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Seeing Ghosts…

…well…I am not, but New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold did on Monday Night Football.

Truth be told, all QBs see ghosts from time to time.  It’s just unfortunate for him that they miked him up, he said it to his coach, ESPN then broadcast it and now the whole world knows.

Like they couldn’t tell though.

I feel a bit bad for the kid because he probably wasn’t the one who should have been miked up, in my opinion.  Maybe a long time vet on the team should have.  But he is the quarterback.  Then again, I cannot believe that NFL Films, or whoever is in charge, approved it for airing.  Usually, all the miked up stuff we see on TV is just a ton of innocuous stuff.  Pretty much nothing of substance.  So no one looks bad.

Did Darnold truly look bad from that comment?  I am not so sure.  It was obvious he was having a bad night.  He just confirmed it through the microphone.  Every QB has one of those days, especially the young and inexperienced ones.  No matter how great they may eventually become.  It probably shouldn’t be held against him honestly.

But yeah, the New England Patriot defense was swarming Monday night and neither Darnold nor the J-E-T-S had any kind of answers.  Specifically Adam Gase, the Jets head coach.  It was like they weren’t even prepared for the game.

Kind of embarrassing.  But I do find it hard to believe that they weren’t prepared.  As bad as some teams can be, they are all still professionals.

Maybe they were just reading their press clippings from the week before when they beat the Dallas Cowboys in Sammy’s return from a multi week absence due to mononucleosis.  He looked good and the offense looked a whole lot better than under Luke Falk (not hard, by the way).

But did they think they had turned a corner and were actually…good?

I don’t know what it was.  But the Pats defense, of course, had something to do with it as well.  What a run they are on.

Then again, I am not sure they have played anyone yet even close to being good.  And yes, I am including the Buffalo Bills, despite their 5-1 record.

Speaking of these bad teams, is it me, or are there an inordinate amount of horrific teams in the league this season?

There’s always a few that are particularly wretched, but this year seems to take the cake.  Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Broncos, Giants, Redskins, Buccaneers, Falcons…and maybe we have to include the Steelers since they lost Big Ben and the Chargers, who have woefully underachieved thus far this year.

That’s a lot of teams.  That have ZERO chance of doing anything this year.  And perhaps for several years.

Just seems like a lot more bum teams around the league than in recent history.  That’s all.

Couple of Patriot thoughts:

*A second round pick for Mohamed Sanu seems a little steep.  But Emmanuel Sanders went to San Fran later in the day for a third and a 4th/5th round pick swap.  Sanders is a free agent after this year, while Sanu has one more year on his deal.  So maybe a 2nd rounder is appropriate.  2 first rounders and a fourth the Rams paid for Jalen Ramsey it was not.  Though I suppose we are talking about apples and oranges there.

But ultimately, does the team NEED Sanu?  After all, Jakobi Meyers has performed well in the last couple of weeks and has seemed to have earned Tom Brady’s trust.  And that is hard to do.  N’Keal Harry has started practicing again and is due to be activated.  They’ve already designated him as one of their two players to return from injured reserve.  Seems to be a waste if they don’t play him.  Though…may I present you cornerback Duke Dawson from 2018.  Came off IR and was a healthy scratch the rest of the way.

Plus Josh Gordon is coming back too, right?  Right?!  Ummmmm…curious case with him now.  He was placed on injured reserve yesterday.  Then reports came out that his injury wasn’t serious and that he will be waived at some point.  And then free to sign with any team.

WHAAAAAT?!!

I know, he’s been banged up this season and not very productive when he has been on the field.  Still…suspicious.

Stay tuned.  Hope some of the Patriot beat writers can come up with something here.  Because there is definitely more to this story.

But as for needing Sanu?  It can’t hurt to add more weapons.  He supposedly is more of a slot guy, so maybe he can take some of the burden off Julian Edelman…who we know is still nursing some sort of rib/chest injury.  Sanu also apparently doesn’t drop the ball.  Sounds like a guy that can fit into the system pretty well.  No complaints about going to get him from this guy.

*I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:  Bill still needs to get some more offensive line help.  There is time.  But there still is a huge need here.

*Does Michael Bennett factor into that?  Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Bennett was reinstated from his suspension and did not sound overjoyed about what was going on still.

Doesn’t sound like a guy that is going to all of a sudden buy into “the Patriot Way”.  Have to imagine he will be gone over the next week.  And maybe just for a bag of footballs, since every other team knows this.

Ok, enough of that…on to this potential barnburner tonight!

Wahington at Minnesota (-15.5)

Fifteen and a half is a huge spread for a game where both teams have a short week.  But, as noted above, the ‘Skins are a truly terrible team.  They also have injuries all over the place.  Receiver Adam Thielen will miss the game for the Vikes, but my sense is that they won’t need him.  The team woke up a few weeks ago, maybe it was more than just criticizing the QB, Kirk Cousins.  But they are rolling any way you slice it.  And will be playing at home.  That all may just be enough.

