It’s been a rare occurrence in recent weeks: Coach wins! Well, for one day anyway.
When The Coach and Dr. Football looked at Thursday Night’s prelude to Week 13 in the National Football League, they simply couldn’t agree. Here’s how the boys approached the Thursday Nighter:
A good Thursday Nighter kicks off Week 13 in Atlanta. The Saints come in having beaten the Falcons the last four times they’ve met, and have won 11 out of the last 13, and more importantly have won the last three times in the Georgia Dome. New Orleans is playing for its playoff life, and I think they come up big on the road. The Coach says: “You have a 10-1 team playing at home against a 5-6 team coming off a loss at home the week before. I’ll take the 10-1 home team every time.”
Well, guess who won?
The Falcons raced out to a 17-0 lead and then held on as New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw five interceptions. For the first time in 54 games, Brees did not throw a touchdown pass.
The Falcons are now 11-1 and have clinched at least a first place tie in the NFC South. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan went 18-for-33 for 165 yards and one touchdown. Michael Turner carried 12 times for 83 yards and another major.
Brees went 28-for-50 for 341 yards, no TDs and five picks. The Saints are now 5-7 and pretty much out of it. Yes, Doc, it feels great to be up 1-0 heading to Sunday.
Last week the Doc went 9-7 straight up (113-63) and 9-7 against the spread (86-90) while The Coach went 9-7 straight up (113-63) and 7-9 against the spread (84-92).
As always, The Doc writes the definitive rationalization of our brilliant selections while The Coach heaps scorn on everything and everyone.
Let’s look closely at Week 13:
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) at Chicago Bears (8-3) Line: Bears by 3.5.
The Bears are coming of a huge win in a statement game last week; that statement was “this is Jay Cutler’s team”. Chicago is 5-1 at home, while Seattle is 1-5 on the road, but have beaten the Bears the last two visits to the Windy City. After seeing what the Bears D did to the Vikings last week, I can’t see the Seahawks doing much better playing their second consecutive road game. The Coach says: “As president of the Israel Idonije fan club, I expect a shutout by the Bears D.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4) Line: Packers by 9.
Both teams are coming off humiliating losses on the road and now face a game with huge playoff implications. The Packers should have Greg Jennings back which will make Aaron Rodgers happy, and he’ll need him as the Green Bay’s run defense won’t be able to stop the Vikings Adrian Peterson. Should be an old fashioned shoot out at Lambeau Field, the kind the Rodgers doesn’t lose, but Minnesota will put up a fight. The Coach says: “Christian Ponder vs. Aaron Rodgers. Not even close.
THE DOC: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1) at St. Louis Rams (4-6-1) Line: 49ers by 7.
Colin Kaepernick gets another start for the 49ers this week, and with a couple of wins under his belt against a couple of tough team he has earned the respect of his team in a big way. These two teams met just three weeks ago earning the NFL’s first tie game since 2008, and I can see another close one here. San Fran is playing a second consecutive road game which will help the Rams, but not enough to win. The Coach says: “It won’t be a tie this time.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.
Arizona Cardinals (4-7) at New York Jets (4-7) Line: Jets by 4.5.
I think “Fireman” Ed hung up his helmet too soon. The Cardinals with their seven game losing streak and rookie QB Ryan Lindley are just the cure for a bad team looking to regain some faith with their fans. The Coach says, “Against Arizona, Mark Sanchez can run into the ass-end of his entire offensive line and still win.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE JETS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE JETS TO WIN AND COVER.
Carolina Panthers (3-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-10) Line: Panthers by 3.
The Chiefs put up a pretty good fight last week against the Broncos, but still fell short and remain winless at home. But there is change in the air as the Panthers come to town probably over confident coming off a road win on Monday night against the grounded Eagles. Carolina didn’t look good against the run last week, something KC should exploit. Chiefs are due. The Coach says: “Chiefs? Due? So was Mitt Romney.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE CHIEFS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER.
Indianapolis Colts (7-4) at Detroit Lions (4-7) Line: Lions by 4.5.
Some may of thought that Detroit coach Jim Schwartz threw a white towel on the season instead of a challenge flag when he didn’t need to on US Thanksgiving against the Texans. Those kind of boneheaded mistakes usually lose the locker room for a coach. Luckily, the Colts are next up for the Lions at home, and with Indy prone to turning the ball over on the road (16 times in five games) Detroit has a big chance to redeem themselves to their faithful. Should be another shootout. The Coach says: “Lots of passes, lots of points, Lions win.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE LIONS TO WIN AND COVER.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Buffalo Bills (4-7) Line: Bills by 5.5.
