NFL Picks: Japanesey Edition


DAN K: 2-1-1

ESPO: 3-1

DICK: 2-1-1


DAN K: 14-12-2

ESPO: 19-10 

DICK: 10-15-1




The Lions must be one of the most maddening teams in the NFL to root for. I legitimately feel bad for that fanbase (no disrespect to Browns and Bills fans) – not only did they have to sit through a winless season in the very recent past, but now they have a team with a lot of talent at every position that STILL finds ways to lose games. Last week, Jim Schwartz made one of the most inexplicable coaching decisions of the year when instead of kicking a short field goal to secure a 7 point lead, he had punter Sam Martin attempt to run a good 10+ yards through the line into the endzone. Now, of course everyone likes to play armchair coach and be all OMG WOW WHAT AN IDIOT I WOULD HAVE NEVER DONE THAT and so on, because if the NFL called us we’d all totally do a better job than these guys who have been coaching for half their lives. After the game, Schwartz said “If we were successful in that situation, and we go up 11 right there, I know what you guys would write. You guys would write: ‘It’s a different attitude, Lions are going for the win, they’re not trying to just be settling for field goals.'” And, yeah. He’s not wrong. They would say that. But who cares what they say? Wouldn’t you want the lede to be, you know, “LIONS BEAT STEELERS?” Being ballsy and succeeding doesn’t necessarily mean that was the prudent play to call there. I mean, just going by pure math – a 7 point lead is a desirable place to be no matter how you cut it. Yeah, 11 is better. 11 dollars is better than 7 dollars. Sure. But I mean… is that really the place to be trying that? You let your 205 pound punter (who’s rather good, by the way) get tackled by 288 pound defensive end and a 320 pound nose tackle. That is two men who are three times his size combined falling on him! Come on! You know, you ALSO kicked a field goal when you had a 4th and 1, right before the half… Maybe you try it there, when they’re expecting you to just kick a field goal and go to the locker room? And the other thing is, it’s not like this is some isolated incident. The Lions have been plagued by suspect coaching for quite some time now, whether it’s their ongoing discipline problems or generally inability to win games they should be winning, or winning the games they do win by having to always have some last second miracle drive. Anywho, the Lions host the Bucs this week, who suddenly have a better record than the Falcons! Ain’t that some shit. Mike Glennon, whose neck I uncharitably made fun of several weeks ago, has actually been really efficient. Greg Cosell of NFL FIlms, whose analysis I respect more than just about anybody, recently said, “Mike Glennon is so far more advanced than RGIII playing NFL quarterback that it’s not even close. They shouldn’t even be in the same discussion.” Uhh, holy shit. I was laying on the couch when I read that quote – I got up, read it again, and then fall backwards so hard that I dropped into my downstairs neighbor’s bathtub. The Bucs will certainly have a harder go of it on the road against what IS a very talented Lions team, but I’ll bank on the Lions fucking up just enough to keep this a touchdown game. Buckingtons cover.THE PICK: BUCS +9.5



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Alright, Brownies. Daddy needs this. You may remember that I need the Browns to at least push on 6 wins. I had these two Steelers games circled on the calendar for a while now, because they seemed eminently beatable for most of the year. They’ve kind of pulled a semblance of a season together since then, but I’ll be damned if I’m reneging on that now! (I can’t.) I didn’t actually get to watch last week’s Browns/Bengals game, but I gather that they jumped out to an early 13 point lead (Joe Haden rules) and then pretty much fell apart. And oh my god, they were 1-14 on third down? That is… bad. But even without Geno STUD Atkins, this is still a very good defense. And so is Pittsburgh, in theory… but not so much in practice. I don’t know, I can’t really explain my side on this. I just think this is going to be a classic grindy AFC North game. I think the Steelers are a little overvalued after Detroit let Antonio Brown do whatever he wanted for a half. I have a sneaking suspicion that they used some sort of hypnosis with their bumblebee uniforms. But this week, in boring old white and black and yellow, Joe Haden will not lose Brown in the thick jungle brush of Cleveland. Ask AJ Green how that went for him last week. Allowing Haden to shut him down will give them some more freedom to attack Ben through his still-shitty offensive line. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are legitimate playmakers. Jason Campbell is… a human being who inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide and I can only assume puts his pants on while sitting down. This is following last week’s theme of confirmation bias. That’s all I got. I’m sorry. Browns by a field goal. THE PICK: BROWNS -1.5



