Apologies to anyone riding Chiefs -3. The refs did all they could, but even they couldn’t stop the inexorable death march. It wasn’t exactly a crushing defeat, since I think everyone on earth saw it coming when the Chiefs didn’t score on their last two drives in the fourth quarter, but still. Maybe if the Chiefs caught some of the thousand deflected passes at the goal line and didn’t take timeouts to bail out the scrambling Raiders they could have hung on, but whatever. Maybe if Alex “Jeff George” Smith didn’t clam up at the end and kept going deep against the worst secondary ever things might have been different. No, I didn’t have the Chiefs, why do you ask. As I’ve said before, my picks are trash on Thursday, but they’re cash money on Sunday and Monday. Luckily for you, Thursday already happened. Lines from Bovada.
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Green Bay Packers
I find myself overthinking these scenarios almost every time. Aaron Rodgers is out. Brett Hundley looked something less than good in relief last week. Saints have been playing better defense lately, insofar as they’ve actually fielded eleven NFL defensive players, and their pass rush has been hot. Packers o-line is banged up. This is the most obvious game ever. But I just can’t shake this feeling in my gut. It’s in Lambeau. Saints were trying really hard to blow a 45 point lead against the Lions. The NFL is stupid. I fully expect the Packers to win. Which makes me want to go against my instincts because it’s so obviously wrong. But then I get so sure of the Saints that will cover that I flip flop again. It’s an inescapable vortex of indecision that will somehow spit out a correct pick. Or an incorrect one.
Pick: Packers +4.5
Carolina Panthers (-3) at Chicago Bears
Bears have covered every single home game. That’s a fact. No one switches from hot to cold to hot quite as quickly or extremely like the Panthers, and they got embarrassed by the Eagles last Thursday. You don’t come into Soldier Field on at noon on a Sunday (I can figure out timezones, NBD) and get an easy win if you’re struggling. Not with Trubisky under center.
Pick: Bears +3
Baltimore Ravens at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)
Did you know the Vikings would have a bye if the playoffs started today? I bet you didn’t. That’s what happens when such a dynamic playmaker is leading the offense. Case Keenum refuses to be contained, putting up adequate numbers every week proving the h8trz wrong. Ravens are just terrible, which makes me very happy. The Color Purple is wasted on them.
Pick: Vikings -5.5
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) at Indianapolis Colts
The fact that this the Jags are only a 3.5 point favorite smells like the biggest mousetrap in history. I flat out refuse to take the cheese.
Pick: Colts +3.5
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-3)
AFC East. Catch the fever!
Pick: *closes eyes and jumps* Jets +3
Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)
You know what they say, “never trust a West Coast team coming east for a 1 o’clock start.” But what if they’re playing another West Coast team going east for a 1 o’clock start? And what if they’re going so far east they left the country? And what if they’re not playing at 9:30 am or in Wembley? Will a rugby stadium add some toughness to both teams? Or make everyone play scared lest they get hurt and get shamed by the rugby crowd? Why does the NFL think anyone overseas cares? Is Adrian Peterson Back or was last week just a final stand, double barrel middle finger to the Saints? Will Carson Palmer survive this encounter with Aaron Donald? Is there any end to the questions, or is this Cardinals-Rams game the kind of provocative, interesting game that will keep the national discussion going nonstop? I’m going to assume no on that one.
Pick: Rams -3.5
Tennessee Titans (-6) at Cleveland Browns
Wednesday night I went to the Celtics home opener against the Bucks. When I got the tickets, I thought it’d be awesome to be there the first time the new-look Celtics took the Parquet Floor. It didn’t go according to plan. And they lost. Anyway, on the way home from Boston I have to (I don’t really have to, but it’s the fastest way) take the same highway I took at the back half of my drive from my home in Vermont to UConn back
when I had some optimism in my future when I was a student. As I approached the exit, I figured what the hell why not go through campus again, maybe get some food from one of my old haunts. So I did. It was a mistake. The huge, multi-million dollar plaza they started building my senior year was done, and it not only looked amazing but also had a ton of stuff I would have liked to have when I was around. Coupled with the countless happy young people who would sniff my old ass out in a second if I ever tried to party with them and it made me pretty depressed. I was low, so I needed something I could rely on. I stopped at my favorite place on campus, Wally’s Chicken Coop. I not only got lunch, but I took some home for dinner, too. It was a short-lived moment of bliss, eating a chicken-nugget-based diet once again. But then this morning, my body reminded me I was no longer in college and probably shouldn’t eat like that anymore. I was on campus for at most 20 minutes and it made me more depressed and downtrodden than anything I’ve done since I graduated. Don’t know if it’s possible to be lower. Oh, wait, yes I do. I could be a Browns fan!
Pick: Titans -6
Tampa Bay Bucs at Buffalo Bills
Do they just not make lines for Bucs games anymore? Do they really think Jameis isn’t going to play? He literally said he’s playing. Whatever, I probably wouldn’t have taken them, anyway. I’m not standing in front of the pre-week 9 Bills train.
Pick: Bills -whatever
Dallas Cowboys (-6) at San Francisco 49ers
Niners are allergic to doing anything but lose in heartbreaking fashion. Ezekiel Elliot is allergic to getting suspended. Something has to give.
Pick: 49ers +6
Seattle Seahawks (-5) at New York Giants
Don’t let the Giants get hot! Seriously, though, please don’t let the Giants get hot.
Pick: Seahawks -5
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)
It’s gotten lost in the monsoon of Dalton jokes, but the Bengals have won two straight and have allowed the second fewest points in the AFC. Bengals D is legit and is going to keep this game close. They won’t win. The Bengals have a mental block that prevents them from A) beating the Steelers and B) winning a game that starts after 1pm, but they won’t get blown out.
Pick: Bengals +5
Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots (-3.5)
The spread for this should really be Pats -1000. Falcons lost to the Bills. Falcons blew a 17 point lead and lost to the Dolphins. They can’t beat the AFC East. And now they’re facing the boogeyman that gave them their crippling fear of holding on to big leads? In the belly of the beast? Falcons could be up 56-0 at the half and I’d still be positive the Pats were covering. The Falcons are the softest team I’ve ever seen. Atlanta is the softest city I’ve ever seen. The Patriots own Atlanta. Tom Brady owns Atlanta. I own Atlanta. There’s a better chance of Boo 2! winning the Oscar for Best Picture than the Falcons doing anything other than puking and pooping all over themselves the second the Pats come out of the tunnel.
Pick: Pats -3.5
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5)
Been way too long since there’s been an NFC East division game on national TV, feels good. Eagles have the best point differential in the NFC, and third highest in the league (behind only the Chiefs and…..Jaguars???). Their offense has been smashing people left and right. But the Skins D has been better than a lot of people (me) thought coming into the season, and they have the offensive firepower to hang with the Birds if they go off. This might end up being a fight to the death, and the Eagles may have to forcibly rip every blade of grass they gain from the Redskins’ hands. Or the Eagles will just roll again, but we’re talking about Philly, here.
Pick Redskins +4.5
Bonus College Picks
- Louisville at Florida State Over 59
- Maryland at Wisconsin -24.5
- Oklahoma State -7 at Texas
- Purdue -9.5 at Rutgers
- Oregon at UCLA Over 67