All posts by rmaccallum

Rory’s Corner: Week 17 Picks

We’ve reached the final week of the NFL regular season, and I for one am glad. I’m a fan of a lot of sports, but I’m definitely a football guy first. I love college football, and I love the NFL, but even me, the most avid football fan has been finding other things to do on my Sundays this year, because the games have been largely unwatchable. And the worst have been the primetime games. The Thursday night games are always awful, I stopped watching after about Week 2, the Sunday night games have had a lot of blowouts and bad matchups, and the Monday night games have been horrible matchups. There’s been a ton of injuries, and the quality of play has really suffered in my opinion. The Patriots, Panthers, Cardinals, and Seahawks are the only real Super Bowl contenders, and the rest of the league can be tough to watch. There’s been a lot of bad quarterback play, and fantasy football leagues are being decided by third string rookie running backs from Northern Iowa. It’s been a wonky year, let’s put the 2015 season behind us and hope for an entertaining postseason.

Jets (-2.5) over BILLS

This is probably the best game of the week. The Jets are very well coached and Fitzpatrick is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Something very interesting is the way Jet fans have reacted to their teams recently. When Rex was the coach they were either wildly confident or loudly complaining about how bad they were, kind of reflective of their Head Coach. This year they’ve been quietly confident, also reflective of their Head Coach. Teams usually take on the identity of their coach, and in this case the fan base has taken the identity of their coach as well, which is much more sustainable than the former.

Patriots (-9) over DOLPHINS

In most cases I would take the Dolphins to cover here, just because it seems like the Patriots are trying to get to the postseason as healthy as possible, but let’s face it, the Dolphins suck. Throw in the fact that the Patriots have to give a crap about this game to make sure they get the one seed and I think they win easily. And for the record, I think it’s better for teams that are getting a bye to go all out the week before the playoffs. You don’t want two straight weeks of rest, just look at how the Patriots came out against the Ravens last year.

Saints (+5.5) over FALCONS

The Falcons had their Super Bowl last week beating the Panthers, they’ll probably have a letdown this week. The Saints aren’t a bad team, but of course they’re nowhere near great. Unless you have Devonta Freeman or Julio Jones on your fantasy championship team, don’t watch this game. Seriously, if you have Tim Hightower on your team and you’re in the championship it doesn’t count.

BENGALS (-9.5) over Ravens

I’m a little surprised the line was this big with the Bengals on a short week and the Ravens coming off a big win over the Steelers. Much like the Falcons, that was the Ravens Super Bowl and I don’t expect Ryan Mallett to put together back-to-back good weeks. I don’t hate A.J. McCarron, the guy made some good throws late in the game and didn’t try to do too much. He has a great team around him and I think the Bengals will be just fine in the playoffs. Of course, they’re not winning a Super Bowl with him, but they were a longshot to do that with Andy Dalton.

Steelers (-10.5) over BROWNS

Steelers fans I have good news for you. Even though you lost to the terrible Ravens to blow your chance at the playoffs, with the way the wonky NFL has gone this year the Jets will probably blow this and the Steelers will take care of business this week and still be in the playoffs. Honestly, as a Patriots fan I don’t know who I’d rather see right now.

Jaguars (+6.5) over TEXANS

The Texans are one of the worst playoff teams I can remember, but of course you get one of these horrible division winners every few years. This year we happen to have two. I still like the Jaguars offense and feel like they should at least keep this game close. I can’t wait to pick against the Texans in round one.

COLTS (Even) over Titans

I refuse to analyze this game. Don’t watch it unless your name is Joey Bosa.

Redskins (+3.5) over COWBOYS

The Redskins will probably be resting guys, but I don’t think that really matters. I can’t see the Cowboys scoring much and the Redskins are going to want to keep the momentum they have going into the playoffs so even if they rest some starters it’s not like they’re just going to lay down and die.

GIANTS (-3.5) over Eagles

Anyone who reads this knows I’m a supporter of Chip Kelly. I think the Eagles were dumb to fire him. For all his skeptics, just know that he went 26-21 with two ten win seasons in three years. Jeff Fisher has had six winning seasons in 20 years and is considered a good coach. Kelly did that with Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, and Sam Bradford at quarterback. The guy can coach and his fingerprints are all over the game. Good luck Philly, Andy Reid looks like he’s doing just fine without you.

Lions (-1) over BEARS

The Lions are still playing pretty well late in the year. In the words of Forrest Gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

Buccaneers (+10.5) over PANTHERS

I think the Panthers win this game it’ll be relatively close. The Bucs have a good young team looking to go out on a high note. The Panthers don’t have the pressure of an undefeated season anymore, so if they get an early lead I’d expect them to play it safe and not try to blow them out.

CHIEFS (-7) over Raiders

It’s a good thing the Chiefs have already clinched because I don’t know many times they’ve blown a stupid game against a non-playoff team in Week 17 to miss the playoffs in the last few years. They still have an outside chance to win the division so I’d expect them to play like it here.

Chargers (+9) over BRONCOS

The Broncos still need to win this game, but this isn’t a gimme. Philip Rivers is not afraid to go into Denver, and I can tell you that while they’ll never admit it, Bronco fans are a little scared of him no matter how bad the Chargers are. The Broncos might’ve won on Monday night but they’re inconsistent offensively and coming off of a short week. Look for a close game that the Broncos have to sweat out.

Seahawks (+6.5) over CARDINALS

I think the red-hot Cardinals win but I think it’s close. I’m not worried about Seattle’s loss last week. Just like the Patriots with the Jets, for some reason the Rams give the Seahawks a lot of trouble no matter how good or bad either team is. These are two of the four teams that can win the Super Bowl, and I hope we see this game again in the playoffs.

Rams (-3) over 49ERS

If the Rams win this game they’ll go 5-1 against the NFC West and finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs. I’d like to repeat a stat I mentioned earlier, Jeff Fisher has had six winning seasons out of 20 and is considered a good coach. Seems like an average coach to me.

PACKERS (-3) over Vikings

The Vikings had a huge win in primetime last week so there will probably be a natural letdown this week. Also, if they lose they’ll play either the Packers or Redskins in round one instead of the Seahawks. Call me crazy but I’d rather play the 8-8/9-7 Redskins than the two-time defending NFC Champions.

 

Rory’s Corner: Week 15 NFL Picks

I have a confession to make. Last night I watched everything I could besides the football game. Sure I flipped over a few times. But I chose Cavs-Thunder over the football game. I watched the Avalanche play the Islanders in hockey over the football game. Heck, I even watched some women’s volleyball over the football game. I’m not naive, I know that the football game probably still embarrassed those others in ratings, but I’m tired of these Thursday night games. They’re horrible, they usually involve bad teams, the quality of play is wretched, and they’re largely unwatchable. On to Week 15.

Jets (-3.5) over COWBOYS

The Cowboys are horrible. I’m not going to pick them with Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, or whatever pedestrian quarterback they want to bring in over the Jets who are a playoff team. Fitzpatrick’s played well the last few weeks, they have some real talent on the perimeter, and their defense is going to eat the Cowboys alive. This is one of the easiest picks of the week.

VIKINGS (-6) over Bears

I don’t feel good about this, I don’t like laying this many points with the Vikings but they need to win this game. They’re trying to keep pace with the Packers, and one thing you can say about the Vikings this year is that outside of the opening game in San Francisco, they’ve taken care of teams they should take care of.

JAGUARS (-3) over Falcons

Is it crazy to say that the Jaguars have the third best offense in the AFC? With no Andy Dalton, it might not be. They just put up 51 points against the Colts who are a possible playoff team. And since Week 5, no one has thrown for more touchdowns than Blake Bortles. Forget the Brady/Cam debate, Blake Bortles for MVP!

Texans (Even) over COLTS

I’m so excited for the T.J. Yates vs. Charlie Whitehurst showdown to possibly decide the AFC South. There’s only about 498 things I would rather watch. I’ll pick the Texans because they do have J.J. Watt, a real defense, and some playmakers on offense. Plus T.J. Yates has won a playoff game, and Charlie Whitehurst looks like some annoying douche who plays guitar, smokes weed, and acts like he’s so much smarter than you because he’s “finding himself” or something. That’s not what I want in my quarterback.

GIANTS (+4.5) over Panthers

If the Panthers win this game they’re going 16-0. But they’re banged up, and their defense has proven to be vulnerable to vertical offenses like the Saints. The Giants offense is really starting to get going, Jason Pierre-Paul is getting better every play, and Odell Beckham is the best receiver in the league right now. I like the Giants at home for the upset.

