9.27.2019

NFL Picks - Week 4

Sunday Morning

Tennessee @ Atlanta 
In last Thursday’s loss to Jacksonville, Titans’ quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked an NFL single game record 27 times. Ok that might be an exaggeration, I didn’t look up the actual number, but it felt like 27. Suffice it to say, Tennessee has to figure out a better way to keep Mariota upright, and I think I have just the thing. I saw a news story last week about a very stupid invention: chair legs that attach to pants. I suppose they’re meant for travel or being outdoors for an extended period of time, I don’t know, like I said they're very stupid; but I’m bringing them to the NFL. Specifically to Marcus Mariota. Think about it, he drops back to pass, gets hit, but haha! He falls back into a seated position! He’s still alive! He stands back up and zings a ball downfield. Now whether or not that ball gets intercepted is another discussion entirely, all I know is Mariota didn’t get sacked. Would these chair legs be allowed under the league’s strict uniform rules? No. Would Mariota get hit so hard that the legs wouldn’t be able to break his fall and may even end up impaling him? Possibly. But we won’t know until we try. What do ya say Marcus? Ok, I’ll just sit here and wait ... on my chair pants!

Falcons 27-20




New England @ Buffalo 
The Patriots have been cruising through the 2019 season seemingly without a care in the world (on the field that is). But this Sunday they’re running into the buzz saw that is the Buffalo Bills. One could make the argument that the Bills’ 3-0 record isn’t very impressive considering that their opponents’ combined record is 1-8. Well guess what? Three of those eight losses came from the Bills baby! These guys are crushing dreams and derailing seasons left and right. They gave Sam Darnold mono in Week 1, they sent Eli Manning out to pasture in Week 2, and in Week 3 they beat Andy Dalton ... some guys don’t need insult added to injury, they’re already well aware of their standing. So in other words, Tom Brady better watch the eff out. Sure, Brady is 28-2 against the Bills in meaningful games (I’m excluding a Week 17 loss that had no postseason implications in which he only played a half), so you might expect him to be unphased by this tilt. But if Buffalo wins and we find out after the game that Brady has herpes, don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Patriots 20-13




Kansas City @ Detroit 
It’s a battle of unbeatens in Detroit! Usually that sentence can’t be accurately used after Week 1, so this is nothing to sneeze at. The last time the Lions were undefeated this far into a season they were still playing in Rome and their schedule consisted mostly of Christians. Sure, they don’t have the sparkling, totally unblemished 3-0 mark that the Chiefs carry, but 2-0-1 is literally undefeated nonetheless. Obviously Kansas City presents Detroit with their toughest test yet, but if there’s one coach in the league who’s always ready for a test it’s Matt Patricia, the man who has a pencil tucked behind his ear at all times! Unfortunately for Matt, this test is cutting edge and done completely electronically, rendering his pencil useless. Consequently it could be a tough Sunday for the Lions coach, because there’s nothing worse than losing at home and having your pencil rendered useless. 

Chiefs 30-24




Oakland @ Indianapolis 
Whoa, wait a minute, the Colts are good?!? Man I wonder how Andrew Luck must feel right now. What’s that? Like a healthy, well-rested person? Oh. Well good for him. But Jacoby Brissett seems to be feeling fine too. He’s led the Colts to a 2-1 record, with the Raiders coming to town. So soon he’ll have led the Colts to a 3-1 record, and if you look at their remaining schedule it’s not hard to fathom them finishing at 10-6, the same record they had last season. If you had walked up to me the night Luck retired and told me that I would’ve said to you, “Excuse me, do you mind? I’m trying to enjoy dinner my lady bro! Don’t make me go HAM on you chief.” A bit of clarification: Luck retired on a Saturday night. 

