football field

One of the NFL's fascinating concepts is the Bye Week After. Theories vary about whether a team comes back fresh from the week off, or rusty. They certainly come back healthy, which nobody complains about, but what about on the lines?

For what it's worth, four teams have come off the bye this year. And they are 0-4 against the number. Carolina did nip the New York Giants one week after the break, but did not cover. Neither did Washington, which arguably wasn't even in the building against New Orleans after its bye.

Chicago and Tampa Bay had that stage last week. Chicago let one get away and lost to Miami, in the blazing heat, while Tampa Bay could not get past Atlanta. Is 0-4 a trend? Or an aberration?

This week, we will see how New Orleans and Detroit fare after their break.

Four teams are not on the field this week: the Raiders, Seahawks, Steelers and Packers have no game. Green Bay fans will be delighted that Aaron Rodgers gets to rest. We'll also see how they handle Bye Week After.

Line Movers

Detroit and Miami had no midweek line because of the uncertain status of quarterback Ryan Tannehill for Miami. Another QB with big line implications is Josh Allen of Buffalo. He's expected to be out, and Indianapolis ballooned to an 8-point favorite against Buffalo. And they are 1-5. Wow. How do you get a feel for THAT game?

Storylines this week

Sam Darnold looked like a gunslinger last week, and the Jets defense not only scored, but gave him good field position. The Jets topped Indy and covered. Can they win three straight, facing a good Minnesota defense? Does Tampa Bay look ready to win for the first time since Week 2, when it hosts Cleveland this week? How do the Chargers and Titans handle the trip across the pond playing in England? Will Washington, 0-4 and 2-8 versus Dallas in recent years, break the jinx?

Love the Listeners

Thanks to the callers who burn up the phone lines during Beat the Degenerates, which I host every Wednesday or Thursday along with Scott Cronick, director of entertainment publications for The Press of Atlantic City. Our next show is 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct 25. Listen to it on Newstalk 1400-AM WOND, 92.5-FM, and the Tune In app.

Marc Scittina of Egg Harbor Township and Jim Daraklis of Galloway have been on a hot streak. They call in to share their angles even though they have already played and won a prize this football season. Scittina chimed in last week on the Chargers to beat Cleveland, and they romped. He likes Denver -1 Thursday night in Arizona. Daraklis suggested Seattle before its 27-3 stomping of Oakland last week. He likes the Falcons giving 5.5 points to the New York Giants on Monday night.

This week’s picks

Bontempo: Tampa Bay -3 over Cleveland. Winston is back for Tampa. Is that enough?

Cronick and Dave Weinberg: The Eagles -5.5 over Carolina. Dave, who covers the Eagles for The Press of Atlantic City, thinks they could be about to go on a roll.

Listener pick: Washington over Dallas, -1.5. The listeners are 4-1 on our show.

The week in review

Cronick and our radio audience secured winning picks last week. Cronick took the Eagles and was already making other degenerate bets by halftime, when they crushed the Giants. Our listeners took the Chargers over the Rams and they won handily.

I was nipped by “the hook” with New England giving 3.5 to Kansas City and winning by 3. Dave Weinberg loved the Texans and they beat Buffalo by seven, but he needed 10.

The game outside the game

This is why bettors have no fingernails left. So, you took the Bucs against the Falcons. They get 3. You finally pull within two at 31-29. Time running out. Atlanta has third and 2 from the Tampa 39. No timeouts for Tampa. Atlanta already has 31 points. You rooted against them the whole day. Now you want THEM to get two yards, get a first down and kneel on the ball. But NOOOOO ... they miss the first down, kick a 56-yard field goal and you lose 34-29. Pass the Tums.

Extra points

How's this for a strange number from last week? The Tennessee Titans completed 10 passes, but suffered 11 sacks in the shutout loss to Baltimore. More sacks than completions? A rough day.

The Cowboys put up 40 points against Jacksonville in a breakout game for them.

And here's one “For the Birds”: Pickett Russell, aka The Kipster, wants to parlay the Eagles, -5.5, Falcons, -5.5, Cardinals +1 and Raven -2.5. Cronick went along. I, who once traveled to two dog tracks in two states trying to cash a horse-racing ticket, think they have a gambling problem. I passed, but if it hits, the Bird Parlay will return handsomely for them. Rest assured that if the Seahawks were playing, their parlay would be five.

Have fun and cash some, this week.

Lines for this week, from Draft Kings


Denver -1 Arizona (40.5)


LA Chargers -6.5 Tennessee (45) in London

Philadelphia -5.5. Carolina (45)

Indianapolis -8 Buffalo (43)

Jacksonville -4.5 Houston (43)

Detroit-Miami No line as of midweek. Miami has uncertain quarterback situation.

Tampa Bay -3 Cleveland (49.5)

Minnesota -3 AT New York Jets (47)

New England -3 AT Chicago (49.5)

Baltimore -2.5 New Orleans (50)

Washington -1.5 Dallas (41.5)

LA Rams -9.5 San Francisco (53)

KC -6 Cincinnati (58.5)

Atlanta -5.5 New York Giants (54.5)

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