By The Coach and Dr. Football
The Minnesota Vikings beat Detroit 26-16, improved to 1-1 on the season and, for this week, all has been well with the world.
Adrian Peterson got his act together and rushed for 134 yards on 29 carries (maybe, by giving AP the ball 29 times we should say that OC Norv Turner got his act together), QB Teddy Bridgewater completed 14 of 18 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions and Mike Wallace caught three passes. It was a good day.
Now the Vikes have to get set to face the pass-happy San Diego Chargers at TCF Bank Stadium and because the week of preparation is so long, some intrepid reporter asked Bridgewater which NFL quarterback he resembles.
Bridgewater, because a smart guy, would not take the bait.
“That’s a tough question because everyone is different,” Bridgewater said without irony. “Everyone has something that they bring to the table. I watched Peyton Manning to see whether he just beats you at the line of scrimmage and with him it’s a a chess match. Aaron Rodgers, just makes all of the throws. Tom Brady, he’s a mastermind, he’s making all of the throws, too. He’s just so calm in the pocket.
“All I do is try to take the different things that those guys do well and try to apply it to my game. And I would say that that’s what makes me different, also.”
If there is one thing you can say about Teddy, it’s that he’s accurate. He’s completed 70 per cent of his passes in six of his past seven games and already ranks second in the NFL this season with a 72.6 completion percentage.
“The biggest different is it’s my second year so now I’m just playing faster and thinking less,” he said. “I’m not trying to force throws; I’m not trying to be too perfect. Last year I tended to over-think things and always wanted to be right. Sometimes you just have to go out there and play the game for itself. I think that’s something that I’m doing a better job of doing.”
Same goes for our fearless prognosticators.
Last week Dr. Football was the dubious winner. The Doc went 7-9 (15-17) and 7-9 (13-19) against the spread. “Flipping a coin probably would have been more accurate,” he said. The Coach went 6-10 straight up (17-15) and 6-10 against the spread (16-16). The Coach had no comment.
This week, the Doc makes a valiant attempt to justify our coin flipping while coach screams at all the flags.
Let’s look closely at Week 3:
Washington Redskins (1-1) at New York Giants (0-2)
Line: Giants by 4.
The Redskins impressive defense vs. the Giants lead blowing defense… Even though the Giants despertly need the win, I can see it happening. Can the end be near for Tm Coughlin’s career? The Coach says: the Giants aren’t going 0-16.
Dr. Football: Take the Redskins in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Giants to win and cover.
Early Sunday Afternoon:
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)
Line: Steelers by 1.
This is a classic matchup of offence vs. defense. The Steelers lead the NFL in total offense. The Rams defense, meanwhile, is third in sacks, seventh in yards allowed per play and eighth in red zone defense. Go with the home team. The Coach says: I don’t know what to make of the Rams. This is a toss-up, but the Rams played well at home against Seattle, I’m going to wager they can do it again.
Dr. Football: Take the Rams in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Rams
San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Line: Vikings by 2.5.
All the attention in the Twin Cities this week has been on Ragnar the Viking, the mascot who wants to be paid $20,000 a game to act like a doofus. That diversion has quietly hid the fact that Adrian Peterson has had “butter fingers.” Won’t matter. The Coach says: Let’s hope Norv has discussed ball protection with AP. Turnovers could be the difference in this one.
Dr. Football: Take the Vikings to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) at Houston Texans (0-2)
Line: Texans by 6.5.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was once the quarterbacks’ coach for Tom Brady in New England…those must have been happier days. His current squad had no talent behind center. Me smells an upset. The Coach says: Last week it appeared as if Jameis Winston started to get it. The Bus defense ate up Drew Brees, too.
Dr. Football: Take the Buccaneers.
The Coach: Take the Buccaneers
Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) at New York Jets (2-0)
Line: Jets by 2.
