1-2 last week, would have been 2-2 or better had I listened to myself and those around me on New England and Detroit. That, friends is progress. First some news & notes around the league:
In the good coaching column:
Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions
We’ve got to get to the point where a Week 3 win isn’t celebrated like a playoff win. We’re a 1-2 football team. Nothing more. We need to get this win behind us and get ready to play a great game every week. We need to expect to win every week, not just hope to win. Hope is not a good strategy.
Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
“I don’t have a doghouse,” Tomlin said. “A doghouse is something you have when you let things stew and don’t take action. He lacked a little detail in preparation last week … Young guys have to earn their opportunities. They have to make coaches confident with their ability to execute details of their assignments. He didn’t do that to my satisfaction last week and didn’t get any playing time on offense as a result. I took action, but I don’t take any baggage into this week.”
Jeff Fisher – Tennessee Titans
Fisher’s steady demeanor serves the Titans well and he’s probably as well equipped to hold an 0-3 team together as anyone. But he’s a big piece of why the team is there.
A hands-on special teams coach who was a punt returner himself, his plan for the return games after the Titans lost Chris Carr in free agency have proved completely insufficient. Kick returns are down from first to 29th, punt returns from 14th to 26th.
And the bad…
Jim Mora – Seattle Seahawks
Easterbrook makes a great point. When you’re throwing your kicker under the bus in week 3, chances are you’re not having a good season.
Chicago leading 25-19, Seattle reached third-and 2 on the Bears’ 29 with 33 seconds remaining, out of timeouts. The Green Men Group threw super short on third down and then super short on fourth down, both incomplete, game over. Both calls were super-short routes intended to pick up a first down. But look at the scoreboard clock. What about the end zone? To top it off, a busted defensive assignment on the third-and-2 left tailback Julius Jones split wide covered only by linebacker Lance Briggs, no safety in sight — a perfect opportunity for a go route by Jones. But Seattle quarterback Seneca Wallace never even look Jones’ way; and maybe Briggs was out on Jones because Chicago correctly guessed a super-short attempt was coming and crowded the middle. After coaches called ultraconservative passes when a deep strike was needed, coach Mora the Younger had the temerity to blame the loss on kicker Olindo Mare, who missed two field goal attempts, while hitting four. Since NFL place-kickers average about 85 percent success, Mare would have been expected to make five of six, which still would have left the Seahawks trailing when the double-whistle sounded.
Eric Mangini – Cleveland Browns
Benching a quarterback — like Mangini did Sunday with Brady Quinn — sends a message to the entire team that Quinn isn’t the right option. He has shown that he can’t put points on the scoreboard in this offense, and his failure to generate big plays down the field in the passing game were enough for Mangini to give him the hook.
But as a coach, the locker room expects you to stick with your decision because once you start playing musical chairs with the quarterbacks, the season is gone from the players’ perspective. Mangini must show this team that the decision he made was done for the right reasons, and by giving Quinn the rest of the day off on Sunday, he was telling his players that a lack of production will send you to the bench. Even though Derek Anderson wasn’t productive when he came into the ballgame, Mangini has to show confidence in him by providing an entire week of practice with the first unit and allow this team to rally around him — because you just can’t go back to Quinn after sitting him down.
Over/Under 16 games as head coach for Mangini???
Lastly, I want to focus on this:
Yesterday in the NFL, there was a clear gap between teams — the Bucs, Rams, Chiefs and Browns have no chance to win at all — and what’s disconcerting is that those teams are a long way from being competitive. Is the NFL becoming like baseball? To me, there are 10 good teams, 10 average teams, eight bad teams and four teams with no chance.
For the record, Carolina’s been as bad as the four teams listed so far this season as well. I’ve been doing a lot of betting on the teams listed above on the idea that the talent difference between two pro teams is usually not vast enough to justify double digit spreads, especially for a home team. Clearly, that’s not the case and it’s time to start treating these more like college games.
