forgotten that tid-bit. So, that USC/Utah game is still going to be an important one for the conference – – but it might also be a preview of the PAC-12 Championship game. Same goes for Washington/Oregon…
Hurricane Ian has been ravaging Florida and continues to be a meteorological pain in the ass. It has already caused several college football games in Florida to have been altered either in the date of the game or the venue for the game. Moreover, as the storm makes its way northward, it could provide for some monsoon-like conditions in the Carolinas, Virginia and Maryland where there are plenty of games on tap.
Florida State canceled classes for this week and will closed the entire campus for Thursday and Friday as storm precautions. Demonstrating the importance of football at Florida State, announced that it is:
“ … confident that we will be able to safely host Saturday’s football game against Wake Forest at its scheduled kickoff time.”
I hope the powers that be at Florida State are correct in their confidence with the most important word in that statement being “safely”.
Let me turn to some games from last weekend:
Baylor 31 Iowa St. 24: This result leaves both teams with overall records of 3-1 but it is a conference loss for Iowa St., and it leaves Baylor without a conference loss This win by Baylor potentially sets up some interesting and important Big-12 games down the line. The game was close on the scoreboard and on the stat sheet; Baylor outgained Iowa St. by all of 10 yards in the game. Two turnovers and 8 penalties by Iowa St. did the Cyclones in.
K-State 41 Oklahoma 34: This game also sets up some big time interesting and important games for the Big 12 down the road. The Sooners have a conference loss already and probably cannot afford another one if they want to be part of the Big-12 Championship Game. The two teams combined for 1059 yards on offense and a total of 54 first downs in the game.
Texas Tech 37 Texas 34 (OT): The Longhorns fall to 2-2 for the season and this is a conference loss for the team. This sort of effort is either a significant let-down from the way Texas handled its business against Alabama three weeks ago – – or maybe Alabama is not the juggernaut we are used to seeing come out of Tuscaloosa. My inclination is to see this as a let-down. The stakes in the Texas/Oklahoma game are always big but this year they are VERY big.
TCU 42 SMU 34: Bragging rights tilt toward Fort Worth in this rivalry game for 2022. Two turnovers by SMU did not help their cause.
Buffalo 50 E. Michigan 31: This was Buffalo’s first win of the year; E. Michigan was the team that went to play Arizona St. in the desert two weeks ago and beat the Sun Devils in their home stadium and caused them to fire Herm Edwards.
Clemson 51 Wake Forest 45 (OT): This game was a back-and-forth game that Clemson dominated on the stat sheet. The Tigers produced 112 more yards on offense in the game; that normally does not indicate a game that went into OT. Clemson was 16 for 23 on third down conversions for the game.
Notre Dame 45 UNC 32: The Irish dominated the stat sheet gaining 209 more yards on offense than the Tar Heels. UNC led 14-7 at one point but the Irish then put 31 unanswered points on the scoreboard.
Florida St. 44 BC 14: The Seminoles improved their season record to 4-0. This was as easy win; Florida St. led 31-0 at halftime.
Middle Tennessee 45 Miami (31: The Hurricanes were ranked 25th in the country at keck-off; that is no longer the case. According to the CBSSports.com ranking of all 131 teams in Division 1-A college football, Miami has been “demoted” to #56 this week. This result was no fluke; Middle Tennessee had 507 yards of offense for the day and never trailed in the game. Miami ran the ball 38 times in the game and only managed to gain 68 yards; that is 1.8 yards per carry. Yuck!
NC State 41 UConn 10: The Wolfpack remains undefeated at 4-0; no surprise there. State produced 492 yards on offense and held UConn to only 160 yards for the day – – only 39 yards passing. NC State did not punt the ball for the entire game.
Georgia 39 Kent St. 22: The story here is that Georgia gave up 22 points. They had only given up 10 points in the three games leading up to this one.
Auburn 17 Missouri 14 (OT): Auburn led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and had to wait until OT before it could put any more points on the board. The winning play was when an Missouri player fumbled the ball on his way to the end zone in OT and an Auburn player recovered it in the end zone to preserve the victory. Auburn had kicked a field goal in their first possession in the OT.
