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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 3

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There are NFL Teams that Aren’t Trying to Win

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
September 21, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

There are a growing number of teams in the National Football League that don’t care whether they win or lose. There are a growing number of teams in the NFL that would call some drunk donkey out of the stands before they would give a guy who could actually win them a football game, a chance to play. Teams that are employing the likes of Case Keenum, Brian Hoyer, Kevin Hogan, Josh McCown, Blake Bortles, Mike Glennon and Jacoby Brissett and yet won’t call on Colin Kaepernick to help them out, are either run by idiots or they don’t care at all if they win or lose.

And if you’re buying tickets to home games with those clowns at quarterback, you are living proof that there is indeed a sucker born every minute.

In a league where woman-beaters and drunk drivers get a second chance, a man who wanted to do something for the underprivileged can’t find work. In a league where dozens of players now sit or kneel for the US national anthem, the guy who started it all, is unemployed. The NFL is successful despite itself.

And according to ESPN’s Bill Barwell, that’s simply insane: “There just isn’t a strong enough case for teams to pass on Kaepernick, given the desperate public outcries for useful quarterbacks and the nature of his protests. Even if you disagree with his stance, it’s bizarre to contrast his peaceful political dissent as a crime that should keep him off rosters in a league in which even marginal players embroiled with confirmed or alleged incidences of domestic and/or sexual assault can sustain careers.

“Watching so many NFL teams willfully make ignorant choices and then complain about the lack of quarterback options while leaving a clearly qualified candidate on the sidelines makes it seem like the quality of decision-making in the modern NFL is far worse than the quality of play.”

Thank you Mr. Barwell.

There is not one legitimate statistic that would suggest even slightly that Kaepernick would not be a better quarterback than Hogan, Hoyer, Keenum, Brissett, McCown, Bortles or Glennon and the way things have gone so far this year, he’d also be a step up from Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton, Jared Goff or poor old habitual loser Philip Rivers (no wonder nobody in LA buys Chargers tickets).

Of course, for your two fearless prognosticators, that’s a good thing. Sure, the Chargers or Cincinnati or the Bears might have a good week occasionally, but for the most part, those teams are not really trying to win. They’re simply trying to get through each week of the season without embarrassing themselves. Thankfully, if we’re going to wager hard-earned cash on the outcomes of their games, we know enough now to bet against them.

Because there are so many teams that have no real desire to hire a quarterback who at least has a chance to win games, you can write those teams off today. Sure, we knew Cleveland, the Bears and Jacksonville would be horrible, but now that Andrew Luck is hurt, Sam Bradford is hurt (Sam Bradford is always hurt) and Philip Rivers has a job, the Colts, Vikings and Chargers won’t win much.

It’s going to make this a profitable season.

Last week Dr. Football went 11-5 (21-10) straight up and 7-9 (17-14) against the spread while The Coach went 10-6 (22-9) straight up and 9-7 (18-13) against the spread. We have NEVER been this good this early in any season.

And this week, we have an advantage. We know the teams that don’t even care if they win. Only problem, some of those teams play each other.

 

THURSDAY NIGHT
Los Angeles Rams (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (0-2)
Line: Rams by 2

An early season divisional rival game between two lackluster teams. The Rams defense was terrible last week, but they’re playing a team with a terrible offense. Rams get back on track. The Coach says: Well, San Francisco would be better with somebody other than Brian Hoyer at quarterback but hey…

Dr. Football: Take the Rams to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Rams to win and cover.

 

SUNDAY MORNING

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Line: Ravens by 3.5

London’s first game of the season features two teams with very good defenses. Trouble is, Jacksonville’s offense isn’t very good. The Coach says: Of course Jacksonville’s offense would be better with Colin Kaepernick, but Jags owner Shahid Khan doesn’t want to win.

Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Ravens to win and cover.

 

Cleveland Browns (0-2) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
Line: Browns by 1

Indianapolis played better last week than anyone expected, and with the Browns in town they’ll get their first win. The Coach says: Unless shaky rookie DeShone Kizer can play for Cleveland, Kevin Hogan will be the Browns’ quarterback. Jacoby Brissett will play quarterback for Indianapolis. Neither of these owners and neither of these general managers gives a crap about winning.

Dr. Football: Take the Colts in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Colts.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) at Chicago Bears (0-2)
Line: Steelers by 7

Pittsburgh had to work hard for their first two wins, but pretty much can take the day off in Chicago and leave with the win. The Coach says: Mike Glennon will start at quarterback for the Bears. Chicago might not win a single game this season.

