Week 4: Sunday Games & Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5

Well, we opened up with a great win.  Boy did that game look ugly for the Bears.  They had the game plan I talked about in the last post however, couldn’t stick to it.  Not because the game strayed away from it but because they couldn’t hold onto the football early on.  Lots of early turnovers and giving the ball to Aaron Rodgers instead of keeping it from hi, put them in an early hole that they never could escape.  I always feel hesitation when swallowing a touchdown but I couldn’t pass there and now we have a few Sunday to choose from.  There’s work to do for my comeback off of a really bad week.  This week I’m going to pick just a handful of games to write about and then just give you my picks for the rest.  Lets get to it.

New Orleans Saints at Miami Dolphins (L), 9:30a (Dolphins +3, O/U: 50.5)

This one scares me only because teams that play in London one week, have the next week off.  I wonder how much of a distraction Adrian Peterson is in the locker room, calling for some more touches.  Take the Dolphins in the under, 27-21.

 
Buffalo Bills at Atlanta Falcons, 1p (Falcons -8, O/U: 48.5)

Bills looked good last week at home against one of the best defenses in the league but the Falcons are monsters at home.  I don’t like swallowing a touchdown or more but you need to have an amazing offense to cover, which the Falcons have.  Take the Falcons to win in the Over, 38-13.

 
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens, 1p (Ravens +3, O/U: 42.5)

This game will surely disappoint on offense but if you’re a defense kind of game.  As long as you’re a defense guy, this is a heckuva matchup. Ravens are more consistent at home, and the Steelers unravel away from Heinz Stadium.  Some outlier stats is that the Steelers are 0-4-1 against the spread with the Ravens with the underdog being 4-0-1 in those same meetings.  Take the Ravens in the under, 17-10.

 
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns, 1p (Browns +3, O/U: 41.5)

Bengals and Browns.  Probably the worst matchup of the season.  Bengals FINALLY scored some touchdowns last week!  I think the Bengals pull this one out in front of the dog pack.  Bengals in the under, 20-14.

 
Los Angeles Rams at Dallas Cowboys, 1p (Cowboys -6.5, O/U: 48.5)

This line started around -9.5 and -10 in some areas, went to -6 and now at -6.5.  That tells me that Vegas, doesn’t know if they can truly trust a Rams line.  Cowboys are tough at home and will more than likely win this game but it’ll be closer given that the Rams have a new coaching staff that has this offense clicking.  The defense has always been solid but never had a complimentary offense.  The Rams will break that unreal Cowboys offensive line here and there but Dak is too good when escaping the pocket.  This is a favorite by nearly a touchdown that I just can’t pull the trigger on.  Take the Rams in the under but the Cowboys to win, 24-21.

 
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, 1p (Texans +2.5, O/U: 43.5)

Titans even on the road will roll on the Texans.  Watson may shine a bit but the Titans are sneaky good this year on both sides of the ball.  Take the Titans in the over, 27-17.

 
Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings, 1p (Vikings -2.5, O/U: 42.5)

Another NFC North matchup this week.  Once again, no Sam Bradford but we all have seen how capable this team is with or without him.  The Vikings have some really solid weapons other than Diggs.  The Lions are coming off of a heartbreaking loss due to a replay basically taking away a touchdown.  The bets are swinging around 54% Lions -46% Vikings.  That is too close to touch for most bettors but if your feeling lucky, listen up.  Take the Lions in the over, 31-27.

 
Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots, 1p (Patriots -9, O/U: 49.5)

I want to give the Panthers the benefit of the doubt, that they’ll keep it close and respectable but I can’t.  Again, another touchdown, plus spread that the favorite will cover given the lack of available weapons and a declining Cam Newton.  Take the Patriots to win in the under, 34-13.

 
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets, 1p (Jets +3, O/U: 38.5)

The Jets defense has awoken.  I know what you’re gonna say, “but Jacksonville looked so good last week in London and blew out the Ravens”.  Well, again, I go back to how things used to be.  There’s more London games this year and thus has resulted in you not getting the next week off if you play there. In turn, it’s basically a short week for the team with all of that travel.  Take the Jets as home dogs to win it in the over, 21-20.

 
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:05p (Cardinals -6.5, O/U: 44.5)

Another big spread for the week and again one that I think gets covered by the home team.  Typically if a team plays Thursday night the week before and Sunday the next week, I like taking them with the extra few days of preparation.  Those extra days aren’t going to help the 49ers who last week gave up a ton of yards and points to the Rams.  Now they eventually came back with a valiant effort but ultimately, still lost.  The 49ers were given a +3 spread last week at home, this week +6.5.  Only a 3.5 point difference and that is basically a 3 point swing for being away now.  So to me, that’s saying that the Cardinals are viewed as .5 point favorites over the Rams.  I don’t buy that yet.  Larry Fitzgerald will have another solid matchup this week given how bad the 49ers secondary is.  Take the Cardinals in the under, 31-10.

