Wednesday, September 26, 2012

NFL Picks Week Four: Your Sin Stinks To High Heaven

I Got A Problem With You People
If you made my picks last week, you had the following things happen to you. Among many, many other problems. But these were the worst.

1) The Jags completing one pass of consequence in 60 minutes of road football... and having it go for 80 yards and the game and cover-winning score

2) The Ravens trying for the covering touchdown where the Patriots were eager to concede the score, then hitting the brakes and going for the non-covering figgie despite last year's playoff loss, then *barely* making that for the win

3) And, well, the Monday Night Screwjob.

That first loss cost me $70, the second cost NBC a probable FCC fine from the loudest "manure" chant ever heard on broadcast television, and the third cost America several days of work as everyone freaked out over the NFL turning into an object of exceptional ridicule.

But if you'd like to ridicule the picks, I understand. There are clearly bigger targets to ridicule -- the integrity-free scabs who took the ref gigs, the commissioner that perpetrated this fraud, and the owners that enabled it -- but honestly, that kind of week opens itself up to abuse. And not just any kind; I'm looking for holy penance. So this week, after each pick, I've punctuated the selection with an insult from Martin Luther, the original Angry Man, from the wonderful Web site that doles out the punishment. (Thank you, West Coast Mookie, for hyping me to this. It's going to save me many, many hours, and provide untold joy.)

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

CLEVELAND at Baltimore (-13)

This is one of those games where you have to look at the history more than the particulars, and the history is this: Baltimore never blows out Cleveland at home. On the road, sure. But at home, the Browns button down the game plan and run it, the Ravens sleepwalk for a while, and the game is close enough for those ref shenanigans that have bedeviled the Ravens for years to crop up. Count on more of the same here. Besides, how many times do you have to see the big favorite lose this year to know that laying this much wood isn't good for your bankroll?

For new Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam: Dear God, what an utterly shameless, blasphemous lying-mouth you are!

From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 300 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Ravens 20, Browns 10

Carolina at ATLANTA (-7.5)


Normally I'd like the Panthers to cover this number, since the Falcons have fewer days to prepare, and a big trip back from SoCal. At 3-0, they are also ripe for letdown in the parity swamp that is this year's NFL. But man alive, that Panther defense looked helpless against the G-Men last Thursday night, and this Falcons team, at least in the regular season, is a bigger a and better version of that. How are you supposed to stop Julio Jones and Roddy White, when Victor Cruz and Ramses Barden roasted you? And after watching many quarters of QB Cam Newton last week... well, something isn't right here. At all.

For Carolina owner Jerry Richardson: You vulgar boor, blockhead, and lout, you ass to cap all asses, screaming your heehaws.

From Against Hanswurst, pg. 212 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Falcons 31, Panthers 17

NEW ENGLAND at Buffalo (+4.5)


High confidence game here, as the Patriots are not going to fall to 1-3, and the Bills are not going to go to 3-1. Even if the teams' talent was really going that way, even if the scab refs aren't going to airmail this one to the Patriots with Goodell not even making them sign for it (what, you don't think these games are fixed when the scabs make a whopping $3K a game? Single bettors alone can triple that take in a heartbeat). Independent of conspiracy theories, the Patriots aren't blowing this game, and QB Ryan Fitpatrick isn't good enough to steal it. Especially without RB C.J. Spiller.

For Bills owner Ralph Wilson: Is not what I said before true, that you have eaten and drunk yourself full of devils, and so spew vainglorious devils out of your hellish gorge?

From Against Hanswurst, pg. 244 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Patriots 30, Bills 21

Minnesota at DETROIT (-4.5)


Have we underestimated the Vikings? Well, more likely, you: I've been making money on betting them to cover much of the year, though the out and out beatdown of the Niners came as something of a surprise. And with a road test against the pliable Lions on tap, with QB Matthew Stafford looking iffy due to injury, it seems like a fine time to keep riding the Purple Train. But, well, road games in a dome against a team with a clear talent edge are another matter entirely, and the Lions found something last week in RB Mikel LeShoure. It won't be a supremely comfortable cover, but it'll be one at the gun.

For Vikings owner Ziggy Wilf: You stink like devilish filth flung into Germany.

