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.
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