Tennessee 38 Florida 33: The Vols remain unbeaten for 2022; the Gators’ record drops to 2-2. There was not a lot of defense on display here; the two teams racked up a combined 1169 yards on offense for the day. Florida QB, Anthony Richardson threw for 453 yards and 2 TDs in the game, but he also threw an INT and lost a fumble in the Red Zone in the 4th quarter of this game.
Texas A&M 23 Arkansas 21: The Aggies returned a fumble for 97 yards in this game; that was the play that won the game even though it happened in the first half. Arkansas had a chance to win the game with a 42-yard field goal – – but the doink was loud and clear on the attempt.
Alabama 55 Vandy 3: There is nothing surprising about this result nor is there a great surprise on the stat sheet – – unless you are surprised that the Bama defense held Vandy to 14 yards rushing and a total offense of only 129 yards for the game.
Michigan 34 Maryland 27: Michigan has better athletes, but Maryland refused to give in. This was one of the more enjoyable games I have watched so far this year. Michigan RB, Blake Corum carried the ball 30 times for 243 yards and 2 TDs in the game. Each team was penalized only once in the game.
Iowa 27 Rutgers 10: This represents a scoreboard extravaganza by the Hawkeyes even allowing for the defensive unit scoring a TD on a scoop and score in the first half. This loss was a bit embarrassing for Rutgers because it was the 20th consecutive home loss to a conference opponent for the Scarlet Knights. That is a Big-10 record the team would prefer not to hold…
Minnesota 34 Michigan St. 7: The Spartans’ lone score came in the final minutes of the game after the outcome had been decided about 30 minutes prior. The Gophers more than doubled Michigan State’s offensive output for the day.
Ohio St. 52 Wisconsin 21: I am not surprised that Ohio St. won the game, but I did think the Badgers’ defense would keep the game a bit closer than this.
Miami (OH) 17 Northwestern 14: I suggested last week that it might be a long season for fans in Evanston. Here they just lost to a MAC team. Not good at all…
UCLA 45 Colorado 17: This was an offensive explosion for Colorado – – but it was not nearly enough. The Bruins outgained the Buffaloes by 206 yards in the game. Colorado is winless this year and the easy part of its schedule seems to be in the rear-view mirror.
Oregon 44 Washington St. 41: Oregon scored 29 points in the 4th quarter here to eke out a victory on the road. The Ducks had 625 yards on offense for the day – – 209 more than the Cougars – – but it still took late game heroics to go home with a win.
Cal 49 Arizona 31: This was another “defense-deficient game”. Total offense for the two teams on the day was 1151 yards. Cal RB, Jaydn Ott gained 274 yards rushing on the day – – and 3 TDs to boot.
Temple 28 UMass 0: Temple is not very good, but they are good enough to shut out and dominate UMass leading one to wonder why UMass plays Division 1-A football.
James Madison 32 Appalachian St. 28: Madison is undefeated this year. I want you to know; James Madison is a good football team; it might well be the best team in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In Week 1 this year, James Madison boat raced Middle Tennessee St 44-7; that is the same team that beat Miami this week. James Madison is GOOD.
Western Kentucky 73 Florida International 0: This was an epic beatdown. W. Kentucky racked up 692 yards on offense while FIU only managed to gain 187 yards for the day. Yowza!
Kansas 35 Duke 27: Kansas is 4-0 for the season and might – – maybe? – be relevant in the Big-12 for the first time in more than a decade. Kansas has not had a 4-0 record for the last 13 seasons.
I saved the Kansas/Duke game for the end of the review of last week’s games because already there are commentaries out there wondering if Kansas can keep hold of its second-year coach, Lance Leipold. His is not a household name but he did enjoy lots of success in Division 1-AA football during his career. While his record in his first year at Kansas was not good (2-10) one of those wins was over Texas; for success-starved Kansas fans, that was a moment of euphoria.
