For those who aren’t familiar with their history, the New England Patriots used to be called the Boston Patriots, until 1971 when they moved to Foxborough, Mass., and apparently decided to become the team for all English Pilgrims from the 1600s who might still be lingering in parts of
Rhode Island, New Hampshire and possibly New Brunswick, since nobody else was really claiming them, anyway.
New England was the birthplace of American literature and free public education. Also clam chowder, the Cheers bar, Will Hunting, the concept of the world coming to an end at least three times a week, the drunk obnoxious sports fan, the unusual practice of firing bullets at wedding photographers and secretly filming opposing coaches’ signals to build a spy film library the size of the Pentagon.
This week, the Falcons, of only little Atlanta, visit the New England Patriots. What interesting times. The Falcons are 2-0. Tom Brady lost a game last week. So ends the world again. If that’s not enough, Brady is being sued for $1 million by two photographers who claim they were shot at — presumably with muskets — when they tried to take pictures of his Costa Rica wedding to noted hottie Gisele Bundchen and her Plymouth Rocks.
It’s not known if Brady actually ordered anybody to fire at the photographers, or if his head of security, Bill Belichick, just did that on his own. I’m sure there’s film of it somewhere, assuming Roger Goodell hasn’t destroyed it again.
The Falcons are only 4-point underdogs. Who would’ve thought that a year ago? But even if Brady’s ills are exaggerated, the Pats’ defense is legitimately mediocre. I see the future. Condos in Bangor! Take the four. But Falcons win in a straight upset.
Arizona State at Doggies: Mark Richt lectured fans this week about leaving garbage
everywhere after tailgating. Hey, here’s an idea. Given the defense has allowed 78 points in the last two games, just ask Willie Martinez to pick it up after the game. Or during it. Joe Cox has convinced me. But the rest of the team? Notsomuch. The Sun Devils are coached by Dennis Erickson. Pell Grants to the first 10,000 fans. (Google.) Dogs win but don’t cover 11 1/2.
North Carolina at Jackets: The good thing about Tech having such a mediocre start is coach Paul Johnson doesn’t have to pretend to hate everything now. The defense that can’t stop you or me. The offense was supposed to take a step forward but not down where the manhole cover used to be. OK. I’ve got a feeling. And I have no idea why. Jackets cover 2 1/2.
Hades Bowl (Arkansas at Alabama): When Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban meet at midfield, it’ll be the greatest pairing since Sacco and Vanzetti. Newsflash: Bama has a better defense than Georgia. But 17 points seem like a lot. Tide wins but won’t cover.
Miami at VaTech: I figured the Hurricanes were for real when they beat FSU. They confirmed it when they knocked Georgia Tech back through the Bill Lewis time warp (aaaggh!). Still waiting for the Hokies to not look like Music City Bowl material. Miami wins and covers 2 1/2.
Florida at Kentucky: Urban Meyer is covering his bases again. He wants everybody to know that if the Gators struggle with Kentucky, it’s because 27 players have lingering hamstring injuries suffered in a previous life during the Franco-Prussian War. So don’t ask about the Tennessee game again, OK? Gators cover 21 1/2.
Ohio at Tennessee: The Vols are better than we thought. Ohio barely defeated Cal Poly, whose quarterback can’t get dates and shouts out quadratic equations at the line of scrimmage and, well, you wouldn’t believe how often they’re called for delay of game. (You expected me to break down blocking schemes?) Vols cover 22 1/2.
Vanderbilt at Rice: The Commodores just lost to Mississippi State, 15-3. So I guess it was either play Rice or knock over a Girl Scout cookie stand this week. Vandy covers 8.
Ball State at Auburn: What is this –fan waterboarding week?
LSU at Mississippi State: Between this and the last two games against Vandy and Louisiana-Lafayette, LSU should be well rested for Georgia. Sleeping, even. Tigers cover 12 1/2.
Carolina at Dallas: After the Cowboys lost to the Giants, Terrell Owens dispatched on Twitter, “Dallas just found out they had a T.R. problem not a T.O problem.” Actually, the only difference between Owens and Tony Romo is the Cowboys are still paying Romo. Does this mean Jessica Simpson wasn’t the problem? Dallas wins but won’t cover 9.
Saints at Bills: Drew Brees has thrown nine TD passes, which would really excite me if he were on my Fantasy League team. But imagine how much his stats must bother T.O. New Orleans covers 6.
Bears at Seahawks: Seattle lists 13 players on the injury report this week, not including Jim Mora, who set himself on fire after Washington upset USC, meaning the Huskies job won’t open again until 2027. Chicago cover 2 on the road.
Old Ms. at Old Carolina: Steve Spurrier is 0-5 against Top 5 teams since committing career suicide and going to South Carolina. Fortunately, I’m still not sure anybody believes Mississippi is ranked fourth, and I’m including everybody in Mississippi. Wait, I get 3 points, too? Give me the points but Gamecocks pull off an upset.
Credits and (mostly) debits
Last week: 6-4 straight up, 5-5 against the line.
Bottom line: 18-11 straight up, 11-18 against the line.
Sunrise: 7:27 (lock).