Colts 26-16




Los Angeles Chargers @ Miami 
After consecutive losses the Chargers sure could use a win. “Our ears are burning!” replied the Dolphins. Miami actually hung with the Cowboys for a half last week before settling in to a nice, comfortable 31-6 loss. The Dolphins have now scored 16 points on the season. They’ve given up more than that in a quarter three separate times already. So I think we can all agree, Miami stinks to high heaven. Though, if there’s one team that can step up and pull off a shocking loss though, historically it could be the Chargers. Do I think it will happen? No. But I wouldn’t put anything past them. That being said, L.A. will probably be up 21-0 by the end of the 1st quarter. 

Chargers 28-13




Washington @ New York Giants 
The Giants’ season is saved! In his first game as starter Daniel Jones threw for two TDs, ran for two more, and led New York to their first win of the season. Sure it took the Bucs’ kicker missing a 34 yard field goal attempt as time expired to actually get that win, but it counts all the same! Now the wunderkind gets a home game against winless Washington to showcase his talents in da Big Apple baby! No doubt Jones will be showered with praise as Broadway’s newest star. Or he’ll throw a few picks and be pelted with rotten tomatoes as he walks off the field after a loss. But hey, dems da breaks in New York, da greatest city of Earf! One week you’re beatin’ the Bucs, the next you’re sayin’ “Aw shucks.” After game one you’re feelin’ fine; after game two you’re buried under the 50 yard line. Well actually, they’d probably have to bury Jones at one of the 48s, because Jimmy Hoffa is under the 50.

Giants 26-21




Cleveland @ Baltimore 
Things have been pretty dreary for the Browns in this young season after months of hype had us believing this team was primed for a playoff run. The offense has looked fairly lousy, and the fireworks we were promised have mostly been duds. But guess what, if they win this game they’re in first place in the AFC North! That’s right, shockingly their season isn't over after three weeks. That being said, they’ll have to improve PRONTO. I didn’t capitalize that for emphasis, it’s an acronym I’ve created: Pass Receiving Of Negatively Thrown Oblongs. Which I guess means they need to catch more laterals? Hmm, that seems stupid. But I don’t know, I mean I came up with acronym, so it has to be legit.

Ravens 23-20




Carolina @ Houston
When I heard that Cam Newton had a damaged Lisfranc, I assumed it was a reference to his wardrobe. But after looking up Liz Frank clothing online and finding nothing I realized there had been a misunderstanding. It sounds like Newton will continue to miss time due to his foot injury, but I’m not sure that’s the worst news the Panthers could get. Carolina back-up Kyle Allen led the team to a win in Arizona, and while some may not think that’s very impressive consider the fact that the Panthers were coming off a home loss to the Bucs. The way I see it, as does the world of mathematics, the Panthers’ 2019 winning percentage is infinitely higher with Allen as their starter than Newton. And with infinity there is truly no end to the possibilities. Godspeed Kyle Allen, on your limitless journey through the cosmos of success! That being said, I think Houston wins this one.

Texans 31-17




Sunday Afternoon

Tampa Bay @ Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have methodically plowed their way to a 3-0 record. It hasn’t been very flashy, but they’re getting the job done. It’s what Bill Walsh used to refer to as “baked potato football,” unimpressive but effective. And hey, if it’s good enough for Bill Walsh it should be good enough for the Rams. Now, did Walsh actually ever use the phrase “baked potato football”? No. I just made it up, but that doesn’t make the metaphor any less apt does it? Don’t answer that. I said don't! Yeah, well what do you know, you human baked potato? I expect the Rams to burst forth from the oven this week and win with a flourish against a nearly mediocre Bucs squad. 

Rams 38-14




Seattle @ Arizona 
The Cardinals had a stumble last week, losing to the Kyle Allen-led Panthers at home by 18. Carolina stood firm against the air raid offense, forcing Kyler Murray into only 4 yards per pass attempt. I haven’t seen anybody so unimpressed by and air raid since Sabrina in Dazed and Confused. To their credit, Arizona is sticking to the game plan, throwing the ball 71% of the time so far in 2019. Perhaps it’s because of this high percentage that Murray ranks near the bottom of the league in yards per attempt. Or maybe it’s because they average so few yards per attempt that they have to throw it more. It’s a real catch 22. Unfortunately for the Cardinals they don’t have a 22 to catch the ball. From what I can tell that number is currently not in use on their active roster. All of these very concrete factors can’t be ignored, so I’ll take the Hawks to bounce back here.

