Football Friday 11/17/23

I saw a meme on the Internet that said:

  • “Friday is my second favorite ‘F-word’.  Food is the first.”

Here in Curmudgeon Central, it would be a three-way dead heat between “
Friday, Food, and Football.  Nirvana would be sitting down on a Friday morning with a slice of cold pizza within reach as I hit the keyboard to turn out another Football Friday.

As is customary, let me begin with a review of last week’s “Betting Bundle”:

  • College  =  0-2-0  =>  Season  =  14-8-0
  • NFL  = 1-1-0   =>   Season  =  12-10-0
  • Parlays  =  0-1  =>  Loss  =  $100   =>   Season  =  7-9   Profit  = $153


College Football Commentary:


The Linfield College Wildcats lost last week to Whitworth University 28-24 to finish the season with a record of 8-1.  The loss was a conference game and that makes Whitworth the Northwest Conference Champion for 2023.  That is only the second time in 13 years that Linfield has not been Northwest Conference champion.  Congrats to the Whitworth Pirates on their championship season and congrats to the Linfield Wildcats for their 67th consecutive winning season in football.

If you go looking for a College Football Coach of the Year, please be sure to look at the job done by David Braun in 2023.  If you are asking yourself, “Who is David Braun?”, do not be embarrassed.  Last year he was at North Dakota State and over the winter he took a new job as a defensive coordinator at a Power-5 school.  That school was Northwestern, and he was named interim-head coach at Northwestern about an hour before the season started when the school fired Pat Fitzgerald over hazing incidents there.  One of the Important attributes Braun brought to that selection process for an interim coach was that he was not part of the Northwestern football program when the hazing happened.

Well, if you check the Big-10 West standings this morning, you will see that Northwestern’s record is 5-5 which is probably about three games better than anyone would have predicted back in August.  Moreover, three of those wins are over Big-10 opponents.  Northwestern has two games left on the schedule and can make it to a bowl game by winning either one.  Their opponents:

  • Purdue – – record today is 3-7
  • Illinois – – record today is 5-5

Folks at Northwestern have taken note of all this; and earlier this week, they named David Braun as the permanent head coach there.  That seems like a good move to me.

The fans at Northwestern should feel unmitigated joy at the results of their 2023 football season.  For the fans at Texas A&M, there are probably mixed feelings.

  • Yet again, the team with the loftiest of expectations is a distant also-ran in their division in their conference.  Bummer!
  • However, the coach has been fired and everyone expects the Aggies to go and get a top-shelf coach to replace him.  Hope springs eternal!

I said before that the job at Texas A&M is one to take because the pay will be outstanding, but the odds are that the new coach will never live up to expectations there which are now and will continue to be occasional national championships and perennial contenders for national championships.  I think those aspirations are ridiculous, but they exist.  Having no emotional attachment to Texas A&M, let me offer a couple of data points to explain why I think those aspirations are ridiculous:

  • The last – – and only – – time Texas A&M won a national championship in football was in 1939.  Ted Williams was a rookie outfielder for the Boston Red Sox in 1939.
  • In 2011, Texas A&M left the Big-12 Conference where they were dominated by Texas and Oklahoma and moved to the SEC West where they have been dominated by Alabama and LSU.

Almost immediately after Jimbo Fisher’s firing had been announced and as the shock over the size of his buyout abated, names were floated as to his replacement.  What I find interesting is that as soon as some names were mentioned, the individuals dismissed the rumor saying they were not interested.

Money talks when it comes to football coaches and the Aggies’ boosters have Texas oil money in their pockets.  So, until the athletic department there begins to money-whip coaching candidates [Hat tip to Dan Jenkins for “money-whip”] we do not know if any of the current job-deniers might change their mind.  A of this morning however:

  • Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions) – – not interested.
  • Dan Lanning (Oregon) – – not interested.
  • Deion Sanders (Colorado) – – not interested.

