NFL Week 14: Why Do We Even Bother Edition?


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“Mrs. Duquesne” is a character as written. She does consider the Jets her favorite pro football team, and she does take the meaningful, competitive games too seriously some times, but I think we’ve all been guilty of that at some point. She did not, however, stalk Mark Sanchez via Snapchat, or write in Rex Ryan for mayor in 2009. She didn’t really wake up from a blackout with a full TOON 88 back-piece or whatever other dumb jokes I’ve made in the past. Don’t consider this to be canon, though. It’s more fun to pretend she chopped off a hunk of my hair to make an Adam Gase voodoo doll in the middle of the night.

Point being, even she knew that putting an iota of faith in the Jets was a mistake, and told me as much before I submitted last week’s column. Still, as I told the Goat, I am apparently incapable of learning some lessons. Thus, between the Jets and the Pats we wound up 2-2 on the week, albeit up one on the whole thanks to double down on Green Bay. All of which is well and good, but a little more scratch would have been nice. Of course, Petra Verkaik coming over to make us some cheeseburgers would have been nice. Guess I’ll take the advice of an old acquaintance’s truck-driving father by wishing into one hand and pissing into the other and seeing which one fills up first.

At least I can acknowledge my failures. I am nothing like a former first lady who recently went on a watered-down version of a once-popular radio show to mock the idea of universal healthcare and compare it to a fifth-grader running for class president and promising everyone free chocolate milk. Eleven years after Obama Mark I and three years after fumbling the future of the country to the dumbest, most odious candidate this country has ever seen, she still hasn’t figured out why she lost in the first place. It’s pathetic.

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I’m not sure if either Stern or Hillary are worth a billion dollars by themselves, but I’d bet they’d hit ten figures if added together. Regardless, save for a preposterously bad business risk or a ravenous addiction to heroin truffles, neither person’s grand-kids will ever have to work a day in their life. I was never a big Stern fan and I’ve got less than zero interest in hearing him badger her about her college experimentation phase, sapphic or otherwise, but even that would have been less nauseating than hearing those assholes laugh off the possibility that maybe poor people should be able to go to college for free despite never killing a single Afghani baby.

This isn’t the first time. It certainly won’t be the last. The more genuine populism you see in electoral politics, the greater the push-back will be. Big media have already tried to spits-shine a centrist congressman and a prosecutor as the new great left hope, now they’re desperately trying to hype up a small-town mayor who was almost certainly a CIA agent despite the fact that his entire non-white voter base could fit in my kitchen.

It won’t work. People are sick of rich people with god complexes saying they know what’s best for them. Especially since a guy who is allegedly one of the wealthiest among them is now quite obviously one of our stupidest citizens. Hell, Bloomberg is literally planning on trying to buy the presidency with a self-funded ad blitz in advance of Super Tuesday and if what he’s said so far is true, he will be spending somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 dollars for every vote he actually gets. Meanwhile, we’re trying to find an edge on sporting events in pursuit of some extra beer money. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so infuriating. HEY LOOK FOOTBALL!

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INDIANAPOLIS +3 v. TAMPA BAY

I have to note that the injury that briefly sidelines Jacoby Brissett, while unfortunate, did serve the purpose of reminding everyone that his backup, one-time Broncos starter Chad Kelly, is still in the league, and still a named defendant in multiple civil suits that could very well have been filed in the Supreme Court of Toontown before the Hon. Justice Doom. Remember when he punched Von Miller’s “personal photographer” in the nose at a Halloween party? Or broke into a random couple’s house and refused to get up off of the couch, even after being hit in the back with a vacuum hose, later that same night? It’s okay, I’d bet good money that Chad doesn’t remember either.

Thankfully, Brissett is back to full strength, so it shouldn’t be an issue. This is an interesting line given that the Bucs are a better team if you go by volume stats. Tampa has the fifth-best overall offense, due to their passing game, with 340 points through the air. The Colts have the better record by one game at 6-6, though both teams are still technically alive.

I just don’t trust Jameis Winston – ever, if we’re being honest – but certainly not in this spot. Indy desperately needs this game coming off of two divisional losses against the Texans and Titans and heading to New Orleans next week. T.Y. Hilton is a scratch but I think that is offset by the returning duo of Marlon Mack and Parris Campbell, both of whom will give the Colts more ways to score. A competent offense and an at-times stellar pass rush should be enough to put Jameis into desperation mode, that being the source of his league-leading 101 turnovers and 78 interceptions.

This isn’t the sexiest 1:00 game, but the Lamar Jackson bandwagon spiked the Ravens-Bills line too high, so as has often been the case this year, we have to pick our spots. Though an outright Indy win would not surprise me in the least, take the three to stay on the safe side.

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KANSAS CITY +3 v. NEW ENGLAND

Put the gun down! Slow your roll! Or… role, maybe? I’ve seen it spelled the latter way more frequently but role doesn’t make any sense in that context, does it? I think people just assume that the phrase was borne out of “know your role,” and took it from there, but slow your roll makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? Like, pump the brakes so as to stop rolling? What were we talking about again?

Ah yes. Slow your roll! I promise you that I am not falling for the annual Brady-is-finished nonsense, nor am I hypocritically doing so after warning all of you not to. Tom Brady is fine, if not quite the laser-accurate passer he was at the spry age of 38. Tom Brady without elite receivers, however? Not the guy I want fending off a Chiefs team looking to clinch the AFC West. That was all too obvious in last week’s sloppy loss in Houston, and may be even more evident now, as Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu both had limited practice time this week.

Though it’s amusing to imagine how different the Pats would look with Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown on the squad, such is not the case. The December 2019 Patriots have averaged 18 points over the last four games, and now they get to shoot it out with the fourth-best offense in the league. I recognize that the Chiefs’ defense can be suspect, especially when it comes to the rush, but I expect Mahomes to bail them out – as does Vegas, hence the over/under opening at 50.5. Here again I see a SU win given that K.C. needs this game to clinch, but no need to be greedy. Just take the 3 and watch the scoreboard.

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SEATTLE (-110) v. LA RAMS

I’m not certain as to what drove this down from the -3 it opened at, but that’s just fine by me. Rookie linebacker Cody Barton is in for Mychal Kendricks but otherwise the injury report is pretty light. Week 5 was a lifetime ago, before DCs had completely figured out Jared Goff. Was everyone blown away by the fact that the Rams beat the Cardinals into powder last week? The 27-point margin of victory was still less than the 39-point chasm between L.A. and Baltimore two weeks ago.

Lamar Jackson would be this year’s runaway, no-questions-asked MVP were it not for Russell Wilson, who is averaging a 111.1 QB rating with 26 TDs against four interceptions. I’ll grant you that Jalen Ramsey is a huge upgrade over both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, especially in man, but unless they’ve learned to clone him I don’t see how they shut down the guy with the best case as the top QB in the NFL. This will be our two-unit game of the week for exactly that reason.

Last week was a respectable comeback. Let me also note that a highly-likely Bengals loss would let us collect on the Bengals under 6 wins prop. That would put us at two winning preseason predictions, as the Saints clinched the NFC South a week ago Thursday. The Bears and Bucs should miss postseason, which would give us four out of five. I am less confident that Saquon Barkley will magically score 10 TDs in four weeks, but it’s technically more likely than the whole Petra Verkaik-and-cheeseburgers thing I suppose.

Good luck!

About J.J. Duquesne

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