NFL Picks Week 9

Our experts posted a winning record last week.  Operation Broken Clock appears to be a success. Dick is the veteran of the group, with a record of picking NFL games that is as long and undocumented as his houseboy. Our swarthy bar keep, Espo is actually winning this year. For more  picks and some hockey talk, follow Espo on twitter. If you enjoy seeing TCOTs reduced to ashen husks, follow Dan K.


DAN K: 2-2

ESPO: 3-1

DICK: 2-2



DAN K: 8-9

ESPO: 10-6

DICK: 6-9



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The Chiefs, the Chiefs. The last undefeated team in the NFL. The redemption of Andy Reid and Alex Smith. Unless you’re a fan of another AFC West team, it’s impossible not to feel some happy feels about this comeback story, where they’ve nearly quadrupled last season’s wins in half a season. The Chiefs faithful, one of the best fanbases in the league, weathered a truly epic disaster of a season last year and have been rewarded. Alex Smith has been his typical, unsexy self. He likes vanilla ice cream, sex missionary-style, and not throwing interceptions. This week, they come off a 3-game home stand to travel to the frozen wastes of Buffalo. It’s November now, so I’m assuming they’ll have some sliced-up Tauntauns on the sidelines to provide precious, precious warmth. Meanwhile, as yours truly predicted, the Bills hung around for a couple minutes in the Superdome, before Drew Brees was like, wait, fuck this, and threw 5 touchdowns and was all get the FUCK outta my house! That probably would have happened to any team, and I still feel as good about the Bills as I did before that game. They just hang around. Every game, they’re hangin’ around. Hangin’ around, like a bunch of casual dudes, just hangin’. And what have the Chiefs been doing? Letting teams hang around. The Browns put up a serious fight on them last week, and um, sorry, but the Texans probably would have beat them the week earlier if their entire backfield didn’t leave the game from injury. There’s something about this game. I feel like the Chiefs lose this week. I know, I know. It’s the Bills. But everything has just been breaking right for them so consistently this year, that there’s bound to be one game where it just doesn’t. This seems like the right spot for it. Jamaal Charles’ knee is banged up, and he’s been basically the entire offense. The Bills D-line is getting decent penetration – they had 4 sacks and 7 tackles for a loss last week against New Orleans. The secondary has been opportunistic. Kiko Alonso is tearing up the middle of the field. I’ll take the Bills as home dogs… I might have even taken them as a pick’em. I just have a hunch. THE PICK: BILLS +3


Well, well, well. How bout those Rams. After watching their point spread against the Seahawks climb and climb all week, eventually reaching 13.5 at kickoff, something must have switched on in their horned brains. Holy fuck, they said, we are almost two touchdown dogs in our own barn. Unfortunately, only half of their team was talented enough to get angry and do something about that, as the defense held Seattle to basically two big plays, but Kellen Clemens did his best impression of the Tin Man out there, leading St. Louis to a mere 3 field goals, and being unable to beat the Seahawk defense on a goal line stand to end the game. Man, did he look bad. He kind of reminded me of Vinny D’Onofrio’s villain in Men in Black, where someone jammed some sort of alien life form or horrible seabeast into a human skin suit. There was shot near the end of the game where he was sitting next to Sam Bradford, who was trying to be like, “Hey, you might not suck if you try THIS play” and he was just staring off into the distance with his yellow eyes, spitting out sunflower seeds, and I was like, man… is this guy 100% human? But, I digress. The Rams did get up for this game. Zac Stacy, who is basically that round rock Pokemon (pretending I don’t know his name is Golem here) with a football jersey on, toted the ROCK (get it) 26 times for 134 yards, tuning up one of the best run defenses in football for 5.2 yards per carry. That’s… pretty fucking impressive. Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle near the end of the game and is now questionable to start this week. Even if he does start, you have to assume an ankle sprain is going to seriously gimp a power runner like him. So, the Titans come off their bye this week and head to St. Louis to laugh at Cardinals fans, oh and also play a football game against the Rams. Everything went wrong for them two weeks ago against the Niners. Like, just a nightmare game. They coughed the ball up, got absolutely ran over in the ground game, gave up critical big plays, and just got trucked, basically. But I still really like this team. I think Locker got rushed back a bit, and they just never established any part of their game. But this is still a very solid running team with a very stingy defense. Despite shutting down the Seahawks ground game, the Rams have been gashed by the run all year. Chris Johnson WILL break one off in this game. I have predicted that like 3 times already this year, but thiiiiis week.. take it to the bank! I think the Titans are a touchdown better than the Rams, coming off the bye. Titans cover and continue to make some noise in the AFC South. THE PICK: TITANS -3



