Football Friday 10/28/22

Going over my “To Do List” for today …

  1. Get Halloween candy for next Monday night
  2. Make sure no pumpkin spice stuff sneaks into the house
  3. Write this week’s Football Friday.

I’ll get to the first two things on the list once this is written and posted.  So let me begin as usual with a look at last week’s Six-Pack.

  • College = 2-1-0                                  Season Total = 13-7-0
  • NFL = 1-2-0                                        Season Total = 10-12-3
  • Money Line Parlays = 0-3                Season Total = 2-11
  • Profit/Loss = minus-$300                 Season Total = minus-$861


College Football Commentary:


The Linfield College Wildcats maintained their undefeated status in 2022 with a 45-0 drubbing of Pacific Lutheran.  This week, the Wildcats go on the road – albeit only about 15 miles down the road – to take on the George Fox Bruins in another Northwest Conference game.  George Fox has a 6-1 record this season with the only loss coming at the hands of Pacific Lutheran by a score of 13-12 four weeks ago.  Go Wildcats!

Six teams in Division 1-A continue to be undefeated as the calendar gets ready to turn over into November:

  1. Clemson
  2. Georgia
  3. Michigan
  4. Ohio St.
  5. TCU
  6. Tennessee

Looking down the road a bit, Michigan and Ohio St. will play in the final weekend of Big-10 football and Georgia/Tennessee will happen on November 5th.  So, at most, there will be 4 undefeated teams at the end of the year.

I think it is interesting to look at the Oregon football schedule this year.  The Ducks opened the season with a thud; they lost to Georgia in the opening game 49-3 – – and it might not have been that close.  The next week, Oregon took out its frustrations on a Division 1-AA opponent winning 70-14.  Since those two “oddball games” at the start of the season, here are the subsequent results:

  • Oregon 41  BYU 20
  • Oregon 44  Washington St. 41
  • Oregon 45  Stanford 27
  • Oregon 49  Arizona 22
  • Oregon 45  UCLA 30

With those 5 games – plus the one against a cupcake opponent – all seeing the Ducks go “north of 41 points”, the question is:

  • Is the Georgia defense that good – – or did Oregon need a week’s more practice time to get their offensive unit completely in sync?

An unusual circumstance presented itself in a Division 1-AA game last week between Weber St. and Montana St.  Weber St. inflicted itself with 4 safeties in the game and all 4 of the safeties happened in the same way.  The long-snapper sailed the ball over the head of the punter and out of the end zone.  The final score of the game had Weber St. on the short end by 5 points – – so those 8 points offered up at no cost to Montana St. did indeed provide the margin of victory.  I suspect that there might be a bit of tension in the air in the special teams’ room as the film from that game is dissected.  The only thing that might cut that tension a bit is the fact that Weber St. scored two TDs on special teams play.

  • Returned a kickoff for 99 yards and a TC
  • Returned a punt 67 yards for a TD.

Here are comments on two ACC games from last week…

Clemson 27  Syracuse 20:  It took a 17-point rally in the 4th quarter of this game for Clemson to prevail.  The Tigers dominated the stat sheet, but 4 turnovers kept the game closer on the scoreboard than it should have been.  To give you an idea of the dominance here consider:

  • Total Offense for Syracuse = 269 yards
  • RUSHING offense for Clemson = 293 yards

Duke 45  Miami 21:  To get an idea of the oddity of this game, begin with this comparison:

  • Duke Total Offense = 336 yards
  • Miami Total Offense = 327 yards

So, you ask yourself, how those stats can lead to a 24-point margin of victory for the Blue Devils?  Here is how:

  • Duke Turnovers = 2
  • Miami Turnovers = 8 – – as in EIGHT!

            If you thought the Miami loss to Middle Tennessee State was bad – – and it was – – this may have been worse.  This was a 24-point home conference loss to Duke thanks to the most turnovers in a game by any Power 5 conference team since 2009. There are serious questions now about Miami making bowl-eligibility.  The Hurricanes are 3-4 today; they need 3 wins in their last 5 games to finish at 6-6 for the season.

