WEEK 15 RECORD
DAN K: 2-1
DAN K: 16-22-2
ATLANTA FALCONS +6.5 AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
The NFC South is a smoking crater. Seriously, what a joke. Who can make anything of any of these teams? All the way back in Week 1, when this season was young, and full of promise, the Falcons came back against New Orleans in what was actually one of the better games of the season, sad as that is to say. Devin Hester had a really good game and people thought for a second that he would be able to participate in an NFL offense! (lol) Antone Smith broke off a ridiculous touchdown run, causing many to think that he may be a newfound impact player for Atlanta! (lol) The Falcons tied the game with a no-time-remaining field goal, and then Marques Colston had one of the worst lost fumbles of his career, and the Falcons WON in overtime, making some think that Mike Smith had shaken off some of his mind-numbing coaching tendencies! (lol)
Fast forward to Week 16, and these teams are both at least 2 games under .500, and competing to represent the NFC South in the NFL playoffs. L. O. L. Fucking pathetic. Who can figure out any of these teams? They are bad football teams, with some good players. They’re like the 2014 Lakers. Like, the one thing about the Saints is always “can’t beat em at home!” Is it time for an official moratorium on that narrative? They’ve got, count ’em, not one, not two, not THREE, but FOUR losses at home this year! Four STRAIGHT losses, in fact. First the Niners, then the Bengals, then the Ravens. In a row. Three game homestand, against three… good, but not REALLY good teams. Loss, loss, loss. Then they go to Pittsburgh and win, and you think, oh, okay, maybe they’ve got some life. And then they host Carolina, and get absolutely PASTED 41-10. A 31 point loss at home! To the Panthers!!!! They looked “good” last week at Chicago, but since Chicago is currently the football equivilant of a 25-car pileup, it’s kind of hard to tell where the Saints being good merged with the Bears being bad.
Anyway, who knows what to make of this shit festival. Here’s some things I think I know:
– Julio Jones may not play, which is approximately 164% of the Falcons offense.
– The Falcons starting running back is Steven Jackson. Yes, that one.
– The Falcons pass rush resembles the amount of people rushing to see The Interview open this Christmas. OOOOH TOPICAAALL!!!
– The Saints are at home. Oh wait, I put a moratorium on that narrative. The Saints… are… not… not playing.. away from home.
Basically, my logic is that the Saints can actually run the ball, and the Falcons cannot, nor can they rush the passer or even really stop the run. The Falcons can’t pass protect, either, and Pirate Rob will probably send the house at them like 100 times. I feel like I’ve typed this same line about the Falcons like 10 times this year. They are total paper tigers, and they suck. The Saints will make the playoffs at 8-8 and the 11-5 Eagles will miss. NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE!
THE PICK: SAINTS -6.5
CLEVELAND BROWNS +3.5 AT CAROLINA PANTHERS
Oh my god, I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong about a game. That. Was. Glorious. GLORIOUS! It was like everything I dreamed Johnny Fuckboy’s NFL start would be, except the game ending with his city turning on him. With guttural grunts, they dispense of their beers and begin to spill over the walls of the field. Johnny mugs for the cameras and goes over to congratulate Andrew Dalton. The crowd, dead-eyed and lacking bodily fluids, begins to advance on him. Soon, he notices that the press is gone, and the stands have come alive. Or.. UNALIVE. He starts to think something isn’t right. He backs up, and bumps into a 50-something Cleveland woman with one of her eyeballs hanging down to her chin. She groans at him. Johnny screams. He is backed up all the way to the endzone wall. The crowd descends upon him. They reach their cold, dead hands into his chest. They rip it open. He screams some more. “NO!!” he pleads. “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE!?” He pulls out his money phone, which an undead Clevelandite eats, hand and all. Johnny screams some more. They pull out his intestines, and string him up by the field goal posts.
That would have been the better scenario. But in the meantime, my bloodlust was sated by Cincinnati players endlessly taunting him with his little money sign after stuffing futile drive after futile drive, mind-numbing pick after pointless scramble. In a surprise to “many”, Jonathan M. Football looked abjectly terrible in his first NFL start. Like, Brian Hoyer looked like Joe Montana compared to him. One bad start, maybe? Sure, maybe. Or, maybe, like, his college bullshit doesn’t translate to the NFL, like everybody not employed at ESPN had prognosticated.
