In an old movie, Best Foot Forward the fictional Winsocki Military Institute has a fight song for its football team. The concluding lyrics of that song tells the team:
“You can win, Winsocki
If you buckle down
If you mow them down
If you go to town
You can wear the crown
If you will only buckle down.”
I shall not worry about “mowing them down” or even “going to town” today in Curmudgeon Central, but I will try to follow the song’s instruction to “buckle down” in an attempt to produce a winning Football Friday.
And I begin as usual with a review of last week’s selections and the Six-Pack:
- College = 2-0-0 Season Totals = 11-6-0
- NFL = 2-2-0 Season Totals = 9-10-3
- Money Line Parlays = 0-3 Season Totals = 2-8
- “Profit/Loss” = minus-$300 Season Totals = minus-$561
College Football Commentary:
The Linfield College Wildcats extended their 2022 record to 5-0 last week with a 42-21 victory over Pacific University. That win extends the streak at Linfield of winning seasons in football to 66 in a row. The streak began in 1956 and was only “interrupted” by the coronavirus in 2020 when Linfield did not play football in the midst of the COVID pandemic. This week the Wildcats are at home for Family Weekend and welcome Pacific Lutheran as their opponent.
The Lutes bring a record of 4-2 to the game and a winning streak of 3 consecutive games all of which are over Northwest Conference opponents. Go Wildcats!
Tings are looking good in McMinnville, OR given the football fortunes of the Linfield College Wildcats; such is not exactly the case in South Bend, IN. It’s not just that Notre Dame is losing football games; it’s to whom they are losing. Last week it was Stanford – – a team that has been struggling for the last several years. The game was a home game for the Irish and they were 16-point favorites. In 2022, Stanford has 2 wins; one was last week at Notre Dame and the other was on opening weekend over Colgate. This is definitely not a good look for Marcus Freeman in his first year at the helm for Notre Dame.
But wait, there’s more … another Irish loss at home this year was to Marshall. If you google “Marshall football schedule 2022” you can find some scary stuff there:
- Marshall is 3-3 so far this year.
- Marshall has beaten Norfolk St., Notre Dame, and Gardner-Webb.
- Marshall has lost to Bowling Green, Troy, and La-Lafayette.
That information is not stuff you go out of your way to include in your curriculum vitae. Moreover, Notre Dame still has upcoming games against Clemson, Syracuse (still unbeaten in 2022) and USC on its dance card.
There is a question mark hanging over half of the Big-10 as of this week. We know Michigan and Ohio State are good in the East and Penn St. is not bad either. But who is the class of the Big-10 West? Is it Illinois this year? The Illini are 6-1 having won 5 in a row and beaten Minnesota last week. They are tied with Purdue at 3-1 in the Big-10 West. Normally, Wisconsin is the Big-10 West bully, but the Badgers have already lost 3 conference games this season; so, they are irrelevant for 2022.
There is a potentially interesting season-ending rivalry game brewing in Division 1-AA football. For whatever national rankings at that level might be worth, Montana St. is currently ranked #6 in the country and Montana is currently ranked #10. As of this morning, the combined record for the two teams is 11-2. As you might guess, these schools are longstanding rivals and play each year for the possession of the “Great Divide Trophy”. This year, the teams will play at Montana St. in Bozeman, MT on 19 November.
The undefeated teams for the 2022 season in Division 1-A college football took a hit last week. As of this morning, only 9 teams have unblemished records:
- Ohio St.
- Ole Miss
And here is your weekly reminder regarding the contenders for the 2022 Brothel Defense Award – – given to the football team that allows the most scoring upon it for the season:
- Akron gives up 39.0 points per game
- Vandy gives up 39.4 points per game
- UNC-Charlotte gives up 44.6 points per game
Looking at some games from last week in the SEC:
Ole Miss 48 Auburn 34: Total offense for the two teams here was 1019 yards and most of it came on the ground. Auburn ran for 301 yards while Ole Miss ran the ball for 448 yards in the game. Three turnovers by Auburn gave Ole Miss an important edge here.
