NEW YORK JETS -1 AT MIAMI DOLPHINS (IN LON DON ENG LAND)
The Dolphins were a trendy pick to challenge for the Patriots for the AFC East crown. (huehuehuehue) Instead, they are the proud owners of the only negative point differential in the division! Theyve scored 51 points and allowed 74 en route to a handsome 1-2 record – and really, they were one Jarvis Landry return TD away from being 0-3. They say that teams take on the personalities of their coach. I can believe it, considering the Dolphins are playing like a spineless bunch of little Bible camp instructors, just like their lily-livered coach, Joe Philbin. So far the defense has been a massive disappointment. Theres talent there, so I guess it can only be chalked up to coaching? Theyre allowing 145 rushing yards per game, good for 2nd worst in the league, only behind the Browns. The pass defense was supposed to be the strength here, however theyre solidly middle of the pack, allowing 246 per game. A big part of that is probably that the Dolphins have almost never been leading in their games, so teams dont need to throw as much – enemy quarterbacks have only attempted 93 passes through 3 games, 6th least in the league.
Even worse has been their rushing offense, averaging a pathetic 72.7 yards per game. Theyve faced a quietly stout set of defenses (Washington has been secretly great against the run, Jacksonville is respectable and the Bills are obviously very good), but they will find no respite this week against the New York Jorts in sunny London. Aside from a mystifying failed Brandon Marshall lateral last week, the Jets have pretty much been circus-free since Geno Smith got TKOd by a man named IK. Going back to that whole team emulating coach thing Todd Bowles seems like a low key, no bullshit type of guy. And thats, shockingly, the way it seems the Jets have been conducted themselves lately. I, somehow, am buddies with several Jets fans, and they all were so relieved to see Rex Ryan stick his foot directly in his own mouth while wearing a different teams colors. Hopefully, for my fantasy teams sake, Chris Ivory will actually play this week, and he gives the team a much different look on offense when hes healthy. Hes a beast. Eric Decker is a game-time decision, hopefully Marshall will not have two brain farts in a row, and Revis and Cro are good to go and allowed zero catches in coverage last week. The Jets have shown that they are just a more competent team this year, and on a neutral field, I see no reason not to back them against a team thats showed so little.
THE PICK: JETS -1
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS +4 AT CINCINNATI BENGALS
Call me a bitter gambler, but I cannot possibly back the fucking Chiefs after the shitty egg (yes, an egg COVERED IN SHIT) they laid on MNF against Green Bay. Like, holy shit. Just garbage. Green Bay is money at home, we know this. But still, the effort with which KC came out was a joke. I dont care about their garbage time points, either. Just baffling play calls. Reluctance to involve Travis Kelce, possibly their most dynamic weapon. Alex Smith being the vanilla ice cream with a plain sugar cone that he is. Even his name is vanilla and boring. What if Alex Smith was the same person, but his name was I dont know, Colton Firebrand. Would he still be as heinously boring? Has to be, right?
The Bengals, meanwhile, are starting to look like one of the best teams in football. The way they played that Ravens game, on the road against a desperate division rival, was really something – they appear to have no real weaknesses. Dalton is the perpetual question mark for this squad, but this isnt the playoffs yet. His winning percentage at home is excellent, and the addition of Tyler Eifert really gives them a dimension they havent had in years past. He put up a goose egg last week, but Baltimore really focused on neutralizing him. Unfortunately, they missed AJ Green running wild in the defensive backfield to uh, win the game for them.
I really dont have too much to say about this game. The Bengals are the better team, and theyve traditionally been excellent on the road. The Chiefs are nothing to be scared of outside their loud-ass stadium, and Andy Reid fucking sucks. Theyre also on a short week. Bengals by a TD.