Now in his second year, Leipold has the Jayhawks undefeated in 4 games. There are already 3 relatively high-profile openings for a hot coaching prospect (Arizona St. Georgia Tech and Nebraska) and there will surely be others at the end of the season. Leipold deflects any sort of talk about himself and his future as you would expect; he points to the success of the Kansas offense under his offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki and urges reporters not to mention the Kansas offense lest Kotelnicki be lured away to higher paying offensive coordinator positions.
- [People at Kansas refer to Kotelnicki as “Coach K” since he has a difficult name to spell and pronounce and it also has 10 letters in it – – much like the basketball coach with the same moniker.]
Kansas needs only two more wins to be bowl eligible this year. Assuming the Jayhawks get an invitation to one of the myriad bowl games; it will be their first appearance in one for more than a decade. If that happens, I suspect that one of two things will happen:
- He – – along with “Coach K” – – will get generous contract extensions at Kansas – OR –
- He – – along with “Coach K” – – will be plying their trade elsewhere in 2023.
College Football Games of Interest This Week:
Northwestern at Penn St. – 25 (51): Penn St. is not known as an offensive juggernaut, but they do have a pair or running backs who can dominate a game. Northwestern has looked awful ever since beating Nebraska in Dublin Ireland to open the season. Nevertheless, I would be leery of laying that many points…
Wake Forest at Florida St. – 7 (64): My temptation here would be to take this game to go OVER if I knew that the field would be dry and the track fast. But with the weather conditions in Florida being less than perfect for the days leading up to this game, I’ll pass.
NC State at Clemson – 7 (42.5): Here is another game that could be weather-impacted. The Wolfpack is 4-0 for the season but there is only Texas Tech might be considered a “quality win”. This is their first real test for 2022 – – and the Wolfpack has Florida St. coming to visit next weekend. It is litmus test time…
Ga Tech at Pitt – 22 (49): The oddsmakers do not think the coaching change at Tech is going to make a big difference here.
Michigan St. at Maryland – 8.5 (60): Maryland is no longer the doormat it has been in the Big 10; it is not “championship caliber” but they have talent, and they play hard. Michigan St. is a mess; the record stands at 2-2 but those two wins were over weak opposition and the two losses against good teams were decisive ones.
Virginia at Duke – 3 (51): Really?
VA Tech at UNC – 9 (53): This is another game I would want to take as an OVER if I knew the field conditions were “proper”.
Navy at Air Force – 14 (38): Navy is struggling again this year; Air Force looked strong against Nevada last week. Service academy games tend to be very low scoring games because of the rivalry factor and because the element of surprise from the teams’ offenses is lacking. I will check my local TV schedule to see if this game is on in this area because it should be interesting to watch.
Oklahoma St. at Baylor – 2 (56): The Cowboys are 3-0 for the season but this is their first Big-12 conference game. Baylor is 3-1 but its loss was in an out-of-conference game. This game matters…
Iowa St. – 3 at Kansas (59): Iowa St. lost a conference game last week and does not want to have a second black mark on its record this early in the season. As noted above, Kansas is the Cinderella story of the year to date.
UMass at E. Michigan – 20 (53.5): E. Michigan is 2-2 so far and their season has been a yo-yo to date. The Eagles beat Arizona St. on the road; that is a good win. The Eagles also lost to La-Lafayette and to Buffalo; those are bad losses. Notwithstanding any of that, they are 20-point favorites in this game…
Oregon St. at Utah – 10.5 (54.5): This is an important game in the PAC-12.
Florida International at New Mexico St. – 14.5 (55): These are two bad teams. FIU lost last week 73-0 while the Aggies beat Hawaii for their first win of the year. And by the way, beating Hawaii is not much of a feather in one’s cap…
Colorado at Arizona – 17.5 (56.5): Arizona is a mediocre football team; Colorado is winless and bad. The reason Colorado is winless is that they do not score; the Buffaloes average only 11.8 points per game putting them at 129th in the country out of 131 teams.
Kentucky at Ole Miss – 7 (54): Both teams have looked impressive so far in 2022. This should be a good game.
