The German philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel, said:
“Napoleon was twice defeated, and the Bourbons twice expelled. By repetition that which at first appeared merely a matter of chance and contingency, becomes a real and ratified existence.”
And even in these times of technological change, there are things we should rely on based on repetitive experience.
- The sun rises – – and then it sets.
- The tide comes in – – and then it goes out.
- Adam Sandler makes a movie – – and then he does not get an Oscar.
Around here, when Friday rolls around in November, it is time for Football Friday. Deal with it…
Let me begin with a review of last week’s “Betting Bundle”:
College: 3-0-0 => Season: 14-6-0
NFL: 1-1-0 => Season: 11-9-0
Parlays: 1-1 => “Profit” = $25 => Season: 7-8 => “Season Profit” = $253
College Football Commentary:
The Linfield College Wildcats are now 8-0 for the season after beating Pacific Lutheran last weekend by a score of 42-19. Similarly, the Pirates of Whitworth University are 8-0 this year having beaten George Fox University last weekend 24-13. Obviously, both schools are undefeated in conference games and the two teams will meet this weekend in McMinnville, OR to determine the Northwest Conference Champion and a probable invitation to the Division 3 football playoff tournament. To give you an idea of the way these two teams have dominated conference opponents in 2023, here are the cumulative scores for both teams against the other teams in the Northwest Conference:
- Whitworth: 293 – 95
- Linfield: 307 – 92
People reacted to last week’s meeting between Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. as the end of “Bedlam” – as the game is known – because Oklahoma is moving from the Big-12 to the SEC next season. Frankly, I don’t think that conference switch needs to be definitive regarding the two teams playing each other in football. Here is why I do not consider this an insurmountable obstacle:
- Florida and Florida St. are in different conferences and play each other annually.
- Kentucky and Louisville are in different conferences and play each other annually.
- Clemson and South Carolina are in different conferences and …
- Georgia and Georgia Tech are in different conferences …
- Notre Dame and USC are …
- Army/Navy/AirForce …
If Oklahoma and Oklahoma St. want to continue the tradition of “Bedlam” it can be arranged…
In 1920, Warren G. Harding ran successfully for the US Presidency promising the country a “return to normalcy”. Well, it would appear that the SEC has “returned to normalcy” after last weekend’s results:
- Alabama is in the driver’s seat in the SEC West after beating LSU by 2 TDs last week. If Alabama wins either of its remaining conference games (Kentucky or Auburn). The Tide will play in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
- Georgia beat a good Missouri team last week 30-21 securing their spot in the SEC Championship Game.
- Both Alabama and Georgia gave their fans some anxieties earlier in this season, but it appears as if “normalcy” has prevailed.
The PAC-12 race still has potential drama. Washington leads the parade for now with an overall 9 -0 record and a 6-0 conference record. Oregon’s only conference loss was to Washington. Four teams are mathematically alive as of this morning with 2 conference losses.
- Washington: Has to play Utah, Oregon St. and Washington St. The Oregon St. game is a road game.
- Oregon: Has to play USC, Arizona St. and Oregon St. The Arizona St. game is on the road.
Both the Huskies and the Ducks should be solid favorites to win out even granting that each team finishes the season against a traditional rival. If it were to happen that the teams finish one-two in the conference, they would meet again for the PAC-12 Championship…
If you are looking for a large – – and surprising – – turnaround of football fortunes in 2023, check out UNLV. Since the turn of the century, UNLV has had two winning seasons and six different head coaches. Their last winning season was in 2013; in the five years leading up to 2023, the Rebels’ combined record was 15-39.
To date in 2023, UNLV’s record is 7-2. One loss was to Michigan so we can accept the fact that UNLV is still not part of the top echelon of college football. But the Rebels are bowl-eligible with three games to play in the season. That is a large and a surprising turnaround of football fortunes…
Here are some comments about games from last week starting in the SEC:
Arkansas 39 Florida 36 (OT): The Gators still need a win for bowl-eligibility. Where will that win come from? In their final 3 games of the season, Florida will be an underdog to LSU (on the road), Missouri (on the road) and Florida St. (at home). Arkansas was 2-6 coming into the game and has struggled on offense for most if not all of 2023. Last week, the Razorbacks outgained the Gators by more than 100 yards. If the Gators lose their last 3 games – – a serious possibility – – that would mean three years in a row for Florida with an overall losing record two of those losing records coming in Billy Napier’s tenure as head coach. For the record, Florida replaced its last three head coaches with only one losing season on their tab.
