Before getting into the third meeting in 11 months between the Falcons and Packers — none in Green Bay in the winter, because it turns out there is a sportswriter travel god after all, and I can make only so many jokes about tubby fans stuffed into orange and camouflage hunting jumpsuits; actually maybe there’s no limit — let’s go to the news.
It was not a proud week for Georgia residents with a conscience. First, Atlanta-based Equifax, part owner of America whether we like it or not, suffered a “security breach” that exposed 143 million social security numbers, give or take everybody who has ever spent more than a nickel. It turns out Equifax’s security was so flimsy that, and I’m not making this up, any online employee in the Argentina office could log in by typing “admin” as both the logon and the password.
It’s believed this was a security upgrade from “logon” for logon and “password” for password.
Don’t worry. A Labrador will guard the open safe.
It gets worse. Three Equifax executives dumped their stock after learning of the breach. Because nobody would pick up on that, right? Quoth the wise old “Lou” in the movie Wall Street to the insider-trading “Bud”: “You’re on a roll, kid. Enjoy it while it lasts. Because it never does.”
At least there’s no record of Equifax executives escaping town after the breach to attend the Georgia-Notre Dame game. Savannah congressman Buddy Carter had the monopoly on that. He left for South Bend as Hurricane Irma was hitting his district.
Hey, I’m not suggesting Carter could’ve stopped the hurricane. I just think there’s something to be said for an elected official not tailgating and woofing and stuffing his pie hole with hot dogs 900 miles away when his city might be leveled.
Then again, it was a big game.
So now that we can all be comforted in knowing somebody in Argentina is putting a boat on our Visa and a Georgia congressman was safe and sound in Indiana, which is at least wired for cable, let’s get on with this week’s investments.
Karma is a huge favorite. But give the points.
Also, the Falcons are favored by three over Green Bay. This is a rematch of the NFC Championship game. The Falcons didn’t look great in their first game but won. The Packers looked better against Seattle.
But Sunday could be a big day. The Hypothetically Retractable Roof may be open in Mercedes Benz Stadium, if the weather cooperates. It would be the first time the Falcons breathe non-recirculated air in a home game since 1991.
The Falcons won their last five games at Fulton County Stadium. I’m all about trends.
Trust me. I’ll watch your wallet. Several states away.
Falcons win and cover 3.
The Tao of Lou
Samford at Georgia: The Bulldogs play their third consecutive home game if you count last week in South Bend, when half of the Notre Dame fans sold their tickets and the other half crawled into a fetal position and prayed for the coming of “Rudy.” Samford is also the Bulldogs, but there will be no confusion. Defense gives home Dogs a short field: The 35 is covered.
Clemson at Louisville: Some view this game as a potential flash point for Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s NFL draft stock. Nothing against Jackson. I prefer looking at the list of pro quarterbacks Bobby Petrino has developed. It’s over there, crumpled up, on the ground, where the dog is … oops. Tigers cover 3½.
Tennessee at Florida: Tennessee coach Butch Jones said he won’t rule out using two kickers this season. On a related note, the school hasn’t ruled out using two head coaches. Gators win, but take Tennessee and 4½.
Mississippi at Cal: Ole Miss and the remains of Hugh Freeze’s career appeared before the NCAA this week to plead for one last time that they’re not nearly the two-faced liars they’ve been made out to be. Also, the potential recruit who was paid $13,000 by a booster was actually below market value. Also, the woman on Freeze’s cellphone came on to him first. Cal covers 3½.
LSU at Mississippi State: Mississippi State has scored 106 points in two wins over Charleston Southern and Louisiana Tech. Welcome to the SEC vs. Doggy Rawhide School of scheduling. LSU wins, but take Missy State and 7½.
Kentucky at South Carolina: The Gamecocks have a chance to go to 2-0 in the SEC. These celebrations in Columbia generally are reserved for September. Poultry covers 6½.
Georgia State at Penn State: GSU booked this game for the $1.2 million paycheck. But you won’t hear that amid the, “It will be a great experience for kids,” talking points. Talking points are easy when you’re eating chicken wings from a comfortable distance in a skybox. Look away, suits. Nittany Lions cover 37.