Texas Tech at K-State – 7.5 (56): Tech surprised Texas last week and K-State surprised Oklahoma last week. Both teams should be ready for this game.
Texas A&M at Mississippi St. – 4 (45): The Aggies have underachieved expectations so far this year, but I wonder if they are not the better team here. State had trouble on offense against LSU and the A&M defense is of the same caliber. I think the wrong team is favored here so I’ll take the Aggies on the road plus the points; put it in the Six-Pack.
Oklahoma – 6.5 at TCU (70): The Sooners cannot afford another conference loss …
Michigan – 10.5 at Iowa (42.5): I think this is the College Game of the Week. It should be a slugfest featuring defense by both sides. Michigan averages 50 points per game this year while Iowa only scores 17 points per game. However, Iowa leads the nation in scoring defense only giving up only 5.8 points per game.
LSU – 8.5 at Auburn (46): There are unhappy boosters at Auburn who do not like the coach nor the AD there. A bad loss at home will push a lot of the wrong buttons…
Alabama – 17 at Arkansas (61): Arkansas is a good team; even for Alabama, that is a lot of points to lay on the road against a good team…
Georgia – 28.5 at Missouri (54.5): Mizzou is not a good team; even so, laying more than 4 TDs on the road in a conference game can cause a lot of agita …
Bowling Green – 9.5 at Akron (51): These are two bad MAC teams…
Georgia St. at Army – 8 (54): Georgia St. is one of the winless teams at 0-4 as of today but they have lost to 2 good teams and another decent team. Army has been Meh! I have a hunch that Georgia St. can get off the schneid here, so I am happy to take them plus 8 points; put it in the Six-Pack.
Given the sloppy play in evidence in far too many of the early season games this year, my conclusion is that the NFL Exhibition Season is even more worthless than it has been recently. The anointed starters for various teams play only a few snaps – if at all – in any of those exhibition games; the idea is to avoid injuries to starting players and that makes perfect sense. The consequence of those logical coaching decisions is sloppy play and “not being on the same page” for the first 3 or 4 games of the regular season.
Football is a choreographed sport; Almost all the time, a play is successful when 11 players work in unison to achieve the goal for that play. Linemen block; runners run to a spot where – presumably – there will not be a defender; all of this is done with timing and precision equivalent to the staging done by the Radio City Rockettes for their Christmas extravaganza.
Choreography is not taught in a classroom or by film study; it is taught on a stage or on a football field with repetition after repetition performed by a stable cast of characters. At least the Exhibition Season used to get starters time together to hone their choreography; now teams just throw cannon fodder out there in the exhibition season and the owners collect exorbitant ticket prices for those false games.
Thursday Night Football has been streamed by Amazon Prime video for two weeks now; the audience for the first telecast was set at 11 million by Nielsen. Some folks opined that the number was inflated by the game the NFL offered up as the first streaming spectacle – – Chiefs/Chargers. So, what happened in the second streaming spectacle last week with the Browns and Steelers? Nielsen says that audience was 12.5 million viewers.
Understand that the “average NFL regular season game” draws about 16 million viewers but those games are on cable TV which is in a lot more homes than Amazon Prime Video. So, some observers wonder if the NFL “made a mistake” in signing an 11-year deal with the streaming service; my sense is just the opposite; the NFL has created another viable outlet for its games meaning more competition for its broadcast rights down the road.
In addition, Amazon seems to be a major beneficiary here too. I read a report that said Amazon sold more new Amazon Prime memberships on the day of that first streaming event than it had done on any day in the history of Amazon Prime memberships. This deal appears to be a classic win-win:
- The NFL has expanded the number of bidders for its rights fees – – all the while collecting about $1B per year from Amazon in the process.
- Amazon has grown a core element of its business – – its delivery service – – faster than it ever did in the past.
Patrick Mahomes and Eric Bieniemy got into a spat at halftime of last week’s loss by the Chiefs and Andy Reid had to intervene; surely you have seen the video of that a dozen times by now. Now, recall that last year LeSean McCoy expressed displeasure with Bieniemy saying there is a reason why Bieniemy never gets a head coaching position. Andy Reid also stepped up to try to put that matter aside. Next winter there will likely be a drumbeat for Eric Bieniemy to be a hot NFL head coaching prospect; if he does not get one of those jobs, remember these two incidents.