On Carolina’s side, they are somehow still alive in the wildly thrilling NFC South playoff race. Cam Newton may be back, and even if he’s not, Derek Anderson is a relatively competent backup, who can not-fuck-up pretty decently. Jonathan Stewart is running well, and the pass rush is much better than Cincinnati’s. I don’t need much to tell me to bet against MONEY MANZIEL, and that’ll do it for me. Run, Johnny. Run.
THE PICK: PANTHERS -3.5
ST LOUIS RAMS -6.5 AT NEW YORK GIANTS
While the Rams are the best 6-win team in football, the Giants are probably the worst 5-win team. Well, the Bears also have 5 wins, so maybe the 2nd-worst.
But I feel like enough time has passed since the Giants have been shamed in primetime where people forgot how bad they are. First there was “THE CATCH”, you know, where Odell Beckham Jr. made a sicknasty catch that almost obscured the fact that the Giants lost the game. They beat Jacksonville by one and blew out Tennessee. Then they beat the horrendous Redskins. Hang on, let me get my ticker tape out for the parade. This team has basically just become Eli throwing it up to ODB every play.
Meanwhile, the Rams have been trending upwards on the back of a defense which has finally started playing up to its potential. After narrowly losing to San Diego, they recorded two straight shutouts of Oakland and Washington, and then lost a field goal battle to Arizona, 12-6. Shaun Hill is just a guy, but he has the ability to carve up a Giants defense which has been bad all year. This also bodes as a plus matchup for Tre Mason, who was well contained against Arizona, carrying the ball 13 times for only 33 yards. That’ll happen when you’re up against the #1 run defense in football, but the Giants are giving up 135 rushing yards per game, good for 3rd worst in the league, behind only Tennessee and Cleveland.
I don’t have much to say about this one. Pretty unsexy matchup between two teams playing for pride. It’s literally the only other game I’d feel comfortable betting on. I almost picked Seattle / Arizona, but that’s a toss-up, just take the under. Rams cover.
THE PICK: RAMS -6.5
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -8 AT WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM
After 15 weeks of nail biting in survivor five of us made it through last week fairly easily while one poor soul watched Green Bay flush $2,300 down the toilet. Like a boss I went with New England, sat back, texted my girlfriend that we’re going to Sizzler, polished off a few beers, and proposed a five-way chop. I wasn’t expecting it to go through since someone still has Green Bay available against Tampa, but I figured what the hell. Well, while I was wandering through Costco picking up bulk chicken breasts and resisting the urge to buy 40 pounds of beef because I am a fucking glutton who is trying to reform himself I got an email telling me that some dipshit offered four of us $1,000 each if we would walk away and let him/her keep the rest of the pot. Oh, fuck you. I’m not going to concede and let you cruise off with $9,120 just because. The last two years people have made the same shithead proposition to the remaining survivors and both times they lost out. Last year it happened when the Saints got their asses handed to them in St. Louis after the Eagles blew it against the Vikings. Speaking of the Rams, fuck you Roger Goodell for saying there will be no team in Los Angeles in 2015. I hope Stan Kroenke tells you to fuck off and moves the team anyway like Al Davis did with the Raiders in 1981. Anyways, since one person just had to be “that guy,” we all have to wade through another week of chewing our fingers off.
