Overall Record: 53-49-2
This Week: 7-6-1
What a wild week of football. Yours truly got back on track, with my first winning week since week 1. I have stayed above .500 all season, but this week I gave myself a little breathing room. Ahhhhhhhhh… 2 games. Anyway, so much happened this week that it would take an unnecessarily long and drawn-out article to cover it.
Best Call: On a good week, it is nice to have options here. I will say the one I feel the most pride in is the Panthers cover (but loss). I clearly identified the issue here, too many points. Honorable mention goes to that time I took the points in the NFC East (usually a safe bet) with the Giants. Why would you let any of those teams have points. Look what the Cowboys did with their point on Sunday.
Worst Call: Speaking of the Cowboys, I violated my own rule about taking points and took one. Like a junkie who thinks they can have just one, that one point was a disaster from the opening kickoff. The Cowboys are in a major tailspin that I doubt they will get out of soon. Mike McCarthy has the energy of a guy who is on his 14th year filing people’s tax returns for H and R Block. I assume he does care about winning, but his general aura is that he input your finances into the software and now will wait patiently for the final numbers and print-out. In the meantime, he will throw around some tax jargon and ask how your child is while looking at the dependent screen out of the corner of his eye. When finished, he will set up an appointment for next year that neither of you plans on keeping (the playoffs).
Bad Beat: Despite the low volume of losses, this was a week with plenty of choices (hard stares to Atlanta, the Bills kicker and the Seahawks defense) but we are actually going with the push. The Browns snagged a spread victory from the jaws of defeat on a last second touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield to a WR that definitely was not open. Unfortunately, the spread wasn’t quite covered. There was still the matter of the “extra point”. I smelled trouble from the second the kicker lined up. I was screaming at him, with words the Vulgate would not recognize, to not blow my carefully prognosticated win. As he started to move I realized the horrible truth. He was the author of the “Double Doink”.
He missed. My spread flew quietly into the darkening eve, having escaped from the jaws of defeat, but mistaking the open arms of a cover for hostility.
It’s a new week, and let’s try to keep the momentum going. After this last wacky week, I think it is time to look at what these teams have done lately in a game I am going to call “What have you done for me lately?” Look, it’s been a long week, ok. See, look at this awful meme I made.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers -2.5
Atlanta, what have you done for me lately?
Atlanta choked away another victory in a fashion so Shakespearean that I am pretty sure that was Sir Ian McKellan who accidentally fell forward into the end zone, not Todd Gurley. Watch the awkwardness ensue as the Lions celebrate the Falcons touchdown.
Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo Crennel? (It’s a merciful bye for Romeo this week)
Carolina, what have you done for me lately?
Well, we can rule out getting to the quarterback. While the Panthers have improved considerably from last year, they still have problems on defense. The Saints, without their wide receivers, just piled up the points on them. Even the Bears made it past 20. Also, this statistic is not counting the bench players’ fingers, which would make it more insane. So many fingers, so few sacks.
I accidentally forgot to post this bad boy on Twitter because I was waiting for word on McCaffrey. If he didn’t return, I was taking the Falcons, per my prediction last week that the Falcons love winning meaningless games. They did.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens -4
Pittsburgh, what have you done for me lately?
Hit. What a HIT! 100 percent legal up against Derrick Henry??? Are you kidding me? This fellow is the fill in for Devin Bush, who will be missing again this week against Baltimore. They will miss him a lot more this week trying to keep up with Lamar’s scrambling. Devin Bush was sort of the Steelers’ Lamar Jackson antidote.
Baltimore, what have you done for me lately?
They made a huge player personnel move this week to up their talent…
Talk about a move that could be huge! This guy has great hands, and I think he still has feet too (although it was getting questionable at the end there in Dallas). I think they traded for a Pro-Bowl defensive lineman too.
This matchup will be a brutal slug fest. The Ravens have been sputtering all year on offense, but the bye plus the motivation of taking on the undefeated Steelers should bring out the best in them. I like them to cover at least. Ravens +4
New York Jets vs. Kansas City Chiefs -19.5
This is one of the biggest spreads in my lifetime.
New Jersey, what have you done for me lately?
J-E-T-S Jets jets jest. They covered the spread at last this last week. However, they didn’t really cover it. The Bills failed to push any of their drives into the end zone and missed 2 field goals. That game should not have been a cover for the Jets. They had 5 yards in the second half. 5. The distance I walked to go to the bathroom in the third quarter is the distance they went.
Kansas City, what have you done for me lately?
Win in bad weather. Winter is coming. Patrick doesn’t care. So what if he sounds like he just stepped of a shrimpin’ boat. He is here to ruin your long days AND your long nights. He just lead easy victories in the pouring rain and snow in back to back weeks.
