NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -9 AT DALLAS COWBOYS
The Tom Brady Fuck You tour flies their Pimp Jet into Dallas this Sunday, for a showdown with Jerry Jones at his gaudy, glittery fuck palace. New England comes off a bye, whereas Dallas comes off another damaging loss, blowing an overtime game by immediately allowing an 80 yard CJ Spiller touchdown. Surprisingly, the trends would actually support taking the Cowboys as dogs in this scenario. While the Patriots are 23-11 after a bye since 1992, they are only 15-17 ATS, and 2-2 in the last 4 years. In the last three years, Dallas is 12-4 ATS as an underdog (god damn), and 2-0 as a home dog of 7-10 points.
So, normally these numbers would give me pause. But, these numbers are the past. The FUCK YOU, I AM TOM BRADY tour of the league is the present. And it never ceases to amaze me how other teams loooove to open their mouths about the Patriots. Of course, Rex Ryan is the #1 culprit, and Im 99% sure he has a fucking death shrine of Bill Belichick like Ray Finkle, but lately all the other teams are starting to join in on the fun, too! For example, Greg Hardy, noted abuser of females, decided to open his mouth this week about Tom Terrific’s wife, Gisele Bundchen. “I love seeing Tom Brady. You seen his wife? I hope she comes to the game. I hope her sister comes to the game. ” Brilliant. And then Jerry Jones doubled down on these comments, saying THAT “BECAUSE TOM BRADY MARRIED HER IT SHOWS HE IS A MAN OF GREAT CHARACTER!!!” What the FUCK?! It blows my mind how much other teams think about the Patriots. COLTS FANS ARE BUYING A BLIMP THAT SAYS #DEFLATETHISBRADY ABOVE LUCAS OIL STADIUM FOR THEIR GAME NEXT WEEK!!!!! IS THIS REAL LIFE!? Is that going to make you feel better when Brady throws for 500 yards and 4 TDs and we smash your team into fucking oblivion?! Worry about your own fucking teams! Idiots.
As for footbally stuff whatever. The Patriots offense is rolling at a seemingly unstoppable pace. Averaging 37 points per game through 3 games? Word. The Cowboys, sans Dez and Tony, are sputtering. The Patriots secondary still makes me nervous, as it probably will all year. But Weeden doesnt really have the arm nor the receivers to truly test them in this game. The Pats front 7, recently given additional depth by trading for both DT Akiem Hicks and LB Jon Bostic, I personally think may be one of the best units in the league. Theyve been gashed by some runners this year, but I dont forsee them having all that much trouble with Randle, McFadden, and C-Mike. Thats about all Ive got to say about this. Eat a dick Greg Hardy, Pats -1000.
THE PICK: PATRIOTS -9
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS +2.5 AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Yeesh. Its great how all Floridas teams fucking suck. Its really emblematic of the state’s standing in our glorious Union at large. A festering shitpit full of scum. Its the Mos Eisley Cantina of the country, just the size of an entire state.
To say the Jameis Winston project has been coming along slowly would be an understatement. While he’s thrown or rushed for a TD in every game, hes also had 7 picks and a lost fumble in that span as well. Hes also topped out at 287 passing yards, and that was the same game (last week against Carolina) in which he threw 4 of his aforementioned picks. Bortles is struggling as well, but more in the just be a little bit better please way than the stop shooting yourself in the foot every drive way that Winston is. Hes got 3 INTs on the year, 2 of which were against that same Carolina team in week 1 (by the way, Carolina cornerback Josh Norman is quietly putting himself in the best in the league category this year) and one against the Patriots, which I dont even remember, but I feel like might have been a tipped ball.
The Jaguars defense, however, has been a bright spot, particularly against the run. Gus Bradley has had a hard time with this squad, but hes a good defensive coach, and its starting to show this year. They are actually tied for first (with the Giants) in RB yards per attempt, at a paltry 3.1, and the 4th best showing at 83 yards per game. The Bucs are on the opposite end of the spectrum, offering up 136.8 yards per game, for 3rd worst in the league. Expect a lot of TJ Yeldon in this game, who the Jags seem very comfortable giving the rock to 25+ times per game. Especially because the Bucs are somehow allowing the 2nd least passing yards per game, and the Jags the 4th most. But the Bucs have played the Titans, the Saints with Hurt Brees, the horrible Texans, and the Panthers, who just use their quarterback to run instead of throw. And the Jags played against Brady, who has to have singlehandedly boosted that average by like 80 yards. Anyway, I just have a feeling about the Jags here. Allen Robinson has been targeted a lot by Bortles, but has been bottled up by very good defensive backs for a few games. He should find more room to operate this week. And if the Jags are able to bottle up Tampas rushing attack, they will have to rely on a lot more Winston throws, which doesnt seem like anything to be afraid of. I just dont really see a facet of the game in which Tampa has a distinct advantage here, and although Id like the full FG, Ill take the Jags to cover and very possibly win on the field.