Moving on to Big-10 action last week …

Rutgers 24  Indiana 17:  The streak of 21 consecutive home losses to Big-10 opponents is broken.  To the joy of Rutgers alums, the team not only won – – they covered.

Ohio St. 54  Iowa 10:  No surprise here that Iowa could not score; the Hawkeyes offense is about as prominent as a herd of yetis.  Nonetheless, this game marked a distinct low for that offense – – only 2.7 yards per offensive snap.  Oh, and that offense found six opportunities to turn the ball over too. The Iowa defense had been strong up to this game – – but not on that day.

Maryland 31  Northwestern 24:  Maryland is bowl-eligible, and it is not Halloween yet.  Northwestern is 1-6 having lost 6 in a row after beating Nebraska in the opener in Dublin, Ireland.

Wisconsin 35  Purdue 24:  With this loss, Purdue – – second loss in conference – – falls a game behind Illinois in the Big-10 West race.  Those two teams will meet on November 12th as a home game for Illinois.  Nebraska is the only other team in the division with only 2 conference losses.

Penn St. 45  Minnesota 17:  Sean Clifford had himself a day for Penn St.  He threw for 295 yards and 4 TDs with only 1 INT as the Nittany Lions dominated the game.  This makes 3 losses in a row for Minnesota and all of them are conference losses.

Next up is the Big-12 …

Baylor 35  Kansas 23:  I think we can pretty much say the bloom is off the rose for Kansas.  Yes, they are 5-3 but those three losses have come in the last 3 weeks and the Jayhawks’ defense has given up 125 points in those 3 losses.  Baylor has 2 conference losses as of today but there are three teams in the Big-12 that only have 1 loss or zero losses in conference.  Baylor is not “out of it” but it will need some help.

Oklahoma St. 41  Texas 34:  Oklahoma St. has only 1 loss in Big-12 games, and this is the 2nd conference loss for the Longhorns.  The Cowboys rallied with 14 points in the 4th quarter to win last week.  Three INTs thrown by Texas QB, Quinn Ewers was too much for the Longhorns to overcome.  Texas’ upcoming schedule is not easy at all; they have 4 games left and they may be favored in only one of them (on the road at Kansas).  One other interesting note here, Oklahoma St. was not penalized once in the game last week.

TCU 38  K-ST. 28:  The Horned Frogs are still undefeated for the season and enjoy a privileged spot atop the Big-12 standings.  K-State falls to 5-2 overall.  K-St led 28-10 in the first half but were shut out for all of the second half.

And in some SEC games last week …

LSU 45  Ole Miss 20:  The Rebels were shut out for the second half; so much for their unbeaten season in 2022.  Ole Miss led 17-3 in the second quarter; then the wheels came off the wagon.  Question here is:

  • Was Ole Miss over-rated or was LSU dismissed too quickly after that loss to Florida St.?  Or both?

This is the second game in a row where LSU scored 45 points; maybe that offense is starting to come around?  They have this week off to prep for a game against Alabama whose defense has been “tested” at times this year.

Alabama 30  Mississippi St. 6:  This is the much-more-recognizable Alabama defense as compared to the one last week that gave up 50+ points to Tennessee.  The Bulldogs’ TD came as the final play of the game.   Alabama has road games at LSU and at Ole Miss still on the schedule; they need to win both to win the SEC West and play in the SEC Championship Game.

South Carolina 30  Texas A&M 24:  The Aggies had CFP aspirations for this year, and they now have 4 losses on the books and might not even make it to one of the minor bowl games.  They need to win 3 of their last 5 to make themselves bowl-eligible.  There is a “gimmee game” against UMass – – the Aggies ought to be ashamed – – on November 19th; other than that, the Aggies will be tested in the other 4 contests.

In PAC-12 games …

Oregon 45  UCLA 30:  This game took UCLA from the ranks of the unbeaten teams in 2022.  Folks in Oregon have to hope that the CFP Selection Committee forgets just how badly the Ducks were beaten by Georgia in the opening game of the season.  Looking at the future schedule, the only ranked team left for Oregon is Utah; that game will be a home game for Oregon on November 19th.  And of course, there is still the Civil War game with Oregon St. and that rivalry game is never a walkover.

