Monday’s Den; Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Patriots 16, Bills 10:
— Patriots scored only one offensive TD; they also blocked a punt for a TD.
— NE on eight drives that started 75+ yards from end zone: 0 points, 7 first downs.
— NE is 5-11 ATS in last 16 games as a divisional road favorite.

— Buffalo outgained New England 375-224, but was -3 in turnovers.
— Bills scored the first offensive TD vs NE this year, on Patriots’ 42nd defensive drive.
— Buffalo lost for 29th time in last 31 games against New England. 

Carolina 16, Texans 10:
— Carolina won both of backup QB Kyle Allen’s starts, after an 0-2 start with Cam Newton.
— Panthers are now 24-11 ATS in last 35 games as a road underdog.
— There were only four plays of 20+ yards in this game, 2nd least in any game this year. 

— Houston’s only TD came on an 18-yard drive after they recovered a fumble.
— Texans averaged only 3.2 yards/pass attempt.
— AFC South teams are 7-3 vs spread this year outside the division. 

Browns 40, Ravens 25
— Heard a saying the other day: “Each week is a new season.” Fits the Browns in Week 4.
— Nick Chubb ran the ball 20 times for 165 yards and three TD’s.
— Browns in 2nd half: 25 plays, 292 yards, 30 points.

— Cleveland gained 530 yards, averaged 8.7 yards per play.
— Game was 10-7 at halftime; Ravens turned ball over three times in 2nd half.
— Last three games, Baltimore allowed 7.7/7.9/10.5 yards/pass attempt. 

Giants 24, Redskins 3:
— Washington became 8th team to change QB’s this year when they benched Keenum after he missed a wide open WR for what would’ve been a long TD pass.
— Rookie QB Haskins was 9-17/107 passing, ran for 23 yards.
— Redskins have allowed 118 points in their 0-4 start.

— Daniel Jones is now 2-0 as an NFL starter.
— Janoris Jenkins caught two of Haskins’ three INT’s.
— Both teams turned ball over four times; yardage was 389-176, Giants. 

Chargers 30, Dolphins 10:
— Total yardage in 2nd half was 156-36, Chargers.
— Chargers converted 8-13 on third down, averaged 9.7 yards/pass attempt.
— Win breaks Bolts’ 38-year, 8-game losing streak on South Beach. 

— Dolphins in 2nd half: 18 plays, 45 yards, 3 first downs.
— Miami has been outscored 81-0 in second half of games.
— 2020 NFL Draft begins April 23rd in Las Vegas.

Raiders 31, Colts 24:
— Oakland’s first two drives: 11 plays, 135 yards, two touchdowns.
— Raiders are 4-13-1 ATS in last 18 games as a road underdog
— Oakland scored clinching pick-6 with 2:09 left. 

— Colts were outrushed 188-81
— Indy was outgained 193-15 in first quarter, outgained Oakland 129-24 in second.
— Colts threw 46 passes, ran ball only 23 times, a bad ratio for them. 

Chiefs 34, Lions 30:
— Game was 13-13 with 9:30 left in 3rd quarter; Lions had ball on 1-yard line, but fumbled and KC ran it back 99  yards for a TD.
— Chiefs scored winning TD with 0:20 left after a 79-yard drive.
— KC has now scored 15 touchdowns on 38 drives. 

— There were five lost fumbles in this game, all in the third quarter.
— Detroit lost despite an 11-yard edge in field position.
— NFC North teams are 7-2-1 ATS outside the division. 

Titans 24, Falcons 10:
— Tennessee had a 17-yard edge in field position, which is huge.
— Titans averaged 7.7/8.4 yds/pass attempt in their wins, 3.7/5.1 in their losses.
— Home team lost seven of the eight 1:00 games this week; only the Giants won.

— Falcons ran ball 17 times for 58 yards; in four games, they’ve got 281 rushing yards.
— Ryan was 35-53/397 passing in a losing cause.
— Atlanta is now 0-12 ATS in last dozen games vs AFC opponents

Buccaneers 55, Rams 40:
— Winston was very efficient: 28-41/385 yards, four TD’s.
— Bucs scored 55 points, had only three plays of 20+ yards.
— Tampa dedicated game to their GM Licht, whose father died Saturday. 

— You cannot win NFL games when you turn the ball over four times.
— Goff threw for 517 yards; 164 yards to Woods, 121 to Kupp.
— Under McVay, LA is 7-9 ATS as a home favorite. 

Seahawks 27, Cardinals 10:
— Seattle wins its sixth straight visit to the desert.
— This was first game this season Seahawks led at halftime.
— Seattle scored two TD’s in 0:44 span in 1st quarter, second one a defensive TD. 

— Cardinals have been outscored 68-22 in first half of games.
— Murray has been sacked 20 times in his first four NFL games.
— Arizona is 0-3-1, and they’ve only played one road game. 

Bears 16, Vikings 6:
— Vikings are 2-0 at home, scoring 28-34 points, 0-2 on road, scoring 16-6 points.
— Minnesota ran ball for 40 yards here, after running for 591 yards in Weeks 1-3.
— Vikings are 4-9 ATS in last 13 games as a road dog, 7-11 in last 18 games on natural grass.

— Trubisky hurt his left shoulder; Chase Daniel was 22-30/195 passing.
— Daniel has been in NFL for 10 years, started four games, made $34.3M in salary.
— Under Nagy, Chicago is 7-1 ATS as a home favorite.

Jaguars 26, Broncos 24:
— Fournette ran 29 times for 225 yards.
— Jaguars ran 76 plays, Denver only 54.
— In second half, Jax ran 47 plays for 315 yards, scored 20 points. 

— Denver lost its two home games, both on last-second field goals.
— Broncos led 17-6 at halftime, took 24-23 lead with 1:32 left after a 75-yard drive.
— Denver still has zero takeaways, but they did get their first five sacks this year. 

Saints 12, Cowboys 10:
— Dallas ran for only 45 yards, after running for 213-235 yards in Weeks 2-3.
— Teams who were minus-2 or worse in turnovers this week are 0-6.
— Cowboys scored 35-31-31 points in their first three games. 


— New Orleans failed to score an offensive TD for second time in three weeks.
— Last time Saints won without scoring a TD was back in 1998.
— Four trips to the red zone, Saints kicked four field goals. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Clemson 21, North Carolina 20— Tar Heels scored a TD with 1:17 left, then went for 2 points and the lead- they didn’t get it. Here is why I think that was a terrible idea:

— Recruiting is the lifeblood of all college football programs; for an underdog team like UNC, this was free advertising on national TV. You want the game to last as long as possible.
— Even if they lost in overtime, it would be a great headline: “Tar Heels take Clemson to OT”
— All the pressure, 100% of it, is on Clemson. Play as long as you can; maybe they’ll screw it up. 

— The game was televised on ESPN; Mack Brown spent the last five years working for ESPN, so all the announcers did was talk him up. The more of this, the better.
— The more recruits see of your stadium and enthusiastic fans, the better for you.
— Even if they get the 2-point conversion, Clemson had 1:17 left to try and beat them. 

12) Oklahoma 55, Texas Tech 16— Jalen Hurts was 16-23/413 passing; how long can Oklahoma keep coach Lincoln Riley from jumping to the NFL? 

Hurts is now 30-2 as a starting QB in college; in a perfect world, Alabama-Oklahoma would hook up in a January bowl game, Hurts against his old team. Good theater.

11) Alabama 59, Ole Miss 31— Tua Tagovailoa was 26-36/418 and six TD’s; Devonta Smith caught 11 balls for 274 yards and five TD”s. Thats a full day. 

10) Baylor 23, Iowa State 21— Bears blew a 20-0 4th quarter lead on a hot day in Waco, then drove 49 yards on 14 plays and kicked the winning FG with 0:34 left. ISU had taken the lead on an 88-yard TD pass with 3:52 left. 

9) Michigan 52, Rutgers 0— Why is Rutgers in the Big 14? What do they bring to the league? 

Scarlet Knights are now 3-26 SU in conference play since joining the league; they’ve been outscored 82-0 in two league games this season. 

In three years of Big 14 basketball, Rutgers is 13-43 in conference games; they haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1991. i won’t even bring up that the Big 14 is a midwestern league and Rutgers is in freakin’ New Jersey. 