 
Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05p (Chargers -2.5, O/U: 47.5)

LeGarrette Blount had himself a game last week.  Look for him to bust loose again with Sproles out for the season with the multitude of injuries sustained in last weeks game (knee/wrist).  Smallwood will be peppered in there as a change of pace back and Wentz will be told to launch the big chunk yardage plays when he can.  The Chargers are 0-3 this year and playing their home games in a soccer field.  There’s even talks about if the Chargers should stay or go back to San Diego.  Even with their defensive front, I think this team has already lost the edge.  Take the Eagles to win in the over, 35-17.

 
New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4:05p (Buccaneers -3, O/U: 44.5)

Gosh, where do I begin?  Winston can’t keep himself from making poor decisions with the ball through the air, even with the weapons he has.  The Giants looked a bit better last week with OBJ back and healthy last week.  They are still struggling with their ground game but making it work with 4 different guys.  The Buccs also banged up on defense, especially their front.  Take the Giants to win in the over, 26-20.

 
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos, 4:25p (Broncos -3, O/U:46)

Rivalry game with a really good and young offense going to the house of a really good, veteran defense that have won a super bowl recently.  The Broncos, while not having a household name at quarterback, have been consistently gaining yards and scoring, complementing their defense well.  The Raiders defense, especially through the air, has been atrocious.  Take the Broncos to win in the under, 24-17.

 
Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks, 8:30p (Seahawks -13, O/U: 41.5)

This line I have no clue how it blew up to 13.  I mean, it even grew a .5 point since the line opened.  The Seahawks offense, even at home, has been absolutely terrible.  They only scored 12 points at home against the 49ers a few weeks ago.  What is the logic behind this line?  Brissett is a capable quarterback and proved it last week with the start and win at home over the Browns.  This game is looking juicy for a Colts bet.  Take the Seahawks to win but the Colts to keep it close in the under, Colts 17-10.

Colin Cowherd’s Blazing 5 on the year is an amazing 11-4 to start 2017, here’s his picks for the week:

Giants (+3) @ Buccs
Steelers @ Ravens (+3)
Rams (+8) @ Cowboys
Raiders @ Broncos (-2.5)
Redskins @ Chiefs (-6.5)

 

Robinson to Emmert, “Come Take My Wins!”

Long before Michael Robinson had won a Super Bowl as a fullback, he was once the starting quarterback for the 2005 Big 10 conference champion, Penn State Nittany Lions. During his senior year he threw the 5th best season by a PSU QB at that time (now 8th). His only full year as the starter at PSU, he lead the Nittany Lions to an 11-1 record, 3rd ranking in the AP Polls, a share of the Big 10 title with Ohio State, an Orange Bowl victory against Florida State and finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting. He helped Penn State and JoePa accumulate 27 wins in his four years and their first bowl win and double digit win season since 1999.

Insert the Jerry Sandusky scandal with the consequences in 2011 handed down by NCAA President, Mark Emmert. Penn State had numerous sanctions placed against it as well as bowl bans, probation, scholarship reductions for the football program and a hefty fine, not to mention 10 or so corrective actions the University had to implement.

Former players from all eras weighed in on the sanctions and the end of JoePa’s tenure, being fired during the investigation. Nine former players including the JoePa estate and several Penn State trustees last year, filled a lawsuit against the sanctions delivered by the NCAA calling them a rush to conclusion in the Freeh report. The report states that the NCAA, Emmert and then chair of the NCAA’s executive committee Edward Ray “acted in clear and direct violation of the organization’s own rules based on a flawed report by former FBI director Louis Freeh”. Freeh led the university’s internal investigation into the scandal, arriving at scathing findings that pointed blame in part on Paterno and three former school officials. The suit hopes to reverse the sanctions levied due to Sandusky’s actions.

At the John Travers Memorial Golf Tournament on May 9 at Blue Ridge Country Club, Robinson auctioned off a specially signed picture of himself as the beloved PSU QB. The picture was auctioned for $325 which was inscribed with a distinct message for the NCAA President, “Dear Mr. Emmert, Come take my wins! – Michael Robinson 12”

There is no doubt that what Sandusky had done is completely disgusting, monstrous and absolutely not what any of the victims parents/families thought their child was being subjected to. This was supposed to be a man who was out to help their child through their rough patches, guide them to success and groom them to be good citizens. His sentence is what it is and has been worked through the justice system. The day the sanctions were enforced on the university caused much debate as to whether the NCAA follows their own rules in handing down punishments on universities in the wake of scandals.