Oregon St. 42  Colorado 9:  the Buffaloes won their only game of the year two weeks ago and that momentum did not carry over even a little bit.  The Beavers generated 174 more yards of offense than did the Buffaloes and Colorado found ways to turn the ball over 4 times in the game.  As Forest Gump’s mother might say:

  • “Bad is as bad plays…”

And some comments on miscellaneous other games of interest last week …

Army 48  La-Monroe 24:  This is the first win of the year for Army over a Division 1-A team.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step…

Rice 42  La-Tech 41 (OT):  Rice is 4-3 for the season and just could make it to bowl eligibility.  They need to find two wins and have UNC-Charlotte, UTEP and North Texas still on the schedule in their remaining 5 games.

Notre Dame 44  UNLV 21:  It’s a win for the Irish – – but not a cover…

Liberty 41  BYU 14:  The stat sheet looks as you would expect for this game.  Liberty won the offensive battle 547 yards to 258 yards.  Liberty had 28 first downs in the game compared to 12 for BYU.

FIU 34  UNC-Charlotte 15:  These are two bad teams.  UNC-Charlotte found more ways to lose this game than did FIU; UNC-Charlotte turned the ball over 5 times in the game.

Colorado St. 17  Hawaii 14:  Here are two more bad teams.  Hawaii led 13-3 at the half and then were shut out in the second half.


Games of Interest This Week:


Illinois – 7 at Nebraska (50): Nebraska can insert itself in the Big-10 West race – at least for a while – with a win here.

New Mexico St. – 2 at UMass (37.5):  Here are two BAD teams and one of them had to travel about 2500 miles to get to the venue.  Why?

Kentucky at Tennessee – 11.5 (62):  The question here is pretty simple:

  • To what extent can Kentucky’s very good defense slow down/hold Tennessee’s very good offense?

The reason that question is so important is that Kentucky’s offense is not likely to give the Tennessee defense a case of agita.

TCU – 7 at W. Virginia (70):  The Horned Frogs keep finding ways to win and W. Virginia is not having one of its better seasons with a 3-4 record.  TCU has a high-powered offense, and the Mountaineers give up 33.7 points per game (ranked 117th in the country).  I think this is a mismatch even with TCU on a long road trip.  I’ll take TCU to win and cover on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Ohio St. – 14.5 at Penn St. (62.5):  Penn St. was able to run the ball effectively against Minnesota last week setting up their passing game for some big plays.  Duplicating that success will not be easy against Ohio St. The Buckeyes rank 8th in the country in run defense giving up only 90.9 yards per game.

Notre Dame at Syracuse – 2.5 (48):  The Total Line opened the week at 45 points and has been climbing all week.  I have to admit that back in August I never thought this game would have this spread with Syracuse as the ranked team on the field.  And yet, here we are.

Miami – 2 at Virginia (48):  Miami needs this game for its bowl-quest – – but so does Virginia; both teams are 3-4 at this point in the season.  Expectations in Charlottesville were not so lofty this year; expectations in Miami with the hiring of Mario Cristobel were through the roof.

Michigan St. at Michigan – 22.5 (55):  Michigan St. gives up points in droves (27.7 points per game ranked 73rd in the country).  The Michigan St. offense ranks 77th in the nation and has yet to see a defense like Michigan’s which only allows12 points per game.  If Jim Harbaugh does not intentionally take his foot off the gas, the Wolverines can name the score here.

Northwestern at Iowa – 11 (37):  The temptation here is to take the UNDER – -even at 37 points.  Northwestern will struggle to score 13 points; Iowa’s offense is a mirage.  But that number is so low that I will not yield to the temptation…

Pitt at UNC – 3 (64):  The Tar Heels are undefeated in conference games; they are the only team in the ACC Coastal Division in that status.  Pitt has two conference losses on the books; another one here would end their hopes of a return to the ACC Championship Game.

