NFL Week 7: Popeye’s or Chick-Fil-A Edition

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Well, it was bound to happen eventually. We split the baby for the first time last weekend, with wins from the Saints (thanks Pope!) and Cardinals, a Philly loss, and an absolute disgrace of a performance on the part of the Dallas Cowboys. They lost straight-up to the Jets on national television, and what’ worse, I had to be in Atlantic City, one hop and half a skip from where it all went down in East Rutherford, New Jersey. That led to some Big Time Tommy knockoff uttering the phrase “he looked like the old Sam Darnold” at my craps table around midnight. The old Sam Darnold? As in, the “old” version of the second-year guy who just recovered from the kissing disease? Thank God they don’t allow guns in casinos.

Regardless, yeah, call it 3-3 because of the unit inflation. Those other guys would fake a memory lapse since I didn’t talk up the Eagles nearly as much as the Saints, but facts are facts and I stand by the picks. Kirk Cousins probably staved off some player personnel office whispers and he owes an opium-laced poppy bouquet to Rasul Douglas, who got torched often enough that the announce team started slamming him midway through the game. Not 100% sure whether Kenny Albert would be more useful in man free or combo man coverage once he got done metaphorically telling yo mama jokes, but he was the one airing people out so it’s his cross to bear. Could’ve been worse, I guess, since Romo was about to revert back to Jerry’s hatchetman mid-aneurysm on the other channel once the Dallas loss became a certainty.

So where do we go from here? Onwards and upwards as always. We don’t give a fuck about last Sunday, we give a fuck about this Sunday. Back to work, past is prologue and all that. We are basically at .500 and just past the roughest part of the season, so let’s get it.

By the way, before we hit the picks, let me just say: I love you all. That’s genuine, believe it or not, but I am specifically referring to some of last week’s feedback when some of you did a deep dive on a passive reference to eating Popeye’s? Bless your hearts. I hope I am never able to perceive what weird little detail some of you guys choose to hone in on. It would ruin all the fun.

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Besides, honest questions deserve honest answers no matter how silly, so here goes:

(1) I did at one point have the chicken sandwich, basically by accident. This was before it became a meme of sorts I guess? But there is a Popeye’s by my work, and I ducked in one Saturday just to grab lunch, so as to set up a beericade if I’m being honest. Anyway, they had what appeared at the time to be nothing more than a new sandwich on the menu. I ordered it at random and it was noticeably great, like something I made a mental note of, because I am basically a 9-year-old adult. To be honest it was almost borderline too crispy, like you could tell they breaded it over and over again, but Popeye’s cracklin is still Popeye’s cracklin, of course. Could’ve used more titties TBH. A+ gold star.

(2) The best side is not on the menu, but – and this assumes you ordered a meal that includes biscuits or I suppose strips – you can just get a little potato cup full of gravy if you ask nicely. I suppose I should note that every Popeye’s in the greater New York City metropolitan area is usually operated and staffed entirely by descendants of the south Asian subcontinent who may be more flippant and/or less protective of gravy than franchisees in other places, particularly the American south, but that’s for you to find out and let me know. Also P.S. the secret to their mac and cheese is to wait two hours before you eat it. Just trust me, it gets thick but not sticky and eliminates the runny texture HEY LOOK FOOTBALL!

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KANSAS CITY -3 v. DENVER

Forget any previous discussion of personal flaws and insecurities in this column. Truth is, I am an academic sort, Rick Perry glasses and all, like Professor Frink standing in front of the Gamble-Tron 2000, only with a cool helmet, like Dr. Downvote. A studied, calculating genius type, the ultimate sharp (not S.H.A.R.P., though they are totally cool in my book) with like nine laptops, all showing spreadsheets. Big huge spreadsheets. Spreadsheets about spreadsheets! Also that thing with the blocks that smart people do. Excel? Or XL? I got loads of that stuff. Pretty soon I’m gonna need nine more laptops.

Okay, fine. A large part of this is just waiting to see what the dumb people do and then not doing that. And jumping Jesus on a pogo stick are we in luck in that regard. This line is straight up clown shoes. The Chiefs lose two games by less than two TDs combined, and they all forget that Mahomes is on pace to be an all-time great. Joe Flacco beats two stumbling teams, one of which was so bad they benched their QB for Ryan fucking Tannehill, and all of the sudden this game is Montana v. Elway ’93 all over again.

