NFL Picks - Week 9 Thursday

San Francisco @ Arizona 
The Cardinals acquired running back Kenyan Drake from the Dolphins this week in an effort to bolster their banged up running back group. I’ve heard of going from the outhouse to the penthouse, but this is more like going from the outhouse to ... a nicer bathroom. Sure there’s running water and it doesn’t smell quite so bad, but it’s still a bathroom, and that’s hard to forget. Speaking of, the Niners continue to crap on every team in their path, and their reign of terror figures to continue on Thursday. With a loss Arizona would fall to 3-5-1 and be forced to take a long look in the mirror and figure out where they're headed for the remainder of 2019. But hey, at least they have a mirror to look into. In the outhouse there’s just a drawing of a guy that hopefully looks a bit like you. 

49ers 27-9


NFL Picks - Week 8

Sunday Morning

Seattle @ Atlanta 
The Seahawks gave up two defensive touchdowns in their Week 7 loss to the Ravens. That makes three on the season for Seattle, and actually a couple yards away from a fourth. These are back-breaking plays that can sway an entire game, so the Hawks need to figure out some way to prevent them. My solution: put in a free safety on offense! Line him up about 20 yards behind Russell Wilson and just let him patrol the offensive backfield and eliminate big plays in the opposite direction. And I’m wondering if the Seahawks already had the same idea seeing as how Seattle traded for safety Quandre Diggs on Tuesday. Coincidence? I think not! They’re bringing him in specifically to stop opposing defenses. Will this strategy result in having to basically play 10-on-11 on almost every play? Yes. But sometimes drastic measures need to be taken. Drastic, ridiculously dumb measures. 

Seahawks 31-17

Philadelphia @ Buffalo
Sure the Bills are 5-1, but every one of their wins has come against a team with a losing record. Well sorry Buffalo, because now Philly is coming to town and they’re bringing their ... 3-4 record?!? Hey what the hell? I didn’t realize these guys were under .500 too. Jeez these bully Bills are just going to keep picking on poor, defenseless teams aren’t they? And “defenseless” would be the correct word to describe the Eagles lately. They’re coming off consecutive losses to the Vikings and Cowboys in which they gave up 38 and 37 points, respectively. Yes, Philly registers as a stiffer test than most of the Bills’ previous opponents, but if the Eagles cede any more than 24 points or so they’ll be in bad shape, considering that Buffalo’s D gives up an average of only 15 per game. It certainly seems like the Eagles are in a bad way right now, but they’ll be the more desperate team on Sunday (or at least, they should be), and that means a lot.  My head and heart say take Buffalo, but I'm usually wrong, so I'll go the other way.

Eagles 23-20

Los Angeles Chargers @ Chicago 
One of the more startling stats I saw from last week was the breakdown of the Bears’ play selection in their loss to the Saints. They threw the ball 54 times and ran it 7. Obviously being behind in the second half necessitated that they go to the air more, but that ratio is extreme, regardless of who your quarterback is. As it is though, Chicago’s quarterback is Mitchell Trubisky, which makes those numbers even more outrageous. To make matters worse, after the game Trubisky told reporters that he hopes he gets to throw it 70 times this week. Then he started flexing his muscles and telling everybody what a “strong boy” he was and that he “makes balls go far with (his) big gun.” It was really uncomfortable, especially when he put a reporter in a headlock and bounced a football off his head repeatedly. Clearly Trubisky is over-compensating for something, and I have to believe it’s his play on the field. If there’s any team who can help him get back on the right track it’s the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately they’re not on the schedule. But the Chargers are, and they really love to lose games, usually in pitiful fashion. So perhaps Trubisky can display his self-professed strength on Sunday. 

Bears 27-24

New York Giants @ Detroit 
The Lions finally lost convincingly last Sunday. Prior to that every one of their games had been a nail-biter with varying degrees of zaniness. Will they be able to recover from this slip up and get back to .500? Well let’s see, do they have a home game against the Giants coming up anytime soon? Oh hey, that’s on the schedule this week! What a windfall! Sure the Giants probably feel like they need a win just as badly as the Lions, but that doesn’t mean they’re capable of actually getting it. It’s like how I need to connect with my kids on a deeper, more emotional level. I understand that, but that doesn’t it mean it will happen. Necessity and ability don’t always line up. That’s a lesson I’d like to impart to the New York Giants and my children, those rotten BRATS!