Last week, I mentioned to you that I took the Browns over 6 wins in the preseason, clouding my opinion of them every week. Well, the other win total bet I took was the Raiders under 5.5. “Surely,” I said, looking over their schedule, “there are not six wins on this docket. Matt Flynn’s arm resembles a pool noodle, and McFadden never plays more than 5 games.” WOMP. Turns out Terrelle Pryor is actually a fairly competent NFL quarterback. He’s kind of like last year’s RG3, without the blinding speed and accurate passing. So, more like this year’s RG3, really. But he’s getting enough done to move the chains, plus they really only have to barely cross midfield to get in Seabass’s scoring range. The defense is what’s been far better than expected though, ranking 6th against the run and 17th against the pass. The Eagles on the other hand, are trending in the wrong direction. After beating up on the Giants and Bucs, they’ve scored 10 combined points in two losses: one to the Cowboys and in a second meeting with the Giants. The quarterbacks have been a mess, with Vick and then Foles getting hurt, Barkley being horrible, Vick getting hurt again, and now Foles has to shake off the black spots in his concussed brain to visit the Black Hole. The Eagles haven’t won in Oakland in the last 20 years, (it was only 2 games, but 20 years sounds way more intimidating!) which is the same stat I ignored in last week’s Steelers game. Fool me once… Oakland is 4-2-1 against the spread this year, while Philly is 3-5. The Eagles are a hard team to fade, because it seems like at any given moment, DeSean Jackson can get behind you and break off a touchdown, or Shady McCoy can juke three linebackers and go to the house. But it just hasn’t been happening, and it’s hard to back the fact that it will in this spot. I’ll take the Raidahs. THE PICK: RAIDERS -2.5





The new Browns versus the old Browns. The Drew Carey Show versus The Wire. The Ratbirds of Bodymore face the Cleveland Team That’s Literally Just a Color in a face-off between two underachieving AFC North teams. Considering that the Bengals appear to be running away with the division, it’s doubtful as to whether another team in the AFC North will even make it in as a Wild Card. The Browns have been kind of a sad story this year. They have the defense to keep them in any game (even if the points they’ve allowed in the past 3 games don’t reflect that), and good young skill players in Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, but their best option at QB was knocked out for the season in his third start. Brandon Weeden has played passably at times, but by and large he seems to be a turnover machine. That leaves them with Jason Campbell for this week’s contest. I always felt that this guy had potential to be good, but it’s clear that his game now is to check the ball down on every throw and not take any risks so he can keep getting paid as a “dependable” backup QB. Meanwhile, the Ravens are 3-4 and have already narrowly beaten the Browns once but have serious offensive issues as well. Their decision to make strong-armed tool-bag QB Joe Flacco the highest paid QB in the NFL after a good Super Bowl performance at the expense of not being able to pay any other good players appears to have hilariously backfired, because their offense looks terrible. Ray Rice, formerly one of their best weapons, has been dealing with injuries all year and looks sluggish and not at all like the threat in the passing game that he once was. Torrey Smith is a quality receiver but beyond that there’s just a bunch of no-names aside from a washed-up Dallas Clark. The Ravens defense is still solid however, which bodes well for their chances against the Browns’ inept offense. Also promising for the Ravens is that the Baltimore McPoyle/Harbaugh brother is 5-0 against the spread coming off a bye. I see this being a tight game for a time until Flacco makes a play and the Browns O is unable to respond. Ravens cover on the road. THE PICK: RAVENS -2.5


What a total shitshow the Falcons have been this year. It seemed like that heartbreaking loss to the Niners in the playoffs last year just killed all confidence they had as a team. Their only two wins have been against bad Rams and Bucs teams. Of course, it doesn’t help that their top 2 receivers are injured, and the guy they signed in the offseason to be their starting running back, Stephen Jackson, has been a total bust. Matty Ice has played OK and Tony Gonzalez has been his usual ageless self, but those guys alone aren’t able to get it done with no other receivers and a porous defense. Carolina on the other hand has been on fire after a slow start with a 3 game win streak, albeit against bad teams. Cam Newton has played awesome, not turning the ball over at all, accounting for 8 TDs in that span, and generally being a thorn in the side of Ruthless Reviews proprietor and ‘Bama fan Plexico Gingrich for still being in the league and not in a federal penitentiary. Their defense has locked things down as well, ranking at #2 and #10 in passing and rushing yards allowed, respectively. Greg Hardy and Carolina’s pass rush will likely wreak havoc on Atlanta’s shoddy offensive line. Carolina is 4-1 ATS in their last 4 games and gets an extra couple of days rest, last playing on Thursday, I was somewhat hesitant about Carolina getting this much love after beating a couple of bad teams in a row, but Atlanta is bad too. Panthers run away with it. THE PICK: PANTHERS -7.5