Minnesota 38, Washington 17.

Week (against the spread):  7-7

Week (straight up):  9-5

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  3-4

Season (against the spread):  53-53

Season (straight up):  68-38

Week Five…

…started off with the second straight Thursday Night game that went down to the wire.  How about that?!

The Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks apparently played a barnburner, though we didn’t actually see much of it.  Because the Seahawks were wearing those hideous uniforms, we didn’t have the desire to even put the game on.

Ha!  No, not really.

Just with the Boston Bruins opening up their season and the MLB playoffs gearing up, without three or four sets of eyeballs, you imagine it may be hard to focus on one sporting event.

Just know that if it was the New England Patriots, we would have watched the whole game.  Maybe the next day, but still.

In any event, I hope this is a trend of the Thursday games meaning something.

Oh, and I actually did see Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein miss a 44 yarder to put the nail in the coffin of the Rams L.

The Rams’ “Big Z” is one of the better ones out there.  And most people around here wanted Stephen Gostkowski gone for quite some time now.  Once again I implore you to be careful what you wish for.

Best of luck, Mike Nugent.

New England Patriots (-15.5) at Washington 

I have no idea why Redskins coach Jay Gruden named his starting QB yesterday.  Gruden tabbed Colt McCoy for Sunday’s tilt.  I can’t say we should be surprised, because Case Keenum is still hurt and we all know Gruden doesn’t want to start Dwayne Haskins (didn’t help that he was putrid in relief of Keenum last week).  And that he loves McCoy.  But why not keep the Pats guessing up until game time?  Wait…I suppose it doesn’t matter.  Nevermind.

New England Patriots 41, Washington 9.  

Tampa Bay at New Orleans (-3.5)

Are the Bucs for real?  Not feeling it.  Yet.

New Orleans Saints 27, Tampa Bay 23.

Minnesota (-4.5) at New York Giants

The Vikings passing game sucks right now.  Hard to figure, with the weapons it has.  I know the coaches, specifically the new Offensive Coordinator, are trying to make the running game the center of the offense.  Which isn’t horrible I guess either, when you have someone like Dalvin Cook.  Though, you know, the NFL is now a passing league.  But I’m not the head coach I guess.  Anyway, realistically, even with the emergence of the Giants’ new kid QB Daniel Jones, the Vikings should win this game.  But I heard a stat the other day that was quite disturbing.  And I wish I could remember it exactly.  Or find it somewhere on the interwebs.  And I can’t do either.  Something about the Vikings being 0-12-1 or something as road favorites on the East Coast under head coach Mike Zimmer.  But don’t quote me exactly.  In any event, for better or for worse, it was at that exact moment I decided to take the G-Men in this game.

New York Giants 24, Minnesota 20.

Chicago (-4.5) at Oakland 

Does Chase Daniel give the Bears a better chance to win than Mitchell Trubisky?  Something to think about.

Chicago 23, Oakland 13.

Jacksonville at Carolina (-3.5)

Gardner Minshew vs Kyle Allen!!  Who had this one circled on their calendars in the preseason?!  Both have played well, give the backups credit for that for sure.  Who do you like better?  Side note, the Panthers lost the first two at home and won their last two on the road.  Weird.  Does that trend continue?

Carolina 24, Jacksonville 23.

New York Jets at Philadelphia (-13.5)

Luke Falk is still there.  ‘Nuff said.

Philadelphia 34, New York Jets 10.  Lock of the week.

Arizona at Cincinnati (-4.5) 

0-7-1 combined.  Ugh.  I have nothing to actually say about this game.  If I did, would you care?

Cincinnati 17, Arizona 14.  

Buffalo at Tennessee (-2.5) 

Similar to Daniel/Trubisky discussed above, does Matt Barkley give the Bills a better chance to win than Josh Allen?  As bad as Allen has looked, it’s hard for me to believe that one.  As we write this, Allen still has a chance to play.  Either way, the prediction will remain the same.

Tennessee 19, Buffalo 12.

Atlanta at Houston (-4.5)

The entire AFC South is 2-2.  Seems to me the Texans should be better.  Their games are always close, whatever that means.  Their 4 games have been decided by a combined 16 points.  With Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn on the hot seat, can the Falcons keep this one close to steal it in the end?  0-2 on the road already, my guess is a hearty “no”.  Probably time for a change in Atlanta.  And the Texans need this one with road games against the Chiefs and Colts up next on the slate.

Houston 31, Atlanta 17. 