THE PICK: JAGS +2.5
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS +3 AT CINCINNATI BENGALS
Pay me. That’s all Kam Chancellor should ever say to Seattle’s management team. Without him their defense is pedestrian. With him they are bone crushing and opportunistic. He is why they are called The Legion of Boom and had he missed the last Super Bowl with a serious injury that required surgery almost immediately after the game they would have been blown out instead of having a chance to win in the final minute. Think about that for second. A guy with an injury that would have normally shut his season down played great through it, underwent surgery, requested a raise, and was denied because, hey, you signed a contract. To be fair the Seahawks have agreed to roll over some guaranteed money into 2017 and the two sides are about a million bucks apart, but when teams get their stadiums paid for by public money while poor people are vilified for wanting a subsistence wage I think we can all agree the owners can go fuck themselves. Enough of my obvious bias towards giving players guaranteed contracts and more than 55 percent of revenues and on to the game at hand.
Without Kam the Seahawks gave up 771 yards at 6.02 YPP, but with him have given up 344 yards at 3.44 YPP. Sure, that’s against Chicago and Detroit, but these are still professional football teams in an era that favors the offense. Seattle also seems to revolve most of their defensive game plan around him like the Niners used to with Ronnie Lott. His presence elevates their play because of he scares the shit out receivers. Are you going to take a crossing route in his part of the field?
The Bengals still wear Garanimals and are quarterbacked by an inconsistent dipshit that will cost you money. Yeah, the Bengals are at the top of almost every offensive metric after four games, but that’s like saying, wow, this Buick Skylark has been really fun to drive in the six months I took it off the lot. I love Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill, but we’re talking about the Bengals and we’re talking about Andy Fucking Dalton and Marvin Fucking Lewis. Fuck the Bengals and fuck them getting the square side. Are you seriously considering trusting your money with these donkeys against a team desperate for a win on the road?
Matchup-wise and on paper it’s no contest. Beast Mode is out, Seattle’s offensive line is a mess thanks to that idiotic Jimmy Graham trade (hey, here’s an idea: try running some specific plays to him if Russ is not going to bother looking for him on scrambles outside the pocket?), and Russell Wilson is getting sacked on around 11 percent of his drop back passes. Seattle’s defense is ranked second in the NFL and can keep them in games, so until Seattle gets their shit together on offense it’s going to be a lot of Russell giving thanks to God for the win or saying that Jesus is just presenting him with a challenge after a loss. The Bengals are rocking on offense and have possibly the best one-two punch at running in the whole world and my favorite person to shit on has already racked up 1,187 passing yards and only one interception. That’s the sort of shit the public loves and jumps on when they are drunk as fuck in the sports book on a Saturday night then regrets by Sunday afternoon.
Right now about 58 percent of the bets are running to Cincy which feels about right. That 2.5 or three points is basically what you get for home field advantage and Vegas doesn’t seem to trust the Bengals enough yet to give them a five point handle against a team that’s made two straight Super Bowls. I tend to follow the book on this one and lean Seattle. They’re experienced, pissed off, and dangerous even without Beast. Who are you gonna trust in what’s basically a pick-’em? Your lying eyes or the Seahawks?
THE PICK: SEAHAWKS +3
ST LOUIS RAMS +10 AT GREEN BAY PACKERS
The Rams are the most frustrating team in sports. They are fucking LOADED with talent at almost every position. Even their offensive line is stacked with young, but inexperienced monsters who could develop into Pro Bowlers over the next couple of years. Nick Foles is maligned, but he can make the throws and can pick apart an offense if he’s kept upright. Todd Gurley is for real, Tavon Austin is finally getting the ball and finding his groove, and oh God, that defense (cums in pants) is so good it’s criminal. Hey, Arizona, how did you enjoy those six trips to the Red Zone with only one touchdown? However, they are 2-2 with losses to the Racial Slurs and the Steelers (a game they fucking SHOULD have won) and are still a notoriously inconsistent team that plays down to or up to their competition.