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Man, the Rams might be the hardest team to figure out this season. They looked absolutely pathetic in their blowout losses to Dallas and SF earlier in the year. They handled the hapless Jags and Texans, lost hard-fought games to Carolina, Seattle, and Tennessee, and then absolutely laid the friggin pipe on Indy in a ridiculous 38-8 beatdown. And then a bye week, and here we are. What we do know is that noted Pokemon Zac Stacy has stabilized a running game that was previous highly ineffective. We know the defense is capable. We know that they’ve struggled to get electrifying playmaker Tavon Austin the ball. He broke off a nasty kick return for a touchdown, and went for another 136 yards and two touchdowns on, um… two catches. Yes, he was targeted 3 times, and scored twice. What the… c’mon! That’s crazy. Can they build on this? Who knows. They haven’t been able to get him involved all year. This is still the Kellen Clemens show, after all. Luckily, he may not need to do all that much, because he is playing the Bears this week. And the Bears are just… horrendous at defending the run. They give out 100 yard rushing days like candy. Like clockwork, they’ve allowed Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, Eddie Lacy, Alfred Morris, and Brandon Jacobs to gash them, week after week. Stacy will be toting the ball at least 25 times in this game, assuming something crazy doesn’t happen and the game gets out of hand. And then, there’s the Bears. Such a topsy-turvy season for them. You might even say their world got flipped turned upside down. Once, the Bears defense was to be feared, a ball-hawking unit that was more likely to score than their limp-dick offense. And then, Marc Trestman happened. Now, the offense is the lynchpin, constantly having to compensate for the shortcomings of their impotent defense. Let’s talk about receiver duos for a moment here. I like to think of them as tag teams in wrestling. Last year, The Dirty Birdmen of Roddy White and Julio Jones were the undisputed tag champions. This year, the Bear Essentials, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, have rocked their fucking world. After brutally smashing Rowdy Roddy White’s knee with a steel chair, they superplexed Julio The Ghoulio Jones off the top rope and broke his body into a million pieces. Their reign of terror has been unchallenged. They are unstoppable. Find me another one-two receiver punch in the league. DO IT! YOU CAN’T! These dudes are going to get their looks and their yards. They will. You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way. But something… something tells me the Rams get it done here. BAH GAWD, THAT’S ZAC STACY’S MUSIC!! THE PICK: RAMS -1




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I guess I have to address the no-call at the end of last week’s game though I don’t really care. Sure, I bet on the Pats but if a cover comes down to one play at the end where it wasn’t even sure the Pats would have scored even if they’d gotten the call, it’s debatable whether you had the right side with. It did look super shady, especially with the ref being all like “uhh…game is over” and then just running off without explaining. I’m sure that plenty of gamblers with losing tickets used that as their smoking gun to prove that every game they didn’t win is fixed. One thing that is clear though is that Carolina, and especially their defense, are the real shit and were every bit as good as advertised against a Pats offense with all of its weapons. The Charles Johnson/Greg Hardy combo is absolutely beastly. Cammy Cam is playing lights out and finally becoming an accurate, clutch passer to go with his ridiculous mobility. The matchup with the Dolphins is interesting in that the Fins are no slouch in the pass-rushing department themselves, but who knows if that will even have an effect on Newton with the way he has been escaping pressure in the last few games. Tannehill is still missing a good portion of his line though, so the Panthers could go wild, hit him and force him to cough up the ball a few times. Carolina and Miami have both been bad against the run and Brady was able to pass on Carolina regardless of their pass rush, so I can definitely see the Dolphins able to keep up scoring-wise if Tannehill can stay upright. In that situation I’m gonna take the home dog. Fins cover. THE PICK: DOLPHINS +4.5