It makes no sense; UConn would’ve been a better add, if they were so insistent on having an eastern team in the league. At least the Huskies are strong in basketball. 

8) Arizona 20, UCLA 17— Arizona’s senior QB Tate sat this one out with an injury, but UCLA missed a short FG in last minute and falls to 1-4, and they trailed 49-17 in the game they won. Freshman QB Gunnell was 29-44/352 passing for Arizona. 

7) Upsets:
— Houston (+7.5) 46, North Texas 25
— UMass (+7) 37, Akron 29
— Arkansas State (+7) 50, Troy 43
— Arizona State (+4) 24, California 17

6) SMU 48, South Florida 21— Mustangs are 5-0, averaging 44.4 ppg and they’ve beaten TCU. 

5) Duke 45, Virginia Tech 10— This was the Hokies’ worst home loss since 1974; they haven’t had back/back losing seasons since 1991-92, but appear headed that way this year. 

4) Utah 38, Washington State 13— Last week the Coogs led UCLA 49-17 late in the 3rd quarter; in their last 79:00 of play, Wazzu has been outscored 105-27. Not good. Tough coaching job for Mike Leach now, restoring his players’ confidence. 

3) Houston 46, North Texas 25— Cougars’ new QB Tune was 16-20/124 passing, and ran for 100 yards; line moved 10 points towards North Texas after Houston QB King red-shirted, so this was a good result for the bookmakers. 

AAC teams were 4-0 out of conference this week, 3-0 vs C-USA teams. 

2) Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 15— Two of Badgers’ three TD’s were scored by their defense. Northwestern has now covered 15 of last 19 games as a road underdog. 

1) Wyoming 53, UNLV 17— Wyoming ran the ball for 374 yards, and also averaged 10.2 yards per pass attempt. Ugly numbers. The new dome in Las Vegas opens next year; it is becoming less clear if Tony Sanchez will still be UNLV’s coach when next year gets here. 

Saturday’s List of 13: Notes on 13 other college games for today……

Underdogs covered four of last five Northwestern-Wisconsin games; Wildcats are 3-4-1 ATS in last eight visits to Madison, 14-4 ATS in last 18 games as a road underdog. Wisconsin won its first three games this year by a combined 145-14; they were up 35-0 on Michigan LW, outgaining Wolverines 487-299. Badgers are 12-15-1 in last 28 games as a home favorite. 2-0 this year. 

South Florida won its last three games with SMU by 1-24-8 points; teams last met in 2016. SMU is off to a 4-0 start behind Texas transfer QB Buechele, scoring 37+ points in all four games- they covered twice in last seven games as a road favorite. South Florida was outscored 63-10 in losing its two I-A game; they killed a I-AA stiff LW. Bulls covered once in their last five games as a home underdog. 

Favorites covered nine of last 11 Buffalo-Miami games; Bulls are 3-5 ATS in their last eight visits to Miami. Buffalo covered four of last five games as a road favorite- they’re 0-2 on road this year, losing last one 35-17 (-6) at Liberty. Red Hawks are 0-3 vs I-A teams this year, with all three losses by 22+ points; they lost 76-5 at Ohio State LW, are 5-7 ATS in last dozen games as a home favorite. 

Minnesota won five of last six games with Purdue; Gophers ran for 200+ yards in all six games. Favorites covered last five series games played here. Minnesota is 3-0 this year, allowing 88 points, with no wins by more than 7 points.  Purdue allowed 92 points in its 1-2 start; under Brohm, Boilers are 8-7 ATS at home. Purdue threw for 932 yards in its first two games, but only 181 in their 34-13 home loss to TCU in their last game. 

Road team won both Louisiana-Georgia Southern games; Ragin’ Cajuns (+7.5) won 33-26 here two years ago. ULL won its first road game 45-25 (+3) at Ohio LW; Cajuns are 5-1-2 ATS in their last eight games as a road favorite. GSU lost its last game 35-32 at Minnesota (outgained 382-198), week after they struggled to beat I-AA Maine 26-18; Eagles are 5-4-1 as home underdogs. 

Middle Tennessee lost its two I-A games 40-21/41-18, to Michigan/Duke; they beat a I-AA stiff 45-26 in between, but allowed 200+ rushing yards in all three games. MTSU is 9-13-1 ATS in its last 23 games as a road underdog. Iowa plays Michigan/Penn State the next two weeks, is likely looking past this game; Hawkeyes covered six of their last eight games as a home favorite- they are 7-2 in last nine games as a double digit favorite. 

Wyoming is 8-3 in last 11 games vs UNLV, losing 69-66 (-7.5) on the Strip LY. UNLV allowed 490 RY, 73 points in losing its two I-A games; they lost first road game 30-14 at Northwestern. Rebels completed only 27-52 passes in those games. Under Sanchez, UNLV is 15-7 ATS as a road underdog. Last 3+ years, Wyoming is 6-2 ATS when laying points at home; Cowboys are 2-1 vs I-A teams, despite allowing 354+ PY in all three games. 

Michigan State won nine of last ten games with Indiana, which hasn’t even covered a spread in its last seven visits to East Lansing. Hoosiers are 3-1 with a 51-10 loss at Ohio State; they’re 13-20 ATS in their last 33 games as a road underdog. MSU covered once in its last six games as a home favorite; they got upset 10-7 by Arizona St in their last home tilt. Spartans are 32-1 this year, with all three wins by 21+ points. 

Northern Illinois was outscored 79-25 in losing its two road games; Huskies are 18-8 ATS in last 26 games as a road underdog, but they’ve got new coach this year. Vanderbilt lost its first three games, allowing 138 points; they allowed 927 PY in last two games. Under Mason, Commodores are 8-9 as a home favorite, 5-7 outside the SEC. Last three years, MAC squads are 9-7 ATS when playing an SEC opponent.

Kansas (+13.5) upset TCU 27-26 at home LY, there first win over the Horned Frogs in 21 years; Jayhawks covered two of last three visits to Fort Worth. Kansas is 1-2 vs I-A, with both losses by five points; they won SU as 19-point underdogs at Boston College. TCU (-7.5) got upset here by local rival SMU LW; Horned Frogs are 3-13-1 ATS in last 17 games as a home favorite. TCU has completed only 24-60 passes in its two I-A games. 

UAB won its two games with Western Kentucky by total of 7 points; teams last met in 2014. Blazers won their first two I-A games this year by 11-32 points, scoring 31-35 points; under Clark, UAB is 4-4 ATS when laying points on the road. Over last decade, WKU is 13-6 as a home underdog, but they’re 10-18 SU in last 28 games; Hilltoppers were outrushed 361-141 in splitting their two I-A games. 

Ohio State won its first four games, last three by combined score of 169-15; over last 10+ years, Buckeyes 16-19-1 ATS as a road favorite- they’re 13-11 ATS in last 24 games when laying double digits. OSU won last four games vs Nebraska, but struggled in 36-31 (-18) home win LY. Huskers outgained Illinois 690-299 LW but won only 42-38; since 2010, Nebraska is 2-6 ATS as a home underdog. 

Houston QB King is red-shirting after Cougars’ 1-3 start; unsure how much chaos that throws the Cougars’ program into. Houston allowed 118 points in losing all three of its I-A games; they are 8-1-1 ATS in last ten games as a road underdog. Since 2011, North Texas is 17-11 ATS when laying points at home. Last four years, AAC teams are 12-8 ATS when playing a C-USA foe. These teams last met in 2012. 

 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here……

13) Eagles 34, Packers 27:
— Green Bay had ball inside Philly’s 20-yard line on 7 of their 10 drives, but scored zero points on their last two drives in the red zone.
— Aaron Rodgers threw for 422 yards but was also Green Bay’s leader rusher (46 yards); no one else had more than 21.
— Davante Adams caught 10 balls for 180 yards but hurt his foot, didn’t play late in the game.

— Fun game to watch; was 21-20 at the half.
— Packers outgained Philly 491-336, but were minus-2 in turnovers.
— Eagles ran 60 plays; only nine were on 3rd down- they didn’t turn ball over. 

12) A’s 3, Mariners 1:
Oakland clinches at least a tie for one Wild Card spot; they can clinch for real tonight. 

