Here’s how crazy it was in Jacksonville this week: Owner Wayne Weaver fired head coach Jack Del Rio and replaced him with defensive coach Mel Tucker.
Then, a few hours later Weaver announced he had sold the franchise to Shahid Khan from Chicago, a guy who made his fortune in auto parts. Whether or not Khan can fix all the problems in Jacksonville is anyone’s guess. One supposes he could move the team to L.A. or Toronto.
In the meantime, the moves in Jag-City didn’t end with the coach. The day after De Rio was fired, the Jags fired wide receivers coach Johnny Cox and also shifted quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard to wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to quarterbacks coach. The team also waived starting wide receiver Jason Hill, evidently taking a step toward preparing for next season. Huh?
As Dr. Football said yesterday: “What’s next, burn down the building?” Well, ahh, maybe.
With the Jags in mind, with Ndamukong Suh suspended and with half the quarterbacks in the NFL hurt, it’s time for our weekly picks. It’s Week 13 in the National Football League and it opens Thursday night with Philadelphia at Seattle. There are 14 games on Sunday including Oakland at Miami, Denver is in Minnesota, Cincinnati is at Pittsburgh, Atlanta plays at Houston, Green Bay, trying to go to 12-0, plays in New York against the Giants and on Sunday Night Football, Detroit is at New Orleans.
Last week the Doc went 13-3 (110-65) straight up and 11-5 (94-81) against the spread while The Coach went 13-3 (117-58) straight up and 10-6 (95-80) against the spread.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) at Seattle Seahawks (4-7)
Line: Eagles by 3
Philadelphia will be without Michael Vick at quarterback, as he lets his ribs heal. His replacement Vince Young threw for 400 yards last week against the Patriots, but he still has a passer rating of just 69.6. The Eagles need a big game from running back LeSean McCoy to make up for Young’s ineptness. DeSean Jackson’s mind is on his contract, he dropped two potential touchdowns last week. The Seahawks counter the Philadelphia firepower with a defense that gave up 314 yards passing to Washington’s Rex Grossman in its last game. Should be an easy Eagles win.
DR. FOOTBALL: EAGLES TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: SEAHAWKS TO WIN.
Tennessee Titans (6-5) at Buffalo Bills (5-6)
Line: Bills by 1.5
Both teams are fighting to get a postseason berth. The Bills’ offense is trying to make do without Fred Jackson, while the Titans’ Chris Johnson, has started to play up to his billing. Tennessee still has a chance to take the AFC South, and both Johnson and QB Matt Hasselbeck should be able to exploit Buffalo’s 28th-ranked scoring defense.
DR. FOOTBALL: TITANS TO WIN
THE COACH: BILLS TO WIN AND COVER.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-7) at Chicago Bears (7-4)
Line: Bears by 7
Cover your eyes as Tyler Palko battles Caleb Hanie. What’s the over/under on how many programs they will sell as no one knows who those two are. The Chiefs might be better off playing Kyle Orton who the Bears know well. If that happens, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs will help their teammates play off the tendencies of Orton, who no doubt will rusty in a new offense. The key here is for Hanie is to use Matt Forte and let the defense do the rest.
DR. FOOTBALL: BEARS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
Oakland Raiders (7-4) at Miami Dolphins (3-8)
Line: Dolphins by 3
The Raiders seem to have some pretty good chemistry going on on offense as QB Carson Palmer is succeeding in the air and on the ground. His biggest target in recent weeks has nee the talented but long-underused Denarius Moore and look for Moore to be a threat again this week. This is going to be the deciding factor in this game as the Raiders maintain possession and wear down the Dolphins defense. The Dolphins streak ends here. (Coach sez: Yeah right. The Dolphins are at home and Matt Moore has thrown the ball extremely well in recent weeks. The Dolphins looked good in Dallas and they can beat Oakland).
DR. FOOTBALL: RAIDERS TO WIN
THE COACH: DOLPHINS TO WIN AND COVER.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3)
Line: Steelers by 6.5.
Bengals QB Any Dalton has proven he can put points on the board and seems to be in a grove with A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. It won’t be enough though because even though Big Ben didn’t so much against the Chiefs last week, he is very difficult to stop at home.
DR. FOOTBALL: STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.
New York Jets (6-5) at Washington Redskins (4-7)
Line: Jets by 3
I’m pretty sure the Redskins win last week was more about the Seahawks self-destructing late in the fourth quarter. I’m also unsure of Rex Grossman’s ability to move the ball against the Jets defense. One has to wonder how did Mark Sanchez as awful as he did, but still tossed four TD’s and beat the Bills last week? The Jets do know how to win, which will be the difference.
