No no, just kidding, same rules as last year. Pick whatever present participle you want, gaming, handicapping, gambling, its still a game of chance at the end. We don’t apologize for losses around here and we don’t show our ass when were hot, either. Today the conqueror, tomorrow the captive. Last weekend I was like James Koenig, starring in his best-known role as Pudge #2 in Albino Farm (13% on Rotten Tomatoes; Horrible acting says some lady; even we haven’t reviewed it says us I guess) . Next weekend I could be like James Koenig, father of a murdered Anchorage barista being arrested for investigation of DUI and assault after being accused of driving away from a strip club while intoxicated and threatening a doorman who tried to stop me. You never know.
Seriously though, I really hope you made some money this week. Column picks were 3-0-1, or 4-0-1 if you took the Atlanta v. Philly under. Seasoned readers were 10-2-1 if they also took the degen college games and the Rams on Monday night as suggested on Twitter.
Oh yeah, that. Once a year I give out my Twitter handle because I am a diligent and appreciative employee of this fine website, and you should prioritize following @ruthlessreviews and the legitimately talented people who write circles around me. That said, I do post occasional picks, sans analysis, at @ArtistsFirstLLC. Results not guaranteed, batteries not included, one coupon per customer, celebrity voices impersonated, physical contact with dancers is cause for immediate ejection.
Anyway, I know I run the damn gag into the ground every year, but I really am relieved to have football back on my television. All that over-saturation squawking is for squares. Unfortunately, Tuesday night MACtion is gone behind an ESPN+ paywall until November, which might have been a good idea had they not moved the games back to Saturday and then put Division 1 (i.e. not FBS) games over-the-air. Uh’h, guys, the only people watching those games were us, the people with action. No one who didn’t go to a MAC school is going to pay for the privilege of snubbing SEC or Big 10 schools to watch Bowling Green play Akron on a Saturday, unless they went to Bowling Green or Akron. In which case they probably can’t afford ESPN+.
Outside of sports, the only prestige TV I watch is Silicon Valley. Since they are out of season, and there were only ten episodes of Sacha Baron Cohens Racist Humiliation Night in America, I’m stuck with movies and YouTube. For a while, I was scraping the latter for episodes of Penn & Tellers Fool Us, but there got to be too many redemptive magician stories for my liking. A month ago I didn’t even know those were a thing! But they keep trotting out these dopey white guys who claim that they used to live some undefined life of crime, and that now they’re only using their powers for good or some such nonsense, as my eyes roll so far back in my head I get neck cramps.
Maybe, and I mean maybe, this was a plausible backstory 80 years ago. Maybe some Harry Anderson-looking motherfucker used to deal three-card Monte, break hearts, and skip town on the back of a flatbed truck with Paul and Linda McCartney in the wee hours of dawn, but its 2018. Everybody has a cell phone, a gun, a gun phone, and/or a gun disguised as a cell phone, and everybody knows that because of constant and complete surveillance. Yet all of these dudes are called, like, Mannie E. Lusions or whatever, and they all appear to be 125-pound 42-year-old virgins with an affinity for hair dye and suspenders. So exactly what sort of dangerous criminal past are you hiding? Im guessing the blood on your hands is actually model airplane paint, so stop pretending that you were a body-made Lantana Blocc Crip affiliate. Three afternoons a week, you smash seniors wristwatches with a hammer in Branson, or maybe Primm. Its a living, dude. Just own it, no need to lie.
HEY LOOK FOOTBALL!
INDIANAPOLIS v. WASHINGTON -6
I was dead right about the Bengals front four getting a little dirty in order to test Andrew Lucks shoulder, but I was deader righter about Adrian Peterson; 26 carries for 96 yards, averaging 3.7 yards per carry and scoring a touchdown. There was a fumble in there, but then again he is Adrian Peterson. As my father used to say, you knew it was a scorpion when you picked it up, son as I writhed around on the ground screaming through the foam in my mouth while dying of scorpion poisoning.
Washington is supposed to win seven or eight games this year, and I’m damn near certain that all but one or two of those wins will come before Thanksgiving, while Peterson and Alex Smith are still healthy, and before either of them quits because Dan Snyder is such an insufferable prick.
Not much to say about the Colts that we havent already said. To be fair, Luck did look alright last week, going 39 of 53 for 319 yards and two hookups with T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron (and a pick, you knew, scorpion, poison etc.). Inherent within those numbers, however, are 53 pass attempts on a repaired shoulder, because he doesn’t have anyone to hand off to. The defense let Andy Dalton gain almost nine yards per attempt, and all but laid a red carpet out to Joe Mixon, who gained 95 on 17 carries for a crazy average of 5.6 YPC. If they looked bad against a middling Andy Dalton, they could look twice as bad against a still-healthy, as-yet-unaware-or- still-uncertain-about-the-owner-dickhead-thing Alex Smith. Home team covers.
CHARGERS -7.5 v. BUFFALO
Just like the last time, the Nathan Peterman era has ended abruptly in Buffalo. Grand opening, grand closing. The Bills got murdered in the Baltimore rain last week, and even though we knew the Ravens would cover the 7 last week, I would never have guessed that they would do so six times over.
This is shaping up to be a very ugly season for the Bills, who will now go all in on Josh Allen, a dubious draft choice to begin with and a guy who is frankly way over his head. That guy is a 22-year-old rookie out of Wyoming. He was competent if turnover-prone (44:21 career) in the Mountain West and his biggest career accomplishment to date is, seriously, a 37-14 win over Central Michigan in the 2017 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Which, to be fair, might be a big deal in the region maybe?