Dr. Football: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Steelers to win and cover.

 

Miami Dolphins (1-0) at New York Jets (0-2)
Line: Dolphins by 6

Usually two consecutive road games are tough, but the Dolphins will have little trouble against a Jets team that has issues on both sides of the ball. The Coach says: The Jets just stink.

Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Dolphins to win and cover.

 

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Line: Broncos by 3

The Bills defense won’t be able to handle the surprising Denver offense, and Denver’s defense will not allow Buffalo even near the red zone.

Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Bills.

 

Houston Texans (1-1) at New England Patriots (1-1)
Line: Patriots by 13

We saw the real Patriots last week against the Saints, and that’s not good for a struggling Houston team on the road.

Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.

 

New Orleans Saints (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Line: Panthers by 6

The winless Saints won’t be able to regroup on the road despite having a better than average offense. Carolina’s defense will be the difference here.

Dr. Football: Take the Panthers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Line:

Hard to get a read on the Bucs after beating the lowly Bears, but their defense looked good. Minnesota is a tough place to play your first road game of the year though, but the Vikings depend on Sam Bradford being back to win.

Dr. Football: Take the Vikings.

The Coach: Take the Vikings if Bradford plays, otherwise bet the farm on Tampa Bay.

 

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Detroit Lions (2-0)
Line: Falcons by 3

The Lions fairytale start to the season ends on Sunday when Atlanta’s Matt Ryan shows up the overpaid Matt Stafford. The Coach says: Take the Lions till they lose.

Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Lions.

 

New York Giants (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Line: Eagles by 6

The Giants are a terrible football team, the kind that Philadelphia fans love coming to town. Poor Eli will have a tough day against an excellent Eagles defense.

Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.

 

LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON

Seattle Seahawks (1-1) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Line: Titans by 3

Seattle have struggled this season due to their poor O-Line, but always seem to make the necessary corrections even on the road.

Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Titans to win and cover.

 

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)
Line: Chiefs by 3

Kansas City gutted one out last week against the Eagles, and should have little trouble against a winless, homeless team.

Dr. Football: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Chiefs to win and cover.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Line: Packers by 8.5

You don’t think a team that hasn’t scored a point this season will put up a fight at Lambeau Field do you?

Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win and cover.

The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.

 

SUNDAY NIGHT

Oakland Raiders (2-0) at Washington Redskins (1-1)
Line: Raiders by 3

Oakland has impressed the first two weeks, but they still allowed the Jets to score 20 points. That won’t cut it against Washington.

Dr. Football: Take the Redskins in an upset.

The Coach: Take the Washingtons to win and cover.

 

MONDAY NIGHT

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Line: Cowboys by 3

Arizona’s home opener is going to be tough on a team playing their second consecutive road game. However, I think Dallas, given all the Elliott turmoil will be fired up in a Monday Nighter.

Dr. Football: Take the Cowboys to win and cover

The Coach: Take the Cowboys to win and cover.

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 2

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A New Season for the Fearless Prognosticators

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
September 13, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

 

 

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.

 

THURSDAY NIGHT

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.

 

Sunday Night

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.

 

Monday Night

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.

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Scott Taylor

Vikings Win

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Scott Taylor

Peterson Looks Lost as Vikings Ravage Saints

By Scott Taylor

September 12, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

Adrian Peterson looked lost. In fact, as the game between the Minnesota Vikings and Peterson’s New Orleans Saints (it feels weird just to write that) dragged on through 2 ½ hours of TV commercials, he seemed even more bewildered.

He had returned to downtown Minneapolis to be a hero. He was there to visit old friends and show Saints coach Sean Payton and his staff that he was more like the 2012 Adrian Peterson than the injured, tired 2016 Adrian Peterson.

And on his first carry, he looked pretty good. He gained four yards and made a nice move at the line of scrimmage to avoid a tackler. But that was about it. From that point on, he was exactly what Coach Payton told him he was going to be – a bit-part player on rebuilding team that already had two decent runningbacks, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara and was going to rely on a passing game with Drew Brees at the helm anyway.

So when the Minnesota Vikings finished with an impressive 29-19 win over Brees and the Saints, the numbers told a sad story. Peterson finished with six carries for 18 yards, didn’t catch a pass and played on only nine snaps. According to the NFL statistics folks, that’s the lowest of his career. I’d be surprised if Peterson finishes the season.