Baltimore @ New England -2
New York Giants -9 @ Kansas City
Cincinnati -4.5 @ Cleveland
San Diego +6 @ Pittsburgh
Already bet Cincinnati as their line has already moved all the way to 5.5 or 6.
I guess people in Wisconsin are still bitter. Especially after what happened Sunday with the Vikes.
One of the next items to add to this site is author record. My roommate just asked me if I had any NFL picks so he could take the other side. Yes, it’s been that bad the last few weeks. At least my Aussie Rules bet covered yesterday. Taking all home underdogs this week, a couple of whom are not getting much love from the betting public.
Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati +4
This line originally opened at +6 and quickly got bet down to +4 where it’s been all week. This should be a slugfest as Cincy’s defense has been excellent this season and neither team will be able to run the ball with any effectiveness. Happy to take the points here.
NY Giants @ Tampa +6
Only 20% of the money is on Tampa today at home to a somewhat beat up Giants team. OUT DT Chris Canty (calf), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot), S Kenny Phillips (knee), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), LB Clint Sintim (groin), RB Danny Ware (elbow)
QUESTIONABLE CB Kevin Dockery (hamstring), WR Domenik Hixon (knee), C Adam Koets (ankle), DE Justin Tuck (shoulder)
Chicago @ Seattle +125
Taking the moneyline here as we like Seattle to win outright. Just like with Tampa, only 20% of the money is on the home side.
Some thoughts on Week 2, College and Pro:
Hey, Houston Texans, here’s a tip: it might be a good idea to cover that Chris Johnson guy (clip starts at around 00:38). Looks like they need someone who can point this out to them: they need to hire Gus Johnson as their defensive coordinator to yell at their malaise personnel. “Chris Johnson motions out of the backfield…….NOBODY IS COVERING HIM! NOBODY IS COVERING CHRIS JOHNSON!”
I am more and more impressed by the Ravens and Joe Flacco, who may have found an offense this year to go with that defense, as proved in their 31-26 shootout win over San Diego. A completely healthy Todd Heap makes that offense so much better, especially if Willis McGahee also stays healthy. I think they are going to have to start making a beer with Joe Flacco’s face on the label called, “UniBrau”.
Tony Sporano, who by far has probably coached the worst 4th quarter so far this year, somehow found a way to possess the ball for 45 minutes and still lose, 27-23, to the Colts on Monday Night Football. How? Well, first, by mostly blitzing Manning 5 out of 6 plays during the Colts’ last drive (on the TD play, he audibled into a bubble screen to WR Pierre Garcon, video starts at around 3:28, on a blitz everyone and their mother knew was coming). Then after that disaster, he has his team run a 2 minute drill that would make Andy Reid, Herm Edwards, and Brad Childress all collectively jealous. I don’t know who looks more organized, the Dolphins trying to run a 2 minute drill, or the cast of retards from the Johnny Knoxville film, “The Ringer”.
Mike Lombardi’s blog covers the epic fail very well. I think a perfect title for NFL Films’ Miami Dolphins 2009 Season Highlights would be: “Back to Earth”.
(Yes, I bet the under in a game where one team holds the ball for 45 minutes. Yes, I am still bitter).
Notre Dame had 14 guys on the field last week. This LOL moment brought to you by Pepto Bismol: “Pepto Bismol, the official indigestion drink that’s caused by high anxiety of probably losing your job at the end of the year of Charlie Weis!”
At least I didn’t bet on Houston Nutt’s Ole Miss Rebels yesterday (had South Carolina, +5, and the under, 52.5, in a 16-10 win) . My god, talk about poor coaching, and never mind the illegal shift AND illegal substitution penalties they had on 4th and 19 during their drive at the end of the game. The Rebels, on 4th and 6 with about 5:52 to go in the 4th, almost get a delay of game penalty, so they have to waste one of their 3 timeouts. But that can be good at times, right? Get a chance to diagram your best play in a key point of the game, right? I just wonder whose idea it was in the huddle to go, “Well, you know we need 6 yards, so……let’s call a bubble screen to the halfback 3 yards in the backfield. Shit, if we think he can get 6, he can certainly get 9 against a top SEC defense!”.
