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Week Eleven…

…no comments necessary to start:

Jacksonville (-7.5) at Cleveland

The Jags have beaten up on bad teams this year for the most part.  Cleveland is a bad team.

Jacksonville 27, Cleveland 13.

Tampa Bay at Miami (-2.5)

Tampa has certainly underachieved this year, but I am not sure how Miami can be favored against anyone.

Tampa Bay 23, Miami 17.

Arizona (-1.5) at Houston

Blaine Gabbert versus Tom Savage.  Ugh…

Houston 17, Arizona 14.

Washington at New Orleans (-7.5)

Spread initially seemed a little high to me, but then again the ‘Skins gave up 38 to Case Keenum last week and now have to face the explosive Saints in their dome at home.  Then the number made more sense.

New Orleans 42, Washington 24.

Kansas City (-10.5) at New York Giants

The G-Men got blasted by the previously winless 49ers last week.  It’s over…

Kansas City 37, New York Giants 10.

Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota (-2.5)  

The Rams are 7-2 and are putting up a ton of points.  Great story.  But the schedule hasn’t actually been loaded with quality opponents either.  The Vikings are 7-2 as well…and are a quality opponent.

Minnesota 27, Los Angeles Rams 24.

Baltimore (-2.5) at Green Bay

A few years ago, this would have been a marquee matchup.  Sunday?  Not so much.

Baltimore 21, Green Bay 16.

Detroit (-2.5) at Chicago 

Could be a better game than we think.  Then again, could be a snoozer too.

Detroit 27, Chicago 20.

Buffalo at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) 

Sean McDermott didn’t come to Buffalo to be 5-4.  What?!!  5-4 is AWESOME for Buffalo these days!  Tyrod Taylor is no Hall of Famer, but the switch to some dude named Nathan Peterman at this point in the season appears to be a head scratcher.

Los Angeles Chargers 20, Buffalo 10.

Cincinnati at Denver (-2.5)

I normally would have no problem picking Denver here as I would be convinced that they would turn it around and get back on track.  But 5 losses in a row and 92 points given up the last two weeks are hard to ignore.  They may be quitting on their coach on top of everything else.  But then I notice the Broncos are playing the Bengals.  Such a dilemma.

Denver 27, Cincinnati 21.  

New England (-6.5) “at” Oakland

In Mexico City.  The Pats may be hitting their stride.  I don’t know what Oakland is doing.

New England 38, Oakland 24.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at Dallas

Dallas got pasted by the Falcons last week.  The Eagles are absolutely rolling right now.  This pick won’t make any sense to anyone.  I’m still trying to figure it out.  Total gut feeling.

Dallas 31, Philadelphia 27.  

Atlanta at Seattle (-2.5)

Seattle has some injuries in their secondary.  But despite the Falcons big win at home against Dallas last week, still not buying in.

Seattle 30, Atlanta 24.

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Season (against the spread): 72-75

Season (straight up): 94-53

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Football First…

…and then John Farrell.  We will get to the Boston Red Sox manager’s firing, as well as the ineptitude during their American League Division Series loss to the Houston Astros, in due time.  But since Thursday Night Football is upon us, we need to get this pick out.

Short and sweet here though:

Philadelphia at Carolina (-3.5) 

This matchup between two 4-1 teams should be a pretty f’n awesome game…except that it is on Thursday Night Football.  Pretty much guaranteeing that it will be a dud.

Philly smoked the Cards last week, but that’s not saying much.  They had a couple of squeaker wins the previous two weeks against teams that now are a combined 1-9 (Chargers and Giants).

Carolina is coming off two consecutive road wins, against fairly good competition in the Patriots and Lions.

As Carolina is coming home now, seems to be lining up for a Panther win, no?  Nah.  Feeling Iggly for some reason.  And I really can’t give you any scientific reason why.  Again, Thursdays are kind of a crapshoot.  So this week we will celebrate that by throwing a dart against the wall.

Philadelphia 27, Carolina 24.

Week (against the spread):  8-6

Week (straight up):  9-5

Season (against the spread): 37-40

Season (straight up): 48-29

Foaming at the mouth…

So the last couple of weeks have been dominated by the Boston “winter” sports teams in this space.  There’s been plenty of other stuff going on, so I’m dumping it all here, like it or not.  Ready?  Again, in no particular order…

*One last Celtics note to start though:  About 30 seconds after posting my last piece I found out Isaiah Thomas wasn’t getting suspended for popping Dennis Schroder in Game 3.  So I guess you can disregard an entire paragraph wasted on worrying about his potential suspension.  Timing…always been a strong suit of mine…either way though, the C’s dodged a bullet there.

*If Steven Wright is still pitching this well when all the Red Sox’ injured starters come back, he better stay in the rotation.  David Price will obviously keep his spot.  Can’t see Rick Porcello and his contract go to the bullpen.  Never been a bullpen guy.  Same for Clay Buchholz.  Eduardo Rodriguez is a starter and you want that youth and potential ace material in the rotation.  But if they try to stick Joe Kelly back in the rotation at Wright’s expense…ugh.  Of course, Wright could suck by then.  And there is the strong likelihood that Bucky will get hurt anyway.  So the solution will probably sort itself out.  Surely with no help from John Farrell though.

