Week 7 NFL Picks

Our three NFL experts, or “the three wise men” as they are never called, are back with picks for week Seven. Dick is the veteran of the group, with a long record of picking NFL games. If you want 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 2-2

DICK 1-3


DAN K 5-4

ESPO 4-4

DICK :3-5


San Diego Chargers – 7 at Jacksonville Jaguars

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Well, we saw history made last week with a record setting 27 point spread between the Mannings and the Costa Concordia Wreckage of the Jaguars. Regardless of how bad the Jags are (they are very bad), almost 4 TDs is much too high for an NFL point spread. These guys are still ostensibly professionals who likely saw the odds as a major affront and used it as motivation. Hell, at one point the score was 21-19 until Denver pulled away. So anyway, we learned that Jacksonville still sucks but are at least capable of scoring some points now that Blackmon is back from suspension. Also, MJD appeared to be healthy and running well, which made them look like a completely different team. As far as the Chargers go, there is one thing you need to know about them: Philip Rivers endorsed Rick Santorum in the 2012 Republican Primary. But, we as handicappers have to overlook character deficiencies in the teams we look at and statistically Rivers has been having a career year. The perennially disappointing Ryan Mathews has looked like a solid running back, if not the replacement for Ladainian Tomlinson that they hoped he’d be. A lot of people will look at these odds and automatically take the Chargers but I think this spread is too high for a road team with a lot of questions on defense. Betting on 0-5 teams seems like a foolhardy venture, but I think Jacksonville covers here. Jags. THE PICK: Jags +7.5

Dallas Cowboys +2.5 at Philadelphia Eagles

From a gambling perspective, not sure why I wanted to pick this game. Dallas – Philly is always a tossup regardless of how either team happens to be doing in a given year (although Dallas swept the Eagles last year). Still, the historic rivalry between backwards, right-wing Neo-Confederates and drunken, cheese steak inhaling malcontents is a football institution and my good buddy Buck Squirrely is an Iggles fan, so I’ll give my take on this one. Watching Tony Romo in a game of any consequence is like watching Michael Scott on The Office. The higher the stakes get, the more you cringe knowing that he’s going to fail in spectacular fashion. When the game is on the line, Tony Romo becomes Date Mike. Sure, you can think logically and say that the loss to the Broncos was more on the Dallas defense failing to slow Manning one bit, but it wouldn’t have mattered if poor Antonio hadn’t shit the bed again. I’d feel kind of bad for the guy if the Cowboys and their owner weren’t utterly loathsome. It’s especially ironic that they refer to themselves as America’s Team considering that their illustrious governor is always making comments about seceding from the United States. Romo isn’t a bad guy. I think he’d be perfectly likable, as say a golf pro or moderate Republican congressman. But I digress. The Cowboys showed a lot by avoiding a letdown against the Redskins last week, which I think previous incarnations of this team wouldn’t have been able to do. After Dallas’ entire defense including Demarcus Ware went out with injuries, a bunch of no-name backups managed to step up and avoided allowing a Washington comeback. However, the Eagles are a much better team. After Vick suffered the inevitable injury 2 weeks ago, Nick Foles stepped in against Tampa Bay and played very well, even rushing for a touchdown which is always hilarious to see from a 6’6″ QB. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over, which was probably a relief for Eagles fans that are used to seeing MV DA MVP cough up the ball after getting walloped. Additionally, Desean Jackson managed to back up his shit-talking about Darrelle Revis and LeSean McCoy is the best running back in the league. The weak area is Philly’s defense that has allowed every QB they’ve faced this year to light them up – considering Romo threw for 500 yards 2 weeks ago, he will definitely be able to pass on Philly. However, Dallas lost their first and second-string running backs to injury and the Eagles will be able to concentrate on covering Dez Bryant and the rest of the Dallas receivers. I see Foles beating Romo in a shootout. Eagles. THE PICK: EAGLES -2.5