This was also Felix Hernandez’s last start in Seattle, after 14 years with the Mariners; they had a huge crowd for this game to honor one of the most popular Mariners ever. 

Felix is a Seattle icon who played his whole career for the Mariners, instead of skipping town for more money elsewhere, and that is rare these days. 

11) Veteran utility guy Asdrubel Cabrera has 37 RBI in 36 games with Washington; he’s been a big help in their run to the playoffs.

10) I was a big Addams Family fan as a kid; Cousin Itt and Thing were my two favorite characters. Now in the new Addams Family movie, I see that Snoop Dawg is voicing the Cousin Itt character, but in their promos on Twitter, they were calling him Cousin It (one t). Not really sure why, but Cousin Itt was an oddly funny character and I hope this movie is good. 

9) Twins 10, Tigers 4— Detroit finishes its home season with a 22-59 record, beating out the ’62 New York Mets for the most home losses in a season. When you’re more inept than the ’62 Mets, you have serious problems. 

Then again, the ’69 Mets won the World Series only seven years after that disaster; the ’62 Mets were an expansion team, so they had a valid excuse. 

8) Sometimes life makes no sense:
Red Sox won the World Series LY but fired GM Dave Dombrowski this year. 

Detroit is 46-112 this year, but gave GM Al Avila a contract extension. Go figure. 

7) 2019 Phillies have lost seven of their last nine games, missing the playoffs. 

2018 Phillies lost nine of their last 11 games, missing out on the playoffs. 

How do the Phillies justify bringing manager Gabe Kapler back in 2020? 

6) Tony Romo shot 2-under par Thursday and is T28 at the Safeway Open in Napa, CA; thats really impressive. If Romo makes the cut Friday, Boomer Esiason takes his place on the Bears-Vikings telecast Sunday in Minneapolis. 

5) Memo to TV announcers: Week 4 games aren’t “must-win” unless a team is 0-3; even then, the Chargers made the Super Bowl once after starting a season 0-4. Must-win means the season is over if you lose. Seasons can’t end in September, though they can be badly damaged. 

4) Sunday is the last day of baseball’s regular season; all the games that day start at 3:00ET, to maximize drama in case a playoff spot comes down to the last day. Good idea.

3) One thing for damn sure: I won’t be wagering on any home run over/under totals next year, because there is no way of knowing what next year’s baseballs will be like. 

After the barrage of home runs this year, it sounds like MLB is going to look at how the baseballs are made. This year’s baseballs are like freakin’ Superballs, but with lot of negative press about the lack of balls in play, changes could be made, and it is doubtful they’ll be publicized. 

2) Congrats to the great announcer Marty Brennaman, who called his last Cincinnati Reds game on the radio Thursday afternoon. Brennaman’s first game with the Reds was in 1974, when Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run in Cincinnati, for the Braves. What a great run he’s had.

1) I didn’t know that before being hired by the Cincinnati Reds in 1974, Brennaman was the voice of the ABA’s Virginia Squires, an interesting team that had Julius Erving and George Gervin on the roster at the same time. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Cardinals-Diamondbacks played until 4:30am Wednesday morning; fascinating game, and then the teams played a day game that started 11 hours later. 

If MLB wants to have tie games to avoid having marathon games that last into the middle of the night, I’d be OK with that, but no way in hell would I want them to institute a gimmick like starting extra innings with a runner on 2nd base. Not good. 

Myself, I love long ballgames, but I can see how they can screw up a pitching staff for a few days. Over in Japan they have tie games; wonder what they think about ties there?

12) Baseball is going to look a lot different next September; rosters will be capped at 28 guys, if I remember right (instead of 40), so none of the constant pitching changes next year, Plus, once they put in the rule about relievers having to face three batters, the constant R-L-R pitching changes will also be greatly reduced, which will shorten games. 

They used 25 pitchers in the Rockies-Giants game Tuesday; that was the first and could be the last time that ever happens. 

11) Alex Bregman’s team beat Mike Trout’s team in a fantasy football league last week; sounds like a fun league to be a part of. Wonder what the entry fee is. 

10) Someone at SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas wagered $200,000 on the Houston Astros to win the World Series at 5-2 odds.

9) We could’ve gotten good odds back in March that Washington would wind up with a better record than the Phillies this year. Dave Martinez looked like a lock to get fired back in mid-May but his team caught fire and will be playing in the postseason. 

How ironic is it that the Phillies were eliminated and the Nationals clinched a playoff spot while the Phillies were in Washington this week? 

8) Red Sox-Tampa played an important game (for the Rays) Monday night, and only 8,779 fans showed up at the Trop. When the Rays call Montreal home in a couple years, don’t want to hear anyone in Florida complaining about it. 

7) Noah Syndergaard has allowed 41 stolen bases this year; no one else has allowed more than 24, which may help explain why Syndergaard doesn’t like Wilson Ramos catching his games, though the Marlins stole four bases with Tomas Nido catching Tuesday night.  

6) The NFL is directly linking with a sports bookmaker, Australia’s Tabcorp, allowing the company to stream NFL RedZone and NFL Network on its platforms and to use league and team logos, which fuels speculation that the league will do the same thing here, at some point.

5) University of New Haven hired former Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger, and will look into making the jump from D-II to Division I, which is an expensive but potentially lucrative jump. Not sure how much room is left in the conferences that are lucrative, though.

4) CC Sabathia’s 560 regular season starts before his first relief appearance are the 2nd-most to begin a career without a relief appearance, behind only Tom Glavine, who started 682 games without ever coming out of the bullpen.

3) Does the seemingly annual increase in strikeouts make defensive ability less important in baseball? Fewer balls in play, less need for guys who can catch the ball well. I’m just asking, not sure what the right answer would be. 

2) Houston Cougars opened the week Sunday at -3 over North Texas, but when news of QB Houston QB D’Eriq King and WR Keith Corbin taking the rest of the year off hit the wires, the line swung dramatically and now the Mean Green is -7. Not a lot of faith in Houston’s backup QB there, and there are also rumors that there is unrest in the Houston program, which wouldn’t be good. 

1) From Ralph Michaels:

 Since 1998, Thursday night non-divisional home favorites are 41-17-4 ATS (70.7%) 

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……

13) If Tony Romo makes the cut at the Safeway Open PGA event this week, then Boomer Esiason will move from the NFL Today studio to the broadcast booth to call the Bears-Vikings game Sunday afternoon with Jim Nantz.

12) Steelers’ QB Mason Rudolph completed 14 of 27 passes Sunday in San Francisco, wth TD passes of 76-39 yards; those two TD passes were the only Rudolph completions that traveled more than one yard downfield in the air.

Will be interesting to see how opponents react to playing these new QB’s once they have more film to study on them. 

11) Cam Newton is dealing with a Lisfranc (foot) injury and is out indefinitely; Kyle Allen is now Carolina’s starting QB for the foreseeable future.

10) Golden Nugget posted a pic last week of someone winning $20,000 at video poker; he had four deuces and an ace- the problem is, the person was playing $125 a hand— I can’t even imagine playing that much money on video poker. 

$1.25 a hand is my limit on video poker; then again, I’m a nickel/dimer, but still……video poker goes pretty fast. $125 a hand can get expensive pretty quickly. 

9) Cleveland Browns opened at +5 vs Baltimore Sunday but were quickly bet up to +7; four of their next five games are on the road. Lot of pressure on a rookie head coach to live up to expectations that may not have been realistic. 

8) Orioles drew 1.31M fans in 80 home games this year, the lowest in Camden Yards history, and lowest for Baltimore in a non-strike season since 1978 at old Memorial Stadium.

7) Good news: San Francisco Giants finished 42-39 on the road this year, after going 57-105 on foreign soil the last two years combined.

Bad news: This will be the first season since 1940 where the Giants posted a winning road record but had a losing overall record.

6) In Buster Olney’s baseball column on ESPN.com this week, he describes the Mets as “……..the team generally regarded by rival executives as baseball’s model for dysfunction.” Not good. 

5) Calvin Johnson was a great WR for the Detroit Lions; when he was in high school, he finished 2nd in the voting for 2003 Georgia 4A High School Offensive Player of the Year. 

Who won the award that year? Rams’ head coach Sean McVay.