Related to the coaching search about to happen at Texas A&M, I ran across a tidbit that made me shake my head.  An alum at Texas A&M has volunteered to be part of the process to identify the new coach and to add whatever he can to make sure the right guy gets the job.  Sounds like an offer the Athletic Director should jump at, no?  Well, that former Aggie is none other than Johnny Manziel.

  • So, if you were the AD at Texas A&M, do you return Manziel’s phone call?

It is time to review games from last weekend; I’ll start with the ACC:

Louisville 31  Virginia 24:  Louisville is 9-1 for the season and UVA is 2-8.  You might have expected a far larger of margin of victory here.

Clemson 42  Ga Tech 21:  I said last week that this was not the place for Ga Tech to go looking for that one more win it needs to become bowl eligible…

Florida State 27  Miami 20:  The Seminoles remain unbeaten at 10-0 and are squarely in the CFP picture.    The Hurricanes kept pace in the game producing a very even stat sheet – – but Florida State takes home the win.

UNC 47  Duke 45 (2OT):  UNC outgained Duke by 157 yards in the game; normally, that does not translate into “double overtime”.  The Tar Heels are a game behind Louisville for second place in the ACC.  The ACC Championship Game will match the first and second place teams.

In SEC action …

Alabama 49  Kentucky 21:  Kentucky scored first; then the score was 28-7 at the half.  Alabama outgained Kentucky by almost 200 yards.  The game was as lopsided as the score would indicate…

South Carolina 47  Vandy 6:  This game was “close” at the half; the Gamecocks only led 13-0.  Then came the deluge ….

Missouri 36  Tennessee 7:  Tennessee was dominated here.  The Vols’ only TD came on a 46-yard pass completion.  But in terms of other possessions, Tennessee had 8 possessions of less than 2 minutes and 30 seconds on the clock.

Auburn 38  Arkansas 10:  Two weeks ago, Arkansas beat Florida in Gainesville – – so where was that Arkansas team last week?

Georgia 52  Ole Miss 17:  The Bulldogs seem to have cured their offensive ills from earlier this year; the Dawgs have scored 30 or more points in their last 5 games.  Georgia amassed 611 yards in this game against a team that had only lost once this year.  Georgia only had to punt once in the game and scored TDs on their first 4 possessions.  This was an old-fashioned ass-kicking.

LSU 52  Florida 35:  Florida is 5-5 for the season and needs a win in the next two games to be bowl eligible.  That could be a tall task:

  • This week – – at Missouri whose current record is 8-2
  • Next week – – home against Florida St. whose current record is 10-0.

LSU is now 7-3 with the losses coming against Florida St., Alabama and Ole Miss.  LSU QB Jayden Daniels did something no one has ever done in college football.  He passed for 372 yards AND he ran for 234 yards in one game.

Texas A&M 51  Mississippi St. 10:  Both coaches were fired after this game.  I don’t recall that happening before.  The job coaching the Aggies is a great way to “get paid”.  The job coaching the Bulldogs is the modern equivalent of Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill.

Moving along to the Big-10 …

Michigan 24  Penn St. 15:  Penn State posted a late TD to make the score seem more respectable than it was.  Michigan dominated play leaving no doubt they are the better team.

Iowa 22 Rutgers 0:  This was an offensive explosion for Iowa scoring 22 points and producing 402 yards of offense in a single game.  Nevertheless, it was the Iowa defense that stood out holding Rutgers to 127 yards of total offense for the game.  Rutgers tried to run the ball 23 times in the game and gained a total of 34 yards on those attempts.  Iowa now leads the Big-10 West by two full games.

Northwestern 24  Wisconsin 10:  Both teams are 5-5 this season; both teams are 3-4 in conference games this season. I doubt that many – if any – folks at either school saw that coming.

Ohio St. 38  Michigan St. 3:  All you need to know about this game is right here:

  • Ohio St. Total Offense = 530 yards
  • Michigan St. Total Offense = 182 yards

Last week in the Big-12 …

K-State 59  Baylor 25:  In addition to dominating the game offensively, K-State scored touchdowns on a Scoop-and-Score plus a Pick-Six.