Lions 33-23

Tampa Bay @ Tennessee
It’s a quarterback showdown between the #1 and #2 picks in the 2015 draft! Well it would be if the Titans hadn’t benched Marcus Mariota a couple weeks ago. So now we’re left with Jameis Winston vs. Ryan Tannehill. A soon to be officially failed first round pick against a failed first round pick. I’ve got goosebumps! Sorry, that was a bit of a grammatical type-o there, it should have read “I’ve got Goosebumps!” with a capital G. Yeah, I used to be a big Stine Stan. I had like the first 45 books in the series, read about half of them too. I’d have to say my favorite was The Barking Ghost, which I highly recommend. And I recommend reading it during this game, because it would be a better use of your time. Also you can probably plow through a 'Bumps in about three hours, so it would fit perfectly. 

Titans 24-17

Denver @ Indianapolis
The Broncos are now 22-33 since they won Super Bowl 50. Can you believe that? The Broncos won Super Bowl 50! I know, it’s hard to fathom. The abysmal record since then though isn’t very shocking considering Denver’s starting quarterbacks have been: Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Case Keenum, and Joe Flacco. But perhaps the most mediocre of all the Broncos’ QBs over the last four seasons has been John Elway. Ohhh! Sorry Johnny, I just had to burn ya. But it’s true, you can’t blame these quarterbacks on the field for being lousy, that’s just who they are. It’s not their fault that someone bought into them being a viable starter in the NFL. Elway is the one who needs to be held responsible for seemingly having no feel how skilled these players are or how much they should be paid. It’s possible that Elway is a very insecure man and is personally sabotaging his own team to ensure that his legacy as the greatest Broncos quarterback of all time is safe. If that is his goal then bravo John, because Flacco was an inspired choice. I mean, he’s a Super Bowl MVP, how bad could he be? But we knew, we all knew, and so did you Johnny boy, you sly bastard, you quarterback sneak. 

Colts 26-13

Cincinnati @ Los Angeles Rams
The Bengals are mounting a serious challenge to the Dolphins for the #1 pick in the 2020 draft. They technically have the inside track right now at 0-7, but rest assured that after Cincy’s bye in Week 9 the Dolphins will have caught up to them at 0-8. Hey does anybody remember four years ago when the Bengals started the season 8-0? That actually happened. Anyhow, it’s unlikely that two teams would go winless for an entire season seeing as how it’s only happened to two squads since the schedule was expanded to 16 games. I can almost guarantee you that it won’t happen this year either. And that’s because, great news folks, the Bengals and Dolphins play each other in Week 16! Could we have a combined 0-28 clash in the making? I pray that it will be so. The game is set for 12/22, and really it’s all I want for Christmas. Well that and large sums of cash.

Rams 35-14

Arizona @ New Orleans 
The Cardinals have a three game win streak against three of the league’s bottom tier teams. So I guess that means Arizona is above that bottom tier if they’re able to triumph over those sad-sacks. That being said, each win has been close, and looking at their remaining schedule I wouldn’t be shocked if they only won 1-2 more games for the rest of the season. Look for that slump to start on Sunday in New Orleans. It’s not uncommon to visit the Big Easy and come back with a months long hangover, and that’s exactly what I expect to happen to the Cardinals. It’s also not uncommon to visit the Big Easy, change your name to Rodney Chambeaux, jump on board a shrimping boat, and start a new life for yourself, a simpler life. One where you ain’t got no woman or no bossman tellin’ ya how to live. Yeah that’s freedom, or at least a kind of freedom; probably the closest thing you can find to it these days. Now if all of that happens to the Cardinals I’d be a little more surprised and I guess it would mean they wouldn’t win any more games this season. 

Saints 28-16

New York Jets @ Jacksonville
Sam Darnold did not have the best night against the Patriots last Monday. Here’s his stat line: 11-32, 86 yds, 4 INTs. Those are pedestrian numbers, assuming that said pedestrian was hit by a car while crossing the street. Actually, a seriously maimed or possibly even dead person would probably know their limitations, not try to do too much, and as a result end up throwing fewer picks than Darnold did. But hey, throwers gotta keep throwing, and the Jets are hoping hat their thrower does so at higher clip than 2.7 yards per attempt. Meanwhile, if the Jags win this game 16-12 they’ll achieve a sort of perfect mediocrity at the season’s midpoint. They’d be 4-4 will scoring 20.0 points per game and allowing 20.0 per game. Sometimes scores are easier to pick than a Sam Darnold pass. 