Oklahoma – 1 at Iowa St. (55.5):  I certainly did not think back in August that this game would be a contest between two stragglers in the Big-12.  But it is…  The combined conference record for these teams is 1-7.

Arizona St. – 13 at Colorado (46):  This game is “interesting” because it involves two teams that fired their head coaches in mid-season; this is a battle of the interim coaches…

UNC-Charlotte at Rice – 16.5 (59):  As noted above, Rice needs two wins for bowl-eligibility and this one is a perfectly winnable game for the Owls at home

USC – 15 at Arizona (77):  Two explosive offenses playing two porous defenses.  USC and Oregon are not slated to meet in the regular season this year, but they might be the participants in the PAC-12 Championship Game…

Oregon – 16.5 at Cal (58):  This spread opened at 15 points and has been inching up as the week wore on.  If you like the underdog, you can find the spread as high as 17 points in several places today.  I think Oregon is on a roll and I am sure they know that any hope they have for a CFP shot is to win out convincingly in every game between now and the first week in December.  Cal only scores 23 points per game; it hangs in games because its defense only gives up 22 points per game – – but they have not seen the likes of Oregon’s offense yet.  I like Oregon to run away and hide here; I’ll lay the points on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Oklahoma St. at K-St. – 1 (56):  This one is purely a hunch.  K-State is much stronger at home than on the road – – and they are home here.  K-State had an extra week to prepare for this game; the Cowboys had a tough game last week against Texas.  The game opened as a “Pick ‘em game” and the current line indicates money on the K-State side of the ledger.  However, I think Oklahoma St. sees itself as one of the contestants in the Big-12 Championship Game and has assembled the puzzle pieces to reveal the picture.  I like the Cowboys to win this one outright on the road, so I’ll take the points here; put it in the Six-Pack.

Baylor at Texas Tech – 2.5 (62.5):  Both teams are 4-3 for the season and both teams are 2-2 in conference games.  The loser here is pretty much eliminated from the Big-12 race; the winner remains alive but needs outside assistance.

Ole Miss – 2 at Texas A&M (55):  The only reason I hesitate to take Ole Miss in this game is that their defense has been a no-show in each of the last two weeks giving up a total of 79 points to Auburn and LSU.

Florida vs Georgia – 22 (56):  Even with the Bulldogs favored by more than 3 TDs, this is the College Game of the Week.  The reason the spread is that big is not just that the oddsmakers figure Georgia’s defense to present problems to the Florida offense – – which it will – – but also because Florida’s defense is not stout; the Gator defense gives up 28 points per game ranking 80th in the country in scoring defense.  Unless Georgia is looking ahead to its meeting with Tennessee next week, this should be a rough day for the Gators and Gator fans.  Since this game is affectionately known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party”, let me interject a thought from noted dipsomaniac, W. C. Fields:

“I exercise self-control and never touch any beverage stronger than gin before breakfast.”

I am not certain that all the Gator fans and Bulldog fans will be so careful this weekend…

Before I move on to NFL stuff, I want to alert everyone that next week will begin my look at teams for my imaginary SHOE Tournament – – the means by which we might determine the worst team in the country for 2022.


NFL Commentary:


There are two teams on their BYE Week this week in the NFL:

  1. Chargers:  They get to lick their wounds after being run over – literally – by the Seahawks last week and losing by 2 TDs.
  2. Chiefs:  They get to heal their bruises and bask in the glory of last week’s demolition of the Niners and a 3 TD victory.

There is another London Game this week matching the Broncos and the Jaguars.  Neither team is playing well so far this year; the Broncos offense is non-existent, and the Jags play just well enough to lose close games.  The people in the UK have lost their Queen and their Prime Minister in the last two months; the pound sterling has tanked to its lowest level since WW II; and now the NFL sends them that game?  Haven’t those people suffered enough?

The Green Bay Packers are going to miss the playoffs if they play the way they have played in the last two weeks.  Two weeks ago, the Packers were steamrollered by the Jets; last week they threw up on their shoes against the Commanders (see below).  A closeup of Aaron Rodgers during the game clearly showed him asking the sidelines “What are we doing?”