Texas Tech 16  Kansas 13:  The Jayhawks rallied to tie the game at 13 apiece with 26 seconds left in the game.  The Red Raiders took the kickoff and in 4 plays they had gained 63 yards which was enough for them to kick a 30-yard field goal to win the game.

UCF 45  Oklahoma St. 3:  I took the Cowboys to win and cover in this game in last week’s “Betting Bundle”.  I did worry about a letdown for Oklahoma St. after a big win over Oklahoma two weeks ago – – but this was way more than a letdown:

  • UCF Total Offense = 592 yards
  • Oklahoma St. total Offense – 277 yards

And …

  • UCF yards per pass attempt = 13.9 yards per attempt
  • Oklahoma St. yards per pass attempt = 5.4 yards per attempt

Oklahoma St. is tied with Iowa State and Oklahoma for second place in the Big-12 today; all three teams are a game behind Texas. Iowa State plays Texas this week.  An Iowa St. upset would give 4 teams 2 conference losses each and take everyone deep into Tiebreaker Territory to sort out which two teams would play for the conference championship.

Oklahoma 59  W. Virginia 20:  This game was never in doubt …

Texas 29  TCU 26:  Texas led 26-6 at the start of the 4th quarter and held on for an important win that keeps them atop the Big-12 standings this morning.

Some PAC-12 games …

Washington 35  Utah 28:  Washington continues undefeated in 2023.  Utah led 28-24 at halftime but never found a score in the second half.  Here are the Utah possessions in the second half:

  • 3 plays – – 3 yards – – PUNT
  • 3 plays – minus-3 yards – – PUNT
  • 7 plays – – 56 yards – – INT
  • 1 play – – minuis-1 yard – – SAFETY
  • 3 plays – – 3 yards – – PUNT
  • 4 plays – – 0 yards – – INT

Cal 42  Washington St. 39:  Washington St outgained Cal by 156 yards in the game.  Normally, that wins a game.  Here the Cougars turned the ball over 4 times and Cal only turned it over twice.

Oregon St. 62  Stanford 17:  The Beavers generated 598 yards of offense in the game.  Stanford turned the ball over 4 times in the game.  Hence the result …

Oregon 36  USC 27:  Bo Nix outplayed Caleb Williams on this day:

  • 23 of 31 for 412 yards with 4 TDs and 0 INT (Nix)
  • 19 of 34 for 291 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT (Williams)

Arizona 34  Colorado 31:  The Buffaloes led 31-24 at the start of the 4th quarter.  Colorado had a shot to tie the game but missed a 42-yard field goal with 2 minutes left on the clock.

In miscellaneous games last week …

La-Monroe 34  La-Lafeyette 31:  This is the third win of the year for ULM probably taking them out of consideration for the SHOE Tournament.

  SMU 45  North Texas 21:    SMU is 8-2 over the season.  The two losses were to Oklahoma and TCU.  Ignoring SMU’s demolition of a Division 1-AA opponent, here is the Mustangs performance against the rest of their schedule:

  • SMU  316
  • Opponents  102

In my neighborhood, that was called “domination”.

Tulane 24  Tulsa 22:  Tulane is now 9-1.  In their last 3 games they have beaten Rice by 2 points, E. Carolina by 3 points and Tulsa by 2 points.  And they are likely to get a New Year’s Day Bowl bid…  For the record, none of those last three victims are any good…

Hawaii 27  Air Force 13:  That is a second loss for the Falcons and their first loss in conference making the Mountain West race interesting.

UNLV 34  Wyoming 14:  Here is why the Mountain West race is interesting:  As of this morning:

  • Air Force and UNLV have conference records of 5-1
  • Fresno St., Boise St. and San Jose St. have conference records of 4-2
  • This week, UNLV plays Air Force in Colorado Springs and air force finishes the season at Boise St.
  • UNLV will play San Jose St after this week’s game against Air force.
  • Fresno St. will be favored in its last two games (New Mexico and San Diego St.