Green Bay is a juggernaut and playing better than they did in 2011 because now they have Eddie Lacy and Mike McCarthy is no longer calling the plays. Watching Aaron Rodgers run the offense is like watching the ballet. He avoids the rush better than any quarterback in football and maybe better than anyone who has played the game. He finds the open man, makes exquisite pre-snap reads, audibles better than Peyton Manning on his best day, gives himself five extra seconds by dancing like Fred Astaire, leaving pass rushers on the ground, and is athletic enough to run downfield and pick up seven yards when his receivers are blanketed. Their defense is kind of shitty, but anytime I get to hear Clay Matthews or anyone else say to Colin Kaepernick, you’re not Russell Wilson, bro my heart grows five sizes. These Green Bay guys are alright by me.
That doesn’t mean they should be getting nine points. However, it’s not because they are literally nine points better than the Rams, it’s because Vegas has to do something to get some bets on the Rams to balance out their book on a massively public team. Right this second 68 percent of the bets are on Green Bay giving 10 points at home to a club that just shut Carson Palmer down. Ten points to a team that just unveiled possibly the best running back prospect in years. Ten points to a team that is possibly going to have a bit of a let down after a big win because they are still very young and working out their identity.
Last week I bet against my Rams (along with probably 80 percent of the world) and had to take it. This week I would probably lay off because of my own biases, but in this forum I can’t, so I have to take it and run with it. I saw something that piqued my interest the other day. Rodgers was giving an interview and he talked about how the Rams defense is really good. He never does that. He usually sticks to his lines about working the game plan or whatever other boring stock shit he decides to spew out, but this week he made it clear that the Rams defense presents problems. Problems like Aaron Donald who requires a double team on every play which opens up chances for Robert Quinn. Sure, Alec Ogletree is out for probably the rest of the year, but the Rams have about 12 guys who can swap in and out of the front seven and play at almost super human levels. Sure, their defensive backfield is suspect, but did you see the hits they laid on the Cardinals’ receivers? It was eye-opening.
This isn’t just cheery homer fan optimism at work. The Rams are a legit talented monster that is bubbling to the surface like Godzilla to wreak havoc on the NFC West. They are not quite ready for primetime, but they are ready for a big upset. While the Niners are a flat out mess and got served like they deserved, the Rams are ascending and absolutely need to show up and play well in this game if they want to be taken seriously the rest of the season. They have to know that they gave the Steelers game away and that everyone is expecting them to fall flat on their faces in this one just like they did in DC, but something tells me that Fisher is going to unleash Gurley and Austin on what is really a not very good Green Bay defense and Gregg Williams is going to unleash a myriad of blitz packages at Rodgers that will make him unusually frustrated.
This is a tough one to handicap because both teams are coming off road wins and the Pack is your money line pick, but at plus 10 you’d be insane to go that heavy. Stay away from John Q. Public and take the Rams, just don’t go crazy and bet your mortgage on this one. Save that bet for the afternoon game and the Pats -10 in Dallas.
THE PICK: RAMS +10
BUFFALO BILLS -1.5 AT TENNESSEE TITANS
Oh goody, it’s my least favorite time of the football season. When the NFL makes me wish I was color blind so I wouldn’t have to see their tacky attempt to use everyone’s love of their mothers and cancer survivors (less than 8% of money goes to Breast Cancer research or helping those that have it and they continue to help prop up Susan G. Komen: for the assholery) to shield itself from the violent criminals it employs. The NFL got a slight bump on that front as they actually recorded no arrests in the month of September, which was amazing until you realized that the whole league was using the Bills unsportsmanlike/unnecessary roughness excess as a karma vortex. Rex Ryan wanted to build a bully and it sure looks like they have succeeded. One of the basic tenets of this change was the signing of Richie Incognito to replace the loss of Pro-Bowler Andy Levitre and give the Bills something resembling competent Offensive Line work (which should tell you how incompetent the Bills line is).
Levitre has looked much worse in Tennessee than he did in Buffalo and is now considered a weak spot. On the other hand Marcus Mariota has looked fantastic. Yes, his breakout game came against a putrid Bucs team and he hasn’t quite lit the league on fire since. But the skills are all there, remember the artisans came by the pick honestly, by being a team that is worse at football than the team that Mariota played on last year. The pieces were in place for growth, but injuries derailed them. Now, the Titans are sneaky good, being top 10 in both offense and defense this year.