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I don’t know if it would be considered phoning these picks in because I’ve only watched like 3 games in the last 2 weeks due to being on vacation in a different time zone, but as mediocre as I’m doing when I have time to research I don’t think it matters that I’m writing them in an airport on 2 hours of sleep. Not to mention, I don’t have any money to bet on football after spending my life savings on Pachinko while in Japan and now owing millions of yen to Yakuza loan sharks. I’m actually narrating these picks through a voice-to-text system since they took my fingers. Enough about me though, on to this game. I really thought the Packers were good enough as a team to rally around undrafted rookie Scott Tolzien last week, especially with their excellent running game. That didn’t happen – Lacy was effectively bottled up and the Pack got killed – even though Tolzien wasn’t THAT bad for a guy who threw three picks. Minnesota is coming off an absolute beatdown at the hands of Seattle, which was no surprise. I think they have a better opportunity to keep this one close by running AP because they won’t be facing an offense that’s near as explosive as Seattle. Regardless of how good or bad Minnesota isn’t, there is no way I’m going to take Green Bay as any more than a pick em on the road against Minnesota. Ponder is starting, who I’m maybe in the minority in thinking isn’t that bad. Vikes cover. THE PICK: VIKINGS +4.5


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I was pretty shocked to see the Raiders dominate last week. I saw McGloin play a lot in college and he didn’t look like anything close to a professional QB. It was surprising to me that he even made the team, much less started and played lights out against the Texans (albeit, not a good team). As well as McGloin played, a big factor in the win was how good the Raiders run game has been of late, averaging 160 yards the last couple of weeks to to lead the AFC, and that was after Darren McFadden suffered his inevitable injury – Rashad Jennings stepped in and tore it up. I don’t think that things will be as easy for McGloin this week – a lot of rookie QBs come in and are effective in their first game but once their opponents have even a bit of tape on them they get exposed in their second. Not to mention, it’s looking like the Raiders could be without their best receiver, Denarius Moore. Meanwhile, the Titans are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the Colts in a game they honestly should have won. They could be let down in this game, but I think Tennessee pulls this one out with a big game from Chris Johnson. THE PICK: Titans -1



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When you trade two years of the front end of your draft to get a guy, don’t go and ruin him during his second season. That’s just common sense, right? Listen, I don’t want to say that RGIII needs to expose himself to being called a pussy in the locker room, but I don’t think I’m alone in stating the obvious: He has not been nearly as effective as he was last season when he led the Smoke Signals on a seven game winning streak and the playoffs. Oh, who are we kidding? I’ve been yapping about this situation all season and it’s not going to change making the Buffalo Jockeys a prime candidate for making the Niners feel better about themselves after getting clowned by Carolina and then borderline robbed by the Saints. If Jim Harbaugh can stop whining for ten seconds and stop acting like a frustrated housewife in his mom pants, his running game should trample the the Ethnic Slurs’ defense and hide the massive deficiencies Kaepernick has when he is forced to stay in the pocket. Don’t be surprised if RGIII is knocked out of the game, but he ought to be pulled for Kirk Cousins right now to protect him from himself and the stupidity of the Shanahan people. Niners roll. Also, Snyder, change the team’s name, you piece of shit. THE PICK: NINERS -5.5


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Six weeks ago the Giants were left for dead, now they are riding a modest winning streak as they pull one of their patented late-season playoff pushes. I don’t know if Eli and company can actually make it to .500 (which could win the division if Philly stumbles), but they’ll get a step closer against Dallas. Is it just me or did anyone else see the Cowboys, save for Romo and Ware (who was playing on one leg) just outright quit in New Orleans? As long as Jerry Jones is the guy putting the team on the field instead of just writing the checks and staying the fuck out of the way, this is what life in Dallas is going to be like. Sure, Eli could have another career-low day like he did in week one, but don’t count on it. Count on New York methodically skewering Dallas’ porous secondary. Romo is the one guy who can keep Dallas’ miniscule playoff hopes alive, but since Jerry Jones is to football what I would be to oil and gas exploration, Romo should demand a trade and get the fuck out of town before his career is wasted any further on a team that is an even bigger disappointment than the Raiders. Giants if you like making money. THE PICK: GIANTS +2.5


