Frank got off to a 1-2 start and is still cursing the Texans for coming out flat against the lowly Chargers. He’s back at it with this week’s Hail Mary.
It’s only fitting that the NFL’s latest mad scientist, Chip Kelly, honed his craft on the sidelines of the University of Oregon Ducks, a school known for its science program.
In his first game on an NFL sideline, Kelly seemed to have all the equations worked out as his Philadelphia Eagles flew past the hometown Washington Redskins. The Eagles played at breakneck speed, only huddling when absolutely necessary while the coaching staff waved signs and went through a jumble of hand signals.
It’s was all quite odd to see this Chip Kelly offence in top flight on an NFL field. Remember, Kelly’s offence was supposed to be something fit for the NCAA game, with no place for it in the pros. Well, so much for that.
The Eagles swarmed the Redskins on their way to a 33-27 win that ended up looking much closer than it actually was, thanks to a couple of garbage time touchdowns from Washington. But it made an impression on the league, no doubt about that. After the game Kelly even said the offence wasn’t fast enough.
Once upon a time Bill Belichick was known as the NFL’s mad scientist. He’d draw up crazy plays and ignore the running game. He made two tight end-sets a norm. He took film study to an (ahem) different level. Now, his Patriots just can’t catch a break. Both of his superstar tight ends are nowhere to be seen, do-it-all wideout Wes Welker is in Denver, his replacement Danny Amendola is banged up, and jack-of-all-trades Shane Vereen just suffered a broken wrist in Week 1.
Now, while Kelly’s offence is in the spotlight, Belichick and the Patriots find themselves under the gun. Basically, it’s Belichick and Tom Brady trying to get it done with a pile of rookies and NFL journeymen. They’re set as 11-point favorites tonight against the New York Jets, but you have to wonder how many times the Patriots can reinvent themselves with this personnel and keep putting wins on the board.
Then again, this might be when the mad scientist in Belichick really comes out and proves that when it comes to football game plans, he’s still at the head of the class.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-11, 42.5)
No team deals with playing on a short week than the Patriots and when they’re facing a divisional rival starting a rookie quarterback, you have to give them a long look. That’s especially true when they’re coming off a narrow win at Buffalo to start the year.
The Jets got lucky in their win over a troubled Buccaneers team last week. Tampa Bay was penalized 13 times and you know Belichick will give Geno Smith a tough time in his first trip to Foxborough. It’s a big number, but it’s hard to bet against the Pats in this spot, despite their injuries.
Pick: New England Patriots -11
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles (-7, 54.5)
It’s been a tough week for the Chargers. They coughed up a 21-point lead in their home opener to the nasty Houston Texans on Monday and then had to start getting ready for Chip Kelly’s offence on a short week. Plus, they had to fly across the country and get set for another game in a new time zone.
San Diego won’t be able to keep up to Philadelphia’s pace, but when a game is played that fast, you’ll see some points on the board.
Pick: Over 54.5
Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 46.5)
Last week the Chiefs played what amounted to be little more than an extra preseason game in pounding the Jacksonville Jaguars. They didn’t have to show much, and they didn’t. This is a much more interesting test.
Kansas City’s defence is going to give Dallas trouble, especially if Dez Bryant’s foot sprain slows him down. Watch for the Chiefs to take care of the ball and force the Cowboys into some costly mistakes.
Pick: Chiefs -3
Last week’s picks: 1-2
Season record to date: 1-2.