Greetings, mortal. Welcome to a super spooky Halloween edition of the Brian’s Den NFL Picks. If you dare to enter, who knows what kind of horrors await around every turn. What’s that? You’re a big tough guy who’s not afraid of nuthin? Watching the Dolphins offense doesn’t give you nightmares? Ha Ha Ha Ha. Fool. There’s plenty more blood, guts, and horrible quarterback play in here waiting for you. We’ll see just how firm your resolve really is. You think you’ve got this whole NFL Betting thing all figured out? You think you’ve finally cracked the code? Well, once you gaze upon the forbidden knowledge I’ve acquired over the millennia, I think you’ll change your tune. Just remember- I warned you about the the dangers you’re about to face. Don’t blame me when you’re reduced to a crying puddle, begging for your mother to save you. Apologies in advance for all the bad puns and jokes you’re about to read.
Minnesota Vikings (-10) vs Cleveland Browns
It’s nighttime in old London Town and the fog is thick tonight. You just left your job at the textiles factory and are trying to get home as fast as possible. After all, as an attractive young lady, you know the dangers of being alone at night, particularly a night like tonight. You’re not sure how, but you can feel someone watching you. Maybe it’s just the fog playing tricks on you. Maybe it’s your overactive imagination. Papa was always saying women shouldn’t think too much, after all. But just to be safe, you turn around. No one in sight, but you swore you could hear footsteps. You pick up the pace a little bit. Wouldn’t hurt to get some exercise, regardless of what Papa says about how ladies shouldn’t exert themselves too much. You don’t get to move about too much at the factory. You’re positive you hear footsteps, now. You glance over your shoulder, still nothing. You start looking desperately for a taxi, but the fog is so thick it’s impossible to see. This is a small street, too, you realize. Very out of the way. And not in your normal route home, either. How did you wind up here? You start to panic. Your heart rate is through the roof. Then you feel it. Someone is right behind you. You turn and are greeted by a man in a brown trench coat and brown hat. He reaches into his coat and looks at you. You gasp. It’s Hue Jackson! “Please,” he says,” take my resume. I’m good with QBs.” He hands you the paper he took out of his coat. Against your better judgement, you look down on the cursed document. That’s where your memories end.
Pick: Vikings -10
Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots (-7.5)
Phil Rivers woke up in a cold sweat. The same dream again, he thought to himself. This time it felt too real. He got out of bed and walked to the bathroom quietly. Don’t want to wake the wife and kids. Looking in the mirror, he almost doesn’t recognize himself. He looks like a man who hasn’t slept in days. He’s got dark circles under his eyes, his skin is sallow, and his stubble is thicker than he likes. I can’t wait for this week to be over, he thinks. Maybe these damn nightmares will stop. He turns the faucet on and splashes some cold water on his face. When he looks up, he sees someone in the mirror that wasn’t there before. Turning slowly, the realization dawns on him as he sees the pile of Unreal Candy and Himalayan pink salt at the specter’s feet. “Hello, Phil,” Tom Brady says. “You ready for Sunday?” All Phil can do is scream.
Pick: Pats -7.5
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles (-13)
Not many people know what happened that night at the Wentz Church in the heart of South Philly. Witnesses say a large group of men dressed in all red and gold entered just before midnight, only they never came out. Reports of screams and horrifying sounds until around 3 am. But, when a concerned citizen entered the church early in the morning, she found nothing wrong. No bodies, no weapons, not a pew out of place. The only noteworthy thing was a message on the wall, written in blood: “We should have won by a lot more,” it said, “but they dominated the coaching matchup so badly that we only won by 10.”
Pick: 49ers +13
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints (-9)
You never know what you’ll find if you get lost in New Orleans. Just ask Mitch Trubisky. After an evening of enjoying everything the French Quarter has to offer, he tried to stumble his way back to his hotel room. He started hearing whispers. Though impaired, he could have sworn he heard someone call his name. Sobering rapidly, he foolishly decided to follow the voices. Down one street, up another. The buildings were getting older, darker. Finally, he found himself in front of an old shack at the end of an alley. Skulls hung above the door and bones lines the walkway. The rickety door opened slowly, seemingly on its own accord. Mitch decided he had come too far to walk away now. He entered, and saw shelves full of odd trinkets and body parts and books in languages he couldn’t read. “Welcome Mitch,” a voice said. An elderly Creole woman was eyeing him ravenously. “I hear you want to be completing more passes every Sunday. I think I can help with that. Just take this football and you’ll become a star!” She was holding an ancient looking football, maybe one of the first ever produced. “All I need to do is take this ball and I’ll be able to complete more than four passes a game?” “That’s right, child,” she said, chuckling. “Just take it and bring it with you everywhere.” He hesitated. Mom always told him not to trust strangers. But all he had to do was take this ball and he’d become an NFL-level quarterback? What does he have to lose? “Alright,” he said, reaching out and grabbing the smooth leather. He felt a small shock, but though nothing of it. “What do I owe you?” “Oh, child,” she said, “you’ve already given me all I want.” She started laughing hysterically and Mitch took it as his cue to leave. After a few steps down the alley, he thought he might want a picture of this place so he could return. Maybe this woman could give him good receivers, too. But when he turned around, it was gone. All that remained was an overflowing dumpster. Looking at the football in his hand, Mitch Trubisky wondered if he had just made a huge mistake.
