Are you as hungry as me to just have things be normal?
Well, how about this: Thirty-two National Football League teams in action this week and the schedule begins with one game on Thursday night and ends with one game on Monday Night with 14 games on Sunday.
You can’t get any more normal than that.
Here is something else that is normal, Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots recovering from early season woes to get back into the playoff hunt. The Patriots have been in the playoffs 18 of the past 20 seasons, never had a record worse than the rest of the teams in their division since 2001, and in one of those two years they missed the playoffs Tom Brady was hurt on opening day and missed the season.
Wait, Brady isn’t playing for the Patriots this year either. That may be the major reason they come into action tonight two games behind second place Miami in the AFC East and three games behind division leading Buffalo.
But hey, don’t worry Patriots fans, this is Belichick. He pulled you off the floor four years ago when your New England team trailed by 25 points in the second half of Super Bowl LI, and eventually won in overtime. And, last time he went up against Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams, he beat them to win another Super Bowl two years ago.
Tonight, the Patriots are playing for a second straight week at Southern California’s new marvel, SoFi Stadium. Last Sunday, they were two point underdogs to Los Angeles’ other team, the Chargers, and beat them 45-0. Tonight, they are even getting more points on the spread, a line that opened with New England a 6½ point underdog has been shaved to a 4½ point underdog role for the Patriots. Must mean somebody knows something.
What we have tonight is the Patriots completing their long California stay with a game against a Rams team that has two major factors in their favor. First, Goff played perhaps the worst game of his career in that Super Bowl two seasons ago and the Rams never cracked the endzone. And second, the Rams are a much better team than New England this year.
Wait, why does losing a Super Bowl compute to an edge for the Rams tonight?
Because, that loss two years ago on the biggest stage focuses Los Angeles even though the Rams have a better record, are at home and the Patriots are playing for a second straight week on the road. The public, and apparently even some smart money, are backing the Patriots chances.
While the public, and in this case surprisingly even some smart money, are following the team that won 45-0 last week, that fact does not bode well for them tonight. Teams that win big one week often have to lay more points as a favorite, or get less points when underdogs, in their following game. And while this falls into the category of conventional wisdom, the truth is that teams that win big one week, 45-0 qualifies, have less chance of winning in their next game.
Which leaves us with this tonight.
The public backing the wrong team and we benefiting by having to lay less points. I would have given the opening line of 6½ points with the Rams tonight, but will gladly take an even enhanced wager while laying less points.
So, you want normal?
The Rams winning tonight is normal.
Qoxhi Picks: Los Angeles Rams (-4½) over New England Patriots