BOSTON -- Real football people love to talk about how much work goes into the game, especially for quarterbacks. Grinding tape, studying the playbook, working on mechanics and conditioning, building chemistry with receivers, making pre-snap reads and calls, communicating in the huddle and at the line, the list never ends!
But Josh Dobbs has a few words for all you clowns: Shut uppppppp with all of that, would you?
In case you missed it, Dobbs got traded to the Vikings on Tuesday, learned nothing during the week, was forced into action due to injury, and absolutely balled out while leading Minnesota to a 31-28 win over the Falcons in Atlanta.
Did Dobbs know the playbook? Nope. Kevin O'Connell had to explain it to him through the helmet earpiece before every play.
Did Dobbs know his teammates' names? Not all of 'em.
Did those players know what his cadence sounded like? Nope, they had to learn it on the sideline.
Did he know all the protection calls? All the pre-snap motions? Nope and nope.
But he did know how to sling two touchdowns, and he knew when to pull the ball down and run, resulting in 66 rushing yards and a touchdown. And he knew how to win.
It all begs the question to every quarterback who doesn't win: What's your excuse, loser?
We've got Josh Dobbs out here -- Josh Dobbs! -- winning games a few days after joining a new team. A fourth-round pick in 2017, Dobbs is 1-9 as a starter. Prior to Sunday, he had 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. That was after studying and working and grinding and all of that.
Turns out, the secret was to just show up and wing it. Everybody else is overthinking matters.
And Dobbs isn't the first to do this in the last calendar year. Remember when Baker Mayfield showed up with the Rams on a Tuesday last year and ended up leading the Rams to a win on a Thursday night? He threw for 230 yards and a touchdown that night. leading two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to win the game.
Didn't know the playbook, didn't know the calls, still won the game.
We've been doing it all wrong, people. Minicamp? Training camp? PRESEASON GAMES?! Cancel them all. Bring the players in at the end of August, roll out the bags of balls, and let the boys play! Practice and preparation is for suckers.
Turns out, playing quarterback in the NFL is insanely easy. No need to overcomplicate things.
(Home team in CAPS; Thursday lines)
CHICAGO (-3.5) over Carolina
There are certain moments during the NFL season where you have to look in the mirror and acknowledge the fact that you are just an enormous, broken loser. And as you settle in around 10:15 p.m. and realize that you'll be watching the Panthers-Bears game until the bitter end, it's a good opportunity to take that moment of reflection.
There's nothing wrong with it. (Well there is, but don't worry about it.) But it's good to open up an honest dialogue with yourself as you embark on a night when you're watching a 1-7 team visiting a 2-7 team on a streaming network with the worst broadcast of all NFL games.
Great way to start the NFL week right there. Love it.
Indianapolis (-1.5) over NEW ENGLAND (in Germany)
The NFL might have thought that it was throwing the Patriots a bone when they gave them the Colts for the "home game" they are playing overseas. Might have seemed like an easy win back in the spring for Bill Belichick on his march to pass Don Shula.
But as we know, things have changed. The Patriots are spiraling -- and arethis week, to boot -- and seemingly have no idea how to get back on steady footing. The Colts aren't exactly a good team, no. They just beat the aforementioned 1-7 Panthers to snap a three-game losing streak. But I bet their vibes are much better heading over to Frankfurt, and I bet Gardner Minshew can play just as well as Sam Howell did against the Patriots a week ago.
Dark times in New England. Dark times indeed.
BALTIMORE (-6) over Cleveland
Two of my biggest misses this year have involved the Ravens. I had Seattle +5.5 in Baltimore last week; the Ravens won by 34. I had Detroit +3 in Baltimore in Week 7; the Ravens won by 32. (I also had Denver +6.5 in Miami when the Dolphins won 70-20. Brag.)
So I don't know. Baltimore has had some shaky games. But I should probably stop trying to predict their down weeks. It's a losing endeavor.