Ole Miss 38 Texas A&M 35: These two teams combined to produce 975 yards and a total of 56 first downs in the game. The Aggies have now lost 9 consecutive road games and the Aggies are now 5-4. Finding that sixth win to go to a bowl game should not be difficult since the remaining three opponents are Mississippi St. (at home), Abilene Christian (at home) and LSU (on the road). Meanwhile, Ole Miss is now 8-1 and has a huge game coming up this weekend at Georgia.
Georgia 30 Missouri 21: This was a very close game on the stat sheet. The biggest disparity was in turnovers; Missouri threw 2 INTs in the game and Georgia did not turn the ball over at all.
Kentucky 24 Mississippi St. 3: The Wildcats are now bowl eligible.
Alabama 42 LSU 28: The rumors of Alabama’s demise are a bit exaggerated. The score was tied at halftime; but here are the results of LSU’s possessions in the second half:
- 9 plays – – 75 yards – – TD
- 6 plays – – 10 yards – – PUNT
- 2 plays – – 2 yards – – INT
- 3 plays – – 9 yards – – PUNT
- 7 plays – – 48 yards – – TURNOVER ON DOWNS
Shifting to ACC games …
UNC 59 Campbell 7: What better cure for a two-game losing streak than a cupcake opponent? The Tar Heels amassed 594 yards on offense.
Clemson 31 Notre Dame 23: That is the third loss for the Irish; if they make a New Year’s Day Bowl Game with 3 losses it will be solely on account of their ability to draw TV ratings. Clemson improved to 5-4 with this win.
Ga Tech 45 Viriginia 17: Tech improved its record to 5-4; can it make it to a bowl game? It won’t be a trivial undertaking; here is the remaining schedule for Tech:
- At Clemson (and the Tigers need a win for bowl eligibility too)
- Vs. Syracuse
- At Georgia
Florida St. 24 Pitt 7: The Seminoles remain unbeaten in 2023; Pitt falls to 2-7 this year. Florida St. outgained Pitt by 168 yards in the game; usually, that results in a bigger margin of victory. Pitt was 0 for 11 on third down conversions here.
Louisville 34 Va Tech 3: Louisville is alone in second place in the ACC standings behind only Florida St. with this dominating win.
NC State 20 Miami 6: State became bowl-eligible with this win. The Wolfpack defense pitched a shutout in the second half of the game to seal the win even though Miami outgained State for the game. A big problem for the Hurricanes was turning the ball over 4 times in the game.
Duke 24 Wake Forest 21: The Blue Devils are now bowl eligible. They won this game despite being outgained on offense by 133 yards. The margin of victory was a 26-yard field goal as time expired.
And for some Big-12 contests …
Texas 33 K-State 30 (OT): Texas led 17-0 early in the second period and 27-7 late in the third period, but K-Stata forced OT with a serious comeback. The Big-12 standings underwent big changes last week; Texas now shares the lead in the conference with a record of 5-1 in conference games.
Oklahoma St. 27 Oklahoma 24: Oklahoma St. lost at home to South Alabama 33-7 on September 16th. Since then, the Cowboys are 5-1. This makes two losses in a row for the Sooners – – both in conference games. Oklahoma led 21-17 at the start of the 4th quarter. Here are the OU possessions in the 4th quarter:
- 4 plays – – 16 yards – – PUNT
- 1 play – – minus-1 yard – – FUMBLE
- 6 plays – – 57 yards – – FIELD GOAL
- 5 plays – – 21 yards – – TURNOVER ON DOWNS
With this win, Oklahoma St. joins Texas as the only teams in the Big-12 with only one conference loss.
Kansas 28 Iowa St. 21: This was a significant loss for Iowa St with regard to Big-12 race. It was their second conference loss putting them in a mélange of 5 teams with two such losses.
