I wanted to lead with this picture to remind myself what this process is all about.
You, the hypothetical reader of this hypothetical column, may have noticed that I haven’t been doing a whole lot of picking lately. The past two weeks I have outsourced the duties of selecting teams to triumph over the spread to different people I trust: boys I watch football with and a girl who would prefer I properly appreciate Parisian sunsets as opposed to trying to type about football on a French keyboard.
Both experiments went 2-3. I am not displeased with this number. The reason I gave up my picking ability these past two weeks was to allow me more time for midterm papers and Parisian sunsets respectively. Going 4-6 over that stretch ain’t so bad.
But I am back, safe in London now. And one thing has my body aching to the core. No, it is not my newfound knowledge that your bags do not get checked when traveling from Amsterdam back to London by bus. No, it is not the gaping hole left in my wallet. No, it is not Heineken straight from the factory (although that had me sick the past two nights).
What kills me right now is that after one of the dopest weeks of my life, I have come home to realize that my overall picks record has dropped below .500 for the first time all year.
This has to change.
This column is not about making memories in Paris or forgetting most of Amsterdam. This column is about important things, REAL THINGS. Well, hypothetically real things.
This column is about picks and an all-encompassing adoration for RUSSELL WILSON.
God got me home safe for a reason. My mom thinks it’s so I can eventually be “great” and “fulfill my destiny” and “bring joy to the world.” Me, I think it was because he knew I needed to burn out some proper picks.
Who knows – maybe we’re both right.
Here’s the Week 8 slate, minus the Panthers pillaging of Tampa Bay on Thursday. Home teams get the asterisk.
Ugh. Clearly should have saved one of my gimmicks for this week. Six teams on bye, four lines higher than ten with one teetering at 9.5. This is an ugly week.
But that’s why I’m back to make these glorious picks – while others stare in horror at this table, all I see is potential; an opportunity for glory in spite of all odds.
Sure, I haven’t watched football in two weeks. No, I have no idea who is starting at quarterback for the Rams or Vikings this week. But I can Google it. And I can have an opinion on it. And that opinion will be right.
All those other pickers are shakin’ in their pickin’ boots right now; that $1,500 entry fee is feeling way too real. Not me. I’m calm, cool, and collected.
Let’s get hypothetical.
Bengals* (-6.5) over Jets
I want to be clear here: I think this pick is ridiculous. This feels like it should be a 4 point line to me, and even then I would strongly consider betting the Jets if I was a man who bet with his wallet.
But I bet with my soul.
And holy shit does my soul hate Rex Ryan.
I know that “hating Rex Ryan” is so mainstream now that it is bordering cliche. I know that the more hip thing to do now is discuss that everyone who hates on Rex is wrong, that in fact, he is a great coach despite his shortcomings, and that he is the only personality big enough to demand so much attention in New York City or some other ridiculous argument.
I don’t care.
If that’s the case, I want to be unpopular. I want to be cliche. Because hating Rex Ryan isn’t a fad, it’s a lifestyle.
And last week, after a ridiculous call of “pushing your own teammate in the back,” helped Ryan’s Jets turn a loss into an overtime victory against the Patriots, the coach had this to say:
“I was like, ‘You know what? It’s about time we got a break,'” Ryan said, smiling. “That’s really what I was thinking. It just worked out.”
Rex. Come on.
Do you not remember Week 1? That silly call against the Buccaneers that pushed Josh Freeman towards the downward spiral that led to his eventual signing with the Vikings?
Right now, the Jets have four wins. FIFTY PERCENT of those wins are thanks, at least in part to questionable or unnecessary calls from referees. There are only 16 games in a season, and Rex’s Jets have now gotten more than enough breaks to last them all year.
Now stop complaining and go lose to the Bengals.
I don’t like you Rex Ryan and I don’t like the way you make me think about football.
