…making this weeks’ picks during the Thursday Night Jets/Browns game while wondering: 1) How Tyrod Taylor could start any game over Baker Mayfield…or any QB for that matter. 2) Can Mayfield keep this up? 3) The Jets were the opposition so it could be unlikely Mayfield’s performance actually means squat. 4) even though when Mayfield starts next week against the likely 0-3 Raiders, I can’t help but see one of those 11-35, 134 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT games coming…and even 5) I didn’t hear Jamie Collins’ name much all night. So did he get his money and make himself invisible like many predicted? Hmmmmm… Oh yeah, and for the postgame 6) Future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas certainly looks just a hair smaller, no? Funny how that happens…
San Francisco at Kansas City (-6.5)
Is Patrick Mahomes for real? Is Jimmy Football grossly overpaid and overrated? Too early to tell for either. But the Chiefs are tough to beat at home. They also have some serious weapons. The Niners appear to have no weapons whatsoever. Tough schedule for the Niners to start with to boot. Spread may seem kind of high on the surface. But it’s probably legit. Vegas knows…
Kansas City 30, San Francisco 20.
Denver at Baltimore (-5.5)
Speaking of high spreads, Denver is actually 2-0 and Baltimore is 1-1, but their one win was against a pathetic Buffalo Bill team. So does that really count as a win? But you know what? I’m feeling the Ravens. I have no idea why.
Baltimore 27, Denver 21.
New York Giants at Houston (-5.5)
The Texans are 0-2. They are supposed to be in the playoff mix. Deshaun Watson may not yet be back to full strength. But maybe this is the week? G-Men? Please.
Houston 24, New York Giants 13.
Oakland at Miami (-3.5)
Miami is 2-0. How fraudulent is that? Extremely. But you know what? It’s going to take time for Jon Gruden to make something of this Raider team, if he even ever does. So it appears the Dolphins will be 3-0, much to my chagrin.
Miami 20, Oakland 14.
Green Bay (-2.5) at Washington
I have no idea why I am doing what I am doing here. Let’s leave it at that.
Washington 27, Green Bay 24.
Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6.5)
I also have no idea why I am doing what I am doing on this one. Other than the fact that I expect Carson Wentz to be rusty. That’s all I have.
Philadelphia 24, Indianapolis 23.
Cincinnati at Carolina (-3.5)
Is anyone buying the Bengals’ 2-0 start? I’m not sure I can. Despite the fact they are playing the abundantly average Panthers.
Carolina 20, Cincinnati 16.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (-6.5)
Marcus Mariota may play, he may not. Will it matter? Well, it should be worse with Blaine Gabbert at the helm. Will Jax have a letdown after their apparent Super Bowl win over the Patriots in Week Two? Perhaps. But again…Gabbert…
Jacksonville 38, Tennessee 17.
New Orleans at Atlanta (-3.5)
There are “experts” that picked the Saints to go to the Super Bowl. That may well still happen. But a pretty uninspiring start to the season. Speaking of uninspiring starts to the season, you can very well say the Falcons fall into that group as well. That all being said, I feel like this is where New Orleans start ramping it up. I don’t know why I feel that way. It’s Week Three for the Blowhard after all. We don’t have all the answers yet either.
New Orleans 31, Atlanta 24.
Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5)
The Bills are REALLY bad. The Vikes are mad after their stupid tie last week and they went out and got a new kicker. But he won’t matter this week.
Minnesota 52, Buffalo 10.
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5)
The Chargers seem to have a pretty good team. The Rams have been absolutely otherworldly so far this season. One thing is for sure…is there really going to be any “home field advantage”?
Los Angeles Rams 31, Los Angeles Chargers 27.
Dallas at Seattle (-2.5)
No way the Seahawks go 0-3. Being at home after two road games to start the year should take care of that.
Seattle 30, Dallas 17.
Chicago (-5.5) at Arizona
The Cardinals have scored 6 points in 2 games. SIX. And given up 58. ‘Nuff said.
Chicago 27, Arizona 13.
New England (-6.5) at Detroit
The Patriots, per usual, are finding their way the first month of the season. Will the rest of the season be different based on all the crap going on down in Foxborough these days? Maybe. But not this week. Matty Patricia is having his own issues in Detroit. That being said, the Pats defense apparently still is putrid. Two of their better players in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung are unlikely to play this week. Eric Rowe is likely to play, which is bad enough, but he also apparently has a tender groin. So the Lions should put up some points I would imagine. Whether Josh Gordon plays or not, I think this is the week the Pats offense makes some real noise as well.
New England 41, Detroit 31.