PATRIOTS (-14) over Titans

Remember the last two weeks when we were freaking out about the Patriots? Now they’re in first place in the AFC, they have the best pass rush they’ve had in years, Gronk’s healthy and the only real threat in the AFC, Pittsburgh, isn’t even in the playoffs right now. It must be so frustrating to root against the Patriots, if you do I hope you enjoyed the last two weeks because it’s back to reality for you.

Bills (-1.5) over REDSKINS

This game opened as a pick ’em, then quickly moved to the Bills -1.5. The Redskins aren’t a great team. The Bills roster is much better than the Redskins, but of course they’ll keep it close by taking a bunch of stupid penalties and bad turnovers. At the end of the day, they’re just a much better team.

Chiefs (-7) over RAVENS

I keep waiting for the classic Andy Reid meltdown at the end of the season. It tried really hard to happen last week, but then Danny Woodhead dropped the game-tying touchdown and the Chargers center forgot to snap the ball. But now the Chiefs are just two games behind the Broncos who still have to play the Steelers and Bengals, and the Ravens are starting Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. I think if the Chiefs can score seven points they’ll cover.

SEAHAWKS (-15) over Browns

This line scares me a little bit, but the Seahawks are red hot right now. Their young offensive line is starting to come into their own, and Russell Wilson is living up to his contract. No one wants to see this Seattle team right now, they’re getting hot at exactly the right time just like last year.

Packers (-3) over RAIDERS

I love the Raiders. They’re primed to contend in 2016. They have an exciting young core in Carr/Cooper/Mack, they’re moving to LA pretty soon, and their about to be very attractive to free agents. All that being said, they’re young, and they’re coming off a huge win over the Broncos, so they are due for a letdown. The Packers have a lot more riding on this game, and they do have Aaron Rodgers, I’ll take them to cover easily.

Broncos (+6.5) over STEELERS

I can’t wait to watch the explosive Steelers offense match up with the Broncos lockdown secondary and relentless pass rush. The Broncos are playing for a first round bye and need to keep winning to clinch their division. I will say, the fact that people are starting to doubt Osweiler is music to Patriot fan’s ears. 100/100 would rather Peyton Manning come to Foxborough for the AFC Championship than Brock Osweiler, and the former looks a lot more likely than the latter.

Dolphins (+1.5) over CHARGERS

The Chargers have kind of thrown in the towel on the season. Their offense hasn’t looked good in weeks, and Rivers is starting to wear down as older quarterbacks do towards the end of the season. The Dolphins offense looked a lot better with Zac Taylor calling plays last week. They’ve been able to establish a running game, and Tannehill made some nice throws.

Bengals (-6) over 49ERS

I’m not ready to freak out over the Andy Dalton injury like everyone else. The Bengals have the most complete roster in the league. Dalton is of course better than A.J. McCarron, but he wasn’t carrying the team. McCarron was thrown into the game he wasn’t expecting to play in and of course struggled, but he still made a few plays and he’ll have a gameplan built around him this week. Maybe I watch to much college football, but I don’t think losing Andy Dalton is a death sentence to the Bengals.

Cardinals (-3.5) over EAGLES

The Eagles are the worst team to bet on or against. They’re the type of team that can beat anyone or lose to anyone. While they’re playing their best football right now, the Cardinals are a much better team. They have a way better quarterback and a better defense. I respect what the Panthers have done, 13-0 is impressive even with as weak as the league’s been this year, but I think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC.

Lions (+3) over SAINTS

The NFL really has screwed ESPN for whatever reason. There have been very few good Monday night games. At no point from the time they made the schedule to today has this looked like a good game. Do yourself a favor and spend time with your family or something.

NFL Record Last Week: 7-9-0

NFL Record Overall: 99-105-6

 

Week 14 Picks

For some reason, the Vikings were 10 point underdogs against the Cardinals last night. The Cardinals are one of the six true Super Bowl contenders in the league, but no one should be favored by that much on Thursday night. If we’ve learned anything from these Thursday night games, it’s that teams never play their best game, and they’re usually low scoring and sloppy. So, if any one is favored by double digits against a good team like the Vikings, take the points. On to Week 14.

EAGLES (Even) over Bills

Don’t look now, but the Eagles are tied at the top of the wretched NFC East, and they’re starting to look like the team everyone expected them to be. Sam Bradford is far from perfect, but he can make some throws. Chip Kelly has realized DeMarco Murray was a mistake, and Ryan Matthews is a better fit for this offense. The Eagles are the least dysfunctional team in the division, I think they end up winning it.

49ers (+2) over BROWNS

It is unbelievable the Browns are laying points. The 49ers have played pretty well since benching Kaepernick, and are coming off of a big win over the Bears. The Browns are putting Manziel back under center, it’s clear that there’s a ton of disconnect between Mike Pettine and his bosses. My prediction: the Browns end up with the number one pick and blow it like they do with all of their draft picks.

Lions (-3) over RAMS

The Lions are coming off of that horrible loss to the Packers last Thursday. As long as they’ve revived Jim Caldwell I think they should bounce back nicely. On second thought, they might do better if they just leave Caldwell on the sideline. Seriously, how do you cover the Hail Mary as poorly as they did last week? I’m still in disbelief. Moving on.

BUCCANEERS (-4.5) over Saints

The Saints are in free fall, and meanwhile the Bucs are starting to look dangerous. They’ve won three of their last four and are right in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race. Winston is starting to come into his own, and playing the Saints defense should be huge for him. Start him in any and all fantasy leagues.

JETS (-7) over Titans

The Jets offense is quietly one of the better ones in the league. It has it’s limitations, but Ryan Fitzpatrick has been making big throws late in games, his receiving core is loaded, and the running game is strong. Right now they’re in a tight AFC Wild Card race, I expect them to take care of business here.

Steelers (+2.5) over BENGALS

I’ve been saying this all season, the Steelers have the best offense in the league when healthy. Even without Le’Veon Bell their running game is strong. Big Ben struggled against the Bengals in the first game, but that was his first game back from injury and he likely wasn’t completely healthy. While the Bengals are a more complete team, the Steelers offense is humming right now and they have the better quarterback, I think they get a big one in Cincy.

Colts (Even) over JAGUARS

Everyone’s going to freak out after watching the Colts get humiliated on national television last week, but as I’ve already explained the Steeler’s offense is humming. The Colts haven’t lost a division game since Week 15 of the 2012 season. That’s 16 straight games. I don’t see that ending this week while they’re in a tight division race with the Texans.

CHIEFS (-10) over Chargers

The Chiefs are red hot right now. They lost Jamaal Charles and their running game got better, Alex Smith is throwing downfield for the first time in his career, Jeremy Maclin’s been revived from the dead and their defense is as strong as ever. Of course, they always seem to blow one of these games down the stretch, hopefully it’s not this one.

BEARS (-3.5) over Redskins

I’d say the Redskins offense was exposed last week, but everyone already knew that they didn’t have a great offense. Cousins is fine. He’s serviceable, but he’s not going to win you games. He refuses to push the ball down the field. The Bears had a bad loss last week, I think they’ll bounce back and beat a Redskins team coming off of a short week.

Falcons (+7.5) over PANTHERS

I don’t think the Panthers lose this one, but I expect it to be close. The Falcons haven’t looked good for a long time, but they’re still a talented team, and the Panthers have looked vulnerable recently. The defense has been good, but just got torn up by the Saints. The Falcons need Matt Ryan to regain his confidence, if he does this could be the week the streak ends for the Panthers.

RAVENS (+11.5) over Seahawks

I picked against the Seahawks last week and got totally burned. While I am respecting the Seahawks as a Super Bowl dark horse, I’m expecting a bit of a letdown this week flying all the way to Baltimore to play an early game. The Ravens have been hit hard with injuries, but they’ve still been competitive, and I expect them to cover at home.

BRONCOS (-6.5) over Raiders

The Raiders offense couldn’t do a thing against Oakland the first time they played, and the only reason they stayed in the game was because of Peyton Manning’s interceptions in the end zone. Now, the Brockweiler is in at quarterback. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, he’s 6’8, incredibly handsome, and he’s a much better fit for this offense than 2015 Peyton Manning. In fact, he’s a much better fit for any offense than 2015 Peyton Manning, because 2015 Peyton Manning throws about four good passes a game.