Jaguars 16-12

Sunday Afternoon

Carolina @ San Francisco 
Last week the 49ers shut out Washington in a driving rainstorm on a waterlogged version of FedEx Field’s notoriously terrible playing surface. Considering all the factors that’s a pretty low bar to clear for a shutout. Then again, you can’t give up less than zero points, so San Francisco should be given some credit. They’ve surrendered 10 points over their last three games and remain undefeated at 6-0. In a way they're going up against another undefeated team this Sunday, the Kyle Allen Panthers. Carolina hasn’t lost since the undrafted second year man took over for an injured Cam Newton. And so we’re left with a real Jack and Diane special, something’s gotta give! According to the always unimpeachable IMDb trivia Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton’s roles in Something's Gotta Give were written specifically for them. That’s more than can be said for Kyle Allen who began the season as an understudy but has turned into a leading man. Will his Hollywood story continue in Santa Clara on Sunday? Well it’s like Jack Nicholson always says, “Don’t ask me, I got a Lakers game to get to!” So I don’t know for sure, but I’ll pick the home team.

49ers 20-16

Cleveland @ New England
Mohammed Sanu tweeted “LFG!!!!” after being traded to the Patriots on Tuesday. It makes sense, it must be pretty cool to go from toiling on a 1-6 team to winning the Super Bowl at the drop of a hat. Sure there’s a lot of games left to be played, but at the moment I’d be very surprised if New England isn’t at least playing in Super LIV. Their defense has still only given up 3 touchdowns on the season, and while the Browns offense is probably the best one they will have faced so far, Cleveland is still wildly inconsistent. Baker Mayfield has thrown a league-high 11 interceptions and now finds himself up against a defense that leads the league in picks by a healthy margin. That combination could result in a downright silly amount of bad decisions by Mayfield. Or perhaps the Browns will be so hyper-aware of that possibility that they’ll employ an overly-cautious gameplan in which they don’t throw at all. Though does this look like and overly-cautious man to you?

Patriots 34-9

Oakland @ Houston 
I keep waiting for the Texans to ascend into the upper echelon of the AFC, and after a 53 point performance against Atlanta and a win in Kansas City it seemed like they were poised to. However, last week they stumbled in Indianapolis and now seem destined for another 10-6 type season. That’s nothing to sneeze at (unless you’re allergic to hyphens in which case you’d likely sneeze no matter what their record was), but that loss in Indy ceded control of the AFC South to the Colts, and if Houston can’t get by the Divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history after trading away so much of their future drafts, this may end up feeling like they’re treading water. Normally a game against the Raiders would represent something of a life jacket, a brief respite for a team trying to keep its head above the surface. This season though, Oakland is a little frisky, like a dog that swims up to you to play, but it doesn’t realize that its kicking legs are scratching the hell out of you. The Texans could easily get nipped by this Raiders team, or they could blow them out by 20. Like I said, it’s Houston, so I’m not sure what to expect.

Texans 30-20

Sunday Night

Green Bay @ Kansas City
What was once a marquee quarterback match-up has become a slightly tainted Sunday Night match-up. That is unless Mahomes really tries to play ... It doesn't seem possible, but let's ask Cris Collinsworth what he thinks:

Nice save CriColl.

Packers 27-17

Monday Night

Miami @ Pittsburgh 
Sometimes scores just pick themselves. Other times you wish they would, and that a write-up would somehow be magically conjured up as well so that you wouldn’t have to spend any time thinking about it. Unfortunately that’s not the case here, and I’m forced to confront this Monday Night Football game. And, in kind, we’re all forced to confront our own mortality. If you dare to watch this it will make you ponder your own death, and whether or not it might be preferable to staring at the screen for another play. I’d caution against taking any drastic measures though, especially if the remote is within arm’s reach. I haven’t checked the listings for Monday night, but I’d guess that something will be on another channel that doesn’t make you long for eternal slumber.

Steelers 23-13



NFL Picks - Week 8 Thursday

Washington @ Minnesota 
Earlier this week ESPN’s Bottom Line ticker reported that Adrian Peterson is dealing with “multiple ankle sprains.” So two, right? You can’t have more than two ankle sprains can you? So then why didn’t ESPN just say “two ankle sprains”? Guys, I think Adrian Peterson has a third ankle, and it is also sprained. I finally understand how Peterson has been able to make such amazing cuts and maneuvers to evade tacklers all these years, it’s the extra ankle! Though, with that extra ankle comes added risk of injury, and we’re seeing that downside right now. If Peterson isn’t able to go against his former team, Washington could be in serious trouble. But if Peterson can get all three of his ankles in shape to play on Thursday ... Washington will still be in serious trouble. They are straight up lousy, and the Vikings seem to be hitting their stride offensively. Sure, it’s a standard two-ankled stride, but it’s effective nonetheless. 