You get the idea…

So, which teams are on the watchlist for the SHOE Tournament as of today?

  1. Akron – – 2-8
  2. Ball St. – – 3-7
  3. East Carolina – – 2-8
  4. Kent St. – – 1-9
  5. Nevada – – 2-8
  6. Pitt – – 2-8
  7. Southern Mississippi – – 3-7
  8. Stanford – – 3-7
  9. UConn – – 1-9
  10. UMass – – 3-7
  11. Vandy – – 2-9
  12. Virginia – – 2-8

Here is a quick update on the teams contending for the 2023 Brothel Defense Award:

  • UAB gives up 37.4 points per game.
  • UMass gives up 37.4 points per game.
  • North Texas gives up 37.5 points per game.

This race to the bottom could go down to the wire…


Games Of Interest This Week:


Appalachian St. at James Madison – 9 (55.5):  Just so you remember, James Madison is undefeated in 2023 with a record of 10-0.

Michigan St. at Indiana – 3.5 (47):  These two teams have conference records of 1-6; every other team in the Big-10 has won at least 2 conference games.

Georgia – 10 at Tennessee (59):  The Dawgs are locked in as the SEC East representative for the SEC Conference Championship Game.  Could that take some of the edge off the team here?

Louisville – 1 at Miami (46):  Louisville is 9-1 for the season and 6-1 in conference games.  Miami is 6-4 for the season and 2-4 in conference games.  The oddsmakers seem not to have paid much attention to those records.

Florida at Missouri – 11 (56.5):  In its last 4 games, Florida has given up 170 points.  Missouri averages 32.8 points per game.  I think this game turns into a shoot-out, so I’ll take the game to go OVER; put that in the “Betting Bundle.”

Kentucky – 1 at South Carolina (54):  The Gamecocks have won two in a row and are 4-1 at home this year…

NC State at Va Tech – 3 (43.5):  State is 3-1 on the road this year; Tech is 4-1 at home this year.

UNC at Clemson – 7 (59):  The Tar Heels cannot afford another conference loss; Clemson is out of the picture for the ACC Championship Game.  Interestingly, this is only the third road game for UNC om 2023; they have split the first two road games.

East Carolina at Navy – 3 (32):  E. Carolina averages 18.1 points per game; Navy averages 19.7 points per game – – in case you are wondering why the Total Line is so low.

Purdue – 3 at Northwestern (47):  Northwestern needs this win to earn a bowl bid and they are 4-1 at home this year.  Do not mistake Purdue for a good team; their record in 2023 is 3-7.  For the most part in 2023, Purdue has been more like Purr-don’t.

Kent St. at Ball St. – 13 (41):  Both teams on the SHOE Tournament watchlist this week…

Illinois at Iowa – 3 (31): Iowa averages 18.8 points per game and gives up an average of 12.3 points per game.  Illinois averages 23.8 points per game and gives up an average of 29.3 points per game.  Given those stats, I am surprised the spread is as low as it is.

K-State – 7 at Kansas (56.5):  K-State is 1-3 on the road this year; Kansas is 5-1 at home this year.

UMass at Liberty – 27.5 (63):  Just so you remember, Liberty is undefeated in 2023 with a record of 10-0.  UMass is in the running for the Brothel Defense Award this year; should be an ugly result…

Oregon – 24 at Arizona St. (54.5):  Oregon needs to keep winning if it is to face off against Washington (again) for the PAC-12 Championship.

UCLA at USC – 7 (65.5):  Rumors say that Chip Kelly may be on his way out at UCLA.  An upset here would quiet those rumors.

Cal – 7 at Stanford (55): They call this “The Game”.  Neither team is particularly good this year but the intensity in this game will be high.

SMU – 8 at Memphis (65):  Memphis gives up 28.9 points per game; SMU scores 40.9 points per game.  By the way, Memphis can score too; they average 39.7 points per game.  That Total Line looks low to me; I’ll take the game to go OVER; put it in the “Betting Bundle”.