The Eagles are coming off two losses and were embarrassed by the Cowboys at home. They have to win out for a chance at the playoffs while Mark Sanchez has been regressing back to mediocrity after he went 3-1 after Nick Foles broke his collarbone. DC’s football team of shit has RGIII back and he is “swaggering on game film!” Their defense can sometimes get after the quarterback! They are a touchdown-plus home dog! Division rivals! This is a great situational game for DC! Yes, all of those things are true, but we’re still talking about one team that is motivated to make the playoffs and puts together actual game plans versus one that has been a tire fire for the entire season and has a likeable coach who doesn’t seem to understand that when you criticize your quarterback at press conferences it’s not twisting your words around by quoting your extensive criticisms of your quarterback. Those angles are much stronger for me. Sure, Philly has no business being a touchdown-plus favorite on anyone after these last two games, but the line’s inflated to offset the public support Philly’s been getting all season and a reflection of how little faith anyone has in DC because they look like a team that’s just mailing it in. Also, DC has given up 53 sacks and Philly has 47, RGIII is shit in the pocket, LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles are better than Alfred Morris, and basically I have no choice because I didn’t follow through on my FUCK THE WORLD YOLO threat to take Jacksonville on Thursday night. Anyways, I think Philly takes it to DC while Chip Kelly spends the day confusing the shit out of DC’s defense.
Now, please excuse me while I go down to my knees and offer up prayers to Gamblor.
THE PICK: Eagles for survivor and Eagles -8
PACKERS -12.5 AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
I strongly suspect that the person who has Green Bay available is the one who is the douche bag who proposed that we just let them win the league. So, if there is any justice in the world the Packers will lose on a last second field goal and embarrass them. There’s not much to say about this game beyond almost two touchdowns is a ridiculous number for a road favorite. Tampa’s only chance is to keep things close through the first three quarters. If Green Bay jumps out to an early double-digit lead then the chances for a backdoor cover or even coming close to winning will be miniscule. Green Bay’s defense is putrid so it’s not inconceivable that the Bucs could make a game of it by controlling the clock using Doug Martin until his legs break. Also, the spread is so large and the game is so obvious that sharp betters are probably going to come in heavy on this one because it’s almost two touchdowns. It probably won’t happen, but if Tampa were to win I’ll send a gift basket to Tampa’s practice facility.
THE PICK: Packers survivor/TB ATS
BUFFALO BILLS -7 AT OAKLAND RAIDERS
There are two or three folks where this is their strongest play unless they were to take the Rams against the Giants. Buffalo is coming off a massive win against Green Bay and they don’t really travel well. Their defense is great, but their offense is spotty at best. What I like about Buffalo is that they are in the playoff hunt and have been a pretty good moneymaker for a lot of people this year. Buffalo is one of those below the radar clubs that’s an upgrade at quarterback away from being a 11-13 win team. The Raiders are just plain weird. They definitely step things up at home, their defense keeps them in games, and they seem like they are always two or three big plays away from making life really miserable for the opposition. They’re 7-7 ATS and have won their last two home games, so it’s not inconceivable that they could put a bit of a hurt on the Bills. If this was my strongest play in survivor I’d be really nervous and would be looking for a way to avoid, but if I was forced to hold my nose and pick it I’d probably just get really drunk to soothe my nerves. Either way it just feels like Oakland’s day. I have no real logic behind it except that the Raiders are like a drunken asshole at a really divey bar who starts fights with people just because he thinks it’s fun to fuck with people. The reality is that I’d be thrilled if I won survivor outright, but I am rooting for the person who tried to get us all to quit to lose and then we do a four way chop immediately after. However, this is a cold cruel world, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
THE PICK: Oakland ATS and Buffalo in survivor if you’re desperate
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS +2.5 AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Steelers can clinch a playoff berth with a win here, and bring their excellent offense and godawful defense to the table. Kansas City has been stalwart and the Steelers likely won’t be able to defend Jamaal Charles. I want Pitt to win here, but sadly, I think KC will control the ball, keep Ben off the field, and likely win outright. Pittsburgh will have to wait another week for a shot at the postseason.
THE PICK: CHIEFS +2.5
MINNESOTA VIKINGS +7 AT MIAMI DOLPHINS
Minnesota has been a pleasant surprise this year. Teddy Bridgewater appears to have the makings of a franchise QB and their defense is solid. Miami’s season basically ended last week and based on their play, they don’t deserve to be favored by +7 over a solid Minnesota team. Vikes cover.
THE PICK: VIKINGS +7
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS +1 AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ers
I’m rushing to get this up before the game starts so I’ll just say that San Diego still has something to play for while San Francisco has been eliminated from the playoffs and their coach is done. SD.