Tennessee 52 Alabama 49: The Vols broke a 15-game losing streak against Alabama and set up a showdown with Georgia in the SEC East on November 5th. Total offense in this game was an evenly divided 1136 yards. ‘Bama missed a field goal with about 3 minutes left in the game and then Tennessee made a field goal with 15 seconds left to play. That was the difference on the scoreboard. The difference on the stat sheet was this:
- Alabama: 17 penalties for 130 yards
- Tennessee: 6 penalties for 39 yards
Georgia 55 Vandy 0: This outcome is not surprising. The stat sheet is worth looking at for its total imbalance:
- Total Offense: Georgia = 579 yards Vandy 150 yards
- First Downs: Georgia = 31 Vandy = 11
This is the 24th consecutive loss for Vandy in SEC conference games.
LSU 45 Florida 35: The Tigers outgained the Gators by 133 yards in this game and they converted on 8 of 12 third-down situations – – and then 2 of 2 fourth-down situations. The teams combined to punt the ball only 3 times in the game.
Kentucky 27 Mississippi St. 17): Both teams are now 5-2 for the season and both teams have 2 conference losses for the season. That probably means they are playing for bowl invitations and not any part of the SEC Championship Game.
In ACC action last week …
Syracuse 24 NC St. 9: The Orange remain unbeaten for the year and hand NC St its second loss both in ACC games. The Syracuse defense has certainly done its jo0b so far this year only giving up an average of 13.2 points per game ranking them6th in the country.
Clemson 34 Florida St. 28: The Seminoles won the stat sheet and they rallied with 2 TDs in the 4th quarter to make this a close game. This is the 7th win in a row for Clemson over Florida St. as the Tigers remain unbeaten in 2022.
UNC 38 Duke 35: The game went back and forth all day long until the Tar Heels scored a TD with 16 seconds left in the game to win it.
Onward to Big-12 games last week …
Texas 24 Iowa St. 21: Texas QB, Quinn Ewers, only threw for 172 yards in the game but three of his completed passes went for TDs. The Cyclones had the ball deep in Texas territory in the final minutes and threatened to win or send the game to OT, but they turned the ball over on a fumble. The Longhorns’ record is now 4-2 while Iowa St. drops to 3-4.
Oklahoma 52 Kansas 42: That makes two losses in a row for Kansas and that makes it twice in a row that the Sooners have yielded more than 40 points in a game. Neither of those statements makes for lots of smiles in either locker room…
TCU 43 Oklahoma St. 40 (OT): State led 30-16 at the start of the 4th quarter but TCU rallied to force OT and then to seal the deal in OT. That is the first loss for State while TCU remains unbeaten in 2022. Big game this week for TCU at home against K-State who had last week off to prep for the game.
And in Big-10 action last week …
Illinois 26 Minnesota 14: The Illini are tied for the lead in the Big-10 West and are 6-1 overall for the 2022 season. Check these stats:
- Total Offense: Illinois = 472 yards Minnesota = 180 yards
- Passing Offense: Illinois = 252 yards Minnesota = 38 yards (and 3 INTs)
Michigan 41 Penn St. 17: Penn St. led 14-6 at halftime but the second half was all Michigan. Both teams were undefeated at the start of this game, but Michigan was clearly the better team on the field. The Wolverines ran the ball for 418 yards in the game.
Michigan St. 34 Wisconsin 28 (OT): Both teams are mired in mediocrity this year with 3-4 records.
Purdue 43 Nebraska 37: The Huskers managed to lose yet another 1-score game…
Out west in the PAC-12 …
Colorado 20 Cal 13 (OT): And then there were none… Every team in Division 1-A college football now has a win in 2022.
Utah 43 USC 42: The two teams combined to produce 1138 yards on offense for the game. That may not be so surprising for USC since Lincoln Riley’s teams at OU were never known for their defense. Not the case with Utah; even adding in last week’s scoring outburst by USC, Utah only gives up 22.3 points per game for the season.
And in “miscellaneous games of interest” from last weekend …
Arkansas 52 BYU 35: As you might expect from the score, this was an offensive explosion. The two teams combined to produce 1101 yards of offense in the game.
Georgia Southern 45 James Madison 38: This is the first loss of the year for James Madison in their first season competing at the Division 1-A level.
Stanford 16 Notre Dame 14: That is the third loss for the Irish this year and two of those losses – – the two BAD ones – – have been at home.
UCF 70 Temple 13: UCF ran up 738 yards of total offense including 305 yards on the ground. The Owls managed only 304 yards of total offense. UCF converted 8 of 9 third down tries and only punted once. This was an organized ass-kicking, and Temple was like a one-legged man in that contest.
