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Cordarrelle Patterson…

…why do we need to talk about him?  I don’t know.  I guess I just feel like I have something to say.  I have no idea why I actually care.

For the past couple weeks, this dude has taken a beating on local talk radio.  Why?  I’m trying to figure it out.

I mean, the guy only plays a handful of snaps every game.  Why are people so focused on him?

The reason is that because the New England Patriots have been shorthanded at running back in recent weeks, they have been handing Patterson the ball.  Seems a little odd, since he has had no experience running the ball in his career…other than like jet sweeps or something of the like.  Never, to most people’s knowledge, just taking a handoff and trying to run through the line.

Most of the time, he looks like someone who is a receiver playing running back.  But he had a long run one week.  And five carries on one great drive the other week.  Not horrible.

As long as he holds onto the ball, which he has thus far, why does anyone even care if he does this?

It’s a short-term fix until regular the running backs that are injured come back…Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead, in particular.  They don’t have to risk losing a player they like by releasing them and picking up a real running back (although they could have released someone like Geneo Grissom a couple of weeks ago and not have been affected at all, I will allow for that).  But it’s not like the Pats are giving Patterson 25 carries.  They are kind of spotting him in at times.  What’s wrong with that?

One retort has been that they have a real running back on the roster, Kenjon Barner, and aren’t giving him the carries instead.  Barner, Patterson…what’s the difference really?  Just because Barner has played running back in his career, does that mean he is actually any good at it?  I would say not particularly.  He has been on and off this roster like 3 times this year.  Not to mention is a journeyman in the first place.

Listen, Patterson is kind of a gimmick player.  His reputation throughout his NFL career is that he has no idea how to run routes.  Kind of a bad thing in this system, you know, with Tom Brady wanting perfection and all.

But he can add something to the team for sure.  Picking spots for him when the time is ideal.  Running a (very) few routes.  Returning kicks.  Jet sweeps.  And now giving him the ball out of the backfield a bit.  Why not?  How many times is he actually going to touch the ball in any given game?  And how many plays is he really going to be in for the game as well?

Some would argue that he is a waste of 3 plus mil.  Maybe.  But he’s only signed for the rest of this year.  And I will tell you the team is wasting 3 plus mil on players like Dwayne Allen, Chris Hogan and Duron Harmon, to name a few.  Not to mention 12 mil on Devin McCourty, who has played very poorly this year in my eyes.

What kills me is that whenever the Patriots experiment with other guys playing different positions, they are often lauded.  Troy Brown and Julian Edelman at cornerback to name the biggest ones.

But has everyone forgotten that they stuck Aaron Hernandez in the backfield at one point too?  That seemed to be an unusual choice too.  And didn’t look natural.  But he had a few good runs when he did it.

Why is it different for Patterson?

Again, I can’t believe I care.  But I feel a lot better now that I got it off my chest…

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-4.5)  

I’m so tired of hearing about Le’Veon Bell.  Aren’t you?  Now there are reports that he has been spotted working out in a Pittsburgh gym.  Who cares at this point?  The Steelers have won four in a row and have a running back named James Conner tearing it up.  Over 700 rushing yards and 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards in 8 games.  Shouldn’t this make Bell look worse?  That some dude no one had really heard of came right in and is piling up yards.  Bell is a great player.  But it looks like he doesn’t really matter to Pittsburgh’s success…yet anyway.  I can’t wait until his reporting deadline passes.  Hopefully, he doesn’t show and loses a ton of money.  So what if he takes a year off and is fresh next year.  Will he really be?  I’m just thinking he threw a year of earnings away.  And a year of his career.  But I hope he’s happy.

That’s waaaaay too many words for one day about Bell and Patterson.  As for the game, did you realize that the Steelers are only 2-2 at home (3-0-1 on the road)?  Me neither.  Carolina is 5-0 at home.  But tonight they are not at home.  I’m not really buying into the Panthers anyway.  Everyone seems to rave about this Christian McCaffrey guy.  But every time I see him he is being stuffed at the line or is catching a 4-yard pass.  The guy apparently has talent, but I’m not sure I would have taken him eighth overall last year.  But the Panthers are 6-2 this year, so what the hell do I know?

