Matthews: Tom Bradys' Receivers Will Eat Up Bills

TOM BRADY COULD HAVE A VAST ARRAY OF RECEIVERS TO FACE THE BILLS

If Buffalo had even a remote chance to make the NFL playoffs this season, I’d be disappointed that New England beat the Bills to the punch by signing troubled but immensely-talented wide receiver Josh Gordon.

I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed that the Bills are short on quality receivers. And cost couldn’t have been an excuse. New England will pay only the remaining $697,058 on Gordon’s 2018 contract. He’ll be a restricted free agent after this season.

The Bills probably figured, “Why bother?” We’re going nowhere this season and we’ve had more than our share of headaches already this season.”

Signing Gordon was low-risk and maybe terrific-gain for New England. The Patriots shipped only a 2019 fifth-round draft pick to Cleveland. If Gordon is not active for 10 games this season, the Browns would send a 2019 seventh-round pick to Patriots.

BetOnline has posted an over/under number on games Gordon will play for New England this season: 9.5 (under bet $250 to win $100; over bet $100 to win $175). My over/under is THREE games.

The Patriots are hoping Gordon will be the second coming of Randy Moss. New England sent Minnesota a fifth-round draft pick for the future Pro Football Hall of Famer April 29, 2007. He had three excellent seasons with the Patriots, including 98 catches for 1,493 yards and 23 TD catches in 2007.

If all goes well for New England – and it often does – the Patriots will have an impressive array of targets for Tom Brady to throw to when the Patriots play at Buffalo on Monday Night Football October 29 and at Foxboro December 23: Gordon, Ron Gronkowski, Julian Edelman (after serving his four-game PED suspension), Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and versatile running back James White.

Compare that group to Buffalo’s receiving corps. Doesn’t seem fair, right?

RIDICULOUS ODDS ON McDERMOTT “FIRST COACH FIRED”

Sean McDermott is the new favorite to be the first current NFL head coach to be fired.

That ridiculous item was posted Tuesday by Bleacher Report/OddsShark.

I don’t know if any legitimate casino or on-line site is taking wagers on this subject but I assume the sole purpose of these “odds” was to generate discussion:

Sean McDermott (Buffalo) +400 (bet $100 to win $400 if he’s the first current head coach to be fired)...Hue Jackson (Cleveland) +500...Bill O’Brien (Houston) +1000...Steve Wilks (Arizona) +1000...Vance Joseph (Denver) +1000...Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay) +1000...Jay Gruden (Washington) +1000...Todd Bowles (Jets) +1200...Matt Patricia (Detroit) +1200...Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh) +1600...Pete Carroll )Seattle) +2000...Jason Garrett (Dallas)+2000)...Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati) +2500...Ron Rivera (Carolina) $2500...Jon Gruden (Oakland +2500...Bill Belechick (New England ($10000).

I have no idea why only 16 coaches would be on the list and why McDermott is on it.

1-He did a terrific job in his 2018 first season with the Bills, guiding an overrated team to a playoff berth. No team did more with less .

2-He’s in the second year of a five-year contract and the Pegulas aren’t going to pay another head coach not to coach.

3-The Bills are a very bad team right now and nearly everyone knows it. This team isn’t 0-2 because McDermott suddenly doesn’t know how to coach.

McDermott has a lot on his mind. It isn’t easy to engineer a massive change of culture and roster. Switching starting quarterbacks after Week 1 didn’t look good. Nor did a player retiring from football at halftime last week.

But one thing McDermott shouldn’t worry about for at least a few more years is being “the first head coach fired.”

FITZ, MAHOMES CO-MVPs THROUGH NFL WEEK 2

Through two weeks of this NFL season, arguably the NFL Co-Most Valuable Players had a total of four starts last season: Ryan Fitzpatrick three with Tampa Bay and Patrick Mahomes one with Kansas City.

Here are their stat lines for 2018:

Fitzpatrick – 2-0vrecord with the Buccaneers; 48-0f-61 (.787); 819 yards passing; 8 TD passes; 1 INT; 410 yards passing per game; 13.48 yards per pass attempt; 151.1 rating

Mahomes – 2-0 record with the Chiefs; 38-of-55 (.691); 582 yards passing; 10 TD passes; 0 INT; 291 yards passing per game; 10.58 yards per pass attempt; 143.3 rating.

BOB’S “BEST BET” FOR THURSDAY: BROWNS OVER JETS

It’s been a long time since I picked the Cleveland Browns to win anything, but I believe they’ll beat the visiting New York Jets Thursday night.

The improving young Browns are off to a 0-1-1 start but could be 2-0. They tied Pittsburgh 21-21 at home and lost 21-18 in New Orleans Week 2 because their former kicker missed two field goals and two extra points.

My pick: CLEVELAND (-3) 24, New York Jets 15.

HAS BLAKE SNELL LOCKED UPTHE  AL CY’s YOUNG AWARD?

Tampa Bay left-hander Blake Snell was pitching so poorly last summer that the Rays demoted him to Durham of the International League Durham Bulls. His MLB career record at that point was 6-14.

Snell was 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA in seven starts for Durham and was recalled to Tampa Bay on August 8. He’s 25-6 since, including 20-5, with a 1.97 ERA this season. Opponents are hitting a mere .179 and he has a 0.97 WHIP (walks + hits per 9 innings). In 169 innings, he has allowed only 196 hits, with 58 walks and 200 strikeouts.

