The term “Riverboat Ron” is bandied about with reverence for a man characterized as a seersucker-clad gambler willing to take big risks on football’s brightest stage. The real story behind “Riverboat Ron” was a desperate coach about to lose his job, throwing anything at the wall in a last-ditch attempt to have something stick.
On Sep. 16, Rivera had to stand in front of the media and explain a last-minute, one-point loss to the Bills. That game and his career to that point were summed up when he sent out the team’s field goal unit on fourth-and-1 to score three points and give the team a tenuous six-point lead. Buffalo’s rookie quarterback, E.J. Manuel, drove down the field and scored after that.
Reports emerged stating that the team began vetting potential head coach replacements after losing its third game of the season to Arizona. Suddenly it was no longer too early to show urgency. Rivera started telling his offense to go for it. Riverboat Ron was born.
Thanks to the weakness of the NFC East, the Cowboys have held onto the top spot in the NFC East despite an up and down season, and now face their toughest test of the year against the Saints. New Orleans, meanwhile, is facing stiffening competition in the division from the young Panthers team in the NFC South and needs the win on Sunday to maintain their one game lead.
The over/under is set at 44, which could be a tall order for two teams not known for their prolific scoring. The Bengals and Ravens combine for an average of 45.1 points per game, but with two solid defenses and unreliable running games, it’s unclear whether they can hit the over.
Cincinnati is coming of a tough loss to Miami, but it’s hard to see the Bengals succumbing to a trap game on the road. This season they’re the better team between the two and until the Ravens find consistency, it’s hard to see them stopping the slide now.