Week 2 of the NFL season has some really great games: “The Manning Bowl”, San Francisco at Seattle, Washington at Green Bay. But right in the middle of that stellar slate is a steaming pile of crap.
The Jacksonville-Oakland game is the “Toilet Bowl” of all toilet bowls. The teams ranked 31st and 32nd respectively in our opening NFL power rankings, with the Jaguars actually sitting ahead of the Raiders heading into Week 1.
Oakland put up a good fight against Indianapolis in its opener, losing on a last-second drive. Jacksonville, on the other hand, couldn’t generate any offense outside of a blocked-punt safety and was forced to punt 11 times in a 28-2 loss to Kansas City.
All that considered, is the NFL’s second-worst team six points better than its worst? Oddsmakers are spotting the Jaguars six in Oakland this weekend and some shops have actually moved to that spread after posting Raiders -5.5. Cantor Gaming in Nevada opened this spread at Oakland -3 back in the spring.
Jacksonville is going with Chad Henne under center after Blaine Gabbert sliced his throwing hand open versus the Chiefs. But swapping out Henne for Gabbert is like choosing to step in either dog poop or cat poop. They both stink.
Oakland QB Terrelle Pryor played well under pressure, scrambling for 112 yards against the Colts. However, Jacksonville will study up and nail down those escape hatches, forcing Pryor to deal from the pocket.
The Jaguars defense wasn’t all that bad in Week 1 and didn’t get burned by big plays. They forced Oakland to kick five field goals (making four) in last year’s meeting and also picked off one pass and forced four fumbles – recovering two.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (Pick, 48)
Another losing NFL team getting too much credit for playing beyond its early-season expectations are the Arizona Cardinals, who lost 27-24 to division rival St. Louis Sunday.
Carson Palmer is a serious upgrade over the rag-tag lot of QBs that were under center for Arizona last season, and Larry Fitzgerald finally has someone who can get him the ball. It’s no wonder he caught two touchdowns in Week 1.
Detroit, however, ran Minnesota off the field Sunday. The Lions played a frantic pace, totaling 474 yards of total offense and would have done more damage on the scoreboard if the NFL weren’t such dicks about the "process of the catch".
Overshadowed by big days from Matt Stafford and Reggie Bush was the defense’s ability to contain Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. After breaking a huge 78-yard touchdown run to open the game, the Lions stop unit locked “All-Day” down for under two yards per carry. They also grabbed three INTs and forced a fumble. Ndamukong Suh or no Ndamukong Suh, Detroit defense is for real.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Purdue Boilermakers (+20.5, 50)
Those NBC bigwigs need a new marketing campaign. Notre Dame is not as good as advertised.
The Irish were beat by Michigan 41-30 Saturday night in front of more than 115,000 screaming Wolverines fan in the Big House. That final score is not an accurate depiction of the game, though.
Notre Dame should have lost by a lot more, but that fabled “Luck of the Irish” came through with scores on a ND-friendly tip in the red zone and a careless pick-six from Michigan QB Devin Gardner in his own end zone.
Books have stacked 20.5-points against the Fighting Irish when they visit state rival Purdue this weekend. The Boilermakers are at the bottom of the Big Ten this season but always get up to play the kids from South Bend. The underdog in this series is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings.