We might be getting better. The Coach and The Doc certainly had it figured out on Thursday night.
As you might recall, here’s what The Doc said about Thursday’s game in St. Louis: “I can’t remember a time where you could use ‘undefeated’ and ‘Arizona’ in the same sentence. The Cards barely beat the Dolphins last week, giving up almost 500 yards on defense. The Rams are coming off a nice win over the Seahawks and Jeff Fisher seems to be getting his team back on track. Despite Arizona having a 10-1 record vs. St. Louis in their last 11 meetings, I smell an upset. The Coach says: “Arizona is not that good and St. Louis is no longer that bad.” Take the Rams to win.
Well, we all saw it on the teevee and as a result, the Cardinals are no longer undefeated.
Thursday night in St. Louis, Rams QB Sam Bradford hit rookie receiver Chris Givens on a 52-yard touchdown pass to put the icing on the cake that was a 17-3 win over the Cards. Bradford was only seven-for-21 for 141 yards, but he had two TD passes and the Rams defense was terrific as Arizona fell to 4-1 and the Rams improved to 3-2. The Rams won only twice last season, Jeff Fisher might be making a bid for coach of the year.
So we’re already 1-0 heading into the Sunday schedule, a schedule that now includes only two undefeated teams — Atlanta and Houston. There are only 12 games on Sunday as the Cowboys, Lions, Raiders and Buccaneers have the byes. The big games include Tennessee at Minnesota, Denver at New England, Philly at Pittsburgh and San Diego at New Orleans in the Sunday Nighter. The Monday Nighter this week is Houston at the New York Jets.
The Doc went 10-5 straight up last week (31-32) and almost got back to .500. He was also a stronger 7-8 against the spread (18-45). The Coach, meanwhile, started to sizzle. He went 12-3 straight up (36-27) and 8-7 (26-37) against the spread and is ready to rip it up this week.
As always, The Doc writes our rationalizations while The Coach sits back and, like every member of the media, just makes snarky remarks.
Let’s take a close look at Week 5:
Atlanta Falcons (4-0) at Washington Redskins (2-2) Line: Falcons by 3
Atlanta is unbeaten and the ‘Skins have lost seven consecutive home games. RG4 or RG5 wouldn’t help in this one. The Coach says: “The Falcons just might be the best team in the NFC.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: TAKE THE FALCONS TO WIN AND COVER
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) Line: Steelers by 3.
One has to love the “Battle of Pennsylvania” this week…the Eagles have survived turnovers to win three games by four total points. The Steelers, fresh off a bye week are healthier than they’ve been all season and get Rashard Mendenhall, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu back. The Eagles win with grit, but go with Big Ben and the home squad. The Coach says: “This is the toughest game to pick this week, but I’m going to assume that Pittsburgh has enough to win at home. If they don’t, it’s time to do some reassessing.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE STEELERS TO WIN AND COVER
Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-2) Line: Packers by 6.5.
Green Bay’s offense is ready to finally unload and build upon the success they had against the Saints last week. The emotional roller coaster of losing your head coach will negate any rest the Colts got in their bye week. Packers win big. The Coach says, “Yep, the Packers win big.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PACKERS TO WIN AND COVER
Cleveland Browns (0-4) at New York Giants (2-2) Line: Giants by 8.5.
The Giants are at home and they are out to crank out a big win after losing a disappointing one to the Eagles last week. The Browns have lost 10 in a row dating back to last season. Although Cleveland covered the spread last week against the Ravens, I can’t imagine Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden getting anything accomplished against the Giants tough defense. The Coach says: “This game includes violence and coarse language, viewer discretion is advised.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE GIANTS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE GIANTS TO WIN AND COVER
Miami Dolphins (1-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) Line: Bengals by 3.5.