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The Colts have had a horseshoe stuck up their ass for the last couple of weeks and if you’ve been cashing bets on them prepare to shit out the one you have up your ass too. Indy escaped losses in Houston and Nashville when they absolutely should have lost both games by a touchdown or more. I know, I know, even good teams need some luck over the course of a season, but this has been ridiculous. I think part of it is that Andrew Luck is really good, Donald Brown wants to prove he’s better than Trent Richardson (who, like a throwback to the 60s or 70s, needs 20 carries just to get warmed up), and the receiving corps is rounding out nicely, but I think the other part is that Tennessee didn’t have the passing game or the defense to squash Indy when it counted and Houston’s coach had a stroke at halftime leaving Wade Phillips all alone to make adjustments and keep the team focused which is the greatest recipe for failure in modern football. Now, it’s not like Arizona is the second coming or anything. However, they have a for real defense that will show up. Carson Palmer, as my esteemed colleague Espo pointed out, is a decidedly mediocre quarterback. He’s not even in the same league as Kurt Warner, but because the defense is so good at making things happen, he gets more chances than not to get in the end zone. This is a game that feels a lot like Indy’s butt fuck fest in San Diego than the clinic they put on in San Francisco and the reason is Arizona’s aforementioned defense. Before you go and lay your cash on Luck and the horseshoe up his ass, ask yourself if anyone on the Colts is capable of beating either Honey Badger or Patrick Peterson? You realize that those two guys are avoided at all costs. It’s sort of like having a Deion Sanders who can tackle and a modernized version of Ronnie Lott. Now do the smart thing and take the Cards. If the Colts win this one on another crazy ass bunch of nonsense then you may as well bet them as a future for the Super Bowl along with Carolina. What would you have to lose? THE PICK: CARDS +2.5



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Man, last week was a really uncomfortable one for me. The first thing I did was spend a good part of the weekend arguing with Niner fans about how the personal foul on Ahmad Brooks which “cost’ them the game was the correct call. I put “cost” in quotes because it didn’t actually cost them the game, it just made it more difficult to win the game, which of course they didn’t. “BUT THEY WOULD HAVE IF NOT FOR THAT CALL!!!” said the Forty-Whiner faithful. Despite the fact that even though they did possess the ball again, they immediately went 3 and out with Colin Krapernick inexplicably running out of bounds to make sure the Saints had plenty of time to receive the punt, oh and the kick coverage guy also inexplicably tackling Darren Sproles who had clearly called for a fair catch just to make it a little bit easier for Drew Brees to get back down the field and win in regulation. But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good ref-bashing, eh? And then, the next day, I got a taste of my own medicine, as in the final seconds of the game, Luke Kuechly suddenly felt really attracted to Rob Gronkowski and hugged the shit out of him, forming an awkward love triangle between the two of them and Gronk’s first flame, touchdown passes. And in this case, where a penalty (or non-penalty) DID cost the Patriots the game, I had to sit there and take it. Luckily, because I am dead inside, and had picked the Panthers in last week’s column, AND avoided losing in fantasy because a Brady touchdown would have beaten me, I sat there with a couple of dull sensations that were almost feelings, but was mostly just the desire to finish my plate of chicken nachos. But, fuck. I mean, much like the pushing call at the end of the Jets game, the Patriots didn’t really do enough for me to say that they got robbed. It’s the same logic I used with the Niner game – if you’re putting yourself in the position where you NEED a call to go your way to win a game, you didn’t do enough to win the game. The Panthers are a really, really good team. They’ve played themselves into the Super Bowl conversation, at this point. They still play the Saints twice and could feasibly win the division. Fuck, sorry, we’re talking about the Pats / Broncos game. Um, so yeah, like I was saying, I was kind of down on the Patriots last week. It makes me feel bad when I do that. Sometimes I wish I could just be one of those knuckleheads that doesn’t know anything else except simply rooting your ass off for your team every week. Every other team sucks and is full of assholes, the refs are always out to screw us, fuck you if you don’t root for my team. You know, so a 49ers fan. But I can’t. I can’t do it! I am too pragmatic. Too cold. Too calculating. Too sexy. And despite the fact that the Pats could’ve just as easily scored a touchdown and won there, I still felt that pang of self-satisfaction which makes gambling so addictive. “Yes. I was right. I knew that would happen. I knew they would fall short. Boy, I am smart.” I realize I still haven’t said a word about the Broncos. Fuck you. What I’m getting at, is that I feel guilty when I’m down on my own team. And then, like when you’re drunk driving, you veer off the road and go oh shit and wildly overcorrect and hope a cop didn’t see you. So, Persnickety Peyton makes his ninth trip to Foxboro, so Brady can tap that ass for a 7th time. I can’t justify anything on this pick. The Broncos are an offensive juggernaut, whether or not Wimpy Wes plays. The Patriots defense is not good. The offense is finally healthy, but leaving a lot of plays on the field. On paper, the Broncos win this handily. They’ve looked the far better team all year. But, hang on, there’s one thing you’re forgetting. FUCK YOU, GO FUCKING PATS MOTHERFUCKERS!!!!!!!!! THE PICK: PATS +2.5