PACKERS (-6.5) over Cowboys

The fact that the Cowboys are only one game out of a playoff spot is proof that the system needs changing. And for the record, I’d just like to say that living in Dallas and listening to Dallas radio trying to talk positively about this team and be happy that they’re 4-8 and still in the playoff picture is maddening. They should all be ashamed of themselves. Talk about the Mavericks, talk about the Stars, talk about the Rangers for all I care. These are actual good teams, but of course, the NFL is king, and it is the Cowboys. I hope they lose by 30.

Patriots (-3.5) over TEXANS

I love the Patriots only laying 3.5 against Houston. Seriously, despite giving up two special teams touchdowns and a pick six on the goal line, playing without Gronk, Edelman, or Lewis, they were still driving for a tying touchdown and probably would’ve gotten it had they not had four drops in a row. Also, apparently J.J. Watt broke his hand in practice this week. He’s still gonna play, but you know, BREAKING YOUR FREAKING HAND might hamper him a little bit. NFL guys continue to amaze me with their toughness.

Giants (-1) over DOLPHINS

This is an easy pick. The Dolphins are a horrible team. They’ve played two good games the entire season. The Giants have mismanaged the ends of games this year, but they have been a pretty good team. Had it not been for three horrible clock mismanagement fiascos, they’d be a respectable 8-4. This looks like an 8-4 team, they just can’t get out of their own way at times.

NFL Record Last Week: 12-4-0

NFL Record Overall: 93-95-6

College Football Record Last Week: 6-2-0

College Football Record Overall: 58-46-0

Week 13 Picks

While technically I picked the Thursday night game wrong last night, I’m definitely protesting on that one. Seriously, the game is over, then the stupid Detroit defender decides to tackle Aaron Rodgers high, gets a facemask penalty, and Rodgers throws a freaking 61-yard Hail Mary where he literally had a wide-open receiver in the end zone. Seriously, how is a guy as open as Richard Rodgers was on a Hail Mary? How does that make sense? Maybe the Lions should’ve put somebody in front of him. Just a thought. I would suggest it to Jim Caldwell, but he’s still standing on the sideline at Ford Field with his arms crossed and an uninspired look on his face. On to this week’s picks.

Jets (-2) over GIANTS

Four years ago the Giants won this game and used it to springboard them on a run that eventually ended with a Super Bowl victory, but I don’t see the same thing happening in 2015. It’s a bad matchup, as the Giants have a bunch of injuries to their offensive line, and the Jets have a scary defensive front that should get pressure on Eli all day long. The Jets offense is good when they have the lead, and they need this win in a competitive AFC wild card race.

Cardinals (-6) over RAMS

I don’t know why we ever fooled ourselves into thinking the Rams were a good team. They have no quarterback, their running game has fallen off a cliff, and they’ve had a lot of injuries to their once formidable offensive line. Meanwhile, I’m not putting too much stock into the Cardinals struggling in San Francisco last week. They were coming off of two big primetime wins, and the 49ers are a little frisky. The Cardinals have one of the most consistent offenses in the league, and their defense feasts on bad quarterbacks, they should win this one easily.

BUCCANEERS (Even) over Falcons

Speaking of teams that have fallen off a cliff…The Atlanta Falcons ladies and gentleman! 8 weeks ago the Falcons put up 48 points on the Houston Texans. Since then they’ve averaged less than 17 points a game, and the Texans have morphed into the ’85 Bears on defense. That’s probably the biggest what the f*** moment of the season looking back. The Bucs meanwhile are 5-6 and have been playing well recently. They’re at home, they’ve already beaten the Falcons earlier, and I’m taking them in this one.

VIKINGS (-1) over Seahawks

I do think the Seahawks are getting better, that was a big win over Pittsburgh last week and they’re offense is finally coming around. But at the same time, this still isn’t the team that went to back-to-back Super Bowls, and this game is suddenly a lot more important to the Vikings after the Rodgers-to-Rodgers Hail Mary last night. With no Jimmy Graham, the struggling Seattle offense has something else to figure out, and I expect them to have problems against a good Vikings defense.

BILLS (-3) over Texans

I really wanted to buy into the Texans hype, but I’ve restrained myself. There is no way they’re going into Buffalo in cold weather with Brian Hoyer and beating that defense. On the flip side this Texans defense is playing lights out, but the Bills have enough offensive playmakers to put up enough points, and Tyrod Taylor’s mobility should help combat that pass rush.

Ravens (+3.5) over DOLPHINS

I don’t love this pick, but the Dolphins should not be giving points to anyone. They’ve looked good in a total of two games this year. Yes, the Ravens have been gutted by injuries and are in perfect position to throw the season away and get a high draft pick, but they’re well-coached and are an extremely well-run organization. Just do yourself a favor and don’t bet on the Dolphins for anything.

Bengals (-9.5) over BROWNS

The Browns have put themselves in great position to draft Connor Cook. If they didn’t get that field goal blocked on purpose, then they should have. They’re 2-9, about to give Johnny Manziel to Jerry Jones for way too much, and they actually have some very talented players. The Bengals seem to have found their groove again after dropping the last two games, and I expect them to win this one easily.

Jaguars (+2.5) over TITANS

I gave the Jaguars some love last week and got burned, as they let Phillip Rivers throw four touchdowns to guys that were probably working at Subway or something the week before. So let me try again this week. The Jags did beat the Titans just a couple of weeks ago, and they have a much better offense. The Titans, meanwhile, are in cahoots with Chip Kelly. They’re throwing the season away while Kelly gets himself fired so he can coach Mariota again.

49ers (+7.5) over BEARS

Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that the Bears would be favored by this much over anyone? They’re playing pretty well recently, but still struggled offensively in Green Bay, and the 49ers have been pretty good defensively in recent weeks, and have just been a tough out overall. Blaine Gabbert isn’t horrible, and he’s looking more and more comfortable every week. I’ll take the 49ers to cover here.

Broncos (-3.5) over CHARGERS

I’m all in on The Brockweiler. The dude’s 6’8, strikingly handsome, and he can make some big time throws too. In fact, the Broncos are a legitimate Super Bowl contender with him at quarterback. They should probably lock Peyton Manning in a small closet until the end of the season, because he will force his way onto the field if he can. Meanwhile, as a Patriots fan, I really need Osweiler to struggle, and I heard Bill Simmons this week asking if there was a Kardashian he could date. So I asked my sister, and she said that Kendall is single, Kourtney is separated from her husband, and Khloe is killing Lamar Odom. If anybody can help me set any¬†one of them up with Brock Osweiler, please do so. I don’t have a preference, I just need Brock distracted until Denver’s eliminated.

Chiefs (-3) over RAIDERS

The emergence of Brock Osweiler came at the perfect time for the Broncos, because the Chiefs are coming on strong. They have one of the best running games in the league, no matter who’s getting the carries, their defense is stifling, and Alex Smith is finally throwing down the field every now and then. However, because the Broncos came back last week, the Chiefs remain three games out of the division with five to go. They could very well win out (they play Oakland twice, the Chargers, Browns, and Ravens), but they’ll need the Broncos to lose three games, and the Broncos play the Chargers twice, as well as the Raiders, Steelers, and Bengals.

Panthers (-7) over SAINTS

Anyone playing against Cam Newton in fantasy this week, my condolences. The Saints fired Rob Ryan but they didn’t fie any of the players on that defense, and it is probably the worst in the league. On the flip side, the Panthers defense is probably one of the best in the league, maybe the best. Panthers win this one going away.

Eagles (+9.5) over PATRIOTS

I was going to pick the Patriots, seeing as the Eagles are in free fall and Tom Brady is undefeated against the spread coming off of a loss. Then I thought about it and realized that Gronk’s out, Amendola is probably out, Blount is dead, Hightower and Jamie Collins are both questionable, and the Patriots most frequently run offensive play right now is a wheel route to Scott Chandler. I think they’ll win, but it just feels like a game where they jump out to a lead and then close the playbook, making sure Brady doesn’t get hurt. I’ll take the Pats to win, but the Eagles to cover.

STEELERS (-7) over Colts

The Steelers probably have the most explosive offense in the league, and the Colts are averaging barely over 20 points a game with Hasselbeck playing. I think the Steelers go crazy on offense after putting 30 on the Legion of Boom, and win this game going away.

Cowboys (+4) over REDSKINS

The Redskins are winning the NFC East! They control their own destiny. Tony Romo is out. The Cowboys looked horrible even when he did play last week. YOU LIKE THAT!? This is the classic Redskins game to blow. Something that has been overlooked is that the Cowboys have been in most of the games they’ve played without Romo, losing two games in overtime and three more by one score at the last second. For the Redskins, it’s a pretty simple formula. They’re 5-0 when Cousins doesn’t throw an interception, and 0-6 when he does. Take care of the ball Kirk, and you’ll be fine.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: San Diego State (-6.5), Baylor (-21), Kansas State (+6.5), Houston (-7), Florida (+17), Stanford and Clemson straight up, Michigan State (-937.5) over Iowa.