This is probably going to be the largest point spread in NFL history. I am refusing to count last week as a cover. I’m taking the opponent until the Jets get a real cover. Chiefs -19.5
Tennessee Titans vs. Cincinnati Bengals +5.5
Tennessee, what have you done for me lately?
Miss a game tying field goal. This is something of a theme for them, as legendary kicker Stephen Gostkowski is kicking away his place in the Hall of Fame one game at a time. He is 10-16 so far this year, but the missed one’s have cost a lot to the spread (even if the team has survived his gaffes). The Titans have this wearying ability to keep every game close no matter who they are playing (except Buffalo). But I think I might have found another exception.
Cincinnati, what have you done for me lately?
Lose football games. The Bengals are playing better this year than last, but losing is in their DNA.
I would say what they have done lately is lose.
I’m taking the Titans here in what I feel to be a shockingly low line. I don’t see how the Bengals can possibly cover this spread unless it is a late back door situation. They definitely won’t win. Titans -5.5
Los Angeles Rams vs. Miami Dolphins +3.5
LA, what have you done for me lately?
Bring Aaron Donald. This picture is not recent, but Aaron Donald is about to be very current for Miami. This was probably not the right person on the other team to have closest to Tua when he makes his debut off a fractured hip. As for the Rams, all they have done is aggravate me all season. I still don’t understand anything they have done. Is Jared Goff good? You don’t know.
Miami, what have you done for me lately?
Reopened the bandwagon. The bandwagon is back for the first time since Dan Marino threw 8 interceptions to the Jaguars in that playoff game. No one really knows how Tua will do in this game. But we are excited to see what happens. If this form looks old, it’s because it was last used in 1995, which I am hearing from sources was 25 years ago. That can’t be right.
Since I don’t know what Tua or the Rams will do, I will lean on the one thing I do know. Since they got both corners healthy, the Dolphins defense has been very unpleasant for opposing teams. If you watched the Niners dismantle the Pats last weekend, you probably had to think back to the Dolphins dismantling them just 2 weeks ago. Dolphins +3.5
Indianapolis Colts vs. Detroit Lions +3
Indianapolis, what have you done for me lately?
Make field goals. Usually scoring points is good, but ideally, you want those points to come from touchdowns. Yet the Colts seem to keep turning seven points into three. This is likely because they don’t have a big receiver, powerful running back, or running quarterback, three of the biggest keys to getting in the end zone.
Detroit, what have you done for me lately?
Received their just desserts. Finally tackling poorly has been rewarded for the Lions, who for years were punished for a failure to wrap up. This shocking turn of events was earned through the past several decades. On a more positive note, after losing games in bizarre fashion regularly in the Matt Patricia era, they finally got one.
The Lions have been so temperamental this season, barely losing and barely winning with regularity. So have the Colts. I have no idea who will win this one. Let’s go with the Colts, no the Lions… no, wait… Co… Lio…………………….. Colts -3
New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills -4
New England, what have you done for me lately?
Buffalo, what have you done for me lately?
Two premier “what the hell?” teams match up here. I don’t know what happened, but for the last 3 weeks, both these teams formerly good teams have been awful. And yes, I know the Bills won one. An 8 point win over the Jets is a loss. I have no idea which of these teams is going to break out of their rut this week. Cam Newton has now had 2 good starts in his last 20 games. It feels like the last two weeks might have been the norm, not the first two games, like I think we all thought. Bills -4
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns -2.5
Las Vegas, what have you done for me lately?
The Raiders continued their steady march to 8-8 with a well deserved beating. This movement pattern also represents the other team marching up and down the field at will.
Cleveland, what have you done for me lately?
In a way that only the Browns can, they both won and lost, taking the game and losing Odell Beckham for the season. The irony of him hurting himself trying to make a tackle a week after AJ Green avoided going anywhere near a tackle and demanding to be traded is not lost on me. For everyone who bad-mouths Odell, remember this.
The Raiders search for 8-8 continues. The Browns will lose the game, but Baker will play great. It’s either an actual victory or a moral victory, but never both. Raiders +2.5
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers -6
Minnesota, what have you done for me lately?
They surrendered. Upon news that star D-end Danielle Hunter would be out for the season, they set about selling off the remaining pieces. Ngakoue was first out, but others will follow.
Green Bay, what have you done for me lately?
Dealt with complacency.
Aaron Rodgers shows a very high level of understanding of complacency in this clip, and I wonder where he learned about that… oh right, the last 5 years of his play. Let’s just say a trip to visit the Texans D resolved any lingering issues.
When a GM tells their team the season is over like the Vikings GM did, don’t expect the rest of the year to go well. Packers -6
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos +3.5
San Diego, what have you done for me lately?