BTW, according to Pat Darts, whenever South Carolina scores a touchdown, you have to finish your beer. Trust me, I watch the games with my buddy Allen almost every week…………….you won’t be drinking much.
In the Lombardi blog as well, Lou pointed out to me that the Redskins, up 9-7 in the 4th quarter, actually went for it on 4th and 2 from the Rams’ 2 yard-line in their 9-7 win on Sunday. Just take the 3 points, Jim Zorn! Doesn’t he know the Redskins only get offense when they’re an underdog that needs to cover the spread? As Lombardi mentions, “My man Ray Gustini never makes this mistake on Madden. How can you not remember this and just kick the field goal and make it a five- point game?” (This also proves my point that I could be just a good, or better, professional head football coach, using my extensive Madden 2010 experience and 45-15 record on XBOX360 live as reference).
All this points to me loading up on Detroit this week. Get em in a teaser, take the points (+6), take the money line (+220). I mean, if Jim Schwartz can’t put on the film of the scene above during preparation, and go to his guys and say, “Look, fellas, if we can’t beat a team this flawed this week, we’re probably going 0-16 again”, and that doesn’t motivate them, I don’t know what will.
Here are the picks:
Detroit +6/+220 Money Line (I’m taking the ML, but I like to gambol).
Miami/San Diego Over 44
Teaser of the Week (6pt):
Indianapolis +8 @ Arizona
Baltimore -7.5 vs Cleveland
So I’m 2 for 2 in losing weeks to open the season, not unlike last year. Maybe I should just start my NFL season in October. This week’s lines are terrible. I don’t like anything other than New Orleans when they opened at -4 in Buffalo and New England, who actually is -4 at home to Atlanta. The Pats moved the ball up and down the field on Buffalo, and I think they’ll do the same against the Falcons. The New Orleans line is up to 6 so that’s a pass too, at least right now. Should have bet it early.
Links coming tomorrow per usual as is some more analysis as I try to figure out how to lose more money this week.
EDIT: Also now thinking about betting on Detroit to win at home to Washington. They’re getting 6 and +230 to win outright.
Quickly with the NFL picks. All 2 units unless noted.
Cleveland/Denver Over 37 4u
Big bet of the week as mentioned earlier. This is 38 or 38.5 everywhere I’ve looked this morning.
New Orleans Minny @ Detroit +10
New York Giants +3 @ Dallas
Managed to get this at -112 as opposed to the -120/125 that’s commonly available.
Pittsburgh @ Chicago +3
Happy to take the home underdog here.
Carolina +6.5 @ Atlanta 1u
Simmons talked me into it.
Good luck out there today.
Few thoughts about last week’s games:
We had 2 miracle covers on Sunday. First was by the Baltimore Ravens (-13), who decided to run it in from 4th an inches from the goal line versus Kansas City on Sunday. The meaningless TD helped them cover, 38-24. Thanks John Harbaugh (who had to know the line!), I owe you a beer.
The second was bad for the site, as the Washington Redskins, who seem to only find offense when they need to cover the spread, amazingly covered versus the New York Giants (+6.5). Down 17-3, they decide their first TD of the year needs to be scored by the punter, Hunter Smith, on a fake FG attempt. Deion Sanders called Hunter Smith the whitest guy to ever score a TD in the NFL; Cap Boso must be pissed. Then, down 23-10, the Redskins drive down the field versus a prevent Giants defense and Chris Cooley scores a semi-meaningless TD with 1.34 left, covering the 6.5 points. What a cooler, sorry Lou.
