“SUPER BOWL OR BUST” IS THE DALLAS RALLYING CRY
The Dallas Cowboys and their fans are gloating after Thursday night’s impressive 13-10 home win over the 7-point favored New Orleans Saints.
One Dallas newspaper’s headline Friday was, “SUPER BOWL OR BUST!”
The Cowboys and their fans should be feeling good. Four straight wins. A 7-5 record and what looks like a cakewalk to the division title in the relatively weak NFL East.
The remaining four regular-season games for Dallas are home against Philadelphia, at Indianapolis, home against Tampa Bay and at the New York Giants. The closest pursuer in the division is Washington, 6-5 and with Colt McCoy at quarterback.
But here’s a reality check. New Orleans was coming off a 10-game winning streak and came out flat. Saints quarterback Drew Brees played his worst game of the season. The super-charged Cowboys defense played a great game. Do you think Dak Prescott is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback?
The biggest obstacle in the “Super Bowl or Bust” dreams of the Cowboys is the possibility that they’d need to beat the Saints -- in New Orleans -- to reach Super Bowl 33.
I’m pretty sure Brees and the rest of the Saints would be in better form.
BOB’S NFL WEEK 13 “BEST BET”: CHIEFS TO CRUSH THE RAIDERS
So far this NFL season, double-digit favorites in Las Vegas are 14-3 straight up and 10-6-1 against the point spread.
There are four double-digit favorites this week, including this week’s “Best Bet”: Kansas City 37, OAKLAND (+15) 13.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a passing machine and the Raiders don’t have much a pass rush since Kahlil Mack was shipped to Chicago.
The Chiefs are the offensive powerhouse Oakland coach Jon Gruden wishes he had.
Sunday’s other games
(home team in CAPS)
Los Angeles Rams 35, DETROIT (+10) 21 – The Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford are brutally inconsistent. The potent Rams are consistently good and coming off their bye.
SEATTLE (-10) 33, San Francisco 10 – The Seahawks are by far the better team, particularly at Century Link Field.
GREEN BAY (-14) 27, Arizona 9 – The Packers are winless on the road but have enough firepower to easily top the punchless Cardinals at Lambeau Field.
MIAMI (-4) 23, Buffalo 15 – If the Dolphins protect the football they should win, unless Bills rookie QB Josh Allen has his breakout passing performance.
Indianapolis 27, JACKSONVILLE (+4) 20 -- The Colts have won five straight games and the Jaguars have lost seven straight. These are not fluke streaks.
Baltimore 28, ATLANTA (-1 ½) 24 – The Falcons have underachieved all season and the resourceful Ravens are 2-0 with rookie QB Lamar Jackson.
HOUSTON (-6) 24, Cleveland 21 – The Texans have won eight straight games since a 0-3 start but the much-improved Browns have enough firepower to keep this game close.
TENNESSEE (-8) 21, New York Jets 14 – The Titans should win but they don’t have enough offense to comfortably spot any opponent 10 points – even the Jets.
Denver 27, CINCINNATI (+4 ½) 17 – The Bengals are 1-5 in their last six gamers and allowed 183 points in those five losses. Bengals QB Andy Driskel gets his first NFL start for Andy Dalton (season-ending thumb injury).
Chicago 24, NEW YORK GIANTS (+4) 17 – The aggressive defense of the Bears versus immobile Giants QB/statue Eli Manning should be a mismatch.
Carolina 33, TAMPA BAY (+3 1.2) 24 – The Panthers have lost three straight games but should wake up against this brutal defense.
NEW ENGLAND (-5 ½) 27, Minnesota 24 – The Patriots have yet to hit their best stride and the Vikings have enough talent and incentive to hang tough in this spot.
PITTSBURGH (-3 ½) 27, Los Angeles Chargers 20 – The Steelers generally shine at home in prime time and should be in an ornery mood coming off a tough less in Denver.
Monday night’s game
PHILADELPHIA (-6 ½) 24. Washington 14 – The defending Super Bowl champions desperately need a victory and Redskins QB Colt McCoy might not be capable of exploiting a depleted secondary.
DEONTAY WILDER’S POWER VERSUS TYSON FURY’S SAVVY
Boxing fans will get a rare treat Saturday night when WEBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder collides with former lineal champion Tyson Fury at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It will be on Showtime pay-per-view.
Wilder is 6-foot-7, 33 years old, 40-0 with 39 knockouts, and coming off a victory over previously undefeated Luis Ortiz in March. He’s billed as the hardest-hitting heavyweight since Mike Tyson.
Fury is 6-foot-9, 30 years old, 27-0 with 19 knockout. He became a sensation with an upset victory over Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015. “The Gypsy King”, from Britain, is from Britain and has fought only twice since. He’s had drug bans and other personal issues.
Bovada odds: Wilder -170 (bet $170 to win $100...Fury bet $100 to win $140.
Most experts are predicting a Wilder victory via knockout in the middle rounds. Fury’s best chance supposedly is via decision. He was a 3-to-1 underdog when he thoroughly outboxed Klitschko to win via unanimous decision – bit that was three years ago.
TOMMY WATKINS: NEW FIRST-BASE COACH FOR MINNESTA TWINS
One of the most-popular Rochester Re3d Wings of the Minnesota era, infielder Tommy Watkins, is the new first-base coach for the Twins.
