The NFL’s quest for parity is near complete… if you exclude the Buffalo Bills.
What’s great about the NFL, and it’s a lengthy list, is that at the beginning of the season, every fan base (well, almost every fan base) feels like their team has a shot to make the Super Bowl.
That might not be the case with Jets fans but even they beat the Browns last week, coming back from down 13 points with under two minutes left, the first time that’s happened in over 2,000 tries. To suggest anything is possible is not out of the ordinary, nor is it unbelievable.
Games last week, like Raiders-Cardinals, were all but etched in the standings. I suppose it’s a good thing pencils have erasers. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Raiders had a 96.6% probability of winning this game. They didn’t. Similarly, in Baltimore, the Ravens had a 97.3% chance of winning their game against the Dolphins. They also didn’t. I hope Kevin Garnett copyrighted that anything is possible scream because last weekend he’d have made millions.
Nothing is certain going into any NFL week, or even going into any fourth quarter. John Harbaugh, Josh McDaniels and Kevin Stefanski can all attest to that. On a side note, keep your eyes on live wagering to make a pretty penny if you’re feeling bold.
In our contest, the tides and turns have also been unkind. It’s week Three and I’m already out of all my eliminator pools. While Kevin and I are treading water, our celebrity guests fake bank account is falling faster than the Dow Jones. This week, we bring in Dr. Milhouse, recently released from the psych ward to right their ship.
On yet another week that looks difficult to pick, I’m throwing my hat into the ring in hopes for the best.
$50 on Nevada Wolfpack minus Air Force Falcons (-24)
I bet both Air Force and Nevada last week. In our weekly pool, I took Nevada plus the 24 against Iowa, thinking Iowa couldn’t score. As it turns out, it was Nevada that couldn’t score against a Hawkeyes defense that blanked them. Your final 27-0. The high-powered Air Force offense lost at Wyoming last week. The Falcons return home this Friday night to face Nevada and are laying, once again, 24. It must be a sign. I normally don’t like laying this many points, but Air Force should get back to their normal ways against a Nevada team that is so poor defensively, they allowed Iowa to score 27. If Iowa’s putting up that many points against the Pack, Air Force should be able to have their way. I’ll take the Falcons minus the 24.
$40 on Baltimore Ravens (-3) at New England Patriots
I’d hate to be the Patriots this weekend. They host the man without a contract, Lamar Jackson, who is quickly becoming the most exciting player to watch in the NFL. He must be downright frightening to gameplan for. He took it on the chin last week, however, losing quasi-inexplicably to the Miami Dolphins and their wheelbarrow-toting head coach. In fact, the only person to put up more fantasy points than Lamar Jackson last week (47) was the quarterback his team lost to, Tua Tagovailoa (50). Baltimore will be just fine as they look to rebound against a Patriots team that also got handled by Miami. After last week’s loss, I look for Coach John Harbaugh to have his entire team doing up and downs until they are no longer tired and thirsty. The Pats are good enough to beat average teams in this league. The Ravens are not average. Give me Baltimore minus the three.
$30 on Cincinnati Bengals (-4 ½) at New York Jets
I won’t bore you with Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, but I think it had something to do with repeatedly betting the Bengals to cover, especially when they can’t even win. The Jets shook up the world on Sunday and upset the Browns in a game they had no business winning. In Week One, the Bengals sprayed tiger poop all over Dallas and lost to the Dak-less Cowboys. If you had last year’s AFC Champions starting off 0-2 in your football pool, you can successfully cash your ticket. Just cash it before their third game because they won’t lose three in a row… I don’t think. So far, they’ve played two bad teams and looked even worse. This week, they play another bad team, the New York Jets, and are laying 4 ½. I find it hard-pressed to believe a team this talented won’t find a way to right this ship. They can ill afford to go 0-3 in a competitive AFC. They won’t. Bengals cover the 4 ½ on the road.
$20 on Las Vegas Raiders at Tennessee Titans (+2 ½)
These are two teams coming off bad losses. The Titans discovered on Monday night just how big the gap is between themselves and the best team in the AFC East. Seriously, the Bills pulled their starting quarterback in the third quarter. When’s the last time you saw that happen against a team that’s made the playoffs four of the last five years? The Raiders lost to the Cardinals in a game they should have won. We discussed that above. While the Titans desperately miss AJ Brown, they’re not as bad as the 41-7 beatdown the Bills just handed them, or maybe they are, but the Raiders are still tired from chasing Kyler Murray around that fancy new stadium of theirs. I like the Titans to try to get things back on track. Look for a healthy dose of Derrick Henry to keep a tired, pressure-less Raiders defense on the field. Titans are home dogs when they shouldn’t be. I’ll take Tennessee plus the two-and-a-half.
