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Week Fifteen…

I didn’t get to see much of the Thursday NFL game between Baltimore and the New York Jets…we could probably say that was by design.  But of what I did see…I, of course, was not shocked.

The most surprising thing I noted was how long Lamar Jackson stayed in a lopsided game.  If he is truly nursing a quad injury, I would have yanked him much sooner.  Yeah, he has like 10 days to rest up now.  And may even get all of Week Seventeen off once they wrap up home field advantage in the AFC.  But no need to have him out there that late against the Jets.

On to the weekend:

Denver at Kansas City (-10.5)

The Houston Texans beat the New England Patriots in Week 13 and then got blasted at home by a bad Denver Bronco team in Week 14, with its rookie QB playing only his second career game.  The Chiefs beat the Pats in Week 14, so does a similar fate await them in their matchup against Denver?  I think not.  Unless Chief QB Patrick Mahomes’ hand is more hurt than they are letting on.  Drew Lock’s play has been good thus far, but let’s not get carried away.  The Chiefs are better than the Texans as well.  I don’t see KC falling into the same trap as many other teams have the week after beating the Patriots.

Kansas City 42, Denver 24.  

Philadelphia (-4.5) at Washington

Philadelphia came back from a big deficit and squeaked through with a win against the terrible New York Giants on Monday.  But I am not sure how many bodies they have left with all of their injuries.  The ‘Skins have all of a sudden become a plucky little team with their interim coach and their rookie quarterback.  I usually lean away from the Monday night winner.  Sounds like Washington here, right?  Probably.  But Philly needs it more, as they still have a shot at the division.  Maybe that comeback provides some juice.  Shot in the dark.

Philadelphia 24, Washington 17.  

Tampa Bay (-3.5) at Detroit

Looks like Tampa QB Jameis Winston is going to give it a go with his thumb injury.  That could be good news for the Bucs.  But it could also be bad news.  He is a turnover machine, after all.  Either way, the Lions still stink.

Tampa Bay 34, Detroit 13.

New England (-9.5) at Cincinnati

Hopefully, the league will allow the Pats to use the video they shot of the Bengals sideline last week.  They should need it against this pathetic franchise.  And yes, that was sarcasm.

New England Patriots 27, Cincinnati 10.  Lock of the week.  (Yup…and wouldn’t be shocked at a higher score either).

Seattle (-6.5) at Carolina

The Seahawks only scored 12 points in a loss to the Rams last week.  I cannot see that happening this week in Carolina.  The Panthers fired their coach and then got waxed by a bad Atlanta Falcon team.  It looks like they are ready for vacation.  So much for the Christian McCaffrey for MVP talk.  And are the Panthers really sure they want to unload Cam Newton now, with the recent play of Kyle Allen?

Seattle 38, Carolina 17.  

Buffalo at Pittsburgh (-2.5)

DUCK HODGES!!  I’m still going to ride this train.  Especially if JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner return.  The Bills surprisingly kept it close against the Ravens last week.  But I am still not buying in.  If they beat the Pats in Foxborough next weekend, then I may finally be on board.

Pittsburgh 20, Buffalo 17.  

Miami at New York Giants (-3.5)

FITZMAGIC VS ELI!!  MUST SEE TV!!  Actually, Fitzy apparently has been quite entertaining in recent games.  Eli proved he was washed up by the second half of the Eagle game Monday night.  That’s enough for me.

Miami 24, New York Giants 13.  

Houston at Tennessee (-3.5)

Everything is telling me to go Titans in this game.  Ryan Tannehill and the entire team is on fire.  They are at home.  But something tells me the Texans will rebound from that miserable performance of last week.  There really is no rhyme or reason for this pick, to be honest.

Houston 30, Tennessee 27.  

Chicago at Green Bay (-4.5)

The Pack beat the Bears a mere 10-3 in the NFL Opener way back when.  Seems like last season.  My guess is that more points will be scored this time around.  Most of them will be scored by the Pack I think though.  They should play like they are more interested in a football game, unlike last week against Washington.  Chicago has won three in a row…yaaaaay!  But they have been against the Giants, Lions and Cowboys.  No thanks.

Green Bay 31, Chicago 21.

Jacksonville at Oakland (-6.5)

That Raider playoff push was fun, eh?  6-4, then getting hammered 3 games in a row since then.  But the Jags have been pummeled for 5 games in a row themselves.  Therefore…

Oakland 37, Jacksonville 23.  

