Weekend Predictions: Falcons over their exes; Dogs, Jackets cover

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According to legend, my second favorite source after things overheard in presidential debates, the dark art of revenge dates back to “Nemesis,” who in Greek mythology was believed to be the goddess of divine retribution. Nemesis was considered a remorseless goddess but she developed a mischievous sense of humor later in life and invented the Cleveland Browns, the New York Mets and pushed an Arkansas football coach and his motorcycle off the side of the road.

This week, the Falcons, who centuries ago must have really ticked off Nemesis, probably when a real falcon pooped on her Chevy, open the season against Tampa Bay.

Will Nemeis, goddess of revenge, strike this week?

Will Nemeis, goddess of revenge, strike this week?

Nobody is quite sure what to think of the Falcons. They were a slightly more stable version of Sybil last season and have seen their Super Bowl odds balloon from 33-1 to 66-1 since February, as if Nemesis was overheard chortling an evil chortle while standing in the Caesars Palace sportsbook.

The Bucs are viewed as a team on the way up. They have a talented quarterback (Jameis Winston) who proved in college he could run play-action in the seafood aisle at a Tallahassee Publix, a head coach (Dirk Koetter) who knows offense and a former head coach (Mike Smith) whose specialty is defense.

Smith and Koetter used to coach with the Falcons. They were fired. They were not happy.

Smith was all psyched up for Thursday’s news conference in Tampa Bay.

“They’re very good,” he said of the Falcons.

Trust me: Underneath that vanilla exterior, there’s . . . strawberry.

The Falcons are favored by a field goal. Sounds about right. Assuming they’ve learned how to tackle Winston because that didn’t go too well last season. Birds cover 3.

A reminder of Jameis Winston’s 20-yard run on third-and-19

Easily his best moves since doubling back with crab legs (40-second mark)

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We’re only one week into the contest, and yes you can still join for a chance to win great prizes, including two tickets to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Go to MyAJC.com/go/sackschultz2016 to register. Danny Long (15-0, Topeka, Kansas) and Jack Branscomb (14-1, Lilburn) were last week’s winners. I went 11-4. Not trying to show off yet. For more info click here.

Old School

Nicholls State at Georgia: Georgia’s opponent wants us to refer to it as “Nicholls,” I think because Harvard dropped “State” and look what it did for them. But it’s still “Nicholls State” in Wikipedia, the official research department of Weekend Predictions. The school has 5,500 undergrads, none of whom should be playing football in an SEC stadium, but administrators are getting $525,000 to watch this from a safe distance with a fruit platter. Nicholls State has been outscored 359-33 in its last six games vs. FBS opponents. This should go well. Dogs cover 49.

Mercer at Georgia Tech: Paul Johnson took responsibility for the Jackets’ sloppy play in the season opener in Dublin, so he only made his players walk across hot coals for three hours instead of four. Kidding. It was four. So this week isn’t well-timed for Mercer. But the good news is the Jackets have suspended two of their B-backs, which means … actually, almost nothing. Jackets cover 32½.

So many games this week remind me of . . .

Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee: Ever wonder what would happen if Tennessee football intersected with NASCAR? This game will be played at Bristol Motor Speedway. You’ve got no shot of getting a seat in Shoney’s within 60 miles. It would be great if the coaching staffs were dressed as pit crews. Given the near loss to Appalachian State last week, Butch Jones would be wearing a “Laughing Clown Malt Liquor” jumpsuit like Ricky Bobby. Vols win but take VaTech and 11½.

South Carolina at Mississippi State: Dan Mullen lost the opener to South Alabama. No worries. The schedule gets easier now. Mississippi State covers 7.

Jacksonville State at LSU: SEC and ACC opponents this week include Troy, Arkansas State, FAU, Prairie View, Charleston Southern, Wofford and Jax State. But good timing for Les Miles. LSU lost to Wisconsin in Lambeau Field. Now they’re back home, so the worst thing Miles has to worry about is being attacked by drunk boosters plotting his overthrow. Tigers cover 30.

Kentucky at Florida: The last time Kentucky beat Florida in football (1986), Ronald Reagan was in office and Bon Jovi sang, “Livin’ On A Prayer,” which should be Kentucky’s football theme song. Mark Stoops is 4-20 in the SEC. His team blew a 35-10 lead at home and lost to Southern Miss last week.  Basketball practice opens Oct. 14. Gators cover 17.

