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Week Nine…

…so if anyone actually reads this blog, my sense is that the lengthy Red Sox piece posted yesterday forces me to keep this column to a bare minimum:

Houston (-2.5) at Jacksonville

The Jags have been better than I thought, especially since Gardner Minshew II was forced to take over after the injury to expensive free agent Nick Foles.  And only lost to the Texans in Houston by a mere point in Week Two.  But the reality is that their 4 wins have come against the Titans, Broncos, Bengals and Jets.  I don’t know if the Texans feel the J.J. Watt loss this week.

Houston 24, Jacksonville 13.  

Minnesota at Kansas City (-2.5)

We still don’t know at this point whether Patrick Mahomes is playing or not.  And the Vikings will have had about ten days to prepare for this one.  Either way, the Chiefs can’t fall to 1-4 at Arrowhead, can they?

Kansas City 27, Minnesota 24.

New York Jets (-5.5) at Miami

Who is looking forward to this one?!

New York Jets 17, Miami 14.

Indianapolis (-0.5) at Pittsburgh

The Colts were unimpressive last week against the Broncos.  The Steelers had a nice comeback Monday…but…Miami.  The Steelers could really use this one.  But I cannot say they will get it.

Indianapolis 24, Pittsburgh 20.  

Chicago at Philadelphia (-4.5)

Two underachievers here.  But Mitch Trubisky isn’t underachieving.  He just appears to be awful.  And yes I am mad that the Bears cost me an undefeated week on the “straight up” picks last week.

Philadelphia 31, Chicago 17.  

Tennessee at Carolina (-3.5)

Kyle Allen came crashing back to Earth last week.  And I have no idea which Titans squad will show up.  That’s why we just go with the home team I guess.  Allen should be greater than Ryan Tannehill, no?

Carolina 20, Tennessee 16.  

Washington at Buffalo (-9.5) 

Another huge spread in the Bills; favor?  This time, they can do it!!

Buffalo 21, Washington 10.  

Tampa Bay at Seattle (-6.5)

I just read that Tampa coach Bruce Arians has the best record of any visiting coach in Seattle during the Pete Carroll era.  I’m not changing my mind on my initial thought, however.

Seattle 34, Tampa Bay 23.  Lock of the week.

Detroit at Oakland (-2.5)

I’m not interested in either of these teams.

Detroit 27, Oakland 24.

Cleveland (-2.5) at Denver

As mediocre (bad?) the Browns have been, the Broncos have been worse.  And Denver is starting something called Brandon Allen at quarterback this week.

Cleveland 34, Denver 16.  

Green Bay (-3.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

The Pack is rolling and LA should be 2-6.  Good enough for me.

Green Bay 38, Los Angeles Chargers 24.

New England (-3.5) at Baltimore

The first real test for the Patriots this season.  5-2 Ravens on the road.  Pats have historically had trouble with running QBs, of which Lamar Jackson is.  The Ravens don’t appear to have as good a defense as they historically have had.  But this promises to be a close one.  Let’s hope the Pats don’t have to turn to Nick Folk.  At all actually.

New England 21, Baltimore 20.  

Dallas (-7.5) at New York Giants

The Cowboys are coming off a bye and the G-Men have lost four in a row.  But something still tells me this will be closer than we think.

Dallas 31, New York Giants 27.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  1-0

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  4-4

Season (against the spread):  61-61

Season (straight up):  83-39

Patriots Trade Deadline Reaction

So the New England Patriots didn’t do anything significant prior to this past Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Well, other than unloading Michael Bennett about a week ago.  Said last week he would likely be traded for a bag of footballs and…he was.  It’s too bad he never bought into the program.  Because my sense is that the team could use him at some point down the road.  But it appeared he was going to continue to be a distraction, so addition by subtraction seemed to be the only answer.  Oh well.

As for the period right before the deadline?  We were a little disappointed that no more offensive line help was brought in.  I can live with what the team has at tight end and wide receiver, despite everyone clamoring for more help there.

But the offensive line is a mess.  This has been absolutely no secret.

Marshall Newhouse is a disaster, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon have not played well this year, and Mason missed the last game with an injury.  Ted Karras seems to be a capable backup, but because of David Andrews’ health situation, he now is the starting center.  And hasn’t been great.  James Ferentz started for Mason last week and this is not a positive thing.  He’s been in the league for like six years, this was his first start, and he was actually cut in camp and not picked up by anyone for a little bit until the Pats came calling back.  I think he’s been cut plenty of times by the Pats and never wanted elsewhere.

You want more?  The team traded picks for Jermaine Eluemunor and Korey Cunningham late in camp.  Cunningham can’t even sniff the field.  Eluemunor has barely played.  How can they not be better than Newhouse and Ferentz??

Isaiah Wynn is on track to return in a few weeks.  But are people overrating this?  He has missed the better part of the last season and a half.  Does he have talent?  Sure.  But how do we know he is truly any good?

He can’t hurt I suppose.

But it would have been nice to see a major move along the line.  And I’m not even talking about Trent Williams from Washington specifically.  But…SOMEONE.

