TAMPA – This was a Thursday night that suited The Coach and The Doc just fine. Let’s hope the weekend is just as kind.
Thursday night, Andrew Luck went out, rushed for two touchdowns, and survived a couple of turnovers as the Indianapolis Colts did exactly what the boys said they’d do – massacred the sad-sack Jacksonville Jaguars 27-10.
Here’s what The Coach and The Doc had to say about this one on Thursday morning: “Who said MNF gets all the stinkers? This must miss game features the always-horrible Jags, who have a 0-4 home record and have been outscored 126-34 in those games. Jacksonville’s only win of the season so far came against the Colts, so that must count for something, right? No. Maurice Jones-Drew has shredded the Colts in their last two meetings, but alas, holding out during training camp, kiddies, can make you injury prone during the regular season. The Colts have won seven straight Thursday games. This one will make it eight. Coach says: ‘So much for home field advantage – again.’”
Well, so much for home field advantage and yes, the Colts have now won eight straight Thursday Nighters.
Coming off last week’s marvelous performance in which he set a record with 433 passing yards against the Dolphins, Luck wasn’t great this week, but he was sure good enough. He completed 18-of-26 passes for 227 yards, no touchdowns, one interception and one fumble. However, Jacksonville stubbed its toe so many times that the Jags could barely leave the field under its own steam.
The Jags are now 1-8. You’d think there would be talk about firing the head coach, but I don’t think anyone knows who the head coach is.
Meanwhile, the Colts — a team that was 2-14 last season — are now 6-3 and sniffing around the playoffs. Fact is, if the Chicago Bears can beat the Houston Texans this Sunday, the Colts will be only two points out of first place in the AFC South.
Now, getting to the post-season won’t be easy. The Colts play at New England next week, in Detroit in Week 13 and also have two games remaining with the Texans, in Week 15 and Week 17.
Still, with games against Tennessee and Buffalo at home and Kansas City on the road, the Colts will likely be no worse than 9-7. One upset and they’re a wild card team. Can you say, “Andrew Luck, rookie of the year?”
Our two veterans were on different tracks last week. The Doc was super. The Coach? Not so much. The Doc went 12-2 straight up (83-49) and was 11-3 against the spread (61-71). The Coach went 9-5 (83-49) straight up and 8-6 against the spread (62-70). So much for thinking, “upset.”
As always, The Doc writes our rationalizations while The Coach sits back, sucks on a soda and mocks everyone.
Let’s take a close look at Week 10:
Buffalo Bills (3-5) at New England Patriots (5-3) Line: Patriots by 11
Good grief. New England has already beaten the Bills once this season, a 52-28 shellacking, and have beat Buffalo 22 out of the last 24 games. Tom Brady should have another big game. The Coach says, “Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
New York Giants (6-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) Line: Giants by 4.
Last week Cincinnati had huge problems stopping Denver’s pass rush, and this week Andy Dalton should just make a reservation with the turf right now. Little brother Manning will have had a conversation this week with his big brother on how to beat the Bengals…this week the Giants get back on track after a couple of lackluster efforts. The Coach says: “Time for the Giants to wake up ad because they are on the road, they likely will.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE GIANTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE GIANTS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Diego Chargers (4-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-4) Line: Buccaneers by 3.
The Bucs offense has been on a roll in their last four games, scoring 28 plus points but that should come crashing to a halt. The Chargers defense is the toughest one Tampa has faced in weeks, and the Chargers run D will stop Doug Martin in his rookie tracks. The Coach says: “See Doug run. Run, Doug, run.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE CHARGERS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BUCS TO WIN AND COVER.
Denver Broncos (5-3) at Carolina Panthers (2-6) Line: Broncos by 3.5.
The Broncos are playing their second road game in a row, which usually spells trouble for ordinary teams, but over the last five games, Denver has been anything but ordinary. Peyton Manning has been on fire, and his next TD pass will tie Dan Marino for second all-time with 420. Denver’s pass rush will eat Cam Newton alive. A good homecoming for Broncos coach John Fox. The Coach says: “Bet Panthers fans wish John Fox still coached in Carolina. As long as he brought Peyton Manning with him, of course.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tennessee Titans (3-6) at Miami Dolphins (4-4) Line: Dolphins by 6.
