By The Coach and Dr. Football
Let’s catch up on what’s going on in the National Football League.
1. Arizona Cardinals backup running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on Wednesday for domestic violence, a result two incidents involving a 27-year-old woman and a child. According to Tyler Baldwin of WPEC CBS-12 News, the charges are aggravated assault and preventing someone from calling 911. There isn’t a lot of fuss about Dwyer because he’s a backup and won’t destroy anyone’s fantasy team. He has a mere 51 yards and a TD on 16 carries in two games this season. He signed with Arizona during this past off-season to no fanfare after spending four anonymous seasons in Pittsburgh.
2. The Fantasy Loons are going crazy about the Minnesota Vikings decision to put Adrian Peterson on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List, which is a fancy way of saying he’s suspended indefinitely. Because Peterson’s absence will really hurt a lot of fantasy teams, he’s getting all sorts of support from people who didn’t see the pictures. Anyway, the courts will take care of this one and then all will be well… I guess.
3. Ray Rice has made his appeals. He still won’t play this week.
4. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who makes $44 million a year, has gone into hiding. Nice work if you can get it.
5. Meanwhile, as Jon Stewart put it, “You know things are bad when you have to appoint your own Special Victims Unit.”
Which brings us to Thursday Night Football and Week 3 in the NFL. Adrian Peterson won’t play which means the Minnesota Vikings offence is in trouble. Although, I must admit, when head coach Mike Zimmer said his defense has been “better at this point than I expected it would be,” I was, on first blush, surprised.
Then, with a little thought, it became clear that he’s probably right. The D was great against St. Louis – a team that’s better than people think – and despite the 30-7 loss to New England last week, it wasn’t really the fault of the defense. After all, a blocked field goal was returned for a touchdown and then a Devin McCourty interception – one of four INTs against career-backup Matt Cassel – was returned to the Vikings one-yard line. So really, the Vikings defense only allowed 16 points to the Patriots. That ain’t bad.
Still, with no Adrian and no offense, the Vikings will have a hell of a time in New Orleans this week.
Last week Dr. Football was 7-9 (18-14) straight up and 3-13 (10-22) against the spread. The Coach went 6-10 (16-16) straight up and 5-11 (11-21) against the spread.
This week, the Doc writes our not-so-brilliant reasons for selecting these dawgs while The Coach eats jerky and complains.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
Line: Falcons by 6.
Atlanta is not the place a road team gets its first win of the season. Tampa Bay has fallen quickly from “playoff contender” to “laugh out loud”. Matt Ryan has a big night for the Falcons. The Coach says: Matty Ice is really cold. He leads the NFL in passing yards (679) and hasn’t won yet. He needs a home game against the Bucs. So do the Falcons, who have the worst team defense in the league.
Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Line: Bills by 2.5.
The Bills continue to surprise starting off 2-0, while the biggest surprise in my mind was how the Chargers looked last week against the Seahawks. I usually don’t like the West Coast teams in the Eastern Time zone, but if you can beat Seattle, you should be able to beat Buffalo. The Coach says: Gotta hand it to the Chargers, they were great against Seattle last week. Trouble is, the Bills might be real.
Dr. Football: Take the Chargers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Bills to win and cover.
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)
Line: Cowboys by 1.
Even against a terrible Rams defense, the Cowboys will still struggle to score points, but luckily they have the Rams this week. The Coach says: In a battle of coaches, Jeff Fisher will out-think Jason Garrett and then Tony Romo will find a way to lose.
Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Rams to win.
Washington Redskins (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Line: Eagles by 6.5.
The Eagles have a short week to plan for a big divisional match up against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense, which will pose a challenge, as he still is an unknown. They’ll get it done in front of their fans, but it will be close. The Coach says: The Eagles lead the NFL in total offense and the Washingtons lead the NFL in total defense so, like, take the home side.
Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
Houston Texans (2-0) at New York Giants (0-2)
Line: Texans by 2.
Wisdom says that a second consecutive road game is tough for any team, but there is something definitely wrong with the Giants this year and the Texans will capitalize. The Coach says: Poor Eli. To think, he’s won two Super Bowls.