Texas – 7.5 at Iowa St. (46.5):  Texas leads the Big-12 with only one conference loss; Iowa St. is one of four teams with 2 conference losses.  A win for Iowa St here is a win for chaos.

UNLV at Air Force – 3 (47):  The winner here will be the leader in the Mountain West Conference on Sunday morning.  Air Force has lost two games in a row; UNLV has won two games in a row.  Air Force is undefeated at home this year; UNLV is 3-2 on the road this year.

Nebraska at Wisconsin – 5 (37):  Both teams are 5-5 overall this year and 3-4 in Big 10 conference games.  Nebraska has lost two games in a row; Wisconsin has lost three games in a row.

Harvard at Yale – 1.5 (56.5):  On the East Coast, they call this “The Game”.  The first time these teams played one another was in 1875; for the record, Ulysses S. Grant was President of the US in 1875.  Yale leads in the series 69-61-8.


NFL Commentary:


The NFL loves parity so the league execs must have been cheery last week when five games ended on a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation time and a total of eight games were decided by four or fewer points.  And recall, there was not a full slate of games last week; those eight games won by 4 points or fewer were out of a total of 14 games not 16 games.

The Steelers won again last weekend raising their record to 6-3.  The amazing thing about that record is that the Steelers have been outgained by their opponents in all nine games.  It is too much work to try to find out if that has ever happened before, but I would wager that it has not happened twice before.

Here is another oddity from the standings and the stats.  The Bills record is 5-5.  Their point differential for the season is +78.  Compare those numbers with:

  • Colts same record at 5-5 but point differential is minus-6
  • Raiders same record at 5-5 but point differential is minus-33
  • Saints same record at 5-5 but point differential is +16
  • Bengals better record at 5-4 but point differential is minus-10
  • Steelers better record at 6-3 but point differential is minus-26
  • Jags better record at 6-3 but point differential is +6
  • Seahawks better record at 6-3 but point differential is minus-1.

I was killing some time earlier this week and was flipping through a Mock Draft for next April.  I happened to notice that the creator had the 7th overall pick going to the LA Rams.  Given the way the Rams have traded away high draft picks over the past several years, I wondered how long it has been since the Rams participated in the first round of an NFL Draft.  It turns out that was back in 2016 when they took Jared Goff with the overall #1 pick.

The NFL and the NFLPA have reached an agreement as to what to do with the Pro Bowl at the end of this season.  Like last year, there will be a “skills competition” followed by a 7-on-7 flag football game to end the weekend festivities.  That is what happened last year but since the existing CBA still has 7 years to go and the Pro Bowl was part of the negotiations that led to that CBA, the league and the union must negotiate every year on what to do with the Pro Bowl.  Ho-hum …

Keeping pace with some ongoing stats:

  • The Steelers gained more than 300 yards in last week’s game – – not enough to outgain the opponent but more than 300 yards.  That is only the third time in nine games the Steelers have gone over 300 yards.
  • The Steelers have now gone 43 consecutive games without gaining 400 yards on offense in a game.
  • Sam Howell was sacked 3 times last week raising his total for 2023 to 46 sacks taken.  That projects to 78 sacks for the season which is only two sacks more than the all-time NFL record.

Here are comments on last week’s games:

Colts 10  Pats 6:  This game was played in Germany where “futbol” is a low-scoring endeavor.  I wonder if the fans think this is a normal amount of scoring in a “football”: game?  The Pats outgained the Colts by 76 yards in the game.  The Pats are 2-8 for the season and have scored a total of 30 points in their past three games.  Not surprisingly, those last three games were all losses.

