By The Coach and Dr. Football
Remember when everyone in the Twin Cities was calling new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, “an offensive genius?” I’m sure Norv is a good football coach – heck, after 15 years as a marginal head coach he keeps finding work – but he ain’t no genius.
Before the 2014 season began, we were told that Turner’s offenses had “ranked in the NFL’s top five in offensive points three times and his system had produced the NFL’s leading rusher on five different occasions.”
Norv and Teddy. Norv would be smarter if Teddy were better — and had more time to throw.
We were also told there are five things you can expect from a Norv Turner offense: 1. High yards per passing attempt, 2. Big wide receivers. 3. “A field stretching tight end.” 4. A physical rushing attack. And 5. “A shifty scat back.”
Well let’s go!
Not so fast, drinkers of the Purple Kool-Aid.
After going 4-6 in his first 10 games as the Vikings OC, this is what Norv’s offense has produced: a team that is 30th in the NFL in total yards (309.1 per game), a team that is 28th in total points (181) and points per game, a team that is 24th in plays from scrimmage and a team that is 29th in passing yards (one of only four teams with fewer than 2,000 passing yards).
That’s not very good. In fact, heading into a Week 12 game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay, the anemic Vikings offense is so bad, many experts are predicting a shut out.
Now, you can’t blame the genius Norv Turner for all of the Vikings offensive problems. In the season opener, with Matt Cassel at quarterback and Adrian Peterson at runningback, the Vikings demolished the St. Louis Rams, on the road, 34-6. Since then, Cassel has been injured, Peterson has been suspended and the offensive line has stopped blocking people. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater will be a good quarterback someday, but he isn’t right now; Norv allowed rookie tailback Jerick McKinnon to handle the ball only eight times against the Bears last week (only one carry in the second half); and “field stretching tight end” Kyle Rudolph is injured more often than he isn’t.
Fact is, Norv Turner isn’t a genius, he’s a professional football coach who, like every other football coach, needs good players around him to make him look like a genius. This year, poor Norv doesn’t have enough good players. As a result, all the bull-pucky you heard at the start of the season was just cheerleading.
Speaking of cheerleaders, our boys were pretty mediocre at cheering their teams on to victory last week.
Dr Football went 8-6 (103-57-1) straight up and 7-7 (74-87) against the spread while The Coach went 8-6 (101-59-1) straight up and 7-7 (81-80) against the spread. Meh.
This week, as always Dr. Football designs our offense (just like Norv), while The Coach complains about it (just like The Coach).
The Panthers and Steelers have the bye this week. Let’s take a close look at Week 12 in the NFL:
Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) at Oakland Raiders (0-10)
Line: Chiefs by 7.
I’m a “they gotta win sometime” kind of guy…but not with this sad sack embarrassment to the city of Oakland. Still, I can’t see K.C. practicing too hard this week, which may cause them a little gas. The Coach says: As a lifelong fan of the Detroit Lions, I don’t ever want to see anyone tie my team record of 0-16. However, there is a very good chance that’s going to happen this season.
Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
Cleveland Browns (6-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
Line: Falcons by 3.
Falcons got back on track last week while the Browns were brought back to reality. Atlanta is tough to beat at home. The Coach says: And Johnny Football gets ever so close to actually playing in an NFL game.
Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
Tennessee Titans (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-3)
Line: Eagles by 11.
Even though Mark Sanchez and the Eagles got “schooled” last week, the fact remains that they are a playoff team. The Titans are not. The Coach says: The Eagles, even with Mark Sanchez, are better than the Titans with Zach Mettenberger at quarterback.
Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
Lions QB Matt Stafford won’t likely be smiling.
Detroit Lions (7-3) at New England Patriots (8-2)
Line: Patriots by 7.
The Patriots are playing great football on both sides of the ball. The Lions might have the league’s top-rated defense, but Tom Brady won’t notice. The Coach says: I offer this wager: New England vs. Green Bay in the Super Bowl in Phoenix. Any takers?
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
Green Bay Packers (7-3) at Minnesota Vikings (4-6)
Line: Packers by 10.
