We had a rough one last week folks. A brutal 1-4, my worst week yet as a hypothetical gambler. Shout out to the Saints for saving me from my one true fear coming into this process, the dreaded 0-5 week.
I could make excuses here. I could be mad at Detroit for leading us to believe Calvin Johnson would play against the Packers even though he hadn’t practiced all week, only to scratch him right before kickoff. I could blame the Broncos defense for not being able to hold the Cowboys under 42 points. I could be frustrated with RUSSELL WIL… no, I could never do that.
Instead of expressing my pains here, I am going to take it as a learning experience. And boy, did I learn a lot. Last week I talked about how confident I was in my picks, despite my self-recognition of being drawn to what I called “trap games.” The Broncos were in a trap game. The Chargers were in a trap game. I acknowledged this in my article, and immediately disregarded the thought with brash confidence in my instincts as opposed to my senses.
My senses were right, but if my vision quest with RUSSELL HUSTLE BUSTLE WILSON last week taught me anything, it is to have faith in myself and not worry about anything else. So that’s the plan this week; trust myself, trust the picks, and have fun with it.
Here’s the slate this week, minus the Giants continuing quest for 0-16 against the Bears on Thursday night. Home teams get the asterisk.
Do you see anything overly tempting there? I think I spy one. But last week’s adventure got me thinking, who do I trust more than myself and RUSSELL HUSTLE BUSTLE WILSON? The answer: the friends that I enjoy football with year to year. These are the type of guys that I immediately wanted to talk to after the Fail Mary last year broke the referee lockout and Twitter in one fell swoop. It is a very specific form of male companionship that a love of sports can help germinate, and one of my favorite aspects of being a guy.
So let’s make this a party. I have commissioned five friends to pretend that had to throw down $100 on one game this week. You might be saying, “Tyler, I thought you were going to trust yourself? Why are you outsourcing your picks?”
Well hypothetical hater, let me say that this is trusting myself more than anything else. I am trusting my ability to align myself with likeminded individuals who love sports and might be okay at gambling. Plus, if their pick blows it, I am going to give them so much shit.
Come on guys. I trust you. I believe in you.
Jaguars +26.5 over Broncos* … by Kevin McLaughlin (long time friend and fellow hater of all things Joe Buck)
Standing on one corner of the gridiron is a titan. A titan clad in orange and blue, he bears the head of a white horse on his arm. His force is like a storm, unrelenting, unstoppable, and unyielding. His weapons are nearly as formidable as him, deftly cutting opponents at will. He does not fight with the most graceful of styles, he will always win. His pace is fast, though methodical, killing those that stand in his way with a thousand cuts. There are few that have a hope to defend against his absolute, perfect domination of his competition, and even they are reliant on blind providence granting them a favorable fate. The Mile High Monstrosity knows no mercy, it will give no quarter, you are already doomed.
On the other corner is a big dumb cat that kinda just wants to take big fluffy nap. He’s teal and black. It’s pretty cute. The poor thing broke its leg recently. Also it’s from the most irrelevant city in America.
The contest here isn’t fair. It isn’t even in doubt. The wittle kitty cat will simply be crushed underfoot by the awesome power that is the Mile High Monstrosity.
This is a fight where the interest lies in how much damage the cat can do to the monster’s foot before squishing like a bug.
I dunno, that cat seems pretty ornery, they might give the monster a boo-boo.
Tyler’s take: Perfect. I wanted to bet the Jags because I am a masochist, and Evil Peyton Manning is a beautiful sadist. Also, Rick Reilly wrote this and I just despise Rick Reilly. Let’s do this Chad Henne. Let’s show Denver that you can keep up when given a four touchdown lead before kickoff. Let’s hit a backdoor cover against Brock. Let’s give Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon a monster day for us fantasy owners.