College Football Games of Interest:
One general comment if I may:
- There are a lot of very interesting and potentially very good games on tap for this weekend. If you cannot find something on this card to interest you, college football is just not your game.
K-State at TCU – 3 (54): These teams are a combined 11-1 for the season and both have 3-0 records in Big-12 Conference games. Both teams are in the Top 25 his week so the confluence of two ranked opponents and the conference importance makes this the College Football Game of the Week.
La-Monroe at Army – 6.5 (55.5): Army is 2-4 for the season and both wins came at the expense of a Division 1-AA team. La-Monroe is one of the teams in the lower tiers of Division 1-A football so this game could be an indicator of where Army fits into the college football hierarchy in 2022. Starting this week, Army’s remaining schedule is not exactly Murderer’s Row:
- Vs. Air Force
- At Troy
- Vs UConn
- At UMass
- Vs. Navy
Army could still become bowl-eligible – – but cannot afford a loss here.
Duke at Miami – 9 (58): Believe it or not, Duke has the better overall record at this point in the season. However, Miami needs this game more because Miami only has 1 conference loss, and a second loss could render some future games as meaningless.
Texas A&M – 3 at South Carolina (44): That is neither the spread nor the Total Line that Aggies’ boosters envisioned for this game back in June…
Indiana at Rutgers – 3 (48): The Scarlet Knights have lost 21 consecutive home games against Big-10 opponents. Here they are at home and a short-priced favorite. Can they break that streak?
Iowa at Ohio St. – 29.5 (49.5): Iowa does not score; so far in 2022, the Hawkeyes only average 14.7 points per game ranking them 127th in the country just below other offensively challenged teams such as New Mexico St. and Temple. The Ohio St. defense is much better than average, so Iowa is highly unlikely to score save for a short field opportunity here or there and maybe a long TD on a busted coverage. The far more interesting part of this game will be the very good Iowa defense against the very good Ohio St. offense. The Buckeyes lead the nation scoring an average of 48.8 points per game. Iowa’s defense only gives up 9.8 points per game (3rd in the nation). Something’s gotta give …
Marshall at James Madison – 12.5 (50): Please remember that Marshall went on the road and beat Notre Dame last month. Now, they are once again on the road and are double-digit underdogs to James Madison. Of course, I saw all this coming back in August – – NOT!
Syracuse at Clemson – 13.5 (49.5): Both teams are undefeated in 2022 and both teams are in the Atlantic Division of the ACC. Paint this game as most important … It was my runner-up to K-State/TCU as the College Football Game of the Week.
Hawaii at Colorado St. – 6 (46.5): The last game of interest involved two undefeated teams; this one involves two “rather bad” teams. You can be interested in college football games at or near the top of the heap as well as games in the dregs of the barrel.
UNLV at Notre Dame – 27 (47): The Bible says there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth on Judgement Day. I suspect there will be a localized outbreak of weeping and gnashing of teeth among the Notre Dame fanbase if they find a way to lose this one at home…
UCLA at Oregon – 6.5 (71.5): The Bruins are one of the undefeated teams left standing and the Ducks have rebounded from their opening week shellacking at the hands of Georgia. This is a big game in the PAC-12, and I think it should be a scoring extravaganza. Sadly, the weather forecast for Eugene, OR is rain much of Friday and overnight into Saturday and ongoing through much of the day on Saturday. I really wanted toe OVER in that game…
Colorado at Oregon St. – 23 (48): Obviously, the oddsmakers do not think that Colorado’s first win of the season last week was the harbinger of a great awakening for the Buffaloes …
Texas – 6 at Oklahoma St. (61): The two teams are a combined 10-3 for the season and both have only one loss in conference games. The winner will remain within striking distance of the winner of the K-State/TCU game this weekend; the loser will need help to make it to the Big-12 Championship Game.
Mississippi St. at Alabama – 20 (61.5): I do not think I would want to have been an Alabama player in close contact with Coach Saban this last week after the ‘Bama defense gave up 50+ points and the team got flagged for 17 penalties in last week’s loss to Tennessee. I see an Alabama team motivated to deal with a happier version of Coach Saban next week; I’ll take the Tide to win and cover at home; put it in the Six-Pack.