As someone who tries to find solutions to problems, let me offer a suggestion:

  • When the Packers get their BYE Week, maybe Aaron Rodgers should take all the offensive players to Peru to smoke some ayahuasca.
  • How much could it hurt?
  • The problem is that the Packers BYE Week does not come until Week 14 – – and it might be too late for such an excursion even if the Packers’ brass thought it was a good idea.

Another team that might have trouble making the playoffs is the Tampa Bay Bucs.  Their record is 3-5 after last night’s loss and they have lost 5 of their last 6 games and the offense is anemic at best.  Everyone is waiting for Tom Brady to “throw the switch” and propel the Bucs back to Super Bowl contender status.  But there is a confluence of too many negative factors here for me to think that is anything more than a 50/50 chance:

  • Brady is dealing with those “dreaded distractions” off the field.  In his case, it is his marriage and his family that provides the distractions.
  • Brady is hardly the same “all-in/all-for-one-and-one-for-all kind of teammate” that he was in New England or that he was in his first year with the Bucs.  He misses time in Training Camp; he gets Wednesdays off; he goes to Robert Kraft’s wedding instead of being with the team before a game.
  • Brady was never a “mobile QB” but his OL this year is more porous than any he has played behind before.  If you want to be polite and say he was not mobile before, you would have to say he is statuesque in 2022.
  • Oh yeah, and Father Time has never missed a tackle…

One other veteran QB having a bad year in 2022 was Matt Ryan.  I use the past tense here because the Colts announced last week that Ryan has a “Grade 2 separation of his shoulder” and that he is on the shelf for the rest of 2022.  Grade 2 shoulder injuries usually do not require surgery, but this injury is in a “wait and see” status.

The Colts have named Sam Ehlinger – – a 6th round pick from Texas – – as their starting QB.  That is an interesting choice given that the other QB on the Colts’ roster is Nick Foles who has a very positive history with Colts’ coach Frank Reich.  Reich was the Eagles’ QB coach when Foles and the Eagles won the Super Bowl in February 2018.  Choosing to go with Ehlinger tells me that the Colts want to know if they might have a guy already on the roster who might be their starting QB for a few years; Foles is not that guy and Ryan will be 38 coming off this injury in 2023.

The Colts have been casting about for a QB ever since Andrew Luck decided to retire and live his life without NFL football.  Since 2018, here are the starting QBs that the colts have tried to make into a replacement for Luck:

  • 2019:  Jacoby Brisset and Brian Hoyer
  • 2020:  Philip Rivers
  • 2021:  Carson Wentz
  • 2022:  Matt Ryan

Unless Ehlinger plays well, the Colts will once again be QB shopping in the early months of 2023.  No pressure, Sam…

Here are some comments about games from last week in the NFL.

Ravens 23  Browns 20:  The Ravens were on the brink of giving up another double-digit lead in this one but held on to win in the end.  The Browns won the statistical battle for what that is worth holding Lamar Jackson to 120 yards passing in the game.  However, the Browns only converted on 2 of 11 third-down tries and gave up 5 sacks for the day.

Cowboys 24  Lions 6:  The Lions led at halftime 6-3 but 5 turnovers by the Lions were too much to overcome.

Commanders 32  Packers 21:  The levels of ineptitude on display in this contest were stunning.  If the teams had been wearing uniforms from two schools in C-USA, you might never have told the difference.  To cite just one measure of ineptitude, with 2 minutes to play in the first half, Aaron Rodgers had 38 yards passing; he finished the day with 194 yards passing.  In addition, the officiating in this game resembled the officiating in a C-USA game.  The Packers lost a long “scoop and score” TD because of a penalty call that was at least 30 yards removed from the play AND that call was below the level of a “ticky-tack call”.  If what happened on that play was “illegal contact” then there should have been a penalty flag thrown on every pass play this season.  The Packers had not converted on a third down try until the 4th quarter when they converted twice in a row – – on penalties against the Commanders’ defense.  This was the “early game” in my viewing area; it was brutal.