Browns 33  Ravens 31:  The Ravens led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter and led 24-9 with three minutes to play in the third quarter – – and then choked the game away.  The Ravens still lead the AFC North, but things have tightened up significantly there; all four teams have records above .500.   Deshaun Watson went 14 for 14 in the second half; Greg Newsome had a Pick-Six in the second half and the Browns won on a field goal as time expired.  That was the good news for Cleveland…

Deshun Watson broke a bone in his shoulder in the second half of the game and had season-ending surgery earlier this week.  Back at the end of Training Camp, the Browns released Josh Dobbs and kept PJ Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson as the backup QBs.  Thompson-Robinson is the announced starter for this week; he has started one game earlier this season and the results were not so good:

  • 17 of 30 for 130 yards with 0 TDs and 3 INTs

Vikes 27  Saints 19:  Speaking of Josh Dobbs, he had another excellent game for the Vikes:

  • 23 of 34 for 268 yards with 1 TD and 0 INT

Derek Carr had to leave the game with a concussion meaning the Saints turned to Jameis Winston at QB.  As is often the case with Winston, it was feast or famine.  In less than a half of action he threw 2 TD passes and 2 INTs.   The Saints lead the NFC South with a 5-5 record.  However, none of the 5 wins have been against teams that are over.500.

Steelers 23  Packers 19:  The Steelers were outgained yet again in this game, and they won because of their defense and turnovers. The Steelers’ running game was firing on all cylinders here gaining 205 yards on 35 carries.  Patrick Peterson blocked a Packers’ PAT which proved important because it forced the Packers to score a TD on the final drive instead of merely getting into field goal position.

Texans 30  Bengals 27:  The Texans led 20-7 midway through the third quarter, but the Bengals rallied to tie the score at 27 with a minute and a half left in the game.  The Texans proceeded to take the kickoff and gain 55 yards on 6 plays setting up a game winning field goal of 38 yards.

Niners 34  Jags 3:  I only need to present two sets of stats from this game to give you a sense of how things went down:

  • Niners’ Total Offense = 437 yards
  • Jags’ Total Offense = 221 yards

And …

  • Niners’ Turnovers = 0
  • Jags’ Turnovers = 4

Deebo Sameul and Trent Williams returned to action for the Niners in this game.  The defense was very good too sacking Trevor Lawrence 5 times and intercepting him twice.

Cards 25  Falcons 23:  Kyler Murray returned to action for the Cards; he threw for 249 yards and ran for a TD in the game.  The Falcons led 23-22 with 2:39 left in the game but the Cards drove 70 yards in 11 plays to set up the game winning field goal (23 yards) with two seconds on the clock.

Bucs 20  Titans 6:  Will Levis played like a rookie QB in this one.

  • 19 of 39 for 199 yards with 0 TDs and 1 INT

The Titans’ running game was not particularly helpful to the rookie QB gaining all of 42 yards in the game on 16 carries.

Lions 41  Chargers 38:  The teams combined for 954 yards of offense in the game. With less than two minutes left in the game and the score tied at 38, the Lions had the ball at the Chargers 26 yardline. Dan Campbell went for it on fourth and two.  His reasoning was that he did not want to give Justin Herbert and the Chargers the ball with that much time left on the clock.  The Lions gained 6 yards on the fourth down attempt; they then knelt three times to take the clock down to 3 seconds and the Lions won the game on a last-second field goal of 41 yards.  Coach Campbell was probably cognizant of this fact as he made his decision to go for it on fourth down:

  • The Chargers had scored a TD the last five times that they had the ball.

Cowboys 49  Giants 17:  The highlight of the game for the Giants was stopping the Cowboys at the goal line on the Cowboys’ first possession.  After that, it was all downhill.  The Cowboys had 640 yards of offense; the Giants only produced 172 yards of offense.  The Giants scored 10 meaningless points in the 4th quarter making this debacle seem less awful than it was.  In their two meetings this year, the combined score is Cowboys 89 Giants 17.

Seahawks 29  Commanders 26:  Geno Smith and Sam Howell both had big days here:

  • 31 of 47 for 369 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INT (Smith)
  • 29 of 44 for 312 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INT (Howell)

The Seahawks took the lead with a TD at the 3:47 mark of the 4th quarter but Howell drove the Commanders for a TD to tie the game at 26 with 52 seconds left in the game.  Smith connected with DK Metcalf twice for a total of 45 yards in a final drive to set up a 42-yard game winning field goal with no time remaining.