4) Modern baseball announcers on local TV:
— Home team hits a homer: Player A has great power!!! Look how far he hit that ball the other way. He worked out all winter to get stronger. 

— Visiting team hits a homer: Did you know homers went up 57% in AAA this year? Why is baseball using a juiced ball this season? Player B lunged at the ball and still hit it out!!! 

3) So far this month, college football teams who were voted into the AP top 25 for the first time this season are 1-6 vs spread in their next game. Kansas State fits into that category this week. 

2) RIP Texas/Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, who died Saturday at age 32; he was found dead overnight on Saturday in Austin. Police are investigating the death but do not suspect foul play.

Snead competed with Colt McCoy for the Longhorns’ starting job in 2006 after Vince Young’s departure; he played in eight games in 2006, completing 26-of-49 passes for 371 yards, but then transferred to Ole Miss, where he started for two years (2008-09). 

Snead skipped his senior season at Ole Miss to enter the 2010 NFL draft; he went undrafted and was later cut after signing with Tampa Bay.

1) Are podcasts replacing reading as a way of getting information? If so, that is kind of sad, because writing is such a cool thing to do. Seems like podcasts are a much lazier way of getting information out. You really have to spend your time wisely, and pick podcasts that are well thought out and informative, not just people running their mouths and getting paid for it.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……

13) Bears 31, Redskins 15:
— Trubisky was 20-23/173 passing in first half.
— Chicago led 28-3 at half, but it was 28-13 and Redskins had ball on Chicago’s 15-yard line before Keenum lost a fumble. 


— If Keenum isn’t going to protect the ball, might as well start rookie QB Haskins now; Redskins’ bye isn’t until Week 10. Haskins needs to learn; you learn by doing.
— Last 18 times Redskins hosted Monday Night Football, they lost 17 times.

12) San Diego Padres fired manager Andy Green Saturday, but they probably fired the wrong guy. GM AJ Preller has been GM of the Padres since August 2014; since ’15, San Diego is 338-454, their last playoff appearance was in 2006. 

Preller was once suspended by MLB for a month in the late 2000’s when he worked for the Texas Rangers in their international operations department; MLB later suspended Preller for another 30 days without pay in 2016 following an investigation into his trade of P Drew Pomeranz from San Diego to the Red Sox.

The guy is a cheater who got caught by MLB twice; he hasn’t improved the Padres very much, despite San Diego’s ownership shelling out major money on free agents Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado. How does he keep his job? 

11) Royals’ manager Ned Yost, who won a World Series title four years ago, will retire after this week’s games wind up. Yost managed the Royals since 2010. 

10) When Buffalo Bills scored a TD early in their game Sunday, Cincinnati jumped offsides on the PAT, so Buffalo took the penalty, went for two points and grabbed an early 8-0 lead. Not a lot of coaches do that. 

9) SouthPoint posts a fun prop on football days; which team will score the first TD in the early games? Green Bay (8-1) was Sunday’s winner this past week.

8) Milwaukee Brewers are averaging 35,870 fans per home game; Minnesota Twins are averaging 28,191, even though they’re having a great breakthrough season. Milwaukee has a dome at Miller Park, so fans never have to worry about the weather; Minnesota doesn’t. 

Why didn’t the Twins build a retractable domed stadium? They cost themselves a lot of money both in April and September, when the weather is often dicey. 

7) Last week, NBA changed a rule, making teams set their starting lineup 30 minutes before tip-off, as opposed to 10 minutes before tip-off, which helps coaches and gamblers. 

6) On April 10, the Indians lost 4-1 in Detroit; it was the only time in 19 meetings this season that the hapless Tigers beat Cleveland. Indians are in a dogfight for the AL Wild Card; they’re 18-1 vs Detroit, 74-63 vs everyone else. 

5) Baltimore Orioles have lost 100+ games for the second year in a row for the first time ever; hard to believe that they were in the playoffs three short years ago, losing the Wild Card game 5-2 to Toronto in 11 innings. 

4) Handicapping is difficult: we mentioned the other day how seven QB’s started in NFL’s Week 3 who didn’t start in Week 1; you figure those teams might be at a disadvantage, but the seven teams went 6-1 against the spread in Week 3.

3) World Series starts the same night as the NBA regular season, which is a little bit odd on the NBA’s part. Maybe they figure the same people aren’t watching both sports. 

2) Miami Dolphins are 17-point home underdogs agains the Chargers Sunday; this is only the fifth time since 1980 that an NFL team was a road favorite of 17+ points. 

Biggest NFL pointspread ever? The winless ’76 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were +27 at Pittsburgh and lost 42-0, but they were an expansion team, and a very bad one. 

1) Tip of the cap to the people at the Apple Store in Crossgates Mall here in Albany; picked up a new iPhone Friday, and as usual, their service was excellent. Scott was very patient and answered all my questions; he roots for the Dolphins, so he has to be patient.

Monday’s Den; Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……

Packers 27, Broncos 16:
— Denver is 0-3 for the first time since 1999.
— Since 2012, Broncos are 6-13 ATS as a road underdog.
— Denver still doesn’t have a sack or a takeaway this year. 

— Packers had six sacks, three takeaways (+3).
— Broncos were 8-15 on third down, Green Bay 2-9
— SouthPoint has a prop bet; Packers (8-1) were first team to score a TD Sunday.

Lions 27, Eagles 24:
— Detroit is 2-0-1, its best start since a 4-0 start in 2011.
— Jamal Agnew returned a kickoff 100 yards for a TD.
— Marvin Jones caught six passes for 101 yards. 

— Eagles covered only twice in last ten games as a home favorite.
— Philly has trailed all three of its games at halftime, outscored 50-23.
— Eagles dropped seven passes, were called for offensive interference three times. 

Chiefs 33, Ravens 28:
— Lamar Jackson was only 22-43 passing, ran for only 46 yards.
— Jackson is 8-2 as a starter, with both losses in Kansas City.
— Ravens tried a drop kick/onside kick that didn’t work but was cool to watch. 

— Total yardage was 503-452 Chiefs.
— KC ran 54 plays; only nine of them were on third down.
— Chiefs are 10-6 ATS last 16 games as a home favorite. 

Bills 21, Bengals 17:
— Bengals lost first two road games by total of five points.
— Cincy covered eight of last ten games as road underdogs.
— Zac Taylor is 3rd Bengal HC in row to start his Cincy career 0-3. 

— Bills led 14-0 at half, needed TD with 1:50 left for the win.
— Josh Allen’s first 12 completions went to nine different receivers.
— Buffalo won five of last six series games, five of which were decided by 4 or fewer points.

Colts 27, Falcons 24:
— Atlanta had four turnovers (-2), has 10 in three games (-5).
— In three games, Falcons have thrown ball 123 times, run it only 54 times.
— Atlanta is now 0-11 ATS in last 11 games vs AFC foes, 1-8 ATS in last nine games as road underdogs

— Brissett threw for 310 yards, averaging 8.1 yards/attempt.
— Indy has converted 19-35 third down plays this season.
— Last 2+ years, Colts are 6-3-1 ATS as a home favorite.

Vikings 34, Raiders 14:
— Oakland is 0-6 ATS in its last six games on artificial turf.
— Raiders were 3-11 on 3rd down, after being 16-28 in first two games.
— Last 2+ years, Oakland is 3-13-1 ATS as road underdog. 

— Vikings ran ball for 211 yards, have 581 RY in three games.
— Dalvin Cook is first player in Vikings history to rush for 100+ yards in each of the team’s first three games of a season.
— Minnesota covered 16 of last 21 games vs AFC opponents; they’re 21-5-1 ATS in last 27 games as a HF.

Patriots 30, Jets 14:
— Jets lost last four visits to Foxboro by combined score of 135-26.
— NYJ gained 101 yards on 46 plays, had only six first downs.
— Jets are 0-3 for the first time since 2003. 

— NE covered 13 of its last 15 games as a home favorite.
— Patriots won first three games by combined score of 106-17.
— First TD NE allows this year comes on a muffed punt recovered by the Jets in end zone. 

Cowboys 31, Dolphins 6:
— Miami lost a fumble in red zone when they trailed only 10-6 near end of 1st half.
— Dolphins have been outscored 68-0 in second half of games.
— 2020 NFL Draft begins April 23rd in Las Vegas. 