Vikings 31-10


NFL Picks - Week 7

Sunday Morning
Los Angeles Rams @ Atlanta
The Rams' offense was in shambles last Sunday against the 49ers, to the extent that Jared Goff threw for only 78 yards. The team as a whole only gained 147. While the San Francisco D deserves plenty of credit, it’s clear that something is wrong with the Rams. “I believe we could be of some assistance ...” said the Falcons. Atlanta’s defense has allowed more points per game than any team whose name doesn’t rhyme with Miami Dolphins. So if the Rams are looking to get back on track this is the perfect opportunity. In fact, the next three games on LA’s schedule (@ ATL, CIN, @ PIT) are extremely winnable, so it’s very possible they’ll be 6-3 in no time. Either that or they’ll lose all those, sending the franchise into a tailspin that results in the demolition of their new stadium and a move back to St. Louis. So it’s a pivotal stretch for the Rams here. 

Rams 31-24

Miami @ Buffalo
I predicted a tie in last week’s Washington/Miami game, and the Dolphins were an extra point away from forcing overtime. Instead they decided to go for two, and after a horribly executed attempt they lost by one. Honestly though I’m surprised Miami didn’t just have Ryan Fitzpatrick take a knee. Who are we kidding? You don’t really want to win that game against one of your primary #1 draft pick rivals, so don’t insult our intelligence. Just kneel, jog off the field, and have the Jumbotron operator display a message for the fans that reads, “We’re doing this for your own good. You’ll thank us later.” The Bills opened as 17 point favorites for this game. The Bills have only scored more than 17 points in two of their five games this season. Add this to the seemingly never ending list of stats that point to the 2019 Dolphins being one of the worst teams of all time. But of course, they still have 11 games to lose, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet. After last Sunday’s near-win wake-up call I expect a rededication to miserable play from this Miami squad.

Bills 24-6

Jacksonville @ Cincinnati 
The Jaguars traded Jalen Ramsey to the Rams on Tuesday, and I have to say they made a killing. Two first round picks for a guy with a bad back? I know Rams are fleeced on a regular basis, but this is next level. And now that Jacksonville has rid itself of the albatross that is Jalen Ramsey they can soar unfettered into the NFL’s stratosphere. Or at least they’ll probably be able to beat the Bengals on Sunday. Even if for some reason they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. The end of their season? Yes, but not the end of the world. 

Jaguars 20-16

Minnesota @ Detroit
With each game played in Minneapolis it becomes clearer that the Vikings are much better at home. In fact, they’ve won their three games there by an average of 18 points. Unfortunately for Minnesota, they’re not playing at home this week, so a W isn’t automatic. Meanwhile, every Lions game this season has been decided by 4 points or less. Sounds like a recipe for a tight contest this Sunday. And judging from Minnesota’s juicy Lucy and Detroit style pizza that recipe will also include cheese on the inside. What exactly does that mean for a football game? That the players will have a bunch of Kraft singles shoved down their pants, of course. While that may make for a foul stench on the field it shouldn’t negatively affect the game play. I think Detroit will be the more desperate team and pull this one out. The more difficult part will be pulling the melted cheese out of their pants.

Lions 23-20

Oakland @ Green Bay
In retrospect it was probably a mistake for me to put the Lions game this close to the Packers, Detroit’s going to get flagged for illegal hands to the face again. The Packers were gifted a win on Monday on the strength of two incorrect penalty calls and now remain atop the NFC North at 5-1. But does that scare the Raiders? Hell naw! Oakland is 3-2 after actually impressive wins over the Colts and Bears, moving them in a troubling direction to where they may no longer be easy fodder for goofing. And since, in my book, that’s the most important asset an NFL team can have I sincerely hope they start to sputter again. 