Baltimore (-4.5) at Pittsburgh

Nice win by Steelers last Monday night.  But the Bengals are…really bad.  I can’t put a whole lot of stock in that win.  Besides, in the parts of the game I was able to see, Steeler quarterback Mason Rudolph seemingly only threw to the running backs.  With an occasional toss to a tight end.  That’s probably not gonna cut it against the Ravens.

Baltimore 34, Pittsburgh 20.

Denver at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)

I thought the Broncos were pretty bad and they are 0-4.  But their 4 combined losses are by 23 points.  And you would think a divisional game would also be close.  I’m not thinking that way in this one however.  Joe Flacco looks like a shell of himself.  And he wasn’t even that great in the first place.

Los Angeles Chargers 31, Denver 16.  

Green Bay at Dallas (-3.5)

Pair of 3-1 teams hooking up here.  Wide receiver Davante Adams is out for the Packers.  Things are probably lining up for everyone to pick the 3-1 team that is home.  But the Cowboys opened up against the Redskins, Giants (Eli Manning’s Giants) and the Dolphins.  Fairly easy to go 3-0 against those squads.  Then once they played a real team. they lost.  Sure the Saints game was on the road.  But it was also against their backup QB.  I’m not buying in on this Cowboy team…yet.  Remember, their coach is still Jason Garrett.

Green Bay 27, Dallas 24.

Indianapolis at Kansas City (-10.5)

The Chiefs had a scare last week on the road against the Lions, of all teams.  The Colts didn’t look so hot against the Oakland Raiders, of all teams.  The Colts are also missing a ton of players.  Not ideal for a trip to Arrowhead.

Kansas City 38, Indianapolis 17.  

Cleveland at San Francisco (-3.5)

Baker Mayfield vs Jimmy Football!!!  It’s actually an intriguing Monday Night Football matchup.  This time slot has been atrocious this season, so let’s hope it actually something worth watching.  I’m not sure I am buying into either one of these teams as of yet.  The Browns are off to an inconsistent start and while the Niners are 3-0, they haven’t really played anyone.  The fact that SF is coming off a bye and is at home is what I am looking at right here though for this one.  And I think the Niner coach is much better at his job than the Brown coach, for whatever that may be worth.

San Francisco 31, Cleveland 27.

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  0-1

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  2-2

Season (against the spread):  33-31

Season (straight up):  43-21

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

So we are up to the annual Turkey Day games.  The New England Patriots had a bye this past week…so nothing to talk about there.  We could talk about that Monday Night Football instant classic between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.  Wow…what a game!  Old school fans will probably tell you that the game was a joke, with all the offense and guys running wide open all over the place.  That it was an Arena Football League-type game.

And they may be right.  But you know what?  Who cares!

Very entertaining game.  And in today’s NFL, where you can’t breathe on either the quarterbacks or wide receivers, get used to it…especially if you don’t like it.  Since this will be more of the same as the weeks and years go on.  Offense at an all-time high.  And I’m ok with it.

Let’s see if these two teams have a rematch in the Super Bowl.  If the Pats can’t get there, sign me up for this kind of shootout in February.

As for the picks?  The Blowhard may have learned their lesson.  Only completely sober picks from here on in.  Last week’s record is quite embarrassing.  I blame the mai tais.  It’s ALWAYS their fault, regardless of the situation.

Chicago (-4.5) at Detroit

As of this writing, it appears Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky may not play.  Trubisky isn’t exactly a Hall of Famer at this point in his career.  But he may be compared to his backup, Chase Daniel.  The Lions had a nice win last week (thanks Cam Newton!) and of course host the annual Thanksgiving game.  That counts for a little something.  The Lions kind of need this one to stay in the playoff mix as well.

Detroit 24, Chicago 17.  

Washington at Dallas (-7.5) 

Another team with its QB missing…though the ‘Skins will be missing theirs a little longer.  What with Alex Smith’s gruesome injury last week.  I can’t believe that it was 33 years to the day after Joe Theismann’s own gruesome injury.  Same team.  Other coincidences include each QB’s Pro Bowl left tackle missed the game, it happened around the same yard line and in both cases, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was involved in the play, the only three-time winners (Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt).  The final score of the game had the same two numbers.  There are probably other similarities if one was to dig deeper.  But that is F’ing CRAZY!  As for the game, the spread seems a bit high regardless of the Smith injury.  The Cowboys have been inconsistent after all.  But does anyone have any confidence in Colt McCoy?  Nope.  And if he goes down…Mark Sanchez?!  Yup…

Dallas 27, Washington 13.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-13.5)

The Saints are right up there with the Rams and the Chiefs.  They demolished the defending champs last week.  Though the Philadelphia Eagles stink this year.  I hope Lane Johnson is having fun though!  Speaking of teams that stink…the Falcons!

New Orleans 38, Atlanta 24.  

Week (against the spread):  6-7

Week (straight up):  6-7

Season (against the spread):  85-76

Season (straight up):  100-61

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