And now for Big-10 action …
Michigan St. 20 Nebraska 17: The Big 10 West race is inscrutable. Last week, there were four teams there with 2 conference losses; three of those four teams lost last week; Nebraska was one of them. Neither team managed to generate 300 yards on offense here. Nebraska turned the ball over 3 times in the game.
Ohio St. 35 Rutgers 16: Rutgers led 9-7 at halftime; then Ohio St. woke up. A Pick-Six early in the third quarter seems to have been the Buckeyes’ wake-up call. Rutgers outgained Ohio St. for the game on the strength of 232 yards rushing on 44 attempts.
Indiana 20 Wisconsin 14: Does anyone want to win the Big-10 West? Wisconsin was more than a TD favorite here and lost outright to a team that had only 2 wins at kickoff time. For the record, those two victories for Indiana were over Division 1-AA Indiana St. and SHOE Tournament probable, Akron. Wisconsin won the stat sheet but turned the ball over twice in the game. The Badgers have lost three of their last four games.
Illinois 27 Minnesota 26: Illinois lost the turnover battle 3-1 and still won the game. Minnesota is another Big-10 West team that lost its third conference battle last week.
Iowa 10 Northwestern 7: This was a rock fight game:
- Iowa Total Offense = 169 yards
- Northwestern Total Offense 170 yards
- Iowa average gain per play = 3.0 yards
- Northwestern average gain per play = 2.8 yards.
Iowa now leads the Big-10 West because the three teams previously tied with them in that division lost last Saturday.
And out west in the PAC-12 …
Utah 55 Arizona St. 3: Conference games are not often this lopsided – – especially with teams like Utah that win games with their defense. Check these stats:
- Utah Total Offense = 522 yards
- Arizona St. Total Offense = 83 yards
- Utah third down conversions = 10 of 17
- Arizona St. third down conversions = 2 of 15
Oregon 63 Cal 19: Oregon continues to try to impress the CFP selectors of its worthiness even with a loss on its record.
Washington 52 USC 42: That makes three losses for the Trojans in 2023 meaning their hopes for a prime bowl game invitation are dwindling. As usual the USC defense was miserable; the Huskies ran the ball for 316 yards on 40 attempts. Huskies’ running back, Dillon Johnson, ran for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries.
Stanford 10 Washington St. 7: Stanford kicked a chip shot field goal late in the 4th quarter here to avoid OT. That had to be a blessing for the folks in attendance….
Oregon St. 26 Colorado 19: Colorado needs to win two out of three of its remaining games to be bowl-eligible; that will be a tall task: The next three games for the Buffaloes are Arizona (at home), Washington St. (on the road) and Utah (on the road). The Beavers outgained the Buffaloes here 418 yards to 238 yards.
Arizona 27 UCLA 10: Two weeks in a row, I have taken Arizona with points in the “Betting Bundle” and both times Arizona has won outright. With this win, they are bowl eligible. UCLA’s defense is sound; and yet, Arizona produced 415 yards of offense in the game.
And finally, in random games of interest …
Temple 32 Navy 18: This is win #3 for Temple – – probably taking them off the SHOE Tournament watch list.
Army 23 Air Force 3: A shocking result here! Air Force was 7-0 coming to the game and was a serious contender for a New Year’s Day Bowl Game. With this win, Army is now 3-6 for the season’ the win snapped a 5-game losing streak for the Cadets. Air Force turned the ball over 6 times in this game.
