As the Falcons go into their fifth game still looking for a defense, or even a speed bump, or even just a good joke to tell a receiver during a pass route on the chance that he might laugh and fall down — hey, how about setting up a lounge in the secondary with a two-drink minimum? — it’s worth noting Sunday is (and I’m not making this up, unlike most of what you read here): National Do Something Nice Day.
This is the Falcons’ week! The only thing more appropriate for the defense would be National Grease Fire Day.
The Falcons have been nice to opposing offenses all season. It has been a group-channeling of Mother Teresa. They rank 28th against the run, 30th against the pass, 31st in total defense, 30th in points allowed and first in, “I had that guy? I thought you had that guy? Why are my pants on fire?”
Is any of this tax-deductible?
You know what the Falcons need? A new stadium. Not a defensive end or a linebacker or a safety. Just a stadium with fur-lined seats and wi-fi and waitress service and hi-def screens, so we can accurately read the coaches lips on the sideline when they say, “Rut-roh” (four-letter versions).
The Falcons are 1-9 in their last 10 road games and haven’t beaten a .500 or better team on the road since Nov. 25, 2012 (24-23 at Tampa Bay).
This week, it’s the New York Giants. Some see Eli Manning as mediocre. I see him as a two-time winning Super Bowl quarterback who has been thrown out of tougher places than this. I also see a four-point line and no speed bumps. I see: Falcons lose; Giants cover 4.
Southpark’s Goodell-Bot weighs in on Falcons’ defense
(Un-mute speaker, lower-right corner of Vine)
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Vanderbilt at Georgia: So this isn’t THE year (again)? There’s Todd Gurley and, to this point, we’re not sure of what else. The defense is young, the quarterback (Hutson Mason) appears limited and it took six straight runs by Gurley to run out the clock against Tennessee and finally bury a 17-point underdog (bad things, man). Not that it matters this week. Vanderbilt had a really good loss to South Carolina, followed by a really bad loss to Kentucky. Common denominator: They lose. Dogs win but take Vandy and 33½.
A time for reflection for Georgia fans (again)
Miami at Georgia Tech: The Jackets twiddled their thumbs against Wofford, Tulane and Georgia Southern, then they went to Blacksburg and won. So there’s your proof: Schizophrenia has just gotten a bad name through the years. Win this and the Techies are strongly positioned for a conference title game, but Vegas hasn’t bought in: The line has shifted from the Jackets being slight favorites to slight underdogs. Not sure why but I’m aboard the Crazy Train: Tech wins and take the gift 1.
A time for Tech to shun the non-believers
Florida at Tennessee: The Gators have allowed 818 yards passing in two SEC games, which is a greater indictment on Will Muschamp (defensive coordinator by trade) than his team’s stinky offense. Series history: Florida has won nine straight and 22 of 28. Never expected to do this: Vols win, cover 2½.
LSU at Auburn: Stat that doesn’t matter: LSU outscored Sam Houston State, Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State by a combined 150-7. Stat that matters: Les Miles is 4-4 in his last eight SEC games. Research can be exhausting. I’m going back to darts. Auburn wins but take LSU and 7½.
Texas A&M at Starkville: I know Mississippi State is suddenly everybody’s chic team. But I still see Dan Mullen vs. Kevin Sumlin. Checkmate. Aggies win, take the 1½.
Bammy at Missy: Alabama’s offense has set a school record with 2,377 yards in four games, despite a quarterback (Blake Sims) who played running back as a freshman and threw 39 passes the next two years as a backup QB. It would be a great story, except that it’s killing Lane Kiffin jokes. Tide covers 6.
Georgia State at La.-Lafayette:
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ mascot is a chili pepper. I’m sorry but that’s just dumb. Should’ve gone with a Popeye’s drumstick or Crazy Eyed Emeril. Panthers lose but take the 16½.
