Squished Fish may be bottom of barrel

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There’s no truth to the rumor that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called Southeast Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey offering to trade the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the Alabama Crimson Tide and that Sankey declined. 

But given Miami’s awful performance in its season-opening 59-10 home loss to Baltimore such a conversation might not have been considered a tongue-in-cheek stretch.

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Which brings up the point of this poorly crafted attempt at humor.

Week 1 results almost always raise more questions than answers. A corollary is to not overreact to what we last saw.

At the same time, we should not fail to react. Every result has some degree of significance as to what to expect going forward. A mistake often made is to attach too much importance to a team’s most recent performance.

Instead, view a team’s last game as a source of questions to be answered over the next few games.

How much of an overreaction have we seen in this week’s New England at Miami game?

Last Tuesday, the Westgate SuperBook posted Week 2 lines prior to the playing of Thursday night’s season opener. Not just informational lines, these lines can be bet. The Patriots opened 11-point favorites at Miami. 

After Miami’s blowout loss but before the Pats played Pittsburgh, the adjusted line was New England -14.5 before being taken down as the Pats and Steelers kicked off. On Monday morning, after New England’s 33-3 win, the Pats were -16.5 and by Monday evening the line had been bet up to -18.5. Early Tuesday a smattering of -19s were showing up.

Sunday

Seahawks +4 at Steelers: Seattle barely got by Cincinnati at home last week while being outgained 196 yards and despite being +2 in turnovers. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, was embarrassed at New England and a loss here drops the Steelers to 0-2. 

I’m more willing to forgive Pittsburgh for its ugly loss on the road to the Super Bowl champs while finding it harder to excuse Seattle’s dull effort. In using a horse racing analogy Seattle is stepping up in class this week whereas Pittsburgh is dropping down slightly suggestive of getting a better performance from the hosts than we saw last week. STEELERS

49ers +1.5 at Bengals: San Francisco won at Tampa largely due to making fewer mistakes and capitalizing on the ones the Bucs made. The 49ers’ offense was not sharp with QB Garoppolo average at best while the ground game averaged barely 3.0 yards per rush. 

Cincinnati played well in defeat, battling Seattle down to the wire with veteran QB Andy Dalton having a career day. WR John Ross III filled in well for the injured A.J. Green. Cincy’s running backs should be fresh after the Bengals ran just 14 times (vs. 51 pass attempts). 

The Bengals are still talented and their long-awaited coaching change may result in this season’s team exceeding their low expectations following several seasons of under-achieving. BENGALS  

Saints +3 at Rams: Much will be made of the Saints wanting to avenge their controversial loss on last season’s NFC Title game. But both teams will be equally motivated as this game could determine the top NFC seed.

Both escaped with narrow opening-week wins, but the Saints were much more challenged, needing a last-second FG Monday night to beat Houston. 

QB Drew Brees was pressured and sacked six times which plays into a major Rams strength. The hosts should also benefit from the natural grass surface. 

As tempting as it might be to call for the upset the prudent approach is to go with the head rather than the heart. RAMS

Bears -2.5 at Broncos: The loser drops to 0-2. My key to handicapping this game focuses on which team, if either, benefits more from the departure of former Chicago defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to head coach in Denver. `

The Bears may be familiar with Fangio’s defensive philosophies and tendencies their ex-coach has detailed knowledge of his former players’ strengths and weaknesses. Denver QB Joe Flacco has a huge edge in experience versus Chicago’s Mitch Trubisky. 

Both teams have top defenses but the altitude should be considered an edge for Denver. ­BRONCOS

Eagles -2 at Falcons: Atlanta’s three turnovers and a blocked punt all led to Minnesota scores in Atlanta’s 28-12 road loss. 

When not committing miscues Atlanta’s offense was effective in moving against the Vikings’ defense. QB Matt Ryan connected with eight different receivers. 

Philly overcame an early 17-0 deficit in its 32-27 home win over woeful Washington. The Falcons closed last season with three straight wins and have been a fashionable offseason pick to return to the Playoffs for the third time in four seasons. FALCONS

Monday

Browns -3 at Jets: Both teams lost as home favorites last week and this game’s loser drops to 0-2. Playing a second straight home game gives the Jets a greater sense of urgency. 

New York’s defense played well prior to losing LB C.J. Mosely in the third quarter and he’s listed as questionable for Cleveland. 

Both teams have major issues to address. The Browns committed 18 penalties while the Jets’ kicking woes continued with a missed extra point and FG by likely ex-kicker Kaare Vedvik. The Jets’ problems are easier to correct. JETS

Last week: 2-4

Season: 2-4 

 

About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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