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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

As We Wait…

…with bated breath for the first game of Week 3 in the NFL season, the New York Jets versus the Cleveland Browns, we can address a few additional football topics.  Specific to the hometown New England Patriots, I mean.

Wait, is anyone really anxious to see Jets v. Browns?  I guess…J-E-T-S fans could be excited about Sammy Darnold.  Browns fans can be excited by almost getting a couple of wins against alleged Super Bowl contenders in the Steelers and Saints.  Perhaps the nation is fired up to see this new Cleveland kicker that no one’s ever heard of…someone who only made 69.5 percent of his kicks in college too…that should work out nicely.

Anyway, as for the Pats, we could talk about the Jacksonville beating.  But why bother?  The offense couldn’t do anything and the defense stunk.  Some think that because it was Week Two, the Pats didn’t overextend themselves, knowing that beating a fired up Jags team in their home opener in 90 plus degree weather was unlikely to happen.  The offense didn’t exactly take a lot of risks, after all.

That doesn’t explain how poorly the D played though.  Sure, when you lose 2 of your better players in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung fairly early in the game, that certainly doesn’t help.  But that doesn’t explain Eric Rowe and all the linebackers looking putrid.  And Adrian Clayborn running past Blake Bortles numerous times, leaving Bortles plenty of room to run for yet another first down.

I don’t have any answers.  All I am thinking is that the Pats sometimes look very average in September and then fix problems as the season goes along.  Though I was pretty pissed during the game, I have started to trend in that direction throughout the week.  Maybe this year is different though, who knows?

Perhaps the Patriots have fixed one of their issues already…a punt returner.  Because CYRUS JONES IS BACK!  He is?  Really?  Didn’t see this one coming.  And I’m sure he’s not really going to make much of a difference.  I’m not sure I understand…even if it is just to return punts for two games until Julian Edelman comes back.  But they gave Jones a two-year contract.  Not that that necessarily means a whole bunch.  But still…does that mean they have bigger plans for Cyrus?  They didn’t sign Corey Coleman or Bennie Fowler to two-year contracts, to the best of my knowledge.  We’ll see…

You wanna talk about Josh Gordon?  I don’t.  Why?  That’s all people are talking about locally now and I’ve had my fill.  He supposedly has great talent.  I say “supposedly”, because he really hasn’t played in 5 years.  So how do we know he still has “it”?  Wide receivers coming into this system often take forever to figure things out, if they ever even do.  Can’t afford that kind of time here, but it may happen.  I have no problem with the trade, as who really cares about the 5th round pick?  It’s worth the gamble, even if he goes and gets loaded tonight and gets banned from the NFL yet again.  Because of the potential for that and all the other uncertainty revolving around Gordon, I am not getting my hopes up.  But I certainly will be paying attention.

You wanna talk about Ian O’Connor’s book?  I suppose we can chat a little.  I mean, it’s kind of old news now a rift has formed between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady over time.  Some of the excerpts from the book are gold though.  Bill and at least some of the coaches think they could have taken an average quarterback and made him do the same things Brady has done in his career?  Laughable.  Brady is shocked that he was getting old and Bill was looking to the future to replace him at some point, just like what has happened to EVERY OTHER PATRIOT, INCLUDING ALL THE LONG TIME GREATS.  Laughable.

Listen, this was bound to happen.  Anyone that has a head on their shoulders should know that this wasn’t going to end well.  “This” being Brady’s career in New England.  And…it will get worse, I think I would bet the house on that.  Unfortunate, of course, but who really didn’t see this coming?

This topic is going to be beaten to death over the next few weeks, so I’ll stop here now.  Once the book officially comes out, maybe I’ll read it and share some thoughts.  In any event, hopefully, Bill and Tom can put their differences aside and just win games together.  Because they needed each other for this long run of success.  We should be all able to agree on that.  Thank God Brady has Matty Patricia’s defense coming up on Sunday Night.  That should be a recipe for success.  Then again, Eric Rowe will be out there again trying to stop Matty Stafford…

As for the beginning of Week Three’s slate:

New York Jets at Cleveland (-3.5)

When do you think the Browns were last favored in a game by three and a half points?  I don’t know the answer, but I can’t imagine it’s in the decade of the 2010’s.  Maybe it was, but they still shouldn’t be favored by that here either, even against the Jets.

I know, Cleveland is a little bit of a darling these days.  1-31 the last two years, somehow Hue Jackson keeps his job and the GM is fired.  Then the tie in Week One and a close loss in Week Two…largely again, because their kicker was brutal.  But these guys are still the Browns.  And Tyrod Taylor is still their QB.  But their new kicker has a strong leg, did you hear?