Rhetorical question for your consideration:
- Did I – and plenty of other commentators – overestimate how much better the AFC was going to be this year relative to the NFC?
- So far, the record in interconference games is NFC 6 and AFC 4.
Here is a quick tour around the league regarding last week’s games:
Ravens 37 Pats 26: Lamar Jackson gained 100 yards rushing for the second game in a row. Oh, and by the way, he also threw for 4 TDs in this game. Compare that performance with Pats’ QB Mac Jones in the same game; Jones threw 3 INTs. Bad news for the Pats going forward is that Jones limped off the field with what looked like a significant ankle/foot injury late in the game. Backup QBs on the Pats’ roster are Brian Hoyer (a certified fossil) and Bailey Zappe (how long until he gets the nickname, “Zappity-do-dah”?)
Dolphins 21 Bills 19: In case you had not noticed, the Dolphins are the only undefeated team in the AFC today. I heard a stat on SportsCenter that the Bills are now 0-7 in one-score games in this year plus last year combined. Considering that the Bills only lost 7 games last year – 6 in the regular season and 1 in the playoffs – that can be interpreted in two ways:
- The Bills are really good and no one “blows them out”.
- The Bills yield to the pressure of close games and fold at the end.
You make the call.
Last week, the Bills managed a total of 3 points in the second half of this game; this week they only scored 17 points on offense. The victory here is doubly blessed for the Dolphins because winning erases the embarrassment of committing the “butt-punt” where the Dolphins’ punter punted the ball directly into the backside of his blocker leading to a safety. Had they lost the game, that play would take its place aside Mark Sanchez’ infamous “butt-fumble” in NFL lore.
Sorry but I can’t resist:
- As a result of the “butt-punt” the ball went out the rear of the end zone. Of course it did…
Bengals 27 Jets 12: For the first time in 2022, Joe Burrow looked like he did in 2021. Given some time to throw, he was 23 of 36 for 275 yards passing with 3 TDs and no INTs. The Bengals’ defense showed up too sacking Joe Flacco 4 times and forcing 4 turnovers in the game.
Vikes 28 Lions 24: The Lions led 24-14 at the start of the 4th quarter and coughed up a hairball in the final 15 minutes of this game. The Lions had the ball 4 times in the 4th quarter; here are the results:
- 4 plays and a PUNT
- 10 plays and a TURNOVER ON DOWNS
- 5 plays and a MISSED FG
- 5 plays and an INT
That is a classic come from ahead loss; that is why people say things like “Lions gonna Lion!” While the Lions were imploding in the final quarter, the Vikes scored two TDs to win the game. Kirk Cousins was 9 of 12 for 125 yards in that 4th quarter alone.
Bears 23 Texans 20: The Bears won this game with a field goal in the final minute; the team that made the last mistake lost because that field goal was set up by an INT thrown by Texans’ QB, Davis Mills with a minute left in the game. The Bears’ offense was “spotty” in the game. The running attack was fine led by Khalil Herbert who gained 157 yards by himself. However, Justin Fields threw 2 INTs and amassed a total of only 106 yards passing for the day.
Colts 20 Chiefs 17: The Chiefs’ running game was non-existent; Patrick Mahomes was the team’s leading rusher with 26 yards in the game. Moreover, there did not seem to be “peace in the valley” between Mahomes and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy as the teams went to the locker room for halftime (see above). The game winning drive by the Colts in the 4th quarter comprised of 16 plays lasted 8 minutes and covered 78 yards. Chris Jones was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty AFTER Matt Ryan was sacked on a third-down play giving the Colts a first down they did not earn.