Cleveland (-2.5) at Arizona

Baker Mayfield vs. Kyler Murray!!  That may be the only intrigue in this game.

Cleveland 27, Arizona 24.  

Los Angeles Rams (-0.5) at Dallas

Have the Rams finally righted the ship?  Maybe.  Not sure you will be able to tell when they play this poorly coached and underachieving Cowboy team.  The ‘Boys have had a few extra days to prepare for this one.  Will it matter?  It should.  But I’m not counting on it.

Los Angeles Rams 31, Dallas 20.  

Atlanta at San Francisco (-10.5)

One may be able to forgive the Niners for taking this one lightly, what with their thrilling win over the Saints last week and tilts with the Rams and Seahawks on the horizon.  I can’t see it happening, however.

San Francisco 41, Atlanta 27.  

Minnesota (-2.5) at Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers’ smokeshow against the Jags last week doesn’t change anything…they are a colossal disappointment this season.  Adam Thielen apparently will be back and the Vikes need this one.

Minnesota 34, Los Angeles Chargers 23.  

Indianapolis at New Orleans (-9.5)

Indy’s season essentially ended with that horrid loss to Tampa last week.  The Saints lost that aforementioned thriller to the Niners, so they will be looking to get back on track in this one.  They are already in the playoffs but are still fighting for a bye.  One would think they should be pretty focused in this one at home.

New Orleans 45, Indianapolis 27.  

Week (against the spread):  1-0

Week (straight up):  1-0

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  7-7

Season (against the spread):  104-105

Season (straight up):  135-74

Useless…

…no, not the Dallas Cowboys.  But they are close.

My picks are what’s useless.

But like every “also-ran” in every sport, we have to finish out the season.

For better or for worse.

Indianapolis at Tampa Bay (-2.5)

The Buc rush defense is tops in the league?  Learn something new every day.  No matter how unbelievable it sounds when you say it out loud.

Indianapolis 34, Tampa Bay 30.  

Baltimore (-5.5) at Buffalo

God, wouldn’t it be great if the Bills could win this one.  But alas…

Baltimore 34, Buffalo 17.  Lock of the week (“reverse psychology”??).

San Francisco at New Orleans (-2.5)

I think the Saints are a good team.  I just don’t think they are as good as people think they are.

San Francisco 31, New Orleans 24.

Miami at New York Jets (-5.5)

Just as everyone jumped on the J-E-T-S bandwagon with three straight wins, they lose to the previously winless Bengals.  The Dolphins are all of a sudden a feisty team.  Not sure any of the above means anything, however.

New York Jets 31, Miami 27.  

Cincinnati at Cleveland (-8.5)

Freddie Kitchens is another dude that should be out of a job soon.

Cleveland 24, Cincinnati 17.  

Washington at Green Bay (-12.5)

The ‘Skins have won two in a row.  I’d be surprised if it became three.

Green Bay 34, Washington 16.  

Detroit at Minnesota (-14.5)

This is a huge spread for a divisional matchup.  With the Vikes coming off a Monday Night loss and needing this win to keep pace for the division title and at least a playoff berth, combined with the Lions on to their third quarterback, losing 5 in a row and generally being pathetic, well, the spread fits.

Minnesota 38, Detroit 17.  

Denver at Houston (-9.5)

Just a gut feeling about a slight Texan letdown this week.

Houston 24, Denver 20.  

Carolina at Atlanta (-2.5)

These teams both stink.  But the Panthers just fired their coach.  RIVERBOAT RON!!  We will miss you…ummmm, not really.  It was more than time for that.  Like with Jason Garrett.  In any event, maybe the Panthers respond.  Maybe they don’t.

Carolina 24, Atlanta 20.

Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) at Jacksonville

This one should be scintillating.  At least Uncle Rico is back!

Jacksonville 17, Los Angeles Chargers 13.  

Tennessee (-2.5) at Oakland

An addendum to last week’s piece…Ryan Tannehill IS Jesus!!!

Tennessee 31, Oakland 17.  

Kansas City at New England (-3.5) 

This is the type of game the Pats of the Belichick era win.  You know, where everyone counting them out for a variety of reasons.  It’s hard to pick them in this one though.

Kansas City 27, New England 23.  

Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Arizona

People are actually lauding Steeler coach Mike Tomlin for his…coaching?!  Hard to fathom.  But, amazingly enough, maybe there is something there.  This year anyway.

Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 17.  

