Crystal Ball

WEEK FOURTEEN (THURSDAY) CRYSTAL BALL: GURU Rolls with the Punches, Embraces Mediocrity

My friends, THE GURU doesn’t want you to worry. Yep, he’s doing just fine after the mighty Skins were soundly beaten by the long-despised Dallas Cowboys last weekend.

Sure, the Redskins still have a miniscule shot of reaching the postseason – and OBNOXIOUS MIKE has a chance of becoming a practicing attorney – but, for all intents and purposes, we are looking ahead to a long offseason. Again.

Of course, unlike most Washington teams of the past, the 2017 version has legit excuses – 11 projected starters or heavy contributors were placed on season-ending injured reserve by Week Ten and several other mainstays, like all-world tackle Trent Williams and stud tight end Jordan Reed, have missed big chunks of time while hobbling around when they have played. But it doesn’t make a 5-7 won-loss record feel any better.

Recently a distant acquaintance of mine, MR. THOMAS BIRD, reached out with faux concern, to ask how I was doing. I told him I was just fine but not for one second did he buy the idea that I was ok. But, I was not kidding. I am fine because mediocrity is what I’m used to witnessing from the Skins (at best).

This season marks the 25th year since the Joe Jackson Gibbs Dynasty ended and the paucity of success is jaw-dropping. Just eight winning seasons, five postseason trips, three NFC East titles and two (2!) playoff victories, both of which I attended and consumed like the Halley’s Comets that they were.

And it’s worse than you think. Only five times have they finished as high as second place in the division and, get this, the overall record is a vomit-inducing 166-228-2. For those without a calculator, that’s a sparkling .419 winning percentage so the 2017 season falls right in line (.417).

For what it’s worth, I think that Jay Gruden has done a respectable job as coach and I’d like to see him continue in the role for the next several years. He runs one of the top offenses in the league, year after year, gets guys to play hard for him and is well-liked by the team. If only he could put a defense in place.

But again, I’m doing fine. Fine. Fine. FINE!

The Week Thirteen record was 12-4, moving the season mark to 103-64 (.617). On to the Thursday night game, with the remaining 15 predictions hitting your inbox over the weekend…

 

THURSDAY

8:25 PM, NBC, NFL NETWORK

New Orleans (9-3) at Atlanta (7-5). The 2017 Saints have rebounded impressively from three straight

7-9 seasons, largely due to a defense that is stingier than FATBACK HOBBS with a plate full of shrimp etouffee.

Atlanta, on the other hand, remains a mystery, still scuffling a bit on both sides of the ball after last year’s Super Bowl meltdown. Scoring defense is better with the Falcons allowing five points per game less than a year ago but the team has only 10 takeaways compared to 27 for all last season. On offense the decline has been more precipitous as the 2016 scoring champion is average 11 points less per game (22 vs. 33) and is ranked 14th in points overall.

That’s good for New Orleans and, even better, they should have the services of stud rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore this weekend. The unwelcome news is that he’ll likely match up with one Quintorris Lopez Jones, often called Julio, a nightmare for even stalwart veteran corners.

The Falcons are showing some signs of life with three wins in the past month, but New Orleans is just a better team at this stage. Go with the hot hand. SAINTS, 29-27.


That’s it until this weekend, folks. Enjoy tonight’s game and God bless!

 

Comment section

Leave a Comment