NFL Picks Week 10

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The Raiders. Are they good? I don’t know. I know they’re on track to make the playoffs where they’ll lose in the first round, but I don’t know if they’re any good. I know Josh Jacobs is good. I think Darren Waller is good. I guess Derek Carr is dece. The rest of the roster feels solid and Jon Gruden has been a top ten coach in the league this year (mostly because there’s at least 22 awful coaches, but still). But the Raiders? Good? I don’t know. I’ll never know. They could win the Super Bowl this year (lol) and I’d still be wondering the same thing. I do know that the Chargers stink, though.

This is the third consecutive week I’ve said this, but yikes this is a terrible week. Half the interesting teams are on bye and all the games suck. You’ve gone apple picking two weeks in a row, but you might have to make it three once you take a look at the schedule. But it just means you’ve built up a lot of goodwill with the people in your life who expect you to use Sundays to do something other than watch football. Next week is better, but even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t tell you to skip four weeks in a row. Then it’s a concrete pattern and a lifestyle you can’t escape. Maybe this is a housework weekend where you’ve got the TV on in the background. That could stop the dangerous precedent from being set.

All lines from Bovada.

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-2.5)

There have been a lot of coaches that have looked bad this year, but I’m not sure if anyone’s taken as big a step backward as Matt Nagy. He had the route through the labyrinth last year, but this year he STINKS. Everything he touches turns to poop, every press conference he sounds even dumber than he did last week, and he seems completely over his head and prone to lashing out because he’s realizing alongside everyone else that maybe being Andy Reid’s playcaller is a much better situation than, you know, not having Andy Reid around to do all the work, especially without last year’s cupcake schedule. That being said, I think the Bears win by a lot this week. They aren’t this bad and, as we’ve established, the Lions are dead. Bears think about salvaging the season.

Pick: Bears -2.5

New York Giants (-3) at New York Jets

Jesus. In theory, I could go to this. In fact, I know someone who is. There are going to be thousands of people at MetLife Stadium to watch this “game.” Think about that for a second. Don’t know if the black cat on the field cursed the Giants or Cowboys, but until I do if they are I can’t pick the Giants. Jets might be cursed by proxy, but that changes nothing from their usual state.

Pick: Jets +3

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-14)

What’s the safer bet: the Falcons get blown out on the road or the sun rises in the east? Vegas is undecided.

Pick: Saints -14

Baltimore Ravens (-10.5) at Cincinnati Bengals

Alright, fine, I’ll comment on what happened last week: it happened. There, happy? Now we can move on with our lives. Oh, no, the Pats aren’t going undefeated, what will I do? They’re still gonna win the Super Bowl, so get your jokes in, now. Literally only one team can do what the Ravens did on offense because they’re the only ones with Lamar Jackson. I’m not worried. What I am worried about is the fact that I’ve misspelled Cincinnati wrong on the first attempt at least three weeks in a row, which is a distressing development after I thought I overcame that weakness last season.

Pick: Ravens -10.5

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)

I’ll tell you what, I’m back in on the Bud Knight ad universe. It was tired and played out, but like all great Family Guy jokes, it’s gone on long enough to be funny again. The injection of the Bud Knight Platinum has really brought new life to the franchise. Something about the way the Bud King (Prince? I have no idea what his title is) sadly asks “where are the Bud Light Platinums?” when his crew steps onto the Staring Into the Abyss Turret really tickles my funny bone. Can’t wait for another three years of these!

Pick: Bills +2.5

Kansas City Chiefs (-6) at Tennessee Titans

In a weird way, I think the Titans have a better chance of winning if Patrick Mahomes plays. Everyone will just count them out and bury them, which is the only time the Titans are any good due to Mike Vrabel’s oddly specific deal with the devil. You know what? I actually don’t care who the Chiefs QB is. We’re going Titans, and pretending we didn’t at roughly 1:08 PM on Sunday.

Pick: Titans +6

Arizona Cardinals at Tampa Bay Bucs (-4.5)

I’m unironically excited to watch this completely irrelevant game because these are two of the five most entertaining QBs in the NFL. I can’t take my eyes off Jameis. I want the Bucs to sign him to a 25-year extension because next year he’ll put it all together, and Kyler is just pure electricity. Mike Evans is completely on fire and Chris Godwin is always padding his stats. Larry Fitzgerald is still alive, but barely. There is at least one player named Zane. What else do you need? Because it’s how football works, this game will finish 12-6.

Pick: Bucs -4.5

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts (-11.5)

I’ll be honest, despite the fact that I’ve been interacting with them most of my life, I have no idea what the dynamic is between Jets fans and Dolphins fans, but I can guarantee it’s contentious now. Once the initial comedy of last week’s win wears off, how pissed would you be if you were a Fins fan? I’d be furious. The only plan this season was to go 0-16. I’d argue they were having one of the best seasons in the league. And the dumb Jets ruin that by accident by being more inept than the team that is intentionally inept. They gave the Bengals a possibly insurmountable one-game lead in the race for Tua. Now you pretty much have to go back to Rosen to ensure they don’t win another game. What a mess.

Pick: Colts -11.5

Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-5.5)

Based on my research, the last time a white guy lead the league in rushing was Jim Taylor in 1962. Christian McCaffery currently leads the NFL in rushing yards per game. We could be witnessing history, folks. One thing that’s helped him is that he doesn’t get caught from behind on long runs anymore, which was such a terrible but also hilarious look for white guys in general. How has he gotten faster? Well,,, who could say? I’m worried his quest for the title might take a hit this week since the ‘Thers (that’s what the cool kids are calling the Panthers, now. Deal with it) are gonna be down all game. The rumblings over trouble in Green Bay will just make Aaron Rodgers angry enough to destroy his next opponent.

Pick: Packers -5.5

Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL teams usually travel on Friday or Saturday for road games, and, given the length of the flight and time difference, I’m guessing the Rams are going to Pittsburgh today. It’s currently 33 degrees in Pittsburgh. This thing is OVER.

Pick: Steelers +4

Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-3)

I know this game probably deserves more discussion, but just like the Giants, until I know which way the black cat directed its curse, I can’t pick the Cowboys. And I’m just sick of them on primetime.

Pick: Vikings +3

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (-6)

Remember the old Seahawks-49ers games in the mid-2010s? Those were awesome, and this game should be awesome, too. Man, that Niners D was crazy. Willis and Bowman, the Smith brothers (it was funny because they clearly weren’t brothers), some other guys. Aldon Smith was so good, and then he wasn’t. Anyway, this feels like such a sucker line. 6 points is so high that I feel like I’m being forced to take the Seahawks, which is exactly what The Man wants me to do. Which is why I’ll gladly do it.