Seattle (-1.5) at Los Angeles Rams

Where did that Rams performance come from last week?  Two words:  Arizona Cardinals.  But you know what?  Maybe it’s more?

Los Angeles Rams 27, Seattle 24.  

New York Giants at Philadelphia (-8.5)

Last week, we saw the return of the Bengals’ Andy Dalton from a brief benching.  This week, we get to see the return of…ELI!  Dalton helped Cincy win its first game of the year.  Does Eli provide a spark for his team or does he show rust from his quite a bit longer layoff against a Philly team that can remarkably still win the division?  My guess is the latter.

Philadelphia 31, New York Giants 20.  

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  6-7

Season (against the spread):  94-99

Season (straight up):  123-70

My Apologies?

I’ll be honest, I am not even sure an apology is necessary, but…I feel like I have to.

About what?  Welp, Antonio Brown of course!!

When he joined the team, I wrote something to the effect of “I’m all in on him being on the team, even if he is an arseclown…because I don’t consider any athlete a role model…stuff he has done thus far has been more due to the fact that he is immature and a tool…there are plenty of crazies in every locker room, what’s one more…etc., etc., etc.”

I also, of course, added that if the rape allegations were true, he should be in jail and certainly not playing football.  But we probably wouldn’t know about that until his civil case had run its course…and who knew how long that would take?

Then, of course, this week he gets caught doing another stupid thing.  Except for that THIS particular “stupid thing” is not harmless as was a lot of the stuff he had done in the past (videoing locker room stuff, whining about his helmet, frostbitten feet, etc.).  This time, he essentially threatened one of his accusers by including his buddies (enforcers?) on a text string where he posted a picture of the accusers’ children.  Kind of a tacit threat I would presume.  At least that’s how I understand the situation at this point.

Wow.

Just…unbelievable.

So the New England Patriots released him yesterday.  Perhaps they never should have signed him in the first place.  We can debate that all day.  Or all month.  Or forever.

The Pats were going to give him a chance with a clean slate.  So would have a handful of other teams as well.  Make no mistake about that.  And it took him a little over a week to mess that up.  It’s too bad because he is immensely talented and I was looking forward to seeing him perform on the field.

But he dug his own grave.  And I, in turn, feel a little dirty for wanting a guy like that on my team.  So if I owe an apology, then you got it.

As for the effect on the Pats on the field, well, no one can say, “well, they didn’t need him anyway”.  Who doesn’t NEED great talent??  But the Pats are pretty talented overall, so the hit may not be all that bad.

I’m also not going to go back and say “well, the team should have never traded Demaryius Thomas because now they need him…”  Thomas, although I wouldn’t mind still having him, may not even be any kind of difference maker anymore.  Remains to be seen.  And I doubt we will see any magic while he is on the Jets.  Especially with the third string QB now taking snaps for the foreseeable future.

I’d rather take my chances with a kid like Jakobi Meyers, to see if there is actually something there.  And to see if Phillip Dorsett can be as useful as many people think he can be with more playing time (I’m still skeptical of that).  If the Jets release Thomas eventually, sure, I’ll take him.  But not worried about that kind of thing…yet…

As long as they don’t start playing Matthew Slater or Gunner O-SHEF-SKI(!!) at receiver more.

Plus, I still expect the Pats to run the ball more this year anyway.  This move may get the third rounder, Damien Harris, into the mix a little bit now.  Would love to see what he can do as well.  And maybe that means more Rex Burkhead out of the slot.  Don’t mind that.

Above all, we really need to be concerned about the offensive line over anything else at this present moment.  A story for another day.

On to the Week Three picks.  After another dud of a Thursday Night Football game.  Marcus Mariota sure looks like a #2 overall pick these days, huh?  Wow, that guy doesn’t look like much anymore.  Not that he ever warranted that draft position, mind you.  I will allow that his offensive line didn’t do him any favors Thursday.  But when your alternative is Ryan Tannehill, you kind of have to stick with Mariota, no?

Anyway, moving on:

Atlanta at Indianapolis (-2.5)

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Indy’s performance thus far this season.  I was surprised by the Falcons’ win over the Eagles last week…but I wouldn’t say it was pleasant.  I don’t believe that Atlanta is that good of a team, despite Julio Jones and some other decent players.  Adam Vinatieri gets back on track here.  That’s all.

Indianapolis 23, Atlanta 20.  

Detroit at Philadelphia (-6.5)

The Lions surprised the Chargers last week.  The Eagles were surprised by the Falcons.  Things will be very different this week.