Well, the Bears did look like a contender this season. Marc Trestman left the franchise he led to multiple championships here in Montreal, as well as our wonderful poutine, to coach in the NFL. This led many to people to wonder if his reputation as an offensive/QB guru would finally make Jay Cutler live up to his potential as a franchise QB, or if Cutler would remain an angst-ridden teen who has a deep and abiding love for throwing ill-advised interceptions off of his back foot, and nothing his mom or step-dad can do to make him change that. So far this season, Cutler had looked pretty good, with only two of the multi-pick games that were once his trademark. Brandon Marshall is a reception monster and Alshon Jeffrey eats up the single coverage on the other side, with Matt Forte catching passes out of the backfield and Martellus Bennett a offering solid option at TE. That all ended when Cutler got injured and a McCown brother stepped in, who I’m surprised is still in the league. It’s the better McCown (Josh) at least. He’s proven himself to be a passable backup and still has all of Cutler’s weapons so things shouldn’t go too badly for him. The real issue will be the Bears defense. Lance Briggs is out and the Bears will be starting two rookies at linebacker. Julius Peppers hasn’t made an impact this year and Henry Melton was knocked out for the season a while ago. Basically, the Bears D is going to get shredded by Aaron Rodgers. Even with two of his top receivers (Randall Cobb and James Jones) out, Rodgers has still been lighting up fools like O-Dogg in Menace II Society. A big contributor to this (aside from him being awesome) is that the Packers have a for-real running game. Eddie Lacy, far from proving true the concerns teams had that caused him to slip in the draft, has shown power and tackle breaking ability. Dude actually looks Lynch-like in a few of his runs. The backup, James Franklin, is solid as well and gives them a great 1-2 punch. It’s almost scary how good Rodgers can be with the threat of a running game. The only weak area the Packers have shown this season has been on defense, and that’s mostly been due to injuries to their linebacking corps, with Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Brad Jones all missing time. Perry will likely be back this week. I feel like kind of a dick going with the favorite for a third game in a row, but Aaron Rodgers at home against a backup Bears QB with a bad defense? Have to take the Pack in this one as well. THE PICK: PACKERS -8



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Normally road dogs are a big no-no, but Cincy’s defense has been getting progressively better while Andy Dalton has begun to defy the logic regarding his fiery carrot top and round into being capable of the big play and consistently moving his teams down field. One week he was the guy who was holding the Bengals back, but now he’s the guy who is guiding them with a cool hand and putting them in position to win big and potentially make a deep playoff run. Miami’s looking more and more like a mediocre bag of dicks incapable of the big play and fully capable of turning a win into a loss. I don’t trust them at home, I don’t trust them with a lead, and while this is a classic let down game for Cincy after hanging 49 points on the usually game Jets, I think they are going to be more inclined to prove to everyone that they are for real rather than tripping over themselves because they are riding some form of mid-season cruise control. Realistically this line should be closer to six, so I’d jump on this one before it goes up to four right before kickoff. THE PICK: BENGALS -3


What the fuck is this shit? Taking a public dome team on the road in the fall outdoors against a dicey team that just got embarrassed by guys who wear kids’ pajamas in the NFL? Are you fucking crazy? Yes, yes I am taking the Saints. Look, I know it’s the Jets at home who are going to be pissed off about last week and it’s not like the Jets aren’t capable of knocking off a better team (hello, New England!), but you do realize that Brees and Payton are on their North American Fuck the World Tour, right? You realize that if they get a lead they are not going to let off. Sure, if the weather is garbage then the Jets have a good chance because they are unpredictable and Geno Smith is apparently a master of improvisation and pulling touchdown rabbits out of his asshole. That’s okay, because the Jets will get a couple of scores and put up a spirited fight until the fourth quarter when Brees will just wear them down. Not even a pre-game pep talk from Rex Ryan talking about how winning a football game is better than a hairy pussy in your face can prevent reality from settling in. THE PICK: SAINTS -6.5


This may as well be a pick ’em, but don’t be shocked if the line shifts to three by kickoff. The Chargers are capable of just beating the crap out of substandard defenses and the Wahoos have a pretty crummy defense. Not only that, it’s not like RGIII is exactly tearing up the league. His right knee is still not fully healed and he tweaked his left knee in Denver. Their defense isn’t good enough for them to lean on Alfred Morris, their receivers are dicey, and Mike Shanahan should be fired for his abominable play calling and insistence that his franchise QB is healthy enough to play. Conversely, the Chargers are 5-1 against the spread this year and 8-1 dating back to last year, Jesus Fuckface Rivers is putting up career numbers, and his offense is capable of hanging 35 on anyone. Yeah, I’ll take the Chargers, please. THE PICK: CHARGERS -1.5




