Thursday, October 20, 2016

NFL Picks Week 7: You're Going To Get Tired Of Winning

Builds Casino, Loses Money
I apologize for letting too much of the systematic degradation of the country leak into the Sports Talk, but, um, well, when you live in remarkable times, pretending that you don't is just willful ignorance. Which is just not something we do. I don't refer to the DC franchise by their obvious trollbait name, I don't pretend the NFL has anything but money in mind when it does things like pinkwashing or concussion protocols or embracing, then rejecting, daily fantasy crack sites... and so, one (last?) thing about Donald J. Trump, Business Super Genius.

Dude went bankrupt running a casino. In the '80s and '90s, before the Internet, before neighboring states had casinos.

How, exactly, does that happen?

Especially when you are a Super Genius?

I think I've figured it out, really. Since watching three debates worth (actually, four -- I even tuned in for the veeps, because I clearly Have Issues) of this work, I've learned that if you don't want to have to own up to something terrible that you've said, you can just say you didn't say it. Video evidence to the contrary be damned.

So those disquieting number of losses in past weeks? Evidence of a rigged media. (Yes, I get that the media is, in this instance, me. Believe me, that guy is crooked.) Who are you going to believe, this week's column or your own eyeballs, looking at previous week's picks?

Anyway, we're already on the road to making our record great again with last week's gains. So on to Ohio! (In that there are games there this weekend, and they need to be picked. Also, other states.)

And with that... on to the picks!

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Chicago at GREEN BAY (-7.5)

I'm not under the illusion that this is a great Packer squad. QB Aaron Rodgers looks like just a guy right now, and he was the biggest roadblock to his team making a meaningful comeback in last week's snoozy loss against Dallas. But Terrible Night Football is usually a curb stomp, and the Chicago offense isn't airtight enough to be on the front end of that. This will be an illusion night over how Rodgers will be fine and everyone should just pretend nothing's wrong. There is and he isn't, but Chicago's defense, on the road, can't show it.

Packers 31, Bears 20

GIANTS (-3) at LA Rams (London)


Speaking of bad games set aside so that everyone can turn them off and make people question what's wrong with the ratings, here's a bad piece of business between two flawed teams. I like the Giants to travel better as their road trip isn't nearly as terrible, and their offense is more likely to make big plays.

Giants 27, Rams 19

New Orleans at KANSAS CITY (-6.5)


Say this for Andy Reid; the man knows how to work on a bye. With last week's thorough dismantling of the Raiders in the rearview, the West looks a lot more manageable for them, especially if the Broncos continue to have injury issues at QB. Against a Saints team that doesn't travel well historically, I think they cruise, especially since their running game is starting to hit on all cylinders.

Chiefs 31, Saints 23

INDIANAPOLIS (+2.5) at Tennessee


The Colts were so close to a feel-good road victory and a resettling of the order in the AFC South, but the defense failed them in the clutch, and the offense didn't do enough to win. I think they come into this game angry, and I also think the Titans don't have the offense to get it down in the end.

Colts 24, Titans 20

MINNESOTA (-2.5) at Philadelphia


Two straight ugly games of penalty flags and intermittent defense for my laundry, and now they get a rested Vikings team and a vengeful Sam Bradford. With OL issues that were disastrous, LBs that are getting lost in the wash, and a home crowd that can turn on them, not loving their chance to pin a loss on the last unbeaten NFC team.

Vikings 23, Eagles 20

Cleveland at CINCINNATI (-9.5)


Hate to run this big of a line with the very frustrating Bengals, but they are historically good at kicking sand in the face of the Browns, and they were closer to the Patriots last week than the final score indicates. Cleveland isn't going to go winless this year, but this isn't their week.

Bengals 31, Browns 17

Washington at DETROIT (-1)


This needs to be said: QB Matthew Stafford is playing some of the best football of his life right now, and he might actually be better without WR Calvin Johnson, let alone the usual lack of a running game. Against a DC team that isn't coached well enough to do this well with prosperity, I think they get it done again.

Lions 27, Slurs 24

OAKLAND (+1) at Jacksonville


Big test and bigger road trip for the Raiders, but their run game is good enough to surprise here, especially against a Jags team that hasn't put together their talent with their scheme.

Raiders 26, Jaguars 24

BUFFALO (-3) at Miami


If you can figure out this Dolphins team, you are up on me, but the Bills have played too well for the past few weeks to spit the bit on a road division game. The Bills just seem to be to have the higher ceiling.

Bills 25, Dolphins 20

Baltimore at NY JETS (pick 'em)


A feel pick from two teams that are going nowhere, with the feeling that the Jets are just going to have to play a good football game one of these days. I know they have a short week and an iffy home field, so feel free to just call this one a coin flip.

Jets 23, Ravens 20

TAMPA (-2.5) at San Francisco


The Niner defense used to be an elite outfit. Then they hired a fraud coach who destroys football teams with an easily diagnosed tempo offense. Now they give up 40+ points a game, but all anyone can talk about is QB Colin Kaepernick. Tampa's turn to take advantage.

Bucs 34, Niners 23

San Diego at ATLANTA (-6.5)


I still don't think the Falcons are for real, but the Chargers don't travel that well, and loud home dome with an offense that keeps having big moments can cover a big number. Especially when the ground game is also clicking.

Falcons 31, Chargers 20

NEW ENGLAND (-7.5) at Pittsburgh


Without QB Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are not going to be able to keep up with a Patriot offense that's just too opportunistic. There may be no greater drop off in the NFL than from Ben to Landry Jones.

Patriots 31, Steelers 20

SEATTLE (+1.5) at Arizona


Maybe the best game on the docket this week, and I'm more going with the season-long pick with my Super Bowl team than the one with absolute momentum now. I just think that QB Russell Wilson is going to pick up his game for the lights, and that QB Carson Palmer is at the stage in his career when he can lose any game on his own. But it's going to be a great and close one.

Seahawks 24. Cardinals 23

Houston at DENVER (-7.5)


Probably the biggest and most obvious Revenge Game on the calendar this year, with Denver Fan coming out for QB Brock Osweiler with an absolute vengeance. The Texans won't be able to run for enough yards to keep this from getting ugly.

Broncos 27, Texans 9

Last week: 9-5-1

Year: 37-54-1

Career: 796-804-50

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