Philadelphia 31, Detroit 13.

Miami at Dallas (-21.5)

The first of two 20 point spreads this week.  Hard for me to believe I will be taking both favorites.  I don’t believe the Cowboys are truly as good as they have looked so far.  I mean, the two divisional teams they have played thus far are not really any good.  But the Dolphins are historically atrocious.  Doesn’t matter whether Josh Rosen or Fitzmagic is at the helm.

Dallas 42, Miami 10.

Oakland at Minnesota (-7.5) 

Hey, the Raiders only gave up points in one quarter last week against the Chiefs.  Of course, it was 28 of them, but who’s counting?

Minnesota 24, Oakland 17.

Cincinnati at Buffalo (-5.5)

I love how seemingly everyone is jumping on the Bills’ bandwagon so far since they have started 2-0.  They know their opponents have been the Jets and Giants, right?  Cincy probably stinks too, but they almost beat Seattle on their field in Week One.  Something to note.

Cincinnati 20, Buffalo 17.

New York Jets at New England (-22.5)

LUKE FALK!!!  Bill won’t hesitate to run it up on the J-E-T-S.  You think Brady in shotgun with 4 minutes left last week in Miami was in poor taste and also risking injury?  Picture Brady with a bad calf with 30 seconds left in this one throwing bombs and taking timeouts.  Up 50.  Wouldn’t shock me.

New England 52, New York Jets 3.  Lock of the week…yup, even at that number…  

Denver at Green Bay (-7.5) 

Maybe Joseph Flacco really doesn’t have much left.  Although realistically, the Broncos probably should have won last week.  I can’t believe that the Pack has only scored 31 points thus far.  But they have also only given up 19.  Defense wins this game for GB…wait, really?

Green Bay 24, Denver 10.

Baltimore at Kansas City (-6.5) 

Love how everyone is on the Lamar Jackson bandwagon after two games as well.  He may well become a good QB in this league.  But please remember he has played the Dolphins and Cardinals in his two games this year.  The Chiefs may not have the best defense.  But they have to be better than the two aforementioned teams.  And I don’t believe the Ravens’ current defense can be confused with their best ones over the Johnny Harbaugh (or Brian Billick?) era.

Kansas City 34, Baltimore 24.

Carolina (-2.5) at Arizona

This line may have changed once Carolina QB Cam Newton was ruled out, but hey, these are the ones I use.  Although Cam hasn’t looked all that great this season, this has to be considered a negative.  Maybe after dropping their first two games at home, a road game is what the doctor ordered for Riverboat Ron and his troops.  I doubt it though.

Arizona 17, Carolina 13. 

New York Giants at Tampa Bay (-6.5)

ELI HAS BEEN BENCHED!!  ELI HAS BEEN BENCHED!!  I don’t know if Danny Jones is the answer.  But I do know Eli is not.  And yes, I am still bitter about the two Super Bowl losses to him.

New York Giants 23, Tampa Bay 18.

New Orleans at Seattle (-5.5)

Drew Brees is out and Teddy Bridgewater looked brutal in his stead last week.  The Seahawks are generally unbeatable at home.  Good enough for me.

Seattle 24, New Orleans 16.  

Houston at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)

I honestly don’t know what to make of either of these two teams as of yet.

Los Angeles Chargers 24, Houston 20. 

Pittsburgh at San Francisco (-6.5)

Just counting down the minutes until Jimmy Football gets hurt again.  In the meantime, this Steeler season could get even uglier soon.  Can Minkah Fitzpatrick play offense??  Hope that first rounder was worth it for him.

San Francisco 31, Pittsburgh 17.

Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Cleveland

The Browns smoked the Jets last Monday, but I can’t say it was all that impressive.  Have people jumped off the bandwagon here yet?  I was never on, despite expecting them to improve this year nonetheless.  People are poo-pooing the Rams this year for some reason.  Yeah, Jared Goff needs the earpiece.  But they have some talent all over the field.  I see Cooper Kupp play and thank our Lord Jesus H. Christ and the Baby Jesus for him being hurt for last years’ Super Bowl.

Los Angeles Rams 37, Cleveland 17.  

Chicago (-4.5) at Washington

Remind me not to put on Monday Night Football this week either.

Chicago 17, Washington 14.  

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Lock Of The Week (season, ATS):  2-0

Season (against the spread):  17-16

Season (straight up):  24-9

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