UAB 45 FAU 42: I mention this only because the teams combined for 1098 yards on offense. Just so you know, that is just about five-eighths of a mile…
Memphis 59 USF 50: I mention this only because the teams combined for 1163 yards on offense. Just so you know, that is almost two-thirds of a mile…
Tulane 13 E. Carolina 10: Tulane is 8-1 and is widely touted to be the most likely Group of 5 conference winner to make a New Yar’s Day Bowl Game. However, two weeks ago they beat Rice by only 2 points and last weekend they squeaked out a 3-point win over a team on the SHOE Tournament watch list. Tulane needs a signature win to maintain their status as the media favorite for a New Year’s Day slot. Here is the remaining schedule for Tulane and I don’t see any opponents that make me sit up and take notice:
- Vs. Tulsa
- At Florida Atlantic
- Vs. Texas – San Antonio
Liberty 56 La-Tech 30: Liberty remains undefeated at 9-0. Here is their remaining schedule:
- Vs. Old Dominion
- Vs. UMass
- At UTEP
Here are the teams on my SHOE Tournament watch list this week. Call it the “Dirty Dozen”:
- Akron (2-7)
- Arizona St. (2-7)
- Ball St. (2-7)
- Cincy (2-7)
- East Carolina (1-8)
- Kent St. (1-8)
- La-Monroe (2-7)
- Nevada (2-7)
- Southern Mississippi (2-7)
- UConn (1-8)
- Vandy (2-8)
- Virginia (2-7)
And a quick update on the contenders for the 2023 Brothel Defense Award:
- USF gives up 37.0 points per game.
- UMass gives up 37.4 points per game.
- UAB gives up 38.1 points per game.
Games of Interest This Week:
Alabama – 11 at Kentucky (47): A win for Alabama in this game puts them in the SEC Championship Game in December.
Miami at Florida St. – 14.5 (50.5): The Seminoles are an integral part of the CFP conversation but will drop out with a loss here. Miami is just erratic enough in its performances to give pause regarding this game.
Duke at UNC – 14.5 (51.5): That is a large spread for such an intense rivalry game…
Va Tech – 1 at BC (49): Very quietly, BC has won 5 games in a row and is bowl-eligible in 2023. Tech still needs two wins to make it to a bowl game…
Ga Tech at Clemson – 14 (55.5): This is not where the Ramblin’ Wreck finds its sixth win for the season …
Oklahoma St. – 2 at UCF (65): This is potentially a BIG letdown game for the Cowboys after beating Oklahoma last week. On the other hand, a win here for the Cowboys assures that they will maintain a piece of the Big-12 conference lead. UCF is 1-5 in conference games, and I think they are over-matched here. I’ll take Oklahoma St. to win and cover on the road; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.
Ole Miss at Georgia – 10,5 (58): There are two College Games of the Week this week and this game is one of them. The teams arrive at the kickoff with a combined record of 17-1. If you are a trend watcher, consider this:
- Ole Miss is 5-2-1 against the spread playing Division 1-A opponents.
- Georgia is 2-5-1 against the spread playing Division 1-A opponents.
Minnesota at Purdue – 1 (47): More than likely, this game will be lost and not won.
Michigan – 4 at Penn St. (45): This is the other College Game of the Week. Michigan leads the nation in scoring defense allowing only 6.7 points per game. Penn St. is no slouch when it comes to scoring defense either; the Nittany Lions are third in the country allowing only 11.8 points per game. This will be Michigan’s first game against an opponent that belongs on the same field as the Wolverines. I trust the Penn St. defense to make Michigan sweat a bit, but I am not sanguine about the Penn St. offense doing much business against the Michigan defense. I am tempted to play the UNDER here – – but will resist that temptation.
Northwestern at Wisconsin – 10 (41.5): First team to 20 points wins … I am so tempted to take the UNDER but will not.
Rutgers at Iowa – 1 (28.5): I cannot remember ever seeing a Total Line as low as 28.5 points in a college football game. The Total Line opened at 32 points and has been dropping all week long. That would indicate that the sportsbooks are finding it difficult to attract bettors to the OVER side of this wager.
Arizona – 10 at Colorado (54.5): I rode Arizona to two wins in the last two “Betting Bundles” – – but not this week laying 10 points on the road…
Utah at Washington – 9 (50): An upset win by the Utes would make the rest of the PAC-12 schedule even more interesting than it shapes up to be.
USC at Oregon – 15 (74): The Total Line opened at 81 points, dropped quickly to 76 points, and has slowly eroded to this level. Losing a full TD from an opening Total Line is not a common occurrence.
Indiana at Illinois – 6 (44): This is a “border war” game. Do you think anyone in either state thinks of this game in that way?
