Falcons (-2 1/2) over EAGLES This should have been an incredible game, but the tragic injury to Wentz gives Atlanta a nice path to the conference championship. Nick Foles is a replacement-level NFL QB, and a replacement-level QB can have a nice game now and then, but obviously the gap between Ryan and Foles is greater than the gap between the excellent Philly defense and the steadily improving Atlanta one. Also, as you watch Foles today, if you’re tempted to argue that Chip Kelly was pure hype, remember that in 2013 the guy somehow posted the third-highest QB rating in NFL history.
TEAM TRUMP (-13 1/2) over Titans I rarely buy heighten-the-contradictions arguments, as you know, but I wonder whether the Titans win over Kansas City last week, which might have saved the job of Coach E. Smashmouth, is an exception. I don’t mean to take away from the resilience the Titans showed in coming back on the road, but they had a lot of things break right (the Kelce injury, Jeff Triplette’s — what the hell was he doing in the playoffs? — Electric Kool Aid Acid officiating, Mariotta’s TD, reception, a missed field goal, Andy and your new head coach of the Chicago Bears switching to an all-checkdown offense in the second quarter) that they can’t count on happening again. The Patriots are vulnerable; you can move the ball on the defense, and the injury to Murray has forced Coach Smashmouth to actually give the carries to his best funning back. But this still feels like a major ass-kicking before the Patriots get to the real competition. If you have no answer for Travis Kelce, wait until you see Gronkowski…
Less chalk just in time for underdogs to stop covering tomorrow!
Some other notes:
- On the one hand, I found this defense for hiring Jon Gruden convincing. OTOH, LOL Tom Cable. Enjoy the holding penalties and Derek Carr injuries Las Vegas!
- The case against retaining Hue Jackson.
- Via Brien, according to Mike Florio coaching SUPERPROSPECT Josh McDaniels “is waiting for a spot where he’d have the same kind of power and authority that Patriots coach Bill Belichick currently has in New England.” Sure. It seems worth noting at this point that inter alia McDaniels traded up to select Tim Tebow with the 25th pick in a talent-rich draft. I assume Mike Lombardi already has his “everybody desperately wanted McDaniels but it turns out no job was good enough for his immense talents which will totally apply outside of a Belichick context” stories ready.