By The Coach and Dr. Football
So far this season, the Minnesota Vikings and their 5-2 record are somewhat of a myth. In fact, a couple of stats mavens have the Vikings 27th best in the NFL right now, simply because of the weakness of their schedule.
This week, the Vikings face the St. Louis Rams and, if they beat Jeff Fisher’s group, it will be the first time since Week 1 (when everybody was 0-0) that the Vikes have beaten a plus-.500 team.
Sure the Vikings are 5-2, but they’ve beaten lowly Detroit twice, Chicago, San Diego and Kansas City. That’s hardly impressive.
However, to be fair, this week, the Vikings start the toughest part of their schedule and according to ESPN, for the rest of the season, they have the toughest schedule in the NFL.
On the up side, the Vikings do play five for their final nine games at home and they don’t lose very often at TCF Bank Stadium. If they can sweep at home, it won’t matter what they do on the road. They’ll be 10-6 and likely in the playoffs.
Of course, that would require a win this week against the improving Rams plus wins later against the Packers and Seahawks. Even though Teddy Bridgewater has won his last eight at home, all streaks do come to an end.
Meanwhile, our boys are finding that the schedule is getting a tad easier. Last week, The Doc went 11-3 straight up (72-47) and 6-8 (52-67) against the spread. The Coach went 11-3 straight up (75-44) and 8-6 against the spread (61-58).
This week, the Doc once again captures the brilliance of our erudite selections while The Coach just cries about the officiating and keeps screaming, “Oh, yeah, the fix is in!”
Let’s take a close look at Week 8:
Cleveland Browns (2-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-0)
Line: Bengals by 10
The Bengals are 7-0 for the first time in club history and four of their wins are one the road. They are for real. They’ll be 8-0 Monday morning. The Coach says: The Browns won’t win and they aren’t very good, but with Johnny Manziel at quarterback, they’ll have a better chance than they ever did with Josh McCown.
Dr. Football: Take the Bengals to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Bengals to win but not cover.
Early Sunday Afternoon
Oakland Raiders (4-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4)
Line: Steelers by 4.5
The Raiders have won two straight and are over .500 in November for the first time in four years. The Steelers have proven this season they can beat teams with winning records but fall flat against teams that have losing ones. This one breaks that trend. The Coach says: Perhaps Derek Carr has matured and perhaps the Raiders are real. We’ll find out this week.
Dr. Football: Take the Steelers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Raiders.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at New York Jets (4-3)
Line: NO LINE
The Jets will start a rookie at QB which shouldn’t really matter against a terrible Jacksonville team. The Coach says: Jets are at home.
Dr. Football: Take the Jets to win.
The Coach: Take the Jets to win.
St. Louis Rams (4-3) at Minnesota Vikings (5-2)
Line: Vikings by 2.5
If you like old school run based football this is your must see game. The NFL’s top two running backs Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson will tear up the field in a close game. The Coach says: There is no reason to believe the Vikings can stop Todd Gurley. The Vikings haven’t beaten a team with a winning record. And still, because Teddy Bridgewater is now 8-0 at home, I’m going with Minnesota.
Dr. Football: Take the Vikings to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Vikings to win and cover.
Miami Dolphins (3-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-4)
Line: Bills by 3
The Bills crushed the Dolphins 41-14 five weeks ago in Miami before the Dolphins made the coaching switch. It’s a different team now with Dan Campbell running the show. The Coach says: Neither of these teams will make the playoffs, but they are both about as awful as each other so it’ll be a good football game.
Dr. Football: Take the Dolphins in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Bills (and hold your nose)
Tennessee Titans (1-6) at New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Line: Saints by 8
The Saints are riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak while this week Tennessee fired Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt. Don’t expect any Miami magic from the Titans, especially since they’re in the Saints dome. The Coach says: Drew Brees threw seven touchdown passes last week. I’d say he might be ready to take a run at the Divisional title.
Dr. Football: Take the Saints to win and cover.
The Coach: take the Saints to win and cover.
Washington (3-4) at New England Patriots (7-0)
Line: Patriots by 13.5
The last time these two teams met was in 2007 and the Patriots won 52-7 and went on to finish the season 16-0. Both are possible this season. The Coach says: Dr. Football makes a heck of a point.
Dr. Football: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Patriots to win and cover.
Green Bay Packers (6-1) at Carolina Panthers (7-0)
Line: Packers by 1.5
The Packers have allowed over 500 yards the past two games and now play another unbeaten team on the road. Even the great Aaron Rogers can’t put up enough points to make up for the defense. The Coach says: Had the Packers won last week against Denver, I’d have said they’ll blow out Carolina. Now, with Green Bay on the road, I’m not so sure.
Dr. Football: Take the Panthers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Panthers.
Late Sunday Afternoon
Atlanta Falcons (6-2) at San Francisco 49ers (2-6)
Line: Falcons by 4.5
The Falcons haven’t been playing well the last few weeks but a game against the lowly 49ers should get them back on track. The Coach says: Colin Kaepernick will be traded soon. The Jets perhaps?
Dr. Football: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Falcons to win and cover.
New York Giants (4-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4)
Line: Giants by 2.5
The 614 yards the Giants surrendered to the Saints last week was the second most in Giants history but they can still score. The Bucs are coming off a hard fought victory in Atlanta. Both teams will be tired, but I think the Giants will be in for a surprise. The Coach says: The only reason the Giants are favored is because they’re from New York.
Dr. Football: Take the Buccaneers in an upset.
The Coach: Take the Bucs
Denver Broncos (7-0) at Indianapolis Colts (3-5)
Line: Broncos by 4
Peyton Manning returns to Indy to face a Colts team in disarray. After losing three straight, the Colts are scrambling, and they won’t stop the Denver defense. The Coach says: The Colts will lose this week, but they’ll still win their division.
Dr. Football: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Broncos to win and cover.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (2-5)
Line: Eagles by 2.5
The last time the Cowboys won was against the Eagles and have dropped five games since then. The Eagles get their revenge. The Coach says: Without Tony Romo, the Cowboys might lose 10 straight.
Dr. Football: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Eagles to win and cover.
Line: Chargers by 4
I wonder if ESPN regrets paying all that money to broadcast MNF when the NFL schedules them games like these. I’ll be watching Dancing with the Stars. The Coach says: I’ll watch this game because the two quarterbacks might throw for 900 yards – each.
Dr. Football: Take the Chargers to win and cover.
The Coach: Take the Chargers to win and cover.