When Rob Gronkowski decides to hang up his cleats, he is almost assured to get a job with the British Horseracing Authority.
Perhaps it’s all those hits he takes when going across the middle to catch Tom Brady’s passes, because it seems the New England tight end doesn’t seem to have all his marbles.
Why else would he issue an apology for having his pictures taken with an adult film star Bibi Jones, which surfaced during the Patriots’ bye week?
An apology? C’mon man!
Sure, by all means apologise if you were snapped with your shirt off with a male porn star.
We’d be buying email addresses, taking out double-page adverts in newspapers and posting the pictures on billboards all over the country if we had the good fortune to be pictured with Bibi Jones (and yes, we spent a few happy hours looking her up, since you asked).
At least Gronk isn’t being pictured cuddling a goat like his teammate Tom Brady or having a ‘Spa Day’ like Chicago’s Jay Cutler had with girlfriend Christine Cavallari this week.
Cutler’s muse Tweeted: ‘Just had an amazing spa day with @jaycutler6 now time to carve pumpkins and make tacos. What a perfect day.’
What is it with these quarterbacks?
Man up, lads!
Goat-cuddling and spa days are to alpha males what Paul Roy is to the BHA.
Perhaps their respective offensive lines should allow Brady and Cutler to get hit more often to make them into real men – or in Cutler’s case, on every snap (Oh, wait. That happens already).
Heavens to Betsy, whatever next! Cliff Richard and Elton John singing ‘This is a man’s world’?
Probably best left to the great James Brown, we reckon.
While you wouldn’t want to put Gronk’s shirt – or yours – on New England this Sunday, they may be able to cover a 2.5-point Betdaq handicap in Pittsburgh.
The Patriots have done well against Pittsburgh in the Brady era, winning six of their eight clashes – four of them at Heinz Field, including a 39-26 victory last November.
Bill Belichick has built his team to beat the Steelers, whose linebackers’ primary job is to stop the run.
The linebackers have problems covering receivers in space, so trying to account for the ever reliable Wes Welker, plus the big tight end combination of Gronkowski and the underrated Aaron Hernandez could spell trouble for the Steelers.
Brady has compiled 350-plus yards in the last three games against Pittsburgh and has completed 67.8 per cent of his passes in his career against them.
His quick release often negates any pass rush and he will aim to spread the defence out and disrupt their blitz schemes.
One way to flummox him is to rush four and drop seven men into coverage. While easy to do in theory, he is one of the most patient and intelligent Ugg-wearing quarterbacks to ever play the game.
Brady is likely to get his yards whatever happens – and he is rested after a bye week.
Since 2001 the Patriots are 9-1 when coming off their bye week, outscoring opponents 282-137. Their average margin of victory is 17 points.
The Patriots have been uncharacteristically sloppy with the football this season and their 10 total turnovers through six games already matches last season’s entire output.
So there won’t be much margin for error, especially since the Patriots’ pass defence is an accident waiting to happen.
Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger is averaging a super-efficient 7.26 yards per pass attempt and if the ground game gets going, he will be able to use play action (passes initially disguised as runs), and the hosts could match the Patriots blow for blow.
It’s the best match-up of the week and a tricky one for punters. But until the home team figure out a way of stopping Brady, Welker and company, the Patriots must be the pick.
There is very little history between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. They have faced each other just six times since 1972 and Miami’s two victories against Big Blue were in New York.
The Dolphins, who have yet to win a game this season, have lost four of their six games by double digits. Conceding a 15-point lead in the last 2min 55secs at home to Denver – who had never previously won in Miami – before going down in overtime to a quarterback making his first start was as bad as it could get.
Don’t expect the Dolphins to win in the Big Apple on Sunday.
In fact, with their offensive output on the road being 16, 16 and 6 points, it is worth perhaps worth laying the points total.
Conversely, Cleveland’s clash with the 49ers in San Francisco should see more points than the 38.5 total set.
The Browns won a 6-3 snorer against Seattle last week and in seven of the last nine meetings with the 49ers the total has failed to eclipse 38 points.
The linemakers know this and have set the bar low accordingly.
But they may not have realised another historical trend: When Cleveland have held their opponent to under 10 points and faced a points total set below 39 in the next game, they have covered that number eight times in eight games since 2000.
Cleveland’s offense has managed 27 and 17 points at Indianapolis and Oakland respectively this season, while San Francisco’s attack, which is averaging 27.8 points per game, is refreshed after a bye week.
Both teams are capable of putting up points and in nine of 11 games where the total has been set at or below 39 points this season, the points total has gone over.
Buying the overs is a percentage call.
New England -2.5
Cleveland/San Francisco Over 38.5 points
Miami/NY Giants Under 43 points
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