By The Coach and Dr. Football
Recently, USA Today was slipped some information from the National Football League that surprised people. The information didn’t surprise anyone. How a general manager could actually pass that information on is what surprised people.
Anyway, according to the math of this unnamed NFL GM, USA Today was told that “defensive holding penalties were up 120 per cent through the first six weeks of the season, compared to the same point in 2013.”
As well, “Flags for illegal use of hands were up 163 per cent. Illegal contact? Up 285 per cent. Offensive pass interference up at a rate of 51 per cent.”
It’s getting stupid. And it’s making the games very hard to watch. Anybody who thinks baseball is boring hasn’t watched an NFL game this season that involves teams that don’t matter. In other words, if you’re a Vikings fan and you’re watching the Vikings, you only notice when the penalty flags are thrown against your team. I get it. You’re cheering for your team so the flags are just part of the game.
However, if you try to watch a game played by two teams that don’t really matter that much to you, I’ll bet that you can’t make it to the end. There are so many penalties, the games just aren’t that interesting anymore.
In fact, it’s reached the point that on kick returns, there is no sense running the ball out of the end zone because if you run it all the way back, there will almost certainly be a penalty against your team. All you’re doing is wasting your breath. Take a knee and start at your 20. It’s almost as if the officials believe that fans pay $100 a ticket to watch them.
The NFL has become an extremely mediocre product. Frankly, I can’t imagine anyone watching a game that didn’t involve one’s favorite team. Unless, of course, one was in Vegas, Costa Rica or Canada, and that person had a bet down.
So hey, let’s place a few wagers.
The boys were a little better than mediocre last week. Dr. Football went 10-5 straight up (81-39-1) and 9-6 (56-65) against the spread. The Coach went 9-6 straight up (73-47-1) and 7-8 (56-65) against the spread.
This week, The Doc writes our brilliant rationalizations while The Coach continues to whine about all the flags.
There are only 13 games this week. The Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers and Titans all have byes. Let’s look closely at Week 9:
New Orleans Saints (3-4) at Carolina Panthers (3-4-1)
Line: Saints by 2.5.
You have to go back 11 months to find the last Saints road win; they just don’t play the same outside the Superdome. The Coach says: The Saints just don’t win away from the Dome.
Dr. Football: Take the Panthers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Panthers.
San Diego Chargers (5-3) at Miami Dolphins (4-3)
Line: Dolphins by 1.5.
The Chargers will be well rested after getting beat up in last week’s Thursday Nighter and they face a Dolphins team that hasn’t beat a good team since week 1. The Coach says: True, the Dolphins haven’t beaten a good team since Week 1, but who is saying the Chargers have a good team?
Dr. Football: Take the Chargers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1)
Line: Bengals by 11.
The Bengals have yet to lose at home this season, and has outscored its opponents in their last four home games 121-78. In fact, they haven’t lost at home since December 2012. The Coach says: Puh-leeze
Dr. Football: Take the Bengals to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bengals to win and cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-3)
Line: Browns by 6.5.
Although the Browns gave the Jaguars their only win of the season two weeks ago, they had it easy at home last week against the Raiders and should do the same this week against the lowly Bucs. The Coach says: Just when it looks like Johnny Pigskin might play, Brian Hoyer has another good week. Expect another good week from Hoyer against the Bad News Bucs.
Dr. Football: Take the Browns to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Browns to win and cover.
Washington Redskins (3-5) at Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
RGIII returns this week but will he start over Cowboy slayer Colt McCoy? The Vikings looked much improved last week, but that was against the Bucs… I still don’t think the Redskins are any good and they are playing their second consecutive road game. The Coach says: Forget Norv Turner and Teddy Bridgewater and blah, blah, blah. The Vikings defense is legitimately good.
Dr. Football: Take the Vikings.
The Coach: Take the Vikings.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) at Houston Texans (4-4)
Line: Eagles by 2.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer in Houston but it shouldn’t matter, as J.J. Watt will control the Eagles offense that is playing its second consecutive road game outside its division. The Coach says: The Eagles nearly went on the road and beat Arizona. They’ll have a field day in Houston.
Dr. Football: Take the Texans in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
New York Jets (1-7) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-3)
Line: Chiefs by 9.5.
The Chiefs have the best pass rush in the league, which is not a good thing for the Jets Mike Vick, who can’t run like he used to do. Kansas City is a team on the rise. The Coach says: Michael Vick? Geno Smith is the new Mark (Buttfumble) Sanchez.
Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
Arizona Cardinals (6-1) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2)
Line: Cowboys by 4.
The Cardinals impressive 6-1 record has set the bar high, but their only two road wins have come against the Giants and Raiders. Tony Romo or no Tony Romo, expect the Cowboys to regroup. The Coach says: The Cardinals are real. Washington proved that the Cowboys might not be.
Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Cardinals.
St. Louis Rams (2-5) at San Francisco 49ers (4-3)
Line: 49ers by 10.
The 49ers will be rested and focused at home, but the Rams seldom get blown out; and they’ve proven they can hang with the big boys. The Coach says: The Rams are better than we think.
Dr. Football: Take the 49ers to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the 49ers to win but not cover.
Denver Broncos (6-1) at New England Patriots (6-2)
Line: Broncos by 3.
Great match up and it will be a high scoring game. Manning vs. Brady is always great, and this one won’t disappoint. Slight edge to the guys in orange. The Coach says: I just don’t like Peyton in New England, but it will be the game of the week.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win.
Oakland Raiders (0-7) at Seattle Seahawks (4-3)
Line: Seahawks by 15.
Even Raider fans won’t be betting on their team to win. The Coach says: Keep this away from children.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3)
The Steelers got it going last week disguised as bumble bees while the Ravens went toe to toe but came up short against the Bengals. Despite being on the road again, I don’t see the Ravens dropping two in a row. The Coach says: The Steelers got it back against the Colts. I love them at home against an interdivisional rival.
Dr. Football: Take the Ravens.
The Coach: Take the Steelers.
Indianapolis Colts (5-3) at New York Giants (3-4)
Line: Colts by 3.
Andrew Luck will redeem himself after a rough ride in Pittsburgh as he’s up against the league’s 25th-ranked pass defense. Should be a blow out as the Giants just aren’t any good. The Coach says:
Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Colts 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/