Each week on Wednesday, betting website Bovada sends out an email (courtesy of their public relations guru, the great Jimmy Shapiro) with updated odds for a litany of categories of NFL wagering. Included each week are updated odds on each team's chances of making the playoffs and winning their division.
Last week, the Texans' odds of making the postseason were a robust -400 (in other words, you'd have to risk $400 to win just $100), and their chances of winning the AFC South were -260 (risking $260 to win $100). Put simply, they are major favorites to win the division, and it'd be downright shocking if they missed the postseason altogether. It will be interesting to see what the oddsmakers think this coming Wednesday, because as the Texans sat idle on their bye week, their competition for the AFC South crown had a pretty solid afternoon on Sunday.
The Colts beat the Jaguars in a 29-26 nail biter in Indianapolis, their third win in a row, and the Tennessee Titans pulled off their second upset in six days, knocking off the defending AFC champion New England Patriots in a stunning blowout, 34-10. So now, all of a sudden, with the entire AFC South now having had their respective bye weeks, the standings look like this:
So let's assess this, and other happenings from the weekend that was, with some winners and losers:
4. Texan season ticket holders
Those two sneaky hot AFC South teams I mentioned in the open to this post comprise two thirds of a three game home stretch coming up after Thanksgiving — the Titans on a Monday night and the Colts two weeks later. In between, you have the Cleveland Browns coming in, an imminently winnable game, but a game that picked up some heat yesterday with the Browns' 28-16 thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons. Let's face it, when the Texans began the season 0-3, none of the post bye week games looked very enticing, but now they're all meaningful.
3. Mike Vrabel
One of my worst calls of the weekend (among several, more on that in a minute) was taking the Patriots to beat the Titans by a touchdown or more. The Titans made me and the Pats look foolish all afternoon Sunday, and for the second game in a row, Marcus Mariota looked the part of a former No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft. In his first season as a head coach at any level, Mike Vrabel has now beaten former cronies Bill O'Brien (with Blaine Gabbert as Vrabel's QB) and Bill Belichick, in addition to knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions. That's pretty good.
2. Houston Texans (in the eyes of Vegas)
Here are the opening odds for this weekend's Week 11 games in the NFL:
NFL Week 11— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) November 11, 2018
Sea -2.5 vs GB
Car -3.5 at Det
Atl -4.5 vs Dal
Bal (NL) vs Cin
Chi -3 vs Min
NO -7 vs Phi
Ind -3 vs Ten
Hou -3 EV at Wsh
NYG Pick vs TB
LAC -7 vs Den
Ari -3.5 vs Oak
Pit -3.5 at Jax
LAR -1 vs KC, total 64 at Mexico City
Bye Week: Buf, Cle, Mia, NE, NYJ, SF
I am shocked the Texans are opening as a 3 point favorite on the road against a 6-3 Washington team. I get it, the Redskins are probably not quite as good as their record, but some would argue that neither are the Texans. I'm guessing the Texans will be better able to exploit the Redskins' injuries along the offensive line than the Bucs yesterday, and maybe that's a partial explanation for the odds on this game.
1. Drew Brees
Another terrible call by me this past weekend — taking the Bengals getting 5.5 points at home against the New Orleans Saints. I figured it was a classic letdown spot for the Saints after their huge win over the Rams last weekend, and with the Eagles coming to town in Week 11. Well... final score, Saints 51, Bengals 14. Drew Brees was damn near perfect — 22 of 25, 265 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions. He gets my vote for MVP this season. But yeah, an awful handicapping job by me. In fact, let's call it what it is...
4. My prognostication skills
... I went 1-4-1 on my picks this past weekend, and my one win was by a half a point, thanks to the Colts. My push was Alabama -24 (They won 24-0.), and my four ATS losses all lost straight up, too, and missed the spread by 16.5, 14.5, 26.5, and 39.5 points. I was awful this past weekend, no two ways about it.
3. Tom Herman, Twitter punching bag
So it was a relatively quiet Sunday sports afternoon on Twitter. You had your garden variety NFL tweets, and some smoke on Carmelo Anthony and the Rockets, but the was about it. And then Zach Smith unloaded. You all remember Smith, right? The alleged domestic abuser who was fired by Urban Meyer from his wide receivers coaching job at Ohio State? Well, he's apparently not a big fan of his former staff-mate at OSU, current Texas Longhorn head coach Tom Herman:
Remember when you were with an a Asian massuese? Because I dooooooooo.... @CoachTomHerman - you’re the biggest snitch alive... and also the biggest hypocrite alive. Anyone wanna know all that I know about Tommy Boy? Contact me. Lmao pic.twitter.com/L9x4bJ19ii— Zach Smith (@CoachZachSmith) November 11, 2018
I was crucified and ruined on social media... for no reason. However........ I know several high profile coaches that SHOULD have been.... know what I mean @CoachTomHerman ? Remember the several times you cheated on @belletjh and she told my ex about it? Because... I do. Lmao— Zach Smith (@CoachZachSmith) November 11, 2018
Hey @Brett_McMurphy - report this. I witnessed Tom Herman cheat on his wife (@belletjh ) several times... once at an Asian massage parlor... and just texted him that I’m done protecting him. We gonna be “honest” now!? Or nah... LMAO— Zach Smith (@CoachZachSmith) November 11, 2018
For what it's worth, Herman hasn't tweeted since late August, an odd absence from social media for a head coach who swears by the power of the medium.
2. Matt Patricia
Since being a complete horse's ass to this reporter in a press conference prior to Week 9...
... Lions head coach Matt Patricia is 0-2 with two double digit losses in division games. Sometimes, karma has a nice way of working out.
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1. Derek Carr
And in the play of the week, Derek Carr throws the ball away on fourth down....
Down 14 in the 4th quarter Derek Carr intentionally threw it into the ground....ON 4TH AND 5 pic.twitter.com/9iF95RMnG4— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) November 11, 2018
Perhaps he was hoping Gruden would have the right play call for FIFTH down. The Raiders are an abomination.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.