Pick: Saints -9
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-10.5)
Imagine the plot of Pet Sematary only instead of cats the undead animals are tigers and redheads. That’s the horror that awaits the Colts.
Pick: Colts +10.5
Atlanta Falcons (-6) at New York Jets
“Pull over, honey” Matt Ryan’s wife said. “We’re clearly lost. You need to ask someone for directions.” They had been driving aimlessly for hours, now, but Ryan was trying desperately to avoid stopping. It was true, they were lost, but he still had a decent idea of where they were. “Matt!” his wife said forcefully. He knew he had no choice. They were approaching a small gas station on the side of the road. Ryan pulled in. Wary of the fact that this was seemingly isolated from anything resembling a town, he walked inside. The man at the desk was wearing a dirty, green flannel shirt with the sleeves cutoff and a well-worn knit hat. “Hey, man” Ryan said, “we’re kind of lost. What’s the best way back to the highway?” “You just follow this road and take a right,” the man said, staring at him through horn-rimed glasses. His perfectly coiffed mustache moved with every word. “Just be careful, now. This here’s AFC East country.” “S-sure, thanks.” Matt was rattled. He was afraid of this. He scrambled out of the building, but saw a small child standing in front of his car. “Mr.Ryan, why did you lose at home to the Bills?” “I-I don’t know kid, it just kind of happen-” “Why did you blow a 17 point lead to the Dolphins?” a second boy asked, appearing out of nowhere. “I-I don’t….I don’t-” “Mr. Ryan,” another boy wearing a hooded sweatshirt said, “why did you blow a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl and then completely quit against the same team when you had the chance for revenge?” “I don’t…I-I-” He fell to his knees. More children kept appearing, asking him how his team could be so bad. He covered his ears with his hands, praying for it to stop. The door to the gas station opened, and the man came out, now holding a machete. “Like I said, this here’s AFC East country, and we don’t take kindly to your kind around here.”
Pick: Jets +6
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Bucs (-1.5)
Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills (-3)
I’m not sure I can really explain to anyone who wasn’t there how real the threat of ghost pirates were during the Summer of ’87. People along the coastline grew accustomed to them and knew how to avoid them. Whenever there was a heavy fog on the water and a chill in the air, everyone knew the ghost pirates were about to land. Tampa was hit hardest. The ghostly ship would appear on the horizon and dozens of phantom pirates would cross the water to come terrorize the town. They’d break windows, steal all the alcohol, and harass all the Hooters Girls. It was terrible. I’m not sure why, but one day they stopped coming. No one heard from them for decades. But then, out of nowhere, that same ship appeared on the banks of Lake Erie. They started raiding chicken wing joints and possessing Bills fans, compelling them to jump through tables and light things on fire. I’m not sure if anyone knows how to stop them. I’m not sure if anyone wants to stop them, to be honest.
