Unlike the Cleveland Browns, staff handicapper Roger Cohen finally put a couple in the win column last week. Who does he like in Week 4?
Boy, am I glad to have had that 300 million viewer spread on the Debate vs. Monday Night Football because if it had just been a more reasonable 100 million “sets of eyeballs” advantage, Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump might not have covered after the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints suffered the lowest TV rating in the 46-year history of Monday Night Football.
Chew on this: in 1972 about 30 million U.S. households owned a television (and only half of them were color TVs) compared to 115 million TV homes today. Yet more people watched the Browns Nov. 13, 1972, “Phipps to Pitts” 21-17 Monday Night Football win over San Diego than Falcons and Saints last Monday.
Memo to post Baby Boomers: 1972 was one of the few decent seasons in the Disco era as the Browns won the AFC Central Division and nearly upset the perfect Miami Dolphins in the playoffs with Phipps quarterbacking. By the way, Phipps, now 69 and retired in Florida, may a good free agent pickup if Cody Kessler and Charlie Whitehurst go down.
Our picks got off the schneid last week with the Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) hosting the Denver Broncos our only loss. Our home dog Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles both won outright (with the Browns Curse of Carson Wentz crushing the Pittsburgh Steelers) and back-door cover king Andrew Luck leading the Indianapolis Colts to a game-winning drive.
Let’s keep it rolling with four more home teams (and one global nomad) in Week 4:
- Washington Redskins -7.5 vs. Browns. The game everyone here in D.C. had circled on their calendars loses its lustre with Robert Griffin III slinking into town wearing a sling. Look for Browns’ killer Kirk Cousins to roll up 400-plus yards torching a weak secondary and for Terrelle Pryor to return to earth.
- Baltimore Ravens -3 vs. Oakland Raiders. Baltimore has just squeaked by some weaklings – including Cleveland – but I don’t trust the Silver & Black to enjoy a successful 3,000-mile flight to Charm City.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3 vs. Denver Broncos. Sure, the Broncos are the undefeated Super Bowl champs, but can my fellow Northwestern alum Trevor Siemian win back-to-back road games in the Eastern time zone? He couldn’t in college.
- Pittsburgh Steelers -6 vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday Night). Steeler Nation recovers on Sunday night. The Yinzers quit their griping about “Mike Taawwmlin” for at least a week.
- Bonus “Blood Mary Morning” Eye-Opener Game. Indianapolis Colts -3 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. His dad may have been schooled on West 25th at St. Ignatius, but Back-Door Cover King Andrew Luck grew up in London playing that other football, so he enjoys the home pitch advantage.
Last week 3-1. Season record 4-8.