Packers 27-17

Houston @ Indianapolis 
After an up and down start to the season the Texans’ offense has finally strung together two outstanding performances and enter this game coming off of a momentum-building win over the Chiefs in Kansas City. “Hey, us too!” said the Colts. Indy won in KC two weeks ago and felt so pleased with themselves that they decided to take Week 6 off. Sure, it was also mandated by their schedule, but I have a feeling they would’ve chillaxed anyway. Whoever wins this game will be in sole possession of first place in the AFC South, while the loser will ... still be in pretty decent shape. Let’s face it, there just aren’t that many good teams in the AFC, so even if the Colts wind up at 3-3 after this one I still think they have a good shot at being a wild card team. Assuming they stop taking weeks off that is, because from now on that would result in a forfeit. 

Texans 27-24

Arizona @ New York Giants
The Cardinals looked destined for their second tie of the season last week as they generously allowed the Falcons to storm back from 17 points down to nearly tie the game before Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant missed a late extra point, resulting in a one point loss. The Falcons really shot themselves in the foot, but that’s not too surprising considering the game was played in Glendale, and Arizona is an open carry state. This week the Cardinals play in New Jersey, where I’m pretty sure there are no guns, so perhaps they can avoid self-inflicted wounds. This game features two rookie quarterbacks though, so it’s stands to reason we could see things get zany. Just how zany? You’ll have to tune in to find out. But if the phrase “backwards touchdown” interests you at all, you won’t want to miss it.

Giants 31-26

San Francisco @ Washington 
The Niners have rounded into one of the top defenses in the league, while Washington has unraveled into one of the worst offenses in the football. Notice I didn’t specify a league there. After this game Washington goes to Minnesota and Buffalo so it’s entirely possible that they won’t reach a combined double-digit point total over the next three weeks. To make matters worse Washington was out-lousied in Miami last week and have now ceded an iron grip of the #1 pick in the draft to the Dolphins. So what’s left for them this season? I dunno, I guess they could try to win a few games. It likely won’t be possible until November though, so let’s check in with them then. Ok, fine I’ll still write about their games in the meantime, I know it would’ve broken your heart if I didn’t, and I always value the satisfaction of my reader(s?) above all else. 

49ers 22-3

Sunday Afternoon

Los Angeles Chargers @ Tennessee 
The Chargers hit rock bottom on Sunday night. They’re 2-4, so technically they’re not at the actual bottom of the league, but they are last in their division now, and they just lost to a team quarterbacked by someone named Devlin Hedges while their “home” stadium loudly rooted for the other team. This isn’t the first time the Chargers’ makeshift home field has been overrun by opposing fans, but with this game being played in prime time, it was certainly the most glaring example. It’s become cliche for teams to use the rallying cry of, “nobody believes in us except the guys in this locker room,” but with the Chargers it’s probably more true than ever, simply because I don’t think they have any fans left. It’s unclear who is supposed to like them. LA fans have already chosen the Rams, and any lingering San Diego supporters have hopefully cut ties by now. So really, nobody believes in them except for the guys in their locker room. But even they seem to be losing faith. Soon they’ll just be able to say “Literally NOBODY believes in us! Also, what’s the best spot to vacation in January?” That being said, they have to be able to beat Ryan Tannehill, right? Right?

Chargers 24-17 

New Orleans @ Chicago 
The Saints’ defense continues to step up in Drew Brees’s absence, and New Orleans keeps winning ugly. Meanwhile the Bears keep winning and losing ugly. So this game figures to be a first rate uggo. I’d take even odds that there will be more safeties than touchdowns. And with the type of pass rushers that both these squads trot out you’re gonna see more sacks here than in Santa’s sleigh! Though, scholars debate the amount of sacks Santa actually brings with him on Christmas Eve, with some arguing that it’s just one magical, bottomless satchel. Either way, my point is that there are going to be a ton of sacks in this game. I keep expecting the Saints to finally lose without Brees, but it just isn’t happening, so I’m convinced, they’ll never lose again. Unless Alvin Kamara can't play, then they're in trouble.

Saints 10-9

Baltimore @ Seattle 
This contest features three of the top eleven rushers in the NFL. Chris Carson (5th), Mark Ingram (11th), and !!!RECORD SCRATCH!!! Lamar Jackson (8th)?!? Huh? A quarterback?!? How can it be? That’s right, this QB can throw and run. Welcome to the future. Though, is it sustainable for a quarterback to run the ball that much? Time will tell. That’s kind of the deal with sustainability. In my season preview I theorized that Baltimore’s offensive strategy would result in Jackson being injured by November. Well, we’re a couple weeks out and he’s still looking quite spry. That being said, a lot can happen in a couple weeks. Like did you ever see the movie Troy? The whole Peloponnesian war took place within a fortnight. Of course I’m not hoping Jackson gets hurt, if anything I’m scared for him. If you run that much you’re bound to take some serious hits, and accumulate major wear and tear. One day you’re running down the field fancy-free, and the next your achilles is shot. Spoiler alert: that’s how Troy ended too. 