Bengals 35  Falcons 17:  If you only saw the stat sheet, you might think this game was an even bigger blowout.

  • Total Offense:  Bengals 537 yards  Falcons 214 yards
  • First Downs:  Bengals 29  Falcons 13
  • Average Gain per play:  Bengals 8.1  Falcons 4.8

Joe Burrow threw for 481 yards – – 345 yards in the first half alone – – and this game was never in doubt.

Titans 19  Colts 10:  This game puts the Titans in control of the AFC South.  Derrick Henry led the way carrying the ball 30 times for 128 yards.  The Titans have now won 4 in a row – – the longest winning streak in the AFC.

Giants 23  Jags 17:  The Giants scored 10 points in the fourth quarter for another comeback win in this game.  The Jags almost made a comeback of their own when WR Christian Kirk was tackled at the 1 yardline as time expired in the game.  The Giants are 6-1 for the season but their point differential is only 20 points.  The Giants’ did not pick up the 5th year option for Daniel Jones last season; my guess is that they wish now that they had done that.

Panthers 21  Bucs 3:  Unless I missed it, Robert Kraft was not married again on the Friday before this game causing Tom Brady to miss more practice time than usual.  This was a huge upset; at gametime, the spread on the game had ballooned to 13.5 points.  The Bucs’ offense was skewed to the pass once again; Brady threw the ball 49 times, and the Bucs ran the ball only 16 times.  The Panthers did just the opposite.  They ran the ball 27 times and threw it 22 times.  The Bucs have now lost four of their last five games but still find themselves on top of the NFC South race despite a 3-4 record.     The Buccaneers couldn’t stop a Panthers rushing attack that just traded away its best player. Carolina steamrolled the Buccaneers defense for 173 yards on the ground.

Raiders 38  Texans 20:  You would never have guessed the score of this one just looking at the stat sheet:

  • Total Offense:  Texans = 404 yards  Raiders = 400 yards
  • First downs:  Texans = 21  Raiders = 25
  • Time of possession:  Texans = 29:17  Raiders = 30:43
  • Total Offensive Plays:  Texans = 65  Raiders = 55

Josh Jacobs had a big day gaining 143 yards on 20 carries and scoring 3 TDs.  The Texans led 20-17 at the start of the 4th quarter but two of Jacobs’ TDs and a Pick-Six in the 4th quarter provided the win for the Raiders.  Both teams entered the game with 1-4 records; the Raiders are now 2-4 but with a point differential of +13.

Jets 16  Broncos 9:  The Jets led 10-9 at the start of the 4th quarter; the Broncos had 3 possessions in the 4th quarter:

  • 3 plays – – 9 yards – – PUNT
  • 10 plays – – 50 yards – – TURNOVER ON DOWNS
  • 7 plays – – 31 yards – – TURNOVER ON DOWNS

Russell Wilson did not play due to a hamstring injury, so Broncos’ fans cannot blame him for this lack of scoring.  Jets still have work to do despite a 5-2 record.  Jets were only 3 of 14 on third-down conversions and the Jets were penalized 11 times (for 85 yards) in the game.  When you have only 260 yards total offense in a game, it is usually going to be fatal if you lose 85 yards on penalties.  Also, losing RB Breece Hall to a knee injury will give the Jets another thing to “work out”.

Seahawks 37  Chargers 23:  Don’t look now, but the Seahawks are leading the NFC West with a 4-3 record.  Kenneth Walker III, rookie RB from Michigan St. and Wake Forest, led the way here with 168 yards rushing and 2 TDs.  The Chargers are also 4-3 for the season but they trail the Chiefs in the AFC West by a game.