Titans 24 Raiders 22: The Titans led 24-10 at the half getting TDs on their first three possessions in the game – – and then scored nothing in the second half. In the final 5 minutes of the game, the Titans’ defense recorded an INT in the end zone, and it foiled a two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game. The Raiders have the worst record in the AFC at 0-3; even the sorry-assed Texans are “better” at 0-2-1. Making things worse for Raiders’ fans is that those 3 losses came by a total of 13 points. In this game the Raiders were 1 of 12 on third-down conversions; that just stinks. Just wondering:
- Does anyone in the Raiders’ Front Office still have Rich Bisaccia’s phone number in their contacts list?
Panthers 22 Saints 14: If Jekyll/Hyde quarterbacking is your thing, this was the game for you. Baker Mayfield and Jameis Winston had you on the edge of your seat for 60 minutes of football. Mayfield was 12 of 25 for 170 yards and a TD. That TD pass covered 67 yards, so he gained only 103 yards through the air for the rest of the day. Winston was far more prolific going 25 of 41 for 353 yards and a TD plus 2 INTs. The Saints dominated the stat sheet but turned the ball over 3 times in the game to find a way to lose.
Eagles 24 Commanders 8: In case you had not noticed, the Eagles are the only undefeated team in the NFC this morning. In my pre-season NFL predictions, I had this to say about the Commanders:
‘The worst thing to happen to the team over the offseason was losing perennial Pro Bowl G, Brandon Scherff, to free agency.”
The Commanders’ OL is marginal in terms of raw talent; Scherff was the best player there by a good margin and was also a team leader. Last week, the Commanders’ OL allowed Commanders’ QB Carson Wentz to be sacked 9 times. The Commanders only gained 240 yards on offense for the day and at least 150 of those yards came late in the game when the Eagles’ defense was playing soft coverage to run out the clock. Jalen Hurts had another spectacular game completing 22 of 35 passes for 340 yards with 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Devonta Smith also had a huge game here catching 8 passes for 169 yards and 1 TD.
Jags 38 Chargers 10: With this win, Doug Pederson has won as many games as the Jags head coach as Urban Meyer did last year, and it only took him until the last week of September to do it. Would I be wrong to think that the Jags are undergoing “Urban Renewal” this season?
The Jags are in the lead in the AFC South; their two wins have been solid defensive performances – – a shutout against the Colts two weeks ago and this game holding the Chargers to 10 points. The biggest change from last year to this seems to be the play of Trevor Lawrence; he is confident and poised in the passing game and that could not have been said last season.
One other note here … Justin Herbert’s rib injury does limit his game. The Chargers are going to struggle until he is healed, and I have no idea how long that will take. And along that line, can someone explain to me why an injured Justin Herbert was still in this game in the final minutes when the Chargers trailed by 4 TDs?
Falcons 27 Seahawks 23: The Falcons are not a good team so wining this game on the road against a team that enjoys a real home field advantage is a positive sign. Cordarrelle Patterson gained 141 yards rushing and scored a TD to lead the Falcons’ offense here. The Seahawks outgained the Falcons, but the Falcons offense was efficient averaging 7.1 yards per offensive snap.
Packers 14 Bucs 12: The first two times the Packers had the ball in this game, they drove the field scoring 2 TDs and amassing 146 yards on offense. After that, here are the Packers’ possessions in the game:
- 6 plays and a LOST FUMBLE
- 3 plays and a PUNT
- 4 plays and a PUNT
- 3 plays and a PUNT
- 3 plays and an INT
- 4 plays and PUNT
- 3 plays and a PUNT
- 4 plays and a PUNT
- 8 plays and a PUNT
- 1 play leading to END OF GAME
Total offense on those 10 subsequent possessions was 149 yards. And the Packers WON this game…! Before one jumps to the conclusion that Tom Brady is losing it when he cannot get his team more than 12 points in a game, please remember that his top 3 pass catchers did not play even a single snap in this game.
Rams 20 Cards 12: The Rams’ defense is very good so the fact that the Cards outgained the Rams on the stat sheet is something positive for the Cards. However, they never did get into the end zone in the game despite two visits to the Red Zone. Kyler Murray was 37 of 58 in the game for 314 yards with no INTs or TDs.