All he had left for the effort was a loss and about a dozen stink-eyes that he sent laser-like directly at his head coach during the game. He obviously doesn’t like to be a bench-warmer.

Look, to be fair, it’s not that Peterson is done, necessarily, but he’s certainly done in New Orleans — unless three or four other guys get hurt. He got to start Monday Night’s game and then even carried on the first play, but after that, if the TV cameras hadn’t been interested in him, we would likely have never noticed that he didn’t play much. He was a footnote in the end and the real story was on the other side of the ball.

The real story was Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford and the fact he completed 27-of-32 pass attempts for 346 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The real story was Adam Thielen, the undrafted receiver from Minnesota State who caught nine passes for 157 yards. The real story was Stefon Diggs who caught seven passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns – the second was a highlight-reel catch that we’ll be watching on NFL Network for a while.

And the real, real story was Dalvin Cook, the second round draft pick in 2017 out of Florida State. He was taken in the draft by the Vikings to replace Peterson and on Monday night, he announced his arrival with authority. He finished with 22 carries for 127 yards and his last run of the night was a 33-yarder around the right side that sealed the victory.

With 127 yards, he broke Peterson’s Vikings record of 107 yards by a rookie in his first game with Minnesota, set back in 2007.

And that’s a very important number – 2007.

Time catches up to all of us. On Monday night, it caught up to the great Adrian Peterson. After 10-plus years as a runningback in the NFL he’s had a Hall of Fame career. But he hasn’t been a Hall of Fame RB since 2014. He’s been injured, banged on the head, run over by 300-pound linemen and, of course, had his troubles off the field.

It’s kind of too bad he came back – to all the boos – in a Saints uniform on Monday night. He probably should have called it a career after the 2015 season (but, of course, it’s damn hard to leave all that money on the table) and the Vikings should have probably been looking for their next Adrian Peterson after the 2013 season.

But here we are.

The Vikings were great in their opener, Dalvin Cook looks like a keeper and with a re-vamped offensive line, Sam Bradford looks like the quarterback that the St. Louis Rams believed he could be, three teams ago, back in 2010.

Fact is, if Bradford gets time to throw this season, the Vikings will be a contender. If he doesn’t, we all know what happens. Unless, of course, Dalvin Cook actually turns out to be the next Adrian Peterson.

Then it could really get exciting.

 

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Scott Taylor

NFL Picks Week 1

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A New Season for the Fearless Prognosticators

Scott Taylor

“The Coach”

Dr. Football

“Dr. Football”

 

By

The Coach and Dr. Football
September 5, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
@staylorsports ‏

 

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):

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The Minnesota Vikings are one Sam Bradford injury away from Case Keenum.
  4. Is DeShone Kizer the answer in Cleveland? We’re certainly rooting for him, but…
  5. 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:

 

THURSDAY NIGHT

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.

 

Early Sunday

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)
Line: Pick

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.

 

Late Sunday

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.

 

Sunday Night

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.

 

Monday Night

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.

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Scott Taylor

Blaine’s Hendricks Signs One-Year Deal with Jets

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

September 1, 2017
GAMEDAY GOLD
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A National Hockey League team located about seven hours by car north of the Twin Cities has decided that Minnesota hockey players make the best leaders.

In fact the three players considered to be the “leaders” of the Winnipeg Jets are Minnesotans – captain Blake Wheeler from Plymouth, defensive star Dustin Byfuglien from Roseau and now, highly-regarded penalty killer Matt Hendricks from Blaine.

This week, the Jets agreed to terms with the 36-year-old veteran Hendricks on a one-year deal worth $700,000.

Hendricks Tweeted: “Very happy to be joining the @NHL Jets organization. Can’t wait to meet the guys and get the season off to a good start!”

Hendricks spent the last four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. Last year, he had four goals and seven points in 42 games and for the second straight season he led the Oilers in the faceoff circle, winning 132-of-232 draws (56.9 per cent).

photo courtesy: Edmonton Oilers

Hendricks, a left-handed shooting centerman, has also been a staple on the Oilers penalty kill. In fact, he is among the Top 25 NHL forwards in shorthanded time-on-ice during the last five seasons.

He has played 521 career NHL games with Colorado, Washington, Nashville, and Edmonton and has totaled 49 goals and 100 points with 664 penalty minutes and a career faceoff percentage of 53.9 per cent.