Raiders 16  Jets 12:  The Jets uncharacteristically outgained an opponent by almost 100 yards in the game, but they did stay in character and found a way to lose.   Once again, Zach Wilson couldn’t get the Jets into the end zone. He threw an interception at the Raiders 15 yardline with 1:14 left to assure the loss.

Broncos 24  Bills 22:  This was purely a self-inflicted wound for the Bills.  RB, James Cook fumbled the ball on the Bills’ first play from scrimmage and then the Bills proceeded to turn the ball over three more times in the game. On the Broncos’ winning drive, Will Lutz appeared to lose the game by missing a 41-yard field goal, but the Bills had 12 men on the field. Lutz then made the do-over.


Games This Week:


Four teams will have their BYE Week this week.  Interestingly, none of the four teams has a record north of .500.

  1. Colts:  Minshew-Magic happens just about every game.  However, sometimes it is Black Magic.  Maybe the Colts should be looking for an exorcist this week?
  2. Falcons:  The only way the Faqlcons make the playoffs is to win their division; an 8-9 record just might do that.
  3. Pats:  They are not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs – – but they are not going to get in this year.
  4. Saints:  They lead the NFC South now, but they need Derek Carr back from any concussion-related injuries if they are going to win the division in the end.

A word about last night’s game.  Had it been on the Sunday schedule, I might have called it the Game of the Week because of the divisional importance of the game.  And as it began, the game looked as if it would live up to that standard.  And then, Joe Burrow’s sprained wrist gave out and the mystery about who might win the game evaporated.  The situation for the Bengals now is dire:

  • Their record is 5-5, putting them 2.5 games behind the Ravens.
  • They have 5 losses already; all the other AFC North teams only have 3.
  • They have now lost 3 division games.
  • As of today, every Bengals’ opponent for the rest of the year is at or over .500.

If Joe Burrow’s wrist injury persists for even a few weeks, I think the Bengals may find themselves outside the playoffs looking in.

There is an overabundance of huge spreads on the board for this week’s NFL games.  Four games this morning are carrying double-digit spreads and another game opened the week at 10 points before sliding down a bit.  C’est la guerre …

Steelers at Browns – 1 (33):  Two very good defenses here take the field against two mediocre QBs.  If the Steelers can run the ball, they might be able to win the game but if they are forced to move the ball through the air, I think they are doomed.  For the Browns, they have to hope that Dorian Thompson-Robinson plays a whole lot better than he did in his first NFL start earlier this year (see above).  If you like offensive fireworks, watch some other game…

Cards at Texans – 5 (49):  This game is a complete toss-up for me – – not just involving the spread but on the Money Line too.  If you can rationally figure out how this game will unfold, let me know.

Chargers – 3 at Packers (44):  As is always the case once November rolls around, the big question for NFL bettors is:  Which Chargers team will show up this week?

  • Against the Dolphins and Lions, the Chargers scored 34 points or more – – and lost.
  • The Chargers’ defense held the Chiefs to 31 points and the Cowboys to 20 points – – and lost both games.

I expect both teams to be up for this game because both teams need a win badly.  I think both defenses will show vulnerability, so I’ll take the game to go OVER; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.

Giants at Commanders – 10 (37):  This is the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.  The Giants are 2-8 and have a point differential of minus-148 points for the season.  Calling their offense “pedestrian” is an insult to every pedestrian in every city on Earth.  On the other hand, the Commanders have a 20-year history of playing down to the level of bad opponents.  Earlier this year the Commanders lost to the then winless Bears allowing the Bears to score 40 points in the game.

Titans at Jags – 7 (40):  This will be the third straight road game for the Titans; what did they do to piss off the NFL schedule mavens?  The Jags should arrive in a bad mood after being stomped last week by the Niners.