NFL Record Last Week: 7-9-0

NFL Record Overall: 81-92-6

College Football Record Last Week: 3-5-0

College Football Record Overall: 52-44-0

 

Week 12 Picks

I’m back, and I apologize to everyone who missed reading my weekly picks last week. I was really busy and experiencing some sort of hangover from having my best week, 9-5, the week before. I know all of you guys just muddle through your boring lives until you get the chance to escape them as you read my brilliant picks.

Ok, I’m sure you all found a way to fill the void in your lives, and thank you to Joey for filling in for me last week. And for the record, I did still make my own picks and went 5-9, so you’re welcome for not having to read those. Let’s get on to the Thanksgiving special.

Eagles (+2.5) over LIONS

I don’t know what to make of either of these teams. The Eagles seem like a team that shouldn’t be favored by more than three against anyone, and also shouldn’t be getting more than three points against anyone, while the Lions are a different team every week. However, the Chip Kelly offense could go bananas at any time, and though Bradford’s status is uncertain the running game has been better as of late. I’m taking the points but this is a major stay away.

Panthers (+1.5) over COWBOYS

I’m finally ready to start acknowledging the Panthers as legit. I still think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC, but Carolina has one of the league’s best defenses, a powerful running game, and Cam Newton has absolutely turned a corner. This game is all of a sudden more fun with a healthy Cowboys team, but on a short week I’m going to take the better running game and the better defense in this one.

Bears (+8.5) over PACKERS

The Bears are a team that isn’t getting a lot of respect. The Packers line is always inflated because everybody loves to bet on them, but while they looked good last week it was the first time they looked good since Week 3. Cutler is having a good season, Forte and Jeffery could both be coming back, and the Bears defense is much improved. I look for the Bears to cover easily, and I think they could pull off the upset.

Raiders (-1.5) over TITANS

I’m not jumping ship on the Raiders after the last few games. The Titans defense is exactly what they need to get back on track, and their pass rush should give Mariota problems. The Raiders are simply a much better team than the Titans, and they’ve taken care of business against bad teams this year (with the exception of last week).

Bills (+6) over CHIEFS

This feels like a classic Andy Reid game to blow. The Chiefs are feeling good, they’ve won four games in a row in impressive fashion and trail the Broncos by three games in the division. This isn’t a must win but it feels like it is, and I fully expect them to be trailing by three with under two minutes to go and all three timeouts, and for Andy Reid to waste all three timeouts on one play where Charcandrick West runs out of bounds on a swing pass that gained three yards, and then Alex Smith tries to throw three more of those passes before they turn it over on downs.

COLTS (-3) over Buccaneers

The Bucs are a little frisky and Jameis is really coming into his own, but I expect them to come back down to earth a little bit against a Colts team that needs this game more. The Texans have all of a sudden made the AFC South interesting, but Indy got a big win in Atlanta last week, and are undefeated with Matt Hasselbeck starting. They need to win this game and be 6-5 when they possibly get Luck back next week. Seriously Andrew, my fantasy team needs you back, there’s a playoff berth on the line.

Giants (-2.5) over REDSKINS

The Giants are coming off of a bye, and the last time we saw them they all but beat the Patriots again. The Giants are 7-4 coming off of a bye under Tom Coughlin, and had won six straight off of byes until last year. The Redskins had a horrible showing last week, and that defense has major holes. I’ll take Eli and Odell to carve them up.

TEXANS (-3) over Saints

J.J. Watt is once again proving why he’s far and away the best defensive player in football, even if that can only take a team so far. It’s possible that he just swallows a quarterback whole in the upcoming weeks, and Drew Brees is definitely a candidate for that. The Saints defense is putrid, so even a struggling Texans offense should be able to put up points against them, but they’ll obviously win this game on defense.

Vikings (+1) over FALCONS

I don’t know what happened to the Falcons, but they’ve fallen off of a cliff. Since their hot offensive start they’ve lost four of five games and the one win was a 10-7 victory over the Titans. Devonta Freeman might not play, and the Vikings need to win. I expect them to bounce back after a bad loss to the Packers.

Rams (+8.5) over BENGALS

I’m still picking the Bengals to win, but I think the Rams keep it close. They’ve lost three straight but their defense has been good in most of them, and they’re only two games out of a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Bengals need to clean some stuff up, as they’ve struggled with consistency in their consecutive losses.

JAGUARS (-3.5) over Chargers

This might be the best bet of the week. The Jaguars have a real chance to win their division, and the team has a lot of confidence in Blake Bortles. Think about this, Blake Bortles, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Julius Thomas, and T.J. Yeldon are all on fantasy rosters. And frankly, the Chargers aren’t a good team, and they’ll be flying across the country to play a 10 am pacific kickoff.

JETS (-3.5) over Dolphins

I know the Jets are scuffling, but the Dolphins are simply not a good team. They struggle to ever build momentum because they can’t capitalize off of their own success, and their defense tends to wear down at the end of games. The Jets are in a four-way tie for the last wild card spot and really need all the wins they can get, I think they take care of business at home.

Cardinals (-10) over 49ERS

I said this earlier, but I think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC. They have the most balanced offense by far, and probably the best in the league besides the Patriots. Their defense is good situationally and they create a lot of turnovers, and the 49ers are a mess offensively.

Steelers (+3.5) over SEAHAWKS

We all need to stop giving the Seahawks the benefit of the doubt. Let me give you Seattle’s five wins this year: Jimmy Clausen and the Bears, 13-10 over the Lions thanks to a blown call, Matt Cassel’s Cowboys by a point in the last minute, and two wins over the 49ers. The Steelers, meanwhile, are coming off of a bye and are as healthy as they’ve been on offense. This will be the funeral of the legion of boom. Scratch what I said about the Jaguars, this is the best bet of the week.

Patriots (-3) over THE BROCKWEILER

While the Patriots keep losing receivers, they’re getting their line mostly healthy, and they should look more like their offense from earlier in the year than Monday night. Give Rex Ryan credit, he always puts together a defensive gameplan that confuses Brady at the line of scrimmage, and you saw him not knowing who to throw to most of the time. That should change Sunday night, and even without Edelman and possibly Amendola, and the underrated Pats defense should give Brock Ossweiler and his limited running game problems. I’d also like to offer a hot take: Peyton Manning has played his last game as a Bronco, but he’ll try to come back with someone else next year and it’s going to be even more of an embarrassment. Peyton, if you’re reading this, know that you’ve had a wonderful career, you’re a top three and probably top two all-time quarterback. Let it go. You’re tarnishing you’re legacy.

BROWNS (-2.5) over Ravens

Rather than break down the worst Monday night game the World Wide Leader has gotten so far, I wanted to use this time to give my opinion on Johnny Manziel. Like most, I loved watching Manziel in college. I loved how every time I watched him play he did something I had never seen before, and he constantly made a mockery of SEC defenses. And like most, I’ve tried to give him the benefit of the doubt on a lot of his off-field escapades. But he’s done. There’s not a spot in this league for Johnny Manziel. He’s been giving opportunity after opportunity, and he refuses to grow up. In order to be a starting quarterback in the National Football League, you need to act like and adult, and Johnny never has, and from the looks of it never will, because he doesn’t understand. It’s a sad story, because he has all the talent in the world. But I applaud Mike Pettine on the decision he made.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Alabama (-13.5), Oklahoma (-7), Notre Dame (+2.5), Clemson (-17.5), Florida (+2), Nebraska, Michigan, and Baylor straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 5-9-0

NFL Record Overall: 74-83-6

College Football Record Last Week: 5-3-0

College Football Record Overall: 49-39-0

NFL Week 10 Picks

Merry Christmas! Or at least, I think that’s what the Bills and Jets were trying to say to all of us last night with those awful uniforms. Seriously, what is with this horrible uniform phase going through football and basketball right now? The Jets rocked their new all-light greens and the Bills were sporting their new all-reds. It looked horrible, and the play on the field pretty much reflected it. But seriously, let Oregon do all the stupid uniforms. That’s their thing. They never wear the same uniform twice in a row. Then other schools started to do it, and now it’s leaked its way into the NFL. And don’t even get me started on the NBA jerseys with sleeves. Those are nothing short of an insult to the game of basketball. LeBron had the right idea by ripping his sleeves. Anyways, I picked the Jets last night, and of course they disappointed me. On to this week’s picks.