DR. FOOTBALL: JETS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: JETS TO WIN AND COVER.
Atlanta Falcons (7-4) at Houston Texans (8-3)
Line: Falcons by 3
Down to their number three QB T.J. Yates, the Texans will really rely on the their top ranked defense and running game. But it won’t be enough. Falcons are hitting their stride, and Yates will wish he was still a back up to a guy holding a clip board. T.J. Yates would probably be the only quarterback anywhere in the world who would be worried about losing his job to Jake Delhomme this week. I mean, there are semi-pro teams that would not have tried to sign Delhomme, who last destroyed the Cleveland Browns — while he was playing for them– in 2010. Delhomme is a turnover waiting to happen and yet he could play this week against Atlanta.
DR. FOOTBALL: FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Carolina Panthers (3-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)
Line: Buccaneers by 3.5
It doesn’t matter how well Cam Newton will play, Carolina’s defensive line will struggle against Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount. The Bucs defense is good, but they may struggle a bit with Newton, so expect a high scoring shoot out. The Bucs have better guns.
DR. FOOTBALL: BUCCANEERS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: BUCCANEERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Denver Broncos (6-5) at Minnesota Vikings (2-9)
Line: Vikings by 1
Minnesota will be without RB Adrian Peterson again this week, and this will hurt them. Denver’s defense has given the Broncos their wins, not their offense. Lost in all the Tebow talk, the Broncos on defense have allowed 13, 13 and 10 points over the last three games. That will be the difference this week as the score will remain low, and the Broncos will prevail.
DR. FOOTBALL: BRONCOS TO WIN
THE COACH: BRONCOS TO WIN.
Indianapolis Colts (0-11) at New England Patriots (8-3)
Line: Patriots by 20
Good grief. This used to be the NFL’s game of the year. Now, the only thing you wonder about is how much the Patriots will win by.
DR. FOOTBALL: PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: PATRIOTS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
Baltimore Ravens (8-3) at Cleveland Browns (4-7)
Line: Ravens by 6.5
Baltimore is coming off a mini bye week having last played on US Thanksgiving. I can’t see the Browns giving the well- rested Ravens any kind of a fight. (Coach sez: First of all, the Ravens tend to play down to their competition. Secondly, the Browns played very well in Cincinnati last week. No. 3, if Colt McCoy and company are smart enough to give the ball to big Peyton Hillis they can win this game. Whether or not they’ll do that, remains to be seen, however).
DR. FOOTBALL: RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
St. Louis Rams (2-9) at San Francisco 49ers (9-2)
Line: 49ers by 13
The 49ers should be fired up after their loss last week. They have the league’s best run defense; the Rams have the worst. The Niners also have the league’s top scoring defense, and the Rams are No. 31 in scoring offense. They shouldn’t have any trouble with the awful Rams. This could be a shutout.
DR. FOOTBALL: 49ers TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.
Dallas Cowboys (7-4) at Arizona Cardinals (4-7)
Line: Cowboys by 4.5
Arizona doesn’t have the talent on defense to stop a well rested Cowboys squad, especially with WR Miles Austin back on the roster. Tony Romo has plenty of options and he will utilize them successfully.
DR. FOOTBALL: COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
Green Bay Packers (11-0) at New York Giants (6-5)
Line: Packers by 7
The Green Bay Packers have won 17 consecutive games, and if they get through the 2011 NFL regular season without losing, they’ll have the record for the longest winning streak, beating out the 2003-04 New England Patriots’ mark of 21. The Giants were lit up by the Saints Drew Brees for four TDs last week. Now they face Aaron Rodgers, who burned them for four TDs last season. Their pass rush struggled to get to Brees, and they gave him plenty of time to pick the secondary apart. Rodgers has similar weapons to cause problems for Giants linebackers and defensive backs.
DR. FOOTBALL: PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Detroit Lions (7-4) at New Orleans Saints (8-3)
Line: Saints by 9
The Detroit Stomper Ndamukong Suh will be out for this one, and that will make life a lot easier for Drew Brees and company. Brees torched the Giants for 4 TDs last week, and with the weakened Lions defense, look for similar results.
DR. FOOTBALL: SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Diego Chargers (4-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (3-8)
Line: Chargers by 2.5.
Coach fired, team sold, what’s next; burn the building. San Diego is a mess, but nothing like Jacksonville. Why is this game on MNF?
DR. FOOTBALL: CHARGERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: CHARGERS TO WIN AND COVER.