Seahawks 27-20




Minnesota @ Chicago 
The Vikings and Bears both enter this match-up at 2-1 with each of their lone losses coming against the Packers. Couple that with the fact that the Lions are 2-0-1, and all of a sudden, whoever loses this game will be in last place in the NFC North. Is it possible this a must-win game for both teams? I don’t know, I hesitate to label any game a must-win for fear of the existential crisis these players may fall into as a result of losing a game in which losing is not an option. But it’s certainly an important contest which is bad news for both of these quarterbacks. Neither Cousins nor Trubisky seem cut out for a big stage, so look for them both to do their damndest to lose this game in the fourth quarter. Not only because the stakes are high, but winning would lead to a better record and even more important games in the future that these QBs want to avoid at all costs. As a result it will likely come down to who makes the fewest mistakes. I guess that means I'll pick the home team.

Bears 20-17




Jacksonville @ Denver
These two teams seem to be on a similar path. They both have had dominating defenses in the recent past that are no longer quite the force they once were. Also they've both turned to exciting backup quarterbacks to lead them for the immediate future. Oh wait, Joe Flacco wasn’t the Broncos’ backup ... and he’s not exciting. Well at least the Jags have something mildly interesting going on with Gardner Minshew. Outside of that I’m not sure why somebody would feel compelled to watch this game. I guess you could bet thousands of dollars on it, that would certainly give it some juice. And why not? You never do anything fun with your money, live a little! Make sure you pick the right team though, losing that much money is no fun. 

Jaguars 13-10




Sunday Night 

Dallas @ New Orleans 
The Saints have given up 28, 27, and 27 points in their games this season. The Cowboys have scored 35, 31, and 31 so far. They're both models of consistency, so it seems pretty obvious what to go with here. But first let me check-in with the man who will be calling this game, Cris Collinsworth, to confirm my assumptions:
Well that was enlightening, if not super relevant. I'll stick with my original thought.

Cowboys 29-21




Monday Night

Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh 
Bum bum bum bum! Bah bum bah blaaaahhh! In case you couldn’t tell, that was the sound of the Monday Night Football theme devolving into vomiting. ESPN can’t be thrilled with this match-up of 0-3 squads. Sure they can try to sell it as “Someone’s gotta win!” But if I were them my pitch would be more like, “Hey it’s the only game on tonight and you’re not burnt out on this season yet are you? Oh gimme a break, you’re gonna tell yourself you’re not gonna watch, but just wait. You’ll be flipping around the guide and nothing will be on besides shows about tiny houses and 90 day fianc├ęs, and you’ve seen most of those already, so you’ll say ‘I guess I can check what the score in the game is.’ And so you’ll turn it on, and before you know it you’ve watched the whole second quarter, and you won’t even turn the channel during the baffling halftime segment when they show some sort of music video from an up and coming(?) musician. The malaise of this lousy game will wash over you like a warm sub-tropical wave pulling you to sea, never to return again. And you won’t even care, you’ll just let it take you.” I’m not sure if they could fit all that in a 30 second spot though, so yeah “Someone’s gotta win!” is probably a better way to go.