These two franchises have a long history of entertaining, never say die games from “The Greatest Comeback in NFL History,” which every Western New Yorker will tell you they saw live, despite it being blacked out or them not even being born at the time, to the Music City Miracle (it wasn’t a forward pass ranks right up there with Wide Right, Skate In The Crease and Buffalo Wild Wings is better than Duffs and Anchor Bar combined, as ways to infuriate any Buffalonian). This should be no different. The Bills getting shellacked by the Pats and losing to a mediocre Giants team is a worrying sign. Titans at home and the points.
THE PICK: TITANS +1.5
CHICAGO BEARS +8.5 AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The Chicago Bears are a bad football team. A horribly, repugnant football team. A team so bad at its chosen vocation that in the heart of Ditka country they’re arguably the fourth most exciting ticket in town. Let’s face it, even Patrick Kane would say no to a night with the Bears, not that he’d have much choice in the matter. I mean they are almost as bad at football, as I am at making these picks (seriously, the only thing more embarrassing than not getting them in on time last week was realizing that I got both games right).
The Kansas City Chiefs have an excellent defense, a superb running back and no passing game whatsoever. Honestly, I’ve dislocated my shoulder 5 times and have more ability to throw downfield than Alex Smith. You all know this. But the one quasi-strength the Bears do possess is the 14th ranked run defense. This is not enough to shut down Jamaal Charles, but it should be enough to slow him down enough for the Bears to cover.
THE PICK: BEARS +8.5
CLEVELAND BROWNS +7 AT BALTIMORE RAVENS
Nothing like a nice steady AFC North matchup. The always bad Browns against the sometimes good Ravens. A coach who’s name you don’t have to remember because he’ll be gone in a year against the coaching version of a McPoyle brother from Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Baltimore surprised, I guess, by going 0-3 to start the season but they really don’t have a lot of options on offense. Steve Smith is out with a back injury and the rest of their receivers are no-name guys. Justin Forsett is a decent running back though, and Cleveland has been really awful at run defense this year so the Ravens may not need to throw it. As far as the Cleveland offense, it’s mystifying to me why they aren’t playing Manziel. Like, it’s obvious he’s more focused this season, and not in the way when you do too many lines and can bore through something by staring at it intently while grinding your teeth. I guess Cleveland feels that McCown gives them a steady veteran presence, but give me a break. You’re not gonna win a Super Bowl with a fucking McCown brother. Sure, you won’t with Manziel this year either, but at least you get a better look and decide if you need to draft yet another QB in the first round next year. Anyway, McCown hasn’t played that badly this season and the Browns quietly have amassed a few nice skill players on offense. QBs have lit up the Ravens pass defense so far and McCown definitely could too. This matchup is closer than the spread indicates.
I’m sure the Ravens have been frustrating to Baltimore fans this year. I kind of wonder when Flacco will start grumbling about his lack of weapons. That said, Baltimore is still the better team, but not THAT much better. This is still a divisional matchup and while I think the Ratbirds will still win, this is much too high a spread. The Browns cover.
THE PICK: BROWNS +7
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS +7 AT NEW YORK GIANTS
The mishaps of the 49ers are hilarious to me. I’m not sure why, because being a Steelers fan, there’s no real natural rivalry. I hate the Harbaugh family, but whichever dipshit brother coached there is gone. Kaepernick is a doofus, but I don’t share the animosity toward him that my counterpart Espo has. Still, there’s something funny about how the culture of an organization caused multiple players, some with their entire careers ahead of them, to retire. The Niners were so shitty they made a promising player quit after his rookie season! Not to mention the Ray MacDonald fiasco, Kaepernick’s utter ineptitude, the fact that their most interesting offensive player is actually a rugby guy, the list goes on. They’re an utter trash fire this year and I’m loving it. There’s not really much to say aside from childish insults. Kaepernick is bad. Carlos Hyde is a good back but they’re always down and need to pass. The defense allowed 90 points in two games, and so on. The Giants meanwhile, overcame a slow start to the season to win decisively in the last two. Eli has been playing alright, Odell Beckham is predictably amazing, the running game has been clicking, and they seem like they can be a slightly above average team.
I’m still not entirely sold on the Giants, but I can’t in good conscience take the Niners to cover with Kaepernick playing the way he has. It looks like he had an anvil dropped on his head. If he were average they could lean on Hyde and their running game but he isn’t and they can’t. Giants win big at home.
THE PICK: GIANTS -7