Broncos 11 Niners 10: Either this game was the best defensive showing by two teams ever or this game was offensive ineptitude on display from start to finish. The only saving grace in the game was that it never was a two-score game, so every possession mattered. Not that either offense did much of anything when they were in possession of the ball. The difference in the game was a safety scored by the Broncos when Jimmy G managed to drop back in his end zone and step out of the back line on his own. The Niners led 7-5 at the start of the 4th quarter and had the ball 3 times in the 4th quarter; here is what they did on those 3 possessions:
- 4 plays and a PUNT
- 5 plays and an INT
- 2 plays and a LOST FUMBLE
Here is something that rarely happens in an NFL game:
- The Niners’ defense forced eight “three-and-outs” in the game AND the Niners lost that game!
Browns 29 Steelers 17: Simply stated, Mitchell Trubisky is not the answer at QB for the Steelers. End of discussion…
Cowboys 23 Giants 16: This game was either two really good defenses or two really mediocre offenses. In the end, the Cowboys’ defense was better than the Giants’ defense.
NFL Games This Week:
The wrinkles in the mid-season NFL schedule start this week as we have the first “London Game” of the season. The Vikes and the Saints will play there in a neutral venue for both teams. If your cable system gets NFL Network, you can see the game there starting at 9:30 AM on Sunday morning.
Last night, the Bengals beat the Dolphins 27-15. The Bengals’ running game looked anemic, but Joe Burrow was able to muster enough offense to keep the game under control. Tua Tagovailoa was taken off the field on a stretcher in the second quarter with what looked like a severe head/neck injury, but late reports said he would be discharged from a Cincy hospital and would return to Miami with the team.
For this weekend…
(London Game) Vikes – 2.5 vs Saints (42.5): The Saints will play with the mercurial Jameis Winston at QB; Winston is enigmatic when he is healthy – – and he is not fully healthy for this game. On the other side of the field, Dalvin Cook is listed as questionable. Best thing to do with this game is to tune in and admire the beautiful London venue – – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – – for the game.
Titans at Colts – 4 (42.5): This is an important AFC South game, and it sets up a rematch for these teams just three weeks down the road. Both teams have a running back who can control the game; the two defensive units will need to bear up under significant pressure from the opponents run game. In the passing game, I think more of Matt Ryan than I do of Ryan Tannehill – – but I do not trust either team here enough to pick for them or against them.
Bears at Giants – 3 (39): At the beginning of the week, this game was a “pick ‘em” game and the line moved to the Giants. After watching the Giants’ game against the Cowboys on MNF last week, I have no idea why the line moved at all – – let alone in the direction of the Giants. Both teams are 2-1 for now; neither team is particularly good. In fact, even with both teams bringing a winning record to the kickoff, this is my Dog-Breath Game of the Week.
Bills – 3 at Ravens (51): The Bills were stymied last week against the Dolphins in sweltering heat; that won’t happen this week in Baltimore, but the field might be soggy after Hurricane Ian’s remnants pass through the area on Friday and Saturday. On a fast track, I love this game to go OVER – – but what kind of track will there be…??? I am going to trust the grounds crew and the field drainage system to provide something better than a bog for the game. Give me the OVER here; put it in the Six-Pack.
Chargers – 5 at Texans (44): The Chargers lost OT Rashawn Slater (for the season) last week and Joey Bosa left the game with a groin injury that needs surgery. And remember, Justin Herbert is playing with a broken rib cartilage. With everyone healthy, the Chargers would be a double-digit favorite here; who knows how they will play in their current condition?
Seahawks at Lions – 4 (48): Both teams lost last week and did not look good doing so. The Lions’ offense this year has been pretty good; the Seahawks’ defense this year has been pretty bad. I think that is the matchup that will decide the game. I am not sure I believe that I like the Lions to win and cover here, but I do; I’ll take the Lions and lay the points; put it in the Six-Pack.
Jets at Steelers – 3 (41.5): This game was a serious contender for Dog-Breath Game of the Week; neither team is very good and neither team is particularly exciting to watch.