Pick: Seahawks +6

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NFL Picks Week 9

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Welcome, mortals, to another edition of Tales from the Brian’s Den. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations on surviving the horrors of All Hallow’s Eve. Unfortunately, your long night is far from over. I present thirteen bone-chilling stories and real-life accounts of terrifying events sure to curdle the blood. Can you brave the terror? If so, you have more of a spine than Baker Mayfield. But be warned, discretion is often the better part of valor. Proceed at your own risk. And allow me to be the last to wish you a Happy Halloween (if you’re the NFL, how can you allow Halloween to be a game day and not have the Ravens play a home game at night wearing all black? SMH).

Houston Texans (-2) vs Jacksonville Jaguars

You knew the jokes going in. “Moving to England to be a dentist, at least you’ve already got the British taste for irony.” And you wouldn’t lie to yourself, it had been hard. Day after day, another impossible plea for oral salvation. But the pay was good and there was a generous amount of vacation days, which you were happily using now. A trip to the southern countryside to see a friend in Salisbury. You had spent the first few days enjoying the quaint town, but you have to go out and stretch your legs. You drive to the fields between Salisbury and Amesbury, park, and explore the mystical world around you. Stonehenge got all the attention, and deservedly so, but there were countless other menhirs and stone circles in the area. You find a secluded one free from tourists and try to feel the Earth’s energy flow through you. You hear flapping in the wind, and look up to the hill in front of you. A man in a hooded cloak is standing silently, his cape flowing and snapping with the wind. He raises a hand and twirls his fingers. A spectral cat appears, almost as tall as the man.

“Is that a jaguar?” you ask, seeing the distinctive spots.

“In England, it’s pronounced JAG-u-ar,” the man said. “And the circle demands a sacrifice.”

The cat pounced.

Pick: Jags +2.5

Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-5)

Mitchell’s had a long day at work. His boss yelled at him, he lost a sale, his lunch got stolen, he parked directly on top of a nail, his boss yelled at him again, and the office printer stopped working. All he wanted to do was go home, crack open a cold locally brewed IPA, and reminisce about his youth and wonder why anyone would ever allow their life to become this. As he finally walked up his driveway and put his key in the door, his phone rang. His boss. Again. Against his better judgment, he answered.

“Hello?”

“Mitchell, you’re fired. Peace.”

He hung up. Awesome.

An hour later, his doorbell rang. Mitchell was buzzed, and he needed a distraction. It was a tall ginger, smiling earnestly.

“Do you have a moment to talk about the teachings of Jesus Christ?”

There was an axe by the door, neglected after a camping trip months ago. Mitchell grabbed it and buried it into the ginger’s skull. He liked the feeling. Maybe he should do it again.

Pick: Eagles -5

Indianapolis Colts (-1.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

“You sure you want the Death Sandwich?” the pimply teenager behind the counter asked.

“Hell yeah, bro,” you say. You’ve seen a million ads for the sandwich that was impossible to eat, it was time to prove your manhood. Besides, you heard the owner, Mr. Sandwich himself, presented the sandwich to you when you ordered. A bizarre claim, considering how many locations the chain had.

“One Death Sandwich!” the kid called to the kitchen, ringing the large bell beside him. “That’ll be $15.87.”

A little steep, but a small price to pay for immortality.

“Have a seat, sir,” the kid said.

After a few minute wait, an old man approaches your table, barely able to keep the tray he was carrying stable.

“One Death Sandwich,” he said frailly. It was a massive sandwich- pastrami, provolone, coleslaw, tomatoes, and, of course, a mountain of fries. But impossible? Please. To impress Mr. Sandwich, you take a huge bite.

Something was wrong. Your hands were shaking, and it looked like they were getting older. Your skin was looser and wrinkled. Hair was falling out. You look to Mr. Sandwich, who’s growing younger by the second.

“Thank you for choosing the Death Sandwich,” he said, laughing. “Have fun in hell.”

Pick: Steelers +1.5

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills (-9.5)

Luckily this game is horrifying enough as it is because I think this story would likely end in some kind of litigation.

Pick: Bills -9.5

Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)

It was an old, creaky house, but it was especially old and creaky when you have a guilty conscience.

Marcus was buried in the backyard. You killed him in a fit of rage, yet another fight about your mustache. You liked it, he didn’t. It was your face, dammit. But no, Marcus always had to get the last word in. Luckily, you were so much bigger and stronger than him. Strangling him was no issue. But days later, Marcus’s voice is stuck in your head.

Every night, you could hear the footsteps in the walls. The running had kept you up for the last three nights. It was just so fast, faster than a QB should be.

Tonight, a new sound was added to the house’s maddening symphony: the faint strumming of a ukelele. How could this be? Was it the pipes?

You hear a whisper, “he wasn’t turning the ball over this year.” You try to ignore it.

“Just run the option with him and Henry.”

“The defense is good enough to carry the offense as-is.”

“Try out a new offensive coordinator.”

“RYAN’S ABOUT TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP!” you scream into the aether. The house quiets down around you.

A knock at the door. It was so late, who could be calling. You practically spill your ice-cold Keystone Light all over your lap as you jerk up in your seat. You walk over to the door, imagining movement in your peripheral vision. You slowly open the door and come face to face with a pale figure with drooping shoulders. There’s a decaying lei around his neck.

“Hey, coach,” Marcus said. “Remember me?”

Pick: Titans +3.5

New York Jets (-3) at Miami Dolphins

“I don’t want to summon him, you summon him.”

“I don’t want to summon him, you summon him.”

Little Sammy had stumbled in on some of the older kids in the bathroom huddled around an old and thick book. One of them noticed him and dragged him over.

“You say it, kid,” he said.

“Say what?” Sammy asked.

“The summoning spell,” the older boy said. “Just go to the third stall, knock three times, and say ‘backbreaking fourth-quarter interception’ three times. Fitz should appear.”

“I don’t like ghosts,” Sammy said.

“He’s not a ghost, dumbass,” one of the other boys said. “He’s an undead baron of despair.”

“I don’t want to,” Sammy said.

“Just do it, kid,” one of them said. “It’ll make you cool.”

“Yeah, don’t be a baby.”

Hesitantly, Sammy gave in. He crept over to the third stall and raised his fist to knock once, twice, and… three times.

“Backbreaking fourth-quarter interception.”

Nothing happened.

“Backbreaking fourth-quarter interception.”

