|Oh The Lack Of Humanity|
I was especially amused to see Yahoo get dinged by the New York authorities, because they've been as insistent as others, but just without ads on television every 90 seconds. (Note: actual time there, not an exaggeration.) And to everyone who wants to get glibertarian about this and claim it's not a victimless crime... well, gambling has *loads* of victims, and if you don't believe that, you should take advantage of the terrific real estate opportunities that you'll find around nearly every residential casino in America. That DFS sites have claimed they are not gambling sites in the US, but that they are in the UK, where the laws are different? Pretty much all you need to know about the merits of the argument.
And speaking as to merits, this column had nearly none this week, with a flat out turrible performance. Time for the bounce back. And with that... on to the picks!
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Tennessee at JACKSONVILLE (-2.5)
That's more like it, NFL Network! I want my Terrible Night Football to be between teams that no one cares about, in divisions that don't matter, so that no one minds if they don't watch the game. Less Phil Simms in our lives is good for everyone, really. Give me the home team, who come in off a ref mistake win, and as such, are right there in the "race" for the AFC South. NFL Fever!
Jaguars 24, Titans 17
OAKLAND (-1) at Detroit
I was ready to believe in this Raider team, but then they got punched in the mouth by the Vikings at home, and have to go east and face the suddenly alive Lions, who got a win in Green Bay and might actually feel good about themselves. I'll give them one more chance, and probably regret it.
Raiders 24, Lions 20
Indianapolis at ATLANTA (-5.5)
Wow, have the NFL schedule makers done the Falcons some favors or what? They come off a bye to face a Colts team without QB Andrew Luck, and should be able to force the issue to WR Julio Jones, and take advantage of a weak Colts pass rush. Neither team is good, but one team will look a lot better.
Falcons 34, Colts 20
NY JETS (even) at Houston
Can't help but feel that the Texans are getting too much credit for beating a Bengals team that just laid an egg, and with QB Brian Hoyer still concussed, I like the Jets' chances to make TJ Yates look like TJ Yates. Look for the Jets to get their running game going in this one, and to have a little bounce from the extra rest coming off their TNF loss against the Bills.
Jets 27, Texans 17
Tampa at PHILADELPHIA (-5.5)
Last week's home loss to the Dolphins was flat out terrible, but it did have elements of fluke to it -- lost points in special teams, a tip drill touchdown, and offensive line play that is unlikely to be as bad again, especially with a more mobile QB in Mark Sanchez. The Eagles can, clearly, lose to anyone, and the Bucs can beat you with big WRs and a running game. But I think Sanchez will run good tempo here, and the Eagle TEs will do damage.
Eagles 34, Bucs 20
DENVER (+1.5) at Chicago
Ready for a dirty little secret? The Broncos are going to get a QB upgrade this week. Brock Osweiler is big, mobile, and can throw a deep ball, and the Bear secondary isn't airtight. In a road game where the defense will bounce back after getting left out to dry by Peyton Manning's INTs, Orange will look dangerous again, and Bronco Fan will start to think blasphemous thoughts. At least Manning has some experience in commercials to fall back on.
Broncos 31, Bears 19
St. Louis at BALTIMORE (-2.5)
Wow, what happened to the Rams? What seemed like an emerging tough guy team with a dominant RB and defense to match has fallen apart in the last two weeks, with dirty play, collapses against weak opponents, and now QB instability. They get a road game against the equally aimless Ravens, but Charm City at least will have Ref Payback against a loss that shouldn't have happened, officially. No need to watch this one, really.
Ravens 24, Rams 20
DALLAS (even) at Miami
Do the Cowboys finally break their losing streak with binkie QB Tony Romo back under center? You'd have to think so, especially with the Dolphins having a terrible run defense, and Dallas supposedly able to dominate with an offensive line... but there's also the possibility that the entire team is just getting through games without making eye contact with Dez Bryant or Greg Hardy. Fun locker room they got in Dallas! Give me the road team, because honestly, it's hard to lose this many games in a row in the NFL.
Cowboys 24, Dolphins 20
Washington at CAROLINA (-7)
Don't look now, but the Racial Slurs are just one win against a quality opponent away from taking control of the NFC Least. Then again, I think that's also true for teams that are not in the NFL. Against the Panthers and their early defensive pressure, they'll turn it over and fall behind, and not be able to execute a comeback. But if they do, it's 9-figure extension for QB Kirk Cousins ASAP. YOU LIKE THAT?
Panthers 26, Racial Slurs 17
KANSAS CITY (-3) at San Diego
Nice turn around for the Chiefs, who have looked like a different outfit since the trip to the UK to beat down the Dolphins, and Andy Reid's post-bye magic that ended Peyton Manning. This week in Team Going To LA, expect no home field advantage for the Chargers, RB Charcandrick West to continue to do his Jamaal Charles impersonation, and the Chiefs to keep getting back into the picture for an AFC wild card loss.
Chiefs 27, Chargers 16
GREEN BAY (+1) at Minnesota
I get that the Packers have fallen on very hard times, and that the Vikings have a resurgent RB in Adrian Peterson. But at some point, Aaron Rodgers Figures Stuff Out, and he really tends to do that against opponents that aren't quite ready for prime time. Green Bay will come at this with a little bit of desperation, and look a whole lot relieved at the end of regulation.
Packers 26, Vikings 20
San Francisco at SEATTLE (-13)
Blaine Gabbert, on the road, against an angry Seahawks team that pretty much needs to run the table after getting humbled against the Cardinals. I get that Seattle isn't what they need to be, especially on the offensive line, and that the Niners tend to play them tight, with a lot of bad blood. But come on, it's Blaine Gabbert. This is going to get ugly.
Seahawks 26, Niners 6
CINCINNATI (+5) at Arizona
Another prime time game for the Bengals, and another opportunity for them to prove to America that they aren't the same fold in lights losers that has made Marvin Lewis synonymous with first round loss. I think the Cardinals are going to be a little bit flat after last week's statement win against Seattle, and the Bengal DBs are the best part of the team. The line is a little too much for all of that.
Bengals 24, Cardinals 23
Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND (-7)
Sure, this time will be different for the Bills in New England! The Patriots are beat up with the loss of WR Julian Edelman, and the Bills have a resurgent running game. Rex Ryan won't have another terrible defensive game against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick won't pull another 100+ yard game out of some disposable third-down RB, and you won't spend hours watching Boston Fan muster about a tenth of the enthusiasm that any other fan base would for the dominant organization of their era. Oh, and Lucy won't pull the football away. All that will happen one day. But it's not how you bet.
Patriots 31, Bills 20
Last week: 4-10