A New Season for the Fearless Prognosticators
The Coach and Dr. Football
September 5, 2017
Another National Football League season is upon us and as we get set for the big slam-bang opening spectacular on Thursday night, there are a few things that have us confused (which, of course, isn’t saying much):
- Colin Kaepernick does not have a job but Josh McCown (Jets), Mike Glennon (Bears) and Nathan Peterman (Bills) all do. And they will all start the season opener.
- What is it with NFL runningbacks? From Ray Rice to Adrian Peterson to Ezekiel Elliott, there just seems to be something off. Could it be CTE? Just asking for a friend.
- The Minnesota Vikings are one Sam Bradford injury away from Case Keenum.
- Is DeShone Kizer the answer in Cleveland? We’re certainly rooting for him, but…
- Will, the Browns (1-15-0), Bears (3-13-0) Jags (3-13-0), Chargers (5-11-0), Rams (4-12-0), Jets (5-11-0) and 49ers (2-14-0) ever be competitive teams again? There is no sense, at the start of this or seemingly any season, that these teams are ever going to get better.
The 2017 season shapes up as a showdown in the AFC between Pittsburgh and New England and a showdown in the NFC with, well, the team of the week. Will Dallas be as good as 13-3-0 again? Is Atlanta really a 11-5-0 team and is Carolina really a 6-10-0 team? Is Seattle that much better than everybody else in the West? Is Detroit a Wild Card hope? Are the Giants getting better or worse?
The AFC seems pretty easy to handicap. The NFC is a crapshoot. At least, that’s how it looks after more than a month of pre-season practice scrimmages and a group of teams that actually lost intra-squad games.
Last year, The Coach and Dr. Football were pretty good. The Good Doctor was 174-93 straight up and 142-125 against the spread. The Coach finished 177-90 straight up and 141-126 against the spread. Those were both money-making finishes.
This year, if we can answer all the pressing questions, we should have another winning season. However, the fact that it’s called gambling, not “sure thing,” always makes for some interesting arguments.
It’s time to look at a complete crapshoot – Week 1 in the National Football League:
Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) at New England Patriots (0-0)
Line: Patriots by 9
Last year the Patriots started the season without Tom Brady and they still won the Super Bowl…how good will they be with him in control all season?
The loss of Julian Edelman will hurt, and that factor alone will slow down New England, but you just get the sense that Brady will figure it out.
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
New York Jets (0-0) at Buffalo Bills (0-0)
Line: Bills by 9
ESPN.com says the Jets will challenge the franchise record for the fewest points in a season…and it’s hard to disagree. LeSean McCoy will run wild on the Jets too.
Dr. Football: Take the Bills to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bills to win but not cover.
Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at Chicago Bears (0-0)
Line: Falcons by 7
The defending NFC champions will rid their Super Bowl hangover with a huge road victory against the once again rebuilding Bears.
Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (0-0) at Houston Texans (0-0)
Line: Texans by 6
J.J. Watt’s inspirational acts in the past few weeks have a funny way of propelling a man on the field…and with the fact that the Jaguars haven’t addressed their O-Line problems, expect J.J. to play like the Pro Bowler he is.
Dr. Football: Take the Texans to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Texans to win and cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0)
Expect both teams to be greatly improved this year, especially Carson Wentz. Watch him emerge as the dominant leader that the club expected when they drafted him.
Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win.
The Coach: Take the Washingtons because they’re at home.
Arizona Cardinals (0-0) at Detroit Lions (0-0)
Line: Cardinals by 1.5
Matt Stafford is the highest played player in the NFL? Puhleeze. Arizona’s David Johnson will be the best player on the field in this one.
Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Lions.
Oakland Raiders (0-0) at Tennessee Titans (0-0)
Line: Titans by 2
Expect the soon to be uprooted Raiders to win the AFC West, and to shake the stigma of not showing up for 1 p.m. road games.
Dr. Football: Take the Raiders in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-0)
Rescheduled: Week 11 …Due to Hurricane Irma…
Line: Dolphins by 3
Expect Jay Cutler to be hot out of the gate before returning to his not-that- impressive self. Tampa Bay will win the NFC South, but will struggle in this one.
Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win and cover. The Coach: Take the Dolphins to cover and hold your nose.
Baltimore Ravens (0-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-0)
Line: No Line
Flacco or no Flacco, the Raven defense will win this one.
Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win.
The Coach: Take the Ravens.
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0) at Cleveland Browns (0-0)
Line: Steelers by 9
I would think a nine-point spread is just being polite. I expect Pittsburgh to beat these clowns by 21.
Dr. Football: Take the Steelers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Steelers to win and cover.
Indianapolis Colts (0-0) at Los Angeles Rams (0-0)
Line: Rams by 3
The wheels came off the Colts bus last year, and I don’t believe they fixed the ol’ clunker. The Colts are rebuilding, and with Andrew Luck unable to start, expect the Rams to run away with this one.
Dr. Football: Take the Rams to win and cover.
The Coach: Yikes, I’m taking the Rams to cover.
Seattle Seahawks (0-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-0)
Line: Packers by 3
Lambeau Field is a tough place to start a season, but the aging Packers won’t put up much of a fight against a focused and motivated Russell Wilson.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.
Carolina Panthers (0-0) at San Francisco 49ers (0-0)
Line: Panthers by 6
The 49ers expect to be much improved this season, but they won’t hit their stride for a while. Carolina has too many weapons.
Dr. Football: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
New York Giants (0-0) at Dallas Cowboys (0-0)
Line: Cowboys by 3.5
Even without Ezekiel Elliot, the Cowboys have too many other weapons that will penetrate the Giants excellent defense.
Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.
New Orleans Saints (0-0) at Minnesota Vikings (0-0)
Line: Vikings by 3.5
Minnesota has a history of having players they cast aside come back to bite them, and this game will be no exception. Adrian Peterson is out for revenge, and he’ll get it.
Dr. Football: Take the Saints in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.
Los Angeles Chargers (0-0) at Denver Broncos (0-0)
Line: Broncos by 3.5
Sure the Chargers will take a while to get used to their new temporary home, but the fact is they will be the same team on the road, which happens to not be very good in Denver.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.