Ole Miss at LSU – 3 (66): I know that Baton Rouge is a tough place for visiting teams and I know that LSU is hardly a stumblebum of a team, but Ole Miss is 7-0 this year and scores 40.9 points per game. And the Rebels are the underdog here …??? Give me Ole Miss plus those points; put it in the Six-Pack.
Kansas at Baylor – 9.5 (59): The question mark here is about the Kansas starting QB. Simply put, can he play at nearly his capability this week or not? The oddsmaker thinks not.
Florida International at UNC-Charlotte – 15 (64): These are two bad teams; do not try to gloss over that reality. Note above that UNC-Charlotte gives up more points per game than any other team to date in 2022 (44.6 points per game). Notwithstanding that fact, the oddsmaker likes UNC-Charlotte by more than 2 TDs. What might one infer from that data about the Florida International offense…???
Purdue at Wisconsin – 2.5 (51.5): Purdue has only one conference loss in 2022 meaning it is in contention for the Big-10 West title; Wisconsin has already lost 3 conference games. And Purdue is on a 4-game winning streak. So, I do not understand this line, nor do I understand why it has expanded slightly as the week wore on.
Minnesota at Penn St. – 4 (44): The Gophers have two conference losses; another one here will make their shot at the Big-10 West title a dicey proposition. Penn St. was outclassed by Michigan last week – – but Minnesota is not Michigan.
Boise St. at Air Force – 3 (47.5): Boise St. has been improving over the past couple of weeks after changing their starting QB; the Broncos have won their last two games by a combined 2 points. I think the wrong team is favored here, so I’ll take Boise St plus the points; put it in the Six-Pack.
The focus of most of the pregame coverage for the Bills/Chiefs game last week dealt with the statistical comparisons between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen and particularly the way the two of them battled in last year’s playoff win by the Chiefs. I think there was not nearly enough coverage of another important linkage between these two young star QBs:
When the Chiefs traded up in the 2017 NFL Draft to grab Patrick Mahomes, the team they traded with was the Buffalo Bills.
Now, before you jump to the conclusion that the Chiefs had to have “won that trade”, consider what the Bills got in return. This “haul” takes into account the various picks the Bills got from the Chiefs after the Bills did a bunch of wheeling and dealing with them. So, in exchange for Patrick Mahomes, the Bills got:
- Tre’Davious White (CB) Has been voted All-Pro twice and second team All-Pro once.
- Tremaine Edmunds (LB) Has been to the Pro Bowl twice
- Dion Dawkins (OL) Has not missed a game since 2017 and been to one Pro Bowl
- Siran Neal (CB) Provides secondary depth and special teams play for the Bills
The Bills would take Josh Allen in the next NFL Draft and now have Allen plus those other player assets…
We are often reminded of two things that are fundamental to NFL football. First, the league is a “quarterback driven league”; you can get anywhere without a stud playing QB. Second, is the famous caution, “On any given Sunday …” Well, those two adages came into an interesting juxtaposition last week when – – all on the same weekend no less:
- Mitchell Trubisky beat Tom Brady
- Zach Wilson beat Aaron Rodgers
- Daniel Jones beat Lamar Jackson
- Geno Smith beat Kyler Murray
- Marcus Mariota beat Jimmy Garoppolo.
Make sense of that …
The NY Giants are 5-1 and have won a string of games by forcing late turnovers or coming up with late game offensive heroics. Some say that is not sustainable but looking at the Giants’ schedule for the next 6 games, I can envision this situation continuing apace. In fact, I think it might take a negative intervention from the football gods to make a change against this upcoming schedule for the Giants through December 4th:
- At Jags
- At Seahawks
- BYE Week
- Vs. Texans
- Vs. Lions
- At Cowboys
- Vs. Commanders
Giants’ fans should look at that schedule and figure that a 9-3 record in early December is hardly out of the question.
So, “Team Blue” in NYC is pretty happy going into this weekend’s games. On the other hand, “Team Green” in NYC is ecstatic. The Jets are 4-2; they have won 3 games in a row, and they are winning by beating up the “other guys”. Coach Saleh’s defenses in SF used to “beat people up” and he seems to have brought that sort of play east with him. The Jets’ special teams were also excellent last week blocking a field goal try and blocking a punt that was returned for a TD.
Hey, it could be irrational exuberance – – hat tip to Alan Greenspan here – – but the NY Jets could be in the playoff picture this year. Consider the next four games; three of them are clearly winnable.