The lights flickered and the trees rustled in the wind.\

“…backbreaking fourth-quarter interception.”

Nothing happened. Sammy exhaled and turned to the older boys.

They were all dead, a bearded man standing over him. His skin was green and his tattered clothes were barely hanging on his body.

“Harvard,” the creature said, slowly advancing. “Harvard.”

Sammy screamed.

Pick: Jets -3

Minnesota Vikings (-2.5) at Kansas City Chiefs

It was just a dream, Andy told himself as he got out of bed in a cold sweat. Just a dream. Still, though, it couldn’t hurt to check.

He walked downstairs, keeping his eyes peeling for anything untoward. So far nothing, but the kitchen was what he was concerned about.

He took a deep breath and opened the pantry door. He felt his soul leave his body. He scrambled over to the fridge and yanked it open. Every cabinet door flew open before he collapsed onto the floor. They were all empty. All of his food was gone.

Pick: Chiefs +2.5

Tampa Bay Bucs at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)

It was a full moon tonight, but the cloud cover was just heavy enough. Russell knew better, but he had been caught outside after sundown. Stupid bible study meeting ran long and he couldn’t leave early.

He was almost home, though, and the clouds were thinning out. If he could just get inside, disaster could be averted…

Someone ran into the road in front of his car. He slammed on the breaks just in time. The man motioned for him to get out of the car. Russell didn’t have time for this, but he got out, anyway.

“What’s the deal?” Russell asked.

“Hey, I’m sorry, sir,” the man said. “But I’m lost and I’m hoping you could help me out. I need to get to the pier.”

“Just go that way. Don’t you have a phone or something? Or couldn’t you, you know, ask someone else?”

“I’m really sorry,” the man said. “I just kind of panicked. My name’s Jameis, by the way.”

“Well, nice to meet you, but I have to get going.”

“Oh, just one more thing,” Jameis said. Russell felt the moon hit the back of his neck. He turned around- the clouds were gone. He gripped the car door tightly. “I’m looking for a decent place to eat. Got any suggestions?”

“Just use Google, man,” Russell said through gritted teeth. The window was starting to crack and crunch as the claws came out. He could feel his mouth elongating and the hair sprouting all over his body.

“Well, that’s not very helpful,” Jameis said. “I’m just looking for some neighborly advice, is all. Just making conversation.”

This man had annoyed him so much Russell no longer cared about keeping the beast at bay. He let go and allowed himself to transform. He had brought this on himself.

Pick: Seahawks -5.5

Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders (-2)

The trader laughed as the flaxen-haired boy named Chucky took the beans home. He had warned the child not to plant them, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to resist. How could he? At that age, disobeying adults was reason enough to do just about anything. Once those beans hit the soil, it was only a matter of time before the beanstalk grew, bridging the gap between this world and the trader’s master’s. Then the plan he had been developing for centuries would finally come to fruition.

Pick: Lions +2

Green Bay Packers (-4) at Los Angeles Rams

Feels kind of messed up to put a story in L.A. with the fires going, so let me ask this #BurningQuestion: Who was the first person with a name? I assume once one person had a name everyone decided they wanted one, too, but what about that period of time where literally one person had a name and no one else did? How did names spread? Why does everyone in the world have names, and how did everyone in the world know to give people names? No, I haven’t eaten anything strange lately, why do you ask?

Pick: Packers -4

Cleveland Browns (-4) at Denver Broncos

The demon looked down on the two in disgust. From his vantage point, he could see the entirety of the labyrinth he had built, right down to the last death trap. He had selected Freddie and Vic and random, but assumed they would be adequate representations of the average human’s resourcefulness. It had been two years, and they had yet to make it passed the door to the maze. It wasn’t even a puzzle, they just couldn’t figure out how to open it. Swallowing his loss, he descended on the maze and killed them, ready to find a new pair to test out his masterpiece.

Pick: Broncos +4

New England Patriots (-3.5) at Baltimore Ravens

Lamar was regretting the decision already. He had let himself get goaded into visiting the castle alone. At night. In a storm. On Halloween. But all he had to do was spend one night here, right?

An hour of sitting in the foyer soon became unbearably boring. He wandered room to room, looking for… he wasn’t quite sure. But all he found were ghostly shapes illuminated by the lightning and an increased heart rate. He went back to the foyer, at least there was a fireplace he could pretend to use.

A huge bolt of lightning flashed and his eyes darted to the great staircase. Someone stood at the top. Lamar yelp and ran towards the door, bet be damned. Another crash of lightning and the figure appeared in front of him.

“Hello, Lamar,” he said. “Welcome to Castle Brady. Are you enjoying your stay?”

Lamar turned and took off down the hallway, but the figure appeared before him once again.

“Running won’t be much use,” he said. “There is no escape.”

Lamar screamed, but no one outside the castle could hear it.

Pick: Patriots -3.5

Dallas Cowboys (-7) at New York Giants

Welcome to the other side, friends. You’ve made it out of the cruel den of horrors and can now settle in at home, as you watch the Cowboys and Giants play on primetime. For all eternity! Mwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! There is no escape!

Pick: Cowboys -7

NFL Picks Week 8

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Did last night’s game even happen? I think it was the most forgettable, irrelevant game I’ve ever seen (I realize that discussing it as such immediately disqualifies it from being the most irrelevant game, but whatever). Imagine if that was the first game of football you’ve ever watched. Imagine if that was the only game you’ve ever watched. I think about that sometimes during nondescript prime time games. If your only impression of football was the week 8 Thursday night game between the Redskins and Vikings, I can’t imagine you’d ever come back for more. It wasn’t even bad enough where you could think it was an outlier and other games would be better. It was just boring. It was nothing. It was a nothing game. I can’t wait to never think about it again (don’t look now, but the Redskins have covered back-to-back games while only scoring 9 total points). It’s a good thing I don’t publish Thursday picks, otherwise I’d extend my streak of being wrong about every Kirk Cousins game to infinity consecutive weeks.

I’ve got some bad news for anyone from the previous sentence who’s experiencing their first-ever week of football this week for some reason- this week STINKS. I know I say that every week, but this week I really mean it. Pick your cliche: it’s apple picking week, it’s pumpkin patch week, it’s housework week, it’s fulfill social obligations so you don’t slowly become a hermit week. Rest assured, I’ll still be watching every second. But you shouldn’t. All lines from Bovada.

Seattle Seahawks (-7) at Atlanta Falcons

I know I said the Bengals had the worst defense I’ve ever seen a few weeks ago, but I have to rescind that proclamation, but the Falcons have the worst defense in the history of organized football. I will not listen to arguments. Their opponents no longer matter.

