BAD BEATS: NFL WEEK 2
If you’re a regular reader of my work here at BetOnline and elsewhere, then you know that nothing frightens me more than a double digit NFL line. The league is obviously unpredictable. The mantra of “Any Given Sunday” is proven nearly every Sunday (or Thursday or Monday). The difference between a good team and a bad team, many times, is just a coach or a couple of players in the right spots.
For instance, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With Jameis Winston at quarterback (with the same coach and most of the same players), the team went 7-9 in 2019. With Tom Brady at QB, they went 11-5 and won the Super Bowl.
So those double digit, NCAA style spreads are nerve wracking. Because not a single NFL coach cares about the spread, ever. College coaches probably do or should, as their Top 25 ranking is sometimes negatively impacted by a close game against a perceived inferior opponent. In the NFL, you win by one and you go home happy and employed.
We had a few contenders for the Bad Beat this week. The Cleveland Browns were -13 favorites over the Houston Texans at some point, but you had to feel, when that game was tied 14-14 at halftime, you probably weren’t going to get there.
The Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals was another game that tossed its be-feathered horned helmet into the ring. The Cards came in at -3.5 and, after going down 20-7 in the first half, eventually taking a 24-23 lead at halftime, it was definitely a game where the hook was going stick you like taking a four-year old bass fishing for the first time. Either you are the kid are getting an impromptu ear piercing.
Nope, for the Bad Beat of the Week we have to go back to the aforementioned Buccaneers and their –12.5 spread hosting the Atlanta Falcons, a team for which Tom Brady has claimed paternity on a national stage before.
So you were sitting there, looking over the Falcons roster and knowing the trouble they gave the Bucs last season. You see Matt Ryan, who was a former league MVP himself. The guy is ninth all-time, ahead of Aaron Rodgers no less, on the NFL’s all time yardage list. He’s got Calvin Ridley. He’s got Kyle Pitts. All Atlanta has to do is keep it within two touchdowns and you can order than new-look Ford Bronco Sport in Rapid Red you can build for yourself online.
The Falcons were coming off a bad loss, needing to at least bounce back performance-wise. This was a team some idiot you read online picked to make the playoffs as the NFC’s seventh seed. Could you go ahead and add the 17 inch carbonized gray painted low gloss aluminum wheels for the extra $795? Of course you could.
And when Ryan hit Ridley for a 15-yard touchdown to pull within three of Tampa Bay, 28-25 and a Cordarelle Patterson two point conversion with 2:19 left in the third quarter, you felt so good about it you went ahead and clicked on the roof rail cross bar for $340 and the front and rear splash guards for $220.
Both teams traded punts on their next possession, running out the rest of the third and the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and you went ahead and thought, that $1030 fender flare kit will look really nice as you wheel up to your kid’s stupid soccer match that knocks you out watching of the mid-day college football games every Saturday.
Brady and the Bucs got it together and reeled off a quick, three-play drive after a punt so bad from Atlanta’s Cameron Nizialek they didn’t even wait until the end of the night to cut him. He went from an NFL special teamer to a Subway Sandwich Artist trainee before Carrie Underwood started warbling in that dress that looks like its made from old Chevy II Nova hubcaps.
Then, unfortunately as often happens when Matt Ryan faces a Tom Brady led team, the thinkable happened. On a third and four, Matt Ryan tossed a perfect pick six interception to the Buccaneers’ Mike Edwards, who returned it 31 yards for the score. Tampa now led by 14 and you hadn’t even picked out your interior colors yet.
But there was still hope. All you needed was any Falcons score. The game, realistically, was over. The Bucs led 41-25 with 7:53 left. This is prime garbage time TD territory.
The Falcons turned it over on downs on their ensuing drive. But then Tampa Bay did too and with a little over four minutes left and a two touchdown lead, you had to believe that the home team was just ready to hit sim and go home. They’d let Atlanta sneak another one in here. You went ahead and added the ebony brown interior, marveling at how it popped against that red exterior color.
One play later, it was all over. Ryan again stepped back to pass. Edwards again decided he’d go ahead and pick it off and return it 15 yards for his second touchdown of the quarter. Tampa Bay led 48-25.
It didn’t matter what happened now. There just wasn’t enough time for Atlanta to even pretend to make it interesting. You nodded to yourself. You knew better than this. Of all the teams to count on keeping it within a touchdown and a field goal, the Atlanta Falcons were maybe the last franchise on Earth you could count on.
You solemnly moved your mouse pointer up to the top right hand corner of your browser and exited the Ford website, hoping that at least it wouldn’t mock you for the rest of the week by saving all your selections in your cookies.
The NFL season is underway and the Week 3 Schedule is up and taking bets at BetOnline.AG.