- At Broncos
- Vs Pats
- Vs Bills
- At Pats
The other possibility is that the Jets could revert to being – – the Jets – – and have all this euphoria amount to nothing. Let the games begin…
And speaking tangentially about the Jets upset victory last weekend, the victims then were the Packers and Aaron Rodgers in Lambeau Field. Everyone and every team has an “off-day”; that is part of the fundamental NFL Mantra of “On any given Sunday…” but Rodgers and the Packers did not look as if they were “having a bad day”. They looked downright discombobulated and outmanned.
In the Panthers/Rams game last week, WR, Robbie Anderson was sent to the locker room by Panthers’ interim head coach, Steve Wilks, in the middle of the game. Shades of last year’s Antonio Brown sideline contretemps; but in this case, Anderson was sent off; he did not walk off. Then the Panthers traded Anderson to the Cards on Monday. In return, the Panthers got a 6th round pick in 2024 and a 7th round pick in 2025. That is the NFL equivalent of trading Anderson for a bag of beans, and it surely seems like a low rate of return for a team like the Panthers that needs a talent infusion – – or might this be a signal to the locker room that the guys who played for Coach Rhule in college do not hold a special place on the roster anymore? Just asking …
Moving on to a look as last week’s results …
Giants 24 Ravens 20: The Ravens led by 10 points with 13 minutes left to play in the game. Here are the results of the following possessions by both teams in those final 13 minutes:
- Giants: 12 plays – – 75 yards – – TOUCHDOWN
- Ravens: 5 plays – – 15 yards – – INT
- Giants: 3 plays – – 13 yards – – TOUCHDOWN
- Ravens: 2 plays – – minus-8 yards – – LOST FUMBLE
- Giants: 5 plays – – 7 yards – – END OF GAME
The Ravens dominated the stat sheet racking up 406 yards on offense to only 238 for the Giants. Nevertheless, the Giants had more time of possession with 31:52. Very strange outcome…
Bengals 30 Saints 26: The Bengals took their first lead of the game with 2:10 left in the game and held on to win. The Saints final possession encompassed 9 plays and consumed 22 yards but lost the ball on downs. The Bengals and Ravens are both 3-3 and are tied atop the AFC North.
Colts 34 Jags 27: The Colts gave up 6 points in the 4th quarter of this game; that is interesting because in the 5 games leading up to this one, the Colts had not allowed a single point in any of the fourth quarters. The Colts were entirely a passing offense in this game throwing the ball 58 times and gaining 389 yards through the air.
Vikes 24 Dolphins 16: Looking at the stat sheet, this should have been a win for the Dolphins:
- Total Offense: Dolphins = 458 yards Vikes = 254 yards
- Time of possession: Dolphins = 35:29 Vikes = 24:51
- Total Offensive Plays: Dolphins 73 Vikes = 50
How did this become a Vikes’ victory? Three turnovers by the Dolphins did the trick.
Pats 38 Browns 15: The Pats only outgained the Browns by 71 yards in this game, but they dominated time of possession by 10 minutes and held the Browns to only 70 yards rushing. This was Bill Belichick’s 324th win has a head coach in the NFL tying him with George Halas for 2nd place in NFL history. Don Shula is the NFL’s all-time winningest coach with 347 victories.
Jets 27 Packers 10: The Jets dominated this game despite the fact that each team generated exactly 278 yards on offense for the day. The Jets only managed 99 yards passing in the game but ran the ball for 179 yards against a Packers’ defense that is supposed to be better than that. I did not see the whole game, but watching the condensed version leads me to observe that Aaron Rodgers missed a lot of open targets and that he was harassed by the Jets pass rush most of the day and that his receivers dropped more than a couple of balls that hit the receivers in the hands. The Packers trail the Vikes by 2 full games in the NFC North; they need to get things organized in Green Bay ASAP.
Falcons 28 Niners 14: The Falcons are now 6-0 against the spread for 2022. The stat sheet shows a small edge for the Niners in this game – – except for 3 turnovers which set up 3 short fields for the Falcons.
Steelers 20 Bucs 18: The Steelers’ defense came to life in this game and the Bucs’ offense continued to sputter notwithstanding a Tom Brady sideline tirade directed toward his OL. I wonder if some folks on that Bucs offense are wondering if their productivity might be better had Brady not missed about 2 weeks of training camp or took time off to go to Robert Kraft’s wedding last weekend?