Pittsburgh (-1.5) at Tampa Bay
Fitzmagic has had a nice run. The Bucs are 2-0 and are at home. The Steelers have been scuffling to start the season. Le’Veon Bell is still not in the building. You know what that means.
Pittsburgh 38, Tampa Bay 27.
Week (against the spread): 0-1
Week (straight up): 0-1
Season (against the spread): 13-20
Season (straight up): 16-17
…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
Let’s see if we can do a little better this week:
Houston (-4.5) at Tennessee
Marcus Mariota got hurt again…what a shocker! Deshaun Watson looked kind of putrid at times in Week One against the Pats. But you would think that he will get better as he gets more game reps…and maybe gets someone else like Will Fuller to throw to. As of this very second, we don’t know if Mariota will play. And the alternative is Blaine Gabbert. So with that information…
Houston 24, Tennessee 16.
Kansas City at Pittsburgh (-5.5)
Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs looked pretty good last week. Big Ben and the Steelers did not. You know what that means.
Pittsburgh 34, Kansas City 30.
Philadelphia (-3.5) at Tampa Bay
Nick Foles and the Eagles looked pretty pedestrian on Opening Night. Actually, Foles was abysmal. Tampa and Fitzy were otherworldly in Week One. You know what that means.
Philadelphia 38, Tampa Bay 27.
Los Angeles Chargers (-7.5) at Buffalo
Nathan Peterman or Josh Allen. Does it really matter?
Los Angeles Chargers 42, Buffalo 13.
Carolina at Atlanta (-5.5)
This spread seems a little high, since I don’t think I’m a fan of either of these teams. The Falcons are at home though, and with an extra few days of rest. So maybe that means something.
Atlanta 27, Carolina 20.
Indianapolis at Washington (-5.5)
Indy lost at home to the Bengals and the ‘Skins beat an apparently bad Cardinal team, though at least on the road. Adrian Peterson looked like he turned back the clock a bit. Seems impressive, seeing he signed like a week ago. But then again, maybe it’s more of a statement on the Cards.
Washington 23, Indianapolis 17.
Cleveland at New Orleans (-8.5)
The Browns excited everyone with their tie last week. TIE. Think about that for a second. The Saints coughed up a dud. Once again, apparently the recurring theme of this week…you know what that means.
New Orleans 48, Cleveland 17.
Minnesota at Green Bay (-0.5)
Hard to really pick this one without knowing if Aaron Rodgers is going to play or not. Deshone Kizer may or may not be better than Brett Hundley, but neither are 10% of Rodgers. Either way, Rodgers will not be at full strength, so it would be hard to see the Vikes not handling this.
Minnesota 31, Green Bay 21.
Miami at New York Jets (-2.5)
Both had nice wins in Week One. But I can also say, both still do stink, I am sorry.
Miami 20, New York Jets 13.
Detroit at San Francisco (-5.5)
Matty Patricia!! Already pissing players off in Detroit. I have to tell you, I’ve never been much of a Patricia fan. But these Lion vets that are complaining about running laps and having a “hard camp”. Losers. Unfortunately, in 2018, you have to baby these players…in every sport. And Patricia is not Bill Belichick. Remember when Josh McDaniels tried to be like Bill in Denver? Yup, didn’t work. Maybe Matt should have learned from that. Jimmy Football had a rough opener and lost his first game as a starter in the NFL. Even though he is throwing to guys from the local high school, it’s hard to envision him losing his second NFL game in this one.
San Francisco 34, Detroit 17.
Arizona at Los Angeles Rams (-13.5)
Sam Darnold started from Game One for the Jets. We saw Josh Allen on the Bills last week and now he is starting in Game Two. No #1 pick Baker Mayfield yet, but it’s a matter of time. I have to believe that the other of the 2018 Top 10 QB’s, Josh Rosen, will see some action in this one.
Los Angeles Rams 45, Arizona 13.
Oakland at Denver (-5.5)
Gruden’s boys kept it close for a half last week. Derek Carr was awful though. Case Keenum threw a bunch of picks last week but got it done in the end…with the help of two running backs no one has ever heard of. Hard to go against the Broncos at home in this matchup. Though can they both lose??
Denver 23, Oakland 14.
New England (-2.5) at Jacksonville
Everyone is picking the Jags. Not me. I don’t care to give my reasons. You’ll just call me a homer anyway.
New England 24, Jacksonville 17.
New York Giants at Dallas (-2.5)
I hate both these teams. And neither one of them is any good either. According to me.
Dallas 20, New York Giants 17.
Seattle at Chicago (-3.5)
I’m not buying Trubisky or Nagy…yet.
Seattle 27, Chicago 24.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 6-11
Season (straight up): 8-9