Pick: Seahawks -7

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (-6)

Here’s a bit of trivia: did you know that the Broncos…are bad? It’s true, they are. And the Colts happen to be good. Beef Brissett has the second-most TD passes in the league. The post-Luck express train keeps rolling.

Pick: Colts -6

New York Giants at Detroit Lions (-6.5)

Lions seem kind of dead, but the Giants are also dead. It would be appropriate if this was the Halloween edition, but that comes next week even though it should probably be this week, but I already started this one normally and don’t feel like redoing it all again. Nothing wrong with some spookiness on November 1, right? I guess I’ll go Lions. Shoutout to everyone who apologized to Danny Dimes. Turns out he actually is horrible.

Pick: Lions -6.5

Los Angeles Chargers at Chicago Bears (-4)

I want both these teams to be disbanded.

Pick: Bears -4

Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-10.5)

Folks, it’s finally time to admit I was wrong about the Saints. They did not, in fact, lose all the games I said they would lose. It’s tough to say, but there it is. They won’t lose this game, either (wink, wink). But things have been going a little too well for them, lately. It’s time they get stuck in an unnecessarily hairy game. Cardinals somehow have three wins and a tie. That means the maximum amount of games they can lose is 12. Only 12! This is twisting my brain around and the only way to get it untangled is to pick them on the road in the toughest place to play in the league.

Pick: Cardinals +10.5

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Rams (-13)

There are 32 teams in the NFL. That’s a pretty good number of teams. Decent sample size. How are 30 of them bad? I don’t get how 99% of NFL teams have absolutely no idea what they’re doing week to week. And we’re shipping two of them to London. Here you go, lads! Bengals-Rams! These two teams are really good, believe us! This league disgusts me.

Pick: Rams -13

New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars (-7)

There are so many awful games I don’t even know where to put my joke pick.

Pick: Jags -7

Tampa Bay Bucs at Tennessee Titans (-2.5)

I regret not doing the Halloween theme this week. At least then it would have been fun to go through these terrible, no good, very bad games. Curse the Gregorian Calendar.

Pick: Bucs -2.5

Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (-2)

Josh Allen is about to sit down to an eleven-course meal at the finest restaurant in Buffalo (I assume it’s a TGI Friday’s), and bird is on the menu. Eagles are donezo.

Pick: Bills -2

Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (-6)

What the hell is this? A decent game? I’ll be honest, I love the Panthers. I’m back on board after quitting them for a couple weeks, but this feels like the perfect spot for the Niners to pick up their first loss. Jimmy G’s been teetering on the edge of a real stinker, and facing a good defense is finally gonna pop the pimple. I love the Niners, but they’re not 16-0. Kyle Allen keeps the QB controversy that everyone agrees isn’t a real controversy so why are we still talking about it? going.

Pick: Panthers +6

Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-13)

I know no one wants to hear me talk about the Pats anymore (jk, I know you’re addicted), so I’ll keep this short. I’ve seen people making desperate attempts to come up with ways the Browns can win. This is laughable.

Pick: Pats -13

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-7)

Am I crazy or are the lines this year 10x higher than they normally are? This feels like it should be Texans -4.5. But I guess the Raiders are back to being bad again so it makes sense. I hate trusting the Texans, which is why I love picking them. Trust me, it makes sense.

Pick: Texans -7

Green Bay Packers (-4) at Kansas City Chiefs

No Mahomes, next.

Pick: Packers -4

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14)

It’s time for my much-anticipated MTG-NFL crossover. We have to start with Bill Belichick. He’s the most obvious blue-black player I’ver ever seen. He’s so committed, I wouldn’t be surprised if he founded House Dimir. He’s just dying to counter everything you do, preferably milling you to death in the process. I think Brady might be blue-white, maybe red-white? Actually blue-white, I could see him- wait, what’s that? No one cares or gets it? Oh, okay. Guess I’ll table this again.

Pick: Steelers -14

NFL Picks Week 7

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Well, this kind of puts a damper on the season, huh? Pat Mahomes, the most electric QB…….ever? goes down. Knee injury. As of now, it’s unknown how much time he’ll miss, but my bet is he comes back too soon and is never 100% again this season. Sucks for the Chiefs, but more than that, it sucks for me. Because now when the Pats beat the Chiefs in the playoffs for the second consecutive year, I’ll have to hear about how it was because Mahomes was hurt and that the million-time Super Bowl champion Patriots would have no answer for a player who’s never beaten them. It’s gonna be really annoying, trust me. Yeah, we all lost a bunch of sweet highlights and some crazy stats, but the Patriot fans have it worst, as always, because this is just another way to discount success. When will we get a break?

Doesn’t seem right that it’s already week 7. It just started getting colder outside, it should be week 4. Thanks a lot, climate change. You’ve ruined my childhood and stolen my dreams made football season seem shorter. SMH. All lines from Bovada.

Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers (-5.5)

I can’t wrap my mind around this Raiders season. They should be bad. They go through stretches where they are bad. They look bad. They’re 3-2. I don’t understand it. It feels like a house of cards that’s waiting to collapse. It should start this week. Always pick against a west team coming east(ish) for a 1:00 game. Side note because I’ll gonna see if I can force the Patriots into every pick this week- if the Pats were gifted the preposterous calls the Packers got against the Lions in one of the most dubiously officiated NFL games I can remember, there would be literal riots in the streets.

Pick: Packers -5.5

San Francisco 49ers (-10) at Washington Redskins

Slight addendum to the rule I said two seconds ago- always pick against a west team coming east for a 1:00 game unless that east team is the fourth-worst team in NFL history. Jimmy G won two rings with the Patriots, people forget.

Pick: 49ers -10

Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants (-3)

See previous rule. What’s going on with the schedule this week? The west coast brahs’ sleeping schedules are all thrown off. I will refrain from shoehorning the Patriots in here for obvious reasons.

Pick: Giants -3

Minnesota Vikings (-2) at Detroit Lions

Lions are gonna be out for revenge against the mafiosos in the NFL office, and beating the shit out of Kirk Cousins is the perfect medicine. There’s a 0% chance the Vikings line can stand up to the Lions. Cousins has had two consecutive good games. Three is a little much to ask if you ask me. This could be the biggest win Matt Patricia’s experienced since he won three Super Bowls as part of the Patriots coaching staff.

