Bullets over Broadway…
Raise your hand if you were surprised that after 3 weeks, Eli still has not thrown an interception? Last night, Eli Manning completed 23 of 32 passes, including touchdown strikes to Odell Beckham, Jr. and Rueben Randle, to lead the Giants to a 32-21 victory over the Redskins. Manning improved to 16-6 (.727) in 22 starts against Washington. The only other quarterback in NFL history who won more than 15 starts against Washington was Charlie Conerly, who played his entire career for the Giants and had 17 wins against the Redskins from 1948 to 1961. The Giants have now beat the Redskins 97 times. That is the most wins in NFL history by one team against another. (The Bears are second with 96 wins against the Lions.) New York’s win was its fourth in a row at the Meadowlands against Washington. That’s the Giants longest home winning streak against a division opponent since they took four in a row against Dallas from 1999 to 2002. This is the first time that they’ve defeated Washington four straight times at home since doing so from 1976 to 1979.
Some other strangeness to consider from week 2; the Bears gave up the most points at home in their 96-year history to a team that originated in the Windy City. It was also the first-time in NFL history that the Raiders, Washington, Browns, Jaguars and Bucs won on the same day – granted the Jags have only been around since ’95 – and I’m sure we can find some other things to make our point, like everytime the Saints have been a universal, double-digit favorite at home that 80% of eliminator pools go bust, when they lose.
Other NFL Thoughts I cannot put anywhere else:
- Peyton Manning’s QB rating is lower than Blake Bortles, Josh McCown, Jameis Winston, Matt McGloin, Johnny Manziel, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Fitzpatrick, among many, many others. He’s 29th of 34 quarterbacks who qualify.
- Denver has the fewest offensive yards of any team in the NFL. The team has been in the top four in the category in each of Peyton Manning’s three years with the franchise.
- The only backs with multiple rushing touchdowns are DeAngelo Williams, Danny Woodhead, Chris Ivory, Carlos Hyde, Jeremy Hill, Karlos Williams and Matt Jones, just like you expected when you drafted your fantasy teams a few weeks ago.
- Andrew Luck has the worst quarterback rating (58.9) of any starter in the NFL. The next worst is Cam Newton, whose QB rating is 12.4 points higher.
- Twenty tight ends have more receiving yards than Jimmy Graham, who surpassed his 2015 total of 62 yards in six single games last year. In his first two games of 2014, Graham had 200 yards receiving.
- Darrius Heyward-Bey has more receiving yards than Calvin Johnson.
- The New York Jets lead the league with just 17 points allowed. Opponents exceeded that total 11 times last year against Rex Ryan’s team, including in a stretch of eight-straight games.
- Two teams haven’t sacked any quarterback this season: Chicago and Oakland. Meanwhile, two teams haven’t been sacked this season: Arizona and Cincinnati. Take back all your Andy Dalton jokes. TAKE THEM BACK – RIGHT NOW.
The DiRT Canon A.I. NFL Football Picks
DiRT Canon A.I.: Sez the Cowboys still win 25-23 without Dez or Romo
My take: Brandon Weeden is 5-16 straight-up as a starter and 8-12-1 against-the-spread in those games. The Falcons have covered 5 straight road games and are playing well against the NFC East (3 straight). I lean towards the Falcons SU, and would only tease those dirty-birds.
DiRT Canon A.I.: Sez Titans win 23-22 over the Colts and believes a small earthquake will be registered in Indy from everyone dropping dead.
My take: I do not believe the Colts are dead until they lose to rookie QB’s in their own division. Last year the Colts failed to cover their first two games, then Indy went 12-5 ATS in the regular season and playoffs. The Titans as home dogs of a field goal or more are 40-29-3 (58%) against-the-spread. I say the Colts win SU, not sold on the hook, so maybe only a tease if you gotta.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Ravens win 23-21
My take: Joe Flacco as a home favorite against the AFC North is 6-12-1 (33%) against-the-spread. Andy Dalton is 4-1 straight-up and against-the-spread in his last five meetings with Joe Flacco. I think the A.I. is on to something, because I think the Ravens are only 1pt better than Cincy – so I’ll take the Bengals. Apologize to Andy Dalton!