*Speaking of Price, I am not worried about him at this point.  But I can say it was pretty disturbing to cough up a 5-1 first inning lead against a team whose lineup is absolutely putrid.  Especially since I witnessed it live.

*Along the same lines as Wright getting yanked around all the time despite pitching well, may I present you…Heath Hembree?  Same deal.  These two guys always seem to get outs when given the chance, only to be the first guys discarded because they have options or whatever other reason.  I know, I know, it’s not like they have had a long run of success in the majors.  And maybe they don’t always pitch in high leverage situations, especially Hembree out of the ‘pen.  But have you seen enough of guys like Noe Ramirez?  Seems like that dude has pitched in every game this year…and not exactly that well.  Matt Barnes?  Tommy Layne?  Why don’t teams always just go with guys that actually, you know, get outs?  I get it…contracts, options, whatever…but isn’t the goal to win?

*Another thing likely no one cares about:  Edwin Escobar got designated for assignment this week by the Sox.  Who is Edwin Escobar, you ask?  Well, he and Hembree were the return in the trade of Jake Peavy in 2014.  Escobar was thought of as having some decent potential at the time.  He just turned 24 and is LEFT-HANDED.  That’s kind of the key here.  I have absolutely no idea if he can pitch at the major league level.  But was it really necessary to DFA him in favor of William Cuevas?  Who is Cuevas, you ask?  A right-handed pitcher that is older for one.  But seems to be just another guy from what I can see.

I’d rather keep the lefty around to see if he’s anything.  Plus, there wasn’t another 40-man roster move available if you wanted Cuevas up so bad?  60 day DL for someone (Panda perhaps, since they don’t want him around anyway)?  DFA Bryce Brentz (outfielder that hasn’t developed and is now playing in AA as a 27-year-old)?  Or just call up Roenis Elias in the first place, since he was on the 40-man roster already?  Ok, that’s probably a lot of words for something only I care about.  But still…

*Dominique Easley was surprisingly released by the Patriots about 10 days ago.  No one saw this coming…or would admit to it anyway.  You see, these beat writers know a lot more than they can actually tell us.  If they spilled the real story, they’d likely lose their sources of information.  And then eventually, quite possibly their jobs, since they couldn’t provide anything at all to their readers.  Trust me, I get it.  But it’s frustrating nonetheless.

So in the meantime, we are told a bunch of things:  “He has the knees of a 40-year old.”  “There is a pending lawsuit against him for his dog biting someone.”  “The team didn’t like that he couldn’t practice immediately as a rookie, due to dog-related injuries.”  “He was a locker room cancer.”  “There is no one reason he got released.”  “The team and the player had a difference of opinion on how to rehab his injuries.”  Etc.

Maybe it was a combination of all of these and the “cancer” thing was the icing on the cake.  I’m betting there is even more to the story.  Easley will count more against the salary cap this year now than if he was still on the team.  Hard to believe they would dump him if it was just a concern about rehabbing injuries.  And if his knees were that bad, they could again stash him on injured reserve at a lesser cost.

Easley looked like he could play a bit when he was on the field.  He is still young overall, despite the knees.  Then he went unclaimed on waivers.  Yup, definitely more to that story.

*Couple of big trades in the NFL with the draft coming up.  The Tennessee Titans traded the number one pick overall, and a couple of other picks, to the Los Angeles Rams for Vince Ferragamo…er, oops, I mean a slew of high draft picks.  Great deal for the Titans.  The Rams?  Maybe they should have kept their pick a few years back and taken Robert Griffin III?

The Cleveland Browns traded the number two overall pick (and one other pick) to the Philadelphia Eagles for another slew of picks.  Although the Browns can’t possibly be sold on the aforementioned RG III as their QB of the future, they need help all over the field, so it’s probably a good deal for them.  The Eagles?  Mystifying.

Philly already locked up Sam Bradford for huge dough…albeit for only 2 years.  And claimed they are not trading him and he will be the starter this year.  They also signed Chase Daniel to a pretty pricey backup deal…and he isn’t even any good.  Now they are going to take either Jared Goff or Carson Wentz as well?

Furthermore, when did Goff and Wentz become even Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota?  I’m no college football expert.  Looking at the numbers, Goff looks like he had a decent career.  But Wentz played at North Dakota State and seemingly came out of nowhere.  Not a whole hell of a lot accomplished in college either it seems.  Kind of a gamble dealing several picks for the chance to take him, no?  QB’s are always a gamble.  But they’d better hope this isn’t like 2011, where Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder went 8, 1o & 12 (yikes!) because QB-needy teams panicked and took them all waaaaaay too early.

It’s interesting also to look back at the times QB’s were drafted 1 and 2, one of them usually had a long career and the other?  Not so much.  (1971-Jim Plunkett/Archie Manning, 1993-Drew Bledsoe/Rick Mirer, 1998-Peyton Manning/Ryan Leaf, 1999-Tim Couch/Donovan McNabb…and maybe still too early to tell on 2012-Andrew Luck/RG III and 2015-Winston/Mariota).  Every pick in any draft is a gamble of course.  Just seemed like a lot to give up for the Rams and specifically, the Eagles.

That’s enough for now…but nope…I am far from done…

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