Hendricks, who is 6-foot, 205 pounds, was drafted by the Predators in the fifth round (131st overall) in the 2000 NHL Draft. He’s the son of an American Marine and a Swedish mother. He and his wife Kimberly have five-year-old twins, son Gunnar and daughter Lennon.

He represented the United States at the World Championships in 2015.

He has been called, “a great team player,” and “an outstanding leader.” In Winnipeg, that would describe all three Minnesota players.

 

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Scott Taylor

Twins Call it a Season at the Trade Deadline

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

Kintzler is dealt as team…once again, looks to the future

It not so much that the Minnesota Twins gave up their last hope in this 2017 American League season at last week’s trade deadline. It’s just that they didn’t bother to do anything to challenge.

We wrote in a column here, back on July 4, that if the Twins could hang in the race until the middle of August, they might surprise some people in September. Today, they are three games below .500 (51-54), six games out in the AL Central and four games out in the Wild Card. They aren’t really in a race, but if they could string some wins together, they certainly wouldn’t be laying dead on the road either.

Still, Twins management decided to tell the fans at the non-waiver trade deadline last week that there was no real need to get too excited about the 2017 season.

They acquired Jaime Garcia from Atlanta, told people he was moving into the starting rotation and then dealt him to the Yankees six days later for two prospects. Oh, and the Twins will pay Garcia’s salary (OK, so they bought two prospects for $4 million).

Then, they traded soon-to-be-free-agent closer Brandon Kintzler to the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitcher Tyler Watson and $500,000 in international bonus pool money (and, one supposes, six batting-practice baseballs and a broken Bryce Harper autographed bat).

Kintzler was 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 28 saves when he was dealt. He was an American League all-star and the most consistent thing in an inconsistent Minnesota bullpen.

He’s also 32 and was going to test the free-agent market this winter. He’s been a Major Leaguer for eight seasons and he’s never hit the salary jackpot. Sure, he’s making $2.925 million on his one-year deal this season, but with an all-star game on his resume and very likely 40-plus saves, he could pick up some legitimate dough this winter. Washington is much more likely to pay him what he’s worth than the Twins so he was as good as gone at a time when Minnesota could still get something in return.

Still, it’s not so much what the Twins gave up at the deadline as what they didn’t get. They didn’t get a veteran slugger or clutch hitter like, say Melky Cabrera (Kansas City) and they didn’t get a middle/top of the rotation starter like, perhaps, Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish. They didn’t get better.

For another July, the Twins were sellers. They didn’t make any drastic moves – fans barely knew Garcia had even arrived in Minneapolis while Kintzler was going to be gone this winter anyway – but they didn’t try to get better in the short-term either.

Sure, to be fair, they picked up some interesting prospects, but manager Paul Molitor has been told to ride out this year’s roster – without his closer – until the end of September.

So a team that is 3-7 in its last 10 and has fallen below .500 for the first time in a while, is now a team that isn’t as good as it was a week ago, but isn’t a whole lot worse, either.

Tuesday, they got a great complete-game pitching performance from Ervin Santana (12-7, 3.28 ERA) in a 5-2 win at San Diego (Santana himself had a hit and drove in two runs) and looked pretty good in the process.

But as we get deep into August, this is a Twins team that has two hitters (Joe Mauer and Eddie Rosario) batting higher than .280, three hitters (Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Jason Castro) at the bottom of the order hitting below .230 and two power hitters (Manuel Sano, .269 with 25 homers, and Brian Dozier, .244 with 17 homers) who, on occasion, hit the ball high and deep, but only, it seems, on occasion.

This could be a good team, but somehow it’s just not quite.

And I guess that’s why the people who run the organization decided to, once again, look to the future. It was probably the right strategy, but, you have to admit, for people buying tickets, the strategy is getting a little old.

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GDG rundown for the weekend of July 14th-16th (a.k.a. X-Games Weekend 2017)

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This week, we get a chance to breathe with much of the Sports buzz slowing to a whisper.  But there’s still stuff to talk about, and our hosts don’t take breaks.  Eric and Larry are back in the Downtown Minneapolis studio to chat about the MLB All-Star Game and baseball at the break.  And that’s not all they get to discuss.  There’s the cashflow of the NBA offseason, the best baseball stadiums around, and naming rights for a college hockey arena.  And they’re joined by GDG’s Scott Taylor, who gets to chat up some CFL, NHL, and the impacts of arbitration.