Chiefs 44  Niners 23:  These teams played evenly for the first half; the score at the intermission was 14-13 in favor of the Chiefs.  But the second half belonged entirely to Chiefs.  Both QBs had good days:

  • Patrick Mahomes:  25 of 34 for 423 yards with 3 TDs and 1 INT
  • Jimmy Garoppolo:  25 of 37 for 303 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT

The Niners have a very good defense; Nevertheless, the Chiefs had 10 possessions in the game with these outcomes:

  1. INT
  2. TD
  3. TD
  4. Missed FG attempt
  5. TD
  6. TD
  7. TD
  8. TD
  9. PUNT
  10. END of GAME

It looks to me as if JuJu Smith-Schuster has adjusted to the KC offense and that Patrick Mahomes has adjusted to JuJu Smith-Schuster.  In the last two Chiefs’ games, Smith-Schuster has 12 receptions for 237 yards and 2 TDs.  Not too shabby…

Dolphins 16  Steelers 10:  The Dolphins led this game 13-0 at the end of the first quarter and it looked as if this would be uninteresting by halftime.  Not so.  The Steelers’ defense played well, and the offense rose to some level of consciousness making the game interesting to the end.  Neither team scored in the second half; the Steelers had the ball 7 times after intermission; they punted on the first 5 of those possessions and threw 2 INTs on the subsequent ones.  (Kenny Pickett had a total of 3 INTs in the game.)  The Dolphins likewise had 7 possessions in the second half.  They turned it over on downs once, punted 5 times and then knelt out the game.


NFL Games This Week:


The Bucs continued their poor play last night losing to the Ravens.  The final score of 27-22 is deceiving because the Bucs got a TD with less than a minute to play in the game making it appear as if the game was up for grabs when it was not.  The Ravens did not dominate the game, but they were clearly the better team on the field.

(Sun Morning) Denver vs. Jax – 2 (39.5): [Game is in London] This is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.  Neither team is particularly good.  If I had a fleeting thought to set my alarm clock on Sunday morning so I could get up and cook my long-suffering wife a nice breakfast such that I would be ready to tune into this game at 9:30 ET, even a glace at who is playing would put the kibosh on that idea.  Given the prospects for the teams in this London Game, perhaps an observation from Sir Winston Churchill is appropriate here:

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

The Broncos’ defense has been heroic so far this year; the Broncos’ offense has been AWOL.

Bears at Cowboys – 9 (42.5):  If you are planning on a wager on this game, you might want to shop this line.  Most places have the spread at 9 points, but you can find it higher in several places and one sportsbook has it at 10.5 points.  Both teams are strong defensively – – although the Bears’ trade of Robert Quinn for a 4th round draft pick probably diminishes the Chicago pass rush a bit.  I like the Cowboys at home despite the Bears’ strong showing last week on the road against the Pats.  Give me the Cowboys to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

Raiders – 1 at Saints (50):  Reports say that Jameis Winston is healed sufficiently to practice and play, but the Saints announced that Andy Dalton is their QB.  Evidently, Dennis Allen sees a lot more in Dalton’s 4 games under center than the stat sheet reveals to me.  And remember that I am not a Jameis Winston fan or apologist, but I do not understand this decision.  Both teams run the ball well; both teams average over 5 yards per rushing attempt.

Panthers at Falcons – 3.5 (41.5):  These are not good teams, but this game cannot be the “Dog-Breath game because the NFC South race is so close that this game has meaning in those standings.  The spread opened the week at 7 points and dropped to this level quickly; that means a lot of money showed up on the Panthers early in the week.  Given the Bucs loss last night, consider this:

  • The Falcons will lead the NFC South if they win this game.  Really…

Just for giggles, I’ll take the Falcons at home to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

Steelers at Eagles – 10.5 (43):  In 1943 with WW II in full swing, there were not a lot of people here in the US willing and able to play professional football.  So, for one season the Steelers and the Eagles “merged their teams” and played as the Steagles.  The team finished the season with a 5-4-1 record; it was the first time the Eagles had a winning season in team history.  In 1944, the Steagles were dissolved but the Steelers merged that year with the Chicago Cardinals to form the Car-Pitts.  That merger was not so successful; Car-Pitts finished 1944 with an 0-10 record.  I like the Eagles to win this game but will not be doing anything with that double-digit spread.