Tennessee – 2.5 at Missouri (58): Mizzou spent a lot of emotional capital getting up to play Georgia. Is this a letdown game for the Tigers? Both teams are 7-2 on the season and the winner here should get very serious consideration for a New Year’s Day Bowl Game.
Florida at LSU – 14 (64): This looks like the third loss in a row for the Gators. However, LSU’s QB, Jayden Daniels, spent the week in concussion protocol so there is some ambiguity as to his availability and his abilities this week.
Mississippi St. at Texas A&M – 19 (42.5): The Aggies need one more win for bowl eligibility. If they lose this game at home in front of already disgruntled alums, I would suggest that Jimbo Fisher hire a food taster… I know that Mississippi St. is not a good offensive team (104th in the country in Total Offense per game) but the Aggies are not an offensive juggernaut either. I think that line is fat, so I’ll take the Bulldogs on the road plus all those points; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.
Maryland – 2 at Nebraska (44): The Huskers lost last week in a game they needed to win and should have won; the Terps have lost 4 games in a row. Race to the bottom here …?
Michigan St. at Ohio St. – 31 (45): The spread here is interesting because Ohio St. only averages 32.8 points per game in 2023.
Air Force – 19 at Hawaii (47): Despite last week’s loss to Army, Air Force remains unbeaten in Mountain West Conference games. They aim to maintain the status quo here.
There is a standard joke when a bad team has a BYE Week to say that the bad team did not lose to the BYE Week. Well, there might be a variant on that from last week. The Niners are a good team. They had their BYE Week last week. I assert that the Niners won their BYE Week because:
- The Seahawks – also in the NFC West – scored 3 points and lost to the Ravens.
- The Rams – also in the NFC West – scored 3 points and lost to the Packers.
- The Cards – also in the NFC West – scored 0 points and lost to the Browns.
- The Niners did not lose last week; hence they won their BYE Week.
Antonio Pierce won his first game as the interim head coach of the Raiders. Before the euphoria carries Raider Nation away, might I remind them to take a deep breath and recall that Jeff Saturday stepped in to take over the Colt’s job last year and won his first outing – – and then proceeded to lose the rest of the games on the schedule. There are similarities between Saturday and Pierce:
- Both had long careers as players in the NFL.
- Both had zero experience as head coaches anywhere.
- Both won their first games on the job with their new charges.
Raider fans can look more fondly at another comparison between Antonio Pierce and Rich Bisaccia. Like Pierce, Bisaccia had no head coaching experience when he was inserted into the Raiders’ season as an interim head coach a couple years ago. Like Pierce, he won his first game with the big headset on. And then Bisaccia took the team on a run to the playoffs – – but was not retained by Mark Davis who decided that Josh McDaniels was the guy he wanted as head man with the Raiders.
So, let me suggest that Raider Nation hopes to see Pierce emulate Rich Bisaccia and not Jeff Saturday for the balance of the 2023 season. And then, Raider Nation needs to hope that Mark Davis makes a far better choice for his next head football coach out there in the desert…
The Atlanta Falcons have a QB controversy but not the usual kind. They are currently in a situation where they need to choose the least worst of their options, not the best choice.
- Memo to Arthur Blank and the Falcons’ Braintrust: Neither Taylor Heinicke nor Desmond Ridder is the future” face of that franchise”.
The Houston Texans just might wiggle their way into the 7th playoff spot in the AFC. CJ Stroud is playing excellently and the Texans’ defense – – under DeMeco Ryans – – is playing well too.
The LA Rams are on their BYE Week this week. They need to send Matthew Stafford to Lourdes to heal his thumb because Brett Rypien is not the answer to any pertinent football question.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ record this morning is 5-3. In those 8 games, the Steelers have been outgained by their opponents every time and even with that winning percentage of .652, the Steelers have a minus-30 point differential for 2023. That is not a recipe for playoff success.
The NY Giants are just awful. Their two wins this year are over the Commanders and the Cards. Other than a home game against the similarly miserable Pats on November 26th, the Giants will be underdogs – – and significant underdogs most of the time – – from now through early January.
