…Ok, let’s start out with an apology. Thursday I wrote that the Patriots would not need tight end Ben Watson.
Looks like I was wrong.
Sure, I’d love to see if the younger guys like Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo can be something in the future. But man, Izzo doesn’t look like he can block anyone. And LaCosse keeps getting hurt…or at least keeps on reinjuring what he had previously hurt. No difference to me in the end. That being said, it doesn’t look like he can block anyone either.
And when your offensive line is, well, offensive, that’s not what you need from a tight end.
There’s probably a way you can have all three on the roster…or put LaCosse out of his misery already and stash him on injured reserve for the rest of the year.
But now they may need MORE than one body there. There have been calls to get free agent TE Dwayne Allen back. Yikes! Whoda thunk it would come to that?
But it may have.
It is still relatively early in the season. These games against garbage teams may have allowed for some experimentation. Also, we know they will make a move or three before the trade deadline.
So I am not going to get all crazy about the state of the offense.
I will say it was encouraging to see Jakobi Meyers get into the mix. He made four mostly difficult catches (and had a fifth wiped away on a penalty elsewhere on the field). Hope Tom Brady took notice.
It was nice to see Gunner O-SHEF-SKIIIII make a couple of grabs as well. But I’d honestly prefer to keep him on punt returns only. Just use him at receiver in “break glass in case of emergency” cases…like Thursday night.
Either way, we will put that one in the books and await another tomato can in Week 7…the New York J-E-T-S! Sammy Darnold will be back. But I’m guessing that won’t really matter much.
As for the rest of the slate:
Carolina (-2.5) at Tampa Bay
Just when the masses thought Bruce Arians was on his way to successfully rehabbing Jameis Winston, the QB threw up on himself last week against the Saints. Kyle Allen has helped breathe new life into the Panthers, along with Christian McCaffrey. Tough to pick the road team in a divisional game for two about average teams. But…
Carolina 34, Tampa Bay 27.
New Orleans at Jacksonville (-1.5)
Not sure I understand the spread on this one. Sure, it’s Teddy Bridgewater and not Drew Brees. And Gardner Minshew has played well. And the Saints are on the road. But New Orleans is the underdog? Vegas usually calls these things pretty well overall. But this one…I don’t see it.
New Orleans 27, Jacksonville 17.
Philadelphia at Minnesota (-2.5)
Kirk Cousins keeps taking shots from people, off the field I mean. He may not be the best QB in the league. And he probably doesn’t deserve that huge contract (really, who does though?!). But if someone offered that dough to you, would you say “no”? Nope. And he is far from the worst quarterback in the league. This should be an entertaining matchup between two 3-2 teams that are pretty good. Seems like a good time to just go with the home team.
Minnesota 24, Philadelphia 21.
Houston at Kansas City (-5.5)
The Texans put up 53 last week in a win against the Falcons. The Chiefs only 13 in a loss to the Colts. That broke a fairly long streak of scoring over 25 points in a game for the Chiefs. I’m wondering if those above scenarios will be flipped this week?
Kansas City 41, Houston 27.
Cincinnati at Baltimore (-11.5)
Some of the double digit spreads haven’t seemed to work out this season across the NFL. Seems like a high number for a divisional game. But the Ravens being at home tilt the scale over to the favorite for me here. Plus, the Bengals stink. That doesn’t hurt.
Baltimore 31, Cincinnati 16.
Seattle at Cleveland (-2.5)
Seattle 34, Cleveland 31.
Washington (-3.5) at Miami
Will anyone attend the game? Will anyone watch…if it is even on any TV station?
Washington 13, Miami 7.
Atlanta at Arizona (-1.5)
Another yawner. Except perhaps for the occasional Kyler Murray play.
Atlanta 23, Arizona 17.
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams (-4.5)
Todd Gurley is out? Who cares? Did you all see what C.J. Anderson did in relief of Gurley last year? Despite being cut by a few teams and mostly being out of the league for the season? The Niners seem to be a pretty good team. But this one takes Jimmy Football and crew back to Earth at least temporarily.
Los Angeles Rams 34, San Francisco 24.
Dallas (-8.5) at New York Jets
The Luke Falk era is mercifully over. He couldn’t even stick on the roster as he was waived today. As mentioned above, Sam Darnold is back. Not sure that means much. The Cowboys have lost two in a row to good teams, after winning their first three against three dregs of the league. Here comes another dreg.
Dallas 37, New York Jets 17. Lock of the week.
Tennessee at Denver (-2.5)
Can’t figure out these Titans. But they are better than the Broncos. Aren’t they? Denver shocked most with a win at the Chargers last week. But that might be their high water mark of the season, to be brutally honest.
Tennessee 17, Denver 10.
Pittsburgh at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
Devlin Hodges. ‘Nuff said.
Los Angeles Chargers 27, Pittsburgh 12.