Dear Lord, please forgive me for this . . 

Georgia State at Air Force: That loss to Ball State doesn’t crush Trent Miles’ hopes of getting a contract extension but the Panthers may be looking at an 0-4 start with Air Force, Wisconsin and Appalachian State in the next three weeks. So much for bowl season afterglow. Air Force covers 18.

Western Kentucky at Alabama: Nick Saban warned his players not to let down after stealing USC’s dignity last week or they could lose this game. Of course they can. Because schools always pay $1.3 million to play teams they can lose to. Last two meetings: Alabama 76, Western Kentucky 7. Could be Saturday’s score. Bammy covers 29½.

NFL Six Pack

(Drank One)

Sam Bradford arrives in trade from Philadelphia. (Actually, these are "delicate" wool socks from Falke for $800, still cheaper than a No. 1 pick).

Sam Bradford arrives in trade from Philadelphia. (Actually, these are $800 socks from Falke made of wool from endangered Vicunas. I’m not making that up.)

Giants at Cowboys: Dallas opens the season with three players suspended, so angering owner Jerry Jones that he blew out his entire scouting staff at Leavenworth. South America’s team. Giants cover 1..

Rams at 49ers: Colin Kaepernick likes to sit. He might as well get used to it. Rams cover 2½.

Vikings at Titans: Minnesota lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater so it traded a first-round pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford. It was either that or buy a pair of $79,000 socks. Vikings cover 2½.

Patriots at Cardinals: There’s been media speculation that Tom Brady feels threatened by interim replacement Jimmy Garoppolo so he’s giving him the cold shoulder during his suspension. This seems as preposterous as a legendary but insecure quarterback feeling compelled to deflate footballs. Wait a minute. Cardinals cover 6.

Raiders at Saints: Drew Brees is guaranteed $44.25 million in his new contract, even if he plays only two more seasons. Something tells me this team is going to drop into a black hole in 2018. Or sooner. Oakland with a slight upset (take the point).

Scorecard

profit-or-loss“Trust everybody but cut the cards.” — Finley Peter Dunne

Last week: 6-3 overall, 4-4-1 against the spread.

Lilly’s pick: The mutt picked North Carolina last week and almost pulled it off. This week, I stuck cheese balls on pictures of former Falcons coach Mike Smith and his replacement, Dan Quinn. Lilly didn’t hesitate. She went right. Against the home team again: Smith and Bucs win.

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229 comments
LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Shultz, tell us again how those Nicholls State players had no business playing in an SEC stadium!! Looks like your dogs have

no business playing in an SEC stadium.. What a joke the dogs are, right Shultz?!!!  

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Nowhere else at the AJC to post about the Dogs escape against Nicholls State. A narrow 26-24 victory may be exactly what the Dogs needed before travelling to Missouri for their SEC opener, Now Smart and the coaching staff can get their message to sink in that the players  have to show up ready to play EVERY week. The Offense played terribly ,especially the Offensive Line. Of all the teams Nick Chubb has run against it is Nicholls State that breaks his 100 yards a game streak, Not Alabama, Auburn, Florida,South Carolina but Nicholls State. Congrats to Nicholls State for showing up and giving the Dogs a fight for 60 Minutes.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket  when has Tech been relevant?  They even play an irrelevant offense invented in 1890

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

How 'bout an education?

That should help you post more sensibly on here--and dramatically improve your pedestrian writing skills. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket I already have one...I'm smart enough to know the dawgs and their lame fans are as irrelevant as ever.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You already have one?

Like I said, it should help you, but there are no guarantees--obviously.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@FlatTire @TOJacket 2014 Orange Bowl Champs and record setters....it's one of the oldest bowls I think?....good talking to you again Flat......you keep a low profile??

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket  no not enough articles like there used to be and been too busy

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You mean the school (GT) rushing record?

Nothing wrong with that--if that's the case--but it's hardly the same as breaking a conference or national mark.

You just said "the rushing record," as if everyone would know which one.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket @DawgNole

Why didn't you say so in the first place? Are you arrogant enough to think that everyone know what record you mean when you say "record setting"?

You could've been referring to any record.