Buffalo Bills +7 at Miami Dolphins

Going for derogatory references to the city of Buffalo seems too obvious here so I’m just going to play it straight (They should trade the team to Toronto straight up for Mayor Rob Ford though). The Buffalo Bills were a surprise this year. I wasn’t a big fan of EJ Manuel in college, but he looks to have adapted to the NFL without a hitch and as result the Bills have played well, even in their losses (more on that later). Anyway, that’s irrelevant because he’s injured and some dude named Thad is starting. He actually played very well last week in his second start but ended up losing to a good Cincy team in overtime. He was mobile, didn’t turn the ball over and generally managed the game well – Buffalo can lean on CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson and take the pressure off of him as well. The Bills have also gotten large contributions from other key rookies – WR Marquise Goodwin and and LB Kiko Alonso. Alonzo especially looks like a virtual lock for the defensive rookie of the year award. He’s always near the ball and can really do everything on defense – including knocking Cleveland’s QB out for the season on a hard (but legal) hit. Miami has been another surprising team. Ryan Tannehill has looked great – coming out of college it was clear he had all of the physical tools but not the game experience. The big problem with the Dolphins offense is allowing sacks. Tannehill has been sacked 24 times, most in the NFL this season and if they don’t solve their protection woes, he’s on pace to set the NFL record for getting dropped. If that continues, it doesn’t matter how good he is, because he’ll either fumble or get knocked out of the game (or have severe mental issues later in life, but who cares about that? Inject the football into my veins!). This stat is especially troubling when you consider that the Bills can get to the quarterback – their defense has the third-most sacks in the league. Tannehill won’t be able to find time for those long bombs to Wallace when he’s doing his best impression a guy who threw a beer at a cop car – running around frantically before being driven into the ground with extreme prejudice. Regardless of those issues, to me this game is a toss up and the line should be Miami -3.5 or somewhere thereabouts, which means I’m taking Buffalo. Miami has one margin of victory over 4 points this year and the Bills have kept all of their losses within 7, even replacing Manuel with ‘ol Thaddeus shouldn’t bump the number up that much. Miami still pulls this one out but not by more than 3-4. Bills. THE PICK: Bills +7


Baltimore Ravens +2.5 @ Pittsburgh Steelers

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 SHOWDOWN OF THE OFFENSIVELY INEPT AFC NORTH TEAMS! Actually, that’s kind of a cop-out headline, since you could pretty much apply it to any possible matchup combination of AFC North teams. Last week, Dan K’s favorite squadron, inspired by their deprivation of locker room shuffleboard, came out of their bye and actually (holy shit) got defensive turnovers!! I mean, to be fair, Geno Smith seemed to have put on his Mark Sanchez glasses which makes everyone on the field wear green and white, but the Steelers certainly seemed to have a little more pep in their step, as it were. Now, if it wasn’t for that one nice touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders… if you played this game for 24 hours straight I’m pretty sure they would’ve just gone back and forth down the field, trading field goals. Incidentally, this was one of the three (THREE!) games I picked correctly last week. The other one was their opponent’s game, where the Ratbirds managed a completely undeserved cover against Green Bay. That game was just torturous, where in the first half the Ravens got stop after stop, including a few nice short fields, and could simply NOT turn anything into points. The most egregious series was Ray Rice getting stuffed 3 times at the goal line (and he totally should have got in on the third try), which resulted in them trying to run Pierce in on 4th down, who of course was again stuffed. Just sad to watch. Also, the Ravens D started coming apart in the 2nd half, letting Jordy Nelson get behind them for an easy Rodgers bomb TD, and also yielding 100+ yards to an amped up Eddie Lacy. And that’s the stage set for these bitter rivals. Much like Giants/Eagles, this matchup always tends to happen in a vacuum. The Steelers are field goal favorites at home, which means it would probably be the other way if the Ravens were at home. And my greatest fear here is that this will be one of those skin-of-your-teeth, kick-a-field-goal-to-win-by-1 wins. But I just can’t spot the Ravens that meager line here. Joe Flacco’s stupid donkey face has that permanent sour lemon look going on these days, whereas I think the Steelers totally believe they can turn this season around, even though they are probably headed for maaaaybe 5 wins. Le’Veon Bell looked good against the Vikes before the bye, and his ability to pass protect is going to be crucial because holy shit, Terrell Suggs is on a MISSION right now. That dude is an absolute terror out there, pushing offensive linemen around like ragdolls, and you may have noticed but the Steelers offensive line is made of paper mache. Ben’s going to need to get the ball out quick and be on top of his scrambling game. Meanwhile, the Ravens running game is in shambles, with the line unable to open up holes and their two backs being unable to do anything with the ones that are there. Oh, Ray Rice has ZERO broken tackles this year. Yes, zero. There’s no reason to believe the Steelers defense can’t do what the inferior Green Bay defense could do, either, especially at home. The Steelers might be the sucker bet here, but this is probably a toss up anyway. I’ll take em at Heinz. THE PICK: Pittsburgh -2.5



