Game 1: Football Team at Eagles
Kickoff: 5:00pm ET, 2:00pm PT, 00:00am GMT (Wednesday)
The Football Team have a QB. I really do mean, ‘a’ QB, cos they only got the one! And it’s last years almost COVID hero Garret Gilbert. For those that remember, the Dallas Cowboys lost Dak Prescott to an ankle injury last season, they had Andy Dalton to back him up, but then he got injured, and their 3rd string QB, Nic DiNucci stunk up the joint when he tried to play against the Eagles. The Cowboys had signed Gilbert to backup DiNucci and he was thrust into the starting lineup to play the Steelers when they realised that DiNucci wasn’t the answer. He played well, but he was fighting a losing battle at every turn, and ultimately they lost the game.
He’s stepping into this game with a total of 3 days to learn the offence (if you include today!). There isn’t much more you can say for a team that has to start a QB that’s this raw. They don’t have their back up running back either, JD McKissic is now on IR, so the bulk of the work is going to come from Antonio Gibson. It’s hard on the Football Team, they have a total of 11 players on COVID reserve, 5 of those are starters, but every team is being put in the same boat, they are trying to give them time to get a team together, and they had an extra 48 hours to work this out, it might seem unfair, but money talks in the NFL, and these games make a lot of money for networks and teams. For reference, the top 3 programs in the USA every year are Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football. The top 20 broadcasts of all time in the USA are 19 Super Bowls and an episode of M.A.S.H.
The money that the NFL generates is staggering, and that means they don’t care if the QB that lines up is functional or not. The NFL has never been in the business of cancelling games, COVID or not, the NFL will not stop a game if it’s a frozen field, a snow storm, fog. The only way to stop a game is a hurricane or a tornado. They’ll take the teams off for lightning, but that game will be finished if it’s at 2am if needed.
Prediction (45-27 through week 14)
The Eagles are going to win this game. Even if this was a game with both teams at full strength, the Football Team are up and down, they’ve lost only once in 5 games but it’s never convincing. Beating the Seahawks, Raiders and Panthers is not surprising, they won those games with a mix of poor opponents and better coaching. The game against the Bucs was a sign of how the NFL is right now. The Bucs went into that game stating that they are far superior to the WFT, that the playoff game was a fluke for WFT - even though the Bucs won people were shocked how close it was - and what happened… if you don’t take a game seriously, you’ll get your ass handed to you. The WFT are the best example of a team that flatters to deceive.
The Eagles are coming into this game after finding out how to win games. They won 4 of their last 6, and it’s the right time for them to find their identity. They are a run first, optional spread offence that’s a little of the Cardinals, and a little of the Patriots. Jalen Hurts, their QB is a great runner, but also a great winner of football games. Just like Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the league and Tom Brady is the best winner of games, the ability to know which option to take against a team is innate within some players, and Hurts has this. He won at Alabama, and when he transferred to Oklahoma, he won there too, watching him is like watching a slightly less accurate version of Russel Wilson in his prime.
The Eagles run offence against the WFT defence is going to decide this game. I hope it’s a close one, but it’s likely over before the 4th quarter.
Final Score: Football Team 13 - 27 Eagles
Eagles to cover the spread and Jalen Hurts to score an any time rushing TD (13/10)
Game 2: Seahawks at Rams
Kickoff: 5:00pm ET, 2:00pm PT, 00:00am GMT (Wednesday)
The Rams have won this game 7 of the last 9 times. Divisional games are always slightly harder to predict due to the familiar nature of the games. However, in the NFC West, there is a trend growing here, the Rams under Sean McVay have got the beating of the Seahawks, the average margin of victory is close to 10 points. When the Seahawks were good, this game was interesting, but with the Rams going into Seattle this season already and handing the Seahawks straightforward defeat it’s likely this could be an easy game for the Rams.
The Seahawks lost their best defender, Jamal Adams, and are down to only 4 WRs on the roster. DK Metcalf might have to carry the load for the Seahawks, but even if he can get the better of Jalem Ramsey, I don’t see enough offensive firepower to overcome whatever score the Rams put up.
The defensive front for the Rams is going to look to prevent the Seahawks from running them ball. And with the Seahawks 29th in passing offence, the Saints, Panthers and Jags are all higher, and we can all see how painful it is to watch those teams pass the ball. If the Rams stop the Seahawks running game, the Seahawks will be in a world of trouble.
For the Seahawks to win this game, they will need to find a way to slow down the Rams passing offence, now that it has Beckham playing productive football, they have more weapons than they can put on the field. Slowing teams down has been hard in the past, with the Rams scoring 30, 37, 28 in their last 3 games, the Seahawks have scored less than 21 points 7 times this season. It’s a maths game at the end, and not one that will please the boffins in Seattle.
Final Score: Seahawks 20 - 38 Rams
Rams to cover the spread and the Rams defence/special teams to score an any time TD at 11/2.
All prices are from Paddypower