Bengals 24-21 


9.26.2019

NFL Picks - Week 4 Thursday

Philadelphia @ Green Bay
Philly is in a tough spot, they’re banged up and coming off a loss in the Griffin Bowl (Lions/Eagles) and now have to travel on a short week to face a 3-0 Packers team. So how do they possibly turn things around on Thursday? The only way Doug Pederson knows how, trickery! Aggressive trickery. I’m talking a Philly Special right out of the gates on 1st down, then two more on 2nd and 3rd down. And on 4th down? You guessed it, Philly Special. And then they turn the ball over on downs, because no one of them worked and it’s a lot harder to surprise teams with that play now. So there’s no way the Eagles would try it again when they get the ball back a second time, right? Haha, you’ve got a lot to learn kid. It’s like Einstein said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” 

Packers 23-17

9.20.2019

NFL Picks - Week 3

Sunday Morning

Cincinnati @ Buffalo
After opening their season with consecutive MetLife Stadium wins over the Jets and Giants would it be hyperbolic to say that the Bills are the lords of New York? Maybe. Would it be hyperbolic to say that they’re the best team in all 50 states? Yes. Would it be hyperbolic to eat an entire can of kidney beans? No, that would be hyper-folic. But if you’re pregnant it may not be a bad idea. Are you pregnant? If not, then why’d you eat all those beans? Look, either you’re prego or some sort of bean freak, and I deserve to know which it is! Anyway, I think the Bills will devour the Bengals on Sunday ... just like you devoured an entire can of kidney beans, you sick twist.

Bills 23-16




Miami @ Dallas 
In my season preview I predicted that the Dolphins would go 1-15. I may have over estimated them. After their performance in the first two weeks of the season, and with the front office’s eagerness to trade any and all quality players on their roster, Miami looks destined for 0-16. We’ve seen two winless teams since 2008, so that’s not the most ignominious feat imaginable, but the way that Miami is losing is what’s truly astounding. After two games they’ve already been outscored by 92 points. The record for an entire season is -287 by the 1976 Bucs, who managed that in only 14 games. At this pace though, the Dolphins will get to that mark by Week 7. Do I really think they’ll keep losing games by 40 every week? Probably not. But if you’re in an eliminator pool I would recommend riding with whoever is playing Miami. They don’t have a repeat opponent until the Bills in Week 11, and by that point you may have won your group already. That is, unless everybody in the group employs the same strategy. So I guess what I’m saying is all eliminator pools should just fast-forward to Week 11, when the real decisions need to be made. 

Cowboys 38-6




Denver @ Green Bay
The Packers are 2-0 with two divisional wins, which on its surface is a great start to the season. But outside of the 1st quarter against Minnesota the offense hasn’t been super impressive. We were told that the offense had grown stagnant under former coach Mike McCarthy, and that the arrival of Matt LaFleur would unshackle Aaron Rodgers to fly free into a stratosphere of record production and mind-boggling statistics. Wait, a STATosphere! Damn it, that’s what I should have said. Ok, forget what you just read ... Rodgers would be free to fly into the statosphere. No that’s not a typo, it’s a fabulous new portmanteau that I created. Shakespeare did it all the time, so why can’t I? Obviously I’m not trying to compare the two of us, that would be silly; he never wrote about football (to my knowledge at least). If Shakespeare did write about the NFL he’d be hard-pressed to pen flattering prose about the Packers' pedestrian offense. That’s not to say things can’t get better for Green Bay though, and they probably won’t need an amazing effort to outscore the Broncos.

Packers 24-13




Atlanta @ Indianapolis 
After a second straight putrid performance in Week 2, Adam Vinatieri made some cryptic postgame statements that led many to believe he’d be retiring on Monday. Instead, he said he’ll be sticking around, but that he just needs “clear the demons” from his head. “Greeeeeat,” replied the entire Colts organization. Indy would have likely appreciated it if he had just bowed out gracefully, but now they have to figure out how to tell probably the greatest kicker of all-time to hit the bricks. I’m not saying you have to retire because you’re 1-3 on FGs and 2-5 on PATs, but if you’re 46 you should probably think about it. If he were a rookie, or just a no-name kicker he’d have been cut by now. It’s a touchy situation. This is what it must feel like when a Midsommar elder refuses to jump off the cliff. C’mon Adam, everyone has done it before you. Your death is an offering to the football gods that will bring about a more fruitful Autumn for your brethren. 

