A New Season for the Fearless Prognosticators
The Coach and Dr. Football
September 13, 2017
A suggestion was made by a number of NFL people much smarter than us, that it would not be surprising if this week’s Thursday night game between the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals ended in a 0-0 tie.
In a league that already suffers from a dearth of high-functioning quarterbacks, the Bengals and Texans have issues. Granted Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton should be better, but last week, Dalton and the Bengals were woeful at home against Baltimore. They had 221 net yards of offense and zero points. They were four-for-13 on third down. They had 14 lousy first downs and three of them were by penalty. Dalton threw three INTs and was sacked five times.
Houston will go with Deshaun Watson to start while Tom Savage will back him up. Cincinnati will start Andy Dalton (who was good, once) and will have AJ McCarron to back him up. Last week, Houston lost 29-7 to Jacksonville while Cincinnati lost 20-0 to Baltimore.
If you have faith in veterans, you have to expect Dalton — who was picked three times in the first half last week — will get his act together this week, but there appears to be no hope with the offense in Houston. Like Cleveland, they’ve decided to go with the rookie QB and just ride it out. And, also like Cleveland, they have an offensive line that could get the kid killed.
This game could be truly horrible. In fact, it could be scoreless. But then again, if your fantasy team isn’t loaded with Cincinnati and Houston, if you don’t really care who wins and if you don’t have a wager on the game, why would you want to waste an evening watching 2 ½ hours of TV commercials anyway? And really, that’s all Thursday Night Football (and Sunday and Monday Night Football) really is. It’s 2 ½ hours of commercials wrapped around about an hour of the actual playing of football. And if the playing of football is as inept as we expect this week, you can give up the Ambien. Sleeping will not be an issue for you.
Frankly, we’re at the point with the NFL where the quarterbacking is so generally horrendous (and yeah, sure, there were some fine efforts last week, but certainly not most of them) that these games are often unwatchable. The Bengals (0), Houston (7), Indianapolis (9), San Francisco (3), Seattle (9) and the Giants (3) couldn’t even coax double figures onto the scoreboard. And yes, I’ll say it again – when Brian Hoyer (San Francisco), Tom Savage (Houston), Josh McCown (Jets), out of retirement Jay Cutler (Dolphins) and three rookies are starting in the best league in football, how does Colin Kaepernick not have work? It’s as if these teams are trying to lose on purpose.
Be sure, however, that we aren’t. Your fearless prognosticators got off to a great start and we’re ready to make you more money this week.
Last week Dr. Football went 10-5 straight up and 10-5 against the spread, while the Coach went 12-3 straight up and 9-6 against the spread. This week, they’ll be even better.
Houston Texans (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Line: Bengals by 6
Houston didn’t get the emotional lift I thought they would last week; their QB and O-Line issues were exposed. Cincinnati is coming off a rough spot as well, but I think Andy Dalton will get it together after being held scoreless.
Dr. Football: Take the Bengals to win and cover
The Coach: Take the Bengals to win and not cover.
Early Sunday Afternoon
Tennessee Titans (0-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
Line: Titans by 1.5
Jacksonville’s defense was the story last week, and I believe that will be the difference in this won.
Dr. Football: Take the Jaguars in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Jaguars
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Line: Ravens by 7.5
Baltimore’s defense looked good shutting out the Bengals on the road, which is bad news for Cleveland rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer on the road.
Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Ravens to win and cover.
Buffalo Bills (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)
Line: Panthers by 7
Buffalo beat up on the Jets last week, but that tells us nothing. Carolina looked good on the road and at home their even better.
Dr. Football: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
New England Patriots (0-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-1)
Line: Patriots by 6.5
Both teams can score, but you don’t embarrass Tom Brady two weeks in a row. The Saints have a short week, and even being at home won’t stop New England.
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
The Coach: It’s over. Take the Saints.
Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Line: Cardinals by 7.
Two road games to start the season is tough, but without Andrew Luck Indy won’t put much of a fight against Arizona even without David Johnson.
Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Line: Chiefs by 5
Both teams were impressive in Week 1, but Andy Reid relishes beating his old team. The Eagles second consecutive road game won’t yield the same result as in Washington.
Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Line: Steelers by 6
The Vikings offense looked good against the Saints Monday night, but this is a big step up in competition. Pittsburgh’s home opener too, but they did look at times shaky against Cleveland, so this might not be as lopsided as the odds makers think.
Dr. Football: Take the Steelers to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Vikings.
Chicago Bears (0-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)
Line: Buccaneers by 7
Don’t know what the postponement of the Bucs first game will cause, but the Bears won’t put up much of a fight on the road.
Dr. Football: Take the Buccaneers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Buccaneers to win and cover.
Late Sunday Afternoon
Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)
Line: Chargers by 4.5
Los Angeles lost a close one Monday night to the Broncos. Despite the short week, look for Philip Rivers to play like he did in the in the fourth quarter in Denver.
Dr. Football: Take the Chargers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Chargers to win and cover.
New York Jets (0-1) at Oakland Raiders (1-0)
Line: Raiders by 14
The Jets fly west to take on a very motivated and talented Oakland team. Derek Carr will step up, but a 14-point spread is tough.
Dr. Football: Take the Raiders to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Raiders to win and cover.
Washington Redskins (0-1) at Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
Line: Rams by 2.5
Washington’s loss of Sean McVay showed in the Redskins offense, which always is added motivation as a coach takes on his former team.
Dr. Football: Take the Rams to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.
Dallas Cowboys (1-0) at Denver Broncos (1-0)
Line: Dallas by 2
Dallas looked good last week on both sides of the ball, but Denver’s defense is tough, and they’ve won the last five times against the Cowboys.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos in an upset.
The Coach: take the Cowboys to win and cover.
San Francisco 49ers (0-1) at Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
Line: Seahawks by 13.5
The 49ers didn’t do much last week, and travel north to play a very motivated Seattle team in their home opener.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
Green Bay Packers (1-0) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
Line: Falcons by 3
Last year’s NFC Championship rematch will yield the same result; although Green Bay’s defense is a lot better than last year. Atlanta’s offense will still find a way.
Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
Detroit Lions (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Line: Giants by 3.5
The Giants offense struggled last week, but their defense will win this one against the overpaid Matt Stafford.
Dr. Football: Take the Giants to win and cover.
The Coach: take the Lions.