New York has been on fire so far this season with 10 takeaways in two games while the Eagles have stumbled through their first two games. If the Jets can beat the Colts on the road, they’ll have little trouble at home in this one. The Coach says: The Eagles should not have cut Tim Tebow. Despite all his faults, he’s better than the two donkeys Chip Kelly is running out there now.
Dr. Football: Take the Jets to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Jets to win and cover.
New Orleans Saints (0-2) at Carolina Panthers (2-0)
Line: Panthers by 3 ½
With or without Drew Brees, there’s just something wrong with the Saints this season…could the Brees era be coming to an end? The Coach says: Brees is hurt, might not play and the Who Dats are now the WTFs.
Dr. Football: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Panthers to win and cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Line: Patriots by 13.5.
The Jaguars have never won in Foxboro, and they won’t this week. Might be a classic example of “not taking a team too seriously” though. The Coach says: Another step to 16-0.
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-2)
Line: Ravens by 2.5.
Baltimore’s first home game of the season should be enough to get them back on track; can’t see them as an 0-3 team. The Coach says: Baltimore is too good to be 0-3, but the Bengals are good, too. Then again, home team.
Dr. Football: Take the Ravens to win and cover.
The Coach: take the Ravens to win and cover.
Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Line: Browns by 3.5.
Has the Johnny Football Era caught fire? Not sure, but this battle of the top two QBs in the 2014 draft will go his way. The Coach says: I’m old school, it’s Johnny Pigskin! The Browns will win, but it will be close. By the way, Travis Benjamin, not Johnny Manziel, will be the difference again. In fact, if he stays healthy, he could be NFL MVP.
Dr. Football: Take the Browns to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Browns to win but not cover.
Indianapolis Colts (0-2) at Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Line: Colts by 4.5.
Many picked the Colts to be their SuperBowl favourite this season, and after a second consecutive 0-2 start to the season, that looks pretty bleak. Look for a better effort this week on the road in a tight one. The Coach says: Indianapolis isn’t as good as we thought. Home team.
Dr. Football: Take the Colts to win but not cover.
The Coach: Take the Titans to win.
Atlanta Falcons (2-0) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Line: Falcons by 1.
Billionaire owner Jerry Jones told Peter King that he felt “as low as a crippled cricket’s ass” after learning of Tony Romo’s injury status. Not a ringing endorsement for the ability of the rest of his team. The Coach says: No Dez, no Romo, no win.
Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
Late Sunday Afternoon:
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Line: Cardinals by 6.5.
The already strong Cardinals get stronger with the addition of offensive linemen Mike Iupati and Bobby Massie. This one has “blow out” written all over it. The Coach says: The Cardinals might be the best team in the NFC. Carson Palmer is playing better now than at any time in his career and if he keeps getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald, no telling how good they can be.
Dr. Football: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Cardinals to win and cover.
Chicago Bears (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2)
Line: Seahawks by 9 ½
Jimmy Clausen = sacrificial lamb. The Coach says: Poor Chicago. The Bears were great once. John Fox was a good coach once. This is just sad.
Dr. Football: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Seahawks to win and cover.
Buffalo Bills (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Line: Dolphins by 2.5.
These two teams in the past have provided pretty entertaining games. The word in Miami is that Ndamukong Suh in not “playing nice”. So far, he has three tackles, zero sacks and reportedly has been ignoring defensive assignments. Not exactly earning his $1.2 million a game. Could this be a distraction? The Coach says: The Bills will win and prove that Tom Brady might take the Pats to a 16-0 season.
Dr. Football: Take the Bills in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Bills.
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
Line: Broncos by 1.
Despite a sputter start by Peyton Manning, the Broncos find ways to win. The Lions first home game of 2015 couldn’t be against a tougher team to beat. The Coach says: The Broncos were lucky last week. The Broncos were lucky in Week 1. They won’t be lucky this week.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Lions.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) at Green Bay Packers (2-0)
Line: Packers by 6.5.
Packers don’t lose at home on Monday nights. The Coach says: Listen to Teddy “Aaron Rodgers is making all the throws.”
Dr. Football: Take the Packers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Packers to win and cover.