Lions (+11) over PACKERS

This Lions team might be a train wreck, but they’re not without talent, and Green Bay has not looked good since Week 3. And don’t kid yourself, Aaron Rodgers is part of the problem. He hasn’t played well, and his ad-lib make-it-up-as-you-go-along play style has started to get him into trouble with a diminished receiving core. The defense can’t stop anyone, and the Lions are not without offensive talent.

BUCCANEERS (-1) over Cowboys

Can we just accept that the Cowboys can’t win without Romo? Cassel has been okay, not as awful as Brandon Weeden, but there’s just no comparison. Plus, the Buccaneers are not a bad team. Winston is getting better every week, and they gave the Giants a real game last week. The funny thing is that the way the NFC East has played out, the Cowboys had a team that was built to dominate that division. Now injuries have kind of ruined that, and it’s great. I hope they lose every game.

Panthers (-5.5) over TITANS

Yes, the Titans are 1-0 in the Mike Mularkey era, but I think that undefeated streak will end at one. Having Mariota in the lineup helps, but scoring on the Saints defense is much more difficult than scoring on the Panther’s defense. I still feel like this Panthers team is all smoke and mirrors, even after beating Green Bay, but right now they’re 8-0, and with the Titans and the Redskins up next, this team could easily be 10-0 when they go to Dallas on Thanksgiving to play the Cowboys with Tony Romo.

RAMS (-7) over Bears

This line seemed high to me at first, then I remembered that the Bears needed an Odell Beckham-like touchdown reception from a guy who I thought was retired to beat the Chargers last week. Coming off of a short week with Forte likely still out of the lineup, I expect the Rams to play well and cover. The Rams are coming off of a tough loss on the road, and should play well at home against the Bears coming off of a short week and having to go from San Diego to Chicago to St. Louis in the course of one week.

REDSKINS (+1) over Saints

Guess the Saints bandwagon has cooled off. The Redskins looked awful offensively last week, but if they can take care of the ball they should move the ball up and down the field against New Orleans. Everyone can score on the Saints, they probably have the 33rd best defense in the league. I left the 32nd slot blank because they’re that bad. I love the Redskins getting a point at home.

Dolphins (+5.5) over EAGLES

Watching how much success Matt Cassel had against the Eagles defense was concerning to me. That defense has been the strength of this team so far, and they almost lost because Cassel was able to score 27 points. While the Eagles have run the ball much better lately, Sam Bradford is still a mess. The Dolphins have lost two straight, but that was to the undefeated Patriots and the red-hot Bills (literally, did you see those uniforms?) on the road. I think they’ll play well in Philly and this will be a close game.

STEELERS (-4.5) over Browns

I may have gotten the Steelers game wrong last week, but of course it is very possible DeAngelo WIlliams was shaving points and purposely didn’t score the game-winning touchdown last week. The only reason I’m picking the Steelers to cover is because they’re at home and I think there’s a very real possibility Big Ben just gets his foot amputated and plays on one foot. Of course, Big Ben with only one foot would probably be better than the Landry Jones/Michael Vick show.

RAVENS (-5.5) over Jaguars

Don’t count the Ravens out of the playoff mix just yet. This is still a good team that’s lost a lot of close games to good teams. If you look at their schedule, they can easily rip off six straight wins and be 8-6 heading into their final two games against the Steelers and Bengals. Plus, the Bengals could be resting starters in that final game. I expect them to play well coming off of a bye needing a win to keep their season alive.

RAIDERS (-3) over Vikings

Teddy Bridgewater looks like he’s going to play, which of course will make a mockery of the NFL’s concussion protocol. But, as I’ve been saying since the beginning of the season, the Raiders are a good team. Derek Carr is quickly becoming the best quarterback from the past draft class by a large margin. Coming off of a big win against the Jets and then flying cross country to play the Steelers, a let down would’ve been excusable. But Carr and the Raiders put up 35 points and almost won. The Vikings have a good defense, but they’re limited offensively, and I expect the Raiders young defensive playmakers like Khalil Mack to have a big day.

GIANTS (+7.5) over Patriots

It doesn’t matter if a bunch of high school players were wearing the Giants uniform, Patriots fans would still be worried about this game. But, in 2015, Patriots fans should be worried about this game. The reason the Giants have had New England’s number recently has mostly been the play of their defensive line, especially their pass rush. While that’s been pretty nonexistent this year, Jason Pierre-Paul came back last week and looked good. The Giants have a ton of offensive firepower at their disposal, and the Patriots defense hasn’t really been tested yet this year. If there were a time for the undefeated campaign to end, it would be here.

Chiefs (+5.5) over BRONCOS

The Chiefs gave Chicken Parm You Taste So Good a lot of problems the last time they played, and don’t forget they put up 24 points against the “reincarnation of the ’85 Bears” defense that the Broncos have. That was despite five stupid turnovers also. Now the Broncos will be without Demarcus Ware and Aqib Talib, and the Chiefs always play well in Denver. The Broncos will have to rely heavily on their revamped rushing attack, and that should shorten the game making it more difficult to cover.

Cardinals (+3) over SEAHAWKS

No one will accept the fact that Seattle isn’t the same team as they were the past three years, and they’ve probably earned that. But this isn’t the same team that its been the past three years. The offense can’t get out of its own way, they’ve made crucial mistakes defensively late in games, and there just isn’t the same fire and hunger there’s been during their Super Bowl runs. The Cardinals have played well in Seattle recently, and this year, they’re frankly the better team.

BENGALS (-10.5) over Texans

The Bengals have the most complete roster in the league. They haven’t missed a draft pick in four years. For anyone that is touting Andy Dalton as an MVP candidate, please stop embarrassing yourself. Bozo the Clown would look good on that team. Look up what the word valuable means, and if you still think Andy Dalton is an MVP candidate, just hit yourself in the head with a hammer until you realize you’re wrong.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Michigan (-12.5), Kansas (+45.5), Mississippi State (+7.5), Stanford (-9.5), Oklahoma (-2.5), Utah State, Temple, and Auburn straight up.

NFL Record Last Week 6-7-0

NFL Record Overall: 60-70-6

College Football Record Last Week: 6-2-0

College Football Record Overall: 42-30-0

Week 9 NFL Picks

Believe it or not, Johnny Manziel on one day of film/preparation did not cover the 13 point spread against the Bengals last night, and I won another Thursday night game. The Bengals are the first of the four undefeated teams to 8-0, and make no mistake about it, this is a real team. For the past few years, the Bengals have been good, but when it mattered most, they couldn’t perform. But I believe something changed in Week 16 last year. They played a Monday Night game against the Broncos, and they played a very complete game, picking off Peyton Manning four times n the process. This team is loaded with talent, they’ve drafted extremely well recently. There isn’t a weak point on this team other than quarterback, but Andy Dalton can and has won a lot of games in this league, and he’s more than capable with the offensive talent surrounding him. The Bengals are for real, now let’s move onto the rest of the week.

Packers (-2.5) over PANTHERS

To everyone who watched Aaron Rodgers throw for 77 yards last week: R-E-L-A-X. He’s still one of the top quarterbacks in the league, and they had a horrible gameplan against the best defense in the league. The Panthers, on the other hand, looked about as unimpressive as you can in victory Monday night. This team’s best win was against Seattle, who obviously have a lot of their own problems. Cam Newton’s “MVP” season has produced under a 55% completion percentage, 11 touchdowns to 8 interceptions, and a QBR of 46.9. These are worse than his career numbers, he’s not having a great season. I’ll take the Packers to bounce back.

PATRIOTS (-14) over Redskins

This line is too high, I don’t like this game, but the Redskins defense is just begging the Patriots to score 50 on them. Also, Kirk Cousins is a turnover machine, and an opportunistic Patriot’s defense should capitalize on that. The Pats should get out to an early lead, but beware of the Kirk Cousins garbage-time backdoor cover.

Titans (+8) over SAINTS

Mariota is playing this week, so the Titan’s offense should get a boost. Ken Wisenhunt is out, because apparently going 3-20 isn’t good enough in the NFL. We’ve seen teams go on short term bursts when they get a new coach, go look at the Dolphins. The Saints offense is red hot, but older quarterbacks struggle with consistency, so I expect them to cool off a little bit.

Dolphins (+2.5) over BILLS

This should be a big revenge game for the Dolphins. The Bills are still banged up on offense, and Miami had been playing well under Dan Campbell until they ran into the Patriots last week. There is no shame in getting exploited by the 2015 Patriots, I think the Dolphins should be fine.