It’s not, unless we’re talking some sort of charm school competition, with KC way up here and Denver right about here. The Chiefs need a divisional win, and they are twice the team the Broncos are, especially if Bryce Callahan and Duke Dawson are banged up. I’d lay six if I had to, so this is a bargain. Two units.

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MIAMI +17 v. BUFFALO

First off, I will acknowledge that we are playing a game of karmic chicken with the Hampton House money with this pick. Having mentioned it, the Tanking Our Talents in South Beach fund currently sits at $305, as we made a healthy $80 on Sunday thanks to Washington only being a 6.5 point favorite.

Speaking of the number 6 and the number 5 and a decimal point between said integers, in the four games the Bills have won this season their average margin of victory has also been 6.5. Now they host Miami, fresh off of their best performance of the year, with a possible concussed Josh Allen and no real need to win the damn thing, since they would be in first in any other division in the AFC. Should they really be favored by 17 points?

Traditional structuring would put a but on the other hand paragraph here, but that would serve no purpose. If Miami is going to win a game outright, it would have happened last weekend, or it will be an early Christmas when they get the Bengals at home on December 22. But this game all but screams fourth-quarter backdoor cover, and I think that’s where the money is.

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JACKSONVILLE -3.5 v. CINCINNATI

The sad thing about all of that preseason Browns hype is that the Bengals seem to be catching all of the recoil. Every damn commercial, all Sunday long, here’s Baker Mayfield mowing the field. Here he is getting his lady a soda without a straw. Haw haw that silly Baker Mayfield! But seriously folks, with Acme car insurance you too could go 2-4 in what is arguably the weakest division in the AFC. Acme: we paid a king’s ransom for this crap and had to shoot it in June, so shut up and deal with it.

Andy Dalton didn’t spend his off season doing commercials. Andy Dalton’s last paid appearance seems to be a self-shot ad for rubber wedding rings that I would assume was a Cameo request if it wasn’t two years old. I’m not joking. He’s not the Ohio QB who deserves to be 0-6! Wait… unless he actually tricked some water-head into proposing with a rubber ring. Dude, can you even imagine? “Will I WHAT? Is this why my posters are all unfurled now?”

I think I may have cracked the case! The Bengals are 0-6 because Andy Dalton tried to pass off rings he got out of a quarter machine at a Sixteen Mile Stand Wal-Mart as wedding jewelry! Good thing I bought those nine laptops and used Excel or XL or whatever.

Okay, I’ll stop. It’s a self-shot ad for asilicone” circle, but I’m done. The Jalen Ramsey trade doesn’t matter; he hadn’t played since week two. AJ Green is still out. The Cincinnati secondary won’t be able to restrain DJ Chark like Lattimore did, and Josh Oliver is back this week. Uncle Wade Nichols could hang 30 on the Bungles D and I am here for it.

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NEW ORLEANS +3 v. CHICAGO

Sometimes things are exactly as the appear. See KC v. Denver analysis supra. We doubled down on Teddy B last week and we should have done so tenfold. Why do these books keep kneecapping the Saints?

It’s a rhetorical question because, once again, we don’t give a fuck. Better quarterback getting points is a PFF Forecast mantra but truer words are rarely spoken. Apparently the Bears staff is cautiously optimistic that Trubisky will be able to play. That makes me optimistic as well, since he actually makes his team worse according to mathematical analysis.

I’d love to act like this was some bold play, some super secret sauce analysis I dug up with my eighteen laptops, but so it goes. The better QB who is undefeated as a starter is taking his four-game win streak into a game against a team that got pantsed by the Raiders two weeks ago. Only one of these teams is the reason this game takes the afternoon Fox slot and I bet you can guess which one, even without a spreadsheet.

The King of the Road rides again, I suppose. Then again, forget I said that. Not the week to go declaring oneself a royal, farcically or otherwise. All we are doing is gambling on a collision-dependent contact sport. At least we can sleep at night. On a bed made of money!

Once I clear off all the laptops and spreadsheets, that is.

Good luck!

About J.J. Duquesne

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