Pick: Lions +2

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-1)

These are two teams the Patriots have rendered irrelevant by repeatedly demolishing them when the games matter most, and one of these two is going to win the AFC South. The Texans are in the middle of their standard week 5-11 hot streak and the Colts have looked up and down, so the smart money is probably on the Texans. But because I’m feeling a lot of Patriots mojo this week, I’ll pick the Colts. Jacoby Brissett won a ring with the Pats, you know. Bill O’Brien surrendered his “former Patriot” bump when he yelled at Tom Brady that one time.

Pick: Colts -1

Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Atlanta Falcons

Did… did the Patriots kill the Rams? I think they did. I mean, what the hell have they been doing lately? They went from having the best cap situation in the league to one of the worst in the blink of an eye. How many times can you go all-in? When Jalen Ramsey leaves after this season are you really going to be happy with your 7 wins and no first-round picks until the next next presidential election? Are you really happy with Jared Goff for another 4 years, $134 million? Yikes. You had to extend Gurley, but that’s a rough situation. Are they- are they happy with Sean McVay? Not saying it, but just saying. Belichick shattered his brain. And now they’re facing another team the Patriots murdered dead with their season on the line. Will they turn it around? Refer to the first rule, regardless of how hopeless it seems.

Pick: Falcons +3

Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) at Cincinnati Bengals

It pains me to say it, but I think the writing’s on the wall for Minshew Mania. I know, I know. It sucks, but I’m afraid he might, too. I mean, he’s a sixth-round pick! When has a sixth-round pick ever succeeded at QB? It’s never happened. Imagine thinking a sixth-round QB could win a Super Bowl, or even multiple? It would destroy the way the league looks at quarterback talent in the draft. It’s too far-fetched to even imagine. Not quite as far-fetched as thinking the Bengals will win a game this season, though.

Pick: Jags -4

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-17)

It can never be high enough. I shouldn’t have to mention the Patriots here since they’ve been making both these teams miserable for 20 years, but the Patriots have been making both these teams miserable for 20 years.

Pick: Bills -17

Los Angeles Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-2)

What’s up with the difference in quality between the various Nestle bottled waters? Poland Springs, the GOAT bottled water, is a Nestle brand, but so is Arrowhead, a notoriously bad regional bottled water on the west coast. We have Deer Park here in New York, and Deer Park STINKS. The same stores often sell Poland Springs, Deer Park, and Nestle Pure Life (which is perfectly fine). How can there be such a variance in water? It’s just water. It makes no sense, Jeff Van Gundy. None at all.

Pick: Chargers +2

Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks (-3)

If I didn’t think the Ravens actually stunk I’d say this was the best game of the week, but I think the Ravens actually stink. Their offense doesn’t stink, but their defense does. I have no idea if Lamar will have the ball at all this game. The Seahawks will just bleed the clock dry for 60 minutes before scoring a late TD by running the ball in from a yard out. Which is something they didn’t do when they lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Pick: Seahawks -3

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears (-3)

I hope you like defense. That’s the only analysis. Not gonna be much else, here. The best connection to the Pats this game has that I can think of is that the Pats scored 51 against the Bears a couple years ago. Maybe they’d have some history with the Saints, but, you know…

Pick: Bears -3

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)

Puke. I’ll skip this one, too.

Pick: Eagles +2.5

New England Patriots (-10) at New York Jets

I have an announcement: in an effort to make my never-ending search for a mate even more difficult than it already is, I’ve gotten back into Magic: the Gathering. Believe me, I didn’t want to. I was briefly into it about three years ago and fell out of it, but this new Magic set dragged me back in against my will. I am now the internet’s premier MTG/NFL expert and would like to be referred to as such. My long-form blog on what colors I think various NFL figures would play is coming shortly. I don’t need to bring the Patriots into this game because the Patriots are participating in this football match, and are going to win by many.

Pick: Pats -10

NFL Picks Week 6

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Before we get to football, I just have to get some baseball #takes out there. I feel bad for Clayton Kershaw and I actually wanted the Dodgers to win the World Series this year. It’s absurd that every year, without fail, he completely dominates the regular season only to have everything fall apart in October. This is like ten straight years he’s got ridiculous stats only to wind up as the postseason goat. And every year he gets sadder about it. Each successive picture of him alone in the dugout just bums me out even more. I don’t know, I love older Kershaw. He’s got a bit of dad thiccness, love his beard-salad combo, and he’s just so embattled. Everything’s a grind, everything’s a battle that he usually loses. He’s straight out of Shakespeare. Faust 2.0. And he went to high school with Matt Stafford. Now he has to wait for next season to try and push the rock up the hill one more time. I’m kind of in on the Nats, but more than anything just need the Astros to make the World Series. Don’t need a world with a happy Aaron Judge in it.

Believe me, this is the last thing I want to do, but there’s a tough conversation we need to have about the Patriots: I think the defense and special teams (kicker notwithstanding) are too good. It’s ruining the suspense of these games! The games are over before they even start. I mean Daniel Jones (who’s looked as advertised the last two weeks, and not in a good way) had no shot last night. Just no shot. Why do you think Brady keeps throwing these terrible picks? He’s bored and wants to spice up the game a little bit. The defense is so good it’s ruining TB12’s stats, and that’s unforgivable if you ask me. Of course, there’s a huge groundswell of people online talking about how they haven’t played anybody yet and that means they shouldn’t get any credit for being good, but if you’re one of those people, why do you think that? Are you convinced the Pats are just a 20-year flash-in-the-pan? It’s been all smoke and mirrors since ’01 and it’ll all collapse at a moment’s notice? Like, how stupid can you be? The Pats are the best team because they’re the Pats and will beat your team’s brains out when it hurts you the most, causing your fanatical hatred to grow even stronger and more reckless. Welcome to the NFL, it’s kind of how things work around here.

This week… let me tell you something about this week. It’s not good. Actually, check that: it’s great because there’s a once-in-a-lifetime game happening this week. A real planetary alignment kind of moment. But we’ll get to that. The rest of it is kind of stinky. All lines from Bovada.

Carolina Panthers (-2.5) vs Tampa Bay Bucs

A real London game that starts at 9:30, not that wishy-washy crap from last week. Cam’s gonna need to keep a stiff upper lip when Kyle Allen and CMC rally the lads to claim an away result. I’ve got nothing when it comes to the Bucs, man. It’s almost like having a super up-and-down QB is bad, or something.

Pick: Panthers -2.5

Seattle Seahawks (-2) at Cleveland Browns

You know what? I kind of love the Browns this week. Seahawks are the obvious pick. So obvious, in fact, that not picking them sounds really stupid when you say it out loud. After all, they were just completely eviscerated on national television and emasculated in every possible way. Baker looked like the worst QB of all time, which is actually an insult to other terrible QBs. Everything went wrong, and everything’s been going right for Seattle lately. We know the Seahawks will be there at the end, but the true Seattle experience includes losing weird games they should win. This is one of those weeks. Listen, the Browns aren’t that bad.