Seahawks 19 Cards 9: The good news is that the Cards are only 1 game out of first place in the AFC West. The bad news is that the Cards are 2-4 for the season. The Cards got a field goal early in the game and then recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD late in the third quarter. That was the extent of their scoring for the day.
Rams 24 Panthers 10: The Rams needed a solid win and got one here. The Rams had 360 yards on offense and held the Panthers to only 203 yards. The Panthers led 10-7 at the half but never found the scoreboard for the balance of the game.
Eagles 26 Cowboys 17: The Eagles have a script for games in 2022:
- Get a lead; build that lead; take that lead into halftime.
- Hold the lead and close out the game with running and defense.
That pretty much sums up this game against the division-rival Cowboys last week … After playing almost perfectly for the last month or so, Cooper Rush demonstrated that he is human by throwing 3 INTs in the game.
Bills 24 Chiefs 20: This game was a Sesame Street game brought to you by the letter “E”. It was entertaining, exciting, engaging, … you get the idea. Most of all, it whetted my appetite for another game between these two teams in the AFC Championship Game in late January 2023…
Chargers 19 Broncos 16 (OT): To say both offenses “sputtered” would be very generous here. The Chargers tied the game at 16-16 with 4 minutes left to play. Here are the results of the possessions from that point on until the Chargers won with a field goal in OT:
- Broncos: 4 plays – – 9 yards – – PUNT
- Chargers: 7 plays – – 19 yards – – TURNOVER ON DOWNS
- End of regulation and start of OT
- Broncos: 3 plays – – 9 yards – – PUNT
- Chargers: 3 plays – – minus-4 yards – – PUNT
- Broncos: 3 plays – – 3 yards – – PUNT
- Chargers: 3 plays – – 1 yards – – PUNT – – muffed by Denver recovered by LA
- Chargers: 4 plays – – 7 yards – – FIELD GOAL.
If you add all that up, there were 27 offensive plays in about 10 minutes of game time that amassed a total of 43 yards for the two teams combined. And that was a “prime-time game” …
NFL Games This Week:
As attractive as the college football schedule looks this weekend, that is how bleak this NFL lineup appears to be. There are four teams off enjoying their BYE Week – – and three of the four are good teams that would have spiced up the schedule a bit:
- Bills: Their record is 5-1 with a league-high point differential of 95 points.
- Eagles: They are the NFL’s only unbeaten team at this point of the season.
- Rams: They are the reigning Super Bowl champs with a 3-3 record.
- Vikes: Their record is 5-1 – – good enough for a 2-game lead in the NFC North.
The Cards beat the Saints last night 42-34 leading me to pose this question:
- Given all the scoring and the fact that it was a 1-score game, why was I so glad to see the clock run down to zero?
The margin of victory here – plus some – came through two Pick-Six INTs by the Cards’ defense on successive possessions in the second quarter. Even with that unusual circumstance, the game lacked excitement/energy.
Lions at Cowboys – 7 (49): No matter what Jerry Jones says, I think the plan for Dak Prescott’s return all along was this game against the Lions who have a very porous secondary. The Lions had last week off to try to shore things up back there but just as Rome was not built in a day, neither will the Lions’ pass defense deficiencies be resolved in a single BYE Week. The fact that this line is only 7 points tells me that the oddsmakers are counting on both DeAndre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown to be back in action for the Lions.
Giants at Jags – 3 (42): Sportsbooks do not stay in business for long by posting dumb lines. Given all the hype surrounding the Giants (see above) you should wonder if there is a typo in the line shown here. The 2-4 Jags are favored over the 5-1 Giants? Bet the butter and egg money Maw… The Jags’ run defense is a team strength and that is how the Giants have been winning games – – on the ground. This game is tempting – – but I will find other games to make a selection.
