By Marc Lawrence — From this week’s PLAYBOOK Football Newsletter: The Houston Cougars are yet another losing team with a bowl invite. Losing has pretty much been the name of the game for Houston in post-season play, going 4-13 SU and 6-11 ATS as a bowler since 1981, including 2-9 SUATS against foes coming off a win. Meanwhile, first-year Hawaii head coach Todd Graham has gone 13-6 ATS as a dog of more than 10 points in his coaching career, including 6-1 ATS the last six. The bottom line is that Houston’s body of work does not warrant being in a bowl game, let alone being installed as double-digit chalk. You know the drill.
Nothing Stays The Same
The USA Today’s Nate Davis insists that congratulations are in order to Buffalo and Bills Mafia after the organization secured its first division title since 1995 and first playoff home game since 1996, when the team suffered a wild-card loss to the Jaguars. Only the Browns (1989) and Lions (1993) had longer divisional title droughts than Buffalo … Meanwhile, the reigning NFC champion San Francisco 49ers were officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday. Yet another team suffering from a losing Super Bowl hangover … The New England Patriots have officially failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008 – their record 11-year run reaching postseason. As a result, their 17-year run of double-digit victories was snapped as well … To read more on what we learned from NFL Week 15 click here.
ESPN reports that Houston WR De’Andre Hopkins has come under fire for missing a number of practices this season, but the lack of practice time hasn’t mattered to the NFL’s leading receiver, who has 1,324 yards and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl on Monday. Out of 40 practices thus far this season – Wednesday’s injury report was not available – Hopkins has missed 17, with 12 coming on Wednesdays. Perhaps this explains more on why former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien opted to part ways with the enigmatic receiver. In fact, he is so lazy he has his grandfather monitor the local sports shows and reports for any negative comments to Hopkins. To which he replies, “There’s a reason that I play football and they watch. Tell those people who say I don’t practice to come watch me play the game.” To which I say try selling that message to the people who are out of work, looking to put food on their table.