Rams (+1.5) over VIKINGS

The Vikings have racked up five wins against a soft schedule, and the Rams are the best team they’ve played aside from Denver (who they lost to). The Rams are under the radar, but this is a pretty good team. They have obvious deficiencies, but they do a few things well, and they know what they do well. I expect them to pressure Bridgewater into bad decisions, and Todd Gurley will run wild.

JETS (-7.5) over Jaguars

Don’t jump ship on the Jets because of what happened last week. They were flying cross country after an emotional letdown in Foxborough, and the Raiders are a good team. Now they’re back home and playing against the Jaguars. Also Fitzpatrick should be healthy, so we won’t be subjected to any more Geno Smith, fingers crossed.

STEELERS (-5) over Raiders

I love the Steelers in this one, and for the record, I picked the Raiders last week and have been on the Raiders from the start of the season. Roethlisberger is now 2-4 in his first game back from an injury, which is likely a result of him coming back too early. Now he’s had an extra week to heal, and this is an important game for the Steelers. The Raiders will be flying west coast to east coast for a 1 o’clock game. Lay the points, the young Raiders are about to be humbled.

Giants (-2.5) over BUCCANEERS

Jason Pierre-Paul will likely play, and the Giants secondary sorely needs a pass rusher helping them out after Brees picked them apart to the tune of 7 touchdowns and 52 points. But, the Buccaneers are not a great team, and the Giants have a ton of offensive firepower.

Falcons (-7) over 49ERS

The Falcons are starting to worry me. For some reason their offense has been figured out the last four weeks, and they have absolutely no pass rush. But, picking against them would mean betting on Blaine Gabbert. Just so you know, Colin Kaepernick, if your coach thinks you’re so bad that he’d rather have Blaine Gabbert lead his team than you, then you are terrible. Please go see a therapist, you need it. Blaine Gabbert had clunkers in college. I don’t think he’s the spark the 49ers need.

Chicken Parm You Taste So Good (-5) over COLTS

I’m finally buying into the Denver defense. That defensive line, plus the Colts atrocious offensive line, plus a beat up Andrew Luck, equals Luck possibly being carried away on a stretcher. And apparently the city of Indianapolis is starting to turn on Luck. My advice? Leave. Pull a LeBron. Tell them to win without you. They won’t be able to, and you’ll be on a team that can actually compete for championships. Seriously, every team in the league would give up a lot for Andrew Luck on the open market, including the Patriots (38-year old Brady vs. 26-year old Luck, we know Belichick’s track record). However, I am not buying in to the “rejuvenated” Broncos offense. Peyton looked healthy, bye weeks will do that. The Packers have a horrible run defense, and they ran wild on them. Peyton threw for 340 yards. That’s good, but let’s not forget Philip Rivers threw for 500 yards in Lambeau with Keenan Allen as his best threat. Don’t go crazy, I need to see more before I say they’re back. Also, congratulations to the Colts. Their 3-5 record has officially clinched the AFC South.

Eagles (-3) over COWBOYS

I can’t possibly pick Matt Cassel/Brandon Weeden against anyone. As bad as Sam Bradford has been this year, he could’ve scored more than 12 points last week, which was all the Cowboys needed to beat the Seahawks. This division is wide open, and the Cowboys had the team that was best built to win it. But Romo’s hurt, and now I hope poor America’s team loses every game.

Bears (+4) over CHARGERS

I don’t understand why this is a primetime game. There was no point during the time period when the NFL was making their schedule when this looked like a good game. I don’t think the Bears are horrible, and the Chargers have no home field advantage. The Bears have a decent following, their should be a decent number of Bears fans at the game. Plus, while the Bears have lost five games, their three losses with Jay Cutler have been by one score. I’ll take them to cover.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: LSU (+6.5), Iowa (-7), TCU (-5), Minnesota (+23), Stanford (-16), Clemson, Utah, and Washington State straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 5-8-1

NFL Record Overall: 55-62-6

College Football Record Last Week: 5-3-0

College Football Record Overall: 36-28-0

NFL: Week 8 Picks

It’s almost November, which means it’s time for the real teams to show who they are. This is a post-Thanksgiving league, but teams with good records and flaws will start showing them about now. One team that is minimally flawed is the New England Patriots. Last night, they showed why it’s so hard to beat them.

Obviously, everything revolves around Tom Brady on offense. The guy is unbelievable, and at age 38, he’s somehow playing better than he ever has. He recently said he wanted to play ten more years. At this point, it’s kind of hard to say he’s crazy for saying that, isn’t it? I’ll believe Brady can keep playing at this level forever until I see him deteriorate, and he hasn’t yet.

Gronk caught his 61st career touchdown pass last night. that is one fewer than Shannon Sharpe, who played eight and a half more seasons. Once Gronk passes Sharpe, which he will do shortly, he will have more touchdowns receptions than any other tight end in the Hall of Fame. He’s changing the game.

Despite injuries upon injuries upon injuries, Belichick keeps finding a way to make this offensive line work. Just when it looks like they have an injury that they can’t sustain, they fix it without you even noticing.

Blount and Dion Lewis are perfect complements in the backfield. Lewis is so valuable both as a receiver and as a runner. He’s so quick that he can create space where there’s none. But at the end of games, when they need to run out the clock with a power running game, Blount is there to drop the hammer.

You might point to the Patriots defense and say it’s not as good as last year because of the personnel. I would tell you to watch them actually play. The secondary has yet to be an issue, and they’ve played against Big Ben and Andrew Luck, and most recently shut down Ryan Tannehill who was on fire. Their pass rush abused the Dolphins offensive line last night, and Jamie Collins is the best player in the NFL that no one knows about. He’s one of the best overall athletes and the league, and he’s excellent at playing in space.

The overlooked part of the Patriot’s team that is a complete testament to Belichick’s coaching is their special teams. It’s not just the fact that Stephen Gostkowski is arguably the best kicker in the league. Edelman and Amendola steal a lot of yards on punt returns. They’re shifty and know how to create space the way Lewis does. And their punt coverage is superb. I’m looking very intently, and I cannot find a glaring flaw in this team. They are heavy Super Bowl favorites until they prove they shouldn’t be. On to this week’s picks.

Lions (+3.5) over CHIEFS

Andy Reid and Jim Caldwell get sent to London. I think this is a great punishment for coaches that don’t know how to manage the clock. I think instead of a game clock they should take Big Ben and put it in the middle of the field, and tell both coaches to figure it out. Also, I’d be in favor of giving Reid an extra four timeouts per half just to see how he wastes them. But in all seriousness, these are two bottom ten teams in the league, and I’ll take the points.

FALCONS (-7) over Buccaneers

I think the Falcons offense will wake up against a Buccaneers defense that let Kirk Cousins go 80 yards in less than 2 minutes to win the game last week. Seriously, an offense that features Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, Roddy White and that improved offensive line should score more than ten points this week. Then again, that offense only scored ten points against the Titans, who are an atrocious team outside of their quarterback.

BROWNS (+6) over Cardinals

Let’s backtrack a little bit on the Cardinals offense of Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson, and Larry Fitzgerald being an elite offense in 2015. But seriously how good would it have been six years ago? This is still a good team, but you saw them struggle to put the Ravens away at home last week, and Cleveland is a tough out. Plus Arizona is much better at home than on the road, and with a long flight I expect the Browns to cover.

RAMS (-8) over 49ers

This is going to be a long day for Colin Kaepernick. The only time he looks good is when he doesn’t have a pass rush, and the Rams have the best defensive line in football. I expect Kaepernick to be on the ground all day and Todd Gurley to run all over the San Francisco defense that has a ton of holes.

Giants (+3) over SAINTS

I’m really glad the Saints won two games no one expected them to win and now they’re getting too much respect. Let’s not sleep on the Giants. They beat the Cowboys by a touchdown, but because that wasn’t a big enough difference everyone’s jumping ship. This is still the best team in the NFC East, I expect them to roll in this one.

Vikings (+1) over BEARS

The Vikings could still be a playoff team. I don’t care that the Bears are at home, they shouldn’t be giving points to anyone. Minnesota’s offense is beginning to emerge as they now are finding who their playmakers are, guys like Stefon Diggs. Just because the Bears were on a bye last week doesn’t mean they’re a different team, this is still a horrible defense and Jay Cutler is an accident waiting to happen.

