Kornegay’s Korner: Thankful

November 22, 2022

© Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Inquiring minds want to know: What or who is Jay Kornegay and all of his odds- makin’, turkey-bakin’, super-stuffin’ friends from SuperBook Sports thankful for this season?

“Like most years, we’re usually thankful for the best player on the best team,” Kornegay said, eying a cart full of freshly prepared pumpkin pies as they rolled past his office door at the SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino. “Despite their recent struggles, the Bills and Josh Allen top the list. The Bills are a classic ‘public’ team that bettors migrate to based on their results and their high scoring offense. As a bookmaker, results may vary but we can count on high volume when the Bills are playing.

“Honorable mention to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, too. They’re quietly putting an impressive season together they’re going to be a tough out.”

Of course, there’s a turkey or two every season, too. This year’s Slightly Suspicious Surprise Casserole – the one that Aunt Judy always brings and everyone politely scoops but rarely eats – can be found in Denver, where Broncos fans have lost their appetite.

“The Broncos were a fan favorite out of the gate but that seems so long ago,” Kornegay said, following a quick call to the Westgate’s top chef confirming that the cranberry sauce would once again be made from scratch. “The public is a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ fan base – and the Broncos haven’t done much. Up until this past weekend, the betting public faded the Broncos, but going into the matchup against the Raiders, Denver’s popularity won by default. Bettors were all over the Broncos, but most likely they were betting against the Raiders. Las Vegas came into the game with dissension and beleaguered signs all over the locker room and the public reacted. Give Derek Carr and his team credit for putting it together and coming out with a win. The Broncos supporters will need some time to get over this one.”

Meanwhile, Broncos first-year head coach made the head-scratching and non-traditional decision to give his team Thanksgiving Day off. While certainly a nice gesture, it could be debated the 3-7 Broncos could use the practice.

The odds that Jay Kornegay will be dining with Russ and Ciara have yet to be posted, meanwhile, the Broncos are a -2.5 favorite at Carolina on Sunday. 

Russ, you gonna eat that drumstick?

Three Things We Learned This Weekend

1. Reality check in the NFL

A few of the NFL’s upstarts came crashing back to Earth in Week 11. The question becomes, were these blips on the radar or the start of an alarming trend for some overachievers in the first of the season?

The Jets were pathetic in New England, registering just two yards on seven possessions in the second half against the Patriots. They lost 10-3 on essentially a walk-off punt return touchdown and are now 6-4 on the season. If the playoffs started today, they wouldn’t be in the dance.

Meanwhile, the Giants laid an egg at home to the Lions, losing 31-18 in a game that wasn’t even that close. Daniel Jones threw the ball 44 times and Saquon Barkley had just 22 rushing yards on 15 carries. That’s not a formula for success for the G-Men, who can’t afford to be losing ground in arguably the NFL’s best division.

One of those teams in front of them is the Cowboys, who smacked the Vikings 40-3 in the most-stunning game of the weekend. A lot of folks expected Dallas to win, but not in that fashion. It says a lot about how good the Boys are, but maybe more about Minnesota and Kirk Cousins. He’s never been able to win the big game and that trend continued on Sunday. The Vikings still have plenty of breathing room in the woeful NFC North, but teams might be licking their chops for a shot at Cousins and Minnesota in the postseason.

Are the Vikings, Jets and Giants nothing more than frauds? We’re about to find out.

2. A weekend of squeakers

For the first time this season, we saw every team currently penciled in the CFP struggle at one point or another. However, despite the sweats across the board, the top-four teams remain the same this week. But the top-ranked teams failed to cover against the spread in their respective contests.

The Georgia Bulldogs put up just 16 points, but it was enough for the win as the Kentucky Wildcats mustered just six points of their own. That said, weather conditions were pretty nasty for this game, but that did not stop the Georgia defense from shutting down Kentucky. Georgia has played down to the level of its competition all season, with close games against Kent State and Missouri this season, but the Bulldogs have played their best ball when it matters most.  

Ohio State had to grind for their victory against Maryland as the Buckeyes struggled to slow down the Terps. The Buckeyes were far from their best, perhaps looking ahead to their matchup with the Michigan Wolverines, but they did what needed to be done, outlasting a 17-point fourth quarter from Maryland to win the game 43-30. Maryland actually outgained Ohio State through the air 318-241; however, the Buckeyes running game kept them in this one, led by Dallas Hayden, who carried the ball 27 times for 146 yards and three touchdowns. 

One of the closer games on the slate was the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines matchup against Illinois. Neither team scored over 20 points, but the Wolverines ultimately won the game 19-17 with nine points in the fourth quarter and a shutout performance from the defense in the same period. Wolverines fans will have to thank kicker Jake Moody whose game-winning field goal with under 10 seconds to play preserved the Wolverines’ undefeated record. The Wolverines will now clash with the aforementioned Buckeyes this coming week. 

The TCU Horned Frogs somehow, someway are still undefeated as they kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired last week against the Baylor Bears. It was indeed a moment for the ages and one of the most-iconic plays of the 2022 CFB season to date. It all came to be when TCU got the ball back down 28-26 with a minute and change left. Quarterback Max Duggan steered the Horned Frogs to what would be the game-winning drive with a series of clutch throws and catches from the TCU wide receiver corps. Despite Baylor putting up 14 points in the fourth quarter, TCU managed to win the game with a trio of field goals, including the winner on the play of the game. 

Undoubtedly the biggest letdown of the weekend was the Tennessee Volunteers losing embarrassingly to South Carolina, 63-38. To make matters worse, Tennessee lost Heisman candidate Hendon Hooker to a knee injury. This is a massive blow to what has been an incredible season for the Vols. The loss dropped them to the No. 9 ranking in the country, below No. 8 Alabama, the team they beat to leap into the CFP earlier in this season. 

All in all, it was a wild weekend of college football with Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan and TCU penciled into the CFP playoff picture as we enter the Thanksgiving holiday. Behind them includes No. 5 USC and No. 6 LSU, lurking for an opportunity to crack the top four. 

3. The field is wide open

It was a crazy week in the NFL. But what became clear as we enter Week 12? Simple… it is literally anyone’s game.

This week showed us that no one is invincible. The Philadelphia Eagles almost lost their second-straight game, as they barely escaped a 17-16 game with the Colts. The Minnesota Vikings, who were on a roll, lost 40-3 to the Dallas Cowboys. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers to move to 8-2, however it was one of their closest games of the season as they won 30-27.

The moral of the story is that everyone is beatable. It will make the playoffs and the race to the postseason very interesting, to say the least.

There’s no super team this year in the NFL. Would it shock anyone if Tom Brady and the Bucs made another Super Bowl? Would it shock anyone if Aaron Rodgers somehow gets in? Would it shock anyone if Bill Belichick finds a way yet again?

In the NFL, the answer is always no. Anything can happen. At any time.

Video of the Week: Executed to perfection