|Buffy Is My Jam|
So, um, last week? Not a good one. This week? Feels a lot like last week. But it's time to play my part, so...
I've been favored to win every week in my work head to head league. I am, of course, in next to last place, as my opponents have racked up the most points in the league. My real-world laundry won last week, but so did every other team in the division, so they are still in last place, and a long way away from a possible playoff position. My main money league continues to trudge along in its no breaks and no hope method, with my last possible value pick (Christine Michael, bought for a $1 in the late game off his great pre-season notices, released today) going into the flotsam pile. It's just been a joy, and that doesn't even begin to get into the national fever dream that's now eight days old, and best left um-discussed, other than to note that nothing about this is, or ever should be, normal.
Oh, and I just read that the Packers picked up Michael. If he turns into something of value now that he's off my roster again, that'd just be. well, expected.
Anyway, the year's ruined, short of a miracle, but miracles only come to those who let them, so. Besides, you all might just be reading these to go the other way, and making serious bank. Who am I to judge?
And with that... on to the picks!
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New Orleans at CAROLINA (-3.5)
Two very bitter teams on a short week. Saints have rarely been very good on the road. The Panthers' secondary has been terrible all year -- guess letting CB1 Josh Norman walk for cash wasn't such a good idea -- and the offense has also taken a step back. Saints QB Drew Brees has done damage in this matchup over the course of his career, but he's entering the stage where road games are dicey. Especially without a reliable running game.
Panthers 24, Saints 20
PITTSBURGH (+8) at Cleveland
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has owned Ohio's teams for most of his career, and while he's been dog food on the road for much of this year, the poor Brownies catch him coming off a tough loss. Bounce back week for the Yinz.
Steelers 34, Browns 20
Baltimore at DALLAS (-7.5)
The Cowboys are the best team in the NFC. They'll play the Patriots in the Super Bowl. President Trump will be at the game, and everyone will think every part of this is just great, with the biggest ratings and best game ever. I am in no way picking the Cowboys every week from here on out as a reverse jinx. Nor am I contemplating suicide. Also, the Ravens stink on the road.
Cowboys 34, Ravens 24
Jacksonville at DETROIT (-6.5)
I'm not sure why QB Blake Bortles or HC Gus Bradley are still employed, so let's take advantage while we can, gang. Lions are fine at home, especially with QB Matthew Stafford having the best year of his career.
Lions 30, Jaguars 17
Tennessee at INDIANAPOLIS (-2.5)
Colts are coming off a bye, have had some signs of getting their act together on the offensive line, and just win these division games at home. Counting on QB Andrew Luck to be spry with time off, and the Titans to not manage prosperity, either.
Colts 30, Titans 20
BUFFALO at Cincinnati (-2.5)
Bills are coming off a bye and impossible to figure; Bengals are on a short week and eating a 1-point loss. Maybe RB LeSean McCoy is just healthy enough to win this on his own.
Bills 26, Bengals 20
Tampa at KANSAS CITY (-7.5)
Bucs are better on the road then at home, but not particularly good anywhere. Chiefs' defense at home could score, and will dominate.
Chiefs 27, Bucs 17
Chicago at NY GIANTS (-7.5)
The Giants play to everyone's level, which is bad for this kind of point spread, but the Bears are just DOA these days, with WR Alshon Jeffery suspended, QB Jay Cutler giving even less of an eff than usual, and his teammates pretty much just wanting him to lose and get hurt, so they can avoid being near him. Oh, and Smoking Jay is showing his usual airtight political skills by being pro-Trump in a league that's dominated by African Americans. What a genius!
Giants 30, Bears 13
ARIZONA (even) at Minnesota
Man alive, are the Vikings in free fall. A bad offensive line is now injured all over, the RBs haven't stepped up after the loss of Adrian Peterson, and it's all sizing up as another excuses year for QB Sam Bradford after the 5-0 start. I'd like to pick them to bounce back this week, especially in a loud dome against a turnover-prone QB in Carson Palmer, but I am just not seeing the offense score enough against a good Red defense to get it done.
Cardinals 23, Vikings 20
Miami at LA RAMS (+2.5)
The Dolphins come in with a road grading running game and the defense getting to tee off on the first action for Rams QB Jared Goff. I'm really not expecting Goff to set the world on fire, given that it took him this long to get the job over the clearly terrible Case Keenum. But Miami doesn't travel all that well, and even if Goff does not nothing more than miss throws deep, it'll be better than Keenum, especially for RB Todd Gurley.
Rams 19, Dolphins 17
NEW ENGLAND (-13) at San Francisco
Expect Boston Fan to own well over 50% of the seats in this one, because the Bay Area is a nice place to visit, there are a ton of transplants in the area, and the Niners have done everything short of enrolling their fans in Amway to get people to stop paying attention to them. As for the spread, it's high, but the Niners are the worst kind of bad team -- the one that plays fast, and makes their defense look even worse. Last one off the Chip Kelly Bandwagon, please turn off the lights.
Patriots 41, Niners 24
Philadelphia at SEATTLE (-6.5)
I want to pick my laundry here, but they've been bad on the road, and the Seahawks defense is starting to percolate. The Eagles don't have a single WR that will do squat in this game, and QB Carson Wentz isn't ready to manage a road win in this kind of hostile environment. It'll be a grind, because the Eagle DL might dominate for a while, but there will be separation late.
Seahawks 26, Eagles 17
GREEN BAY (+2.5) at Washington
Maybe I'm just stubborn here, but DC's tendencies to spit the bit against teams that aren't terrible seems like it's going to arise here, along with a general lack of readiness for prime time football. I also expect a bounce back from the Pack, who got waxed last week in Tennessee.
Packers 31, Racial Slurs 20
Houston at OAKLAND (-5.5)
Just not seeing QB Brock Osweiler doing enough to help his team in a road game in Mexico City, especially with the Raiders in ascent and coming off a bye. I'm not sure I buy this team as the division's best -- Jack del Rio is no genius, and the rampant penalties are going to cost them a game at some point -- but this isn't the week.
Raiders 27, Texans 17
Last week: 2-11-1