Picks: Panther +1.5, Raiders +3
Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)
Imagine, if you will, you’re a Seattle native. You’re holding on to the grunge phase all these years later just waiting for it to come back, all of your passions are ironic, you’ve loved the Seahawks since they first came into the league in 2012, the whole deal. You wake up one morning and find that, much to your surprise, your coffee cupboard, usually stocked to the brim with artisanal roasts and locally sourced small-batch grounds, is totally bare! You can’t start your day without coffee, so you go to your favorite coffee shop. “Can I have my usual,” you ask River, the barista you’ve known for years. “Sorry, man,” he says, “we’re fresh out of coffee. Huge rush this morning. We should get another delivery soon if you want to wait.” “No thanks,” you say. “I need my coffee now.” You go to the place next door. It’s not as good, but you can stomach it. “Sorry, bro,” the barista says, “we’re all out of coffee.” What is going on, you wonder. This is Seattle! Surely someone has coffee. But no one does. You try the place next door, then the place next door, then the place next door, then the place next door, then the place next door. Everyone is out of coffee. You’re fully awake, now, but it’s a matter of pride at this point. Where is all the coffee? You’ve seemingly tried every coffee shop in the city, and no one has any beans. Since you’re a Seattle hipster, you don’t consider Starbucks to be coffee, so that’s out of the question. Are you going to have to skip a day of work just to find some coffee? “Wow, you smell really nice,” a random person says as they walk by. “Thanks, I guess,” you say, confused. You didn’t put any cologne or anything on this morning. Must be my natural musk, you think. “Mmm, love that smell,” another person says. Then you notice it- the unmistakeable smell of coffee. Finally, you think. At least someone has coffee in this town. Only, you walked to the only place in Seattle that doesn’t have a coffee shop in sight. But where is the smell coming from? Then you remember people have been complimenting you on your smell. You look down and gasp. Your Seahawks number 12 jersey is now made of coffee grounds! High quality ones, too. The only way to get coffee and prove you’re from Seattle is by brewing your 12th Man jersey, which you own to show people you’re from Seattle! What a cruel twist of fate. What would you do in this impossible situation?
Pick: Seahawks -5.5
Dallas Cowboys (-2) at Washington Redskins
“You sure this is a good spot?” you ask. “Of course it is, partner,” Stinky Pete said. Stinky Pete, the most famous outlaw in the five-county area and your boss, had just broken ground on his new HQ, to be built with the wood from the forest they had spent the last few weeks cutting down. You weren’t so sure, though. Something about this place seemed off. When Stinky Pete dug his ceremonial golden shovel into the dirt, he exposed a pile of bones. Odd, erie totems were placed all over the edge of the clearing, each topped with the skull of a different animal. And, ever since they had decided to use this location, crazy things had been happening to their crew. A tree fell unexpectedly, killing three men. A freak lightning storm caused a forest fire, killing another five. Even though animals seemed to instinctively avoid this place, bears and cougars have attacked multiple times. It’s seemed to you like a cursed venture at this point, but you’re not in charge. Stinky Pete is, and he’s determined to see it through. “Uhh, hey boss,” Ralph says, crouched over. Ralph is Stinky Pete’s right hand man. “I think we might have an issue.” “What is it this time Ralph?” Stinky Pete asks. “I think this might be an Indian Burial Ground.” He held up a human skull he had pulled from the ground. Then he pulled up a battered Redskins helmet. “First of all, don’t call them injuns, Ralph,” Stink Pete said. “Have some respect. They’re called Redskins. And this ain’t no burial ground, no more, this is Stinky Pete’s future HQ!” There was a flash of lightning, and, suddenly, the ghost of Kirk Cousins materialized behind Ralph. He grabbed his head and yanked it back, breaking his neck. “You like that?” the ghostly voice asked. “You like that?” More and more ghosts were appearing. You could see Colt Brennan, Heath Shuler, Mark Brunnell, Jason Campbell, and Rex Grossman among others. “What do we do, boss?” you ask. But Stinky Pete is gone without a trace. As is everyone else in the crew. It’s just you against hundreds of Redskin ghosts. All of a sudden you’re starting to regret jumping on the Cowboys bandwagon in the ’90s.
Pick: Redskins +2
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) at Detroit Lions
You had thought it was strange when he told you to meet him at the abandoned car factory. It wasn’t the strangest place you had ever gone for a date, but you kept an open mind. You knew he was eccentric, maybe he was some artist that used the old car parts to make statues. That would have been cool, you thought. Too bad that’s not what happened. Almost as soon as you stepped foot in the old factory, you felt a needle go into your neck. Now, you were strapped to a cold, metal table surrounded by car parts and bits of metal. Who knows how much time had passed. “You know,” he said, noticing you were awake, “people like to say the Industrial Revolution is over. We have all this technology now, what’s the point of manual labor and metal work? Well, I like to think I’m keeping it alive.” He had a welding mask on and a torch in hand. Standing over you, he had a deranged look in his eye. “I’ve always wanted a metal girlfriend,” he said. “Hopefully you’re the one.” He flipped the mask down and held a steel beam against you arm. “Just warning you,” his muffled voice said, “this is going to hurt.”
Pick: Steelers -3
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
The thought of watching another Broncos primetime game is scary enough, honestly.
Pick: Chiefs -7.5
Bonus College Picks
- Tulane at Memphis Over 63
- Oklahoma State at West Virginia +7
- Georgia -14 vs Florida
- Penn State +6 at Ohio State
- TCU at Iowa State -6.5