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez Browns 24-19 and might be thinking that Manziel should get the start
My take: All-time, home favorites of less than a touchdown against the Raiders are 59-76-6 (44% ATS). All-time, the Raiders on the road against an AFC North team are 8-18 (31%) against-the-spread. It seems the only person who wants Josh McCown play is the coach and McCown. I like the Raiders to win SU.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Patriots win 32-17 and believes the only way they fail to cover is a lack of focus – when I asked how it factored something like that – it told me it was busy with baseball.
My take: The Jags are 16-13 (55%) ATS all-time as a double-digit underdogs and have covered in three of the last four games. Tom Brady as a double-digit favorite is 16-30 (35%) against-the-spread. We might be seeing this year in the NFL what it might be like when you poke the bear – If the NFL would have just left the Patriots be all off-season maybe we wouldn’t see Belichick’s march to the sea in a wall of flame. I’ll take the Sons of Liberty for the win.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Panthers win 25-15 over God’s Army. The A.I. actually smiled at me after this pick
My take: Oh Lord do I have to? Cam Newton as a home favorite against the NFC South is 5-1 straight-up and 4-2 against-the-spread. Nevermind that the Panthers are boring to watch or that the possibility of being 0-2 in the division, and 0-3, gives you the need to get your brown paper-bag ready, because it will be a long cold winter. The Saints are 7-12-1 against-the-spread in their last twenty road games. Stay away from this game and pretend it never happened.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Jets win 24-20 and it is time to spread the hashtag #LOLEagles
My take: In the Chip Kelly era, the Eagles as road underdogs are 8-3 against-the-spread. Ryan Fitzpatrick is 35-55-1 straight-up as a starter and 43-47-1 against-the-spread but 9-5 ATS in the last two years. From what I’ve seen from both teams, I find it hard to believe Philly is able to compete. Who saw this coming tho? I still think Philly is the better team and they have to turn it around, but I will only tease the Eggles.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Texans win 24-18
My take: The Texans have failed to cover six straight games as home favorites of a touchdown or more. Again, The Buccaneers, with Lovie Smith as the coach, are 4-1 against-the-spread as road dogs of a touchdown or more. I would rather bet the Over/Under on how many F-Bombs Bill O’Brien drops – I’ll mark it at 6.5 – I hate Tampa and there is nothing positive to say for Houston, so I’ll go with teasing the Texans only.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Chargers win 23-22 against the Vikes
My take: Did we get a little too excited about Teddy-Two-Gloves? Just like last year the Chargers Offense has been good, and just like last year the D has not. No Gates, no problem. Philip Rivers without Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates is 10-3 against-the-spread. The last ten teams facing the Chargers in September are 1-8-1 against-the-spread – side note, what have the Vikings done to be favored so often by Vegas? Something tells me the Chargers blow out the Vikes – I lean on the Chargers.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Rams lose 24-26 to the Steelers
My take: All-time, the Rams as home dogs are 44-66-1 (40%) against-the-spread but they have covered the last three times. Big Ben as a road favorite is 22-32-1 (41%) against-the-spread. The question is which Rams team will show up – nothing like the Roller-Coaster at Busch Gardens. Make mine all Pittsburgh, to many variables of talent in favor of the Steelers.
DiRT Canon A.I. gives the Cardinals the victory 25-19
My take: Arizona is 1-7 ATS as home favorites against the 49ers. The 49ers are 8-4 against-the-spread as underdogs to the Cardinals. A healthy Palmer sure makes a difference and all of Arizona should enjoy it while it lasts, because another Carson Palmer injury is coming. AZ is the 2nd most efficient offense, behind only Pittsburgh – but this seems like a trap – I think AZ wins SU but I would tease the Niners – again.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Dolphins win 24-19
My take: Ryan Tannehill as a home favorite is 5-9 (36%) against-the-spread. All-time, the Bills as road dogs in Miami are 12-17 (41%) against-the-spread. You can always trust death, taxes and that Rex Ryan gets beat by the Patriots, just as much as you should NEVER trust Joe Philbin. All the fans in Buffalo will realize what everyone else knows about Rex being full of it – but right now he believes his players are the best and they will play like it – where as Philbin has no idea what’s going on or who’s doin what – I’ll take the Bills as a tease only.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Bears will make it closer than experts believe
My take: I’m not sure this spread is high enough – it’s like, “Here you go Seattle” take all your frustrations out on Chicago, while Bears fans get to see what life is like without Smokin’ Jay. BTW, you read here last week where I said Jay would throw a pick 6 – he did, just not to PP7. Jimmy Clausen as a starter is 4-7 against-the-spread, which looks good compared to his 1-10 straight-up record. No team that has started 0-2 was a two touchdown favorite in their next game. Russell Wilson is 6-6-1 as a +10 point favorite. I think this is a Seahawk victory by 3 touchdowns at halftime.