Colts at Titans – 2.5 (41.5): The Titans had last week off to prep for this division game And the Titans beat the Colts just two games ago. A win for the titans here could give then a stranglehold on the division race with the tiebreaker in hand against the Colts. So, call this a “must win” for the folks in Indy and they are on the road…
Falcons at Bengals – 6.5 (47): The Falcons are perfect this year – – against the spread; the Bengals seem to be putting the pieces together in a come from behind win last week. Could be an interesting game …
Browns at Ravens – 6.5 (45): Is this the game where Lamar Jackson emerges from the funk he has been in for the last couple of weeks? It is a division game and the Browns’ defense has been anything but fearsome so far in 2022. If that does not arouse Jackson from his slumber, there may be something fundamentally wrong in Baltimore. Meanwhile, the Browns do well when Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are running the ball well. I think the Ravens will try to make the Browns win the game through the air this week. I do not see this as a game that lights up the scoreboard, but I do think that Total Line is short; I’ll take the game to go OVER; put it in the Six Pack.
Bucs – 11 at Panthers (39.5): Unless Tom Brady has another wedding to go to this evening, I have to like the Bucs here; the Panthers are a hot mess. But I have no interest in this double-digit spread.
Packers – 4 at Commanders (41): The Packers have lost two in a row and have looked bad doing so. Taylor Heinicke showed last year that he can find ways to win games and he can find ways to lose games. This game pairs two teams that have no idea how they will play “on any given Sunday”. If you are tempted to wager on this game, play the lottery instead…
Jets at Broncos – 1 (38): The game opened the week as a “pick ‘em game” and now the Broncos are favored even though Russell Wilson has a hamstring injury and had to deal with it in practice all week. So, all of a sudden, his “questionable status” becomes a plus for the Broncos? I like the Jets, but I do not like the venue for the game. I like this game to be a defensive struggle, but that Total Line is ridiculous.
Texans at Raiders – 7 (45.5): Neither team played last week; so, there is no “BYE Week advantage” or “BYE Week hangover” at work here. The Raiders can run the ball with Josh Jacobs and like to run the ball; the Texans allow an average of 5.1 yards per rush attempt so far in 2022. The game is in Las Vegas; give me the Raiders to win and cover at home; put it in the Six-Pack.
Chiefs – 2.5 at Niners (48): This is the Game of the Week. Both teams are tied for the lead in their division; both have serious playoff aspirations; both of them lost last week. I’ll just watch and enjoy this one.
Seahawks at Chargers – 5 (50): The Total Line opened the week at 52 points and has been dropping slowly all week long. I have no explanation for that; this game should see plenty of scoring. The Chargers have won 3 games in a row and are tied with the Chiefs for the AFC West lead – – but they have hardly looked dominant in any of those three wins. Meanwhile, the Seahawks’ 3-3 record has them tied with the Niners and the Rams for the lead in the NFC West. The temptation here is the OVER – – but I will resist,
(Sun Nite) Steelers at Dolphins – 7 (44.5): Tua should be back at QB for the Dolphins meaning the Steelers’ depleted secondary should be on notice. Having said that, the Steelers’ defense played excellently last week against the Bucs. I will use this s a “decompression game” on Sunday night so I can get a nice night’s sleep.
(Mon Nite) Bears at Pats – 8.5 (39.5): This spread opened the week at 7 points and eased up during the week. As noted above, Bill Belichick and George Halas are tied for second place in coaching victories in the NFL. So, of course, this week the Pats get to play the Bears on MNF this week. Every screenwriter in Hollywood would have that angle in his/her plot – – although lots of movie scripts would have this game played in Chicago. The Bears have been off for 10 days, but I doubt that has been enough time to coach Justin Fields up for the defensive confusion he will face here. For the Pats the only question is will Mac Jones start or not? Notice, the question is not if his ankle is healed or not; the question is who will start at QB for the Pats. Give me the Pats at home to win and cover here; put it in the Six-Pack.
So, let me review the Six-Pack:
- Alabama – 20 over Mississippi St.
- Ole Miss +3 against LSU
- Boise St. +3 against Air Force
- Browns/Ravens OVER 45
- Raiders – 7 over Texans
- Pats – 8.5 over Bears.
And here are three Money Line Parlays for imaginary $100 plays:
- Ole Miss @ +125
- Penn St. @ – 215
- Miami (FL) @ – 335 To win $338
- Jets @ – 110
- Raiders @ – 290
- Pats @ – 400 To win $221
- Commanders @ + 185
- Raiders @ – 290
- Pats @ – 400 To win $379
Finally, let me close today with an item that will explain why I like certain spectator sports more than some participatory sports:
“Skiing n. The art of catching cold and going broke while rapidly heading nowhere at great risk.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………