Jaguars* (+16.5) over 49ers
I had to pick this game because it’s happening over in London. I had to pick the Jaguars because they are technically the home team. In fact, Jags will play one home match in London each of the next four years, thanks mostly to team owner Shahid Khan‘s connection to the EPL, where he also owns Fulham FC.
Ideally, after those four years, the Jaguars will move over to London full time so Khan can look over both of his teams full time. They will be renamed the London Bridge or the London Mates or hopefully something more clever. Then, they can trade for a completely washed up Ben Roethlisberger and make a ton of money on “Big Ben” merchandise.
Until then, the Jaguars have to win over some local fans, and what better way than pleasing bettors? And who better to buy off some British referees than a man who owns a Premeire League soccer team?
OH AND DID I MENTION CHAD HENNE?
Bills (+11.5) over Saints*
This line is just 3.5 points too high for me.
Sure, the Saints look like they might be Super Bowl bound, and sure the Bills are still starting Thad Lewis and will be missing CJ Spiller. But check this: The Bills are one of two teams in the league (Broncos being the other) to have scored 20 points in every game so far this season. That’s a lot of points!
That means that the Saints have to put up 32 to cover, at least.
Can they do it? Probably. But there are too many big lines on the board this week, and I have to take the dog in one of them.
Further, the Bills have yet to trail by more than 14 points this season. Translated to gambling speak – if this trend holds, bettors will only need a backdoor field goal in order to cover in the fourth quarter.
C’mon Thad. I sort of believe in you.
Eagles* (-5.5) over Giants
As is known to any Philadelphian at this point, it has been a while since the Birds won at home. The Giants are struggling this season and the Eagles offense is ranked 8th in this advanced metric known as DVOA, which I swear is important. The Giants are 29th.
This should be easy.
The Panthers beat the Giants 38-0.
That is an actual thing that happened in reality.
So let’s just have fun here and make a bunch of people in Philadelphia happy for a morning. Score a bunch of points and remember to cover five and a half points.
Because, if I’m being honest, the only reason I am picking this game in the first place is so I have an excuse to post this video again:
DID YOU WATCH IT?
I DON’T BELIEVE YOU WATCH IT AGAIN.
And that my friends, is how you cover 5.5 points with style.
Seahawks (-10.5) over Rams*
Who is Kellen Clemens? How many times do you think I had to check Google to make sure I spelled that name correctly? Who does he think he is coming into this column and trying to play football against RUSSELL WILSON?
In order to give you some perspective, here is a list of players that Clemens has found himself behind on the depth chart throughout the course of his professional career:
- Chad Pennington
- Old Brett Favre
- Mark Sanchez
- Old Jeff Garcia
- A.J. Feeley
- Sam Bradford
But, check out this gem from the “Personal Life” section of his Wikipedia page:
“Kellen Clemens is a sixth generation cattle rancher. He grew up herding cattle on his family’s 3,500-acre ranch in Burns, Oregon, where they own over 100 head of cattle. In his spare time, Kellen enjoys horseback riding. He is unrelated to baseball pitcher Roger Clemens.”
So he can lead cows, but can he lead Rams? I say nay. Also, glad that they clarified that he was NOT related to Roger Clemens, because barring specific evidence to the contrary, I was about to start spreading that rumor as far as the Twitterverse would take it.
Silly cow-herding non-Roger-Clemens-related Kellen finds himself this week against the HUSTLE and BUSTLE of the one and only RUSSELL WILSON.
Just to get an idea of how many levels of dopeness RUSSELL is above Clemens, take a look at the “Personal Life” section of his Wiki to compare:
“Wilson married his long-time girlfriend Ashton Meem on January 14, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. They have three dogs: a beagle, Penny, a dachshund, Cali, and a Great Dane named Prince.
“When asked how he celebrated after learning he had won the starting quarterback job for the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson said he watched episodes of his favorite TV show, Entourage.”
I’m going to go watch some Entourage now. Because apparently, that is how champions celebrate.
Last Week: 2-3