Hey, isn’t it super hilarious how every sports writer is piling on the Redskins name debate? Haha oh man, this week the Chicago Bears come to the WASHINGTON RACIAL SLURS, hahah, THE WASHINGTON SMALLPOX BLANKETS, oh oh ho, wait, wait, the WASHINGTON TRAIL OF TEARS hahahaHAAAAA my god i’m crying over hereSHUT THE FUCK UP. It never ceases to amaze me how much people loooooooove being offended by things. Bob Costas was probably rubbing his tiny little weiner raw at the prospect of being able to spout some somber platitudes about moral values and respect in last weeks Skins/Cowboys Sunday Night matchup. By the way, doesn’t Costas look more and more like a hound dog as time goes on? But yeah, nevermind that, you know, the Cleveland Indians’ mascot is named CHIEF WAHOO and is a Native American sambo, Atlanta Braves fans do the “Tomahawk Chop!” which is totally not blatantly disrespectful, or you know, anything else in the world that could possibly be more important. BUT THE REDSKINS! DAN SNYDER TEAR DOWN THIS WALL! God, I hate everything. But I digress. This week the Chicago Bears visit the very appropriately named Washington Redskins. Last week, RG3 almost looked like he had two fully functional legs, moving in the pocket and breaking off runs with ease. And in the Windy City, there was a battle of who wanted to lose more, where the Bears were like, no no, Giants, please, come down the field and beat us by one. And Eli Manning was like, NO, I insist, you must win this game. I will throw you my 15th interception of the season now. Also: holy shit, 15 interceptions, but I’ll get to that later. Anyway, if anyone hasn’t noticed by now, the Bears are secretly terrible on defense. When they’re not getting turnovers, they give up gobs of yardage. Actually, the entire Bears team has flip flopped, as they are now a pretty friggin’ competent offensive team and a sieve on defense, which I guess is what was fair to expect when you replace Lovie Smith with Marc Trestman. Now, despite bungling the hell out of RG3’s knee situation, Mike and Kyle Shanahan are no dummies. They should be able to see clear as day that the key to winning this is to keep Chicago’s offense off the field. They have plenty of weapons and the Skins are highly inept on that side of the ball. They should also see that Brandon Jacobs’ calcified legs ran for over 100 yards against them last week. And they happen to have some guy named Alfred Morris who was second in rushing yards last year or something. Between his legs and Griffin’s, I think should be able to keep the clock running, cash in on drives, and keep their equally bad defense rested. I will gladly take Washington in a home pick ’em here. THE PICK: REDSKINS



Oh, ESPN. I can’t wait to see how their studio of mannequins tries to spin up this Clash of the Titans. A combined 1-10, two of the most disappointing teams of the season face off in primetime. The Giants just continue to find ways to lose, whether it’s one of Eli’s 17 turnovers, missed field goals, or blown coverages, they are almost comically bad. He’s had his sad bitchface on so many times this year that it’s gotten stuck that way. This is one of those teams that every week you say, “Man, the Giants could win this game”, but after a while, you have to be what your record says, no? Same thing with Tampa Bay, who could have a winning record this year… but they just, don’t. The Giants pass rush has disappeared, they have a -19 turnover ratio, and no running game. I’m sorry, I don’t care if Brandon Jacobs ran for 100 against Chicago last week, he is BAD. When you’re as rusty as he is, you’ll feel that the next week. Meanwhile, the Vikings have legitimately one of the best athletes in the world on their side of the ball. Adrian Peterson can win games singlehandedly, but guess what folks, he won’t have to because SHINY NEW JOSH FREEMAN! Straight out of his exile from Tampa Bay’s staph-infested bench, Freeman will make his purple debut in front of the nation! If there’s anything America loves more than something good, it is something new. Luckily, Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel were not good, so there’s really no problem with going new. I’ve always been a fan of Freeman for some reason. Though he has a tendency to spray balls all over the place and look totally inconsistent week to week, he really hasn’t gotten a fair shake at it, either. I mean, Raheem Morris? Greg Schiano? This dude is supposed to develop under a former defensive back coach and a sexually frustrated ape? But I haven’t given up hope on this young man. So, the Giants are 3.5 point favorites at home, despite having won zero games. I have to assume that this is just because they’re the New York Giants, and will get public bets no matter what. There’s no way you could trade their team stats with the Jaguars and you’d get this same line. At least Minnesota has, you know, won a game, and is 2-3 against the spread. AP runs for 200 yards in this game, Giants maybe win on a hail mary to Victor Cruz or something, but do not cover. PRAISE PURPLE JESUS! THE PICK: MINNESOTA +3.5


