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Tuesday Morning Handicapper Oct 8
by Hollywood Sports - 10/08/2013
Football tips and observations from over the weekend that may inform my decision-making for making NFL picks and College Football picks this week.
MATT SCHAUB'S CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE:
For the fourth week in a row, Schaub has thrown a Pick-Six -- this time in his first series of play against the 49ers for Sunday Night Football. Houston fancies themselves as a serious contender for reaching the Super Bowl and they face a dilemma with Schaub: benching Schaub for T.J. Yates or Case Keenum may be the last straw in destroying their starting quarterback's confidence. On the other hand, the former Virginia Cavalier may not have the make-up to being an elite QB who can make a deep run in the playoffs so making a change now may be the Texans' only hope.
CALVIN JOHNSON MAY TRULY BE THE NFL'S MVP:
The Lions' offense sputtered in their 22-9 loss in Green Bay after Megatron was declared out for this game. Detroit entered the season with some flaws on offense regarding a second-viable option at wide receiver as well as a pair of tight ends who drop too many passes. The addition of Reggie Bush at running back has created a dilemma for strong safeties who must choose between doubling Johnson in the secondary or cheating up towards the line of scrimmage to defend Bush catching the ball out of the backfield. Bush has been the beneficiary so far with this dynamic -- but Johnson is the Lions' only credible vertical threat so his absence of the field makes a safety's choice very easy to make. Detroit must have Johnson the field to remain a playoff contender.
THE RAIDERS ARE NOT TERRIBLE:
I have not been sold on Oakland this season -- but they have a quarterback in Terrelle Pryor and that presents a game-changer for them. While I was not ready to anoint the Chargers' defense as anywhere near elite, I was on the record with my clients that I found San Diego as a road favorite last Sunday night as a big trap. Something happened in that game that was very telling: Pryor orchestrated a 13-play, 88-yard touchdown drive -- and to be able to lead the offense successfully for thirteen plays demonstrates a mastery of the offensive system. Not only is Pryor a threat to gain yards with his legs, but he is clearly working very hard at his craft. Reports of his hiring a life coach and dedicating himself to be a quality professional quarterback appear to be paying off.
MORAL VICTORIES ARE FOR LOSERS:
I immediately noticed a somewhat satisfied look on head coach Jason Garrett's face right after the Broncos' successfully executed their game-winning field goal to win that late game in Dallas. That was not the reaction I was looking for from the Cowboys' leader that has seen his team perennially underachieve relative to high expectations during his tenure. Then owner Jerry Jones claimed that his football team's effort represented a "moral victory." Can you ever imagine this type of talk coming out of New England? Or San Francisco? Or Baltimore? Or Pittsburgh? Or Green Bay? Dallas remains a franchise that does not believe they are ready for success -- and this helps explain how they find ways to lose games just as they did on Sunday when Tony Romo threw (another) ill-advised interception with under two minutes to go that immediately put the Broncos in field-goal position.
As always, best of luck for us -- Frank Sawyer, Hollywood Sports.