Seahawks 27-22

Sunday Night

Philadelphia @ Dallas 
It's a pivotal NFC East match-up, which of course means it will be on Sunday Night Football. Let's check-in with color commentator Cris Collinsworth to get some insight into this clash:
Now that's what I call a hot take.

Eagles 30-27

Monday Night

New England @ New York Jets
The Patriots' defense continues to stifle opponents. The 14 points they gave up last week to the Giants was actually well above their season average of 8. In fact, the defense itself has done even better than that. Of their opponents’ six touchdowns this season, three of them have come via the opposing defense or special teams, meaning New England’s D has only surrendered 3 TDs on the season, and a couple of FGs for a grand total of 27 points over the first six games. If you’re not near a calculator and are too lazy to do the mental math for yourself, that’s 4.5 points per game. And in case you don’t watch football and read this column strictly for its hilariosity and flawless prose, then first let me humbly thank you, and secondly assure you that 4.5 is not a lot of points for an NFL offense to score. The Pats took on the Jets about a month ago and New York’s O managed, well, O. That was without Sam Darnold, however, and you have to imagine he’ll be able to lead his group to, I don’t know, 10 points? Sure let’s go with 10. 

Patriots 23-10


NFL Picks - Week 7 Thursday

Kansas City @ Denver
After consecutive home losses everyone is asking “What’s wrong with the Chiefs?” The answer is simple: Patrick Mahomes’s gimpy ankle. The real question should be: “What’s right with the Broncos?” They’ve won in back to back weeks after an eight game interseasonal losing streak. Not only that, but they shutout of the Titans last Sunday. Maybe first year head coach Vic Fangio finally has this defense on the right track! Maybe they’ve found their identity! And most importantly for this week, maybe Patrick Mahomes’s ankle still hurts! If all of that proves to be true, then Denver could absolutely pull the upset here. However, if we find out that none of those things are true then don’t be surprised to see the Chiefs roll. And don’t be surprised if I’m not here when you get home Broncos. You swore you’d never lie to me again, and you’ve had too many last chances already. I’m taking the kids, if you need me I’ll be at my sister’s. 

Chiefs 24-20


NFL Picks - Week 6

Carolina @ Tampa Bay
Ok, it’s been three weeks now, I think we have a big enough sample size to definitively say Kyle Allen is better than Cam Newton! How else can you explain the Panthers going 3-0 with Allen as the starter and 0-2 with Newton? Have I actually sat down and watched a full Carolina game with Allen as the starter? No, but the results speak for themselves. It took me a minute to look up the Panthers' record with Allen, and now I know all I need to. I just saved myself 9 hours. Now the only question is how best to use that recouped time. Charity work? Maybe. Read a book? Could. Get sucked into an endless deluge of salacious true crime stories on ID, the murder channel? Hmm, feels like that’s the likely winner. Though maybe I’ll just use the time to get some extra sleep, because I’ll need it to wake up for this 6:30a PT kickoff. Does waking up that early for a Carolina/Tampa game come across as troubling or dedicated? I agree, troublingly dedicated. 

Panthers 23-17

Sunday Morning

Seattle @ Cleveland 
Three of the Seahawks’ four wins have come by a combined total of four points. Some would say that they’re skating on thin ice, but I’d argue that they’re the ultimate showmen. They’re bringing the drama, and that’s what the people pay to see. I mean aren’t the most entertaining figure skating events the ones where they actually are skating on thin ice? You know, someone will be mid-axel then just come crashing through the surface and flail around wildly to the raucous applause of the audience? Actually those events are pretty underground, so it would make sense that a square like you wouldn’t know about them. And now that I know you’re a real drip it makes sense that you’re all up in arms about Seattle’s margin of victory. Sure, some folks like a nice, comfortable win, but not these Hawks. They live on the edge and keep the tension cranked all the way up. Sorry if you can’t handle it jabroni.

