Monthly Archives: November 2018

Still No Clarity…

…on who exactly the New England Patriots are this season.  We’ve been through this a ton.  Their next game is in December.  We usually know by this month on the calendar.

We are clear on the AFC East stinking…yet again.  3 game lead for the Pats with 5 to go.  So that means another division crown.  Go figure.

The conference?  Not sure.  KC is obviously off to a fantastic start.  But it remains to be seen if they can stop anyone.  The Steelers coughed one up last week and should have lost the week before.  The Chargers or Texans?  Can we really expect these teams to do anything in the playoffs?  Doubt it.  The rest of the teams?  Don’t see it.

As for the Pats themselves?  Offensively a step behind what they usually do.  Maybe three steps.  27 points against the f’n Jets?  Tom Brady looks old and injured (sorry).  Rob Gronkowski?  Yup…”old” and injured.  Sony Michel?  We will see.  People think Rex Burkhead’s return this week will help.  But he’s always…injured.  Chris Hogan is no superstar.  But he can play.  And Brady refuses to even look at him anymore.  And so on…

The defense?  Sure, 13 points allowed in a game is nice.  But…the Jets.  Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty have been alternating between average and “washed-up” all year long in my eyes.  “Average” may be too kind a word for the personnel on D this year.  Think of it this way:  When Kyle Van Noy is one of your better players, that speaks volumes…I don’t care how well he actually seems to be playing.

Special teams?  You know, made up of a ton of guys that Bill Belichick likes to keep and can’t do anything else on the field?  Atrocious all around this season.  Well, I guess Stephen Gostkowski has been pretty good and every once in a while Bill raves postgame about the punter, Ryan Allen (like last week).  But the return and coverage units.  Bad.

By now, any issues are supposed to have been fixed.  Not this year.  Can they still be?  Not sure.  But now it’s a real fight to the end.  Starting Sunday against another team that likely should be better than they have been…the Minnesota Vikings.  More on them next column.

The rest of the schedule isn’t daunting.  But playing at Miami hasn’t always been great.  Even if the game is in December and not September.  The Pats have a good track record against the Steelers, even in Pittsburgh.  This year?  No idea.  Should be cakewalks against the Bills and Jets at home the last two weeks.  But can we even count on this now?

I guess we will find out in due time.  For now, the Thursday game:

New Orleans (-7.5) at Dallas

The NFC West has 2 doormat 2-9 teams, but the NFC East isn’t much better as a whole.  The Saints have crushed the other 3 NFC East teams they have played this season to the tune of 124-44.  Dallas may be home.  But New Orleans is actually 5-0 on the road.  Both of these teams played on Thanksgiving, so no advantage there.  I’m just filling space now.  There is no debate on this one.

New Orleans 41, Dallas 20.  

Week (against the spread):  11-4

Week (straight up):  11-4

Season (against the spread):  96-80

Season (straight up):  111-65

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Week Twelve…

Off to a good start this week, let’s keep it going:

Seattle at Carolina (-3.5) 

If I was “Riverboat Ron”, I wouldn’t have gone for two last week.  Then again, maybe he figured that since the NFC appears to be eminently mediocre other than the Saints and Rams, the Panthers will make the playoffs as long as they go 8-0 at home.  So it really didn’t matter what they did against the Lions regardless.

Carolina 24, Seattle 20.

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-6.5)

The Eagles shouldn’t be favored by six and a half over anyone right now.

Philadelphia 20, New York Giants 17.

Oakland at Baltimore (-10.5)  

Oakland won last week…yippee!!  Oh yeah, it was against the Cards.  Ok.  Lamar Jackson is apparently getting another start this week for the Ravens.  All things being equal, this spread would seem a little high.  We should go Raiders here.  But we are not.

Baltimore 24, Oakland 13.

New England (-9.5) at New York Jets 

Tom Brady apparently has a knee injury now.  Doesn’t matter this week.

New England 38, New York Jets 24.

Miami at Indianapolis (-9.5) 

Indy is on a roll, no question.  I don’t think the Dolphins are all that great.  But they need a win and are coming off a bye, so we feel like the game is close at the very least.

Indianapolis 30, Miami 23.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-3.5)

Hue Jackson now working for the Bengals may actually be a good thing for the Browns, in more ways than one.

Cleveland 27, Cincinnati 24.