From Against Hanswurst, pg. 242 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Lions 31, Vikings 24

SAN DIEGO at Kansas City (+1)


A true toss-up game between two teams that can certainly make you want to toss, well, something. I like the road Chargers here because I just can't see the Chiefs having a running game that shows up in consecutive weeks, and the Chargers are due for a bounce-back after last week's de-pantsing at the claws of the Falcons. Arrowhead also holds no terror to me, especially when it's early in the year and cold weather can't make SoCal people contract with dread. And doesn't RB Ryan Mathews have to have a decent game to suck people back into believing in him here?

For Chiefs owner Clark Hunt: We leave you to your own devices, for nothing properly suits you except hypocrisy, flattery, and lies.

From Against Latomus, pg. 143 of Luther's Works, Vol. 32

Chargers 24, Chiefs 17

SEATTLE at St. Louis (+3)


I would have been impressed by the Seahawks even if they didn't receive the officiating gift of the millennium; 8 sacks in a half is good against Lingerie League competition, let alone a playoff caliber team with a young and spry QB. But as long as HC Pete Carroll refuses to let QB Russell Wilson actually earn the job by, say, throwing it more than 4 times a quarter, you set yourself open to losing games that you have no business losing, because winning games with such a vanilla offensive plan isn't happening. But I get why he did it, seeing how the first 3 Seahawk games were against reasonable defenses at home.

This week against a Rams team that has only one pass rusher and a secondary that loses people more often than a discount hospice, look for the blinders to come off his pony a bit. And the Hawks to roll, hard, with more than a little vengeance as to how they've been painted as America's Big Cheaters for the past six days. Strong confidence pick here.

For Seahawks owner Paul Allen: I can with good conscience consider you a fart-ass and an enemy of God.

From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 344 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Seahawks 27, Rams 16

SAN FRANCISCO at NY Jets (+4.5)


Can't bet this one fast enough, assuming that the scab ref situation actually gets settled and I ever regain the taste for gambling on NFL games. With CB Darelle Revis done for the year, if not career, reserve RB Joe McKnight being shifted against his will to CB, and the usual QB Circus... well, just how this team is 2-1, I have no idea. And if PK Dan Carpenter had done his job in Miami last weekend, they wouldn't be.

Look for the Niners to come in angry, to dominate on defense after giving up too much to the Vikings last week, and for Jets Fan to stop spelling and start booing before the end of the first half. I have a hard time seeing the Jet offense scoring an offensive touchdown in this game.

For NY Jets owner Woody Johnson: You curse, blaspheme, shriek, struggle, bellow, and spit, so that, if people really heard you utter words, they would gather with chains and bars, just as if you were possessed by a legion of devils and had to be seized and bound.

From Against Hanswurst, pg. 185 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41


Niners 24, Jets 9

TENNESSEE at Houston (-13)


Too big of a number again for a division game, and the Titans have started to figure out the passing game a bit. This will be one of those classic never-in-it backdoor covers that are all the rage in the NFL this year, and the first good ROI for the Kenny Britt gamblers. Besides, I still don't trust Texans HC Gary Kubiak to willingly accept prosperity.

For Titans owner Bud Adams: You have set out to rub your scabby, scurvy head against honor.

From Against Hanswurst, pg. 185 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Texans 30, Titans 20

OAKLAND at Denver (-7)


This Broncos team just looks like they are going to fall behind every game and keep it close all the way, and I like what the Raiders did last week in Oakland against the Steelers. (Frankly, I really didn't think they had it in them, but RB Darren McFadden finally hit a big play, which made everything all better for them.) Oakland won't win -- they aren't smart enough for that or error-free enough for that on offense, and QB Peyton Manning will sneak this one past them with his brain more than his increasingly exposed arm -- but they will cover, and be right there late.

For Raiders owner Mark Davis: You are like a magician who conjures gulden into the mouths of silly people, but when they open their mouths they have horse dirt in them.

From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 264 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Broncos 27, Raiders 24

Miami at ARIZONA (-7.5)


Not in love with laying this much wood with a team that looks like it won't handle 3-0 well, but at some point you have to look at the exceptional speed and power of the Arizona defense, and the startlingly good won-loss record since the second half of last year, and cry uncle. Especially when facing a terrible team like the Dolphins, who will also be flying through three time zones to play in the desert. Not fun.

For Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell: You are in all you do the very opposite of Christ as befits a true Antichrist.