Colts 21-19




Baltimore @ Kansas City
Whoa, this Ravens team is on a roll! They’re 2-0 and look unstoppable. Or maybe they do, I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to tell. They beat the Dolphins by 49 and the Cardinals by 6. At this point we really can’t be sure if either of those wins are impressive. For all we know Miami could lose a game by triple digits by the end of the season once they’ve traded away most of their players and have resorted to filling out the roster with classic football movie/commercial extras. You know those guys where it’s like, sure they’re big, but something's just not right, and their jerseys always fit weird? Anyway, it’s safe to say that the task at hand for Baltimore this week is much more difficult. That being said, the Ravens went into Kansas City last year and probably would have beaten the Chiefs, if not for Mahomes pulling out a miraculous 4th down conversion, a no-look pass, and an overtime win. Will we have another thriller on our hands this Sunday? Your guess is as good as mine. No seriously, I’m not very good at this.

Chiefs 31-24




Oakland @ Minnesota 
Both teams come into this game at 1-1. Not super interesting on its own, but consider this: these teams played each other in Super Bowl 11. Now it starts to seem that something larger is at play. 11, 11, 11:11 ....You thinking what I’m thinking? Say it together ... this game will be played by Us-style netherworld beings that are much stronger and more violent. Of course the offensive schemes will have to be a little more rudimentary, and the unintelligible audibles will make adjustments at the line extremely difficult. But if you’re a fan of literal knockdown, drag-out fights this will be the game for you. Or I suppose it could just be a mediocre game in Minnesota played by normal humans; but the helmets will make it easy to pretend otherwise.

Vikings 27-17




New York Jets @ New England 
The Patriots have started the season 2-0 by outscoring their opponents 76-3. They’ve given up a total of 6 points over their last three games if you include the Super Bowl. At this point it’s fair to wonder if New England can go undefeated. And wonder I did! So I looked ahead at the remaining 14 games on their schedule, and well, there are some definite roadblocks. Especially treacherous is a five game stretch starting in November: @ Baltimore, @ Philadelphia, vs. Dallas, @ Houston, vs. Kansas City. Looking at that, I’m not so sure the Pats will make it out unscathed. I’m certain that they will get to 3-0 though, because, well, Jets.

Patriots 31-3




Detroit @ Philadelphia 
The Lions’ record is beautiful in its symmetry: 1-0-1. I happen to know that Matt Patricia is a student of Taoism and believes in spiritual balance; the yin and yang. As such he’ll try his damndest to maintain this record equality. Obviously the goal now is 8-0-8. He would maybe settle for 7-2-7, but that just doesn’t look as good if you try to fold it onto itself, ya know? What do you mean no? I’m saying, sure it’s a numerical palindrome, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually physically symmetrical. I don’t know how I can make it any clearer than that. Of course, a loss here would maintain perfect symmetry for at least one more week. Unfortunately for the Lions (but perhaps fortunately for the enlightened Matt Patricia) that’s probably The Way this one goes. 

Eagles 26-16




Sunday Afternoon 

Carolina @ Arizona
Is Cam Newton really hurt, or did he drop a weight on his foot after last Thursday’s game to explain his terrible play? I wouldn’t blame him if so, I mean, ya gotta come up with some sort of excuse. The Panthers’ motto is “Keep Pounding”, and Cam gave it new meaning by repeatedly pounding errant passes into the turf, well short of their intended target. He’s likely to miss this game as a result of that injured foot, which one would assume means that the Cardinals will get their first win of the season. They may have to do it with strictly field goals however, as koach Kliff Kingsbury made it clear last week that he’s risk averse in the red zone. Arizona made history by becoming the first team to ever attempt 3 FGs from inside the 5 yard line while trailing in a game. The good news is: 6-pointers may not be necessary against Kyle Allen and the Carolina offense.