Dolphins – 3.5 at Lions (51.5):  Last week, the Lions and Dolphins combined to score a total of 22 points.  So, I am not sure where a Total Line above 50 comes from…

Cards at Vikes – 3.5 (49):  If you can figure out how either of these teams will play on “any given Sunday” you are a better person than I am.  The line opened at 5.5 and has been dropping slowly all week so there must be a lot of folks out there who are convinced that they know how this game will unfold.  Do not count me in that number; I think this game is a mystery.

Pats – 2.5 at Jets (40.5):  The spread here opened as a “Pick ‘em game” and money flowed to the Pats instead of to the Jets at home.  Surely, no one was positively impressed by the bed-wetting performance the Pats put out there last Monday night against the Bears.

Titans – 2.5 at Texans (40.5):  I do not understand this line; the Titans are the better team, and they can maintain their control of this division race with a victory here.  The Texans run defense was gashed last week by Josh Jacobs; this week, they get to try to contain Derrick Henry – – and the spread is less than a field goal?  I guess folks expect a bit of a letdown for the Titans after beating the Colts last week.

Giants at Seahawks – 3 (44.5):  This game could be a fun one to watch.  It is not often that a 6-1 team gets points against a 4-3 team but there it is.  Both teams can run the ball and neither team is particularly adept at stopping the run.  The Giants rank 29th in the league in rushing yards allowed and the Seahawks rank 30th.

Commanders at Colts – 3 (39.5):  If Carson Wentz was at QB, this might be an interesting game as a “revenge game”.  Too bad.  Now it is a battle to the death between Taylor Heinicke and Sam Ehlinger.  I don’t know if I can stand all that excitement.

Niners – 1 at Rams (42.5):  This is the Game of the Week.  The Rams arrive with a 3-3 record while the Niners are 3-4.  However, the Niners beat the Rams in Santa Clara by 2 TDs just 4 weeks ago.  This game features two good teams and the game will have all sorts of impact on the standings and playoff positioning down the road.  If you are thinking of wagering here, this is another line to shop.  This morning you can find the game anywhere from “Pick-‘em” to the Niners as a 2-point favorite.  The Niners have won 7 of the last 8 games against the Rams and I think that streak will be extended here.  I like the Niners to win and cover on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

(Sun Nite) Packers at Bills – 11 (47.5):  The Packers have not been a double-digit underdog in any game Aaron Rodgers started since Rodgers took over QB duties in Green Bay back in 2008.  For the record, he has started 213 games since then, and the spread is 11 points in this game.  The Bills had last week off while the Packers were embarrassing themselves against the Commanders.  Everything points to a blowout here, but I will not be laying double-digits.

(Mon Nite) Bengals – 3.5 at Browns (46):  I thought about this as the Game of the Week for a brief moment because it is a division rivalry game and because the Bengals are tied for the lead in that division.  But I went with Niners/Rams instead.  If the Browns have any hope of winning the AFC North, this is a must-win game for them.

So, let me review the Six-Pack:

  1. Oregon – 16.5 over Cal
  2. Oklahoma St. +1 against K-St.
  3. TCU – 7 over W. Virginia
  4. Falcons – 3.5 over Panthers
  5. Cowboys – 9 over Bears
  6. Niners – 1 over Rams

And here are 4 Money Line Parlays for this week:

  • Jets @ +115
  • Titans @ minus-140
  • Commanders @ +135
  • Cowboys @ minus 420                    To win $972

And …

  • Titans @ minus-140
  • Commanders @ +135
  • Cowboys @ minus-420                    To win $399

And …

  • Jets @ +115
  • Titans @ minus-140
  • Cowboys @ minus-420                    To win $356

And …

  • Ole Miss @ minus-125
  • Tennessee @ minus-410
  • Arkansas @ minus-170                    To win $256

Finally, let me close with this observation by Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times regarding the Black Friday game the NFL will be putting on starting in 2023:

“NFL Prime Video will exclusively stream a ‘Black Friday’ NFL game in 2023, the day after Thanksgiving.

“Pundits predict a huge increase in personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct and targeting calls that day — and the football game might even be worse.”

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



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