Amazon is paying the NFL $1B a year for the rights to Thursday Night Football. This week, the NFL has saddled Amazon with the Panthers at the Bears. It would be difficult for the Bears to lose here since they own the Panthers’ first round pick next year.
- Bears win => Panthers’ pick gets more valuable
- Panthers win => Bears’ pick gets more valuable
So, who is psyched to tune into this game?
Just to keep you updated on three running items:
- The Pats sacked Commanders’ QB, Sam Howell twice last week bringing his sack total to 43 for the season. That projects to 81 sacks for the full season which would set an all-time NFL record.
- The Steelers gained 326 yards last week meaning they have gone over 300 yards of offense twice in their eight games in 2023.
- The Steelers have now gone 43 consecutive games with Matt Canada as their offensive coordinator where the offense failed to gain 400 yards or more.
Some comments on last week’s games …
Chiefs 21 Dolphins 14: When you hold Patrick Mahomes to 174 yards passing and the Chiefs to 267 yards on offense, you are supposed to win the game. The Dolphins were only 3 of 12 on third-down conversions and that did not aid them in such an endeavor.
Browns 27 Cards 0: The Cards were an embarrassment to pro football here:
- Total offense for the day = 58 yards
- Net passing yards = 17 yards
- Third-down conversions = 1 of 12
- Average gain per play = 1.2 yards
- Turnovers = 3
- Punts = 9
- Deepest penetration = Browns 40 yardline
- Sacks allowed = 7
Vikes 31 Falcons 28: You must have heard about Josh Dobbs and his miraculous debut for the Vikes. Having arrived two days before the game, he threw for 2 TDs – one being on a game winning drive – – and ran for another. All that came AFTER he lost two fumbles and was sacked for a safety. That was a Hollywood screenplay performance. Taylor Heinicke played QB for the Falcons in place of Desmond Ridder and did what Heinicke often does – – plays just well enough to keep the game on edge to the end so the other guys can find a way to win at the end.
Saints 24 Bears 17: The Bears – led by Tyson Bagent – actually outgained the Saints in the game 368 yards to 301 yards. The problem is that Bagent threw 3 INTs; he also lost a fumble; and the Bears turned the ball over a total of 5 times in the game. Nevertheless, the score was tied at 17 each at the start of the 4th quarter; but here are the Bears’ possessions in the 4th quarter:
- 2 plays – – 0 yards – – INT (leads to Saint’s winning TD)
- 6 plays – – 12 yads – – INT
- 3 plays – – 6 yards – – PUNT
- 2 plays – – minus-14 yards – – FUMBLE
Packers 20 Rams 3: Jordan Love had a decent game, but it was more than the Packers needed here because the Rams’ backup QB, Brett Rypien, had a miserable game:
- 13 of 28 for 130 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT.
Ravens 37 Seahawks 3: This was another total domination effort by the Ravens.
- Ravens Total Offense = 515 yards
- Seahawks Total Offense = 151 yards
There are plenty of other disastrous stat comparisons I could make here, but I think you get the idea …
Colts 27 Panthers 13: The Colts never turned the ball over in this game – – kudos to Gardner Minshew on that. The Panthers turned the ball over 4 times in this game including two Pick-Sixes in the game.
Texans 39 Bucs 37: This was CJ Stroud’s coming out party. The Texans’ QB produced this tat line:
- 30 of 42 for 490 yards with 5 TDs and 0 INTs
The Bucs scored a go-ahead TD with 46 seconds left to go in the game. Stroud led the Texans back on 6 plays covering 75 yards to score the winning TD with 6 seconds left on the clock. The Bucs have now lost 4 in a row after starting the season 3-1; the Texans’ record stands at 4-4.
Commanders 20 Pats 17: This makes two games in a row where Sam Howell has played excellently. Here is his stat line:
- 29 of 45 for 325 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.
The Pats had 107 yards rushing which seems good until you recognize that 64 yards came on one TD run in the first half. For the rest of the day, the Pats gained 43 yards rushing on 18 carries. Bleah!