$10 on Kansas City Chiefs (- 5 ½) at Indianapolis Colts
I’m not sure what’s going on with the Colts. Actually, I am sure. They’re just a bad football team. With the hopes of plucking an old white quarterback and riding them to the Super Bowl, like the Buccaneers did with Tom Brady and the Rams did with Matt Stafford, the Colts acquired Matt Ryan in the off-season. They obviously hadn’t seen him throw a football lately for if they had, they would have opted for another old white guy who’s considerably more agile, like Joe Flacco or Joe Biden. Here’s a trivia question for you? Do you know how many teams have scored fewer points than the Colts this season? Zero. They’ve mustered only 20 points and they’ve played the Jaguars and the Texans. They have the best running back in football, but you’d never know it. They play their first home game this week against a team that scores 20 in a quarter. While the Chiefs occasionally perforated defense might help get Ryan off the snide, they won’t be able to keep that up all game. The Chiefs are coming off a rested week and should waltz into Indy and win this thing handily. I’m laying less than a touchdown and don’t feel all that bad about it. Chiefs minus the points.
THE WIFE HATES SPORTS PICKS WEEK THREE
50: Kansas City Chiefs (-6) at Indianapolis Colts
Chiefs: New receivers and no Tyreek Hill? No big deal for Patrick Mahomes, who has 7 TD and 0 INT after two games against the Chargers and Cardinals.
Colts: Matt Ryan opened the season with 1 TD and 4 INT against the Jags and Texans. That will not get it done against Patrick Mahomes. Jonathan Taylor is averaging 5.4 ypc and will be the focus of the Chiefs.
The Game: The Mahomes vs. Ryan matchup is a mismatch statistically, at least through the first two games. Indy’s home crowd tends to spark them. Still, Jonathan Taylor is going to need to run wild on a Chiefs defense that has allowed 89.0 ypg through the first two weeks. A seven-point win (or more) seems like a good bet to me. Give me the Chiefs to cover on the road.
40: Central Michigan Chippewas at Penn State Nittany Lions (-28)
Chippewas: Central Michigan gave up 96 points in its first two games, both losses. That includes 58 points in a loss to Oklahoma State on September 1st.
Nittany Lions: Penn State has nine straight wins against MAC teams (7-2 ATS).
The Game: Home field advantage in State College is always a plus. The Nittany Lions have two lethal freshmen backs in Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen that are each running well against better teams. That’s just the run game. There is talent in the pass game as well as defensively, too. I don’t typically jump on four-touchdown favorites, but considering the talent gap, I’ll take Penn State to run away with this one, going to the backups by the third quarter. Nittany Lions cover at home.
30: Buffalo Bills (-5) at Miami Dolphins
Bills: Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have been a lethal combination to open the season. The Buffalo defense has been equally as lethal – if not more so.
Dolphins: Tua leads the NFL in passing yards. It’s only two games. Still, that’s a bit of a surprise, despite the added talent to the roster.
The Game: While Tua’s start and stats are easy to distract, you can’t ignore just what the Bills did to both the Rams and Titans over the first games. This Buffalo roster is loaded and clicking on all cylinders, even this early in the season. Also, Buffalo has won seven straight in the series. Give me the Bills to cover on the road.
20: Florida Gators (+10.5) at Tennessee Volunteers
Gators: Last week’s 31-28 home win over USF was nothing to write home about. Perhaps the Gators were looking ahead to this game? They’ll need to play better this week.
Vols: Senior QB Hendon Hooker (6 TD, 0 INT) is off to a hot start.
The Game: Tennessee has lost the last five games in this series by an average of 20 points per game, including a 1-4 record ATS. Sure, the Vols are an improved team, but this has always been a bit of a heated rivalry, dating back to the Peyton Manning days. I simply don’t see a ranked Florida team letting this game get out of hand. Give me the Gators and the points in what should be a close one.
10: Philadelphia Eagles (-6) at Washington Commanders
Eagles: A.J. Brown is making a difference in the pass game and Jalen Hurts took it to the Minnesota defense last week. Big numbers are likely again.
Commanders: I’ve said for months that the Washington receivers will surprise people and so far, they have. Terry McLaurin now has two great running mates in Curtis Samuel and rookie Jahan Dotson.
The Game: I feel like I should be ranking this game higher on the list. Perhaps the rivalry held me back. Maybe it’s the home field advantage for Washington. In the end, Washington’s defense has been abysmal. Jack Del Rio has to be on a short leash. Considering the yards given up against Jacksonville and Detroit, imagine what the Eagles could do to this defense? It’ll be up to Wentz and the pass game to keep it close and this time, I don’t see it happening. Eagles cover on the road.
CELEBRITY GUEST WEEK THREE: DOCTOR MILHOUSE (last season’s record 3-2, -$30)
$50 on Ravens -3
$40 on Chargers -5.5
$30 on Raiders -2
$20 on Chargers/Jaguars over 47.5
$10 on Broncos/49ers under 44.5