Bears at Lions – 7.5 (47):  The spread opened at 10 points this week but dropped quickly to 8 points and is now shaved to 7.5 points.  Is this the week Justin Fields returns to action?

Raiders at Dolphins – 13 (46.5):  The key to this game is Maxx Crosby and his defensive compatriots.  If they can hassle Tua Tagovailoa, they can win this game; if they give Tua time in the pocket, the Raiders’ secondary will be torched.  The Dolphins had their BYE Week last week and are unbeaten at home in 2023.

Cowboys – 10 at Panthers (42):  You know I hate double-digit spreads in NFL games.  Nevertheless, this game sets up as one that will play according to form.  The Cowboys feast on bottom-feeders.  This year they have beaten the Giants twice outscoring them 89-17.  They beat the Jets by 20 points, the Pats by 35 points, the Rams by 23 points.  The Panthers are a mess mainly because their offense is stuck in low gear.  I smell another blowout, so I’ll take the Cowboys and lay the points – – even on the road; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.

Bucs at Niners – 11.5 (42):  The Niners seem to have put the pieces back together; after a BYE Week two weeks ago, the Niners were hitting on all cylinders in beating the Jags last week by more than 4 TDs.  This is going to be a long plane ride for the Bucs to get to the game and an even longer one flying home after a beatdown.  Give me the Niners at home and lay the points; put that in the “Betting Bundle”.

Seahawks – 1 at Rams (47):  Matthew Stafford will be back under center for the Rams this week.  Sam Howell showed last week that you can throw on the Seahawks defense; Matthew Stafford could have a huge day here.

Jets at Bills – 7 (40): Plain and simple here; I do not trust either of these two teams to play predictably.

(Sun Nite) Vikes at Broncos – 2 (43):  The Broncos’ offense is clearly improving; the Broncos defense still has plenty of room for improvement.

  • Broncos rank 32nd in the NFL in yards allowed rushing per game (158.3)
  • Broncos rank 32nd in the NFL in total defense (401.1 yards per game).

However, the reason the Broncos won last week was based on a strong defensive performance.  Meanwhile, the Vikes have quietly won 5 games in a row with is the longest current winning streak in the NFL.

(Mon Nite) Eagles at Chiefs – 2.5 (45):  This is clearly the Game of the Week; it is a rematch of last February’s Super Bowl; both teams come to the kickoff have had a BYE Week last week.  Coming off a BYE Week is something Andy Reid seems to have perfected; his record in such games is 27-4.  Yes, I know; Nick Siriani is undefeated coming off a BYE Week, but that record is only 2-0.   I think this will be a defensive game; the Eagles have the best run defense in the league and the Chiefs have the second-best scoring defense.

Let me review this week’s “Betting Bundle.”

  • SMU/Memphis OVER 65
  • Florida/Missouri OVER 56.5
  • Cowboys – 10 over Panthers
  • Chargers/Packers OVER 44
  • Niners – 11.5 over Bucs

            No Money Line parlays this week; I just don’t like the numbers posted for the games.

Finally, I’ll close with these words of football wisdom from former Auburn football coach, Shug Jordan:

“Always remember … Goliath was a 40-point favorite over David.”

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



4 thoughts on “Football Friday 11/17/23”

  1. How could you not have the Oregon State vs Washington football game as a game of interest this week. It’s bad enough ESPN is having Game Day at the JMU vs ASU game. The 12 team playoff is a year late because if it was ,Oregon State might just make it in and win it all. It would be a longshot I know, I’m just tired of OSU getting crapped on and the NCAA in general. However I do enjoy your thoughts on sports.

    1. Rick Carpenter:

      Welcome aboard.

      How did I not have Oregon State/Washington as a Game of Interest? I thought I did; I went back and went over the list and discovered that i had left it off the list totally in error. You are absolutely correct; it had to have been on the list and I blundered in not having it there.


    1. Matt:

      I think people are just now starting to recognize that Louisville is very good and Miami is not.

Comments are closed.