San Francisco at Tampa Bay (-3.5) 

FITZMAGIC!!  Oops…back on the bench, where he belongs.

Tampa Bay 31, San Francisco 24.

Jacksonville (-3.5) at Buffalo

I’d personally love it if these fraudulent Jaguars lost to the Bills.  But I can’t see how it happens.

Jacksonville 27, Buffalo 11.

Arizona at Los Angeles Chargers (-12.5)

The Chargers are coming off a tough loss to the Broncos and the Cardinals couldn’t even beat a wretched Raider team at home.  Goodnight.

Los Angeles Chargers 45, Arizona 10.

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Denver

A nice divisional win for the Broncos last week.  The Steelers escaped with a win against the Jags.  Denver has been in most of their games this year and is a tough place to play.  Gut feeling on this one.

Denver 31, Pittsburgh 27. 

Green Bay at Minnesota (-3.5) 

Crucial divisional game for both these teams, as the Bears are starting to pull away in the division and the wild card race is completely muddled as we head into December.  Both teams have their flaws, no question.  The first meeting ended in a tie in Week 2.  I am not betting on that happening again.  Another thing to ponder:  The Packers can’t go winless on the road this year, can they?  Seems like too much talent to “accomplish” that.  The Pack needs it more here too.

Green Bay 28, Minnesota 27.

Tennessee at Houston (-6.5)  

Spread seems a little high for this divisional tilt.  It appears Marcus Mariota will play, so no one has to suffer through Blaine Gabbert.  That all being said, I just don’t think the Titans are all that good.

Houston 23, Tennessee 14.  

Week (against the spread):  2-1

Week (straight up):  2-1

Season (against the spread):  87-77

Season (straight up):  102-62

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

So we are up to the annual Turkey Day games.  The New England Patriots had a bye this past week…so nothing to talk about there.  We could talk about that Monday Night Football instant classic between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.  Wow…what a game!  Old school fans will probably tell you that the game was a joke, with all the offense and guys running wide open all over the place.  That it was an Arena Football League-type game.

And they may be right.  But you know what?  Who cares!

Very entertaining game.  And in today’s NFL, where you can’t breathe on either the quarterbacks or wide receivers, get used to it…especially if you don’t like it.  Since this will be more of the same as the weeks and years go on.  Offense at an all-time high.  And I’m ok with it.

Let’s see if these two teams have a rematch in the Super Bowl.  If the Pats can’t get there, sign me up for this kind of shootout in February.

As for the picks?  The Blowhard may have learned their lesson.  Only completely sober picks from here on in.  Last week’s record is quite embarrassing.  I blame the mai tais.  It’s ALWAYS their fault, regardless of the situation.

Chicago (-4.5) at Detroit

As of this writing, it appears Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky may not play.  Trubisky isn’t exactly a Hall of Famer at this point in his career.  But he may be compared to his backup, Chase Daniel.  The Lions had a nice win last week (thanks Cam Newton!) and of course host the annual Thanksgiving game.  That counts for a little something.  The Lions kind of need this one to stay in the playoff mix as well.

Detroit 24, Chicago 17.  

Washington at Dallas (-7.5) 

Another team with its QB missing…though the ‘Skins will be missing theirs a little longer.  What with Alex Smith’s gruesome injury last week.  I can’t believe that it was 33 years to the day after Joe Theismann’s own gruesome injury.  Same team.  Other coincidences include each QB’s Pro Bowl left tackle missed the game, it happened around the same yard line and in both cases, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was involved in the play, the only three-time winners (Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt).  The final score of the game had the same two numbers.  There are probably other similarities if one was to dig deeper.  But that is F’ing CRAZY!  As for the game, the spread seems a bit high regardless of the Smith injury.  The Cowboys have been inconsistent after all.  But does anyone have any confidence in Colt McCoy?  Nope.  And if he goes down…Mark Sanchez?!  Yup…

Dallas 27, Washington 13.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-13.5)

The Saints are right up there with the Rams and the Chiefs.  They demolished the defending champs last week.  Though the Philadelphia Eagles stink this year.  I hope Lane Johnson is having fun though!  Speaking of teams that stink…the Falcons!

New Orleans 38, Atlanta 24.  

Week (against the spread):  6-7

Week (straight up):  6-7

Season (against the spread):  85-76

Season (straight up):  100-61

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