— Cowboys are 3-0 for first time since 2008.
— Dallas scored 35-31-31 points in their first three games.
— Cowboys converted 18-31 third down plays this season. 

Giants 32, Bucs 31:
— Daniel Jones threw for two TD’s, ran for two more in his first NFL start.
— Shepard/Engram both had 100+ receiving yards.
— This was Giants’ first win when trailing by 18+ points at the half since 1949. 

— Bucs in first half: 39 plays, 345 yards, 3 TD’s, 3 FG’s, led 28-10 at half.
— Bucs in 2nd half: 39 plays, 178 yards, one FG.
— Tampa Bay missed two PAT’s, and then a 33-yard FG on the last play of the game. 

Panthers 38, Cardinals 20:
— Kyle Allen’s 2nd NFL start: 19-26, 261 yards, four TD’s.
— McCaffrey ran for 153 yards, including a 76-yard TD run.
— Carolina had a 14-yard edge in field position.

— Murray was sacked 8 times, averaged just 2.5 yards/pass attempt.
— Cardinals have been outscored 48-16 in first half of their games.
— Arizona is 14-19-1 ATS in their last 34 home games.

49ers 24, Steelers 20:
— Rudolph was 14-27/174 passing, with TD passes of 76-39 yards.
— Steelers were 3-12 on third down, 49ers were 6-11.
— Total yardage was 436-239, SF.

— 49ers won despite turning ball over four of first five times they had ball.
— SF is now 4-12 ATS in last 16 games as a home favorite
— Niners scored 17 points on three drives that started in Pitt territory. 

Saints 33, Seahawks 27:
— Saints scored their first two TD’s on a punt return and fumble return.
— NO is 15-8-1 ATS in last 24 games as a road underdog.
— Bridgewater is now 18-11 as a starting QB. 

— Seattle’s first 8 drives: 42 plays, 265 yards, 7 points.
— Seattle’s last 4 drives: 34 plays, 244 yards, 20 points.
— Seahawks are 4-9-1 in last 14 games as a home favorite. 

Texans 27, Chargers 20:
— Watson threw for 351 yards, averaged 9.4 yards/attempt.
— Houston has converted 19-38 third down plays this year.
— Texans covered five of last six tries as a road underdog, are 12-8-1 ATS in last 21 games where spread was 3 or fewer points.

— Chargers in first half: 34 plays, 204 yards, 17 points.
— Chargers in second half: 37 plays, 162 yards, 3 points.
— Chargers are 5-10 ATS as a home favorite in Carson. 

Rams 20, Browns 13:
— LA in 16 first half drives this year: one TD, five FG’s. No bueno.
— Under McVay, LA is 9-5 ATS as a road favorite
— LA had 3 turnovers (-2), missed a FG, still got a road win. Muy bueno. 

— Four trips to red zone, Cleveland scored only 13 points.
— Browns are 7-16-1 ATS in last 24 games as a home underdog
— Cleveland is only 11-39 on third down this season. 

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday……

13) UCLA 67, Washington State 63:
— This amazing game ended at 2:27am here in the east.
— With 4:00 left in third quarter, Wazzu led 49-17; UCLA then scored 29 points in the next 7:24
— Bruins had a 100-yard kick return and a 69-yard punt return for TD’s.
— Both quarterbacks threw for 500+ yards.

— UCLA scored 50 points in the second half; Fifty!!!
— Coogs turned ball over six times (-5).
— Total yardage was 720-657, WSU.
— Wazzu QB Gordon threw nine TD passes, and his team still lost. 

12) Toledo 41, Colorado State 35— At 2:34am, Colorado State’s receiver caught a pass on 2-yard line but was stopped on the 1-yard line as the game ended. Solid late night entertainment this week.

11) LSU 66, Vanderbilt 38— The most important new name in college football this season may wind up being Joe Brady, who is LSU’s passing game coordinator and receivers coach. 

Brady came to LSU from the New Orleans Saints, where he worked the last two years; he has brought the Tigers’ offense into the 21st century, and he may wind up making QB Joe Burrow a very wealthy young man when the NFL Draft rolls around next April. 

Burrow was 25-34/398 yards passing with six TD’s Saturday in Nashville; at one time a few years ago, he was the 3rd-string QB at Ohio State. 

10) Wisconsin 35, Michigan 14:
— Rushing yardage: 359-40, Wisconsin
— Wolverines were minus-4 in turnovers, 0-10 on third down
— Michigan completed only 17 of 42 passes. 

Under Jim Harbaugh, Michigan is:
— 1-3 in bowl games.
— 0-4 vs Ohio State (lost 62-39 LY).
— 2-2 vs Wisconsin.
— 2-4 vs spread as an underdog. 

I’m guessing the natives are restless in Ann Arbor. 

9) California 28, Ole Miss 20— Rebels got hosed by the replay official, who neglected to call for a replay review of a possible touchdown of their 3rd down play that may/may not have been a TD that could’ve tied the game in the last 0:10. Bad officiating. 

Last nine Pac-12-SEC games, the SEC teams are 7-2 vs spread, but both the Pac-12’s covers were by Cal over Ole Miss. 

8) Appalachian State 34, North Carolina 31— Tar Heels outgained ASU 469-385, but were minus-2 in turnovers— App State scored a defensive TD. UNC is now 2-2, with all four games decided by six or fewer points. 

7) Upsets of the Week:
— San Jose State (+20.5) 31, Arkansas 24
— UCLA (+18.5) 67, Washington State 63
— Buffalo (+14) 38, Temple 22
— Pitt (+12.5) 35, UCF 34
— SMU (+9.5) 41, TCU 38

6) I-A teams who almost lost to a I-AA team:
— Eastern Michigan 34, Central Connecticut 29— EMU blocked a punt for a TD with 0:10 left, avoiding a horrendous loss after they upset Illinois last week. 

5) Pittsburgh 35, UCF 34— Panthers scored on a “Philly Special” 4th down trick play with 0:56 left to hand the Golden Knights their first loss of the season. UCF had won its previous 27 regular season games; they rallied back from down 21-0 in this game, but couldn’t hang on. 

4) Washington 45, BYU 19— BYU needs to get into a league; their schedule is stupid:

First 4 games: Utah, @ Tennessee, USC, Washington.
Next 8 games: @ Toledo, @ USF, Boise St, @ Utah St, Liberty, Idaho St, UMass, @ San Diego St. 

Not a very well-balanced schedule. Most schools spread out their more attractive games. 

3) USC 30, Utah 23— Trojans’ 3rd-string QB Matt Fink was 21-30/351 passing; USC has really good receivers, but they’re running out of quarterbacks. 

2) Nebraska 42, Illinois 38- Illini led 35-21 with 3:00 left in third quarter, but couldn’t hold it. 

— Total yardage: 671-299, Nebraska
— Illinois was +3 in turnovers (4-1).
— Illinois completed only 9-24 passes.
— Cornhuskers ran ball for 344 yards. 

1) Scott Frost is the football coach at Nebraska; his brother Steve is the PA announcer at Stanford football games.

Saturday’s List of 13: Knowledge on some other college football games…..

UL-Lafayette had respectable 38-28 (+19) loss to Miss State in Superdome, then beat Liberty 35-14 (-14) and crushed a I-AA team. Ragin’ Cajuns are 9-6-1 ATS in last 16 games as a road underdog, 4-0 in last four games where spread was 3 or fewer points. Ohio U lost couple road games by 10-2 points (were +4 in both) after beating a I-AA team; Bobcats are 8-3 ATS in last 11 games as a home favorite, 8-0 in last eight where spread was 3 or fewer points. Since 2012, MAC teams are 15-11 ATS when playing a Sun Belt opponent. 

Nebraska won five of six Big 14 meetings with Illinois (favorites 4-2 ATS); teams split two meetings here, with Cornhuskers (-5.5) winning last one 28-6 two years ago. Nebraska is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games as a double digit favorites; they covered three of last four games as a road favorite, but lost only road game this year, 34-31 (-4.5) at Colorado, when Buffs threw for 375 yards. Under Smith, Illinois is 4-10 ATS when getting points at home. 

