No one cares but I'm having my worst year of NFL picks. I'm 14-28 the last two weeks. I feel like I'm Butch Davis, or an NBA team in ANY regular season game. I am terrible, but I'm also coasting.
Onto the picks:
Denver over Oakland
-Denver's only weakness is the running game, which isn't really that bad because Knowshon Moreno isn't terrible. Yeah, he was the 4th string running back. He ran the ball well when he was the start for 2-3 years. Injuries affected his career. Oakland struggles against Moreno. I had Moreno one year in fantasy, and both of his games against the Raiders were awesome. The Raiders don't matter, though. Denver won the West. One Denver question was about the defense. The defense was awesome in shutting down Doug Martin on Sunday. Oakland's not going to win on Thursday; the Raiders aren't prepared to win with normal rest and preparation. So, Denver could roll into the playoffs without losing for three months. Meanwhile, Mark Davis, the Raiders owner, and Al's son, questioned Dennis Allen's passion. Four weeks ago, Dennis Allen had his team 'playing the right way." Four weeks from now, he'll be fired. The Davis family really is similar to the Freys in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Buffalo over St. Louis
-The Rams' knack for tying, and almost tying but eventually beating, the 49ers is impressive. They match up well. The Rams are inconsistent, though. They look great one week and horrible the next. Harvard Fitzpatrick, the former Ram, threw for 112 years but led five scoring drives for the Bills. They don't teach that in non-Ivy League schools. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are basically unstoppable against subpar-to-bad run defenses. Buffalo's pass rush is improved and nearly worth the money the GM sank into the position. The Rams offensive line hasn't been the same since Richie Incognito left the team (that's not true; they'd be bad with him). Both teams are wonderfully mediocre.
Dallas over Cincinnati
-The Cowboys aren't great in any phase of football. Rob Ryan's defense couldn't stop the terrible Eagles offense in two games (though Bryce Brown's emergence in the last two weeks attributed to Sunday's defensive woes for the Cowboys). Riley Cooper made a spectacular touchdown catch. AJ Green should score five spectacular touchdowns. I don't know why I'm picking Dallas, though. Romo's words about the team playing for their playoff lives don't influence me. If you want the truth, I'm picking against the media. The Bengals were dismissed during their four game losing streak. Now, they've won four in a row, and the Good Bad Team stuff is forgotten. So, I figure the complete opposite of what national pundits think will happen. The Cowboys will win and remain in the playoff picture graphic, and writers will remember the Bengals were the Good Bad Team four weeks ago. Chaos will ensue and it'll be just like the "I See Everything Twice!!" chapter in Joseph Heller's Catch 22.
Cleveland over Kansas City
-If Dan Fouts or Rich Gannon, or whoever is the color analyst for the game (it won't be Dan Dierdorf; he won't get sent to insignificant games) doesn't state that Coach Pat Shurmur got the Browns playing good, tough football, then I don't know horribly lazy NFL broadcasting anymore. As for the Chiefs, I don't think editors and producers knew how to cover the Javon Belcher murder-suicide story, nor were beat writers sure of how to respectfully frame the win without portraying Belcher as a victim. It's an impossible situation to explain, contextualize, or understand.
Indianapolis over Tennessee
-Tennessee played the opposite of way of what I expected against Houston. I suppose expecting superlative Titans football is insanity. The Colts' comeback against Detroit was the best part of the early games. NFL RedZone lost interest in following the game after Luck's interception. I, of course, missed the exciting game-winning touchdown. I already dread the hype for Denver vs. Indy on wildcard weekend. It's worth noting that Indy's one of few good second place teams in the NFL.
Chicago over Minnesota
-I noticed a trend in recent years of the media addressing a good player by his nickname, or writing about a player using said nickname. Case in point: Charles 'Peanut' Tillman. It's like a badge of honor for the media to use a player's nickname. Tillman's been a very good cornerback for 10 seasons. In this, his 10th, he is a game-changing corner; thus, he is known as Peanut. It's like the macho former football player analysts decide, 'HEY! THIS GUY IS A FOOTBALL PLAYER NOW!' I don't know. Chicago and Minnesota played very recently, and Chicago made me look like a fool. What's the deal with sandwiched division games? Space them out, NFL. It's like the schedule-makers forgot to schedule division games, then scrambled and scheduled both games within a month. The Vikes should compete more. Adrian Peterson's a beast again. Ponder's experiencing the high of marriage engagement.
Pittsburgh over San Diego
-I've been a fool picking the Chargers two weeks in a row. No way they're winning a 1pm game, Eastern
Standard Time, in Pittsburgh. Charlie Batch repeated the tire expression about nobody but US believed we could win. Hey, Chaz Batch, I don't believe in anything I write. I either think a team will or won't win. Pittsburgh's absurd luck returned. Ray Rice ran the ball 12 times, and Charlie Batch threw for 276 yards. I thought the Steelers run of Big Ben-less wins were over. But no. Norv Turner could mutter something about heart like Gene Hackman in The Replacements in hopes movies really ARE like life, but he'll learn movies aren't like life at all. For one, he doesn't employ Keanu Reeves or Faizon Love. San Diego lacks depth, not heart. What's up with Ryan Mathews? He carried the ball 9 times for 26 yards. San Diego let Mike Tolbert walk to hand over the run attack to Mathews. Their choices don't work out for them. They're the West Coast Eagles.