Tuesday night at Texas, he became MLB’s first 20-game winner since 2016. He worked five shutout inning, allowing 1 hit. He had 2 walks and 5 strikeouts.

Corey Kluber (Cleveland) and Justin Verlander (Houston) appear to be the potential obstacles for Snell in the race for the AL Cy Young Award.

TWINS SHOULD KEEP ASTUDILLO ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER

When the Minnesota Twins signed career minor-leaguer Willians Astudillo as a free agent last winter, I did some research on this unique player (5-foor-9, 225 pounds – at least – best contact hitter in baseball; can play any position, including catcher), I wrote in this space that I figured Red Wings fans would select him Most Popular Player if he made the team. He did. They did. And they even selected him Most Valuable Player.

Astudillo has done a solid job in his first stints in the majors this season. Here’s what this week’s ESPN Power Rankings said about him: “Forget the pennant race, the Twins (20th in the rankings) are worth watching for another reason entirely: the unusual exploits of rookie Willians Astudillo. The beefy, multi-positional 26-year-old is quickly becoming a folk hero in the Twin Cities as he rumbles around the field and on the bases, and at the plate his hack-happy swing has produced a quick three home runs – as many as he has strikeouts and walks combined in 57 plate appearances.”

Astudillo with the 2018 Red Wings: 78 games; .276 batting average); 30 runs; 17 doubles; 1 triple; 12 HRs; 38 RBI: 11-for-15 stealing bases; 10 walks; 14 strikeouts.

Astudillo with the 2018 Twins: 20 games; .305 batting average (18-of-59); 1 triple; 3 HRs; 11 RBI; 1 walk; 2 strikeouts...He has played catcher, third base and in the outfield. He even pitched an inning in a lopsided game to help conserve the staff. There is speculation that the Twins might use him at all nine positions in a home game before this season ends.

It will be interesting to see if Minnesota keeps him on the 40-man big-league roster after this season. If he becomes a six-year minor-league free agent, I’m pretty sure another team would sign him and the fans in whatever city/cities he plays for will be glad he’s on their side.

SHORT SHOTS

The plunge of the Baltimore Orioles from 75-87 last season (outscored by 98 runs) to 43-108 this season (outscored by 257 runs) is as amazing to me as Boston’s 103-48 record. The Orioles are a ridiculous 60 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings...O’s 1B/DH Chris Davis was 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts Tuesday night in a 6-4 home loss to Toronto. His batting average is down to .171. The modern lowest MLB batting average by a qualifying MLB player is .179 by Rob Deer and Dan Uggla. They weren’t being paid $23 million for the season.

MLB’s interleague play is winding down and the National League will end the American League’s 14-year winning streak. The NL has a 152-139 advantage cover the NL in head-to-head play.  The Pittsburgh Pirates are carrying the NL flag. They’re 14-4 versus AL competition this season.

 Syracuse U.’s undefeated football team (3-0) is favored by 27 1.2 points against Connecticut Saturday. The over/under number (combined for both team) is 75. ..Third-down conversions are a big plus for the Orange: SU 21-for-48; 43.8 percent. SU’s defense has limited opponents to 8-for-42 (.190) on third down conversion attempts, second-best in the nation...SU’s has outscored opponents 147 to 59.

The North Carolina Courage (formerly the Western New York Flash until January 2017) beat the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 Tuesday night to advance to the National Women’s Soccer League championship match Saturday at the defending champion host Portland Thorns. The Courage will enter the game with 19 wins 6 ties and only 1 loss this season. Former WNY stars Jess McDonald and Sam Mewis scored the goals Tuesday night.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...

Wednesday, September 19

Trae Young 20...Dejounte Murray 22...George Springer 29...Kenny Britt 30...Ryan Succop 32...Willie Young 33...Carl Landry 35...Rick Di Pietro 37...Brett Keisel 40...Raja Bell 42...Jim Abbott v51...Dan Hampton 61...Sidney Wicks 69...Larry Brown 71...Jane Blalock 73...Joe Morgan 75. Jimmy Fallon 44, Twiggy 69 and Jeremy Irons 70 are invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, September 20

John Tavares 28...Donatas Motierjunas 28...T.J. Lang 31...Justin Durant 33...Dante Hall 40...Bobby Hoying 46...Eric Turner 50...Guy Lafleur 67...Matt Blair 68...Sam Adams 70. Sophia Loren 84 is invited to the birthday party.

ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...

September 19

50 years ago (1968), Detroit Tigers pitcher Denny McLain won  his 31st game of the season...30 years ago (1988), American diver Greg Louganis smashed his head on the diving board during springboard qualifying at the Seoul Olympics and recovered to win gold the next day...3 years ago (20015), Japan beat South Africa 34-32 in the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history.

September 20

105 years ago (1913), Francis Ouimet won the 19th U.S. Golf Open...94 years ago (1924), Rochester’s Walter Hagen won the 7th PGA Championship at French Lick CC in Indiana...87 years ago (1931), Lou Gehrig broke his own American LOeague RBI record with his 175th – en route to 184...65 years ago (1953), Ernie Banks hit his first MLB home run...60 years ago (1958), Baltimore Orioles knuckleball pitcher no-hit the Yankees, 1-0...50 years ago (1968), Mickey Mantle hit his 536th and final home run...38 years ago (1980), Kansas City’s George Brett went 0-for-4 and his batting average dropped below .400 for good...31 years ago (1987), Walter Payton scored his NFL-record 107th rushing TYD in a 20-13 Chicago Bears victory over Tampa Bay.

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