Houston (+7) over CINCINNATI
The Bengals are back, we've established that. But the Texans are too spunky to not take those points.
San Francisco (-3) over JACKSONVILLE
The Jaguars rattled off five straight wins before their bye week, while the 49ers lost three straight games before their bye week ... but the 49ers are better. Boom. Pick done.
MINNESOTA (+2.5) over New Orleans
I was tongue-in-cheek with all that Josh Dobbs stuff in the intro. I hope that was obvious. If not, oh well, not my problem. But I do think it's funny that after being the story of the NFL last week, the Vikings are home dogs against a Saints team with zero wins over good teams this year. We're all on the Dobbs Train again on Sunday, baby.
PITTSBURGH (-3) over Green Bay
The Steelers are plenty capable of beating bad teams. The Green Bay Packers are a bad team.
TAMPA BAY (-1.5) over Tennessee
I'll just say I'm happy that this game isn't on a Thursday night, because you know I'd be consuming every last snap of this one.
Atlanta (-1.5) over ARIZONA
I can't believe I have to make a pick in this game. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. If I ever quit doing this godforsaken picks column, blame games like this one as the reason that sent me over the edge. This is repulsive.
Detroit (+3) over LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
There have definitely been times during Dan Campbell's tenure where I have said that they have been humbled with a loss and thus will come out and destroy their poor next opponent. I'm willing to bet that's held true every time. Don't fact-check me on that one. It's just right.
Well they did it two weeks ago against the Raiders, and now they've been humbled by their bye weeks. I hereby declare Dan Campbell's Lions to be undefeated when coming out of their bye following a humble-breaking win.
I think this NFL season is wearing me thin.
DALLAS (-16.5) over New York Giants
I was trying to think of how high this line would have to be in order for me to take Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants. I settled on 30. I love the Giants +30. I like them +24. I do not like them +16.5.
It's always dicey when a good team like the Cowboys could lay off the throttle and play down to an opponent and thus only win by a measly 13 points or whatever. But you have to be a certified psychopath to find any single reason to take the Giants this week.
It's really up to you to decide what you are there.
Washington (+6.5) over SEATTLE
What a frustrating line. I do believe Seattle takes care of business at home after an ugly showing in Baltimore. Washington's overdue for a loss, having won a single football game. But 6.5? It's tight, man. Tight.
Of their five losses, the Mandies have been blown out twice, they've lost by seven twice, and they lost by three once. Of their five wins, the Seahawks have won once via blowout, they've won by 10 twice, and they've won by six and four points.
It's a tough call. But the Seahawks' ugly showing last week is enough to sway me toward the Mandies. (I'm trying to get the Mandies to catch on. Is it working?)
New York Jets (-1) over LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
I picked the Jets in prime time and sat through the excruciating process of hoping Zach Wilson does something good. It was brutal!
A wiser man would not repeat the same mistake a week later but buddy, I am not wise! Can't wait to see the man set a single-game fumble and sack record again. Cannot wait.
(On a real note, why can't Zach Wilson just play quarterback like everyone else? Why must every snap involve him standing in the pocket for eight seconds, scrambling right, running back to the left, and then ... firing a pass to a receiver four yards from the line of scrimmage? It's setting football back several decades. I've never seen anything like it.)
Denver (+7.5) over BUFFALO
Imagine if the Broncos sandwiched their bye weeks with upset wins over the Chiefs and Bills? Would be wild.
Go ahead and imagine it. Are you imagining it? Crazy, right?
I do think for this week the best they can dream of is a backdoor cover. It's a risky pick, because the Broncos are bad. But the Bills haven't won big since their Week 4 win over Miami. They won by five over the freaking Giants. Six points over the Bucs. Lost to the Patriots and Bengals.
They have all the firepower, the quarterback, all of that. But they're not the juggernaut they're made out to be.
So here's hoping the Broncos get the ball down 10 in the final minutes before kicking a field goal that is largely meaningless. Largely. That would be the good stuff.
Last week: 8-6
for more features.