DiRT Canon A.I. Sez the Broncos win 27-25.
My take: In his career, Peyton Manning as a road favorite is 52-35-3 (60%) against-the-spread. Stafford as a home dog is just 2-14 straight-up, a winning percentage of 13%. The rest of the NFL in the same period won at home as dogs 37% of the time. If you put Manning’s head on Stafford’s body, you’d have a prettay, prettaay, prettaaay good QB. If you are a Detroit fan you have to have a little un-easiness about being on national tv against a team that might be figuring out – wishing that last year was not the glass-slipper moment. However, I want anarchy in Denver and truly enjoy the tweets and facebook posts as the Bronco roller-coaster goes and lean on a teaser with Detroit.
Make that two concussions in two weeks for Cincinnati’s Gunner Kiel as he was carted off the field after taking a hit to the head while sliding during the Bearcats’ 53-46 loss to Memphis on Thursday night.
The game proved to be a shootout, with Moore coming off the bench to set a school record by throwing for 557 yards — giving Cincinnati 620 total passing yards. However, Memphis still won 53-46 after Moore was intercepted in the final moments on a desperation pass. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch threw for 412 yards and two touchdowns, and Sam Craft scored the game-winning touchdown with 53 seconds left after Memphis retained possession on a controversial fumble that was ruled down. Memphis is 4-0, while Cincinnati is now 2-2.
For Saturday’s picks, I have highlighted those games I would like to talk about and put my thoughts below the A.I.’s picks – with neat colors so you can tell which ones of the A.I.’s picks I like etc…
- LOUISANA-LAFAYETTE (-8.5) by 10 over Akron – The Zips managed to score just about zip vs. Oklahoma and Pittsburgh (total of 10 points). UL-L ranks 22nd in total offense while Akron ranks 119th.
- UCLA (-3.5) by 4 over ARIZONA – Arizona’s stats are skewed by the 792 yards and 77 points that it posted against Northern Arizona on Saturday. UCLA still ranks much better on defense. Not sure how the loss of Miles Jack impacts this result tho.
- Oklahoma State (-3) by 6.15 over TEXAS – Outside of the 4th quarter comeback effort vs. Cal last week, Texas hasn’t show much of anything so I’ll gladly go with the Cowboys beating a 3-point spread.
- Colorado State (-9) by 14 over UTSA – The Roadrunners are 103rd in total defense and 97th in total offense. The Rams rank 42nd and 37th in those respective categories.
- Virginia Tech (-8.5) by 12.5 over EAST CAROLINA – Virginia Tech has taken 10 of the last 12 despite last year’s 28-21 loss in Blacksburg. The Hokies haven’t lost at East Carolina since 1992. The Pirates rank 82nd offensively and 96th on defense.
- LOUISIANA TECH (-14.5) by 16.5 over Florida International – I could easily see the Bulldogs winning by 4 TD’s or more as the nation’s 10th-best passing offensive meets the 69th-best pass defense.
- Georgia Southern (-16) by 17.5 over IDAHO – The Eagles pit their 6th-ranked rushing offense against the Vandals’ 126th-ranked run defense.
- RUTGERS (-13) by 15 over Kansas – I’m only taking this game because Kansas is just that bad.
- WEST VIRGINIA (-17) by 21 over Maryland – WVU has taken 8 of the last 9 in the series. The Mountaineers rank 15th in passing offense while Maryland is 97th in stopping the pass.
- ALABAMA (-38) by 52 over Louisiana-Monroe – These teams haven’t met since UL-M pulled off the 21-14 upset in 2007. Alabama won 41-7 the previous year in the only other meeting between the two schools.
- MINNESOTA (-10.5) by 15.5 over Ohio – The top MAC teams have made strong showings against Power 5 teams already this year and Minnesota has shown no offense, against TCU and CSU.