The Fish lost a close one last week against an emotional Colts team, but the only emotion in this one will be joy. The Titans defense is on pace to allow 547 points and break the NFL season record of 533 set by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. Titans’ owner Bud Adams has been criticizing his team in the press, which never motivates anyone anymore. Miami’s defense will control Chris Johnson, and the Titans will offer little else. The Coach says: “If the Dolphins play as well as they played last week on the road, they’ll shellac the Titans at home.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE DOLPHINS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE DOLPHINS TO WIN AND COVER.
Oakland Raiders (3-5) at Baltimore Ravens (6-2) Line: Ravens by 8.
The Ravens have won their last 14 regular season home games; tops in the NFL, and when you combine that with the fact that the Raiders let the Bucs Doug Martin run wild on them last week, Ray Rice should have an even bigger day. The Coach says: “Baltimore’s defense is not very good, but things are really bad in Oakland.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
Atlanta Falcons (8-0) at New Orleans Saints (3-5) Line: Falcons by 2.5.
The Saints are much improved after getting off to a horrible start, but the defense is still a mess. The explosive Falcons are the 15th team to reach 8-0 since 1978, and nine of the other 14 have reached the Super Bowl. Some may argue that they have has a soft schedule thus far, but I think they’ll get it done in a place that will seem like dome, I mean home. The Coach says: “Game of the week. Bet the Falcons ‘till they lose.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Detroit Lions (4-4) at Minnesota Vikings (5-4) Line: Lions by 2.
The Lions will have revenge on their mind after being humiliated at home by the Vikings in September. Since then Detroit has gotten their act together, but I don’t think it will be enough to stop Adrian Peterson who absolutely lit it up last week in a losing effort in Seattle, but has 458 rushing yards in past three games at home. The Lions still have issues in their secondary, ones that Christian Ponder will exploit. The Coach says: “Christian Ponder is the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, Leslie Frazier won’t give the ball to Adrian Peterson 40 times and Percy Harvin is hurt. You do the math.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE VIKINGS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
New York Jets (3-5) at Seattle Seahawks (5-4) Line: Seahawks by 6.5.
As we saw last week against the Vikings, Seattle has become one of the toughest places to play and with the Jets’ offense in shambles as of late, expect the Seahawks cover corners to shut down the outside receivers causing the recently voted Mr. Overrated Rex Ryan to watch his team lose by a big score. Can Tim Tebow coach? The Coach says: “This has blowout written all over it.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS TO WIN AND COVER.
Dallas Cowboys (3-5) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) Line: Cowboys by 1.5.
Once upon a time this would have been the NFL’s premier match-up, now it’s just another game between two struggling old rivals. Michael Vick has been on his back more times this season than he’s ever been in his career and should be suing his O-Line for non-support. Dallas stays alive in the division race. The Coach says: “The Cowboys are probably the better team, but the Cowboys will find a way to lose.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE EAGLES JUST BECAUSE.
St. Louis Rams (3-5) at San Francisco 49ers (6-2) Line: 49ers by 11.
Both teams are coming off a bye week, so they should be well rested, although some may say the Rams rested while New England whooped them in London two weeks ago. The way the 49ers played at Arizona, they might have wished they could have continued without the bye. I don’t think the Rams get on the board in this one. The Coach says: “Puh-leeze.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.
Houston Texans (7-1) at Chicago Bears (7-1) Line: Bears by 1.
Once again NBC gets the NFL’s game of the week, the Texans who have a 3-0 road record so far, against a Bears team that has won six in a row. This game also features the two defensive player of the year leaders in the Texans J.J. Watt and the Bears Charles Tillman, who thought he might miss this game because his wife was due but she’ll deliver on Monday under orders from NBC as not to affect the TV ratings. Bears win for baby Tillman. The Coach says: “Simple recipe: Home field and the Bears defense.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
Kansas City Chiefs (1-7) at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) Line: Steelers by 12.5.
The Chiefs have lost five in a row, are minus-20 on turnovers, and still has not had a lead in regulation time this season. The Steelers are unstoppable on Monday Night Football; they have won 14 in a row. This one will be over after Pittsburgh’s first possession. The Coach says: “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Might be gone after this one.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.