…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
It’s way too early to pick all the games for the week. But it’s a Holiday week. So here is my short and sweet Holiday edition…Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Minnesota (-2.5) at Detroit
The Vikings coaches have been waiting for a chance to replace the hot Case Keenum at QB. Teddy Bridgewater has returned from injury after about a year and a half on the shelf. This may be the week.
Detroit 27, Minnesota 24.
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas (-1.5)
The Cowboys have scored 16 total points the last two weeks against the Falcons and Eagles. I have to imagine this will change on Turkey Day. Jerry Jones is indeed a big turkey, but still…
Dallas 30, Los Angeles Chargers 21.
New York Giants at Washington (-7.5)
Nice win by the Giants over Kansas City Sunday. But I’m saying that was more about the Chiefs not being as good as everyone thinks they are, than the Giants all of a sudden trending back up. The ‘Skins did choke their game away against New Orleans, but I think they rebound here.
Washington 38, New York Giants 13.
Buffalo at Kansas City (-9.5)
I expect KC to rebound, but 9.5 is too high. I’m assuming the Bills are going back to Tyrod Taylor. Don’t they have to? If they go back to Taylor, the feeling here is Buffalo keeps it somewhat close…cuz again, the Chiefs are overrated. If somehow they stick with Nathan Peterman, the Chiefs may win by a hundred.
Kansas City 27, Buffalo 20.
Tennessee (-3.5) at Indianapolis
The Titans have had 10 days to prepare, the Colts 14. Coincidentally, they both lost their previous game to the Steelers. The Colts only lost by three, while the Titans got hammered. Jacoby Brissett I think is expected to play. Not that he makes a huge difference, but he’s a lot better than Scott Tolzien. Indy is at home, but Tennesee is the better team. I think.
Tennessee 23, Indianapolis 17.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-8.5)
Cleveland is 0-10, but have hung around a lot of their games before collapsing at the end. Cincy shouldn’t be favored by this much over anyone, even if the opponents are 0-10.
Cincinnati 20, Cleveland 14.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-8.5)
I thought Atlanta was done. Perhaps I was wrong.
Atlanta 34, Tampa Bay 17.
Miami at New England (-16.5)
The Pats should roll. But I’m wary of them coming back home after two weeks…and two dominant victories…and getting a little too comfy. I’m probably wrong, but 16.5 seems like a lot.
New England 27, Miami 13.
Chicago at Philadelphia (-13.5)
13.5 is also a lot. But the Eagles are clicking on all cylinders right now and I don’t feel like the Bears will put up much of a fight.
Philadelphia 34, Chicago 17.
Carolina (-4.5) at New York Jets
I’ll pretty much always pick against the Jets. That it’s only 4.5 points makes it even easier.
Carolina 31, New York Jets 17.
Seattle (-7.5) at San Francisco
The Seahawks are banged up on D and the O-Line and have zero running game. Hard to believe any of this will matter against the Niners. Hopefully, we will get to see the debut of Jimmy Garoppolo though. That’s something to watch for anyway.
Seattle 34, San Francisco 14.
New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
The Rams played a good team last Sunday in Minnesota and were shut down. The Saints came back against the ‘Skins, as noted above. The Saints have won eight in a row now. This week, it’s the Saints’ turn to get shut down…a little anyway. I still can’t believe these teams are a combined 15-5 this year.
Los Angeles Rams 30, New Orleans 27.
Jacksonville (-4.5) at Arizona
Blaine Gabbert everyone! The Jaguars defense has given up 24 fewer points than anyone else in the league. So why am I going against the 7-3 Jaguars this week? Maybe because I am writing this on a Tuesday…
Arizona 20, Jacksonville 17.
Denver at Oakland (-4.5)
Two teams that have imploded this year, so who do you pick? Two words will guide you: Paxton Lynch.
Oakland 24, Denver 13.
Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-14.5)
The Pack have obviously not been the same since Aaron Rodgers went down. Brett Hundley has not looked good…an understatement, I know. They have injuries elsewhere. The Steelers routed the Titans and have had 10 days between games. But they haven’t actually blown a ton of teams away en route to their 8-2 record. 14.5 seems like a lot here, but again, simply a hunch.
Pittsburgh 31, Green Bay 17.
Houston at Baltimore (-7.5)
Not buying into the Ravens. Even at home against the Texans. I guess they will still actually win the game though.
Baltimore 17, Houston 14.
Week (against the spread): 9-5
Week (straight up): 10-4
Season (against the spread): 80-80
Season (straight up): 103-57