RAVENS (-3.5) over Chargers

Now that we’ve accepted the Ravens are a bad team, I think they’re a pretty good bad team. They hang around in games, they run the ball pretty well, and don’t act like Flacco can’t make plays. Most importantly, he’s at his best when he needs to be, and that’s when he has the ball in the last two minutes with a chance to tie or win. Also, congratulations to Phillip Rivers on his eighth child, you now have enough kids to get your own reality show. Also congratulations on being the best replacement for Ben Roethlisberger my fantasy team could’ve possibly asked for. You the real MVP.

Bengals (+1) over STEELERS

Big Ben is back, and while this is a much more compelling game because of that, don’t go too crazy. The Steelers are 2-4 in the first game after Roethlisberger comes back from an injury, and he’s averaged under 200 yards per game in those games. The Bengals are coming off of a bye and have the most complete roster in the league. While Big Ben makes this a more even matchup, the Bengals still have the edge.

Titans (Even) over TEXANS

It sounds like Mariota is going to play, and if he does I think the Titans are the better team. But, do yourself a favor and don’t go anywhere near these two horrible teams. Don’t watch this game, don’t bet on this game, don’t even think about this game. I already want to throw up, let’s move on.

RAIDERS (+3) over Jets

All of a sudden this is a really good game. I’ve been on the Raiders all year, and I will continue to be after seeing how they jumped on San Diego early last week. Had he been a part of last year’s class, Amari Cooper easily could’ve been the top rookie receiver last year (you hear that OBJ?). The Jets played really well against the Patriots last week, but they fell short, and now they have to fly cross country after an emotional let down. I’m grabbing the points and the better quarterback in this one.

Seahawks (-5.5) over COWBOYS

Maybe Dez plays, maybe he doesn’t, but does it really matter? Matt Cassell may throw down the field occasionally, something Brandon Weeden had absolutely no interest in doing, but he’s not Tony Romo. I’ll lay the points with a hobbled Dez going against a rejuvenated and desperate Legion of Boom, and I expect Russell Wilson to make Greg Hardy look silly on the other side of the ball.

Packers (-2.5) over BRONCOS

If only the Broncos had a quarterback right? Their defense has been spectacular. They deserve all the credit they’ve gotten for this 6-0 start. But they did give up big plays to the Browns two weeks ago, I think Aaron Rodgers can make a few more. Hopefully Cobb and Adams got healthy over the bye week, and to be perfectly blunt, Peyton usually spots teams seven points at some point in the game. Also, don’t bet against Aaron Rodgers in night games.

Colts (+7) over PANTHERS

I am 100% banking on the signature Andrew Luck backdoor cover in this one. The Panthers deserve to be undefeated in the sense that they’re better than all of the teams they’ve played so far, but the offense struggles to make plays despite the tremendous play of Cam Newton. His receivers were at least partially responsible for all three of his interceptions last week. But defensively Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly are the best linebacker duo in the league right now. Hopefully Luck is healthy enough to do something about it.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: Washington State (+11), Notre Dame (-10), Florida State (-20.5), New Mexico State (+5.5), Tulane (+32), Florida, Colorado State, and FI(Not A)U straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 8-5-1

NFL Record Overall: 49-55-5

College Football Record Last Week: 5-3-0

College Football Record Overall: 31-25-0

NFL Week 7 Picks

Here is where I would brag about getting two straight Thursday night games right, but considering I only got three games right last week I think I’ll hold off on any bragging of any kind. Here’s the main takeaway from last night’s game however.

The Seahawks will struggle to make the playoffs. They didn’t play that great, and they have major flaws offensively. Their offensive line is inconsistent, they can’t run the ball against good teams, and their weak receiving core is highlighted when they have to make plays. This is a classic case of a young team, with everyone trying to make it, coming together with a driving force to prove themselves, and they were very successful the last three years. Now that’s worn off, they’ve gotten paid, and the hunger is gone. Right now they have seven guys, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Jimmy Graham, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, and Bobby Wagner taking up approximately 762% of their salary cap (again, that’s an approximate number). So what’s occurred as a result? They have no depth. And believe me, it’s only going to get worse. Their going to have to let some of these guys go in the near future, and Pete Carroll might start thinking that the Legion of Boom isn’t as formidable as it once was, and that USC job is there for him again and he avoided all of the penalties. On to this week’s picks, which can’t possibly be worse than last week.

JAGUARS (+4.5) over Bills

Leave it to Rex Ryan to ruin a potential Super Bowl contender. The Bills are littered with talent, and it looked like they found a quarterback that could get them somewhere. Rex sprinkles his magic, they think they’re going to win the Super Bowl after three games, they scuffle a little bit, and now Sammy Watkins, Mario Williams, and Marcel Dareus are all complaining. Way to go Rex. Meanwhile the Jets seem to be doing just fine without you. Also, here’s to hoping for Gus Bradley’s sake he doesn’t get left in London with Joe Philbin. Maybe the FFCA (Fired Football Coaches Association) can open a location out in London if he does. You hear that Jon Gruden? I’m expanding your corporation for you. Your welcome.

REDSKINS (-3.5) over Buccaneers

I stand by everything I said about the Redskins last week. They were banged up and still were going to cover the spread against the Jets, who will be a playoff team this year, until late in that game. This week they’ll be a little healthier and I like them a lot at home against a very shaky Tampa team.

Falcons (-5.5) over TITANS

I’m not at all worried about this Falcons team. Any Thursday night loss I think can be explained away as being a weird short week where most teams don’t play well. Julio Jones played hurt last Thursday but now he’s had ten days to heal up (and he still had almost 100 yards receiving last week), and this team is stacked with offensive talent. The Titans were dominated last week and it sounds like Mariota won’t play. I love the Falcons in this one.

COLTS (-4) over Saints

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the Colts last week. Other than Chuck Pagano stupidly trying to outcoach Belichick, they had a great gameplan for a compromised Andrew Luck and played with some pride. I think their gameplanning with Luck’s shoulder being hurt actually helped them. They ran a lot of three and five step drops with him with timing routes designed for him to get rid of the ball quickly. That’s a lot better than just letting Luck drop back, have everyone go deep, and let that horrible offensive line get run over while Luck tries to buy time and chucks it down the field as he gets clobbered. Maybe they’ll do more of this, and I’m expecting no horrible fake punts in this one.

Vikings (-2) over LIONS

Perhaps the Lions figured out that their best offense is to just have Stafford throw 60 yard bombs to Calvin Johnson every play, but I expect them to lay an egg offensively this week against a decent defense as they’ve done so many times this year. I can’t tell if this Vikings team is good or not, but I know the Lions aren’t, and I’m happy to only give two points to Jim Caldwell in this one.

Steelers (-2) over CHIEFS

The Steelers have done an excellent job of surviving without Big Ben, and have actually gone 2-1. Now they play a putrid Chiefs team with no running game to speak of, and no deep passing game. Maclin probably won’t play, and the way to beat the Steelers is through the air. Landry Jones looked good in relief of Vick last week, I expect him to be a little better with a full week to prepare. Also, the AFC stinks, and you can pretty much write the Steelers in as a Wild Card team at this point, and if Roethlisberger can play against the Bengals next week, then there’s still a lot to be decided in this division.

Browns (+6.5) over RAMS

The Browns are not a very good team, but they are a tough out. They have a good defense, can run the ball a little bit, and have some decent receiving threats in Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge. I also like the Rams a lot. They have a lot of deficiencies, but they know what they do well and what they do well they do really well. They run the ball well, Todd Gurley is a beast, and they have a stout defensive line that gives opposing quarterbacks problems. I expect this to be a low scoring game and I’m taking the points.

DOLPHINS (-4) over Texans

The Dolphins are a different team post-Joe Philbin. As I accurately predicted last week, they are a talented team, capable of being the playoff contender we all thought they’d be before the season, they just need to play like it. Also, the Texans are horrible. I’m not impressed with a 31-20 win over the Jaguars. They are offensively challenged, and one week doesn’t change that. I expect the Dolphins to roll at home.

Jets (+7.5) over PATRIOTS

The Patriots are the superior team, but they don’t have a great defense. Their pass rush is good, but the Jets strength is running the ball, and they will try and shorten the game and control the clock. It’ll be interesting to see if the Patriots are able to take away the run, and force Ryan Fitzpatrick to beat them. If they can, then it is going to be an ugly day for the Jets. But if the Jets can control the line of scrimmage and do well running the ball, then they’ll keep the game close, and I’m grabbing the points.

Raiders (+3.5) over CHARGERS

The Chargers are extremely reliant on Philip Rivers, and now his best weapon, Keenan Allen, is banged up. They have no run game to speak of, and their defense is shaky at best. Oakland is coming off of a bye, and should play a lot better against a Chargers defense that is giving up nearly 27 points per game.