MLB Showcases Fun in the Sun

Segment 1: Major League Baseball celebrated the game this week, holding the 88th annual All-Star Game in Miami.  How did the American League’s victory square up this game’s history?  Then, Eric and Larry reminisce on the influence of Latin ballplayers, including former Twins legend and MLB Hall of Famer Rod Carew.

 

Baseball’s Best and the Game’s Popularity Struggles

Segment 2: At baseball’s break, the L.A. Dodgers and the Houston Astros are the talk of the sport.  Are these teams destined to meet in the World Series?  After that, is the lack of a clock hurting baseball in this modern age of gadgets and shorter attention spans?

 

The Best Views and the Stars Shine Bright

Segment 3: With our minds on baseball, why not look at the favorite ballparks around the nation.  The fellas discuss one list of the best in the U.S., then explain their feelings for certain venues.  And the annual ESPYs took place on Wednesday.  We hear about some of the winners from the most glamorous night in Sports.

 

GDG’s Scott Taylor Offers Some Maple Leaf Love

Segment 4: Football may not be going on in the States, but it has started north of the border.  GDG’s Scott Taylor checks in from this week’s matchup between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  He talks with the guys about the popularity of the CFL and its comparison to the NHL.  Plus, can Canadian son Andrew Wiggins be on the verge of leading a great team?  And what might the impacts be of Mikael Granlund’s arbitration case?

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Toronto Argonauts

Winnipeg vs Toronto Argonauts during CFL action in Winnipeg on Thursday, July,13,2017. (Photo Credit Jeff Miller)

 

When Business and Sports Collide

Segment 5: Eric and Larry piggyback off of the arbitration discussion that Scott Taylor brought up.  What happens when egos this big clash over dollars?  Then, could Carmelo Anthony help Houston create another “superteam”?

 

The Name’s the Thing

Segment 6: There’s something new about the Gopher hockey team.  Our hosts talk about the new name and sponsorship of Mariucci Arena.  Sticking with the U of M, can P.J. Fleck find an advantage over at TCF Bank Stadium?  Plus, we hear about the Mayweather-McGregor hype tour and the U.S. Women’s Open crossing paths with President Trump.

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Scott Taylor

If They Get Through August, These Twins Will Compete

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Scott Taylor

By Scott Taylor

Twins take first two of July homestand…

MINNEAPOLIS – It was quite a July 4th Holiday for the Minnesota Twins. Not only did they win the first two games of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels, but they did it with all hands on deck.

The players who led the Twins to victory are the players you would suspect, but in the meantime, a couple of others that the organization has been waiting patiently for seemed to step up.

On Monday night, Adalberto Mejia won his third consecutive start, a 9-5 victory over a pretty decent Angels team (OK, not as good without Mike Trout, but still pretty good, nonetheless). Mejia (4-3, 4.32 ERA) gave up three runs on nine hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches and appeared to be ready to join Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios at the top of the rotation.

“It feels good to be able to hold a team like that,” Mejia said after the game. “I’ve been trying to go at least seven innings in my games and little by little it’s starting to happen.”

Joe Mauer hit a three-run bomb to centerfield while Max Kepler hit s line shot off the garden in right for a solo shot. Kepler had four hits and was the best player on the field. Brandon Kintzler shut down the Angels in the ninth to lock up the Twins 42nd win of the year.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Twins celebrated the holiday with a 5-4 win over the Angels to win the series. The story of the game was Byron Buxton. The Twins centerfielder entered the game hitting .197 and with three hits, including the eventual game-winning home run, he moved the dial to .206. Sure, it’s still lousy, but the fact is, he stole a base and made a tremendous catch against the centerfield wall on the first swing of the game.

Buxton could be a big league star if he could learn how to use his skills at the plate. He needs to bang the ball into the ground, bunt, beat out infield hits and simply use his legs. He easily stole a base after one single, turning a lead-off single into a double. He could be one of the Twins greatest if he could just  figure out how to get his legs involved in his hitting.

“I think he just has to remember during the game all the work he puts into his practice,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor, when asked about Buxton. “When you get in the game, you can’t be overthinking that thing. You just kind of have to let it fly.”

On Tuesday, Kyle Gibson (5-6, 5.82 ERA) was the “good” Kyle Gibson. He went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on five scattered hits with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches before he was replaced by Taylor Rogers, who got a rude awakening from Albert Pujols, who hit his 12th homer of the year and the 611th of his career, 456 feet to straightaway centre.

