NFL Picks Week 9


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.


“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 Week 8 Picks

Welcome to this edition of Tales from the Brian’s Den. This week is extra spooky, and, with Halloween only a few days away, many of these will have you questioning whether or not it’s worth it to go trick or treating. You never know what horrors await you outside your door. Then again, what horrors await you inside your door? Brock Osweiler already snuck into your home and played a night game, what could be coming once the dark magic is really in the air? That’s for you to find out, if you dare. Muahahahahahahaha. Happy Halloween, mortals.

Plz press play:

Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars in London

You hear Big Ben clang somewhere behind you. Midnight. Standing outside on this cold, foggy London night you wonder what reason your friend could possibly have for calling you at this late hour. You already banged the ornate knocker against the heavy door once, and are tempted to do so again. The fog has started playing tricks on your mind, and you’re sure you saw something scurry behind you on the cobblestone streets. You wish he’d answer the door soon. Finally, the door inches open.

“Come in, come in,” your friend says. “I’ve got to show you something I’ve been working on.”

Your friend is a scientist, and one that’s been condemned by the community for his….unorthodox experiments. The last time he called over this urgently, you had nightmares for three weeks. The house is strangely empty as you walk through.

“Where are the servants?” you ask.

No answer. You walk passed the drawing room, where you see broken chairs, overturned candles, and multiple bumps on the ground that could be bodies…

“What’s going on?” you ask. Still no answer.

Your friend opens the door to his lab. There are deeps gashes on the wall and broken glass on the floor. He runs to a small table and picks up a vial of glowing teal liquid.

“This is it,” he exclaims. “I’ve finally perfected my serum. The Order will have no choice but to accept me.”

“What is that?”

He downs the concoction and throws the vial to the ground, shattering it. He clutches his stomach in agony and his skin starts to churn. Concerned, you take a step forward, hoping to help in some way. When your friend rises, you’re frozen to the spot. He’s transformed. Blake Bortles now stands before you. The scream never leaves your throat.

Pick: Jags

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions (-3.5)

I still remember the time the 2010 Ford Focus went crazy and started killing people left and right. Most people don’t believe it. After all, a car going on a killing spree is pretty hard to believe. I can’t say I know how it happened, but I just know it did. The papers blamed it on gang violence. Please. I saw that car. I saw the murderous intent in its headlights. No one was driving it, either. I saw it pin a woman against a brick wall and keep ramming her until she was broken in half. Then it ran over another man’s head. That car was evil, and it wasn’t until Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary against the Lions that its spirit was finally broken. That car was Detroit to the end.

Pick: Lions

Washington Redskins (-1) at New York Giants

*The insensitive and offensive story regarding Native American culture has been removed*

Pick: Redskins

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-10)

Vance Joseph woke up in a cold sweat. Panting, he checked the clock. 3:17 am.

“Same dream, honey?” his wife asked, awoken by his screaming.

“Yeah,” he said. Same dream every night. It didn’t help that the media couldn’t stop talking about it. The Kansas City Slasher was on the lose, and he’s coming for you! Vance thought it was all a little overblown, but couldn’t help be a little worried. Rumor had it the Slasher loved claiming defensive minded football coaches as his victims.

“I need a glass of water,” Vance said, getting up. His wife said something, but he couldn’t make it out. He was still replaying the dream- the Slasher standing over his bed holding a knife.

He grabbed a glass and turned on the sink. He always thought his kitchen was a little too big, but he wouldn’t dare tell his wife. She loved hosting parties. He put his glass down and splashed some water on his face, hoping he could still get a few hours of sleep before going into the office. Suddenly, he heard movement behind him. Spinning around, he was face to face with another man.

“Hey, coach,” an absurdly gravelly voice said.

“Pat?” Vance asked, subtilely searching for a weapon with his hand. “You alright? Need me to call Andy?”

“Looking for this?” he asked, holding a large kitchen knife.

“Pat, listen, you don’t have-”

“I heard you thought you could stop us. That you thought you could stop Showtime.”

“I never said that, and you know it.”

“I wonder who they’ll replace you with,” Pat said. “Think Elway will step in? I think I’d like that.”

“Pat, wait,” Vance said as Pat inched closer. “Pat! Pat!”