Seahawks 24-20

Houston @ Kansas City
If the Chiefs’ offense can dust themselves off after a middling performance last Sunday night, and the Texans bring the high-octane attack that they unleashed on Atlanta a week ago, this game could be downright wild. So wild, in fact, that CBS has brought in Joe Francis to run the production. It will almost certainly be a mistake, but sometimes you gotta take risks. And these starting quarterbacks know that more than anyone. They’re not afraid to push the ball downfield and keep their foot on the gas pedal. That being said, between the two of them they’ve only thrown one interception on the season. They’re managing to maximize aggressiveness while minimizing risk, something that cannot be said for Joe Francis. Which, again, is probably why CBS is making a mistake here.  

Chiefs 38-35 

Washington @ Miami 
Alright, what's next here? Let's see ... Uhhhh, oh shit. Oh god what have we done to deserve this? There are four teams on a bye this week, all of whom have winning records, so of course we’re going to be left with a good amount of lackluster squads on the docket, I understand that. But this is beyond lackluster. These are likely the two worst teams in the league, possibly competing for the 1st pick in the 2020 draft. At this point it really behooves them both to lose. Of course the players themselves are still going to compete, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some dubious coaching decisions, perhaps dictated by upper management. I’m talking going for it on 4th & 15, punting on 2nd down, or even subbing Colt McCoy back into the game. All of the proverbial stops will be pulled out and I can only hope that the final score is 0-0. Though if these teams are smart they’ll start taking intentional safeties. So maybe we’ll see something like this:

TIE 4-4

Philadelphia @ Minnesota 
This is a re-rematch (they played last season too) of the 2017 NFC Championship game, a contest I feel will become lost to history. You may have forgotten about it already for all I know. First off, it was a blowout and wouldn’t be memorable on its own for anyone outside of Philadelphia or Minnesota. But what really buries it are the games surrounding it. The Vikings advanced to that round by way of the Minneapolis Miracle, an all-time classic finish that will live on forever in highlight history. And the Eagles followed up their demolition of Minnesota with a thrilling upset of the Patriots in a Super Bowl shootout for the ages that even a casual fan should be able to recall years from now. But that conference title game in between the Miracle and the Super Bowl? That stinker will fade away like a fart in the wind. Trust me, 50 years from now you won’t be able to recall who Philly beat to get to Super Bowl LII. Of course, you won’t be able to recall football at all, because our new lords the Zorgons will have wiped the sport from our collective memories and destroyed the earth’s supply of sports almanacs. Our conversation will probably center around the Zorgons’ favorite sport korful. Ya know, standard stuff like which squadron will win the Earthling Cup and who will lose and be summarily executed as per the sport’s bylaws. But even before that distant future I’d be willing to bet that in a few years very few will recall the 38-7 trouncing that propelled Philly to SB52. Will Sunday’s game be more memorable? What does it matter? If I were you I’d start boning up on the rules of korful.

Vikings 26-23 

New Orleans @ Jacksonville 
I look at this match-up and assume we’re all thinking the same thing, right? Say it with me ... Play the game on a barge in the Gulf of Mexico! Geographically it just makes sense. Does it make sense in any other capacity? No, probably not. And actually it doesn’t really make sense geographically either. Tallahassee is a perfectly fine midpoint if you’re looking for a neutral site. But c’mon, you’re definitely gonna watch an NFL game that’s being played out on the open sea, right? Well as it turns out, no you wouldn’t watch it, because you couldn’t. See, the barge wasn’t big enough to fit any of the cameras or other production equipment, so it can’t be televised. Boy this whole idea is starting to feel like a mistake. Furthermore, these teams are making plenty of waves on their own. The Saints have proven that they don’t need Brees to keep sailing along, while the Jags’ swashbuckling reserve QB has certainly made a splash. Hmm, all this aquatic talk has me liking the barge idea again. And wait a minute New Orleans’ QB is named Bridge Water. That one’s just obvious! Ok, that’s it, back to the barge!

Jaguars 20-17 

Cincinnati @ Baltimore 
After an overtime win over the Steelers last Sunday the Ravens proved once again that they’re ... fine. Just fine. Good enough to beat lousy teams but not quite a true contender. That’s not to say they can’t grow into a real threat, but right now it appears they’re merely a notch above mediocre. They’re like the California Pizza Kitchen of the NFL. Sure it beats Pizza Hut, but I ain’t bringing a date there. Not anymore anyway, I learned that lesson the hard way. But c’mon when I asked if she wanted a second appetizer she should’ve understood that I had no intention of splitting the spinach artichoke dip I'd just ordered. Once I picked up on her bad vibes I guess I could left her some, but I only had one pizza coming as an entree, and I knew from experience that that wasn’t going to be enough. Anyway, Baltimore is playing the winless Bengals this week, a game that meets the criteria for a Ravens victory.