So last week the Broncos did what I thought they’d do, which is cover against the Chiefs. The Chiefs simply didn’t have the offense to keep up with Peyton Manning and his stable of gritty white receivers + the Thomases. The Pats, on the other hand, do. It seems like a fool’s errand picking Brady as an underdog after a loss because all indications are that he and Belichick will be in full on angry revenge mode. On the other hand, it looks like Welker will be active to face his old team after a concussion, putting his long-term health at stake so as to give lazy sportswriters another storyline to talk about in pregame shows. It’s that kind of attitude that makes him the gritty player that we sports fans love. Anyway, I think this game will be high-scoring due to neither defense being that gold. I just don’t think the Pats or Denver secondaries can handle their counterparts on offense. As I said before, picking against Brady as an underdog combined with picking against Brady after a loss is usually not smart, but I just thing Denver will come ahead in this one. There’s something weird about this year’s Pats team (I mean, other than their defense not being being good). Donkos cover and Pats fans wail and gnash their teeth after a second consecutive loss. THE PICK: BRONCOS -2.5


Brady a home dog against Manning. Shit, it’s as if the football gods want to give you money. Look, it’s not going to be some blowout or anything, but these are the sort of games that Brady lives for. Denver’s coming off a rock ’em sock ’em game against KC where they fully exposed the Chiefs as pretenders. That doesn’t mean that Manning and company will start doing the electric slide on New England’s defense or be able to shut down Herr Brady and his band of midgets on the outside, Gronk on the inside, and Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley (when they are not fumbling) from making Denver’s “defense” look like the bunch of spare parts and bullshit that it really is. Yes, Manning will get 350 yards and a couple of touchdowns. He’ll also make a couple of ill-advised throws under pressure and cough up the ball at least twice. Oh, is that Jack Del Rio running things on the sidelines? You know, the same guy who doesn’t have enough charisma and chutzpah to get the USC job? Gee, I think I’ll roll with Bill and Tom this week. Sure, they broke my heart last week, but I always feel safe and warm when I entrust my cash to those guys win or lose. THE PICK: PATS +2.5


About Dan K

Dan is a Southern hip-hop historian who hitchhiked from his home in rural Pennsylvania to Montreal to pursue his dream of working in a call center. Within days of seeing his first computer, @dankmtl became a twitter celebrity by skewering the evil and stupid in immensely entertaining fashion.