You know what?  This is the NFL.  EVERY kicker has a strong leg.  Maybe teams should be more concerned with getting a kicker who is ACCURATE, even if his leg is a little weaker.  There’s a thought, eh?

Anyway, Cleveland may yet win this game.  But Darnold looks like the real deal.  And Thursday Night games usually stink.  So I am “betting” this one is close.

New York Jets 20, Cleveland 16 (one missed extra point and at least one missed field goal).

Week (against the spread):  8-8

Week (straight up):  9-7

Season (against the spread):  13-19

Season (straight up):  16-16

 

Off To The Races…

…now that Game One of Week One is in the books for the 2018 NFL Season, it’s time to get the rest of the league rolling on Sunday.  Per usual, Week One is always hard to predict…seeing that we really cannot take a whole lot from the preseason games.  Sure, we know the players and what teams should be good and all that.  But one never knows once the curtain goes up.  So let us take our wild stab on Opening Week and see how the chips may fall:

Pittsburgh (-5.5) at Cleveland

No Le’Veon?  Who cares?  He may show up anyway, but does it matter?  Hue Jackson is 1-31 in 2 years.  Is Tyrod Taylor going to make a big difference?  Or any of their other additions?  Doubtful.  Especially not in Week One.

Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 13.

Tennessee (-1.5) at Miami

Two teams seemingly getting a lot of love.  The Titans I guess because they have a new coach in Mike Vrabel and the Dolphins I guess because…I don’t know…Ryan Tannehill is back?  Jay Cutler, Ryan Tannehill…what’s the difference?

Tennessee 20, Miami 17.

Buffalo at Baltimore (-6.5) 

Nathan Peterman everyone!  Joey Flacco is supposedly rejuvenated because he was pissed the Ravens drafted Lamar Jackson.  What, he wasn’t threatened by Robert Griffin III?  Oh and wait…Patriot fans…does this scenario sound familiar?

Baltimore 27, Buffalo 17.

Houston at New England (-6.5)

Pundits, fans, opponents and everyone around the world is predicting the demise of the New England Patriots.  Local sportswriters think the team will start 0-2.  The team has no wide receivers.  The defense cannot stop anyone, no less Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.  We’ll see.

New England 30, Houston 27.

Jacksonville (-3.5) at New York Giants

The Jags had a great year last year.  The D is apparently still strong.  But they still have Blake Bortles…and will have him for some time now.  I’m betting they are going to regret that contract extension.  The G-Men stunk last year.  But that clown head coach is gone.  That’s worth at least a win right there.

New York Giants 24, Jacksonville 21.

San Francisco at Minnesota (-5.5)

The Jimmy G era is really kind of starting now.  Welcome to Minnesota.

Minnesota 34, San Francisco 17.

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-9.5)

Fitzy!!  He just won’t go away.  But that’s not necessarily a good thing.

New Orleans 41, Tampa Bay 13.

Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-2.5) 

Somehow Marvin Lewis remains.  Andrew Luck is back.  I really don’t have much more to add.

Indianapolis 24, Cincinnati 21.

Kansas City at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) 

The Chargers are another team I hear a lot of positive chatter about in the AFC.  We will see about that, though they should have been a playoff team last year.  Hopefully, they got themselves a good kicker this year.  The Chiefs are handing the reins to Patrick Mahomes.  Expect some inconsistency there.

Los Angeles Chargers 23, Kansas City 17.

Dallas at Carolina (-2.5) 

Go with the home team here.  Unfortunately, that’s really all I can tell you on this one.

Carolina 31, Dallas 20.  

Washington at Arizona (-0.5) 

Yaaaaaaaaaawn.

Washington 13, Arizona 10.

Seattle at Denver (-2.5) 

I’m not rooting for it, but I’d almost bet my house that Case Keenum comes crashing back to earth this year.  Seattle isn’t the same team they were when they were going to Super Bowls.  But they still scare me for whatever reason.

Seattle 27, Denver 16.  

Chicago at Green Bay (-8.5)  

I don’t think Khalil Mack is going to make much of a difference.

Green Bay 34, Chicago 10.

New York Jets at Detroit (-6.5)

I’ll be rooting for Matty Patricia to succeed.  Seems like a nice guy.  Even though that defensive game plan in the last Super Bowl may have been the worst one I have ever seen.  And that includes any Cleveland Browns game plan…ever.  Don’t we have to blame Patricia at least a little bit for that, instead of heaping all the blame on Belichick?  And for the record, I have never rooted for the J-E-T-S to succeed.  And never will.

Detroit 27, New York Jets 9.

Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Oakland

Jon Gruden is back on the sidelines!  This should be fun.  Maybe not this week though.

Los Angeles Rams 45, Oakland 13.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  0-1

Season (straight up):  0-1

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