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Public favorites have been killing me this year because it’s been a regression to the mean I guess. That being said, Houston’s defense has shown me nothing but the ability to give up points and they are starting an unknown at KC where the Chiefs are turning other clubs into Willie Lomans against their will. I see it staying close for about three quarters before Jamaal’s in Charge and Alex Smith just wears them down and close them out. It just feels like it’s too easy to be true because the Texans look like they have given up on the season and the Chiefs actually want to prove they deserved to have double-digit players chosen for the Pro Bowl. Also, they lost to the Rams. Chiefs in a landslide. THE PICK: CHIEFS -6.5


This is one that just feels like a trap, but both teams are going to spend the entire game beating the shit out of each other in the trenches and trying to prove PBS right by handing out concussions in bushels. The Niners are on paper so superior that every public bettor is going to throw their rent money at them upon seeing such a small line. Fuck that, take Tennessee and the points because it’s a home game and it’s not like the Niners are just airing it out to show how brilliant Jim Harbaugh was for handing the keys over to a Mongoloid with worse tattoos than Charles Manson. It’s not a fuck you bet, it’s not buying that the Niners are really ready to be trusted. Also, you saw the Titans play Seattle tough, so discount that at your own risk. Titans to cover. THE PICK: TITANS +4.5

Chicago at Redskins Pick Em

I know, I know, the Redskins are due. However, RGIII should not be playing and Cutler has found secondary targets, is getting good pass protection, and both defenses are sieves. Take the over at 50.5 if you’re feeling squeamish, but I’m taking the Bears and the over. It’s not a perfect analogy, but if Dr. James Andrews is keeping Gronkowski from playing and Derek Rose sat a full year before he felt healthy what makes you think RGIII can do what he normally could when he is still “working out the kinks” on a knee that’s less stable that the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Fuck you, Bears all the way. Pick; Chicago


[Editor’s Note: Dick picked the same game as Espo, but he’s a busy TV producer who doesn’t have time to get his picks in before 1 AM and we love him. Also, I’m pretty sure these were all sent in from an Austin-area dive bar]


The Rams are going to lose to Carolina. They are horrible. See the games against San Francisco and Dallas for proof. If they can actually slow down Cam Newton it will be a miracle. Panthers.


GAME OF THE WEEK: Denver Broncos -6.5 at Indianapolis Colts

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Manning with his pizza partner, who’d literally prefer that his employees die of cancer to his net worth being $604 million instead of $607 million.

DAN K: HOLY FUCK. Did you guys hear that Peyton Manning used to play for the Colts until recently? I’ve watched football for some time and was completely unaware of that fact until the media reminded me of it in the lead-up to this game.It was the most surprising sports news I’ve heard since the bombshell that the two coaches in last year’s Super Bowl were – get a load of this shit – brothers! In our Game Of The Week®, the Broncos face arguably their best opponent this year, Andrew Luck and the upstart Indianapolis Colts. Doctor-shopping Indy owner Jim Irsay made headlines by implying that catering to Manning somehow the Colts from winning multiple championships, then complained that his remarks were taken out of context, as is the wont of every idiot who makes dumb statements in public. The damage was already done. Manning didn’t respond because he kills snitches, but there’s no way he didn’t take them to heart. He already wanted to to beat his old team like a rented mule, and Irsay’s Oxycontin-fueled ravings only add fuel to the fire. Also, Von Miller returns from suspension and will add a pass-rushing threat to a defense that has been allowing even the worst opponents to score at will. The Colts will still be able to score on the Broncos, and vice versa (the Colts defense is not very good either – though it has improved in recent weeks) but Manning will be on a mission this game. Taking into account his bevy of gritty, scrappy, gym rat, additional cliche for white wide receivers and everybody’s favorite fantasy sleeper TE Julius Thomas, not to mention a running game that has taken off in recent weeks, their offense looks nigh-unstoppable. Take the over in this game but the Broncos win this by one or two TDs in a shootout. Luck will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy over his giant bearded goon head before long, but in this game Denver takes it. THE PICK: DENVER -6.5

