5-at-10: Friday mailbag with NFL picks, Saban's dominance, offensive question, Fan mail

5-at-10: Friday mailbag with NFL picks, Saban's dominance, offensive question, Fan mail

October 6th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

Louisville's Russ Yeast (6) chases North Carolina State's Jaylen Samuels (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Gang, you guys have been excellent this week, and thanks to all of you who have offered congratulations on last week's award. It means a bunch.

We are on the road today, so we'll try to be quick. It's fall break for the kids, which begs the question when in the world did fall break become a thing? And while in the name of Captain Kirk's phaser are we sending them back the first week of August to take the first week of October off?

Anyhoo.

Hope you were properly entertained on last night's win by home underdog N.C. State. Good times.

Here, before we get rolling, are this week's NFL picks. Last week's 4-0-1 showing counting the Thursday night win with the Packers pushes us to 9-8-1. Which on the entertaining scale is like going to your aunt's house and watching their vacation film, but they have a stocked bar. It's barely entertaining, but there's a glimmer of hope now.

Two quick NFL points before we get to the picks.

First, we are in a place that the Rams are favored over the Seahawks — and rightly so — and if you want a side tangent to the dipping NFL ratings, check out some of these heavyweight quarterbacking showdowns this weekend:

Hoyer vs. Brissett; Cassel vs. Cutler; Keenum vs. Trubisky; Flacco vs. Manuel; McCown vs. Kizer. NFL action. It's fantastic. Or not.

Miami plus-3 over Tennessee. Yes, we'll buy the half, and yes, we're backing the side that has scored one meaningless TD in the last eight quarters. But (pause for dramatic effect) Miami is playing its first home game. Miami has been pretty stout against the run. And Miami is getting the chance to play against Matt Cassel. Home underdog getting more than a field goal while storming the Cassel? Yes, please.

Detroit minus-2.5 over Carolina. The Lions defensively are very good. They force turnovers and their secondary is excellent. Been a trying week for the Panthers, with Cam stepping on his tongue — again — and all the fallout that comes with that. Here's betting last week's big numbers against the Patriots will be tougher to replicate against the Lions. (And how's that for a sentence you never expected to read and we never expected to type.)

L.A. Rams minus-1 over Seattle. Not sure when it happened, but the Rams have the most complete offense in the division and have the game's best defensive player you may not know about. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is an absolute wrecking ball, and the Seahawks' offensive front is in shambles. We like that edge.

Philadelphia minus-6.5 over Arizona. The Cardinals are bagged up on offense and needed a Larry Fitzgerald overtime TD catch to beat the dreadful 49ers. The Eagles are good and playing better than you may realize — they are third in total yards — and their lone loss was a one possession game at Kansas City. Now remember that the Cardinals are coming across the country for a 1 p.m. Eastern kick.

Pot roast nachos

Pot roast nachos

Photo by photos by Mark Gilliland



From Adam

@jgreesontfp heard on the show today you like nachos! Mini Rushmore of nachos?

Adam —

Such a great question, and thanks for listening to Press Row.

Here are a couple of nacho for sure items. Jalapenos are a must.

Be careful stacking too. Make multiple trips if needed, but if you over-stack you run the risk of turning that bottom layer into a quagmire, and while we can see wasting a lot of things — time, brain cells, and as Freddy Fender told us, days and nights — but wasting nachos should be a civil rights violation.

We'll go basic (meet, cheese, peppers, with sides as you see fit), Bar-b-que nachos have a spot, the chili nachos work here and we'll go with the individual Scoops, the Mrs. makes. 

Good times. 

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in HBO's "Game of Thrones." (Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister and Lena Headey...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

This week's Rushmores and today in history

Rushmore of rock and roll bands — Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Queen. (And this one is different for everyone.)

Rushmore of bucket list (team) sports venues — Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Notre Dame Stadium, and while we would lean toward Jordan-Hare, we'll go Lambeau Field. (Bucket list of sports venue, non-team sports variety: Augusta National, Churchill Downs, Indy Motor Speedway, St. Andrew's.)