Through the years of coverage on the scandal and the countless interviews of former players, fans and college sports analysts, the monetary sanctions levied on the university seem just, since it will go to help the youth affected by such horrendous acts. The other sanctions however seem unjust as it punishes other innocent people, specifically the student athletes that took part and are prideful of the 112 wins taken from the program. It also punished the potential future student athletes that were turned away from a chance at a scholarship from the football team due to the reduction of available scholarships the program could use. The reason as explained by Mark Emmert was that no one man or program is above the university and must be punished.

Mike Robinson’s signed photo statement to Emmert seems to be a mini jab at the NCAA President however there is deeper meaning that all former PSU players have voiced on the sanctions. It was tough enough for the current players at the time to have to play to the end of the season under the media microscope of the investigation. Why further punish the current student athletes in the football program, potential future student athletes of the football program and the former student athletes from those 1998-2011 football programs? What was taken from the victims can never be replaced, but for whatever reasons that Mark Emmert had come to a conclusion back in late 2011-early 2012, common sense was not used and the situation in Happy Valley worsened.

The 27 wins meant the building of character to Mike Robinson. It meant the four years of tutelage under JoePa and the many lessons on growing up and being responsible, even lessons on how to treat a lady. There is no question from the alumni players, how much JoePa meant and still means to them and how much he would always have their best interests in mind. Maybe this is the time for them to be here for him since he had passed shortly after leaving the program. The alumni players have stood firm for what kind of man JoePa was and what he stood for. They’ve all tried to make sure that for the good JoePa had done in his lifetime at PSU, people still remember him for it. For Mike Robison, his part is standing up for those 27 wins.

Where doesn’t Allen Robinson fit in?

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My first blog writing gig for a website has come with morethanafan.net and their cfbroundtable.com site.  I accepted a position covering Penn State Nittany Lions football.  So, being a long time Michigan fan, I will always love Michigan, but now I have to draw my attention to PSU.

I’ve never disliked PSU and always rooted for them since they pluck a bunch of local kids from around where I grew up, to play for them.  So I never looked at them as “rivals”.  Plus, who didn’t like JoPa through his 30 plus years of coaching?  He taught a lot of kids through the program some very important values that they have taken to heart over the years and applied to their lives and even though he had a lapse in sense on what to do with the Jerry Sandusky situation, he is still revered by former players, coaches, alumni, and the university for the non-football contributions he made.

Having pulled up the current roster, 2014 schedule, and the departing players to the draft, I came away with an overall good feeling about the upcoming season.  Towards the end of the summer is when I will start to analyze the team more in depth along with their schedule.  Right now PSU students are going home for the summer and some senior football players including junior Allen Robinson, are hoping they hear their name called in the remaining 6 rounds of the draft tonight and tomorrow.

One of the best scouted prospects coming out of PSU this year is 6’2″ wide receiver Allen Robinson.  He is in a very packed wide receiver draft class where he was pegged by “mock draft experts” to go somewhere late in the first round or in the second round.  To say the least, there were a lot of surprising picks in the first round and a bunch of teams who need receivers passed on them and went for another need.  Teams in need of a wide receiver as a top 3 need are as followed: Rams, Jaguars, Browns, Raiders, Lions, Steelers, Jets, Eagles, Chiefs, 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks.  Plenty of teams to land on for Robinson who is considered by some “mock draft experts” the 7th best remaining receiver.  Robinson’s pro day improved on his combine numbers and with his size and his 4.49 speed, he would be an asset to any of the teams listed above.  Not to mention that he could be the complimenting receiver to another big named receiver currently on  a team or be your number one guy given his stature.

Upcoming second round picks from the list of teams above that need a wide receiver: 3rd Pick – Browns, 4th Pick – Raiders, 7th – Jaguars, 8th Pick – Seahawks, 12th Pick – Rams, 13th Pick – Lions, 14th Pick – Steelers, 17th – Jets, 22nd Pick – Eagles, 24th Pick – 49ers, 29th Pick – 49ers, 31st Pick – Broncos, 32nd Pick – Seahawks.

14 chances that a wide receiver could be taken, 14 chances that it could be Allen Robinson depending on how the teams have graded him on their board.  Size, Speed and great leaping ability (39″ vertical) will compliment any receiving core and he will be a red zone threat since he doesn’t mind the contact aspect of football (as seen when he ran his own lineman over to grab a few more yards against Syracuse last year.)  I could see him being taken early on to mid 2nd round but I would be shocked if he fell to the 20th+ picks of the second round.  It really all depends on how teams graded him and where they have him in the ranks of all of the other wide receivers.

News came in that an assistant coach saw the 1st round draft board of the Vikings and they had Johnny Manziel and Teddy Brdgewater 1 and 2 on their draft board.  Most of America didn’t have Bridgewater going in the first round after his pro day but it goes to show you that teams grade guys differently and that nothing is to be expected.  Personally, Carr would’ve been the pick there since he hasn’t missed where Bridgewater has in the throwing game and has more of a cannon.  So take in the next two rounds tonight, teams will look to pick up a great amount of solid left over players.