Sorry, I tried, but no. This is the sort of thing that could ruin a career. As was the case with the Packers last year, the Bills could theoretically salvage their season by hiring Colin Kaepernick, but since they don’t have the guts to do that, they’ll be lucky to win five games this year.
This won’t be one of them. The Chargers lost a shootout to the Chiefs last week, but Rivers actually looked great, throwing for 424 yards and three touchdowns at 8.3 yards per attempt. The team put up 541 yards worth of total offense, but quite obviously cant win games in which they also give up 38 points, even to the emerging Patrick Mahomes. I will go out on a limb and predict that Josh Allen does not hang 38 points on the Chiefs defense in his first pro start in front of the shall we say spirited Buffalo crowd. No way, so lay L.A. *rimshot*
PHILADELPHIA -3 v. TAMPA BAY
Ladies, gentlemen, and most importantly league ownership: Nick Foles still has Love for Sale, appetizing (relatively) young love for sale, fresh and still unspoiled, and only slightly soiled. The man referred to as Nicholas Edward, he of the Complementable Genitalia Foles gets another start after a sludgy game where he went 19 of 34 for 117 yards with a 56% completion rate and a 0/1 split against the Chiefs last Thursday. Thing is, he still got the W, and the Dakota Kid is still on ice. On the other side sits Ryan Fitzpatrick who, despite 13 years worth of acrimonious departures from six different teams, did what he always does. He lit up the board as Tampa’s backup against the Saints, lulling yet another fan base into the Fitz-Magic concept and securing a 1A gig for yet another year. Literally unbelievable, unless it really is magic? Lord knows where he went to school – the broadcasters never talk about it – but wherever it was, they must have had one hell of a comms department and/or career counselor.
Seriously though, the shootout with NOLA has to be an outlier. The Bucs are a one-man show and that one man wont be playing because he cant stop being an asshole. Last years league-worst pass rush was supposed to improve with Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry, and yet 39-year-old Drew Brees hung 40 on them while getting sacked once all game. Lay the Eagles, maybe even stack the units, because Tampa looks like a mess, at least for two more weeks.
I do have to note one more thing here. Official Ruthless policy is to never bet with your heart, but I think we are all opposed to the disgusting antics of linebacker Paul Worrilow, a free agent acquisition currently on the Eagles injured reserve list. That guy deserves to lose, and big time, in light of what he has put his wife through. Honestly, what kind of man forces his reportedly brain-damaged wife to indulge his weird-ass cuckold fetish for ten fucking years? I mean, there is obviously a racist component there, but separate and apart from that, unilaterally setting up online appointments for your own wife to fuck rando guys while you film it? Even though said wife is totally opposed to the whole thing, and had to get wasted in order to convince herself to go through with it?
WAIT WAIT we sincerely apologize. That was in fact Paul Manafort, not Paul Worrilow. My tip sheet was upside down. As it happens, Eagles LB and legit awesome human being Paul Worrilow managed to Juco his way to All-American status out of Delaware of all places, then saved a 23-year-old girls life because he had signed up for the National Marrow Donor Program, thereby anonymously rescuing a leukemia patient in need. All the while, there was absolutely NO link between Worrilow and Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko, or Viktor Yanukovich, all of whom did business with Manafort. To repeat: we sincerely regret the error, and quite frankly are of the impression that Paul Worrilow can indulge whatever proclivities he likes in light of his accomplishments, so long as his spouse is game. Unlike Paul Manafort, the presidents friend and campaign chairman who ultimatum-ed his wife into getting piss drunk and fucking strangers while he videotaped it. Thank God you’re gonna rot in jail you cunt bastard OKAY OKAY I’M DONE NEXT GAME. [Goat Note: But, how do you REALLY feel?]
NEW ENGLAND -1.5 v. JACKSONVILLE
Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Every year, the Pats stumble out of the gate, and every year some hack writes a drivelous End of The Dynasty? column. Then they carve up their week two opponent en route to another AFC title. So they looked a little directionless against the Texans, big fucking deal. They lost their opener to the Chiefs last year, and just barely squeaked by the Cards the year before that. They came back to cover against the Dolphins after that, and thrashed the Saints by 16 in the dome in week two of 2017. You can set your watch by it. Evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.
This line has to be reflective of more End of The Dynasty? hysteria, because it doesn’t make much sense otherwise. I even checked the IR to see if I missed something, and if anything Leonard Fournette’s hamstring should cost us even more points, certainly more than 1.5. Last years conference championship was won in Foxboro by four points. Sundays rematch in Jacksonville may well be won by twice that. Gimme three units on Evil, please.
So in terms of unfortunate coincidences, last year, in my week one column, Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean before making its way to the south, destroying parts of Houston. As of press time, Hurricane Florence is on land in the Carolinas. Super Typhoon Mangkhut is expected to hit The Philippines on Saturday, and next Thursdays game between the Jets and the Browns will be the one year anniversary of the date Maria hit Puerto Rico, eventually killing 2975 people, no matter what that fucking idiot says. I guess last years Wolff book is this years Woodward book, too. Hopefully there isn’t any correlation, but just in case, consider this a gentle plea to maybe spread some of your winnings around if we hit this weekend. Just don’t accidentally give money to the Carolina Hurricanes, because Justin Faulk is a complete bastard and putting Tuomo Ruutu on the ice was criminally negligent. I’m personally partial to animals, but even though the storm thus far has seemed manageable with five reported casualties, there are any number of people on the coast who could use some help right now. Call it what you will, karma, reciprocity, or a craven attempt to siphon off some divine