Usually, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and the Pats figure it out by the end of the season.

But this feels different.

In other news:

*The weather was bad Sunday, but thankfully the Cleveland Browns puked on themselves a little bit as well.

The game was closer than it should have been.  And once again the Pats jumped out to a big lead but never really put the game away.

Don’t get me wrong, I was at the game and never felt like the Pats would lose.  But they should have scored over 40 in this one.

Part of that goes back to the offensive line.  The running backs simply have no holes.

The Pats would prefer (as most teams would) that once they get a nice lead, start leaning on the running game to eat clock and get out of there.

But they haven’t been able to do that.

Also, make no mistake that Sony Michel is part of the problem.  As a first round pick, you would think that he could make something out of nothing more often.  But he simply never does that.

I mean, most running backs just take what is given them.  But the great ones get more.

The expectations are kind of high, but you would think a first round running back would be on track to be “great”.

But maybe that’s just me.

*Mike Nugent gets released and Nick Folk replaces him.

You Gostkowski haters happy now?

I’ve been saying it forever (or at least since Gostkowski started a bit of a decline).  “Be careful what you wish for”.

Gostkowski may not have been as accurate in recent years.  And he was bad this year before he landed on injured reserve.

But Nugent stunk.  Folk does stink…and he will prove that to us again.

Folk will not be the last kicker for New England this year.  Take that to the bank.

Let’s just hope this doesn’t cost the team when it matters.

Who would have thought that the kicker would possibly be more of a concern than the offensive line or any other position?

As for tonight’s game:

San Francisco (-9.5) at Arizona

I’ll say it again:  divisional games on Thursday can be hard to predict.  Cop out when we lose the pick again?  Perhaps.  But the short week has an effect, no doubt.  The Vikings should have hammered the Redskins last Thursday night.  But they won by only 10.  And Minnesota was at home.  That being said, it’s going to be hard to take the Cards here.  The Niners have given up 77 points in 7 games.  AZ has given up 223, third most in the league.  The Cards will likely be without star running back David Johnson and his backup, Chase Edmonds, will also be out.  Kenyan Drake to the rescue?  Doubtful.  San Fran looks like a wagon right now.  So the short week may not actually mean a thing this week.

San Francisco 34, Arizona 13.

Week (against the spread):  8-7

Week (straight up):  14-1

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  4-4

Season (against the spread):  61-60

Season (straight up):  82-39

Week Eight…

Since the Thursday Night Football loss put the Blowhard under .500 for the year against the spread, we are a little sour.

So here comes a speed round:

Denver at Indianapolis (-6.5)

Not sure the extra 3 days off helped Joe Flacco’s speed or mobility.

Indianapolis 27, Denver 13.  

Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago (-4.5)

I thought the Chargers were supposed to be good.  Now they are looking at 2-6?

Chicago 23, Los Angeles Chargers 17.

Seattle (-3.5) at Atlanta

I hear Matt Ryan is trying to play.  Does it matter?

Seattle 41, Atlanta 14.

New York Jets at Jacksonville (-5.5)

I actually think the Jets and Sam Darnold will bounce back a little bit this week.

Jacksonville 24, New York Jets 20.

Arizona at New Orleans (-9.5)

Drew Brees may play this week.  Looks like Alvin Kamara possibly too.  David Johnson also for the Cards perhaps.  Maybe Kyler Murray keeps it close this week anyway?

New Orleans 31, Arizona 27.  

Philadelphia at Buffalo (-1.5)

Philly can’t be this bad, right?  No way the Bills are this good, that much is for sure.

Philadelphia 24, Buffalo 16.  

Cincinnati at Los Angeles Rams (-12.5) 

Maybe the Bengals should have kept Marvin Lewis?

Los Angeles Rams 44, Cincinnati 10.  Lock of the week.

Tampa Bay at Tennessee (-2.5)

Don’t have any idea.

Tennessee 23, Tampa Bay 20. 

New York Giants at Detroit (-7.5)

When is the last time the Lions were favored by seven and a half?

Detroit 27, New York Giants 13.

Carolina at San Francisco (-5.5)

Panthers have won four in a row, Niners six.  Something’s gotta give.

San Francisco 30, Carolina 17.  

Cleveland at New England (-12.5)

I keep waiting for a team to score some points against the Pats.  The Browns are the best offense…by FAR…that the Patriots have faced this season, even at 2-4 as an overall team.  Cleveland is coming off a bye week.  Is this the week the Pats D cracks a little?

New England 31, Cleveland 17.

Oakland at Houston (-6.5)

The Raiders still stink.

Houston 31, Oakland 20.  

Green Bay (-4.5) at Kansas City

Patrick Mahomes has been ruled out.  That’s enough for me, despite being at home.

Green Bay 34, Kansas City 24.

Miami at Pittsburgh (-14.5)

Spread seems a little high but that doesn’t mean the Steelers will lose.  Mason Rudolph or Devin Hodges.

Pittsburgh 27, Miami 20.

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  1-0

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  3-4

Season (against the spread):  53-54

Season (straight up):  69-38

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