Dr. Football: Take the Texans to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover.
Minnesota Vikings (1-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-2)
Line: Saints by 10.5.
Mike Zimmer (or any coach for that matter) will not be able to have his team’s full attention this week for obvious reasons. The Saints can’t possibly go 0-3. Expect a major blow out at the Superdome. The Coach says: The Saints were 8-0 at home last year and have two straight losses on the road this year. Plus, see above
Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.
Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)
Line: Bengals by 6.5.
The Bengals have looked good so far on both sides of the ball while the Titans did manage to beat the Cowboys last week, but Jake Locker was 18/34. That won’t cut it in Cincinnati. The Coach says: I like the Titans for one week. Then they got pasted at home by Dallas. Bengals by a bunch.
Dr. Football: Take the Bengals to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bengals to win and cover.
Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Line: Ravens by 1.5.
The Ravens were able to focus on football and not the sideshow last Thursday in a big win over the Steelers, and now are well rested and playing an over achieving Cleveland squad. The Browns did “eek” out a win last week, but they are no match for the Ravens. The Coach says: The Browns lost in the dying seconds at Pittsburgh, beat a good New Orleans team at hone on a last-second field goal. Hey, why not?
Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Browns.
Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Detroit Lions (1-1)
Line: Lions by 2.5.
The Lions return home after an embarrassing loss in Carolina and are a much better team at home. The Packers managed to find their offense after a slow start last week, and should carry that momentum into Detroit. Expect a shootout, and Aaron Rogers has better weapons. The Coach says: The Lions are a terrible road team that tends to play well at home. Still not sure about the Packers.
Dr. Football: Take the Packers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Lions to win and cover
Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Line: Colts by 6.5.
Chad Henne vs. Andrew Luck? It will get worse for Jaguar fans. The Coach says: The Colts needed this one and Blake Bortles gets another step closer to becoming the Jaguars’ starting quarterback.
Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.
Oakland Raiders (0-2) at New England Patriots (1-1)
Line: Patriots by 14.
The Patriots stuck it to the Vikings last week and now return to New England for their home opener. And it’s been established that the Raiders don’t travel well. Blow out alert. The Coach says: Not even fair.
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Line: 49ers by 2 ½
One might think that the 49ers laid an egg last week due to some “opening night jitters” and Levi stadium, but I think that there’s more to it, The Cardinals played tough in both games against the 49ers last season, and I think they’ll have their number. The Coach says: OK, so the Bears lost at home to Buffalo and beat San Francisco on the road. I can’t explain that.
Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Cardinals.
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Line: Seahawks by 5.
I usually love these Super Bowl rematch type of games, but I’m afraid of what this will turn into because of these facts; the Seahawks don’t like to lose and they lost last week, the Seahawks are WAY more fierce at home, and the 49ers looked terrible last week against the Bears. Different dates, same result. The Coach says: I’m taking the home side and crossing my fingers.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Line: Dolphins by 4.
Me thinks I was a little too optimistic in my thoughts about how the Chiefs would do this season, although last week they did get beat by a very good Denver team. The Dolphins handled the Patriots at home, and they should easily handle the Chiefs. The Coach says: This will not be a very good football game. Unless, of course, you like semi-pro town ball.
Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Line: Panthers by 3.
The Steelers have had plenty of rest after getting blown out by the Ravens so the “second consecutive road game” stigma shouldn’t apply to them here. The Panthers surprised me with an easy looking win over the Lions, but they won’t have it easy this week. Big Ben regroups. The Coach says: Can Newton looked solid in his return last week and Carolina is at home.
Dr. Football: Take the Steelers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
Chicago Bears (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
Line: Jets by 2.5.
The Bears play their second road game in as many weeks and have to travel across the country to do it. The Jets did have flashes of brilliance last week in Green Bay, and should take this one at home. The Coach says: I haven’t been right about the Bears yet. Why would I start this week? Meanwhile, the Jets lost last week because they’re the Jets and they did a typically stupid Jetsy thing with a timeout and lost.
Dr. Football: Take the Jets to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bears to win.