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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Playing the 'dogs is still the right call

The referees may be incompetent (or worse), but this pro football season is certainly supplying some big-time scoring in our charity underdog game. Substantially all of our players have scored points -- 34 out of 42, or 81%. Impressive for just Week 3.

And so now we move on. Here are the lines for the weekend ahead:

12.5 CLEVELAND at Baltimore (Thursday 5:20 p.m. Pacific)
12 TENNESSEE at Houston
9 NEW ORLEANS at Green Bay
7 CAROLINA at Atlanta
6.5 OAKLAND at Denver
6 MIAMI at Arizona
4 BUFFALO vs. New England
4 NEW YORK JETS vs. San Francisco
3.5 CHICAGO at Dallas (Monday night, pick still due Sunday)
3 WASHINGTON at Tampa Bay
3 MINNESOTA at Detroit
1 SAN DIEGO at Kansas City
1 ST. LOUIS vs. Seattle
1 JACKSONVILLE vs. Cincinnati
1 NEW YORK GIANTS at Philadelphia

See an underdog on that list (in caps) that can win its game outright? So many unanswered questions!

Players, except for the Thursday game (due by kickoff), the deadline for all picks is Sunday 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Send your 'dog to underdog@bojack.org. Good luck!

Comments (6)

Wow. When was the last time the Lions were the favored team?
Aside from the very poor officiating, this season has been a LOT of fun. Have they (the replacement officials)contributed to that. Yeah, I think so.

I read somewhere that last week had the most outright winning dogs in the last decade.

Mojo's Best Bets up tomorrow, after injury reports are in. As for tonight's game, can't see the Browns pulling this one off because they're not talented or competitive enough to even be close enough to have a few bad calls make enough difference. Making things worse for the Browns, WR Mohamed Massaquoi is out with a hamstring injury. Sounds like a sure-fire Browns win this ref-ravaged year. But, it's the first game between these two since Art Modell died, and the Ravens aren't going to allow anyone to cause them to lose tonight.

The Cleveland Browns, the Ravens’ opponent Thursday night, bring a rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden, who has doubled his interception-to-touchdown ratio (6-to-3) and has been sacked eight times.

Coach Pat Shurmur said a point of emphasis for the Browns will be anticipating the Ravens’ pressure.

...the Ravens’ secondary still features one of the most dangerous defensive backs in the history of the NFL — free safety Ed Reed. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Reed has more interceptions (10), interception return yards (356) and interceptions brought back for touchdowns (three) against the Browns than any other team.

“You’re always aware of where No. 20 is,” Shurmur said. “You just always are. He lurks in the middle of the field. He’s as good a ball hawk as there is in this league. He gets his hands on balls, and when he does that, it can wreck a game for you.”

Ex-QB Jim McMahon talks of early-stage dementia
Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who is suffering from early-stage dementia, has told a Chicago television station that while he appreciates what football has done for him, if he could do it over, he would play baseball.

In an interview with Fox affiliate WFLD-TV, aired Wednesday, the 53-year-old McMahon says he knows where he's going when in an airport. But when he meets people, "I'm asking two minutes later, 'Who was that?'

"When my friends call and leave me a message ... I'll read it and delete it before I respond and then I forget who called and left me a message," he added.

McMahon says he is not currently worried about his mind withering away. He says he still reads a lot and is doing other things to keep his mind active. However, he said he doesn't know whether he is getting worse.

"Other than just sitting in the house, I'm on the road doing these different events and charities, helping my buddies out," McMahon said. "When I'm home, I'm usually sitting in the back of my room just watching TV in the dark and when I come out it's to the kitchen to get something to eat."

Knowing what he now does about the effects of the punishment he received in his 14-year NFL career, McMahon said, he would have chosen a different career.

"That was my first love, was baseball, and had I had a scholarship to play baseball. I probably would have played just baseball," he said. "But football paid for everything, it still does.
That Super Bowl XX team is still as popular as it ever was. Until they win again, we're gonna still make money."

McMahon led the Bears to the 1986 Super Bowl victory over New England. He is now among the retired players suing the NFL for concussion-related dementia and brain trauma.

More than 2,400 retired players are plaintiffs, looking for the kind of success smokers had against the tobacco companies. The result then was a landmark, $206 billion settlement shared among 46 states. The ex-players are taking on a multibillion-dollar industry that is the most popular sport in the United States.

McMahon said he suffered four concussions while playing. He said after being slammed by the defense, team doctors generally would ask him how hef felt and whether he could follow a finger with his eyes.

"They'd ask you questions, basic questions. Where are you, what day is it? Stuff like that. And if you were able to answer that and seem like you were OK, they would let you back in."

McMahon said he realizes fans believe the lawsuit is motivated by greed, but he said many players didn't make a lot of money in the 1980s. He noted that his contract was mostly incentives, and if he didn't play he wasn't going to get paid.
Information from: WFLD-TV, http://www.myfoxchicago.com

Will be fascinating to watch the Real Refs in action this week and their affect on the integrity of the game flows. Very difficult week this week to pick any significant underdog to win outright, requiring further review before posting "Mojo's Best Bets." Gamblers' Special certain to be Titans (+9) at Texans -- a preview of rationale:

The Titans have allowed only two sacks, and are hoping for another performance like last Sunday’s against the Lions. Tennessee attempted 42 passes, but didn’t surrender a sack. Jake Locker was only hit once during a pass attempt.

“That was something that went unnoticed, untalked about,” coach Mike Munchak said. “That was a good defensive line … (Locker) was not sacked, not harassed and he threw for almost 400 yards. That’s a heck of an accomplishment for them, but protection is not just the offensive line. Protection has a lot to do with the receivers getting open, the quarterback getting the ball out, the tight ends and backs, just like the run game.”

From "Pass protection faces serious test vs. Texans," posted on September 26, 2012 by John Glennon, The Tennessean

Add to that Chris Johnson warmed up and ready to bust out, this could be THE upset of the week.

But, this might be the week for the contest's top dogs to play it safe and maybe just pick up a more sure single point. Looking hard right now at Washington (+3) and Minnesota (+3), and as The Upset Special: Miami (+6).

Um, that's "Gamblers Corner" not "Special" -- it's a real longshot of a winger.

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