First road game for Boston College squad that lost as 19-point favorites to Kansas LW; under Addazio, BC is 6-7 ATS when laying points on the road. Rutgers was outgained 438-125 LW in a 30-0 loss at Iowa; Scarlet Knights are 7-4 in last 11 games as a home underdog. BC won its last eight games (6-2 ATS) with Rutgers, winning their last three visits here, by 10-31-20 points (3-0 ATS). Last 5+ years, Big 14 teams are 19-14-1 ATS when playing an ACC opponent. 

New Mexico State won five of last seven games with New Mexico; underdogs covered three of last four. Aggies won three of last five visits to Albuquerque (4-1 ATS).  State lost its first three games this year by combined score of 131-27, going -3 in turnovers in all three games; they’re 7-11 ATS in last 18 games as a road dog. Last four years, Lobos are 3-12 ATS as a home favorite, 0-6 last 2+ years- they gave 443 PY in a 39-31 win over a I-AA team. 

Georgia State (+24) upset Tennessee, but then eeked past Furman 48-42 (gave up 526 TY) and got pounded 57-10 by Western Michigan LW (allowed 450 YR). Under Elliott, Panthers are 2-6-2 as a road underdog. Texas State is already 0-3, giving up 111 points; SMU ran for 390 yards against them LW. Last 6+ years, Bobcats are 5-10 as home favorites. Road team won four of last six Georgia State-Texas State games; GSU won its last two visits here, 33-30/41-19. Average total in last five series games: 68.2. 

Appalachian State beat UNCC 56-41 (-23.5) in its first I-A game, but 49ers had 230 YR, gained 526 TY. ASU is 6-5 ATS in its last 11 games as a road underdog, 1-3-1 in games where spread was 3 or fewer points. North Carolina is 2-1 this year, with all three games decided by 6 or fewer points. Tar Heels are 9-6 ATS in last 15 games as a home favorite; they host Clemson next week, had best not look past this game. Last 4+ years, ACC teams are 9-3 ATS when playing a Sun Belt squad. Mack Brown used to coach App State, long time ago. 

Wyoming is 3-0 despite gaining only 216 yards in its 21-16 win over I-AA Idaho LW; Cowboys have been outgained in all three games, have thrown for total of only 245 yards- under Bohl, they’re 12-10 ATS as road underdogs. Tulsa led Okla State 21-20 at the half LW but lost 40-21, giving up 337 YR. Golden Hurricane is 7-3 ATS in last ten games as a home favorite. Last 3+ years, Mountain West teams are 10-1 ATS when playing an AAC team. 

First road start for South Carolina’s frosh QB Hilinski, who was 36-57/324 vs Bama LW. Carolina allowed 483-571 TY in losing both its I-A games, to UNC/Alabama; Gamecocks  covered their last six tries as a road underdog. Missouri gave up 297 YR in an upset loss at Wyoming, then waxed West Virginia 38-7; under Odom, Tigers are 8-5 ATS as home favorites. Underdogs are 5-3 SU in last eight South Carolina-Missouri games; Gamecocks won two of their last three visits to Mizzou. 

Road team covered last five West Virginia-Kansas games, with WVU winning all five, taking 56-34/49-0 decisions in last two visits to Lawrence. Jayhawks (+19.5) pulled shocker LW at BC, winning 48-24, week after they lost to Coastal Carolina; Kansas are 7-11-1 ATS in last 18 games as a home dog. At LSU, Miles was 3-3 as a home dog. WVU lost its first road game 38-7 at Mizzou (outgained 382-171) but spanked NC State at home LW; Mountaineers are 6-7 in last 13 games as a road favorite. 

SMU scored 44.3 ppg in its 3-0 start, with Texas transfer Buechele at QB; Mustangs won their only road game, 37-30 (+2.5) at Arkansas State. SMU is 8-5-1 ATS in its last 14 games as a road underdog. TCU won its last seven games with SMU (4-1-1 ATS in last six), but Mustangs are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six visits to Fort Worth. TCU outgained Purdue 421-204 in LW’s 34-13 (-3) road win; Frogs are 3-12-1 ATS in last 16 games as a home favorite. Last 2+ years, Big X teams are 8-4 ATS when playing an AAC opponent. 

Stanford gave up 45-45 points in losing its last two games, 45-27 at USC, 45-27 at UCF; Cardinal gave up 724 PY in those two games. Over last decade, Stanford is 5-0 ATS when getting points at home. Oregon beat up on couple stiffs after losing its opener 27-21 to Auburn; since 2011, Ducks are 17-7 ATS as a road favorite, 2-1 under Cristobal. Stanford scored 46.3 ppg in winning its last three games with Oregon; favorites covered four of last five series games. Ducks won three of last five visits to The Farm. 

Florida State is 13-15 SU in its last 28 games, 1-2 this year; Seminoles ran ball for less than 100 yards in both its losses, to Boise State/Virginia. FSU is 12-17 ATS in its last 29 games as a home favorite- they’re 2-7-3 ATS in last dozen games laying a single digit spread. Louisville QB Pass is a ?mark here; Cardinals are 2-6 ATS in last eight games as a road underdog. Underdogs covered five of last seven Louisville-Florida State games; teams split last two meetings, which were decided by total of seven points. 

UCLA is playing terribly, outscored 95-42 in its 0-3 start; they’re completing only 54% of their passes, have run for only 111.3 ypg. Bruins are 6-9 ATS in last 15 games as a road underdog. Dogs covered last five UCLA-Washington State games; teams last meet three years ago. Teams split last six games played here; dogs covered five of last seven meetings here. Wazzu is 3-0 but allowed 455 YR in its last two games- they got a solid 31-24 win at Houston LW, throwing for 440 yards. Gordon is completing 78.7% of his passes. Coogs are 14-9 in last 23 games as a HF. 

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…..

13) If Cam Newton can’t go for the Panthers in Arizona Sunday, backup Kyle Allen would get the start, creating an interesting sidebar to the game. 

In 2015, Allen beat out Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray in a competition for the starting QB job at Texas A&M; both guys transferred after the season, first Allen to Houston, then Murray to Oklahoma. 

Allen is from Arizona, so this would be a special day for him, should he start- he started one game last year, a 33-14 win in New Orleans in Week 17, a game Drew Brees sat out. 

12) Jaguars 20, Titans 7:
— Tennessee fumbled a punt early on; Jaguars’ first TD drive was seven yards.
— Titans had 223 yards, 16 first downs in 2nd half, but scored only seven points.
— Mariota has been sacked 17 times thru the first three games; of the 2019 season; that is the most a single QB has been sacked through Week 3 since 2002.

— Jacksonville led 14-0 after 8:24 of play, kind of sat on lead rest of way.
— Jaguars sacked Mariota nine times.
— Fournette had 66 yards on 15 carries, but had 69 yards on one carry. 

11) Two years ago, Gardner Minshew split QB duties for a 3-8 East Carolina team with a guy named Thomas Sirk, who had transferred to ECU from Duke. The year before, Minshew played behind Philip Nelson at ECU; haven’t heard much from Sirk or Nelson since, while Minshew is quickly making a name for himself with Jacksonville. 

10) You think Mike Leach’s recruiting coordinator at Washington State is smiling this week? Luke Falk makes his first NFL appearance for the Jets Monday night, then three nights later, Minshew plays on national TV, lending credence to Leach as a quarterback guru. 

9) Congrats to SF Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy on winning his 2,000th game as a big league skipper Wednesday night in Boston. Cooperstown awaits.

8) A gambler played a 2-team money-line parlay at a Caesars Palace sportsbook this week, risking $89,000 to win $4,050 on the Patriots and Cowboys. 

I mean, the guy put up $89,000 to win $4,050; he mustn’t think much of Luke Falk. 

He will be interested to learn that Miami is switching to Josh Rosen at QB this week, and that the Dolphins claimed DE Taco Charlton off waivers from Dallas, who they play Sunday. 

7) Bronx Bomber pitcher Domingo German was placed on administrative leave under the joint MLB-MLBPA domestic violence policy. German is 18-4 with a 4.03 ERA and 153 strikeouts this season, so if he is lost for the playoffs, it is a big loss. 