THE PICK: BENGALS -4
The NFC South might be the worst division in football. The Bucs are putrid, the Saints are hurt and in rapid decline, and Atlanta and Carolina are at best paper tigers that will be exposed as supremely deficient against more complete teams like Seattle, Green Bay, or Arizona. Carolina is favored and getting over 80 percent of the bets. No, I’m not scared and this isn’t a spot where I think Tampa is going to do to Carolina what they did to New Orleans under the dome. Tampa has nothing resembling a cohesive offensive identity or a functional defense and Lovie’s gotta deal with breaking in a rookie quarterback. He’s also looking for his first win at home as head coach in Tampa.
You have to wonder if that’s about to end – which could be a good angle for a contrarian bet, but while their defense can sort of keep them in the game, it’s not like they have sure handed receivers or a solid offensive line. Sure, they did a decent job protecting Winston from JJ Watt et al, but let’s see them do it consistently before we say that they have those issues worked out. I actually like the “never won at home” line, but Tampa scares me off because their best offensive players are Doug Martin and Mike Evans. The former had one good season and everyone keeps expecting him to do it once more. It’s been what, three years? Forget it, he’s just another running back. Mike Evans still has a tender hamstring and it’ll take him another week to get back in his rhythm, but for that to even matter Jameis Winston is going to have to get him the ball even if he’s been dropping it a lot. Oh, and Josh Norman is going to draw Evans for most of the game. Good luck getting Evans the ball, Jameis.
Normally I hate the Panthers because Riverboat Ron does inexplicable shit for a year and everyone goes, WOW, HE’S GUTSY! No, he’s an idiot and he gets bailed out by Cam Newton and what is usually a decent defense. The man shouldn’t be allowed within 100 feet of an offensive game plan, but there he is magically pretending to know what he’s doing. Cam Newton’s effectiveness seemed to diminish a bit after he lost Steve Smith Sr. and now gets to throw the ball to Ted Ginn, who would be released if anyone close to mediocre were available, but he’s Cam Fucking Newton and I imagine his great play is directly correlated to owner Jerry Richardson’s not so subtle demand that he never get any tattoos because he is on a personal mission to make Cam into Mark Brunell. Anyways, before you get all contrarian as fuck and try to fuck the public (and some sharps) by loading up on the Bucs in a THIS WILL FUCK YOU ALL bet, remember that Tampa is going to have to contend with Greg Olsen over the middle. They are terrible up the middle on defense and even though it’s Jonathan Stewart taking hand offs I can see him gashing these guys for 100 yards while Newton sort of swings it around and slowly works out what could be a close win because the entire division is garbage while Lovie covers his face with his play card and quietly threatens to turn over half the roster again even though it was his fault to not demand that they establish the running game.
THE PICK: PANTHERS -3
NEW YORK GIANTS +5 AT BUFFALO BILLS
Let’s just be clear that the Small Pox Blankets are a terrible team to measure yourself against, especially coming off aThursday night win which saw the Racial Slurs fumble the ball on the way into the end zone. If there was a way to fuck up a game they found almost every one last week. Not to take anything away from the Giants, but even the Bucs could have won that game. Buffalo is a completely different animal. Eli and company might be feeling pretty good coming off that win, but Buffalo just spent an entire game stomping on the Dolphins and Rex isn’t the type to allow his guys to get off that high they’re feeling.
Imagine being at a Bills practice. Rex and his coaches constantly exhorting their guys, shouting that they are going to shock the world, that they got jobbed against New England (snicker), that no one expects them to do shit against the rest of the league, that they get no respect, that they have the best defense in the league (that no one respects), that Eli Manning is a mouth breathing retard that they are going to put in the hospital. Guys are getting red hot, flying around the field, talking shit about how they are going to beat the shit out of Eli, that they’re going to hit some motherfuckers in the face, etc. Karlos Williams is pulled aside by Rex and told to be ready because Shady is dinged up and Williams is hitting holes a little harder than normal and Tyrod knows he will be without Sammy Watkins so he’s tossing balls to the almost forgotten Percy Harvin and Harvin is talking about lighting it up. Yeah, I can see that.
