Hello friends! Hope everybody is having a fantastic World Series/NBA Tipoff Week! The NFL will still play games this week because that’s what they do, and I’ll still pick them because that’s what I do. At least for now, since Dustin’s threatened to fire me if I have a losing record this season.
Sunday, October 30
Washington vs. Cincinnati (-3)
The Bengals finally get to head over to Wacky Old England this week, and they’re taking the Washington NFL Franchise with them. Cincinnati is coming off of a season-changing win over the Cleveland Browns that will surely pave their way into the playoffs. This is what the Cincinnati media tells me so I will take their word for it.
Washington had a tough loss in Detroit that has since been overshadowed by a picture of one of their assistant coaches peeing into a Gatorade cup on the sideline prior to the game. As somebody who has relieved himself in the RCA Dome parking lot and on the side of Wrigley Field before, I’m probably not in a spot to judge. (Though I will point out that I wasn’t an assistant coach at the time of either incident.) This sort of thing is fairly typical for Washington though, there’s always something taking place off the field to distract us from whatever nonsense is going on in the actual game.
I’m probably going to regret this pick, but the Bengals have the superior talent at most positions and should be able to get it done in London. The big question is if a 9:30 AM EST start time counts as prime time or not. I would say it’s the opposite, it won’t be a night game in England, but there won’t be any other games going on. I guess we’ll find out together.
Detroit at Houston (-2.5)
The good news for Texans fans this week is they don’t have a lot of time to dwell on Brock Osweiler’s performance. The other good news is that Brock can’t possibly perform worse than he did on Monday night. I think he has a bounce back performance this week and the Texans rope their fans into thinking they still have a chance. Detroit fans have been around too long, they know the Lions won’t do anything great.
Seattle (-2.5) at New Orleans
Interesting matchup here of one of the NFL’s great defenses against one of the great offenses. Seattle didn’t show it last week, but their offense should be able to take advantage of the Saints’ weakness on defense. Drew Brees & company should still get some things done, but not as many as Russell Wilson & the Seahawks against that sorry Saints defense.
New England (-6.5) at Buffalo
You can tell people think the Patriots actually have a chance of losing when their line is below a touchdown. The Bills are trying to become the first AFC East team to sweep the Patriots in the regular season since 1972, when the Miami Dolphins swept everybody in the division. OK, it hasn’t quite been that long, but it feels that long since it happened. The streak will likely continue because LeSean McCoy is still banged up & the Patriots will not allow themselves to lose to the Ryan Brothers again. Hopefully Rex & Rob are getting their exercise in before winter comes in & Buffalo becomes a snow pit of doom.
NY Jets (-3) at Cleveland
I keep saying the Browns are gonna win one of these weeks. This might be the week. The Jets are coming into town with God knows what at quarterback. Geno? Fitz? Bryce Petty? Hackenberg? Bueller? Does it matter? Probably not, as long as whoever it is can hand the ball to Matt Forte. The Browns give up the second-most rushing yards per game in the league and I think that’s the difference in this game. The Jets certainly have their issues at quarterback, but at least they’re not on their sixth of the season.
Watch out if Josh McCown comes back though…he’s the only one of those slugs I give any credit.
Oakland at Tampa Bay (-1)
These two franchises met in the Super Bowl back in 2003. Neither has done anything of value since. Keep this in mind during the World Series…we have a tendency to think in the moment that teams will have long runs of success and maybe if they come up a little short this season they can come back & win next season. The losing team between the Cubs & Indians isn’t guaranteed another chance next year to end their drought. They might have to wait another ten, twenty, maybe even fifty years to get another shot. Raiders fans probably thought they would have another chance to win a Super Bowl pretty soon. Bucs fans probably thought Jon Gruden could win multiple titles. Neither of these things happened. That’s life.
The Raiders are undefeated on the road this year and I think they’ll keep that going. Tampa is light on offensive weapons thanks to various injuries while all of Oakland’s are still pretty healthy. Should be a high-scoring game, and I think Oakland’s extra firepower makes the difference.
Kansas City (-2.5) at Indianapolis
The Chiefs have found themselves playing against some pretty good offenses lately, and have a two-game winning streak going. The Colts got the comeback win last week against Tennessee, but I still see too many issues with that defense. I’d take the Chiefs and the points here.
Arizona at Carolina (-3)
Remember when this was the NFC Championship Game last season? This season it got moved out of the 4:05 slot to 1:00 because the Panthers are turrble & the Cardinals were just in a 6-6 game. There’s no reason to put this game in a time slot where most of America can watch it, unless you really want to put a further dent into the NFL’s popularity.
The thing I can’t believe, and the thing I’m sure Jeremy Lambert can’t believe either, is that the Panthers are favored this week. Ron Rivera teams are 2-5 after the bye week during his time as head coach, and the Cardinals should be able to continue that trend. The Panther secondary is just a little bit weaker than the Seahawk secondary that managed to keep Arizona out of the end zone.
San Diego at Denver (-5.5)
The Chargers have finally gotten over the hump and are winning these close games they were losing early in the season. They could be a handful in the playoffs, but I think the Broncos will be more than a handful this week. C.J. Anderson might be out, but Devontae Booker has slowly been worked into the system just in case it was necessary. Denver will want revenge for that Week 6 loss and they should get it.
Green Bay at Atlanta (-3)
It happens every year. The Falcons come out of the gate strong and talk us into believing in them. About halfway through the season, things fall apart. We’re at that point right now. They’ve lost two straight close games, they get another good team this week and history tells us this is the beginning of the end. The Packers beating the Bears last week isn’t enough to sell me on them going forward, but I like them rested against a team wondering if they’re going to fail again.
Philadelphia at Dallas (-4.5)
We might finally have a good primetime game on our hands here. I was thinking that last week, and look what happened. The Eagles are coming off their biggest win of the season, and the Cowboys were on fire before getting their bye last week. I’m impressed with the Cowboys. Dak Prescott is getting it done at QB, Ezekiel Elliott is having a historic rookie season, and the defense has been shutting people down. Add Dez Bryant back into the mix and there’s a lot to like about Dallas this week.
But I look at that spread and I think this will be a close game. I also wonder about the Cowboys at home, which strangely doesn’t work a lot of the time. And there’s the hype surrounding the Cowboys, which often doesn’t end well. I think the smart pick is the Eagles. The Wentz Wagon isn’t the force it was early, but he hasn’t gotten awful overnight. Philly’s defense was able to take advantage of Sam Bradford last week, and there’s enough film on Dak now where he won’t take anybody by surprise. The Cowboys could still win, I just don’t trust them at that number.
Monday, October 31
Minnesota (-5.5) at Chicago
Bad news: The Vikings proved they’re not perfect last week. Their offense is really not good and it was only a matter of time before somebody exposed that. A good defense that specializes at creating turnovers can take care of the Vikings offense and create a chance for the type of victory that Philadelphia scored last week.
Good news: The Vikings play the Bears this week. The Beats have 4 INTs all season & haven’t been able to stop most people this season. Also, the Bears offense specializes in turning the ball over no matter who the quarterback is, but especially if it’s Jay Cutler.
Look for the Vikings to get back on track this week.