NFL Week 15: Rocking Round the Xmas Tree Edition
Welp, who dares wins, right?
Breathe. Again. Relax. Were still at 500, and if you let Lamar Jackson’s told-em-so start cancel out the Chargers crossing the ten-win threshold, even the props roll back to zero. No excuses, of course, we don’t do that here. It is what it is, and frankly well take what we can get given that last Sunday was sheer chaos. Even an actual football expert made note of the insanity of all of the fourth quarter lead swaps and OT’s. The Dolphins – the Miami Dolphins – beat the Patriots with a fucking hook-and-ladder for Christs sake! If you called that one, hell, I’m not too proud to beg. By all means, send me a DM with your oracular hookup and we can all cash in.
You of course also remember that this is no gimmick, not accidentally or otherwise. As previously stated, every bet published here is a bet I make, for at least one unit. When you lose, I lose, and the swings are part of the process. If we went undefeated every week, what fun would that be?
I guess that would be a lot of fun, actually. But the point stands.
They announced the next inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday. Let me get this out of the way: its kind of corny. Everything John Lydon said on behalf of the Sex Pistols was true. Its like $25,000 per table to watch a masturbatory exercise of people pretending that they give a flying fuck about blind sharecroppers singing the blues in the Mississippi Delta 100 years ago. By the way, if you really think about it, what the hell were those guys thinking? Institutionalized racism, oppressive heat, backbreaking labor, and in what little free time you have you sing depressing music about how your baby done left you, and that the thrill is gone? Everyone could use a break, guys. Something to take the edge off of a miserable existence. One of those guys should have invented euro-pop instead.
Anyway, I acknowledge that the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is dumb. Even the concept of a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is dumb. And while acknowledging that all of those things is true, I can say with certainty that Prince shredding through While My Guitar Gently Weeps is among the most spellbinding television you will ever see, and they’re gonna rerun it 100 times on DirecTV anyway. I am also sick to death of the fucking president. So your nominees are:
The Cure: If I know my readership, a very large percentage of you first heard The Cure because you were trying to have sex with someone who considered themselves a fan. Once you’re an adult, you tend to steer clear of the damaged types, but in the ninth grade, you’re more than willing to put up with the bad poetry and black hair dye so long as you got to make out in the back of a Toyota Tercel while Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me played through crummy 6×9 speakers. Eventually, the catchier stuff like Just Like Heaven tends to grow on you. I do respect Robert Smith, who has gained 100 pounds and whose band-mates have aged far more gracefully, for still backcombing his hair and slapping on the lipstick in 2018. You do you, Fat Bob.
Def Leppard: What has nine arms and sucks? When I was eight years old, my step-cousin Matt who was three or four years older pinned me in a patio courtyard corner and made me listen to Rock of Ages three or four times in a row. When you’re that age, a slightly older kid in a black t-shirt can be the epitome of cool, so I wound up buying the cassette, thinking I was therefore badass by some sort of transitive property. What was edgy in fourth grade was insufferable in the eighth, as everyone in America heard every song off of Hysteria played on an infinite loop. Def Leppard not only sucked on ice after a while, but they have the dubious distinction of ruining other bands as well, as the faceless, echoey Mutt Lange production they used to sell eleventy billion albums was forced onto every major label act with a guitar player. Gunter Glieben Glauchen Globen my ass. Next!
Stevie Nicks: God bless her little wiccan dreamcatcher-shaped heart but this makes no sense. Stevie Nicks is already in the Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac, who were inducted in 1998. Because of course they were. I hate to sound like Mr. Technicality, because Stevie Nicks actually seems sort of cool – dating a tool like Lindsay Buckingham aside – but the average person can name two Stevie Nicks solo records, specifically Stand Back and Edge of Seventeen. I guess three if you’re willing to count Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around. Tom Petty and Mike Campbell wrote that song, but today it would be credited as Tom Petty x Stevie Nicks or something, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Still, Falco wrote two catchy songs as a solo artist, wheres his invitation? With any luck shell get a bit tipsy on thousand dollar wine and rip some ex-boyfriends a new asshole over a live mic.
Radiohead: I’m actually sort of agnostic when it comes to Radiohead. The wife tells me they were a huge deal in the modern dance world, and more than a few of my law school friends were very into Kid A. Then again, most law school students are loathsome, with taste to match. My own personal favorite Radiohead song is Chino XLs cover of Creep, which is objectively brilliant. I dunno, I suppose its a mixed bag. I think they can be a little pretentious, but I thought the pay-what-you-want thing was pretty cool. I suppose I equate them with cat people, or competitive bodybuilders. They have no effect on my life, so knock yourselves out. And don’t be assholes about it, play the damn song most people want to hear (preferably with a surprise walk-on by Chino XL).