Ravens 27-13

Sunday Afternoon

San Francisco @ Los Angeles Rams 
It’s a pivotal NFC West match-up, but are we really dealing with an even playing field? I’m not referring to the LA Coliseum itself, though it’s possible that the field is gnarled and slippery due to left over USC paint. The real issue is that the 49ers are coming off a short week after their Monday night win while the Rams haven’t played since last Thursday. This is a travesty! What’s that? Same scenario in the Hawks/Browns game? Well maybe it’s not such a big deal then. After all, teams have to play other teams coming off bye weeks all the time, and that’s a whole extra seven days of rest. They're the real bastards. San Fran was impressive in their flushing of the Browns on Monday, but the shorter rest coupled with the 45 minute flight to LA may prove to be too much to overcome against a Rams team that’s desperate for a win. 

Rams 24-19


Atlanta @ Arizona 
The Cardinals finally got their first win last Sunday, and at 1-3-1 they’re now technically better than the Falcons. Can that be right? Oh it’s right, and ya know what else? It might actually be true. Sure that sounds redundant, but what I mean is that Atlanta may legitimately be worse than Arizona. The Falcons have -50 point differential while the Cards are at -38. Is point differential the only metric we should judge teams on? No, but it’s one of the only metrics available when quickly glancing at the standings while trying to figure out who’s going to win a game between two last place teams. I’ll cut the Falcons some slack and point out that they have had a somewhat difficult schedule. Though when you suck aren’t all schedules difficult? While you contemplate that poignant question, I’ll just go ahead and take Atlanta, because they have to better than this, right? Did you realize that was the fifth question posed in this paragraph? Hey, there's the sixth!

Falcons 34-31

Tennessee @ Denver 
I can’t figure the Titans out. I’m not exaggerating, I literally have not picked one of their games correctly this season. They’re 2-3 and I’m 0-5. Theoretically I should just go with the opposite of what I think from here on out. The only problem is, I don’t know what I think. How could I? I’m completely flummoxed by these guys. Ok, let’s see, Tennessee is 2-1 on the road and Denver’s 0-2 at home, so that would indicate that the Titans have a decent shot at winning. Which, of course, means that I must pick them to lose ... right? Also Tennessee averages around 19 points per game and gives up only 15. You know what that means? We’re gonna have a shoot out on our hands! In the end I think the Titans get the win, which means I’m picking Denver.

Broncos 27-24


Dallas @ New York Jets
This Sunday Sam Darnold returns to a Jets offense that scored 9 points in his three game absence. Darnold must have that feeling us normies get when we take a vacation then come back to work to find everything’s screwed up and nothing’s where you left it. You’re mostly aggravated at your co-workers’ incompetence at covering for you, but part of you is shamefully giddy that no one could fill your shoes. It’s nice to be missed. I’m thinking Darnold and company can top those aforementioned 9 points in this game alone, however, it might not be easy. Before last week the Cowboys were only giving up 14 points per game, and after their letdown against the Packers they figure to be hungry for atonement. And from what I hear there’s more than a few James McAvoy fans on that Dallas D, so it’s safe to say they’re also hungry for Atonement. 

Cowboys 30-16

Sunday Night

Pittsburgh @ Los Angeles Chargers
I guess it's too early for SNF to flex out of a game, so we're left with this. I think we all know the most entertaining part of the game will be the man in the announcer's booth, and he's joining us now:
Oof, rough stuff CriColl. Sorry to hear that.

Chargers 31-10

Monday Night

Detroit @ Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers dominates the Lions. Wait a minute, Detroit has beaten Green Bay in four straight meetings? Well those two things don’t jibe. Or do they? You see Rodgers only played one of those last four in full. For his career Rodgers is 13-3 against the Lions when he makes it through the whole game. So really both teams have to come into this game feeling confident. But you know what Vince Lombardi said, “Football is a game that shatters confidence, and the balls have the biggest laces is sports.” The second part of that quote isn’t as pertinent, but that doesn’t make it any less true. So which team’s confidence will be lying in shards on the field once Monday Night is through? Probably Detroit, but who knows? One thing’s for certain, those laces are gonna be big as hell. 

Packers 22-16