Pick: Browns +2

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings (-3)

This formula’s easy: if Kirk Cousins is playing against a good team, pick against him. If he’s playing a bad team, bet the house. Eagles are good (I think).

Pick: Eagles +3

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-10.5)

I think I do a pretty good job of keeping my fantasy teams out of things because I know no one cares. But I do have Lamar Jackson in one of my leagues (also hate being “in my other league” guy) and let’s just say I’m excited.

Pick: Ravens -10.5

New Orleans Saints at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1)

What do you do when a guy you criticized the week before has his best game as a pro and sticks it to the h8rs? Double down, of course! You think Teddy Two Gloves is coming into Duval and beating Gardner? Please. Jags win.

Pick: Jags -1

Washington Redskins (-3) at Miami Dolphins

Every day I’ve ever lived has been leading up to this. This is the most excited I’ve ever been for a non-Patriots regular-season game. Forget the fact that these are the two worst teams in the league. Those games happen frequently enough. These might be two of the five worst teams ever. In the 100 year history of the NFL, there aren’t more than three teams these two could beat consistently. I think the 2017 Browns crush both these teams. I firmly believe the 2008 Lions were unlucky to go 0-16 and cruise to victory. 74 Bucs and 09 Rams are the only teams I can think of that could possibly be worse than both these teams. It’s amazing. This game is Halley’s Comet come early. This is a 100-year storm, and I would be perfectly happy if they folded the league after this. And the really, truly sick thing about this? I LOVE the Dolphins.

Pick: Dolphins +3

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)

Never seen a more obvious bounce-back spot. Gonna great seeing Deshaun’s postgame breakdown of his own defense after this one. “Well, usually we like to run a lot of cover 1 with some stunts on the line when the guards’ splits are smaller than normal, but this week we decided to all go to Buffalo Wild Wings to catch some exciting NFL action, instead. That Chiefs offense sure is fun to watch.”

Pick: Chiefs -4.5

San Fransisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams (-3)

I’m addicted to this Niners team and am ready to declare that these current 49ers jerseys (and obviously the similar iterations throughout time) are the best in NFL history. I feel like no one wants to say the Rams defense is terrible, but it’s terrible. Jimmy G is going to have his pick of the many adult film stars that will be within the five-mile radius of the Coliseum.

Pick: 49ers +3

Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Yuck. I’ll tell you this, I’ll die before I pick the Falcons on the road.

Pick: Cardinals +2.5

Dallas Cowboys (-7.5) at New York Jets

I’ve been pretty happy with my new computer so far, but I’ve got to go off on the touchpad if you’ll allow me. Who designed this functionality? Macbooks aren’t perfect, but the touchpads are. One finger click is regular click, two-finger click is right-click, scroll with two fingers, pinch to zoom, two finger swipe goes back or forward a page, three finger swipe goes to the dashboard. I had to customize my touchpad to do this. The factory setting is that tapping- not clicking, tapping- is a click. This is infuriating. If you take your finger off the pad and put it back on, it registered it as a click. Every time I put my finger on the touchpad I would wind up dragging the mouse and selecting everything in sight. I want whoever designed that dead. It also had clicking in the bottom right corner of the pad as right-click. All I ever click is the bottom right corner. I was staring at my fingers like an idiot thinking I had two on the pad every time the right-click menu popped up. It took me three days to figure out these asinine settings were why I was feeling like a 90-year-old who couldn’t figure out the new-fangled tech. This isn’t rocket science. Just steal Apple’s touchpad and stop wasting my time.

Pick: Cowboys -7.5

Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (-2)

The Titans follow the same general formula as Kirk Cousins: if they’re favored, stay away. If they’re underdogs, hammer.

Pick: Titans +2

Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers (-7)

Get this game off my television screen.

Pick: Steelers +7

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-4)

Hell yeah, we’re pumped up about the Lions. Almost beat the Chiefs, won two games, great defense, former Clayton Kershaw teammate Matt Stafford going on the road against a good team on primetime… maybe not. Remember the Aaron Rodgers belt/discount double-check celly? That thing had some legs. It’d be kind of funny if he brought it back.

Pick: Packers -4

NFL Picks Week 5

russell-wilson-seahawks-rams

Late last Saturday night, shortly after I posted the week 4 picks, my laptop, my 2010 Macbook Pro, the only computer I’ve ever owned, died. The battery failed completely, it didn’t recognize chargers anymore, and it would turn off at the slightest motion. I took it to the Apple store and was told it was too old to even look at. To repair it would be costly, time-consuming, and likely wouldn’t be worth it. I had no choice. It was time for some new hardware. My old computer was with me through college and after, through essays and powerpoints, YouTube videos and Netflix, even downloading the complete schematics of every single level of all six games in the MegaMan Battle Network franchise. Most importantly, it had been the creator of every single Brian’s Den post. And now it’s passed on to the great coffee shop in the sky, where it can live on in Valhalla with its obsolete brethren. Its contributions will echo in eternity.

I am no longer a Justin Long. I am a newly reformed John Hodgman. Lenovo Yoga 730 2-in-1. Because I’m poor but also want to flex on haters by converting my laptop to a tablet for no reason at a moment’s notice. Do I like it? Unconfirmed, but I bought it so I guess I’d better have to. Big chunk of change down the drain and I have to relearn all the old PC quirks. Delete and backspace button. Constant anti-virus software messages. Cambria no longer the default font for everything. Feel like I’m part of the counterculture, now. Everyone’s got a Mac. Now I’ve got a PC, want to fight about it? I just picked up a complimentary doctorate in software engineering with my purchase, so I’m ready to go at a moment’s notice. I could take down every Macbook hipster with both hands tied behind my back. Now that I don’t have the exact same set of belongings and thoughts as everyone else, I’m officially too edgy for Williamsburg, so I’ve got that going for me. The W’burg Apple store rejecting me was sort of affirming, in a way. I’m not one of them yet, and I never will be.