The game was close, but Kintzler came on in the ninth once again, picked up his 22nd save of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.41. Perhaps the biggest snub of this All-Star season is leaving Kintzler out of the game. He might just be the best closer in the game.

At the end of the July 4th Holiday, the Twins were 43-40, just a game and a half back of Cleveland in the race for first in the Central Division.

Just two games into the second half of the season and the Twins are legitimately in the race. In fact, they’re tied with Kansas City and Tampa for the No. 2 Wild Card spot. If players such as Miguel Sano, Robbie Grossman, Eddie Rosario, Eduardo Escobar, Mauer and Buxton continue to play as well as they have, the light at the end of that ugly tunnel might not be an oncoming train.

Sure, it’s early. Sure it’s only the first week of July. Sure, Twins fans all expect the bottom to fall out of this thing at some point. But right now, a team that was 59-103 last season is three games over .500 and right in the thick of the Central Division race.

If things are the same by say, the last week of August, it might be time to conjure up thoughts of Kirby Puckett, Jack Morris and Kent Hrbek. Until then, it’s just fun to watch a young team with some very interesting players try to convince itself that it’s good enough to hang on.

 

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Scott Taylor

2017 NHL Expansion Draft – Winnipeg Jets

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Protected players Available players

Joel Armia (F)
Andrew Copp (F)
Bryan Little (F)
Adam Lowry (F)
Mathieu Perreault (F)
Mark Scheifele (F)
Blake Wheeler (F)
Dustin Byfuglien (D)
Tyler Myers (D)
Jacob Trouba (D)
Connor Hellebuyck (G)

Marko Dano (F)
Quinton Howden (F)
Scott Kosmachuk (F)
Tomas Kubalik (F)
JC Lipon (F)
Shawn Matthias (F)
Ryan Olsen (F)
Anthony Peluso (F)
Chris Thorburn (F)
Ben Chiarot (D)
Toby Enstrom (D)
Brenden Kichton (D)
Julian Melchiori (D)
Paul Postma (D)
Brian Strait (D)
Mark Stuart (D)
Michael Hutchinson (G)
Ondrej Pavelec (G)

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Scott Taylor

2017 NHL Expansion Draft – Washington Capitals

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Protected players Available players

Nicklas Backstrom (F)
Andre Burakovsky (F)
Lars Eller (F)
Marcus Johansson (F)
Evgeny Kuznetsov (F)
Alex Ovechkin (F)
Tom Wilson (F)
John Carlson (D)
Matt Niskanen (D)
Dmitry Orlov (D)
Braden Holtby (G)

Jay Beagle (F)
Chris Bourque (F)
Paul Carey (F)
Brett Connolly (F)
Stanislav Galiev (F)
Tyler Graovac (F)
Garrett Mitchell (F)
Liam O’Brien (F)
T.J. Oshie (F)
Zach Sill (F)
Chandler Stephenson (F)
Christian Thomas (F)
Nathan Walker (F)
Justin Williams (F)
Daniel Winnik (F)
Karl Alzner (D)
Taylor Chorney (D)
Cody Corbett (D)
Darren Dietz (D)
Christian Djoos (D)
Tom Gilbert (D)
Aaron Ness (D)
Brooks Orpik (D)
Nate Schmidt (D)
Kevin Shattenkirk (D)
Pheonix Copley (G)
Philipp Grubauer (G)

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Gameday Gold Radio – July 14, 2017 – s.4

GDG’s Scott Taylor Offers Some Maple Leaf Love

Segment 4: Football may not be going on in the States, but it has started north of the border.  GDG’s Scott Taylor checks in from this week’s matchup between the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  He talks with the guys about the popularity of the CFL and its comparison to the NHL.  Plus, can Canadian son Andrew Wiggins be on the verge of leading a great team?  And what might the impacts be of Mikael Granlund’s arbitration case?

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Gameday Gold Radio – June 2, 2017 – s.3

Penguin Power: Scott Taylor’s Take on the Stanley Cup Final

Segment 3: It isn’t just the NBA that’s playing its championship series.  GDG’s Scott Taylor joins the program to break down the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final.  How did Pittsburgh hold their own at home, despite being behind on so many stats?  And how good of a story is Penguin rookie and Woodbury native Jake Guentzel becoming?