A broken collarbone knocked out Tony Romo, and despite finishing the game with his left arm in a sling, he probably had a better Sunday than the opposing quarterback. It was that much of a fiasco for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Sam Bradford was off target on several throws, but he did zip a perfect pass to a wide-open Dallas linebacker in the end zone.
Chip Kelly, the so-called offensive genius, is looking more and more like Santa Claus, meaning Kelly could get booed and pelted with snowballs by angry Philadelphia fans before this season is done.
Romo is done for at least two months, so after the Cowboys’ ugly 20-10 victory over the embarrassed Eagles, you had to wonder which team owner felt like the biggest loser.
“Who looked worse with a minute left in that game — Jeffrey Lurie or Jerry Jones? I’m betting more people would say Jones,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, oddsmaker at the South Point sports book.
Jones said it broke his heart to see Romo go down. Lurie handed Kelly big money and total control to run the Eagles, and the early returns are a 0-2 record and a broken offense.
“The Eagles can’t figure out who they are, and I think they are garbage,” MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said. “I don’t know how they can fix that offensive line. The Eagles are a mess. The Cowboys have two division wins in their pocket, and that’s huge.”
The money was on Philadelphia, which closed as a 6½- to 7-point home favorite, and it definitely was in the wrong place. I was dead wrong about the game, and my previous praise for Kelly looks off target.
Still, it’s only two weeks into the season, and we know how quickly things can change in the NFL. Last Monday, Las Vegas book directors were licking their wounds after favorites dominated and bettors scored big wins.
The script is flipped this time. Underdogs won seven games outright, and something happened for the first time in league history. Never before had the Browns, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Raiders and Redskins won on the same day.
“That’s a strange five-teamer, for sure,” Rood said. “Knocking out the Rams was big because they were on every parlay ticket.”
One week after upsetting Seattle, St. Louis turned around and lost 24-10 at Washington. The Rams were popular 3½-point favorites with the public.
“The key game that made the first half of the day was the Redskins,” Vaccaro said.
One week after torching Tampa Bay with four first-half touchdown passes, rookie Marcus Mariota had a much tougher time in Tennessee’s 28-14 loss at Cleveland. The game closed pick’em at most books after the Browns became a late steam play by the sharps.
The Buccaneers, 9½-point road ‘dogs, got a better effort from their rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston, who beat Drew Brees and the sagging New Orleans Saints. Jacksonville carjacked Miami, a 6-point road favorite, 23-20. Oakland rallied late to beat Baltimore, another 6-point road favorite, in a 37-33 thriller.
A week ago, the Buccaneers, Jaguars and Raiders all looked awful. Those teams probably are awful, but at least they are not winless.
The Eagles, Ravens and Saints are on a list of eight teams at 0-2, a list also including Chicago, Detroit, Houston, the New York Giants and Seattle. According to ESPN Stats & Info, since 1990, NFL teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs 12 percent of the time.
The Bears are not making the playoffs. Jay Cutler limped off with a hamstring injury in a 48-23 blowout at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, who drew double-fisted support from the public as 2½-point road favorites.
Rood said sharp money showed on the Texans, who have a major quarterback problem, and the Giants, who have more problems than Eli Manning’s clock mismanagement skills. Ryan Mallett completed just 27 of 58 passes in Houston’s 24-17 setback at Carolina. Manning was on the losing end again for the Giants, who folded late as 2½-point home favorites in a 24-20 loss to Atlanta.
Even with a depleted supporting cast, Aaron Rodgers is an unstoppable star. Rodgers passed for two touchdowns as the Packers, laying 3½ points, outscored the Seahawks 11-0 in the fourth quarter of 27-17 win at Lambeau Field.
The point spread has decided the betting result in none of the 15 games this week. Six favorites won and covered, with Pittsburgh putting a 43-18 beating on San Francisco, a 6-point underdog. Remember the 49ers defense that dominated in Week 1? Ben Roethlisberger ripped it apart, passing for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
“I think the team that surprised me the most was the Steelers,” Rood said, “but that could be a little misleading.”
The Bills’ trash talk — and their season-opening upset of Indianapolis — misled some sharp bettors. Buffalo closed as a 1½-point favorite in a 40-32 loss to the Patriots, who humbled Rex Ryan and followed Tom Brady’s 466 yards passing and three touchdowns.
“The public was all over the Patriots,” Rood said. “But even the Patriots winning didn’t hurt us too much.”
The Eagles’ flop certainly helped the bookmakers. The Cowboys returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, sacked and intercepted Bradford, held DeMarco Murray to 2 yards rushing on 13 carries and made Kelly appear surprisingly clueless.
One week after Romo won a game with a miraculous last-minute comeback, backup Brandon Weeden finished off Philadelphia.
“Week 2 was good,” Vaccaro said. “The Cowboys ended up being very, very good for us. There was a lot of Eagles money on parlays and teasers.
“I’m not one of those after-the-fact guys, but you heard this talk all summer about Sam Bradford. That interception he threw was unbelievable, right to the Cowboys guy. It’s a very disturbing team. The preseason doesn’t mean a (bleeping) thing.”
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports betting columnist Matt Youmans can be reached at email@example.com or 702-387-2907. He co-hosts “The Las Vegas Sportsline” weekdays at 2 p.m. on ESPN Radio (1100 AM). Follow him: @mattyoumans247