- New Mexico (-3) by 2.5 over WYOMING – Wyoming lost 48-29 at home to Eastern Michigan 2 weeks ago. That’s probably enough said. But, the A.I. likes Wyo to cover, so….
- Usc (-5.5) by .5 over ARIZONA STATE – USC has lost the last 2 games at Arizona State. The A.I. only favored the Trojans by 4 earlier this season.
- HOUSTON (-16.5) by 12.5 over Texas State – This Lone Star state battle features the nation’s 15th- and 20th ranked offenses with the Cougars holding the loftier position over the Bobcats from San Marcos.
- NEBRASKA (-22) by 30 over Southern Miss – The resurgent Eagles only lost to Mississippi State by 18 in the opener and posted 50+ points in their last 2 games. Nebraska ranks 105th in total defense while USM ranks 20th in total offense.
- Texas A&M (-7.5) by 4 over Arkansas (Arlington) – The Aggies needed overtime to win last year’s game over the Razorbacks 35-28, but still topped this week’s spread and have taken 3 straight in the series. Bert has to make this one close.
- ILLINOIS (-6.5) by 6.5 over MiddleTennesse – The Illini are coming off a 48-14 beatdown at North Carolina and now head home to face one of the top offenses in the nation. MTSU ranks 22nd in passing and 36th in rushing. Illinois surrendered 476 yards to UNC on Saturday. This could be an upset.
- Missouri by 11.5 over KENTUCKY (-2.5) – Both teams managed to score a whopping 9 points last week. Mizzou won 9-6 over lowly UConn at home, while Kentucky lost 14-9 at Florida. After those outings, the Wildcats 103rd in total offense and the Tigers rank 116th.
- Northern Illinois by 5 over BOSTON COLLEGE (-4) – The Huskies almost pulled off the huge upset at Ohio State last Saturday (lost, 20-13) and did so with defense. I wasn’t a believer in the BC defense after two games vs. FCS teams, but that unit held its own in a 14-0 loss to Florida State last Friday. But just as it did last Friday for FSU, the difference for NIU will need to come on offense where the Huskies rank 43rd and the Eagles rank 110th.
- Bowling Green by 1 over PURDUE (-2) – If this match were a criminal case, both teams would get convicted as neither has a defense – Purdue ranks 88th and BGSU 115th. Offense easily tilts in the Falcons’ favor as they rank 2nd in the nation while the Boilermakers rank 67th.
- Brigham Young by 2 over MICHIGAN (-5) – BYU is 1 point away from being 3-0 versus Nebraska, Boise State and UCLA. Michigan is 2-1 versus Utah, Oregon State and UNLV. The Wolverines have allowed just 1 touchdown in each of their last 2 games, but their opponents in those contests rank 117th and 118th on offense.
- WASHINGTON by 3 over California (-2) – Cal blew all but 1 point of a 21-point lead in the 4th quarter last Saturday at Texas. Meanwhile, Washington was handling a pretty good Utah State team 31-17. Cal gets the advantage on offense, but Washington has the clear statistical advantage on defense.
- CHARLOTTE by 1 over Fau (-9) – This game didn’t open until Wednesday as oddsmakers awaited the status of FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson but remains questionable after sustaining a sprained ankle in the first quarter vs. Miami. Redshirt freshman Jason Driskel has served as his replacement. The Owls were blasted 33-15 at home by Buffalo last Saturday while Charlotte was clobbered 73-14 at Middle Tennessee after entering that game as a 15-point A.I. underdog.
- Tennessee by 5 over FLORIDA (-2) – Florida has been a bit of a pleasant surprise to its fan base, but plenty of Gator fans are still worried that they only defeated East Carolina by 7 and Kentucky by 5. Tennessee is a much better offensive team than the Pirates or Wildcats. Florida has only managed to gain 618 total yards and score 45 total points in those last two outings.
- Army by 5 over EASTERN MICHIGAN (-3) – The 120th-ranked Eagles host the 127th-ranked Black Knights. Army ranks 125 in total offense while EMU’s ranks 63. Army has allowed 47 fewer yards per game. Army is 5-1 vs. Eastern Michigan all-time, but lost 48-38 on its last visit to Ypsilanti in 2012.
No more Baseball this year – it’s time for Pennant races