I also owe a beer to both the Bills’ Dick Jauron and Leodis McKelvin, who some how found a way to give the Patriots that game on Monday night. Where was Dick Jauron on the sidelines telling him NOT to run right into the Patriots defense, especially when the Bills have their hands team up awaiting an onsides kick? Having Leodis just down the ball in the endzone wasn’t the optimal play, either (although better than what happened). The Pats had 3 timeouts and a 2 minute warning stoppage as there was 2:06 left on the clock. The smart football play would be to catch the ball, run around for 6 seconds, and get down. That way, the Bills only need 10 yards to win the game, even if they have the ball on their own 10 yard line. The Pats will use the 3 timeouts, and at worst, the Pats at best get the ball back with about :57 seconds left. How do professionals getting paid millions not know this? I know this from my extensive Madden experience; and I’m high most of the time doing it!
Either way, I feel that if the Bills lose another close game, Dick Jauron is going to react like Cathy Pondexter of the Phoenix Mercury (video on the right).
I really hope the Brandon Stokely miracle TD versus the Bengals on Sunday doesn’t affect my season under bet. At least I got another fantastic Gus Johnson call out of it. Gus, btw, is in the works to be calling The 1st Annual Wii Golf tournament, The Castle Open at Everett St, later this year.
Drinking game of the week: Watch this Sunday’s game between the Eagles and the Saints. What you do is every time Eagles QB Kevin Kobb throws an incompletion, you drink. If it’s an interception, then 2 drinks. A TAINT (INT returned for a TD)? 6 drinks. You can also do a pool where you get 4 buddies and everyone picks a quarter, and the quarter that Kobb gets taken out of, everyone who didn’t pick that quarter has to drink a beer. If he actually by the miracle of God finishes the game, every one has a social beer. Fun for the entire family!
Onto the Picks:
San Francisco (Pick’em) at home versus Seattle
Home opener, coming off a big win versus the Cardinals in Week 1. Mike Singletary and his stopwatch know it’s time to take a hold of the division. Plus Seattle, coming off a preseason win in Week 1 versus the Rams (who are that bad), is banged up even more with Seattle WRs T.J. Houshmanzadeh (back spasms) and Deion Branch (vagina) questionable. I see the Niners playing mistake free football again and winning a tight one at home. I mean, you better run your ass off if you are on the 49ers……Mike Singletary IS timing you.
NYG +2.5/+120 Money Line
Take the points or the spread, either way, the Giants are going to win. They have played well there under Coughlin during his tenure, and the Cowboys have a bandwagon following again after destroying a weak Buccanneers team in Week 1.
Cleveland/Denver Over 37
Both teams’ QBs did not play as bad, or as good, as their stats indicated last week. Both teams have enough offensive talent to score 24 a piece on each other. Do not let the Broncos’ defense fool you; they are still terrible when they don’t play Cincinnati, just look at Jay Culter, who sucked in Week 1 versus Green Bay, tearing them up in the preseason game 3 weeks ago. The Browns have a long way to go, and are still tired after Adrian Peterson stiff-armed their entire team last Sunday.
Teaser of the Week:
Green Bay -3.5 vs Cincinnati/ Detroit +16 vs Minnesota
Still cleaning up after myself thanks to an ugly week 1. -10u. I would take all four of those bets again, though admittedly the Lions bet was probably too ambitious.
Early plays this week:
Cleveland/Denver Over 37 4u
Sticking with my preseason assessment that both of these defenses are below average at best. Line may be up to 37.5 across the board by now.
Minnesota @ Detroit +10 2u
I’m going to continue betting on Detroit and against Minnesota for the foreseeable future. At least this week I only need to bet one game.
WTF is going on with the Pats/Jets line? It opened in some places as high as +6.5 NYJ and has been bet down as low as 3. This has to be an overreaction by NY money based on week 1 games. Clearly, the Pats are the better team here, right?
Pittsburgh @ Chicago +3
If Cutler plays well last week, this is Chicago +1
NYG +3 @ Dallas
Giants getting 3 points vs. Dallas? Yes, please.
Indy @ Miami +3
I like Miami but can’t yet articulate why.
All three of you comment away.