Armchair Quarterback: Last of the 2-point observations

STEVE BROWNLEE

In case you’ve been keeping up with this column, you’ll remember I addressed 2-point conversions last week.

One more thing occurred to me over the weekend, then I’ll shut up about them for the rest of the season.

This came from the world of college football late in a game on Saturday afternoon. That was when Michigan State decided to go for two points to take the lead on Ohio State, forgoing the 1-point kick that would’ve tied it and likely forced overtime.

This situation is unlike the ones when a team is all but forced to go for two, such as after a mid-fourth quarter touchdown that gives you a 1-point lead. At that point, it would be silly to kick for another point just to get a 2-point lead.

So in the “optional” 1-point/2-point situation, whether it’s what Spartans faced or simply going for two in the first quarter, here’s another guideline to take into account — Do you have a realistic shot of making it into the end zone?

Apparently, MSU didn’t really think so, throwing a pass on the 2-pointer, which is essentially a fourth-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. This was the same Spartans team that was held to less than 100 yards passing in the aftermath of the 60-some-yard pass play to start the game.

In hindsight, which is always 20/20, that play’s chance of succeeding had to be a lot less than 50 percent. If that’s the case, kick the one point and take your chances in OT.

OK, I’ll step off my soapbox for a look at this week’s games, the first time everyone will play since Week 3:

Thanksgiving, 12:30 p.m.

Minnesota at Detroit — Two teams much more at home in their own domes, as each is 4-1 at home and 2-3 on the road. Even though the Vikings’ win last week was more impressive, I’ll take the Lions, 27-24.

Thanksgiving, 4:30 p.m.

Washington at Dallas — If Dallas hadn’t lost their season opener by one point, we’d be talking about the pressure of an undefeated season on a rookie quarterback. Instead, I’ll stick with the home team. Cowboys, 31-23.

Thanksgiving, 8:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis — Even if the Colts have QB Andrew Luck, I’d lean toward Pittsburgh. But with Luck in the concussion protocol, it’s looking like Scott Tolzien will be the man under center for Indy. Who? Steelers, 37-27.

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Arizona at Atlanta — These teams are 1-2 in the NFL — at least on the alphabetical list. I’ll take the high-powered offense at home. Falcons, 31-24.

Cincinnati at Baltimore — The Bengals lost about half their offense against Buffalo on Sunday, with top receiver A.J. Green and top rusher-receiver Giovani Bernard possibly out for the rest of the season. And aren’t ravens known for picking at carcasses? Ravens, 26-16.

Jacksonville at Buffalo — Though no one can catch Cleveland, the Jaguars are making serious inroads toward the No. 2 pick in the draft at 2-8. Bills, 23-16.

Tennessee at Chicago — The Bears are also in the chase for the No. 2 pick, again at 2-8. Titans, 27-20.

N.Y. Giants at Cleveland — Starting next week, the Browns will be in crisis mode, looking for that single win that will keep them from matching the ’08 Lions’ 0-16 mark. Giants, 33-22.

San Diego at Houston — Two teams that have been getting hosed. But as long as Houston didn’t drink the Mexico City water, Texans, 23-19.

San Francisco at Miami — About halfway through the season, this looked like a battle for the No. 1 draft pick. Now Miami’s the No. 3 wild card team in the AFC. Dolphins, 17-12.

Los Angeles at New Orleans — The Rams’ Jared Goff should look a lot better in his second game. But he’s still no Drew Brees. Saints, 35-20.

Sunday, 4-4:30 p.m.

Seattle at Tampa Bay — Even with the win at New England 10 days ago, Seattle is only 2-2-1 on the road this season. Still, that’s better than the Bucs’ 1-4 mark at home. Seahawks, 20-17.

Carolina at Oakland — This feels like a trap game, since the best part of the Raiders’ defense — its pass rush — might not work vs. Carolina QB Cam Newton. That plus Oakland’s only losses this season are at home. But since the Panthers struggled moving the ball even against the porous New Orleans “D” last week, the trap may not be sprung. Raiders, 24-20.

New England at N.Y. Jets — This was supposed to be the Sunday prime-time game, but it should’ve been moved to a Thanksgiving non-televised slot since this should be a real turkey. Patriots, 41-17.

Sunday, 8:30 p.m.

Kansas City at Denver — KC has to be the most anonymous 7-3 team ever, whereas Denver is simply the most unimpressive 7-3 team on the planet. Somebody’s gotta win. Broncos, 24-23.

Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Green Bay at Philadelphia — Will Carson Wentz be the latest QB to get a Hall of Fame sheen after facing the Packers’ leaky defense? Sure thing, plus Philly hasn’t lost at home yet. Eagles, 34-25.

Last week — 10-4, 71 percent. Season — 96-63-2, 60 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.