Last week in terms of predictions was one of my worst in recent memory. I went .500 against the spread, but I can’t recall the last time I went under that mark picking the games straight. I was way off on the Broncos/Bengals and Cardinals/Bills games without many highlights in between. The positive is that I can right the ship this weekend just as many teams are looking to do. Fortunately, unlike those teams this week doesn’t have the potential of impacting an entire season.
There are currently four winless teams as of this weekend and playoff hopes if history is an indicator are almost impossible at that point. Teams that were viewed as contenders such as the Panthers and Cardinals also face the risk of going 1-3. While those teams would have some time to get back on track, it’s much harder to do in comeback mode when you don’t have full control.
Last week: 7-9, Season: 27-21
Last week against the spread: 8-8, Season: 23-25
Game of the weak: Colts vs Jaguars: Why it’s our first “I don’t plan on waking up early to watch mediocre football, but I’ll definitely end up doing it” game of the year! This time it’s an AFC South matchup with the Colts going to face “London’s team”, the Jacksonville Jaguars. If you ever think fandom for your team stinks, just remember there are hundreds if not thousands of Jaguars fans in London who not only have dealt with these first three weeks, but voted to remain.
For the Jaguars, on multiple levels this is a make or break game. Their playoff aspirations (let’s be honest, there were some nice defensive signings but the hype train mainly picked up due to the offenses fantasy football production) almost certainly vanish with a loss. Even in a division where 8-8 or 9-7 could do it. Then, there is the recent trend of a London curse where coaches get fired going into the bye week. If the Jaguars do lose and can Gus Bradley, it could be the end of a stretch we may never see again. Coaching 50 plus games with a winning percentage under 25 percent in an era of instant gratification is simply incredible.
The main question for the Jaguars if they did go through with the move would be who in the world replaces him internally. Is it offensive coordinator Greg Olson who seemed like a breath of fresh air last year, but has gone away from what worked? How about defensive coordinator Todd Wash, who is mainly brought up on television broadcasts noting his tattoos rather than his schemes? Here is the guy to bring in: Tom Coughlin. He still lives locally, wants to coach, and can bring in a level of experience that the franchise has lacked. The Jaguars could tell him he has the rest of 2016, all of 2017 and then he must pick his heir apparent while taking an advising role with the team. Will all of this happen? Probably not, but it makes for interesting discussion while watching the game over breakfast. Colts 27 Jaguars (+2.5) 23
Game of the week: Giants vs Vikings: The last game I clearly remember these two playing was the infamous Josh Freeman fiasco where the Vikings had him throw it 50 plus times despite having signed with the team less than 2 weeks prior. Fortunately, the Vikings latest quarterback to start on short notice has fared much better to this point. Sam Bradford didn’t have a great performance against the Panthers, but he had a nice second half that helped get the offense moving.
Now, Bradford and company head back home to face a much improved Giants defense. Obviously the Giants have some weapons to put up points, but Eli Manning and company face a daunting task Monday night. Even with the way the Broncos defense has taken over games, it’s the Vikings who have stood out as the league’s best through three weeks. With their ferocious pass rush, this game will likely come down to who wins in the trenches determining if Manning has a clean pocket to work from. Giants 17 Vikings (-5.5) 23
Titans 16 Texans (-5.5) 24
Browns 20 Redskins (-7.5) 30
Seahawks 17 Jets (+2.5) 20
Bills 17 Patriots (-6.5) 26
Panthers 27 Falcons (+3.5) 21
Raiders 20 Ravens (-3.5) 24
Lions 26 Bears (+3.5) 20
Broncos 27 Buccaneers (+3.5) 21
Rams 17 Cardinals (-8.5) 27
Saints 23 Chargers (-4.5) 28
Cowboys 26 49ers (+2.5) 20
Chiefs 21 Steelers (-5.5) 28