GIANTS (-3.5) over Cowboys

I think there might be a little bit of a revenge game factor in this one. The Giants had the Cowboys beat in Dallas until they wet the bed on the one-yard line and gave Tony Romo the ball back. Now the Cowboys are starting Matt Cassel due to Brandon Weeden’s horrible play. We have no idea whether Cassel has any sort of grip on this offense, and he just got cut by Buffalo this year. I like the Giants to bounce back from an awful Monday night game in this one.

Week 6 NFL Picks

Let’s all celebrate, because I finally picked a Thursday night game correctly last night. Hurray! I had the Saints +3.5, and I’ll be honest, I watched baseball last night instead of the game. Seriously, the quality of play on Thursday nights is horrible. Take out the first game where the Patriots and Steelers both played a relatively good game but obviously it wasn’t a short week. The Chiefs turned it over five times in a sloppy Week 2 game. The Giants couldn’t score touchdowns in the red zone against the Redskins. The Michael Vick-led Steelers blew a game to the Ravens where the Ravens didn’t play very well. There was the Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallet shit show against the Matt Hasselbeck-led Colts last week. And then last night, the 6-0 Falcons looked sloppy offensively and lost to Drew Brees throwing without a shoulder. So yeah, quality has been bad, and a lot of underdogs have won, so I took the Saints at home playing against a hobbled Julio Jones and a Falcons team coming off of an overtime game against the Redskins. The only good thing from last night’s game? The fantasy phenomenon that is Devonta Freeman. I say this as a proud Freeman owner in two different leagues, especially in my league where I blew my first two picks on DeMarco Murray and Jeremy Hill. So, if you’re reading Devonta, thank you very much for all of the touchdowns, and please keep them coming. On to the picks.

Redskins (+6) over JETS

Do people really think the Jets are six points better than the Redskins? Are we still in the mindset we went into the season with that the Redskins were the worst team in the league? And if the answer is yes, then why have we accepted the Jets as a real team and not the Redskins? Let’s look at this unbelievable 3-1 Jets team. They beat the Browns, the Colts, lost to the Eagles, and beat the Dolphins. Great job on your 3-1 career record Todd Bowles, you don’t get to lay six points against a team that beat the Rams and Eagles and gave the Giants and Falcons tough games.

Cardinals (-3.5) over STEELERS

As a Ben Roethlisberger fantasy owner who has started Derek Carr the last two weeks, I really hope Big Ben plays, but there’s no way he comes back after just two weeks. I know the guy is big, he’s strong, and he’s tough, but he’s not playing, and if he does he won’t be anywhere near 100%, which while it might still be better than Michael Vick at 100%, isn’t going to fair well against an opportunistic Cardinals defense. I think Vick may have gained some confidence with that last drive on Monday night, but the Cardinals are a real team that are very well coached and should give that offense fits.

VIKINGS (-3.5) over Chiefs

Let’s admit it, the Chiefs are not a good team. Their one win is against the Texans, and that might be one of the five worst teams in the league. They’re 1-4, and just blew a game against the Bears. Jamaal Charles is now out, not that he was helping this offense very much, and they can’t drive the ball 80 yards against anybody. The Vikings are a borderline playoff team, I’ll take them at home only giving 3.5.

BILLS (+3) over Bengals

The Bengals proved something last week. When they were down 24-7, it looked like this was the old Bengals that baited you into buying into them only to implode in a big game like they always do, but they came back and won. But this week, they’re due for a letdown. The Bills are banged up offensively, but defensively they gave Mariota problems last week, and I think they keep this game low scoring and I’ll take them getting three at home.

Bears (+3) over LIONS

Seriously, why are the Lions laying three points to anybody? This seems like a similar situation to the Redskins. Detroit was supposed to be a borderline playoff team going into the year, and people haven’t moved past that. They are bad. Their offense looks horrible, and when Jay Cutler’s playing, the Bears are an okay team. The Lions shouldn’t give anyone points, especially when Cutler’s playing.

Broncos (-4) over BROWNS

Don’t get me wrong, the Browns are a tough out, but I think Josh McCown’s run of excellence comes to an end against this Denver defense. The Bronco’s offense is 30th in the league, but they should get a boost against a Browns team that just gave up 30 points to a bad Ravens offensive line. Maybe they can finally run the ball a little bit.

JAGUARS (-1) over Texans

You know who might be good? Blake Bortles. People kind of wrote him off after a shaky rookie season, but this year he’s completing almost 60% of his passes, thrown for close to 1300 yards, and has ten touchdowns to four interceptions. Last year, he threw 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The improvement is there, and the Texans would die for that quarterback situation right now. And by the way, the Texans could have that quarterback situation, but with the number one pick they drafted Clowney, when they already had J.J. Watt, and he’s played a total of nine games so far and has been playing hurt this year. Great move Houston.

Dolphins (+1.5) over TITANS

The Dolphins should start playing better. This is a good team, but they quit on their coach before the season started. That’s over, and they should be playing harder and closer to their capability this week. Coming off of a bye, and playing against a struggling Titans offense, I’ll take Miami getting points.

SEAHAWKS (-7) over Panthers

Everybody loves the 4-0 Panthers, and everyone is skeptical about the 2-3 Seahawks, but allow me to go through the Panthers 4-0 record. They have beaten the Jaguars, Texans, Saints, and Buccaneers. I’d like to say congratulations on your undefeated record against teams with a combined 6-15 record. Now go on the road and beat the Seahawks with no weapons (outside of your tight end who will have to deal with Kam Chancellor) against a pissed off Seattle defense and good luck trying to stop the Seahawk’s offense that put up 24 points on a good Bengals defense last week and has Marshawn Lynch coming back. The Panthers will also have a banged up Luke Kuechly. Prove something to me Cam Newton.

PACKERS (-10.5) over Chargers

Normally the Monday night loser is an automatic the following week, but this year they are just 1-4 against the spread the following week. The one win was the Vikings, who played in a weird double header that started actually ended on Tuesday morning on the east coast, so maybe it wasn’t a Monday night loser. In addition to being 5-0, the Packers are also 5-0 against the spread this year. Coming off of two shaky offensive performances, I expect them to get things under control again this week.

Ravens (-2) over 49ERS

This will be a closer game than you think. The Ravens are 1-4 because they are as good as a 1-4 team, and the 49ers have been decent defensively. The Ravens have no pass rush, and as you saw last week on Sunday night, Colin Kaepernick looks competent when he doesn’t have to make quick decisions. However, San Francisco is still a mess, and the Ravens have a severe advantage at coach and quarterback, so I’ll lay a couple points.

Patriots (-10) over COLTS

You’ve heard the narrative all week. This is the revenge tour for the Patriots. There’s no way they lose to the Colts. They’ll probably score 95 points in this game. I can’t disagree with any of that, but let me pose one question: How is this a revenge game for the Patriots? They steamrolled the Colts last year, in the playoffs and the regular season, they steamrolled them in the playoffs the year before, and they steamrolled them in the regular season the year before that. Do the Colts have any pride? Do they feel embarrassed at all? Do they just walk out onto the field, knowing the Patriots are just going to keep hammering away with big running backs and let them rush for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns? Do they care? Are they professional football players? Don’t they have the best young quarterback since Brady/Manning? I’m calling you out Colts. I want to see something. Prove to me that you are NFL players and that it bugs you at least a little bit that you routinely get embarrassed by the Patriots and everyone expects it to keep happening.

Giants (+5) over EAGLES

The Eagles looked good last week, but this is too many points to give. The Giants are one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. Despite all kinds of injuries on defense, their secondary is still strong and should give Sam Bradford problems. The Eagles will have to run the ball effectively to win this game, and their secondary will have to play to the best of its capabilities, or else Eli should shred them. Look at the weapons at his disposal right now. Even if Odell Beckham is hurt, Larry Donnell is an emerging tight end, Reuben Randle is an effective receiver, Shane Vereen is the best receiving running back in the NFL, and Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams complete a loaded backfield. 5 points is too much in this one.

For college football fans or just degenerate gamblers who will bet on anything, I’m in a weekly college football pick ’em. Here’s my picks for this week: LSU (-9.5), Michigan State (+8), USC (+6.5), TCU (-20.5), Alabama (-4), Oregon, Air Force, and South Florida straight up.

NFL Record Last Week: 6-8-1

NFL Record Overall: 39-39-3

College Football Record Last Week: 4-4-0

College Football Record Overall: 21-19-0