Digging deep into this one, it’s hard to believe that Miami has won six times in their last seven trips to Cincinnati. That’s impressive, however irrelevant as the 2012 Dolphins practically are inventing new ways to lose having lost their last two tilts in OT. Look for the Bengals A. J. Green to have a huge day, as the Dolphins secondary is lousy, and the Bengals D will put more pressure on Miami’s Ryan Tannehill than the Cards did last week, as Cinncy leads the NFL with 17 sacks. The Coach says: “And Dalton is probably better than everyone thinks.
THE DOC: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER
THE COACH: TAKE THE BENGALS TO WIN AND COVER
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) Line: Ravens by 6.
There was a time children, when Arrowhead Stadium put fear in the hearts of huge visiting men, but not any longer. The Chiefs have lost six of their past seven games on their own soil, and with Matt Cassel playing like he has so far this year, it will be seven. Expect the Ravens run D to stop Jamaal Charles in his tracks, and watch for Ray Rice to have a huge day. The Coach says: “Matt Cassel is obviously worse than everyone thinks.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE RAVENS TO WIN AND COVER
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (1-3) Line: Panthers by 3.
The Panthers can’t stop the run, so figure the Seabirds Marshawn Lynch to run wild in this one. Two road games in a row way out of your time zone is always tough, but I think Seattle’s defense is up for the test. The Coach says: “At some point, Cam Newton is going to stop posing and start playing.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE SEAHAWKS IN AN UPSET
THE COACH: TAKE THE PANTHERS TO WIN AND COVER
Chicago Bears (3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) Line: Bears by 4.5.
Do you remember last year when Maurice Jones –Drew questioned Jay Cutler’s leadership? Payback time. Never poke a Bear with or without a stick. The Bears handed it to the ‘Boys on the road last week, this one will seem like a picnic. The Coach says: “Even with Jay Cutler, the Bears win this one.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE BEARS TO WIN AND COVER
Tennessee Titans (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1) Line: Vikings by 5.5.
The Vikings proved last week that they can score on both sides of the ball. Coach Leslie Frazier seems to be overlooked so far by the Rams Jeff Fisher as this year’s success story, but he has his team clicking. The Titans are a mess. The Coach says: “Could the Minnesota Vikings be for real? Regardless, they’re the better team this week.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE VIKINGS TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE VIKINGS TO WIN AND COVER
Denver Broncos (2-2) at New England Patriots (2-2) Line: Patriots by 6.5.
Tom Brady worked his magic in a 45 point second half against the disappointing Bills, while Peyton Manning has now thrown for 300 yards in back to back games. The Patriots are a gimme pick whenever they are at home, but Manning will find a way to keep it close. The Coach says: “Brady is 8-4 lifetime against Manning. 9-4 after this one.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO BUT NOT COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE PATRIOTS TO WIN AND COVER
Buffalo Bills (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1) Line: 49ers by 10.
After all that off season activity, the Bills are among the most disappointing teams in the NFL, and that won’t change this week. San Francisco wins in another rout, perhaps a second consecutive shutout. The Coach says, “Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!”
THE DOC: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER.
THE COACH: TAKE THE 49ers TO WIN AND COVER
San Diego Chargers (3-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-4) Line: Saints by 3.5.
Even winless and coach-less, the Saints are dangerous at home. Drew Brees’ offense showed signs of life last week in Green Bay, and I expect that this is the week they’ll put it together for the win. The Coach says, “Just watched the Chargers at home and they have a lot of holes. New Orleans won’t go 0-16.”
THE DOC: TAKE THE SAINTS TO WIN BUT NOT COVER
THE COACH: TAKE THE SAINTS TO WIN AND COVER
Houston Texans (4-0) at New York Jets (1-3) Line: Texans by 8.
The Monday Nighter features two teams heading in completely different directions; the Texans are steamrolling opponents while the Jets are imploding. Someone give Rex Ryan a sandwich, he had better success when he was fat and sloppy…now his team plays that way. The over/under on when we hear the “We want Tebow” chants is -1, as in we will hear it before the end of the first quarter. The Coach says, “Tebow? Really? Seriously? Really?”
THE DOC: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER
THE COACH: TAKE THE TEXANS TO WIN AND COVER