This Season: 74-70-2
Last week: 7-7
Well, last week was just ok, but it was ok in a very miraculous way. I continue to struggle in the late games and non-Thursday primetime games. Still, I did enough to break even. This week had several surprise endings, and more than a few bad beats for the general public. For me however:
Last go to the weekly review.
Best Call: The Dolphins arrive here again, after smoking the Chargers. I predicted that this was the biggest special teams mismatch in years. I was right, and it was the difference in the game. The Dolphins blocked a punt on the 4th play of the game and recovered on the 1. After a quick TD punch-in, the Dolphins took a lead they would never relinquish. Add in a 20 yard average on punt returns, the Chargers jumping offside on a field goal (giving the Dolphins a first down) and a downed punt inside the five (that was mistakenly allowed to bounce from the 15) and the Dolphins special teams punished a terrible San Diego group. If you are wondering why San Diego keeps losing close games it feels like they should win, you can look in the margins.
Worst call: Plenty of candidates here, but I will go with the Ravens. After lambasting Lamar Jackson and the offense, I took them anyway. The offense continued to be bad and the defense didn’t bail them out this time. The Ravens are a dead team walking, and I am starting to wonder if they are going to make the playoffs. I THINK they will, but I am no longer confident. They are not Super Bowl contenders which is a tough reality for a team that was going all in this year.
Most Awesome miracle of the week: I can’t have a bad beat section here after two of the most miraculous covers of the year. The one I am NOT picking here is the Texans, who covered when Nick Chubb decided to step out of bounds at the one instead of sealing the game with a touchdown (they sealed the game with kneel downs instead). I don’t think he made the wrong decision, but it really didn’t matter. Unless you had the Browns -3.5. They won by 3. I had the Texans. No, the best miracle of the week came from the… Bills? The Bills lost to the Cardinals by two on a nightmare scenario when the great DeAndre Hopkins (his name just keeps coming up in this column) caught a Hail Mary touchdown with 1 second left (although it just looked like a throw into triple coverage). Up by two, the Cardinals made an odd decision. They chose not to kick the extra point. Up by two, there was an outside possibility the kick could be blocked and returned for two points. Rather than risk it, they took a knee. I had the Bills +2.5. This is the best cover of the year. It can’t be topped.
Ok, enough baseball gifs, it’s time for week 11. I probably can’t bank on the two most improbable covers of the year again this week, so I should probably try and focus. If there was one criticism you could lob at my column last week (and there were probably dozens), it’s that it was unspeakably long. So let’s go do what voters do every other year in the elections. Let’s swing the pendulum too far in the other direction. This week, I have 11 words to describe each team for week 11. (plus rampant Patriots-style cheating)
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks -3.5
The Cardinals offense is red hot. Deandre Hopkins is a beast.
I love the homer announcer call on plays like this.
The Seahawks are lost in the wilderness. Even Russ was bad.
It’s hard to blame Russ for being bad when he is clearly trying to do too much because he has to.
A surprising effort by the Seahawks D lead to a missed cover. I was suspicious of this (as you can see from my tweet). Somehow the oddsmakers knew the Cards were going to lay an egg.
Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens -5
The Ravens offense is limited. Injuries are a part. Lamar too.
I just put this here so Ravens fans can think about something else.
The Titans miss Lewan terribly. Even he can’t play cornerback though.
A quick look at the all 22 film of the Titan’s secondary from Sunday.
The Ravens started the week favored by a touchdown. It’s down to 5. They have shown no indication that they can dominate anyone right now. They might cover, but I don’t trust them at all. I also don’t trust the Titans at all, but I am not being asked to spot them 5 points either. Titans +5
Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers -2.5
The Lions win sometimes. Pyrrhic victory thy name is Matt Patricia.
Every win makes their draft pick a little worse.
No McCaffrey. No Bridgewater. So obviously they will win the game.
Every win makes their draft pick a little worse.
I’ll take the Panthers here. Why you ask? Because they don’t have Matt Patricia as a head coach. Panthers -2.5
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars +10.5
The Steelers just keep trucking along. Another week, another win. (just 10 words! What a bargain. Wait, do these words count?)
The Steelers are the most boring 8-0 in NFL history. Their most exciting game so far was just Lamar Jackson throwing up all over himself a bunch of times.
The Jags are bad, but they keep covering. The Hell, Jake Luton? (I used that leftover Steelers word)
Better eat it fast, it’s Florida, plus there is a pretty good chance the team is going to fire the coach.
Remember that stat from last week about how rookie quarterbacks had four wins in the last 6 years against the Steelers. It’s still 4 and it will still be 4 next week too. Let’s keep an eye on this though. Luton has covered the spread the last two weeks. There might be something going on here. Of course, those covers were against two of the worst defenses in the NFL. Steelers -10.5
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans +2
The Pats are back. I still have questions about Cam throwing.
I agree. Cam Newton can sure 9 rushing touchdowns.
Worst part of the Texans is defense, so lets promote the coordinator.
So, did the Browns years not happen? Was that my imagination?
In the absolute quietest way possible, Deshaun Watson is STILL having his best year statistically this season. A big part of that is all the passing he has to do being down big every game. Still, he is a very good quarterback. The problem is that all the Pats do is run the ball, and the Texans can’t STOP the run. That is a bad recipe. Pats -2
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns -3
NFC East bad.