Since they are 2-1 and knocked off Indy (that win looks like really big foreshadowing for Indy, does’t it?) and Miami going away I am certain that Rex is telling his guys they are maybe just a half step behind teams like the Pats, Packers, Pats, Seahawks, and Pats. After being told shit like that since off season workouts and then seeing some good results players will believe in it. That’s the magic Rex had when he was in New York: Everyone thought of him as a buffoon who happened to be a defensive genius, but his real genius is in his crazy motivational ways. After a two or three years it wears off, but in the early heady days (remember under-manned Jets teams led by Mark Sanchez making two AFC Championship Games?) his words and actions and energy make players drunk with confidence and belief in their abilities. How else can you explain Tyrod Taylor? Remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it. You sort of have to do that when you’re looking at being without Shady, Sammy Watkins, John Miller, and Aaron Williams.
Sure, the Giants have Eli and a human highlight film at wide receiver and they should be able to run up some yards, but I kind of agree with The Onion and think Tom Coughlin should be moved to an assisted coaching facility. Sure, 5.5 points is kind of high for an untested team, but the Giants are a bigger mess than we all thought. Their defense is uninspiring and porous and since they are missing fireworks enthusiast Jason Pierre Paul because of a mangled hand they’ve got jack shit for a pass rush. Steve Spagnuolo’s entire defense revolves around the front four getting pressure on the quarterback so he can mix up zone and man coverages and hide whatever weaknesses he has back there. Since Buffalo is more than capable of mixing it up and has been having Taylor throw a LOT of deep balls Spagnuolo’s going to be hard pressed to keep the Bills under wraps.
Take the Bills and their emotional high, but let’s lay off next week when they play Detroit on a Thursday because FUCKThursday night games.
THE PICK: BILLS -5
GREEN BAY PACKERS -9.5 AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -3 AT WASHINGTON REDSKINS
HOUSTON TEXANS +6 AT ATLANTA FALCONS
Well, after a brief hiatus to get drunk in Pennsylvania I’m back to badly handicap games again. Let get right back into it. Atlanta has played very well this season, basically proving that it was the god awful coaching of Mike Smith was holding them back last year. They’re 3-0 and more importantly for our purposes, 3-0 ATS. Julio Jones is on pace to have a record breaking season, they seem to have established a nice running back rotation and Matty Ice has fixed his uh, air conditioner I guess. The defense still has issues (they made Brandon Weeden look like a competent QB and gave Dallas a huge early lead last week) but doesn’t seem to be as bad as it was last year.
Meanwhile, Houston has been hampered by poor play at the QB position and injuries. Both Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett don’t appear to be quality starting QBs, though they have managed to stay in games thus far. Arian Foster may finally be ready to see the field this week, and of course, they have the most dominant defensive player in the NFL in JJ Watt.
It’s tempting to take the Falcons here as they’re obviously the better team, but I think they’re due to not cover one. Houston hasn’t lost a game by more than 7 this year and I think Foster coming back could be the difference maker here. I’ll take Texans to cover.
THE PICK: TEXANS +6
MINNESOTA VIKINGS +7 AT DENVER BRONCOS
“Manning still has it” is starting to remind me of the Francisco Franco bit from the old SNL. It’s obvious that he doesn’t have nearly as much arm strength as he used to but he keeps getting it done somehow. Sure, he’ll probably be dead by the playoffs because he seems to be getting hit quite a lot, but for now he looks good so whatever. At least Manning has a strong defense to lean on.
As far as the Vikings go, Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t made as big of a leap in his sophomore season as i thought he would, but AP has just stepped right in and picked up right where he left off. I’m still not sure who Bridgewater is throwing the ball to, but I guess with Peterson you don’t need receivers as much.
The line movement (4.5 to 7) makes me a bit nervous but I don’t think Denver deserves to be getting an entire TD against Minnesota, who isn’t a bad team. Denver could easily be 0-3 if a couple of breaks went their way. Feel pretty comfortable taking Vikes here to cover.
THE PICK: VIKINGS +7