Anyway, you’re here for the football. A game happened last night, whatever. The rest of the week is what I care about. The safest bet in all of sports is when a college team’s mascot dies. That’s an automatic win. Well, what happens when a blogger’s computer dies? Exactly. Hop aboard the Brian express. Unfortunately, the Dolphins are on bye this week, and I forgot to mention this last week, but if your bye is before week 8 you should be able to sue the league. It’s absurd that the Jets and Niners are playing 13 weeks in a row, up to 16 straight weeks if they make the conference title game (lol). But player safety, and all that. All lines from Bovada

Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-3)

Had to start here, because there’s something special brewing here. This is the first game I’m picking with the new computer. The Cardinals’ owner just died. I don’t care how bad you are, you don’t lose a dead owner game. Cardinals by 10,000, and I’ve never, ever, ever felt better about a pick.

Pick: Cardinals +3

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (-5)

I despise everything about this game. Falcons stink, Texans can’t be trusted, it’s just a big yellow sign saying don’t pick this game no matter what. But I have to pick. It’s a curse I live with. I guess I’ll go Falcons because I can’t stand picking the Texans by more than 4, and Matt Ryan is dying to put up a couple scores in garbage time.

Pick: Falcons +5

Baltimore Ravens (-3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers

Since this is before the part of the schedule where games are flexed into primetime, that means the schedule makers always planned for this to happen at 1pm. What the hell? Don’t they know these teams don’t like each other? Know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking it might be time to get crazy with the Steelers. I think they win this game, and I think they mighhhhttttttttttttttttttttttt win a few more. Just a feeling in my gut. Ravens defense is going to hold the team back all year.

Pick: Steelers +3.5

Chicago Bears (-5.5) vs. Oakland Raiders

Our first London game of the season. Bears-Raiders, just what the lads wanted, innit? This game might finish 0-0. Not even a soccer joke, either. The teams just might not score.

Pick: Raiders

Jacksonville Jaguars at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)

The Gardner Minshew-Kyle Allen shootout everyone had circled at the start of the season, I personally guarantee this game will be all over RedZone. Love Gardner. Love Kyle Allen. Love both defenses, especially when every player on the Jags isn’t completely losing their cool and picking up personal fouls, which is never. Jags are too dumb to win the battle of southern big cats, sorry fellas.

Pick: Panthers -3.5

Minnesota Vikings (-5) at New York Giants

If I know Kirk Cousins like I think I do, he lights it up this game. He’s gotta reset his stats at some point, after all. I was also one of the last people carrying around an “I actually think Kirk Cousins isn’t that bad” card, but I sent it back last week. Can’t do it anymore. I can only support one QB who puts up stats and is immune to beating .500 teams, and my man crushes Little Caesars, coney dogs, and exhaust fumes.

Pick: Vikings -5

New England Patriots (-16) at Washington Redskins

If I can put my NFL analyst double negative hat on for a second, I’m not so sure the Redskins aren’t actually the worst team in the league. Next.

Pick: Pats -16

New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles (-13.5)

You ever have some dead skin on your feet from blisters or whatever then you try to pull it off but you go too far and wind up taking off some healthy skin too? Why does it hurt so much? Asking for myself.

Pick: Eagles +13.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3)

I’m officially in on the Bucs. I’m sure if they’re good or not, but I know they’re Fun to Watch™. Jameis chucking the ball all over the field and committing fewer funny turnovers, Mike Evans making plays, Chris Godwin doing some stuff, their running backs existing. Just a grand old time. Plus Shaq Barrett is… the best defensive player in the league? I’m sick of people bending over backwards to call Teddy Bridgewater adequate. He’s pretty brutal to watch, regardless of the guys around him. I know it’s different in the dome, but the Bucs roll.

Pick: Bucs +3

Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans (-2.5 not on Bovada for some reason?)

This game STINKS. Easy Bills Mafia, I’m not hating. I’m just pointing out that this is going to be the most disgusting game played in the last five years, and only the most dedicated homers of either team would say otherwise.

Pick: Bills +2.5

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)

Every time the Broncos play a game, fifteen puppies die.

Pick: Chargers -6.5

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)

Both teams could be good, both teams could not be good. Both records might be a product of their schedules, but I think there’s a higher chance the Cowboys are legitimately good than the Packers are. This is the ultimate “talking heads will call it a classic uniform battle” game.

Pick: Cowboys -3.5

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-11)

If there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that Patrick Mahomes will average 3.5 touchdown passes per game for his career. He had zero last week. Logic dictates he’ll have seven this game.

Pick: Chiefs -11

Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)

Hand up, I buried the Browns prematurely. This is the week they die. Jimmy G slices and dices the Browns at will and the Niners get as many sacks as Baker has fictional doubters. Infinity is the answer, by the way.

Pick: 49ers -3.5

NFL Picks Week 4

Eagles Packers Football

You know what’s annoying? When your almost 10-year-old laptop starts turning off when you touch it or move it the wrong way. It’s added an extra level of suspense and danger to every second of computer use that I’m not sure I really wanted. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “just get a new one.” Why didn’t I think of that? It’s true, I could probably afford a new one after all this time. But, and I don’t want to spill the beans too early, here, there’s going to be some potential content coming in the not-so-distant future that requires me to be as liquid as possible. So we’re putting new laptop in the “I could do something about it if I really wanted to but I think I’ll just complain about it, hope it gets better, and wish for one to magically appear” category. You know what else is annoying? Construction work at 7am. Like, fellas, come on. Just because you have to wake up at four in the morning for work doesn’t mean I do. Can’t you do literally anything else but use heavy machinery two feet from my window when I’m trying to hold on to the wonderful world of dreams? There was football last night, but I knew the Eagles would win because their season was on the line. Good teams win season-on-the-line games, fraud teams lose other teams’ season-on-the-line games. Simple as that. I’m #done with the Packers, which I’m very happy about. Not relevant to anything since he’s just their second tight end, but Dallas Goedert has rocks for hands. Literal rocks. Eagles can’t be thrilled they used a first-round pick on him. Also, I’ve been keeping track of the worst players I’ve seen this year, and out of respect for his scary injury I won’t say Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox is number one, but yeah. Noah Fant and Josh Norman can sleep easy knowing they still share the crown. Week 4 could be good, which means it probably won’t be. All lines from Bovada.

Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans (-4)

I’ll tell you what, man. This Kyle Allen? This guy’s got it, man. Something about these guys with two first names, man. Gives them double the quarterbacking prowess. Kyle Allen, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, the list goes on. Just adds a bit of moxie on top. This guy Kyle Allen, man. I like to call him the sheriff because he’s always in command out there.