Detroit at Green Bay (-4.5)
Welp, maybe we find out if the Lions are for real here. Any team coming off a bye usually gets extra credit from me. But…I simply cannot do it. The bye is nice. And I’m happy Matty Patricia and his team are off to a nice start. The Lions have tied a bad Cardinal team, barely beat a (now we realize) a subpar Charger team, had a good win against the Eagles and a close loss against the Chiefs (though KC’s D is below average). Encouraging, especially the last two weeks. But we are still talking about the Lions.
Green Bay 34, Detroit 21.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Lock Of The Week (season, ATS): 3-2
Season (against the spread): 41-38
Season (straight up): 52-27
Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at Cleveland
Cleveland is clearly improved. 2-0-1 at home. But the Chargers are better. 1.5 doesn’t seem like enough.
Los Angeles Chargers 30, Cleveland 23.
Buffalo at Houston (-7.5)
All five of Houston’s games have been decided by 7 points or less. Three by three points. Buffalo ain’t great and is on the road. But the feeling is they may keep it close.
Houston 24, Buffalo 18.
Carolina at Washington (-1.5)
The ‘Skins have been playing well every other week. This is the good one.
Washington 27, Carolina 24.
Chicago (-3.5) at Miami
Are the Bears for real? Looks like they could be. I know Miami isn’t and this will put them back to 3-3 after that phony 3-0 start.
Chicago 24, Miami 17.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-2.5)
Speaking of fraud teams, the Bengals can’t be as good as 4-1, can they?! Two words: Marvin Lewis. That should answer your question.
Pittsburgh 41, Cincinnati 34.
Seattle (-3.5) at Oakland
Jon Gruden probably should have stayed in the booth after being away from the game for a decade. Then again, we can’t expect him to perform miracles with this Raiders team in his first year.
Seattle 27, Oakland 13.
Indianapolis at New York Jets (-2.5)
Indianapolis 31, New York Jets 17.
Arizona at Minnesota (-10.5)
Disappointing year for the Vikes thus far, but Arizona appears to be wretched this year, last week’s win against the possibly equally wretched 49ers notwithstanding.
Minnesota 34, Arizona 10.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-3.5)
I’m not sure how good the Falcons actually are, but I’m fairly certain they should be better than 1-4. I also think they are better than the Bucs. At least in their home stadium.
Atlanta 31, Tampa Bay 27.
Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) at Denver
The Rams look unstoppable. That’s all.
Los Angeles Rams 45, Denver 24.
Baltimore (-2.5) at Tennessee
This one may be another snoozefest. But at least the teams involved are better than the other one we spoke about earlier.
Baltimore 20, Tennessee 17.
Jacksonville (-3.5) at Dallas
Blake Bortles was brutal last week. And he sucks anyway. But Dallas sucks more. Similar to Marvin Lewis, I have no idea how Jason Garrett has hung on so long there.
Jacksonville 34, Dallas 16.
Kansas City at New England (-3.5)
Neither defense should stop either offense. But with all the weapons the Chiefs have, I have no idea how the Pats cover all of them. KC has had some big wins against the Pats in the middle of the regular season in recent years too. But the Patriots have also come out of the woodwork in games like this and shut a young QB down…especially in Foxborough. If the Pats lose, they will find themselves down by 3 games already in the AFC in the race for home-field advantage. They have risen to the occasion before. That all being said, I wish I could pick them here, but I simply can’t.
Kansas City 45, New England 34.
San Francisco at Green Bay (-9.5)
Boy, did the Niners season go right down the tubes once Jimmy Football got injured.
Green Bay 37, San Francisco 13.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 38-41
Season (straight up): 46-33
…for the Philadelphia Eagles, that is. 2-3 record to start 2018. Pretty underwhelming, but still only a half game out of first. The 2018 NFC East everyone! I know, I know…Carson Wentz is coming back from a major injury. But he has been back for 3 games and the numbers are good anyway. So it can’t be all that bad.
Speaking of bad, the schedule thus far hasn’t been filled with heavyweights. Atlanta, Tampa, Indy, Tennessee and an underachieving thus far Minnesota team.
So what’s the problem? Looks like they have had some injuries. And you know…maybe they weren’t all that good last year in the first place? Sour grapes? Absolutely!! But backup quarterback Nick Foles played out of his mind in the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl and Coach Doug Pederson pushed all the right buttons. Good for them and give them a ton of credit.
But I hope they go 2-14 this year.
So the New England Patriots lost to the Eagles in the Super Bowl and their 3-2 record isn’t much better. Seems like they are up to their usual early season tricks however. We will see what it looks like Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. We’ll talk more about that in the next piece. We sure as hell do not need to recap last weeks game against the Indianapolis Colts. Per usual, the Pats handled the Colts easily. But it was a little concerning how the defense played down the stretch of that game though.
Anyway, for now:
Philadelphia (-3.5) at New York Giants
Ah, so THAT’S why we started off the column with Eagle talk! Yup. So what more do we have to say here? The Giants still stink. And it was awesome to see them lose to the Carolina Panthers on a 63 yard field goal as time expired. Gave me great joy. That’s all.
Philadelphia 28, New York Giants 20.
Week (against the spread): 7-8
Week (straight up): 8-7
Season (against the spread): 37-41
Season (straight up): 45-33