Let me begin by thanking all of you for your emails and texts checking on my well being after the Jets collapse on Thursday Night Football. Frankly, I would have been far more upset but for the fact that we Jets fans have seen these tent foldings so darn frequently through the years.
And they sure did telegraph this one. I mean, c’mon. Quick two-touchdown lead on the road? Dominant first-half defensive effort against a hapless franchise that hadn’t won a game in 635 days? And then along comes Jets linebacker Avery Williamson, who did exactly the right thing in knocking the opponent’s bungling and overmatched QB, Tyrod Taylor, out of the game with a concussion late in the first half. Smooth sailing from there, right? Not so fast…
Because we’ve seen that movie, too. Back in 2001. On that day, playing the role of Avery Williamson for New York was another hard hitting linebacker — Mo Lewis. And playing the role of feeble and ineffective starting QB was Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots.
Cue the time machine. We Jets fans celebrate raucously as Bledsoe is pile driven from the game by Lewis, leaving the Pats with no choice but to go to the bench for some unknown kid who they’d drafted out of Michigan the prior year. All Tom Brady had seen of the NFL up until that afternoon was the old baseball cap and clipboard routine, save for some mop up duty the prior Thanksgiving against the Lions.
How’d that one work out for the New York Football Jets?
And damned if we didn’t just do it again, as the J-E-T-S ushered in the Baker Mayfield era for those desperate and downtrodden Browns fans. Mayfield’s ensuing heroic come-from-behind victory, and breaking of the near-two-year jinx, was a one-two combination to the solar plexus for all Jets fans to absorb. Because not only did we see our sure W get thrown overboard, as Mayfield became an instant hero, but our own future hero, Sam the Man Darnold, looked utterly inferior by comparison when given the attempt to rescue the Jets not once, but twice, in the game’s final two minutes.
Forget it, we’ve moved on to Jacksonville. Congrats Cleveland (and let’s not forget the enormous thank you owed to SportsAttic by Browns fans everywhere, for our prescient calling out of the Football Gods on the cruel and unusual punishment they’ve been inflicting upon their franchise that plays its games hard upon the shore of Lake Erie).
Luckily there’s a full slate of games this Sunday as we attempt to shake off Thursday night’s horror show, so here’s a go with our weekly NFL Six Picks feature (plus our inaugural LUCKY 7 Guest Prognosticator — home team in all CAPS):
Raiders (+3) over the DOLPHINS — Yes, I’m still annoyed by the cheap win the Dolphins skated away with on the road over the Jets last week. I saw no redeeming qualities in the Fish beyond simply the good fortune of facing an opponent that had spent the week reading their own press clippings. And I just can’t see Chuckie letting the Silver and Black slide to 0-3, even with a cross country trip as part of their game week prep. Chalk this one up to parity in the NFL, as these teams can not be three games apart by Sunday night. (Raiders 24-20)
MINNESOTA (-17) over Buffalo — Had to go with this game simply for the gigantic spread. What will Buffalo do for an encore this week? Maybe the Bills’ assistant coaches band together at halftime and lock Sean McDermott in the latrine in some sort of NFL coup d’etat? Bottom line, I have a really hard time laying this many points, but the Vikes can score, have a gazillion dollar QB who likes to sling it around, and they are home. Oh yeah, and they have a stout defense, too. And double-oh yeah — the Bills are awful on both sides of the ball. (Vikings 38-14)
Tennessee (+10.5) over JACKSONVILLE — Another big spread, and as good as the Jags have looked through two weeks, I’m just not ready to entrust Blake Bortles with a double-digit spread, even playing at home. And even against the Titans. Look for Marcus Mariota to play and do enough to keep it close against a division rival. (Jaguars 24-17)
Chargers (+7.5) over the RAMS — Just what we’ve all been waiting for — the battle for NFL supremacy in the great city of Los Angeles! It’s still questionable whether the City of Angels deserved even one NFL franchise returned to them, let alone two. And with both teams able to draw on their rabid fan bases to sell out The Coliseum (pause as I finish laughing hysterically), it should negate the Rams’ otherwise formidable home field advantage (cracking myself up at this point). Yes, I got burned badly going against the Rams with a bigger spread last week, but I actually think the Bolts are pretty good this year. This may be the most entertaining game on the entire slate tomorrow. (Chargers 28-27)
DETROIT (+7.5) over the Patriots — The Lions have been SportsAttic’s go-to bet during the season’s early-going. First they rolled over for the Jets on opening night, then they did just enough to cover against the Niners last Sunday while falling to 0-2. So I’m going back to the well one more time. Was New England’s loss last week just a blip to be ignored, or a sign that maybe the end is finally at hand for Billy, Tommy and the rest of the Patsies? I’m thinking a little of both, but still going to pick the home dog to keep this one close enough to make Belichick sweat under that cute little hoodie of his. (Pats 19-16)
Steelers (pick) over TAMPA BAY — This one seems so easy I’m suspicious. Ryan Fitzpatrick can solidify his hold on the starting QB slot for the duration with one more strong performance as James Winston’s suspension comes to an end. And the Steelers pass defense has been more than a little suspect in the season’s first two weeks. So what should we expect? Well, if this is the Fitzie we all know and lament, he will fold like that 1970’s leisure suit he wore to the postgame presser last week. The Steelers got jumped early at home last Sunday by young Pat Mahomes and the juggernaut Chiefs, yet still got up off the canvas and showed some fight after taking KC’s best punch. But they fell short. And now the Steelers are winless and the Bucs are undefeated. Talk about signs of the apocalypse upon us. NFL order will be restored — bet the house on this one. (Steelers 34-7)
Last Week’s SIX PICKS Ledger: 4-2
And now…here it is…the first in what we are certain will be an exciting SportsAttic weekly series featuring a SPECIAL GUEST prognosticator taking a stab at Vegas glory with one shot versus the spread.
Please join me in giving a warm SportsAttic welcome to Nightman! Hailing from parts unclear, just outside of the great city of Dallas, Texas, he offers us the following…
LUCKY 7 GUEST PICK OF THE WEEK
Cowboys (pick) over SEATTLE — “Hi, I’m Nightman, guest prognosticator this week. Going all in on the Cowboys Sunday afternoon, with the unbeaten ‘Boys shockingly only a pick ’em against a washed up and uninteresting Seattle team. As a bonus pick for all the SportsAttic readers out there, I’m also going with THE UNDER on 41.5 points. Russell Wilson has been taking a lot of sacks and the Dallas D has looked strong. Defenses will continue to stack the box against Zeke, and Dak has regressed, behind what is just an ordinary offensive line right now, without Zack Martin. Still, I like theCowboys in a low scoring affair. Bet heavily…you can thank me later. (Cowboys 20-17)“
SportsAttic take: Hmmm…a Dallas guy taking the Cowpokes on the road coming off an emotional Sunday night win over a division rival. Sure didn’t see that one coming. I agree that Seattle doesn’t have much going for it this year, but I think Dallas may just be a bad football team. Take Nightman’s advice on THE UNDER, but I’d stay away from this one otherwise — two bad teams that have trouble scoring. If you must, go with the Seahawks behind a defensive TD late. (Seattle 10-6)