Pick: Chiefs

Baltimore Ravens (-2) at Carolina Panthers

October 24, 1924

Our Amazon journey trudges on. I’m starting to think this quest to find the lost city of Passinterferencia is for naught. Still, our leader Flacco insists we keep going. He’s completely obsessed, and I worry he’ll sacrifice our entire party to satisfy his curiosity. I’m regretting leaving home.

October 25, 1924

Flacco has begun claiming he once lived in Passinterferencia. That his friend Lombardi is still there. He thinks this will be taken as proof enough that it exists. I take it proof he’s gone mad. I’m trying to take control of this expedition before all is lost.

October 27, 1924

After convincing the party to turn back, I fear I may have gotten us lost. Our guide, a native we picked up from a nearby village, is manic with fear. Apparently we’re approaching the cursed den of some ancient beast. I worry I may be the only one of us left to have kept his head.

October 28, 1924

Everyone is dead. Both my legs are gone, and I know I don’t have much time left before that creature comes to finish me off. The very gates of hell opened and spit out a massive, black, cat-like demon who started massacring our party. After every kill, it would taunt the remaining men by dabbing on us or miming ripping a shirt open as if to reveal a superhero outfit. Our guide was the only one spared, and he cursed me as he left, traumatized. This trip was a disaster. I doubt any soul will ever read this, but if you do- RUN AWAY!

Pick: Panthers

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8)

The Brown bloodline never stood a chance. That’s what Baker kept hearing growing up. As the last of the noble family, Baker was warned again and again to stay away from Pittsburgh. That everyone in his family was ripped apart by the metal monster that only has a taste for Browns. Well, Baker wanted to put that to the test. He packed his bag, remembering to grab his six-shooter, and hopped on I-76. He was going to kill this creature and avenge his family. Well, that’s what he said, anyway. I haven’t heard from him in three weeks.

Pick: Steelers

New York Jets at Chicago Bears (-7.5)

I’m sure none of you will believe me. You’ll just say I’m crazy. But I know what was written in that book, and I know what happened when I read those cursed words aloud.

I had been tracking the ancient tome for years. There was only one surviving copy, and the legends about it were as old as time itself. I only wanted it for the rarity. I was going to sell it again for massive profit. But when I took the book from the haggard old woman, my curiosity got the best of me. I had to read Monsters of the Midwaye Moste Evile.

I knew I had to try one of the spells. I had to see if the summonings worked. I gathered the required ingredients, drew the magic circle, lit the candles, and said the incantations. I figured nothing would happen. I’m sure the press said nothing happened. But I saw those spirits appear. I saw the murderous look in their eyes. I heard what they said.

“We’re hear to kill promising young QBs,” they kept repeating. Next thing I knew, they were gone. And Sam Darnold was dead. And no one suspected me in the slightest.

Pick: Bears

Tampa Bay Bucs at Cincinnati Bengals (-4.5)

Jameis couldn’t believe it. Pirate zombies. What a preposterous outbreak. While being quarterback of the Buccaneers gave him a small modicum of protection, he was still hiding. They had already killed a few of his teammates. Gripping the shotgun he had lifted purchased from Publix, he looked out the window. Nothing was stopping the slow, ambling march of the walking eye-patched corpses.

He heard glass break in another room. Panicking, he ran over. He was suddenly face to face with patient zero of the outbreak. The Captain, they were calling him. He had a huge beard, a tricorn hat, a baggy white shirt, and a crimson frock coat. An undead parrot was perched on his shoulder.

“He went to Harvard!” it squawked.

Jameis fired. Half the zombie’s body disintegrated, but it kept walking towards him.

“Ye can’t kill me, Jameis,” it said sadly. “Ye can never kill me.”

Jameis turned and ran as the Captain’s body regenerated.

Pick: Bucs

Indianapolis Colts (-3) at Oakland Raiders

“Step right up, my man,” the mysterious peddler said. “Take a gander at my wares. You won’t find rarer.”

The shop had popped up overnight about a week ago, and soon everyone in town was raving about it. Rare curiosities that happened to be exactly what everyone needed, all for no charge! One woman got a future Hall of Fame defensive end, one old man got the overhyped receiver he’d been craving. You had to check it out for yourself. No harm in looking, after all.

The store didn’t even have a name, but the owner certainly had a distinctive look. Barrel chested with a blond bowl cut, the man shook your hand vigorously as soon as you opened the door.

“Take a look at this one, man,” he said, holding up a mascara-eyed quarterback. “I like to call this guy the Sheriff, because he’s always in command out there.”

