Last week’s National Football League action produced a pair of huge upsets. On Sunday, the New York Jets got their first win of the season in a very unlikely place, at Los Angeles against the 17 point favored Rams. On Monday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers were two touchdown road favorites, and lost their third straight game against the struggling Cincinnati Bengals.
That was last week. Now what?
A game is most often decided by the better team on the field. In a mismatch, it is the heavy favorite that dictates the result by playing poorly as opposed to a bad team suddenly good enough to beat a talented opponent. Which means this, in the following game the better team that lost is in a highly charged spot to atone for their bad week, and the bad team is often suddenly overrated.
The fact that the Jets finally got a win does not necessarily mean they are a better team today than they were a week ago. It only means they got a victory where their opponent played poorly and now the next team they face will be more on alert that a game against the Jets is not an automatic win.
That logically concludes that the Cleveland Browns, who meet the Jets at MetLife Stadium tomorrow, have a better chance of downing the Jets now than if New York had lost last Sunday in Los Angeles. Although today's revelations about Covid-19 outbreaks doesn't help Cleveland's prospects.
As for the Steelers, who lost to the Bengals on Monday night, their three game losing streak can be traced to injuries and a bloated won/loss record that had swelled to 11 straight wins before they suffered their first setback. Even a couple of their recent wins were suspect, needing a late comeback to beat the hapless Dallas Cowboys and edging the Baltimore Ravens while John Harbaugh’s squad played with a depleted roster due to injuries and the virus.
Now, the Steelers defeat against Cincinnati can be attributed to both injuries and a horrible motivational spot. Favored on the road by two touchdowns against a division opponent that they beat by 26 points last month.
If it was so damn obvious, why didn’t I have the Bengals on Monday night?!
Well, we didn’t pick the game because I respected the Steelers and this century teams favored by 14 or 14½ points on the road after a pair of losses were 2-0 both straight up and against the point spread. But now, after the Steelers lost that game, their losing streak is real and the possibility of them falling out of first place in the AFC North Division, something that seemed inconceivable just a few weeks ago, shifts the motivation back the Steelers way.
They have reached a point where their record is no longer ahead of their actual talent.
Which means this, they have a real good shot at winning on Sunday at home against the talented Indianapolis Colts now that they have lost a few in a row and are not overconfident.
Qoxhi Picks: Pittsburgh Steelers (pk) over Indianapolis Colts