NFL Football Week 4: The FBI Has Only One Week Edition

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There are those who claim that my picks went 1-3 last week, and to those people I would say: let me take a step back and explain high school. I was number one in the class. Im going to talk about my high school record, if you’re going to sit here and mock me. I busted my butt in academics. I always tried to do the best I could. As I recall, I finished one in the class, first in, you know, freshman and junior year, right at the top with Steve, Clark, and Eddie, we were always kind of in the mix. I played sports. I was captain of the varsity basketball team. I was wide receiver and defensive back on the football team. I ran track in the spring of 82 to try to get faster. I did my service projects at the school, which involved going to the soup kitchen downtown, and going to tutor intellectually disabled kids at the Rockville Library. With the church. And yes, we got together with our friends. I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes others did. I liked beer. I still like beer. But I did not drink beer to the point of blacking out, and I never sexually assaulted anyone.

I hope that clears it up.

I promise I’m not going to write a dissertation on Kavanaugh. I personally perceive it as a major, perhaps historic event, but perhaps Im closer to the whole thing because of my day job. The whole thing has certainly started a lot of conversations about sexual assault and believing women, including one in my own house, Thursday night, when I eventually admitted to my wife that I care more about him not becoming a Supreme Court Justice than I do about restitution for Christine Blasey Ford.

I say that not because I don’t believe Dr. Ford. I do, in fact, believe her. In a way, I believe Kavanaugh too, inasmuch as I believe that he believes that he didn’t do it, because Occam’s razor indicates that everything happened just as she said it did, but he blacked it out and doesn’t remember.

If everyone was being honest, I bet we could have a productive discussion about youthful indiscretions, or even the severity of the offense. To tell the truth, if pulling a woman’s top off at a drunken party is enough to disqualify you from the Supreme Court, then neither I nor the guy from the Nuthin But a G Thang video are fit to serve. 35 years is a long time. Who didn’t do stupid shit in high school and college? Who hasn’t blacked out from drinking too much?

But everyone is not being honest. Squirreling your best friend – and the only witness – away in a Delaware beach house with a stash of Superman comics is not how an honest man goes about clearing his name. Repeatedly misrepresenting witness affidavits is not a forthcoming way to answer questions. Devils Triangle is not a drinking game. BOOF can be easily Googled. I write a fucking gambling column, so by all means, quote me as an expert: no one shoots dice for no money!

You all know this stuff. Since I started at Ruthless, I have consistently praised the intelligence of the readership, and I certainly don’t want to come off as a partisan. But the Supreme Court is, in the eyes of some, the last bastion of American democracy as we know it, and the Justices who serve thereupon cannot display even a hint of impropriety. Overt dishonesty is impropriety. Kavanaugh can cry about calendars and bitch about how his refusal to honestly address his drunken fondling has destroyed his family all he wants. Fiat justitia ruat caelum, Pal. HEY LOOK FOOTBALL!

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CINCINNATI v. ATLANTA -4

The Bengals are now the 26th-ranked defense in the league. Before last week, Christian McCaffrey had never rushed for 70 yards in a game. Last week he gained 99 yards in the first half against Cincinnati en route to a 184 yard game on 28 carries and a 10-point win.

Atlanta, meanwhile, has been offense-first these past two weeks, hanging 31 on – and beating – the same Carolina that just beat the Bengals, and scoring 37 in an overtime shootout with the Saints last weekend (I told you that was gonna be fun to watch).

Calvin Ridley is on an absolute tear, and he already has four touchdowns. Last week he caught seven balls for 146 yards, proving that he belongs in the platoon with Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Matt Ryan just has too many weapons in the air to face a team that cant stop the run, either. Lay the four heavy.

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BUFFALO v. GREEN BAY -9.5

Its not a trap. It kind of looks like a trap, but its not. The line is clearly an aftershock of the jaw-dropping beat-down that the Bills gave the Vikings last Sunday, as well as Green Bays surprise loss to Washington, so there are reasons to be hesitant. And yet!

It looks like an over-correction to me. The Bills lost those first two games by a combined 55 points. Josh Allen’s game isn’t even indicative of the 21-point win that it was. He was 15 of 22 for 196 yards and 1 TD through the air. Those numbers are fine I guess? But lets not claim the ship has been righted just because Allen managed to outperform Nathan Peterman.

Green Bay dug themselves a huge hole before halftime and were without Muhammad Wilkerson, who was carted off and is now out for the season. However, Rodgers did what he always does and marched his team 75 yards down the field, scored, and made it a game again. Some crucial drops and another ludicrous roughing call against Clay Matthews cut the comeback short. Last weeks second-half Packers still cover ten at home against these Bills.

NOTE: Aaron Rodgers is listed as questionable on the Green Bay injury report, but he attended a limited practice on Thursday and all indications are that he will play. Obviously, if Rodgers is scratched at any point, the -9.5 line is no longer advisable.

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TAMPA v. CHICAGO -3

Its almost fun to watch the Chicago Bears again. Trubisky was sort of a line in the sand in terms of the rebuild, and hes looked shaky now and again. Hell, he looked shaky in last weeks win in Arizona, going 24 for 35 for 220 yards and an 0-1 split. But Khalil Mack falling into their laps has served as motivation, or a juggernaut, or something. Jon Gruden could win five Super Bowls in a row for Las Vegas and people will still remember how stupid and short sighted that trade was.

The surging Chicago defense may cause the first-ever reverse QB controversy, where FitzMagic and Jameis Winston argue that the other guy should get the start so they don’t have to face Danny Trevathan, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, and Mack, who may I remind you has recorded at least one sack and caused one turnover in every game so far this year.

We predicted the precipitous decline of Fitzpatrick and Winston doesn’t want any part of this team at Soldier Field. Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and Taylor Gabriel give Trubisky enough options to keep this game within three, if not steal an outright win.

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KANSAS CITY -4.5 v.DENVER

We knew that Mahomes was the real deal, but he took it to another level last weekend in his win over San Francisco. Everyone talked about the scrambling, 20-yard drop-back, sidearm touchdown strike to Chris Conley (laughably scored as a 4-yard pass in the box score) but he made some big boy moves in this game, audibling to shotgun to fan out his backs for screens, running when he had to, and basically looking like a veteran speed option QB, to the extent that such a thing exists.

Everybody from Sports Illustrated to Covers is salivating over this one, because Denver hasn’t won a game ATS all season and the QB with the best passer rating is playing a team that has given up at least 240 yards through the air in every game this season. Normally I advise running away from the herd but I don’t mind jumping on the Chiefs bandwagon for a payday. Hell, its something of a September tradition around here!

Rough week last week, but were basically even if you set aside the week-one push. At least we can be honest about it, which is more than can be said for the guy to whom they are trying to give supreme judicial authority for decades to come. Lets try to pull ahead on Sunday. Maybe we can all do better, and learn something new this week; you, me, the agents of the FBI’s mid-Atlantic field office, all of us!

Good luck!

About J.J. Duquesne

J.J. is an attorney in New York City. He loves NFL Football...a LOT.