From Defense and Explanation of All the Articles, pg. 61 of Luther's Works, Vol. 32

Cardinals 24, Dolphins 13

CINCINNATI at Jacksonville (+3)


I don't get this line at all. The Bengals have just gone into Washington and won a shootout game with the home Redskins; the Jaguars ground out a road win on the strength of two big offensive plays against the home Colts. The Bengals have what might be the best WR in the AFC in AJ Green; the Jags have a whole lot of small college guys who have not worked out. I'd lay the wood with the Bengals at +6.5, so the +3 looks positively welcome.

For Jaguars owner Shahid Khan: You hellish scum.

From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 329 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Bengals 31, Jaguars 17

New Orleans at GREEN BAY (-8)


Vengeance Pinball Time in Green Bay, who I would gladly take at +20.5 after last weekend's festivities. The Saints can't stop anyone on defense, don't make adjustments well after the half with HC Sean Payton gone, and lack a credible deep threat without WRs Robert Mecham and Devery Henderson. The Packers started to figure out their protection issues in the second half against the Seahawks, and the Saints don't rush anyone well. This won't take long.

For Saints owner Tom Benson: You teach the disorderly masses to break into this field in disorder like pigs.

From Against the Heavenly Prophets, pg. 89 of Luther's Works, Vol. 40

Packers 45, Saints 20

WASHINGTON at Tampa Bay (-3)


Curious game between two never-rans. The Bucs could have been relevant (i.e., 2-1)  had they held that huge lead in New York before committing KneelGate. The Skins have had the bloom come off the rose after that shocking Week One win in New Orleans, and have had serious injury issues to a defense that wasn't that great to start with. It's pretty much a coin flip game, so give me Robert Griffin And His Majestically Long Name That Really Doesn't Need To Be Mentioned On Every Snap From Center The Third to will his team to victory, thus setting Redskins Fan up for crushing depression later this year when he gets hurt.

For Redskins owner Daniel Snyder: You are desperate, thorough arch-rascals, murderers, traitors, liars, the very scum of all the most evil people on earth. You are full of all the worst devils in hell - full, full, and so full that you can do nothing but vomit, throw, and blow out devils!

From Against the Roman Papacy, an Institution of the Devil, pg. 277 of Luther's Works, Vol. 41

Redskins 24, Bucs 20

NEW YORK at Philadelphia (-1)


So many ways to go here. The Eagles have won 7 of their last 8 against the Giants, with Andy Reid more or less de-pantsing Tom Coughlin on multiple occasions. The DL usually does increasingly nasty things to QB Eli Manning, and the Giants haven't been able to gash them with the running game the way you think they should. They'll have WR Jeremy Maclin back, and they are immensely better with him in the lineup. The game is at home, with the team primed for a bounceback, and maybe even a clean game in turnovers, against a team that might be feeling too good about itself after crushing the Panthers in Carolina last Thursday.

But there's what your eyes tell you, and that is that the Eagles will not adjust protection to make the game manageable for QB Michael Vick, and that DE Jason Pierre-Paul might have a 4 sack game against this scheme and situation. Vick has shown an utterly absurd lack of pocket awareness this year, to the point of making me wonder if he's operating with some sort of concussion. The Giants have the best WRs in the league, and CB Nnamdi Asomugha might be the NFL's most overrated player.

So... it's Blue, in one of those dispiriting night games where your team is shown to be finesse frauds and fools, under the white-hot spotlight of a national television audience. Oh, and maybe we'll see Reid bench Vick, or Vick get hurt, and Eagle Fan to turn on his team with a vengeance. Good times!

For Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie: You reek of nothing but Lucian, and you breathe out on me the vast drunken folly of Epicurus.

From The Bondage of the Will, pg. 29 of Luther's Works, Vol. 33

Giants 24, Eagles 16

CHICAGO at Dallas (-3.5)

My Bear Fan friends, like my Steeler Fan friends, hate when I pick their team, because they are unable to look at the slightly above .500 lifetime record and somehow believe that my picks spell doom for their laundry. Last week, this wasn't the case, as my top confidence pick manhandled the Rams despite continuing offensive struggles. On the road in Dallas, they will need more of the same and get it, because this Cowboys team hasn't looked good on offense for several weeks now, and that's especially telling against the moribund Bucs.  I also think that one of these weeks, QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall will remember that they are talented and capable of putting up some numbers.

For Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Even if the Antichrist appears, what greater evil can he do than what you have done and do daily?

From Why the Books of Pope Were Burned, pg. 393 of Luther's Works, Vol. 31

Bears 24, Cowboys 17

Last week: 4-11-1

Year to date: 23-24-1

Career: 565-548-27

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