Eagles 28 Cowboys 23: The Cowboys outgained the Eagles 406 yards to 292 yards – – and lost the game. In the fourth quarter alone, the Cowboys outgained the Eagles 163 yards to 14 yards – – and the Cowboys lost the game. With the Cowboys trailing by 5 points, they got the ball on their own 14 yardline with 46 seconds left in the game and no timeouts. No problem, the Eagles gifted the Cowboys 55 yards in penalties – – that stop the clock – – to set up a sack by Josh Sweat and a failed Hail Mary pass as time expired.
Raiders 30 Giants 6: Daniel Jones returned from a neck injury that had kept him out of the last 2 games; he lasted until the second quarter when he injured his knee – – and it was later shown to be a torn ACL meaning he is out for the rest of the year. The Giants were going nowhere with Jones; they are cooked without him. This was a big win for the Raiders under interim head coach Antonio Pierce (see above). The Raiders’ defense recorded 8 sacks in the game.
Bengals 24 Bills 18: Joe Burrow’s calf is healed; he is back to being Joe Burrow. This was a seriously entertaining game to watch between two of the better teams in the league.
Chargers 27 Jets 6: The Chargers recorded 8 sacks in the game; the Jets’ OL was like an unhinged swinging gate. The Jets dominated the stat sheet:
- Jets’ Time of Possession = 34:27
- Jets outgained Chargers 270 yards to 191 yards
The difference in the game was a punt return for a TD by the Chargers and three lost fumbles by the Jets.
Games This Week:
Four teams have their BYE Week now:
- Chiefs: It had to have been a LONG flight home from Germany to KC – – but at least they won the game in Germany.
- Dolphins: Their flight home from Germany was even longer than the Chiefs’ flight – – and they lost the game in Germany.
- Eagles: They get a breather before embarking on a very difficult stretch of 5 games:
- At Chiefs
- Vs. Bills
- Vs. Niners
- At Cowboys
- At Seahawks
- Rams: The Rams are 3-6 to this point in the season and really need a week off to let some key players get healthy – – Matt Stafford and Puka Nacua to name a pair.
One other note before getting to the slate of games. I will be identifying a Dog-Breath Game of the Week from the list of games on Sunday and Monday, notwithstanding that none of those games look nearly as unattractive as last night’s Panthers/Bears clash of the Titans.
And speaking of last night’s game …
Bears 16 Panthers 13: There are two ways in which an NFL game can end with neither team able to generate 300 yards of offense:
- Two really good defenses stifling two competent offenses.
- Two offenses slogging through mud facing two competent defenses.
If you watched last night, you saw Option 2. The two teams combined to face third-down situations a total of 30 times; the longest running play in the game was a 16-yard jet sweep; the longest pass completion for the victorious Bears was also 16 yards. Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit tried to keep the game interesting for viewers; it was a Herculean task.
And now for the rest of this week’s NFL action …
(Sun Morning) Colts at Pats – 2 (43) Game is in Germany: The spread opened with the Pats as 1-point favorites but that did not last long. The Pats’ season is virtually over already; the Colts’ season is merely in the ICU taking intravenous nourishment. Even with that comment, this game was never part of my consideration as the Dog-Breath Game of the Week; I really don’t care much about this game.
Browns at Ravens – 6.5 (38): The Total Line opened at 41 points and obviously attracted a lot of “UNDER” action; these are two excellent defensive teams. This is my Game of the Week. A win by the Browns will put them only a half-game behind the Ravens in the AFC North race. The Ravens have the best point differential in the league to date at +115 points in 9 games. Just as a point of reference the second-best point differential belongs to the Bills at +80 in 9 games. Six weeks ago, the Ravens went to Cleveland and torched the Browns 28-3; there could be an element of “revenge” at work here.
Texans at Bengals – 6.5 (37): The spread opened with the Bengals as 9-point favorites, but the line has been moving down slowly all week. I like the Texans (see comments above), but it may be asking a bit much for them to matchup against the Bengals in Cincy.
