By Lenn Robbins. The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
If you wondered when and how the NFL’s new 17-game schedule would affect teams, it’s right there to see. If you wondered when and how the lingering coronavirus would affect teams, it’s right there to see. If you wondered when and how parity would affect teams, it’s right there to see.
Last week the Vikings, smack dab in the standings for a playoff spot, couldn’t protect a four-point lead against the winless Lions.
The Bengals have gone from first to worst to second and possibly back into a first-place tie in the AFC South by the end of this weekend.
The Chiefs have gone from worst to first in the AFC West.
The Cowboys have gone from holding a vice grip on the NFC East to being a loss away from this week’s opponent, the Washington Football Team, from making for a tense stretch run for Jerry’s Boys.
The Patriots have gone from worst to first in the AFC East, and are pulling away after their three-pass attempts win in snowy Buffalo.
The Indianapolis Colts have gone from 0-3 to possibly being in a first-place tie in the AFC North by the end of the weekend.
Things are just as unpredictable at the bottom as at the top. The abovementioned Lions were making a beeline for the No.1 pick in the draft when they pulled their shocking win over the Vikings, who have consistently been one thing under coach Mike Zimmer – unpredictable.
Now the Lions have the slightest of leads over the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. And let’s not forget New York – the wasteland of the NFL – where the 4-8 Giants and 3-9 Jets have treated us locals to the worst football has to offer. And for quite some time now.
Whether it be the longer schedule, the unpredictability caused by players shuttling in and out of COVID protocols, or the league’s addiction to parity, this year, more than any in recent memory, has been a crap shoot.
$ VIKINGS -3 over Steelers– Regardless of whether or not the Vikings make the playoffs, management has to seriously consider moving on from Zimmer. The Vikes are as inconsistent as a weather report. Fortunately for them, Big Ben’s heart and arm are no longer in it and Dalvin Cook will play for Minnie.
CHIEFS -9.5 over Raiders – To say that all is right with the Chiefs would be incorrect. They still sputter at times on offense, don’t have a running game, and the defense, which has looked better of late, remains suspect. But, the entire Raiders organization is suspect,
Saints -5.5 over JETS – Man, did coach Robert Saleh looked pissed off last week. The Saints may not have a quarterback but right now, neither do the Jets. Frankly, we wouldn’t mind the Jets pulling an anti-Belichick and throwing the ball 60 times to give Zach Wilson as much work as possible.
$ TITANS -8.5 over the Jags – Jags QB Trevor Lawrence recently lobbied for RB James Robinson to get more work. It’s not the first time he hasn’t been on the same page as the coaching staff. The Titans sorely miss Derrick ‘Designated Hitter” Henry but that team is on the same page.
Ravens +2.5 over BROWNS – The Ravens, like the Chiefs, are a possible playoff team that needs a RB. Take away Lamar Jackson and Baltimore’s offense is as potent as a spring breeze. But Baker “The Commercial Maker” Mayfield oversees an offense that is averaging 10 points over the last three games. Cut!
PANTHERS -2.5 Falcons – The NFL is a QB-driven league. And the Panthers don’t have a QB. The Falcons have Matt Ryan, who has had a glorious career. Father Time shows up when he wants and apparently the time is now. Ryan hasn’t made a bevy of errant/short throws over the last 4-6 games. Sure wish he went out a winner.
WASHINGTON +4 over Cowboys – The Cowboys should get Randy Gregory and Neville Gallimore back, which will make the defense much better. But neither plays cornerback as does Anthony Brown who needs a fire-resistant suit. It’s the WTF’s emotion against the Cowboys talent.
$ Seahawks -8.5 over TEXANS – The Texans are vacillating between Tyrod Taylor and David Mills at quarterback. ‘Nuf said.
$ BRONCOS -10 over Lions – Lions are looking to build on their first win of the season. I am looking to date Tania Raymonde. Neither are going to happen. In fact, neither the Lions or I will cover. P.S. Watch Denver RB Javonte Williams – man should come with a warning label.
CHARGERS -10 over Giants – This obviously comes down to who plays QB for the Giants. On second thought, no it doesn’t. Big Blue has to make the cross-country trip with a propeller offense to face a team with a jet offense – with or without WR Keenan Allen.
49ers -1.5 over BENGALS – This should come down to which is the more physical team and that’s San Fran.
BUCS -3.5 over Bills – Buffalo’s Bills Mafia aura has been taken out by, well, a Mafia hit. Sean McDermott was outcoached by Bill Belichick. Josh Allen has regressed. The secondary has lost a key piece, CB Tre’Davious White has been lost for the season, leaving Eli Apple Crisp to play corner. And the Bills have zero run game.
Bears +12.5 over PACKERS – This week’s Aaron Rodgers’ Diary chronicles his dominance over Chicago. Rodgers doubled down on his “own the Bears” comment. Will that smack talk and the 12 and one-half points be enough? Hope so.
CARDS – 2.5 over Rams – Seems like we’ve made two errors this season. 1 – overrated the Rams and the acquisition of Matt Stafford. And 2 – underrated the Cardinals and brilliance of Kyler Murray.
Home team in CAPS
$ Best bets
Last Week: 9-5; Best Bets: 4-0.
Season, 95-93-3; 13-11.