Rushmore of movie/TV queens. Cersei, the chick from Frozen, Helen Mirren in The Queen, and the King of Queens.

Rushmore of newspaper comic strips: Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side and Garfield.

Oct. 6:
Anwar Sadat was murdered by Islamic extremists in 1981.

A tavern owner who bought a World Series ticket for his goat in Chicago was asked to leave and issued the goat curse on the Cubs in 1945.

LeBron James Jr. is 12 today.

Elisabeth Shue of Karate Kid and Adventures in Babysitting fame is 53.

Jerry Heller, who was played by Paul Giamatti in Straight Outta Compton, is 75 today.

Yes, slow day. 

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to players against Florida State during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban speaks to players...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.



From Eric

Alabama is killing people and Nick Saban faces Kevin Sumlin, Bret Bielema, Butch Jones and Ed Oregron the next four weeks.

What will the average margin of victory be?

Eric —

Wow, that's a great way to phrase that.

Four coaches with unhappy fan bases and in varying degrees of hot-seatness.

And now realize that Saban loves delivering the death knell to programs. He knows that if they run the coach, the recruits are now in play again and the reset button means at least a year or two of restructuring and rebuilding.

He's like a mid-evil war lord and knows keeping programs from gaining power is a huge asset in protecting your kingdom.

We think this weekend will be the closest of the three if that makes sense. Let's say Alabama by 20 Saturday, by four TDs over Arkansas, five TDs over Alabama and 31 at LSU. That's 114 points over four games, which is 28.5 points per.

That sounds about right.  

Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has helped guide the Bulldogs to a No. 5 ranking since replacing Jacob Eason midway through the first quarter of the opener.

Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm has helped guide...

Photo by Perry McIntyre Jr.



From FE Chancellor

10 Ring, when watching Tennessee fold up against Georgia my heart was all a flutter seeing The Dogs go into an old Vol staple--The Power I--in the Red Zone. Georgia is successful, so far, running the I and the spread. This is the type of power football I wish would return to Neyland Stadium. What's your view of the Dog's Offense, and could it be replicated at Tennessee with the right personnel beginning with a dominant offensive line we haven't seen since before the decline of the Fulmer years in Knoxville?

FE to the C — 

The Georgia offense is direct and powerful and is built on strength.

There's a lot to love in that. But the key piece — a quarterback who is comfortable in the pocket and making reads — is becoming harder and harder to find as more and more high schools go spread and no-huddle and mid-line option.

That offense can be replicated, and considering what was supposed to be the offensive strengths in Knoxville — John Kelly, a line we expected to be better than this, and a stationary quarterback with a big arm (Dormady threw it pretty good until the Georgia game and then he got spooked) — a more traditional, I- or one-back offense could work now.

But Butch and Co. are forcing the pegs into the spread, whether they have the pieces or not. (Side note: The Auburn offense has found its stride recently by, instead of faking the run with a non-running quarterback, they are challenging the safeties with deep shots. That also makes for better numbers at the line and gives Jarrett Stidham the chance to maximize numerical mismatches. If he comes to the line and there are 7-or-fewer at the line, run. If he comes and there are 4-or-fewer deep, take a shot.)

The key to every good offense is maximizing your pieces. Fo Georgia, and a composed young quarterback and four stud duck tailbacks, I and play-action is a great option.

And hard to stop.

This week's not exactly fan mail

You seriously spent an hour looking at A.P.?  You need more work to do. 

AP fought AGAINST the United States. Of course after the CSA lost the war old AP wanted to get back in good graces. 

I put the Daughters of the Confederacy in the same box with the rednecks in the Sons of Confederates.    

You should have spent that wasted hour with a man of color on the street.  

Love,
    
Almost there.

OMG. Did I hear that you were named the best columnist/reporter?

HOW??????? Were you the only one in the election?

Good talk.

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