Niners – 3 at Jags (45): This was my runner-up choice for the Game of the Week. The Jags have an inverted record so far this year:
- Jags’ record at home = 2-2
- Jags’ record on the road = 4-0
The Niners have lost three in a row and that has dropped them into a tie for first place in the NFC West with the Seahawks. Niners’ fans surely hope last week’s time off gave the team and the coaches the opportunity to get their act back together. Another factor here is that this is a so called “body-clock game” for the Niners. They are traveling east over 3 time zones and kickoff is at 1:00 PM – – which for their body clocks is 10:00 AM. Purely a hunch but I’ll take the Jags at home plus the points; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.
Saints – 3 at Vikes (41): One more performance from Josh Dobbs akin to last week’s showing (see above) and he will be cast as Jack Armstrong – – All-American Boy – – in a movie rendition of that radio program from about 75 years ago.
Packers at Steelers – 3 (39): The Steelers win with defense and their defense should be able to confound Jordan Love. But it is tough to back the Steelers giving away points because of their blasé offense. I like the Steelers to win and cover at home – – even though I might hyperventilate watching the Steelers’ offense try to move the ball; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.
Titans at Bucs – 1 (39.5): This is my runner-up game as the Dog-Breath Game of the week. Both teams sport 3-5 records; neither team is particularly good at any specific area of the game. The reason it did not achieve “Dog-Breath status” is that it might be interesting to watch Will Levis play QB for the Titans in his second start.
Falcons – 2 at Cards (42): This here is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week. The Falcons ae 4-5 meaning they are still “a potential division winner” in the marginally acceptable NFC South. The Cards are a semi-pro level team until and unless Kyler Murray returns to action and plays like Kyler Murray can play when he is interested. Murray is slated to start this game “if he suffers no setbacks” in the late week practices; maybe that makes the game worth following – – but not watching.
Lions – 3 at Chargers (48.5): The spread opened with the Chargers favored by a point. That did not last long at all. This was my runner-up for Game of the Week. The Lions had their BYE last week; the Chargers played on Monday night in NY and then had a cross country flight home making it a short week for the Chargers. I am tempted to take the Chargers at home – – but will not.
Giants at Cowboys – 17 (39): The spread opened at 10 points and the Total Line opened at 41.5 points. Both numbers have moved around during the week. Earlier this year, the Cards beat the Cowboys in a game where the Cowboys clearly just mailed it in. If that happens here to the point that the woebegone Giants win this game, Jerry Jones just might pop a cerebral aneurism as his blood pressure goes to something like 375/255. Just so you know:
- Money Line odds on Giants = +1040
- Money Line odds on Cowboys = minus-1700
Therefore, a $100 wager on the Cowboys on the Money Line would result in a profit of $5.88 if the Cowboys were to win the game.
Commanders at Seahawks – 6.5 (44.5): I will not be in the DC area for the Sunday games this week. If I were going to be here, this game would be the one telecast in the late afternoon slot meaning there is no chance I would be burdened by seeing the Giants/Cowboys game in that time slot. I shall have to take my chances with the television gods in the Central Pennsylvania viewing area.
(Sun Nite) Jets at Raiders “pick ‘em” (37): The spread for this game is all over the place. I can find Jets – 1 and I can find Raiders – 1.5 and I can find “pick ’em”. What I cannot find is any reason to believe that this game will be an offensive shoot-out.
(Mon Nite) Broncos at Bills – 7.5 (46.5): The spread opened the week with the Bills as 9-point favorites, but the number has slowly shrunk to this level during the week. The Bills need this game more than the Broncos do. The Bills are a game behind the Dolphins in the AFC East; a loss here would put them two-games down in the loss column. The Broncos have won two games in a row raising their record to 3-5. Clearly that shows improvement but for perspective they are looking up at the chiefs in the AFC West and the Chiefs are 7-2.
So let me review the “Betting Bundle” – sparse as it is this week:
- Oklahoma St. – 2 over UCF
- Mississippi St. +19 against Texas A&M
- Steelers – 3 over Packers
- Jags +3 against Niners
And here is a two-element Money Line Parlay for this week:
- Steelers @ minus-170
- Bills @ minus-330 $100 wager to win $107.
Finally, here are words of wisdom from Rutgers head football coach, Greg Schiano:
“There are two things every man in America thinks he can do: work a grill and coach football.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………