Zac Taylor says the Bengals won't be trading AJ Green, and on one basic level, that's fine. AJ, even after so many injuries,will probably continue to be a fine player, and if the Bengals do have a rookie quarterback next season, there's merit to the belief that one of the better ways to ease the new guy into the NFL is by having a quality, uber-professional guy like AJ to throw to.
And, for what it's worth, I'm not entirely convinced that the Bengals would have been able to get a first round pick in exchange for AJ in a trade.
So at face value, I have no issue with one of the finest players in franchise history remaining a Bengal. I just believe that for a team that needs to rebuild, a possible first rounder would've provided more value than the return of a 32 year-old receiver.
The main issue though is Taylor's announcement reeks of the same closed-mindedness that has almost come to define this franchise. It's not that they won't trade AJ that's the problem, it's that they seemingly won't even entertain the idea that trading him could greatly help the Bengals return to relevance.
So it's left me to wonder, if the rebuild isn't going to include the accumulation of draft capital, and if it won't include a more aggressive approach in free agency, how then is the rebuild supposed to work?
And are the people running this club delusional enough to really think that keeping this team intact and hoping for better health will yield the kind of results that have eluded the Bengals for years?
Bengals/Ravens PUSH. This is my way of telling you that I'm not going near this game. The number (11) is just too high for a team that's had three close calls and that's playing a division opponent that's been all over the place through five games. If had to go one way or the other, I'd lean Baltimore because of the Justin Tucker factor, but the Ravens' defensive issues and their shaky offensive line don't make them a comfortable bet.
Plus, as has been mentioned here more than a few times, I don't bet against the teams I root for.
I'm just not betting on them either. There's too many issues with Lamar Jackson's running and Mark Ingram's ability to get yardage on first down for me to feel good about the Bengals pulling off an upset, much less covering the number.
And the offense stinks.
Ravens 31 Bengals 20
Here are tilts I will invest in....
Cleveland (+1.5) over Seattle. What made the Browns interesting before the season was the potential for their season to be up and down, with the hot takes based on their most recent result being a fun accompaniment to their successes and failure.
They were down last week. In fact, they looked miserable against San Francisco. The result is being overvalued at home.
Jacksonville (-1) at New Orleans. I think the Saints keep it close enough that I might find another team to put them in a teaser with, but the Jags have 12 sacks over their last two games and as much as I'm a fan of Teddy Bridgewater, he's not good under pressure.
Chargers (-6.5) over Pittsburgh. Buy LA now before Mason Rudolph not playing becomes official.
College tilts worth investing in....
Houston (+7.5) over Cincinnati. I came very close to taking the Bearcats when they were laying 5.5, but it's hiked up to 7.5, and while I don't think UC will lose, there's enough speed on Houston's team for this game to be closer than Vegas thinks. The good guys will be 5-1, but they're not a safe bet this week.
Bearcats 28 Cougars 24
Tennessee (+7) over Mississippi State. The Vols showed some explosiveness in the loss to Georgia last week.The Bulldogs have allowed 25 passes of over 20 yards. I'm leaning UT moneyline, I'm locking in the Volunteers getting seven.
Temple (+5.5) over Memphis. As my friend Tony Pike would say, "home dogs howl." The Owls' defense is a problem.
Illinois (+21.5) over Michigan. I've watched enough of the Wolverines' offense to salivate when I'm getting 21.5 points against it.
Arizona (+6) over Washington. The Wildcats have completed 10 passe of over 40 yards. The Huskies just gave up 500 yards to Stanford. Enough said.
NFL mark in 2019: 18-8.
College mark in 2019: 16-12-1.
Have a pleasant weekend.