Philadelphia over Tampa Bay
-Tampa Bay will celebrate their 10 year anniversay of the Super Bowl XXXVII team during half-time. The Bucs beat Philly in the 2003 NFC Championship game. The Bucs-Eagles rivalry was a 'thing' in the early aughts. Tony Dungy's Bucs couldn't beat Andy Reid, Jim Johnson, or the deep talent pool of players. Gruden came in, added a few players, and beat the Birds 27-10 in the last game at the Vet. Earlier that season, the Bucs beat the Birds, but fans didn't think of any it. The Bucs lost every playoff game they played under 42 degrees. The Bucs exploited the Eagles linebacking weakness, and the game went to shit after Jurevicious' 71 yard touchdown. 10 years later, the Eagles are terrible, and the Bucs have been average. I think Doug Martin will run for 160 yards, and Josh Freeman will throw for 720. There's no reason to think the secondary will stop Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. The problem for the Birds is that the Bucs can score on the ground and through the air. The Eagles played well in Dallas. Bryce Brown is amazing. Nick Foles played great. Jeff Garcia, the former Eagles quarterback, thinks Foles is a Matt Schuab type of QB. Foles' touchdown throw to Riley Cooper was my second favorite play of the season. As for Jim Washburn, it's not a surprise football coaches are assholes.
Baltimore over Washington
-When will I learn not to pick against RG3? After this game, most likely. John Harbaugh comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, so Ray Rice's 12 touches against Pittsburgh didn't surprise me. Harbaugh's not opposed to the run. This game should be dominated by the run. Baltimore's defense continues to struggle. RG3 should run for 80 and pass for over 250. Remember when Kyle Shanahan was the laughing stock of the league for being a dick to McNabb and McNabb in turn being a dick to him? Shanahan's another assistant who could get a head coaching gig soley because of the transformed Washington offense. RG3 is helping Shanahan's rep by at least 30%.
Atlanta over Carolina
-Valencia fired their manager after their 5-2 loss to Sociedad last weekend. Yeah, my Valencia/Atlanta
comparison didn't work out. European football's tricky, though. Valencia advanced into the next round of the Copa Del Rey and into the knockout round of the Championships League, but they're in the bottom half of La Liga. Atlanta should get dome-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which probably won't work out AGAIN. Atlanta's terrific in the regular season but give them a bye and they can't stop other teams. Their offensive coordinator should be a head coach next season.
New York Jets over Jacksonville
-This game will be like electric football. My parents bought me an electric football set when I was a kid. I
plugged it in, placed the players on the board, and turned it on. The players immediately fell down and vibrated with the board. I never plugged the board in again. I just imagine the Jets and Jacksonville falling down and laying there for the entire game.
Miami over San Francisco
-Granted, I've seen as much as Colin Kaepernick's QB skills as I've seen of the fifth season of 90120 on The CW. Kaepernick got backlash after making two crucial mistakes against St. Louis, prompting Jim Harbaugh to back his quarterback. Alex Smith never looked more depressed than in the shot FOX got of him after Kaepernick threw the ball away on an end-around. I feel like Miami's and San Fran's offenses cancel the other out. Miami's defense has been good for nearly three seasons. Tannehill's about equal, or better, than Colin Kaepernick. Miami played New England tough. They came back throughout the game.
New York Giants over New Orleans
-Drew Brees threw five interceptions whilst I watched and then wrote about The Vampire Diaries. Brees' meltdown the last two weeks has totally passed me by. I'm notoriously against watching any NFL pre-game, post-game, or highlight show. I avoid ESPN's website like it's loaded with malware. I read about the games. By Friday morning, though, I've forgotten a Thursday night game happened. Perhaps, the bounty scandal suspensions were too difficult to overcome. Brees shouldn't have three bad games in a row.
Seattle over Arizona
-Ryan Lindley threw for 48 yards last Sunday. Christian Ponder breathes a sigh of relief. Seattle's not going to lose at home. Arizona should just show up and hand Pete Carroll a note that says, "You win, Coach. See you next year!" FOX is definitely sending Ron Pitts to Seattle.
Green Bay over Detroit
-I bet NBC regrets having Detroit on primetime. Suh gets accused of horrible acts every week now. Detroit's coaching issues has gone national. On Monday, I saw an article that questioned the role of discipline and coaching in the team's 4-8 record. Green Bay needs this win.
Houston over New England
-A lot of sweeping conclusions and boasts about which team will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl is inevitable after the game ends. I really want the Texans to continue winning, to continue playing at the level they're at, because the New England Patriots are old. I'm the same guy who bet $20 in week 16 of the 2001 season that the Patriots would win the Super Bowl (it's my greatest prediction ever, I was 15, and have regressed as prognosticator since). I'm a fan of every aspect of the Texans. Kevin Walter's one of my favorite slot receivers and has been solid for the last four seasons. They employ one of my favorite cornerbacks, Jonathan Joseph. The Texans were always the team that couldn't get it done when it counted in the late aughts, but this Texans team is healthy and playing well. It'd be terrific for them to beat New England. New England's very good but they're flawed. Houston's not as flawed.
Last Week: 8-8
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