MSNBC @MSNBCPresident Trump and GOP now 0-5 in Philadelphia lawsuits. https://t.co/FdTIsNeDCM
The Browns run the Hell outta the ball. They can’t throw. Pray for rain. (so many saved words from the Eagles)
This should be their playbook EVERY day.
I can’t believe I am doing this, but without Myles Garrett, I am worried about the Browns. Let’s go Eagles +3.
Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints -4
They love winning meaningless games. This is a rivalry game though.
Taysom Hill is going to start, at least he throws a better deep ball than Brees. (I still have extra words left over from the Eagles)
Drew Brees average completion length is bad, but I said NO MORE BASEBALL MEMES.
This game means too much to the Falcons, so they will lose handily. Drew Brees being out is going to motivate the rest of the team to step up their game. Saints -4
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Washington Football Team -1
Joe Burrow needs time to throw or the completion percentage goes low. (Still leftover Eagles words.)
Father Keanu knows all about rising like a Phoenix.
NFC East bad.
It’s so impressive that Alex Smith managed to get 400 yards in his first start back. Against the Lions. The Lions in a prevent. Don’t get sucked in. He’s 0-2. Burrow and co. will bounce back and surprise with a win this week. Bengals +1
Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts -2
The Packers offense is consistent like gouda. The defense is more Swiss than my guards. (Trust me, you will get the words back. There is one more NFC East team)
This is why the Packers didn’t make it into my uniform column.
The Colts are great when the other team isn’t.
Apropos of nothing… I love Aziz.
The Packers are so confusing to me. So are the Colts. The Colts seem to really overwhelm bad teams, while the Packers seem to play to their competition. So the Packers are playing a good Colts team, so they will be good, and the Colts only can overwhelm the Packers when the Packers play a bad team. So this means the Colts will be a bad team. But if the Colts are bad, then the Packers will be bad. But if the Packers are bad, then the Colts will be really good. I think this means I should take the Packers. Packers +2
Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings -7
NFC East bad.
Gil Brandt @Gil_BrandtBest divisional race in football. 🙈 https://t.co/ykjYx7DXBv
Imagine caring about what happens to this team.
The Vikings are back! As long as the other team can’t throw.
Wow! This Cowherd guy must have some great analysis.
As long as the Vikings can move the ball on the ground, they remain a good team. Take that away and they struggle. Not only can’t the Cowboys take that away, they can’t take away candy from a baby.
Poor Jerry Jones. Vikings -7.
New York Jets vs. San Diego Chargers -9.5
The Jets had their best week of the year so far.
Hahaha. Just kidding. Colin Cowherd is an idiot. In his defense, maybe these two sentences were unrelated and he meant the Giants, which is actually not better. We didn’t talk about his picks against the spread two weeks ago. Despite only picking the 5 BEST games, in his opinion, ATS, his record is 20-24-1. No one knows anything.
The Chargers have the worst coach in the NFL (last week only).
Daniel Popper @danielrpopperKeenan Allen on #Chargers offense's performance vs. Dolphins: "I would say we were pretty confused out there."
God damn Brian Flores is a good coach. That’s an NFL player admitting that after the game. You NEVER hear that. Can’t say the Chargers coaches were excited to read that, even though it was 100 percent true and their fault.
With the Jets bye week over, Anthony Lynn is back to being the second worst coach in the NFL, I don’t care what Colin Cowherd thinks. Still… 9.5 points seems like a lot for a team that shoots itself in the foot constantly. Jets +9.5. I just want to prepare something for the column next week.
I really regret picking the Jets. In hindsight, I should have realized no one is anywhere near as bad a coach as Adam Gase is.
Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos +3.5
The Dolphins defense is a nightmare. Tua is the perfect caretaker.
The Dolphins No Name Defense is back. If you aren’t sure who Brett Rypien is, you might recall from a previous column that the Broncos head coach didn’t know his name either.
No Lock would be bad anytime. This week it’s a disaster.
This line isn’t close to high enough. 3 points? The Dolphins defense and special teams will have scored at least that in the first quarter. The Broncos have no path to victory here. I get the feeling they just want to avoid the Dolphins decapitating Lock. The Dolphins have he second best record ATS this season and have been consistently underestimated by oddsmakers. Dolphins -3.5.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Las Vegas Raiders +8
Mahomes is locked in. The defense is better than last year.
A 25-1 TD to INT ratio. Wow.
The Raiders have people thinking they are for real. Suckers.
This is old school Raiders right here tho. I miss this version of the Raiders instead of the soft group they have now (except Abrams obviously).
This is a big time revenge game for the Chiefs. Their only loss of the year, the Raiders took a celebratory lap last time around the stadium, as if they Chiefs hadn’t been obliterating them for years. The Chiefs will put them back in their place. Gotta get back on track for 8-8. Chiefs -8
Los Angeles Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4
The Rams D is tough. Their offense is too. Tough to gauge.
Lucky for them they don’t get the Dolphins every week. The Seahawks were much more forgiving.
The Bucs keep bucking karma. It Follows.
So wait. I thought Antonio Brown matured into an adult in the last 3 magical months. That’s what Arians said with that gun to his head. Are you telling me he’s still a bad guy? I thought the dozens of incidents of him being a bad guy were behind him. I’m starting to think maybe not.
Lucky break for Bucs again this week as the Rams lost their most important offensive lineman, left tackle Andre Whitworth. This is one of the worst positions to lose a star player at (see Titans, Ravens). This will give the Bucs D the opening they need to snuff out the impotent Rams offense. The Rams defense will keep this interesting though. Bucs -4