Browns* +2.5 over Lions … by Ben Rappaport (Possibly my #1 fan, unfortunately also a Patriots fan)
This is a home game for a sneaky good home team. With Megatron either not playing or not being at 100% I’ll believe that Joe Haden (the best corner in the league who no one realized until now was so good since he’s been on the Browns) can handle the likes of Kris Durham and Ryan Broyles. Also Jordan Cameron is KILLING it on my fantasy team. All aboard the Weeden Express.
Tyler’s take: Brandon Weeden. I just can’t quit you. But those stats that ESPN is throwing up about how bad the Lions are without Calvin Johnson are enticing. So just don’t blow it Brandon. Let your defense do the heavy lifting here.
Saints +2.5 over Patriots* … by Sheldon Satenstein (Member of every important fantasy league I have every been in. Fantasy Baseball Champion 2012)
I feel like the Patriots giving 2.5 to the Saints is one of those lines where the pick seems so obvious, but come 8 PM Sunday night I can totally see myself banging my head against a wall and gently sobbing, “Why did I doubt you Tom? Why?!”
The thing is though, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m having doubts about Tom Brady. Even over the past few years as others have argued how he’s been in decline, I’ve stood openly opposed to such assertions. This year feels different. It seems like the entire Patriots organization has a sort of hangover from the Aaron Hernandez incident – they just haven’t all been totally “there” since the scandal broke. I think the magnitude and the vicious shock of such an explicitly violent act has shaken some of these formerly untouchable men–Kraft, Brady, even Belichek – to their core, and they may not even realize it. The intersection of football and such a brutal reality is a difficult one to face.
Beyond that, the personnel just isn’t what it used to be. As I mentioned, Brady just doesn’t seem as sharp in any respect (did you SEE his post-game outfit last week?). His receiver core is a veritable collection of Mr. Glass in different bodies, and Wes Welker’s rejuvenation at Mile High is only throwing that fact under the spotlight even more.
The Saints on the other hand are trending in the completely opposite direction. They faced their controversial and challenging season last year, and have their coach/spiritual leader/Dementor Sean Payton leading them back to the promised land out of the wastes of the NFC South. Jimmy Graham is showing that his early career was no fluke, and Drew Brees is just doing Drew Brees things, putting up video game numbers like usual, though Peyton is (deservedly) getting the majority of the attention. Rob Ryan, though failing to come through on his guarantee of only being out of work for “five minutes” after being let go in Dallas, has turned New Orleans into a respectable defensive team once more, and their pass rush should be interesting to watch against Brady and the NE offensive line.
The bottom line is that the Patriots have yet to impress me this year, while the Saints have given me little reason to doubt them. Yes the game is in Foxboro, but it’s October, not December or January. New Orleans plus points is the move.
Tyler’s take: JIMMY GRAHAM. JIMMY GRAHAM. JIMMY GRAHAM.
Eagles -1.5 over Buccaneers* … by Matt Madel (Former Coworker of mine, with whom I would waste slow Sundays arguing spreads and over/unders. Also taught me how to play dice)
The Bucs release their ‘franchise’ quarterback and elect to start a rookie. Trent Cole and company are salivating. Vegas was looking into their crystal ball and thought Tampa was a 1.5pt dog at home against one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL? Granted Vick probably isn’t playing, but Foles will be more than serviceable in an offense that doesn’t place too much emphasis on great quarterback play.
All 11 players on Tampa’s defense are looking to crush DeSean across the middle. Look for Shady McCoy to come out of the gates with a rocket up his ass and turn nothing into something. Bucs are 4-16 covering the spread at home as a dog. The stats never lie. Eag’s cover.
Tyler’s take: I just want to whole-heartedly second this pick after learning that three Buccaneers have contracted MRSA. As if things couldn’t get more “high school” in Tampa. Coach talking shit on his quarterback, eventually forcing him to transfer. Players accusing said coach of rigging the election of team captains. Now MRSA. Would this be the greatest season of Friday Night Lights ever?
Seahawks* -13.5 over Titans … Tyler Lauletta (Long time enemy of Tyler Lauletta, now the two are finally starting to get along)
Tyler’s take: Duh.
Last Week: 1-4