6) Red Sox are having a disappointing year, but Eduardo Rodriguez is having his best season; he has a 1.00 ERA in his last seven starts, and since May 1 has a 3.02 ERA in 26 starts.

5) UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero will retire next summer; the UC Regents unanimously approved a six-month extension of his contract Thursday. 

This means the AD jobs at both UCLA and USC are open; pretty big jobs. The football coaches at both schools are on shaky ground. UCLA just hired a new basketball coach (Mick Cronin) and USC has a very good hoop coach (Andy Enfield). 

Fresno State AD Terry Tumey, a former UCLA nose guard who played on the Bruins’ last team to win the Rose Bowl in 1986, is widely considered the favorite to succeed Guerrero.

Wait a minute; UCLA hasn’t won the Rose Bowl since 1986? Wow. 

4) Quote of the Day, part 2:
“I also believe Eli Manning will get into the Hall of Fame. I also don’t believe he’s a very good quarterback.”
ESPN’s Ryan Clark

This has become a heated debate on Twitter; lot of mixed opinions, lot of strong opinions, but Clark played 13 years in the NFL, so his words carry weight.

3) Again, these are facts that helped ignite the Eli Manning/Hall of Fame debate:
Jim Plunkett: 72-72 regular season, 8-2 playoffs, two Super Bowls. 
Eli Manning: 116-116 regular season, 8-4 playoffs, two Super Bowls.

My opinion is that Eli will eventually be a Hall of Famer, hopefully not on the first ballot.

2) Not to stir things up, but these are Philip Rivers’ career stats:

Philip Rivers: 119-91 regular season, 5-6 playoffs, no Super Bowls, 55,282 passing yards and hasn’t missed a game since 2005.

Manning’s/Rivers’ careers are forever linked because Archie Manning didn’t want his youngest son playing for the Chargers, who drafted Eli, then traded him to New Jersey for Rivers and a couple other draft picks, who became LB Shawne Merriman and K Nate Kaeding. 

1) NFL games need fewer penalties; having ex-referees as TV stars in the booth tells you all you need to know— flags are too big a part of the game. College football games average more plays than NFL games, and far fewer penalties are called. Let the guys play!!!!

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) From Liam Stack (this story made me laugh):
A New Zealand man brought an emotional support clown to a meeting where he knew he’d be fired. The clown blew up balloons and folded them into a series of animals throughout the meeting, then mimed crying when the man was handed a pink slip.

Didn’t help; the guy still lost his job.

12) From Russell Baxter: 72 of the 106 Super Bowl teams started that season 2-0; only four of them started 0-2.

11) Atlanta Falcons play their first nine games this year in domes; their first of only three outdoor games is Week 11 (Nov 17) at Carolina.

10) From Ralph Michaels: Since 2016, under is 18-9 in college football games that had a total of 40 or less points.

9) Colts, Eagles and Packers are pretty banged up; they all scrapped their traditional Wednesday practices this week, and had walk-throughs instead. 

8) David Fales would appear to be the Jets’ new backup QB; he’s thrown 48 passes in three NFL games, two for Miami in 2017 (with Adam Gase as coach) and one for Chicago in 2016. Fales played college ball at San Jose State. 

7) Football stuff:
— Chiefs’ LT Eric Fisher is having core muscle surgery, is out this week. 

6) Last time there was a week of NFL games where no team scored 30+ points was Week 9 in 1995, so long ago that the Houston Oilers won a game that week. 

5) Pirates’ closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested in Pittsburgh Tuesday on charges of soliciting a child, computer pornography and providing obscene material to minors. 

4) Giancarlo Stanton’s over/under home run total for this year was 41.5; wth 11 days left in this season, he has one homer and seven RBI. 

3) A’s 1, Royals 0 (11)— Mark Canha got the walk-off hit on Mark Canha T-shirt Day and Chad Pinder made a great catch in left field to save two runs as Oakland won its 92nd game this year. 

2) Four teams that got to the Super Bowl after starting season 0-2:
— 1993— Cowboys (won Super Bowl)
— 1996— Patriots (lost)
— 2001— Patriots (won)
— 2007— Giants (won) 

1) From Annie Karni of the New York Times:

“Sean Spicer got a minimum of $125,000 to be on Dancing With the Stars, and the pay goes up with every week he stays on.”

We live in a very strange world.   

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……

13) NFL trends; over last 20 years, 11 NFL teams started their season 0-2, with both losses at home; those teams went 4-6-1 vs spread in their Week 3 road game. 

This week, Jets, Panthers, Dolphins fit the bill.

12) Since 2005, NFL Week 3 home teams who played their first two games on the road are 11-28-2 vs spread; 6-22-2 when favored, 5-6 as an underdog. 

49ers, Colts, Bills, Jets fit the bill this week. 

11) Daniel Jones is starting at QB for the Giants Sunday in Tampa; last time Eli Manning got benched, that coach got fired a few weeks later, and Eli started again. We’ll see how this goes, but Jones doesn’t play defense, which is the Giants’ biggest problem.

10) Submitted for your perusal, with no comment:
Jim Plunkett: 72-72 regular season, 8-2 playoffs, two Super Bowls. 
Eli Manning: 116-116 regular season, 8-4 playoffs, two Super Bowls.

9) Steelers signed QB Paxton Lynch to their practice squad; he figures to be Mason Rudolph’s backup sooner than later. 

8) NFC West teams are 7-1 against the spread so far this season. 

7) MAC teams are 4-12 ATS as a road underdog outside their conference. 

6) Nation-wide, home underdogs are 11-18 ATS in non-conference college games. 

5) Pretty cool with Giants’ OF Mike Yastrzemski in Boston this week, playing on the same field where his Hall of Fame grandfather played from 1961-83. 

Carl Yastrzemski hit 452 homers playing half his games in a ballpark not built for lefty hitters; he had an .841 career OPS. 

Mike Yastrzemski was traded from the sadsack Orioles to San Francisco on March 23; he is hitting .263 with 19 homers in a breakout rookie season- this should be a fun week for him. 

4) Cardinals beat Washington 4-2 Monday night, but St Louis pitchers struck out only one batter the whole game, which in this day and age is pretty rare. 

3) Sean Payton agreed to a 5-year contract extension that takes him through 2024, which would be his 19th season coaching the Saints.

2) New England is -22.5 against the Jets; how many points would you have to get before you would take the Jets? 

Dolphins are +21 at Dallas; when was last time two NFL teams got 20+ points in the same week? 

1) Big X teams are 13-4 ATS out of conference this season, 9-2 as a favorite. 

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) Bad news on the quarterback front Monday; Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year- he needs elbow surgery. Roethlisberger will be 38 in March; there is a chance his Hall of Fame career is over. 

Mason Rudolph takes over as Pittsburgh’s starter; they traded #3 QB Josh Dobbs to the Jaguars last week, a move they probably regret now. Looks like the new backup is Devlin Hodges, who played college ball at Samford. 

12) Drew Brees needs surgery for ligament damage in his right thumb, is out for at least six weeks; Teddy Bridgewater is the Saints’ new starter. 

11) I’m endorsing something today that I never thought I’d endorse, the Peyton Manning stories on ESPN+ about the history of the NFL . Watched one the other day about the Lombardi Trophy, and it was excellent. 

Lot of information in there, even if Peyton continues to be annoying at the same time, just like his TV commercials. But if you like NFL history, this is good stuff.  

10) Armen Keteyian wrote an article on Nick Saban in The Athletic last week that made me sad, talking about how when Saban won his first national title at Alabama, he didn’t/couldn’t enjoy the win, he was still correcting mistakes made during the game, and then stressing out about the things that had to be done about recruiting in the next few days. 

If you can’t enjoy winning, coaching is a miserable job, because no one enjoys losing. Saban had a staff meeting in a hotel meeting room at 10am the day after Alabama won the title, less than 12 hours after the championship game ended. 

Understood that you don’t sustain winning without that single-minded focus, but life is short, and you need to enjoy the good things along the way, too. 

9) From Jen McCaffrey:
In 2001, an FBI investigation called Operation Bullpen found  that over 75% of all autographed items on the market were forgeries. As a result, Major League Baseball created an authentication department that now employs 220 current and former law enforcement officials. 