Hit all the throws. Justin Herbert is going to be a stud. What impresses me most is how effortless and accurate his throws are. This is one of a dozen throws already that are extremely difficult that he makes look easy. Watching Cam Newton’s awful throwing motion on Sunday made me realize that throwing well consistently is very hard, even for great players. Herbert is great, easy and accurate.
Denver, what have you done for me lately?
Throw poorly forwards and backwards. Watch here as Melvin Gordon speaks for his entire team when he throws the ball to Drew Lock like Drew throws it to them. I am also definitely going to end this section without making a comment about Melvin Gordon’s accuracy and his DUI. Too lowbrow from a guy who made an anus joke last week.
Rookie QB is always up and down, but at this point, Lock and Herbert have both played about the same amount of games. Only one has played well. Chargers -3.5
New Orleans Saints vs. Chicago Bears 4.5
New Orleans, what have you done for me lately?
Toy with trading their best player. The saga with Michael Thomas seems to pick up steam every week. Starting with this offseason when he opposed Drew Brees’ intial stand on the flag, to the start of the year when he pushed back on team doctors saying he needed to sit out, to the fight in practice, the suspension, him claiming he wasn’t suspended but instead not healthy, then suddenly pulling his hamstring immediately upon coming back, nothing about this says happy ending.
Chicago, what have you done for me lately?
Win ugly. The original BDN is right that winning ugly is better than losing pretty, although, what this romp through a wheat fields of clichés fails to address is that winning ugly is the final step before losing. Trust me, I've been winning ugly on my picks all season. Ideally, you would stop doing that at some point, to create some separation between yourself and losing. Sure enough, Monday night, they crossed the threshold, skipped losing pretty, and went straight to losing ugly.
I don’t like the Saints chances here unless Thomas plays. Even if he does, though, I am not sure how invested he is. Bears +4.5
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks -3
San Francisco, what have you done for me lately?
Look, it’s run or bust for San Francisco. Garoppolo shows no signs of being able to throw the ball down the field accurately. Their constant misdirection, quick throws and screens cause a lot of difficulty for opposing defenses. Their passing game does not. Basically, they have to get a lead and hold it.
Seattle, what have you done for me lately?
Play defense only on offense. Look, Russell Wilson had a bad game last weekend, but still, the defense is the one to blame here. They can’t stop anyone from passing. It is a serious concern and something they need to address if they want to even sniff the Super Bowl. Playoff teams are generally better at throwing than regular teams unless….
It’s the Niners. This is the only possible playoff team that has no idea how to throw. This is a big plus for a team that can’t stop it. Seahawks -3.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles -9
Dallas, what have you done for me lately?
Threw up all over themselves, the field and Jerry. Everywhere but the sink. I think they still have a touch of Pazuzu. Did you know they have a worse record against the spread than the Jets do?
Philadelphia, what have you done for me lately?
Make the players in the huddle wear name tags. At this point, the Eagles are a weird mix of practice squad guys and former bust draft picks, but they can still win because they keep being in the NFC East.
I can’t believe I am saying this, but give the points. The Cowboys can’t score and can’t stop the other team from scoring. That is a terrible combination. Eagles -9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs NY Giants +11.5
Tampa, what have you done for me lately?
Tompa Bay seems to have really hit their stride. They have reeled off several straight wins, and the offense is humming. I only see one problem. They signed the NFL equivalent of cancer. Antonio Brown is a human being so deeply unpleasant that I have genuinely lost track of how many times he has abused and sexually assaulted women. Of course, he doesn’t leave that cancer at home, he has burned bridges on several teams already with his selfish attitude and play. Of course, as Russell Wilson says, everyone deserves a second chance. Except he had one. In Oakland. And another in New England. That’s three chances. As Amy Wong would say, fool me one time, shame on you. Fool me seven or more times, shame on me. Also, Bruce Arians took the very foolish step of declaring that Antonio Brown had matured (you could almost see Tom Brady off-screen holding his family member hostage at gunpoint). We are only a few months removed from the last call to his residence for an abuse situation with his kids’ mother. Do they have steroids for maturity you can take that work in like 3 months?
New Jersey, what have you done for me lately?
The Giants are in the midst of a lost season, where the GM is hanging by a thread (that thread is Saquon Barkley’s injury he can use as an excuse). His handpicked coach choice is too. This team can’t run, and Daniel Jones looks like Jameis Winston with a more sponsor friendly look if-you-know-what-I-mean. Their defense has been improving as the season wears on, but only by default.
This week, I have a sneaking suspicion the Bucs will be on the receiving end of some karmic retribution. They won’t lose mind you, they will just only win by 10. Next week is the Saints, so I smell a look-ahead game too. Giants 11.5