Pittsburgh 34, Carolina 27.

Week (against the spread):  9-4

Week (straight up):  10-3

Season (against the spread):  71-63

Season (straight up):  87-47

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Week Nine…

…so I guess it is also official, Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders are tanking the season.  Trading several decent players, accumulating first round picks and then getting blasted by a banged up team on Thursday Night Football helmed by an undrafted quarterback that hadn’t yet taken an NFL snap.  Or maybe Al Davis is really still running the Raiders.  Could be a toss-up.  Anyway, on to the rest of the slate:

Atlanta at Washington (-1.5) 

The ‘Skins are on a 3 game win streak, though they aren’t exactly crushing teams.  The Falcons are 0-2 on the road.  Seems like an easy pick here…’cept it’s not.  Not fired up about either team, but feel like Atlanta should be better than they are.  And I don’t know why.  Also have a feeling they come out strong after their bye.  Again, I have no particular reason why.

Atlanta 24, Washington 17.

Kansas City (-8.5) at Cleveland

I don’t think the coaching change to Gregg Williams is going to matter…not in the first week anyway.  Unless he institutes those bounties he was fond of doing in the past.

Kansas City 38, Cleveland 27.

Detroit at Minnesota (-5.5)  

No rhyme or reason with this one either.  Just have a general feeling that the Vikes are due to break out.  The Lions have bounced back from their early season woes.  And it is a divisional game, which are of course tough to handicap sometimes.  But let’s go with the initial hunch.

Minnesota 31, Detroit 20.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-3.5) 

The Ravens’ defense finally cracked last week.  I’m sure the Steelers noticed that.

Pittsburgh 34, Baltimore 24.

Chicago (-5.5) at Buffalo

Nathan Peterman!  That’s all.

Chicago 27, Buffalo 10.

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-6.5)

Fitzmagic!  That’s all.

Carolina 37, Tampa Bay 27.

New York Jets at Miami (-3.5) 

Yuck.  Actually, at both teams’ talent level, this may actually turn out to be a whale of a game!  We just wrote about the state of the AFC East however, so we can’t pretend to be excited to watch it.  I’m sure Scotty Hanson of NFL Network will show us the requisite parts of the game on NFL Red Zone, so we can cover it all there.

Miami 23, New York Jets 16.

Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle (-1.5)

This has the makings of a good one, especially with the Seahawks at home.  That’s why we are going the way we are going here, despite the Chargers coming off a bye.

Seattle 34, Los Angeles 31.

Houston at Denver (-2.5) 

Two teams heading in different directions, I would say.  Though the Broncos kept it close enough against Kansas City last week and are at home.  However, the Texans are rolling and have had a week and a half to get ready for the thin air.

Houston 27, Denver 20.

Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans (-1.5)

14-1 combined.  Nice.  The Rams had their first real scare last week.  And if Ty Montgomery wasn’t being a baby and downed the ball in his own end zone like he was told to do by the coaches, Aaron Rodgers may have found a way to win that one.  I don’t think the Rams are going undefeated.  Here’s a pretty convenient spot for them to lose.

New Orleans 62, Los Angeles Rams 54 (ok, maybe not this high scoring, but perhaps would be fun to see?).  

Green Bay at New England (-6.5) 

I’m not sure the Packers are anything special this year.  And they are on the road in a tough place to play.  But with the Patriots’ defensive woes most assuredly far from resolved, I expect the Pack to certainly be in the game.  Plus, seems like a lot of Tom Brady’s weapons aren’t near 100%.  It will be a battle.

New England 30, Green Bay 27.

Tennessee at Dallas (-6.5)  

People made a big deal of Jason Garrett attending a World Series game during the bye week.  I’m not sure it was one.  I mean, if he stayed in Dallas, were the Cowboys somehow going to get better?  Doubtful.  These two teams appear to both be average.  But the Cowboys are at home and off a bye.  And I’m not sure the Titans can actually score much against anyone.