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ESPO: Two great games in a row for Indy here! After dispatching the prematurely-crowned Super Bowl champions in one of the best games of the year, the Colts travel to Texas to take on the pre-prematurely-crowned AFC South champions. Both teams are coming off byes, and surely spent a lot of time preparing for this one. The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for Houston, who had a week to settle things down after watching their season crumble around them like Matt Schaub’s ego. Schaub will be watching this one from the sideline, as Kubiak has decided to go with former third-stringer Case Keenum, who put up a pretty solid effort against the Chiefs in Arrowhead, which some QB’s could go the better part of a career without claiming. Both teams are dealing with pretty significant injuries, including both starting Texans tailbacks – Tate with FOUR broken ribs, and Foster with sore hammies. Also, the Colts lost one of the NFL’s all-time great receivers in Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL. It’s a devastating blow, leaving them with the inconsistent hands of Darrius Heyward-Bey and Coby Fleener, and the boom-or-bust playmaker TY Hilton. Trent Richardson has been straight up ineffective, and though I correctly predicted the Colts upset last week, I also predicted T-Rich would not look like a bag of dicks, and a bag of dicks is exactly what he looked like. He ran for a pathetic 37 yards on 14 carries, AND lost a fumble. I mean, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here. It seems like he runs right into the pile every time, and I can’t figure out if the plays are designed that way or if he just can’t identify the correct hole to hit. I still think that given 25+ carries, he could lead an effective rushing attack. But they either can’t or won’t commit to it. It’s very strange for a team that’s trying to find a perfect balance of rushing and passing. The Texans are giving up a lot of rushing yards, and not a lot of passing yards, so I wonder if they really try to assert T-Rich this week. I really have no idea what to make of this game. In fact, if it wasn’t our Game of the Week, I’d probably have no part in it. This seems like a prime letdown spot for the Colts, especially without Wayne’s sticky hands, but it’s so hard to go against a team that handled Denver like that. And it’s hard to back a team that’s been as disappointing as the Texans. Agh. Even as I wrote this, I flip-flopped on the pick like 4 times. I’m going to go with my initial lean of the Colts, though I will not be at all surprised to see Houston cover.  THE PICK: COLTS -2.5

DAN K: On its face this seems like an easy pick. A Colts team with the best young QB in the league, fresh off a bye and before that, knocking off one of the best teams in the league, facing a team starting an undrafted rookie QB and (probably) missing its top 2 running backs? I guess we’ll find out. While it’s true that Luck seems to possess an innate ability to win games, I think the loss of Reggie Wayne will be crucial. TY Hilton is good, but more of a slot receiver and Darius Heyward-Bey is just an occasional stretch the field guy with stone hands. Trent Richardson doesn’t seem to be making much of an impact yet – it could be that he hasn’t fully picked up the offense. Their other RB Donald Brown is playing well, so it’s not a big deal. In any case, the Texans will have their work cut out for them. I actually liked what I saw from Houston’s QB, Case Keenum. He was in a gimmick offense in college and is a bit undersized but didn’t look overwhelmed in preseason and almost led the Chiefs to an upset of Kansas City. As mentioned above, Arian Foster and Ben Tate are game-time decisions, so it’s kind of hard to say what the running game will look like. Houston signed a couple of guys, Deji Karim probably being the best option because he’s had success with Chicago and can catch out of the backfield well, but who knows. Let’s just say Keenum will have to throw the ball to win. Luckily he has Andre Johnson and a solid rookie, DeAndre Hopkins. Honestly, the Texans are better than their record. Matt Schaub just lost his damn mind and started throwing pick sixes to everyone. If Keenum plays smart and at least one of the top 2 running backs is in the game they have a chance. As far as the Texans D, losing Cushing for the season hurt, but they still have one of the best pass rushers in the league in JJ Watt to put pressure on Luck. They’re also 1st in pass defense (though 28th in run defense) so they have the personnel to at least slow Luck down a bit. 92% of the public money is on Indy but I’ll fade them in this case and go with the home dog, dawg. Texans pull off the upset. THE PICK: TEXANS +2.5

DICK: It feels like a trap, it looks like a trap, it might be a trap. Oh my fuck, is it a trap? It might be since the line is within or at a field goal depending the book. Part of me thinks this is a let down game for Indy, but they have been provided with all sorts of opportunities for let down games and the only real one has been when they couldn’t finish drives in San Diego. They dismantled Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle and kind of made it look easy. They’re facing a pre-season favorite for the Super Bowl that had to leave everything on the field against Kansas City and are starting a rookie at quarterback instead of their presumptive All Pro level guy with the big, multi-year deal. They do have two incredible running backs, their defense is starting to gel, and it’s not like the Texans are altogether terrible, just terribly unpredictable. That being said, I’ll bet on Luck (get it? wahhh wahhh wahhh) before a rookie any Sunday. THE PICK: COLTS -2.5




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