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