(Nittany) Lion swallows Sun Belt man
Vikings at Steelers: Sam Bradford completed 84.4 percent of his passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns last week. Unfortunately, he was going against New Orleans, and the Vikings play an NFL team this week. Steelers win, but take Minnesota 5.
Patriots at Saints: New England enjoyed having “28-3” on the scoreboard before their opener against the Chiefs. Wonder how long they kept “42-27” up there after the loss? Tom Brady probably is the last quarterback the Saints’ defense wants to face this week. Duck. Patriots cover 6½.
Browns at Ravens: DeShone Kizer is Cleveland’s 27th starting quarterback since 1999. The good news is, he looked pretty good last week, and he’s the first one to not seeing 7-feet tall pink bunnies going into his second game. Baltimore wins, but take Cleveland and 9.
Bills at Panthers: Sean McDermott seems to have it far more together in Buffalo than Rex Ryan did. Way to a kill a good joke, dude. Panthers win, but take Buffalo and 7.
Cowboys at Broncos: Dallas wanted Paxton Lynch (Denver) in the first round of the 2016 draft. They ended up with Dak Prescott in the fourth. Yeah, that worked out OK. Dallas covers 2½.
Sack Schultz Update
I went 13-2 in contest picks last week for a two-week score of 24-6. There are 12 contestants with 26 wins, including three AJC readers. I’m confident they will ultimately fall to the superior being. It’s not too late to enter for weekly prizes and the grand prize of a $2,500 vacation. Go to AJC.com/sackschultz2017.
Scorecard and Lilly’s pick
Last week: 12-1 straight up, 8-5 against the line
Toteboard: 19-4 straight up, 14-8-1 against the line.
Lilly’s pick: Lilly rebounded from her Week 1 loss by picking the Georgia upset. This week, I cheese’d two pictures: a cheesehead (Green Bay) on the left and mac ‘n cheese (Atlanta) on the right. Lilly went right. Mac ‘n cheese/Falcons win.
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- Month after Hart’s praise, Brian Snitker’s future with Braves may not be secure after all
- Nick Chubb and Georgia’s offense remain a work in progress
- Overreaction Monday: Everybody wins (but everybody has issues)
- Falcons’ opening act better than their closing (but not by much)
- Georgia flawed but win could prove to be big moment in their season
- Quinn familiar with ‘storylines’ but convinced Falcons ready to rebound
- Patriots troll Falcons with “28-3” on scoreboard before season opener
- Weekend Predictions: Georgia over Lack of Irish, Falcons over Bears
- Expect Falcons’ defense to take significant jump this season
- Quarterback aside, Georgia’s season comes down to Smart and resilience
- Fromm gets his chance but assumptions about Georgia’s QBs premature
- Falcons have line depth so Hageman suddenly wasn’t worth trouble
- Other than injury, thoughts of replacing Jacob Eason are silly
- Alabama looks like legit No. 1 but Saban teams have been here before
- Power now too spread out to expect SEC’s long reign will be replicated
- Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets win; Saban schools another assistant
- Steve Sarkisian adapting to scheme but it’s Matt Ryan’s offense now
- Ryan’s deal will eclipse Stafford’s ($135 million) but not Rodgers’
- Weekend Predictions (sound check): ‘Sack Schultz 2017’ now open!
- @Twitter me this: Is it @UGAFootball’s turn in the @SEC this season?
- Smart still growing as head coach, has some ‘regrets’ about first season
- Payne brought needed change to Masters and his exclusive world
- Tech gains apparel deal, loses a star, but Johnson says team will be fine
- Poll: How many starters do Braves have for next season? 1, 2 … any?
- Falcons’ history shows no correlation between preseason, regular season
- Falcons’ defense should benefit from Poe’s long journey to NFL
- Before football begins: 5 teams, 5 questions (and what about Chaney?)
- Thomas continues PGA’s tour of millennials but Kisner gave it a run
- UGA’s Kevin Kisner continues his rise to top of PGA leaderboard
- Are Panthers cautionary tale for Falcons or just team in decline?