Pick: Panthers +4

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-7)

I’ll say it: Freddie Kitchens is one of the worst coaches I’ve ever seen. Really don’t know how you interview him and come out of it thinking he’s qualified to be a head coach. He looks like every fat, stupid waste of space that takes up the aisles of every Walmart south of Rowayton. What talents does he have, besides being the dumbest person alive? Headscratching decision by Browns management, which is something I’ve never said before. I’m officially retiring the bit about Baker Mayfield’s army of imaginary haters, because he’s got a very real hater: me. Guy stinks. Ravens by 10,000.

Pick: Ravens -7

Kansas City Chiefs (-7) at Detroit Lions

I’ve been all over the Lions this year, but I’ve got some bad news for my friends in Detroit. The allures and culture of Detroit are enough to intimidate the soft Cali Brahs, but Kansas City is the Shambhala of Middle America. They’ve ascended to the highest plane of Midwestern existence. They have cold, but it’s not as bad as Detroit. They have delicious, unhealthy food, but their’s is way better than Detroit’s. They have a lot of industrial plants, but they’re less run down and depressing than Detroit’s are. Nothing the poor Lions can do about it. Just going against a better model.

Pick: Chiefs -7

Los Angeles Chargers (-15.5) at Miami Dolphins

It can never be high enough.

Pick: Chargers -15.5

New England Patriots (-7.5) at Buffalo Bills

Much like when I was a naive and foolish man living in Week 2 of the 2019 NFL season, I must reiterate that the Patriots have never been picked against in Brian’s Den history. That streak won’t end here, but the signs are there. Bills defense is crazy good, Pats have two receivers and no running game, that’s kind of it. I mean, listen, the Pats are still going to win. I know it, you know it, the Bills know it. But it’s gonna be really ugly and really low scoring. That being said, gotta pick the Pats because Tom Brady is the mayor of Buffalo.

Pick: Pats -7.5

Oakland Raiders at Indianapolis Colts (-7)

What’s up with all these uncommon Raiders road games? Can’t ever remember seeing a Raiders-Colts game, even though the rules of the league dictate that it happens at least once every four years. Raiders are really bad, man. Like, really bad.

Pick: Colts -7

Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons (-4)

You know what? I’m going to say three good things about the Falcons. The first is that they aren’t the Titans. The second is that it’s been 964 days since they blew a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl against the Patriots, so they’re definitely not still thinking about it every second of the day. The third is that I LOVE them this week. Might be my favorite game on the board. Falcons are back (even though they keep losing).

Pick: Falcons -4

Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-3)

Daniel Jones! Without Saquon! Yeah!

Pick: Giants -3

Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) at Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals capital S Stink. The only problem is, there’s a secret chance the Seahawks might, too. I can smell this backdoor from 2,497 miles away. If you’re wondering what an Arizona backdoor smells like, imagine if a cigarette factory had a serious outbreak of athlete’s foot that went untreated for three weeks.

Pick: Cardinals +5.5

Tampa Bay Bucs at Los Angeles Rams (-10)

Rams had been undervalued in the first three weeks, but this feels like an overcorrection. Favored by 10? Against the Bucs? Against Jameis on the road? Against Bruce Arians, who’s made preposterous decisions in back-to-back weeks and might be going senile? Against a defense that allowed Daniel Jones to completely shred them? Okay, it might not be too big of a stretch.

Pick: Rams -10

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos (-3)

After declaring that I liked Gardner Minshew, I was appointed the official public liaison for all Jaguars affairs. I didn’t ask for it, but the team was so shocked anyone was talking about them they jumped on the opportunity to get more press. And, since they have been unable to reach him, they’ve asked me to extend an olive branch to Jalen Ramsey, the best player in franchise history. I have prepared a statement:

Jalen,

How can we be lovers if we can’t be friends? How can we start over when the fighting never ends? Baby, how can we make love if we can’t make amends? How can we be lovers if we can’t be, can’t be friends? Look at us now, look at us, baby. Still tryin’ to work it out, never get it right. We must be fools, we must be crazy. Whoa, Whoa, when there’s no communication. Whoa, whoa, it’s a no-win situation. How can we be lovers if we can’t be friends? How can we start over when the fighting never ends? Baby, how can we make love if we can’t make amends? Tell me how can we be lovers if can’t be friends? We lie awake, this wall between us. We’re just not talkin’, we got so much to say. Let’s break these chains, our love can free us. Whoa, whoa, ain’t it time we started trying? Whoa, whoa, gotta stop this love from dying. How can we be lovers if we can’t be friends? How can we start over when the fighting never ends? Baby, how can we make love if we can’t make amends? Tell me how can we be lovers if can’t be friends? Baby, love is tough but we can make it. Baby, times are rough but we can make it. We can work it out. How can we be lovers if we can’t be friends? How can we start over if the fighting never ends? Baby, how can we make love if we can’t make amends? Tell me how can we be lovers if can’t be, can’t be friends? How can we be lovers if we can’t be friends? How can we start over if the fighting never ends? Baby, how can we make love if we can’t make amends? Tell me how can we be lovers if can’t be, can’t be friends?

Pick: Jags +3

Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-2)

So goddamn sick of watching Mitch Trubisky do literally anything. He’s not gonna be good this week. 178 yards, max. He might be the leading passer in the game, too, because the Vikings have taken Cousins-avoidance to an offensive level at this point. Like, I get he’s not great, but you gotta let him do something eventually. Otherwise, why did you bother signing him? Get both these teams out of my face and get the Bears out of the national conversation, please.

Pick: Vikings +2

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (-3)

Here’s a fun story: December 19th, 2009 was a Saturday and I had to get up wicked early to go to a track meet in Burlington. For some reason, our bus got delayed and we got there too late for me to register for my one event (shotput). So I was stuck at a Vermont high school indoor track meet for like five or six hours with nothing to do. I wound up walking around the UVM campus by myself for at least an hour, but it was really cold and I hadn’t brought pants because I had assumed I would be participating in an athletic event. Then I tried to order a pizza, but it was either closed or the coach put the kibosh on it because it was a track meet or some other foolish reason. And on top of that, because I was a stupid 17-year-old, I hadn’t brought anything that might help me pass the time. Just had to watch a million track events, and all of my friends ran distance, which happened at the end of the meet. A truly, truly bleak way to spend a day. But I was able to spend some serious time talking to the girl I liked (yeah, nbd, I’ve talked to a girl before). Anyway, this is all to say that when I finally got home that night, the Cowboys were playing the Saints, who were 13-0 at the time, and there were more people at my house than usual, but I don’t remember the reason why. Think my dad had some friends over or something. The Cowboys won and I was pissed, because I loved that Saints team. This really has no bearing on Sunday night’s game, but I just had to get it off my chest.

Pick: Cowboys +3

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)

😦

Pick: Bengals +3.5