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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 18, 2011 7:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was 'Dogs won't hunt at night. The next post in this blog is Brady throwing in with Portland State, OHSU. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'Dogs running slower this year

We're now through six weeks out of the 20-week season in our charity pro football underdog game. If we're counting right, there have been 25 winning 'dogs so far; the average points won per victorious 'dog is 4.16. A perfect score so far would be 45.0. Discounting 'dogs that have paid 2 points or less, there have been 20 winners.

Last year at this time, we count 35 winning 'dogs, but averaging only 4.03. A perfect score would have been only 41.5. Discounting 'dogs that paid 2 or less, there were 28 winners.

This year there are 33 players. 27 have some points; last year, 29 out of 32 did. The top score so far is 21.5; last year at this time it was 26.5. Two players currently have four correct picks; none has five or six. (Last year we had one player with 5 out of 6, but he was not the leader or the eventual winner.) Perhaps most tellingly, the average score per player is currently 8.47; last year it was 12.45.

Maybe it's the labor strife that delayed the pre-season that's making it easier for the bookies to call the winners in the moneyline. Whatever it is, it's been a challenging season for our players so far.

But don't look back -- somebody might be gaining on you. Here's how the mutts shape up for the weekend ahead:

14 INDIANAPOLIS at New Orleans
13 ST. LOUIS at Dallas
8.5 MINNESOTA vs. Green Bay
8 JACKSONVILLE vs. Baltimore
3.5 ATLANTA at Detroit
3.5 ARIZONA vs. Pittsburgh
3.5 KANSAS CITY at Oakland
3 SEATTLE at Cleveland
3 HOUSTON at Tennessee
2.5 WASHINGTON at Carolina
1 TAMPA BAY vs. Chicago

Nothing for Chargers/Jets or Broncos/Dolphins yet... probably tonight.

So far we see a couple of great Danes, a couple of full-size shepherds, a bunch of yapping terriers, and a chihuahua. Good luck with the pickin', players.

UPDATE, 8:38 p.m.: As promised, the last two:

2 NEW YORK JETS vs. San Diego
1.5 DENVER at Miami

Comments (9)

I just read Carson Palmer is going to the Raiders. Could this be another Jim Plunkett situation?

Wistful, Bill -- but very unlikely. He's just there to try to get them into the postures this year and mentor Pryor. Palmer will be with some other team next year: Seattle & Pete Carroll?

That's "playoffs" (freakin' autokorrekt!).

On further review: Wow. What a bungled deal the Raiders made. Dey got stuh-uh-uck.

Will he or won't he? Who's on first, Carson Palmer or Kyle Boller?

How will the Vikings new QB fare at home under the Metrodome against the defending World Champs? It may not matter:

Half of the Vikings' starting defensive backs are listed as doubtful heading into Sunday's game against the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who leads the NFL in passer rating (122.5), completion percentage (70.2), yards per attempt (9.76) and touchdowns (17).
http://www.startribune.com/sports/vikings/blogs/132331713.html

It's gonna be a tough week to pick up many points.

"Mojo's Best Bets" will be up in the morning Saturday.

Olin Kreutz walks away from the Saints
http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2011/10/new_orleans_saints_center_olin_1.html

Makes that Indy game a little more interesting.

"Mojo's Best Bets"
(Last week, 0-3; to date, 7-8)

Wow. It sure does get tougher here each week, doesn't it?

1. TAMPA BAY (+1) vs. Chicago (@London, England) -- Yeah, well, who picks a team in this underdog contest for a measly one point anyway? Mojo does, hoping to crawl back to respectability with his prognostication record taking a dip below .500 last week going 0-3. Oy. Mojo says, given the tough sheet of games to pick from this week though, it might be a good gamble for someone near the front of the slow-runnin' dog pack to take a baby step further up.

2. NY JETS (+2) vs. San Diego -- While the sideshow of former Charger RB LaDainian Thomlinson trying to get a TD against the only team he hasn't scored on in the NFL, the splash story on Monday morning is more likely to be Plaxico Burress' bust out party with Sanchez all over the field on Sunday. San Diego is inconsistent, despite QB Rivers' exceptional talent and skills, and the Jets can not lose a third game in a row and expect to make the playoffs behind New England and Buffalo in their division. A must win game for the Jets. One to watch.