ESPO: Now here’s a game! In a possible AFC Championship preview, Peyton Manning vists The House That Peyton Built and is like, “boy, don’t these halls seem so much smaller now…” (he doesn’t realize that the thin Denver air has made his head bigger). This high school analogy is actually quite fitting, since Andrew Luck has that hyuk-hyuk demeanor like he just spitballed his math teacher’s ass. My buddy pointed out during the Chargers game that every time he gets hit, he gets up and tells the defensive player that it was a good hit or gives him a thumbs-up, which I think is hilarious and awesome and now I am totally distracted by watching him do that every time. He then posed the question that if you were a defensive player, would that make you more angry or make you feel kinda good? I’m curious to see if it legitimately confuses Von Miller this week, it’s been so long since he’s played in a game. The Colts put together a disappointing game last week, in what most people would call your classic look-ahead game. Meanwhile Denver allowed the Jags to cover a historic spread against them, and frankly, didn’t really look that good doing it. John Fox used one of the worst challenge flags of the year, and I guess you could say the Broncos were also looking ahead to this game too, but that doesn’t fit the narrative damnit! That Colts game was so mysteriously vanilla, it was almost like they didn’t want to expose big parts of the playbook to Denver. And I bet that’s the case. I’m picking the Colts as touchdown home dogs here, for absolutely no reason except that I think they put together a fucking game, frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if they shock them and straight up win. I mean, how technical can you get about this one? It’s like pouring over stats for the Super Bowl. “Oh, well in the rain they’re 1 for 4 on third downs, and when Welker tweezes his eyebrows he catches 9 or more balls..” It’s irrelevant. How do you prepare? You can’t look up team records, because all the Colts numbers are reflective of Manning’s time there, and of Luck’s 5th grade spelling test. I tell you what – Trent Richardson not being a bag of dicks is going to be absolutely vital in this game. They need to keep Peyton’s ass on the bench for as long as possible. Denver’s had a pretty solid run defense all year, and Indy’s Pep Hamilton offense is about showing you run, run, run, and then hitting you with some nice play action, or in the case of the Seattle game two weeks ago, two gorgeous teardrop passes to TY Hilton taking the top off your defense. But I was listening to the Rich Eisen podcast today, and LaDanian Tomlinson was talking about how Richardson is the kind of back that needs to carry the rock 25, 30 times, early in the game he’ll get you 2, 3, 2, 5, and then as the game goes on, he just wears guys out, breaks tackles and starts picking up first downs at will. Now, LT knows a thing or do about running with a football in your hand, and I think he’s dead fucking on. People keep calling Richardson a bust – I’m sorry, his carries since being traded- 10 @ SD, 18 vs. Sea, 20 @ Jax, 13 @ SF. Yes, he has not touched the ball over 20 times all year, and only over 13 twice. Come on! How’s he supposed to rush for 150 and a TD with 10 carries? He’s not that kind of back. Give him the ball. Colts cover. THE PICK: INDY +6.5

DICK: Manning’s homecoming is fraught with all sorts of danger stemming from Jim Irsay trying to goad Rod Flanders into choking a big game just like he did when he was giving the Colts their best run since the days of Unitas. Seriously, one Super Bowl isn’t enough? Anyways, look past the glitter and understand that the Broncos defense is… deficient. Also, Andrew Luck is due for a bounce back game at home under the lights against the guy he replaced. The Broncos may win, but there is no fucking way in hell the Colts lay down even though large chunks of their home crowd will be rooting for Flanders in a very silent way. This is a test game for both sides and if Luck chokes, then you’ll hear the howls from the rafters. Don’t count on it. I see the Colts covering one way or another. Colts. THE PICK: INDY +6.5




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