South Carolina at Kentucky: The Wildcats will be facing an unranked team for the fifth straight week. Are the Gamecocks are step up from UT-Martin and Vanderbilt? Spurrier: “Everybody here knows what a good team looks like, and we ain’t one.” No argument. Meanwhile, four Kentucky players have been charged with disorderly conduct. Not sure but in the SEC I think that qualifies as progress. Spurrier vs. Kentucky 20-1. Gamecocks cover 5.
Seems look a good time for…
NFL SNACK PACK
Bucs at Saints: The Bucs (119), Falcons (113), Saints (110) and Panthers (96) have allowed the second, third, fourth and 12th most points in the NFL. Welcome to the tackle-optional division. Saints cover 10.
Chiefs at 49ers: Colin Kaepernick was among the Niners to deny a claim from Deion Sanders that San Francisco players want Jim Harbaugh gone. More breaking news: 1) Deion Sanders is not on the Pulitzer watch list; 2) The quarterback Harbaugh got rid of (Alex Smith) is playing better than the one he kept (Kaepernick). Niners cover 6.
Bengals at Patriots: Welcome to the NFL’s alternate universe, where Cincinnati is a favored at New England, Bill Belichick is asked whether he has thought of benching Tom Brady and Roger Goodell tells the truth. (I only made up one of these.) Meanwhile, Bill Belichick doesn’t want to talk about the 41-14 loss to Kansas City. In the span of one minute, he responded six times with variations of, “We’re onto Cincinnati.” Presumably better than they were onto the Chiefs. Pats win, and take the 1.
Belichick doesn’t want to talk about it
Last week (finally, success): 9-3 straight up, 7-5 against the line.
Chasing: 44-15 straight up, 26-33 against the line.
Locks: And bagels.
Sack Schultz 2014: I went 12-3 last week. Kind Of A Big Deal Award: Doug Baughman of Sugar Hill, Ga., and Jennifer Trowbridge of Geneva, NE, each went 15-0
and nearly hit the Texas A&M-Arkansas score on the nose. The overall national and AJC leader is DBridges of Georgia at 61-14.
Lilly’s Pick: She followed my lead and took the Falcons last week. Dummy. The mutt’s now 3-2. This week, the cheese’d choices were Matt Ryan and Eli Manning. Lilly went with Manning.
— AJC: Are Braves waiting for Dayton Moore? — MyAJC: Hawks are still playing wrong game off the court — MyAJC: Falcons’ losses like this are on Mike Smith — AJC: Falcons: No defense, no line, no chance — AJC: Live: Falcons face Vikings minus Peterson — MyAJC: John Hart says Braves ‘lethargic,’ need changes — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons, Dogs win, Rocker loses — AJC: Braves’ Hart says he would be open to mentoring role — AJC: Would Braves be better off not going “Braves Way”? — MyAJC: Georgia is 0-1 but SEC East is still there for taking — MyAJC: Full column: Frank Wren did a lot right but big things hurt him — AJC: Quick blog: Frank Wren failed at major decisions — AJC: Terry McGuirk is on the clock (updated) — MyAJC: Georgia’s next 7 games are what really counts — AJC: Short takes on Georgia’s 66-0 win over Troy — MyAJC: Falcons now realize they need to step on gas — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons win, Jackets lose, Goodell cowers — AJC: Braves see Nats celebrate, and Pirates may do same — MyAJC: Fredi Gonzalez: ‘It’s my team, I take full responsibility’ — AJC: Braves’ opponents often celebrates here — MyAJC: Falcons let everybody see their ugly side — AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ loss to Cincinnati — MyAJC: Georgia Tech has problems, but it also has Justin Thomas — AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s narrow escape — AJC: Ferry takes leave but Hawks won’t change with this ownership — AJC: Hawks giving lessons on how not to contain a fire — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Goodell sees alibis, I see Dogs — AJC: Goodell was at Masters when Rice video arrived — AJC: Silver says Ferry’s words not ‘terminable’ offense — MyAJC: Only cure: All Hawks’ owners and Ferry must go — AJC: Levenson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar miss point about Atlanta — MyAJC: Levenson gone but timing raises questions