Jags at Eagles – 7 (45):This is the best game of the afternoon on Sunday by a wide margin. The fundamental issue here is very simple:
- Can the Jags’ defense – – which has been very good over the last two weeks – – stop/contain the Eagles’ offense – – which has been very good for all three games of this season?
Much too much will be made of this being some sort of “Revenge Game” for Doug Pederson returning to Philly; at most, that will be a minor factor in the game once the opening kickoff happens. I do not like the Jags enough to take them to win outright here at Money Line odds of +230, but I do like them to keep the game close. Give me the Jags plus the points on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.
Commanders at Cowboys – 3 (41.5): The Cowboys’ defensive Front 7 must be excited for this game. I’m sure all of them have bonus clauses for things like sacks and pressures and QB hits and tackles for loss; given how the Commanders’ OL played last week, there should be plenty of those stats to go around. I think the Cowboys are the better team on both offense and defense and they are at home; I’ll take the Cowboys to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.
Browns – 1 at Falcons (47): The Falcons’ offense showed signs of life last week against the Seahawks, but I wonder if the Falcons’ defense can handle the running tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
Cards at Panthers – 1.5 (43.5): The Cards should have an exciting dare-devil offense if you believe all the hype about the chemistry between Kyler Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury. The only problem is that the Cards have no such exciting/explosive offense. The Panthers, meanwhile, won their first game of the season last week, but that ought not indicate to you that this is a good team on a resurgence. Watch this game only if you must; neither team is that good.
Broncos at Raiders – 2.5 (45.5): I know this game will happen on 1 October, but this is a must-win for the Raiders lest they dig themselves into a hole in the AFC West that they cannot climb out of. The Broncos’ offense has “struggled” – – to be polite – – in the first three games. By now they ought to have their act together sufficiently to deal with a Raider’s defense that is “good-but-nothing-special”. The biggest challenge for the Raiders here will be for the OL to hold its own against an aggressive Front-7 for the Broncos; to say the Raiders’ OL has been spotty so far this year is to be highly diplomatic. Far too many uncertainties here to make a selection for the game…
Pats at Packers – 9.5 (40): Looks as if Mac Jones cannot play this week meaning Brian Hoyer will be the Pats’ QB. The Packers’ defense is not the best in the league – – but it is better than average and that spells a LONG day for the Pats. The game is close enough to a double-digit spread in an NFL game for me to hate it. Watch the game because it should provide interesting moves and countermoves made by Aaron Rodgers against Bill Belichick’s defense. But do not wager on this game.
(Sun Nite) Chiefs at Bucs “pick ‘em” (46): This is the Game of the Week. The NFL has chosen to play the game in Tampa rather than relocate it to Minneapolis where the field will be vacant due to the Vikings playing in London. Both teams lost last week and both teams had sluggish offensive showings last week. Mike Evans will be back for the Bucs; is that enough to tilt the field in favor of the Bucs?
(Mon Nite) Rams at Niners – 2.5 (42): The Niners seem to play the Rams very tough in the regular season; this is the regular season. However, the Niners will be without Trent Williams at left tackle and Williams is a mainstay on that OL. Neither team can afford a loss here; it should be a great game to watch.
So, let me review the Six-Pack:
- Texas A&M +4 against Mississippi St.
- Georgia St. +8 against Army
- Cowboys – 3 over Commanders
- Jags +7 against Eagles
- Bills/Ravens OVER 51
- Lions – 4 over Seahawks
And here are two Money Line Parlays offered up for fun. The basis for profit projections here is an imaginary $100 wager on each of the Money Line Parlays:
- Wisconsin @ minus-270/Washington St. @ minus 185/Oklahoma @ minus -250 $196 profit if successful.
- Cowboys @ minus-170/Steelers @ minus-170 $152 profit if successful.
Finally, let me close today with this item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“And from the Sometimes These Stories Write Themselves file comes word that Doug Ramsey faces felony battery charges for allegedly biting a man’s nose in a parking garage after the Arkansas-Missouri State football game.
“The accused carnivore is a top executive at Beyond Meat, a plant-based food company.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………