Roxy Music: Getting warmer. Roxy Music introduced the world to both Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno, otherwise known as those guys people reference in columns or conversations and you assume that they’re probably decent but you don’t have their records. Terrible video aside, More Than This became a permanent part of popular culture after the release of Lost In Translation and once that happens its only a matter of time, so this makes sense. My aunt was named Roxy. That has nothing to do with anything but my mom will get a kick out of me telling you that. Hi Mom!
The Zombies: Fair play and all, but which Zombies are gonna show up? Can they fit 70 people on that stage? Its something of a famous story at this point, but there were actually at least three versions of the Zombies at the same time, as the original band broke up in between She’s Not There and Time of the Season. Some quick-thinking 60s music biz scumbag tossed a bunch of dudes – two of which would go on to form ZZ Top – out on the road to sucker an unsuspecting public back when you could get away with that sort of thing. Purely for the sake of exposing the public to the art, I’m sure. Terribly sorry to regurgitate an old legend, but honestly the story of the fake Zombies is far more interesting than hippie-dippy crap like Time of the Season.
Janet Jackson: Nope. Sorry. I know that in recent years the industry has tried to make up for their ignorance of hip hop by inducting N.W.A, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., and (surprise surprise) the Beastie Boys, but those at least made sense. Rap music is rock & roll, and the stuff those guys were doing was far more akin to the vaguely-defined and in turn ludicrously revered spirit of rock & roll than their instrument-playing contemporaries at the time. What Janet Jackson did was not rock & roll. It was impressive. Shes very talented. She overcame the worlds worst showbiz parents and stepped out of the darkest successful-older-sibling shadow the world has ever seen, but she didn’t create rock & roll any more than Dice Clay or Tim Burton or anyone else who was huge back then. Honestly, before the nominees were announced, when is the last time you thought about Janet Jackson? She hasnt had a top-ten hit since 2001, and nobody missed her much. That says it all.
HEY LOOK FOOTBALL!
TAMPA BAY +8 v. BALTIMORE
To their credit, Tampa went down swinging last week. We got paid on their loss to the Saints, but a late drive for the hell of it coupled with the Saints playing in a very loose prevent damn near resulted in a backdoor cover. Thankfully, Jameis Winston – wait for it – threw an interception and we kept the dough. Until the Pats and Rams fucked us, but the past is the past.
Baltimore is going to start Lamar Jackson over a healthy Joe Flacco since Jackson is 3-1 after last weeks OT loss to the Chiefs. Personally, I’m a fan, but just wait and see what happens if Jackson drops a ball or misses a target due to the rain. Apart from the controversy, Tampa does a lot of things poorly, but as of late pass rushing isn’t one of them.
Last week, the Bucs were 9.5 point dogs against New Orleans, and that made total sense. This week they are getting eight, but in Baltimore. Those are too many points for a team playing the Ravens. The Bucs aren’t technically eliminated. They force turnovers. They are, on paper, leading the league in both passing and total offense. They are not winning this game. But they aren’t getting blown out, either.
DETROIT + 2.5 v. BUFFALO
Speaking of far-too-generous lines, where did this number come from? Granted, the Lions took a punch from the Bears on Thanksgiving and then got stomped by the Rams, but everybody loses to the Rams. Until we bet on them, apparently. But should Detroit be road dogs against a 4-9 Bills team led by Josh Allen? I don’t think so.
Its fair to say the Lions are slumping given the expectations, but I think their issues trace back to injuries – Kerryon Johnson and Marvin Jones specifically – and their defense is holding up fine. Snacks Harrison, DaShawn Hand, ASHawn Robinson and Sylvester Williams are all fine, and have collectively held opponents to 83 rushing yards over their last three games, which were against names like Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, and Tarik Cohen. The DTs have 127 tackles, 14 TFLs, 9.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles between them.
This is obviously set up for a defensive showdown. The O/U opened at 38 and currently sits at 40. LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory both left last weeks game, and are pegged as questionable and probable, respectively. If you think home field advantage is worth spotting 2.5 points to a team with a better record, I respect your prerogative. Me personally, I like putting money on what we experts refer to as the better football team.
NEW ORLEANS -6 v. CAROLINA
Hot hand remains hot, film at eleven. The Saints just keep winning, and covering for that matter, and I’m not about to clear off of a bandwagon given that their banana-peel loss just happened the week before last.
Based purely on yards per game, the Saints now have the best rush defense in the league. They’ve held opponents to 72 YPG in their last four, and that included Ezekiel Elliott. This inspires confidence given how much Carolina has to rely on Christian McCaffrey to make up for Cam Newtons iffy shoulder. Reports say that he was prevented from throwing during Thursday and Friday practices, but Panthers officials say hes good to go and if there’s anything you can take to the bank, its the words spoken at an NFL press conference.
The Saints are 6-1 both SU and ATS on the road this year, and Drew Brees shines when hes under a spotlight. Under the right circumstances well be up so much at halftime that nobody will be hungover on Tuesday morning.
Stick with me, and trust the process. We’re closing in on playoffs, bowl season, and Christmas all at once, and money makes all of those things infinitely more enjoyable.