Dallas 23, Tennessee 13.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  62-60

Season (straight up):  77-45

Week Eight…

Good to see the Dolphins get smoked on Thursday Night Football.  That’s all…

Philadelphia (-2.5) at Jacksonville 

What the hell do we make of this one?  The Super Bowl champion Eagles have lost one more game already this year than they did all of last year.  The almost Super Bowl contestant Jaguars have dropped three ugly ones in a row and Blake Bortles continues to prove that he is no good.  I’m picking the home team here.  Oh wait, the game is in London.  Another variable.  Actually, since Jacksonville is the “leader in the clubhouse” if a team ever eventually moves across the pond, maybe they truly are the home team.  Anyway, I unfortunately have no further insight.  Anything intelligent anyway.

Jacksonville 27, Philadelphia 23.

Seattle at Detroit (-3.5)

This is the Seahawks 5th road game out of their first 7.  I just thought that was interesting.

Seattle 24, Detroit 20.

Tampa Bay at Cincinnati (-4.5)  

The Bengals got embarrassed by the Chiefs last Sunday night.  Good thing the Bucs come to town this week.  Though I cannot say either team is any good in the end.

Cincinnati 37, Tampa Bay 31.

Washington (-1.5) at New York Giants 

The Skins aren’t exactly lighting it up but are 4-2 anyway.  Normally I’d give some thought to a divisional game being close, but the G-Men appear to be mailing it in already.

Washington 27, New York Giants 16.

New York Jets at Chicago (-7.5)

The Bears came up a yard short last week against the Patriots.  I’m still wondering if they go for two if they scored on that last Hail Mary play.  That seems to be a little bit of a trend in the NFL this season.  And if they did, the Pats probably would have lost with that pathetic defense.  In any event, the Bears are probably happy the Jets are coming to town this week.

Chicago 31, New York Jets 20.

Baltimore (-1.5) at Carolina

Seems like this one is kind of a toss-up.  Of course, that is not a very bold statement, since the spread is small.  But one thing I’d bet the house on here:  that Justin Tucker hits all his extra points.

Baltimore 24, Carolina 21.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-8.5) 

I bet the Steelers are still pissed about that tie against the Browns in Week One.

Pittsburgh 41, Cleveland 24.

Denver at Kansas City (-10.5)

Another divisional game that in the past I would have given some consideration to being a close one.  Not today.

Kansas City 48, Denver 24.

Indianapolis (-3.5) at Oakland 

Indy still stinks, but Oakland is in the middle of tanking.

Indianapolis 31, Oakland 13.

Green Bay at Los Angeles Rams (-9.5)

If this game was in Green Bay, I’d consider taking the points.  But since it isn’t, I won’t.

Los Angeles Rams 41, Green Bay 31.  

San Francisco at Arizona (-1.5) 

Both teams are 1-6.  Should be a classic.  Arizona’s only win was at San Francisco a few weeks ago.  Will the Niners return the favor in the desert?  Who cares?

Arizona 20, San Francisco 17.

New Orleans at Minnesota (-1.5)  

On the flip side, these two teams are a combined 9-3-1.  It honestly doesn’t seem like either of these two teams have even hit their stride yet either.  Guess you can’t argue with wins and losses.

Minnesota 34, New Orleans 31.

New England Patriots (-13.5) at Buffalo

Derek Anderson started for the Bills last week after just signing with them a couple of weeks ago.  Predictably, he wasn’t very good.  And got dinged up a bit in the process.  Josh Allen is “the future”.  But he is hurt.  And I’m not sure how Nathan Peterman is still in the NFL.  He may be the worst QB if all time.  Nice lot of quarterbacks.  In addition, LeSean McCoy apparently has a concussion and his game status as we write this is unclear.  Tom Brady is something like 28-3 in his career against Buffalo.  Even with the Pats putrid defense, the game being in Buffalo, the possibility of no Gronk and obviously no Sony Michel, I don’t see how this game is anywhere near close.

New England 38, Buffalo 20.

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Season (against the spread):  55-53

Season (straight up):  67-41

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