The Jaguars have been a better team with Chad Henne at QB, but they still aren’t very good. Brutal actually. The Bills defense seems to have finally woken up from their hibernation that had them as one of the league’s worst through the first half of the season. Mario Williams gets another multiple sack day as the Bills win big at home. The Coach says: “Warning: Violence and coarse language (from those watching). Children must be accompanied by an adult.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BILLS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BILLS TO WIN AND COVER.
New England Patriots (8-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-6) Line: Patriots by 7.
The Patriots have been on fire as of late averaging 47.5 points over their last 4 games and winning five in a row along the way. The Dolphins defense may be able to slow down the Patriots ground game a little, but they will have no answer for the air attack from Tom Brady and company. The Patriots are gunning for a first round bye in the playoffs and should win this on the road. The Coach says: “Not even close.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PETRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER.
Houston Texans (10-1) at Tennessee Titans (4-7) Line: Texans by 6.
The Texans have needed OT in their last two wins, but won’t need it in Nashville. Houston’s defense has shown cracks lately, but the Titans won’t offer up much offense. The Texans beat up the Titans pretty good back in September (38-14); expect another whuppin’ as Houston clinches a playoff spot after a nice break since Turkey Day. The Coach says: “Texans 11-1 and in the playoffs sounds pretty impressive.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5) at Denver Broncos (8-3) Line: Broncos by 7.
Great match-up as the Broncos are on a six game win streak and Tampa Bay is 4-1 in their last 5. Both teams took a little while to get in a groove, but Peyton’s team looks like a Super Bowl contender while Josh Freeman with Doug Martin could be there next year. Experience over enthusiasm in a close one. The Coach says: “Game of the Week No. 1. Jints-‘Skins is No. 2”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BRONCOS TO WIN AND COVER.
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2) Line: Ravens by 6.5.
Baltimore has won three in a row in series including 13-10 three weeks ago, and have won 16 in a row at home overall and are closing in on the AFC North division title. The Steelers may or may not have Big Ben available for this game, but the advantage goes to the Ravens at home regardless of who plays QB. The Ravens offense, and Joe Flacco especially, has been much better at home than on the road this season.
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
Cleveland Browns (3-8) at Oakland Raiders (3-8) Line: Raiders by 1.5.
It looks like Brandon Weeden will get the start for Cleveland, but it really doesn’t matter who plays QB as the Raiders have surrendered a league-high 23 opponent TD passes, six in the past two games. The Raiders horrible run D won’t stop Trent Richardson from running wild in this one. The Browns 12 game road losing streak will end. The Coach says: “WTF?”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BROWNS IN AN UPSET.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BROWNS TO WIN.
Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) at San Diego Chargers (4-7) Line: Bengals by 1.5.
The Bengals are on the rise with Andy Dalton 9-0 on TDs/picks in their three-game win streak. The Chargers are on the verge of an organizational shake up but still have plenty of talent to make this game interesting, but the Bengals have so much more to play for as they continue their push for the playoffs. The Coach says: “This has to be the end of Norv Turner. Doesn’t it?”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN AND COVER.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-8) at Dallas Cowboys (5-6) Line: Cowboys by 10.
The Cowboys were embarrassed again at home against the Redskins on Turkey Day getting their butts handed to them by a rookie QB. This week, another rookie QB but on a team which they handily beat three weeks ago (38-23). The Eagles are a mess and Andy Reid is on his farewell tour. The Coach says: “Farewell Tour, I like that.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE COWBOYS TO WIN AND COVER.
New York Giants (7-4) at Washington Redskins (5-6) Line: Giants by 2.5
Finally, a Monday Night game worth joining me at Hooters for (shameless plug I know). This should be a great Monday Nighter between one of the league’s best veteran QB’s and a rising young superstar. Eli and the G-men made Aaron Rodgers and the Packers look average last week, while RG3 brought his dynamic act to Dallas and impressed even Jerry Jones. Again, experience over enthusiasm; Manning can expose the ‘Skins weak secondary for some big plays. The Coach says: “RG3. It’s time.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE GIANTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE WASHINGTON TO WIN AND COVER.