Cardinals 18-16




New York Giants @ Tampa Bay
Eli Manning has officially been benched and he’s never looked sadder. He’s never looked happier either. The guy is completely neutral. So much so that his career record as a starter is 116-116. Perhaps his legacy will be that he was perfectly average, except if you ever watched him play you know that’s not true. He went through wild swings of maddeningly inconsistent play that peaked with him winning Super Bowls but also included countless ill-advised throws, exasperated shoulder shrugs, and an exploded face in a preseason game against the Jets. But for every down, there was an up, and so now here he sits, a perfect 116-116. It’s satisfying, yet totally confusing. He’s a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and we’re still not sure if he was very good. It’s an eerily similar narrative to that of Jim Plunkett, who led the Raiders to wins in Super Bowls XV and XVIII, and who’s career record as a starter ended at ... 72-72. Whoa! My head just exploded. Sorry Eli, I didn’t mean that literally. 

Buccaneers 23-17




Houston @ Los Angeles Chargers
After Eli’s benching and Ben’s trip to the IR, Philip Rivers is the only quarterback from the ‘04 draft left standing. He’s the ol’ gunman still strapping on his holster and he’s got the bolo tie to match. Sure he threw a back-breaking interception last week that basically sealed his team’s loss, but hey, sometimes that’s how it goes for an old desperado. Ya know, you’re in a duel and you misfire and hit lil’ Jack the precocious rickets-stricken youngster whom you swore you wouldn’t let down, and you’re run out of town on a rail. It happens! The great news is that Phil hasn’t been run out of town, he’ll be back out there slinging on Sunday. Now, if he throws another game-ending pick against the Texans, well maybe the fan base will start calling for his gun and his bolo.

Texans 27-24




Pittsburgh @ San Francisco
With their record already at 0-2, and Ben Roethlisberger out for the season, the 2019 Steelers seem to be in trouble. The good news is that even if they do plummet in the standings, they’ll at least have a good draft pick to help them reload for 2020. Oops, no they won’t, they just traded their 1st rounder to the Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick. So maybe the future is now for Mason Rudolph and Pittsburgh. Rudolph looked inconsistent, but occasionally competent in the second half against Seattle last week. And he did lead his team on a late 3 yard touchdown drive to pull within two points. So perhaps we should buy in to the 2019 Steelers as much as their front office has. Or we could just wait for them to lose this game, assume they’ll be irrelevant, and move on with our lives. Yeah, that sounds better to me. 

49ers 24-18




New Orleans @ Seattle 
In case you haven’t heard, the Saints will be without Drew Brees for an estimated six weeks. As a result the New Orleans quarterbacking duties will be handled be some combination of Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, and I for one am very excited. Not necessarily because I’m a big fan of either player, but because they could set the record for QB gloves! 3! Two for Teddy, one for Taysom. I’ve heard of a three-headed running back monster, but a three-gloved quarterback monster? I haven’t heard of that! And I’m not sure anyone’s ever fathomed it. But as Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” And even he only gave Mickey two gloves. This could be a really magical situation. That being said, I’m picking Seattle. 

Seahawks 23-13




Sunday Night

Los Angeles Rams @ Cleveland
The Browns got their first win of the season last week against a depleted Jets group. As a result we're not really sure what to expect from them next. And whenever I'm unsure of anything, in football or in life, I turn to Cris Collinsworth:
I couldn't help but notice that he didn't make a pick there. Guess it's up to me. Based on what I've seen from Cleveland so far I'm not confident in them. I'll pick L.A.

Rams 30-23



Monday Night

Chicago @ Washington 
Washington has scored 48 points on the season while running for 75 yards. That ratio doesn’t seem sustainable to me. Meaning that either their points per game will go down or their rushing yards per game will go up. I’m tempted to go with the former. Washington is playing the Bears this week who have given up 70 yards on the ground per game, which would seem stingy, but would actually be a monumental total for this Washington squadron. So perhaps an improved Washington ground attack is in the cards. Then again, maybe the Bears will completely snuff them out. And Chicago may need to do just that based on how Mitchell Trubisky has played this season. I’m not saying Trubisky has been bad this season, his stats say that for me. Expect the Bears to slip by in spite of their quarterback again.

Bears 19-12