You pass. You need many things, but a QB who is hated in his own locker room isn’t one of them.

“No? Alright, how about this little guy,” it’s a safety that was drafted in the first round who hasn’t really done anything in the league. “I’ll tell you what, man, this guy here’s a real grinder.”

You pass again. You think it’s about time to leave this shop, because you’re starting to get an uneasy feeling. Something about this place seems off.

“Alright, man, I think I know exactly what you need,” he rummaged behind the counter and pulled out a bucket of Hooters’ wings and Coronas. “This right here, man. This is perfect for all your football watching needs.”

Without hesitating, you reach out and grab the bucket. You feel a shock, and the shopkeeper gets a devilish look in his eye.

“It’s yours, man. Free of charge.”

“Really?” you ask. “All of this for free?”

“Well, it doesn’t cost money,” he said with a laugh before ushering you out the door. “I’ll see you soon, man.”

You don’t know what he meant by that, but who cares? You got exactly what you needed.

Pick: Raiders

San Francisco 49ers (-1) at Arizona Cardinals

Just seeing this matchup was by far the scariest thing I’ve ever read.

Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams (-9)

The meeting is in 15 minutes. Your lunch with your producer friend ran long, and all that time you had put aside to get from Nobu to the San Fernando Valley was dried up. Luckily, you just purchased one of the new self-driving smart cars everyone was raving about.

“Welcome, brah,” it would say every time the engine started. “You are currently 200 feet from In-N-Out. Would you like to swing through for a couple Double-Doubles?”

“No thanks, Tanner,” you said. “I’m in a hurry and need to get to my meeting with Rodrigo.”

“I gotchu, brah. Would you like to take the 412 up to Santa Monica or the 317 towards Culver City?”

“Just get me there ASAP, Tanner.”

“Right on.”

You zone out. These new cars are really amazing. They detect everything around them, and are undoubtedly better at driving than you ever were. Sure, it cost two years’ salary to buy, but it was worth it, especially if you were seen getting out of one.

This meeting is huge, you think. The script you’ve been developing could change your career forever. All those B-horror movies could finally lead to the big, prestigious films you’ve been dying to make. Rodrigo could make it all happen, but he hates tardiness.

You realize the car has stopped, and you look at the clock. Still three minutes to go, you’re in the clear! But when you look out the window, all you see are cars.

“Tanner, where are we?” you ask in a full panic.

“Sorry, brah, I might have miscalculated a bit. We’re on the 405 right now. Think we’re gonna be stuck here a while.”

The 405. In rush hour. On the one day you needed to be somewhere.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” you scream. But it’s lost under the sound of thousands of horns.

Pick: Rams

New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings (Pick)

The snow was unbearable. Drew could handle the cold and the wind, but walking through the snow was the worst part.

He had managed to survive alone for two weeks after his hiking party was attacked by strange purple monsters. His friends Alvin, Mark, and Michael were slaughtered instantly, and his mentor Sean had died from his wounds soon after. Drew was wondering why he thought a bunch of Southern boys would enjoy a getaway to the frozen fields of Minnesota, but it was too late for regrets, now.

Staying warm was all he was concerned about, but he knew he was being followed, too. The same creatures that attacked the first time had finally found him.

Good, he thought. A fight would keep him warm, and if he died, at least he’d go down swinging. He had been sharpening sticks at night, but was unsure if they would penetrate the thick hides of the beasts. Guess he’d find out soon.

The snap of a branch told him they were upon him. They were vaguely humanoid, but bigger, faster, stronger. They had razor sharp claws and teeth, and had yellow manes. They circled around Drew.

“Alright, let’s do this,” Drew said. “This is for my friends!”

He threw one of the sticks at the nearest monster. He missed. The fight didn’t last long.

Pick: Vikings

New England Patriots (-14) at Buffalo Bills

The little town of Buffalo was quiet this morning. Young Josh went outside, looking for some other kids to play with, only to find the streets deserted.

“Where is everyone?” he asked his mother. She didn’t answer, only wept into a tissue.

“What’s wrong, mommy?” Still no answer.

“I’m sorry, son,” his father said, kneeling down and embracing him. “Tom Brady’s here. And he demands sacrifice.”

His father punched him in the gut, both knocking the wind out of him and knocking him unconscious. He put him into the back seat of his car and drove off towards the stadium, where the malevolent being awaited his yearly tribute.

Pick: Patriots

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