The Gophers would have a better chance at TCF Bank Stadium than the Vikings. The Coach says: The Vikings do not have a defensive back who can cover Jordy Nelson. This could get ugly.
Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Indianapolis Colts (7-3)
Line: Colts by 14.
Tough spot for the lowly Jags as Andrew Luck will be out to avenge last week’s beat down at the hands of the Patriots. The Coach says: It must make the Colts feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know they get Jacksonville on the schedule twice a year.
Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Colts to win and cover.
Houston’s J.J. Watt: best defensive player in the NFL.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1) at Houston Texans (5-5)
Line: Texans by 1.5.
After beating the Saints at the Superdome, the Bengals stay on the road and face the mediocre Texans with a healthy A.J. Green. The Coach says: I don’t particularly like the Texans, but I sure like J.J. Watt.
Dr. Football: Take the Bengals in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover.
New York Jets (2-8) at Buffalo Bills (5-5)
Line: Bills by 4.5.
This sounds like an episode of “Where Are They Now” as Kyle Orton battles Michael Vick. Rex Ryan may be fired at half time. The Coach says: If the snow stops, the Bills should have an easy time.
Dr. Football: Take the Bills to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bills to win and cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Chicago Bears (4-6)
Line: Bears by 5.5.
“Cry baby” Jay Cutler was able to pull it together last week against the Vikings, and now faces another bad team playing their second consecutive road game. The Coach says: I love it. Jay Cutler finally shows a little human emotion and he gets called a “cry baby.” That guy can’t win. Except, he’ll win this week.
Dr. Football: Take the Bears to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bears to win and cover.
Arizona Cardinals (9-1) at Seattle Seahawks (7-3)
Line: Seahawks by 6.5.
Definitely a must win for the Seahawks against a team that has proved it can win in Seattle. Drew Stanton hasn’t missed a beat for the Cardinals, but will come up short here in a close one. The Coach says: The Seahawks don’t win by much, but they do win at home.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
St. Louis Rams (4-6) at San Diego Chargers (6-4)
Line: Chargers by 4.5.
Is there anything left in the Rams tank after beating the Broncos last week? The Chargers have some tough games ahead, and must win this one to stay in the playoff hunt. The Coach says: Upset of the week.
Dr. Football: Take the Chargers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Rams in an upset.
Miami Dolphins (6-4) at Denver Broncos (7-3)
Line: Broncos by 7.
I don’t expect Payton to be as sloppy as he was last week, in fact he’ll be out to shake off the stench of that game at home. The Coach says: Peyton isn’t perfect but he’s close to perfect at home.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
Washington Redskins (3-7) at San Francisco 49ers (6-4)
Line: 49ers by 9.
The Redskins are horrible, and internally are a mess as well. The 49ers return home after a couple of road wins, and will have an easy time in this one. The Coach says: Hey Snyder, change the mascot. Maybe it will help your team’s record. Couldn’t hurt. Your team’s play is almost as offensive as your team’s nickname.
Dr. Football: Take the 49ers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the 49ers to win and cover.
Dallas Cowboys (7-3) at New York Giants (3-7)
Line: Cowboys by 3.5.
No one needed a bye week more than Tony Romo and despite being away from the comfy confines of Dallas, should have a big day against a terrible team. The Coach says: I just don’t see any way that the Giants win this. Do you?
Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
Baltimore Ravens (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (4-6)
Line: Saints by 3.5.
Home field advantage ain’t what it used to be in New Orleans. They haven’t dropped three straight at home since 2005 when the Superdome (and the whole town) was being rebuilt. I think they get their act together on offense in this one, but it will be a fight. The Coach says: This is the last gasp for the Saints. A loss at home on Monday Night and they are done.
Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Saints to win and cover.
Listen to The Coach Scott Taylor every Thursday at 10:05 a.m. CT with Dean (Boomer) Molberg on SportsNet 960 The FAN in Calgary with Boomers Pools and Props as two razor sharp NFL minds pick the Pools and Props for Sport Select and Western Canada Lotteries. You can listen live at: http://www.sportsnet.ca/960/