3. SEATTLE (+3) at Cleveland -- The Seahawks' defense will win this one along the northern shore of Ohio. Cleveland's running game is hobbled, Colt McCoy's arm is still suspect, to wit:

Yes, the Browns are throwing way too much -- 43 times a game. But if they were completing, say, 30 of those passes, would anyone complain?

The bigger problem is the number of passes hitting the ground. Colt McCoy is averaging an astounding 19 incompletions a game. That computes to 304 missed passes over 16 games. That's 54 more incomplete passes than the Browns had in 2008, which is arguably their most tortured season of quarterbacking in their new era.
http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2011/10/cleveland_browns_working_to_ge.html

"The Upset Special"
(last week, 0-1; to date, 1-4)

ARIZONA (+3.5) vs. Pittsburgh -- The other game to watch on Sunday (besides NYJ-SD). Should be a spectacular clash, with lots of emotion on both sides of the ball and the sidelines (see "The X Factor," below). Arizona head coach Whisenhunt was the former offensive coordinator of the Steelers under Bill Cowher, and along with OL coach (and former Steelers OL & Ass't Head Coach) Russ Grimm, was passed over by the Steelers owners in favor of Tampa secondary coach, Mike Tomlin. Then, of course, these two teams played just two years ago in what has been called the most exciting Super Bowl ever, with a crushing last-second loss by the Cards on an all-time great final drive and super catch by Santonio ("Wake & Bake") Holmes, over-shadowing an awesome 2nd half display by Arizona All-Pro (and former Pitt All-American) WR Larry Fitzgerald.

Super Bowl XLIII Highlights 2009
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWAmqHVmzkY&feature=related&fmt=18

The Cardinals must not fall behind early like they have several times already this season. Steelers splash play WR Mike Wallace is nursing a hamstring injury and may not be a factor, though Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown (who are very good special teams return men) are developing into above-average speedy & elusive receivers, especially in the clutch. The Steelers will need to win the turnover battle to pull this one out, and will be taking risks to go for the ball. Right now Pittsburgh is a horrible -7 in takeaways.

A special teams' play at any time could be the difference in this one, and the Cards are certainly very capable of making one -- or two -- against a Steelers team that is notorious for ST coverage breakdowns against underdogs.

The X Factor:

Whisenhunt, Roethlisberger not friends
http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/sports/articles/2009/01/27/20090127bickley0127.html

Big Ben vs. Whiz: Ice Bowl II
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/big-ben-vs-whiz-ice-bowl-ii/article_2020cba4-58a1-5ee1-b1e8-4031a0c1a8a7.html


"Gamblers Corner"

Not much going on here, unless you're feelin' lucky about INDIANAPOLIS (+14) pulling off a monster upset in the Big Easy. I just don't believe that's likely, but with not much attractive mid-sized-point plays available to move up with this week, it might be a good time to go for it.

JACKSONVILLE (+8) just doesn't have what it takes to either stop Ray Rice + Flacco & Co., or to protect rookie QB Blaine Gabbert from the powerful Ravens defense, who will treat Gabbert to a Halloween horror preview. Blaine, meet Pain.

ST LOUIS (+13) at Dallas? Not this year. Especially after the Cowboys letdown at the end last week in Foxboro.

MINNESOTA (+8.5) vs. Green Bay? Yeah, maybe worth "pondering," but only if Aaron Rogers falls getting off of the team bus and breaks both of his arms. It would be fun to root for the rookie Vikings QB Christian Ponder, making his first start for the former perennial All-Pro Donovan McNabb, to have some beginners luck. This game is likely to be out of hand before halftime. 8.5? Should be more like 10 or 11 by kickoff. Vegas has it at 9.5/10 right now.

This won't help the Vikings any, either:

Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was arrested on two domestic assault charges and booked into the Hennepin County Jail early Saturday morning. Cook is being held without bail and will not appear in court until Monday morning, meaning he will almost certainly miss Sunday's game with the Green Bay Packers at Mall of America Field.

From The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, October 22, 2011 - 12:30 PM

GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY!

"Mojo's Best Bets" got blitzed after posting.

In sum, without ratioanles:

1. TAMPA BAY
2. SEATTLE

"Upset Special" -- ARIZONA

Oops. Peek-a-boo. Thanks, Jack! Forgot the Jets in that impromptu emergency summary, too. Whew.


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