I’ve always thought Tommy was a future Red Wings manager – and he still might be sometime down the line.
Watkins was selected by Minnesota in the 38th round (No. 1,129 overall) in the 1998 baseball draft out of Riverdale High School in Fort Myers, Fla.
Late in the 2003 season, while playing for hometown Fort Myers, he was honored with a good-natured “Tommy Watkins Bobble-Butt Night.”
He spent parts of four seasons with Rochester and earned the nickname “Mayor” because he was so popular with teammate and fans.
He played in 305 games with the Red Wings from 2006 through 2009, with a .261 batting average (226 for 865), with 47 doubles, 3 triples, 13 HRs, 101 RBI and 26 stolen bases.
During the 2007 season, Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan came to Rochester and surprised Watkins by telling him he was being promoted to the Twins. The locker room exploded with cheers when his teammate heard the good news.
He wound up appearing in nine games for the Twins that summer, hitting a robust .357 (10 singles in 28 official at-bats), with 2 runs, 0 RBI, 1 stolen base, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. A leg injury ended his season August 00. He never returned to the majors as a player.
He began the 2009 season with Rochester and was assigned to coaching duties in the organization during that season. He managed Double-A Chattanooga in 2017 and High-A Fort Myers in 2018.
SUNY-BUFFALO BULLS FAVORED BY 3 ½ IN MAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
The SUNY-UB Bulls are favored by 3 ½ points over Northern Illinois In Friday night’s Mid-Atlantic Conference championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Bulls are 10-2 and Northern Illinois is 7-5.
The Bulls have outscored opponents by 423 to 291 (+110). The Huskies have been outscored by opponents 252 to 239 (-13).
The Bulls have outgained the Huskies 419.3 to 318.0 yards per game. Northern Illinois has allowed 344.4 yards per game and Buffalo 344.4.
The Bulls have been penalized less frequently: 61 for 513 yards compared to 80 for 740 yards for Northern Illinois.
The Bulls are 9-3 against the point spread and the Huskies are 6-6 ATS.
So why are the Bulls favored by only 3 ½ points?
Northern Illinois played a tougher out-of-conference schedule, with losses to Iowa (33-7), Utah (17-6) and Florida State (37-19).
The Bulls are due to beat the Huskies. Northern Illinois is 10-0 straight up and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings since 1999.
Bob’s pick: Bulls 27, Northern Illinois 20.
The Oakland A’s reportedly would like to trade with the New York Yankees to bring back Sonny Gray, who was awful pitching at Yankee Stadium last season.
Pitcher Nick Anderson, who represented Rochester in last season’s Triple-A All-Star Game, has been traded by Minnesota to Miami for 22-year-old infielder Brian Schales (.258, 10 HRs, 49 RBI for the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.
The Rochester Knighthawks will open their 2019 National Lacrosse League season at home against the expansion Philadelphia Wings, Saturday, December 29. The K-Hawk’s 20-man All-Time team will be honored that evening. The postponed opener Saturday, December 8 will be moved to Saturday, April 27 against the New England Black Wolves.
The National Lacrosse League expansion San Diego Seals mean business. They signed long-time NLL stars Dan Dawson and Brodie Merrill this week.
Steph Curry, sidelined 11 games with a strained groin, is expected to return to Golden State’s lineup Saturday night in Detroit – and the Warriors should start looking like the NBA’s best team again soon.
Is it a coincidence that the Toronto Raptors have the NBA’s best record (19-4) in Kawhi Leonard’s first season with the team?
Syracuse’s Dino Babers finished a close second to Clemson’s Dabo Swinney for Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. The panel of 46 media members and 14 head coaches gave Swinney 27 first-place votes and Babers 22.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO...
Friday, November 30
Kevon Seymour 25...Braxton Miller 26...Nate Allen 31...Jason Pominville 36...MMA’s War Machine 37...Rich Harden 37...Marcellus Wiley 44....Ivan Rodriguez 47...Ray Durham 47...Robert Griffith 48...Bo Jackson 56...Bob Tewksbury 58..Curt Giles 60.....Paul Westphal 68...Jim Chones 69. Chrissy Teigen 33, Ben Stiller 53 and Billy Idol 63 are invited to the birthday party.
Saturday. December 1
Javier Baez 26...Rakeem Christmas 27...DeSean Jackson 32...Jabar Gaffney 38...Maurice Morris 39...Barry Sims 44....Todd Steussie 45...Kirk Rueter 48...Reggie Sanders 51...Larry Walker 52...Steve Walsh 52...Jeff Tackett 53...Steve Dykstra 56...Duane Bickett 56...Ken Jones 66...George Foster 70...Lee Trevino 79. Sarah Silverman 48, Treat Williams 67, Bette Midler 73 and Woody Allen 83.
Sunday, December 2
Gary Sanchez 26...Brandon Knight 27...Aaron Rodgers 35...Channing Crowder 35...Jason/Jarron Collins 40...Mark Kotsay 43...JMonica Seles 45...an Ullrich 45...O.J. McDuffie 49...Kelly Buchberger 52....Rich/Ron Sutter 55...Paul Holmgren 63. Brittney Spears 37 and Lucy Liu 50 are invited to the birthday party.
NOTE: Bob will be on vacation Monday and Tuesday. His next News Radio WHAM 1180 column will be posted noon, Wednesday, December 5.