Dolt.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@FlatTire @TOJacket The dogs were really relevant today weren't they flattire? What a joke Nicholls State should have won. I thought your

dogs were a #9 team.. They

have no business being ranked at all. They were just RANK... 

Big Wally
Big Wally

OH:IO 1 hour ago

Speaking of the SEC! SEC! Least, FL vs former dog cupcake Charleston is beyond a joke. 


30 players suspended (by the NCAA) for Charleston Southern for buying ineligible items at the campus bookstore including the starting O line.


FL should cancel the game, pay Charleston Southern and move on.  If they play, and FL puts on a beatdown, I hope all the SEC! SEC! fools on the stands  get heatstroke in the Swamp. 


________________________________________________________________

Ummmm.   Florida STATE is playing Charleston Southern.   Florida is playing Kentucky.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Funny, I saw Charleston Southern and immediately thought dogs. 


I stand corrected. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally You don't even know which teams are in which conferences.


Bwahahahahaah. What a moron.


You should know your way to the woodshed by now.  Get going.

Jimbrandon
Jimbrandon

I think your attempt at satire or comedy on your picks comes across as mean and an insult or put down to whichever team you don't like . I think this especially true if that team is an SEC team. Your introductory piece is usually pretty funny so why not stop there with your comedy routine and just make your picks?i

DCOLELUVSDAWGS
DCOLELUVSDAWGS

OH:IO How old are you? 5 years old is what I'm thinking. The browneyes only play one hard team most the time. And why do you really care about the SEC. I think deep in side you really love the SEC! SEC!...It's ok, come on out!!!

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

You mean BG and Tulsa are not quality opponents?????

Powderpuff queens to open the season. What else is new with the little ten.

OH:IO
OH:IO

dogs are probably calling FL and asking to swap opponents tomorrow. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO I don't know about that, but I would say Rutgers is probably getting tips from Maryland on how to beat mighty Howard (FCS school and honorary member of the Big Noon  Conference since they play the Big Noon teams on a regular basis).

OH:IO
OH:IO

Speaking of the SEC! SEC! Least, FL vs former dog cupcake Charleston is beyond a joke. 


30 players suspended (by the NCAA) for Charleston Southern for buying ineligible items at the campus bookstore including the starting O line.


FL should cancel the game, pay Charleston Southern and move on.  If they play, and FL puts on a beatdown, I hope all the SEC! SEC! fools on the stands  get heatstroke in the Swamp. 

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO someone needs a timeout.  Getting all worked up.  Florida will play their SEC schedule, then play FSU, who you were building up big time after they beat Ole Miss.  Take a pill, drink one of your wine coolers then relax, it will all work out in the end.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

BG and Tulsa are the real deal Wally. Dont make me mad or I will flash my true tech hate for all things UGA.

Signed,

Techeye

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Who's "FL"?

You mean tampongator's team???

They don't even have the guts to play Charleston.

They're still smarting from having their azzes handed to them by Georgia Southern (FCS)--in Gainesville, no less.

Big Wally
Big Wally

Hey Blowhio, you should be glad UGA is playing a cupcake tomorrow and getting a noon kickoff.  It adds a little diversity to that long list of Big Noon Conference teams playing at..............noon.

For example;

Michigan, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, Minnesota, and Nebraska.  Wow 6 teams playing at noon.  That's almost half your conference isn't it? BTN, does that stand for Big Ten @ Noon by chance?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


lil wally, the only time a give a crap about other B1G teams is when we play them, when the SEC! SEC! plays them or during Bowl season. 


I am not a conference Coattail rider like the dogs are except when we embarrass the likes of a #5 LSU! LSU!   

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally Yes, but you take shots at the entire SEC, and SEC East, not just UGA most of the time.  Care to count the number of comments you had about the SEC East? If you are going to do that, you have to take your own medicine when it comes to the Big Noon's shortcomings.  Can't have it both ways chuckles.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


I take shots when opportunities present themselves.  It's s target rich environment. 


Deal with it

Big Wally
Big Wally

@OH:IO @Big Wally With the likes of Purdue, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern, Illinios, Minnesota, I can clearly see why you are ashamed of the overall conference and don't want to defend them.  Disassociating yourself from them is completely understandable.  I would be embarrassed to be in that conference if I were you also.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO @Big Wally

You sure as hell were riding the coattails of BG's 2015 offense last week.

You have a mighty short memory.