Authenticators Inc. is a company that works with MLB to ensure the legitimacy of milestone and game-used items as well as any player-autographed items. At least two authenticators are present at all 2,430 regular season games, with more at postseason games and special events like the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby.

8) Baseball stuff:
— Braves put IF Johan Camargo (hairline fracture of shin) on the IL. 

7) Football stuff:
— Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) is out for the year.
— Saints’ QB Drew Brees is out for six weeks.
— Redskins RB Derrius Guice (knee) was put on IR.
— Florida Gators QB Feleipe Franks (dislocated ankle) is out for the year. 

6) Virginia basketball coach Tony Bennett turned down a raise this week while extending his contract another year. The Cavaliers announced the extension Monday, saying Bennett asked for the money he turned down to be used to pay his staff more and for improvements to both his program as well as other Virginia teams.

5) Browns 23, Jets 3:
— Terrible game; wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicates.
— Beckham caught an 89-yard TD pass to officially seal the win.
— Teams combined to convert 6-27 on third down. 

— 3rd-stringer Falk was 20-25/198 in relief of injured QB Siemian.
— Jets had 45 total yards in the first half, wound up with 262.
— Le’veon Bell had 31 touches for 129 yards. 

4) Handicapping 101— France upset the USA in that FIBA basketball tournament in China, then lost their next game by 14 to Argentina. For once, life makes perfect sense. Peaks and valleys, you have an emotional win, then a very disappointing loss.

3) In case you were wondering, the highest paid player on the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces makes $115,000 a year. They play a 34-game regular season. Was wondering the other day, so I looked it up, but I can’t find out how much WNBA coaches make. 

2) If I owned an NBA team and was shelling out hundreds millions of dollars to pay the players, no way in hell would I want any of them playing in these international tournaments during the offseason that don’t mean a damn thing. One of them gets hurt, then what?

1) Best wishes to Nationals’ skipper Dave Martinez, who felt chest pains and underwent a cardiac catheterization Monday- he’ll miss the series in St Louis this week. Chip Hale is the interim manager for Washington. 

Monday’s Den: Wrapping up an NFL Sunday……..

Colts 19, Titans 17
— Indy drove 69 yards in four plays for winning TD with 4:38 left to play.
— Total yardage was 288-242 Indy; neither team averaged 4 yards/pass attempt.
— 46-year old Viniatieri missed two more PAT’s; could the end be near?

— Titans converted only 1-10 on 3rd down; Colts were 7-14.
— Tennessee lost five of last six home openers (under 6-2 last eight).
— There were only two plays of 20+ yards in this game. 

Lions 13, Chargers 10
— Chargers had ball four times in 2nd half; two turnovers, two missed FG’s.
— Rivers threw INT into double coverage in end zone with 1:03 left.
— Three drives into red zone, only seven points for the Bolts. 

— This was only 5th cover for Lions in last 16 tries as a home underdog.
— Detroit beats Chargers for only 2nd time in last nine meetings.
— Total yardage was 424-339, Chargers. 

Bills 28, Giants 14
— Buffalo wins the state championship of New Jersey.
— Bills are 2-0 for first time since 2014.
— Buffalo is 21-17-2 ATS in last 40 games where spread was 3 or fewer points. 

— Giants scored first in both their games, were outscored 63-17 after that.
— Big Blue is 4-9 ATS in last 13 games as a home underdog.
— Barkley ran for 107 yards, but caught only three passes for 28 yards. 

Ravens 23, Cardinals 17:
— Arizona threw 40 passes, ran ball 11 only times.
— In four trips to red zone, Cardinals kicked three FG’s, scored a TD.
— Murray was 25-40/349 passing, with no turnovers, 

— Jackson threw for 272 yards, ran ball for 120 more.
— In first two games, Ravens ran ball for 447 yards.
— Over last decade, teams that won by 28+ points in Week 1 are 2-12 ATS in Week 2

Patriots 43, Dolphins 0:
— Brady threw a pass with 5:30 left and NE ahead 36-0; why????
— Patriots outscored first two opponents 76-3.
— New England had seven sacks, scored two defensive TD’s. 

— Miami has been outscored 102-10 in two ugly home games.
— Dolphins were outgained 1,024-384 in two games.
— 2020 NFL Draft begins April 23rd in Las Vegas. 

Cowboys 31, Redskins 21:
— Cowboys ran ball for 217 yards, covered 7-11 on third down.
— Dallas won eight of last ten series games, six of last seven visits here.
— Jason Witten caught a TD pass in both games this season. 

— Total yardage was 474-255, Dallas.
— Redskins had 11-yard edge in field position, but ran for only 47 yards.
— Washington lost last five and seven of last eight home openers. 

Texans 13, Jaguars 12:
— Jaguars scored with 0:30 left, went for two points and a win but failed.
— First eight Jacksonville drives: 37 plays, 107 yards, three points.
— Last two Jacksonville drives: 23 plays, 129 yards, nine points.
— Minshew was 23-33/213 in his first NFL start; he also ran for 56 yards. 

— Houston’s one TD drive was only 11 yards long.
— Texans’ first two games were decided by total of three points.
— Houston has now won nine of last 11 series games. 

Seahawks 28, Steelers 26:
— Wilson completed 29-35 passes; Seahawks ran ball for 151 yards.
— Seattle is now 1-6-1 ATS in last eight tries as a dog in road openers.
— Seahawks are 11-6-1 ATS in last 18 games as a road underdog. 

— Roethlisberger hurt his elbow, sat out second half.
— Total yardage was 425-261, Seattle.
— Steelers ran ball only 16 times for 81 yards; Conner led team with 33 YR. 

49ers 41, Bengals 17:
— 49ers ran ball for 259 yards, averaged 12.0 yards/pass attempt.
— SF ran 68 plays, only nine of them were on third down.
— Niners have picked off four passes; they had only two INTs all of last year. 

— In two games, Bengals threw 93 passes, ran ball only 33 times.
— Cincy is 0-2 for only second time since 2008.
— In six trips to red zone this year, Bengals scored one TD, kicked three FG’s. 

Packers 21, Vikings 16:
— Home side is now 13-1-1 in last 15 series games.
— Cousins threw ball only 10 times LW; he threw 32 passes here.
— Two trips to red zone; an INT and a field goal. 

— Green Bay’s first three drives: 19 plays, 176 yards, 21 points.
— Green Bay’s last 11 drives: 50 plays, 154 yards, no points.
— Packers won their last seven home openers (5-2 vs spread). 

Chiefs 28, Raiders 10:
— KC scored all its points in 2nd quarter, with shortest TD play 27 yards.
— Chiefs outgunned Oakland 464-307, averaged 9.4 yards/pass attempt.
— KC won nine of last ten games with their archival Raiders. 

— Last 2+ years, Raiders are 1-10 ATS coming off a win.
— Since 2012, Oakland is 13-20-1 ATS as a home underdog.
— On their first two series, Raiders ran 16 plays for 139 yards, scored 10 points; rest of game, they ran 45 plays for 199 yards, but no points. 

Rams 27, Saints 9:
— Brees hurt his thumb on second series; unsure how severe the injury is.
— Kamara ran ball 13 times for only 45 yards, caught only one pass.
— Total yardage was 380-244, LA. Bridgewater was ordinary at QB.

— Rams’ first six drives: 36 plays, 169 points, six points.
— Rams’ last four drives: 24 plays, 186 yards, 21 points
— Teams with more rest won five of six games this week.

Bears 16, Bears 14:
— Chicago drove 40 yards in 0:30, kicked GW 53-yard FG at the gun for a win.
— Bears scored only one TD in their first two games.
— In their first two games, Bears converted 6-26 third down plays. 

— Denver’s first six drives: 41 plays, 174 yards, 3 points.
— Denver’s last three drives: 37 plays, 197 yards, 11 points.
— Total yardage: 372-273, Broncos. 

Falcons 24, Eagles 20:
— Last 3+ years, Eagles are 5-10 ATS on artificial turf.
— Both teams had three turnovers; Philly had 16-yard advantage in field position.
— Eagles converted 20-35 3rd down plays in first two games. 

— Atlanta averaged 7.0 yards/pass attempt, had TD plays of 34-54 yards.
— Falcons survived three Ryan INT’s, including one in the end zone.
— Under is 11-4 in the NFL so far this week.