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Week Fifteen…

What a game Thursday Night.  There have been some good ones on Thursday this year.  Remember when those games sucked EVERY week?

But I’m sure it pissed off New England Patriot fans.  If the Pats didn’t lose last weekend, it would have put them in a pretty good position for the #1 seed with the Kansas City Chiefs losing.  Sure, the Los Angeles Chargers would still be in the way as well.  But still, things would have looked up no doubt.  Only one of the teams out West could have been the prime competition.  Regardless of records, the other would be the top wild card team.  Unfair?  Maybe.  But thems the breaks…

In any event, there has been some crazy NFL action lately.  Wouldn’t mind seeing it again, even if it costs us wins.  Well, as long as the Pats win in Pittsburgh.  But…

Houston (-6.5) at New York Jets 

Houston’s 9 game win streak ended last week.  Methinks they get right back on the horse this weekend.  Yeah, going out on a limb here, I know.

Houston 33, New York Jets 17.

Cleveland at Denver (-3.5)

The Browns are still somehow (barely) in the mix for a playoff spot with a mere three games left in the season?  Is this some sort of miracle?

Cleveland 27, Denver 20.

Washington at Jacksonville (-7.5)  

Hard to even fathom laying this many points with the Jags, but the ‘Skins may be throwing high school players out there this weekend with all their injuries.

Jacksonville 30, Washington 7.

Oakland at Cincinnati (-3.5) 

I know the Bengals have lost five in a row and are playing with some dude named Jeff Driskel at QB.  And the Raiders had a big win against the Steelers last week.  But…

Cincinnati 24, Oakland 20.

Arizona at Atlanta (-8.5)

Kind of a big number here too for a Falcons team that has lost 5 in a row and hasn’t scored more than 20 points in any of them.  But they CAN score.  And the Cardinals simply can’t.

Atlanta 27, Arizona 9.

Tennessee at New York Giants (-2.5) 

I don’t think much of the Titans, that much has probably been pretty clear.  The G-Men have won 4 of 5 (too little, too late, however) and have put up some points in the process.  No ODB?  Believe it or not, I’m not sure it will matter.

New York Giants 30, Tennessee 20.

Miami at Minnesota (-8.5) 

Another big number for another team that probably doesn’t deserve it.  But guess what?  We are going with the favorite again.  The Dolphins had a miracle win last week, as the whole world knows.  But really aren’t that good.  1-5 on the road to boot.  The Vikings fired a coach this week and maybe that kicks them in the arse.  They should be better.  Maybe they finally show it this week.

Minnesota 28, Miami 17.

Dallas at Indianapolis (-3.5)

Gut feeling here, nothing more.  The Cowboys D has been much ballyhooed in recent weeks.  Have a feeling Andrew Luck gets it done here.

Indianapolis 31, Dallas 23

Green Bay at Chicago (-5.5)

The Bears have had a nice year.  9-4 is nothing to sneeze at.  It was a helluva win against the Rams last Sunday night.  But is there a more overrated team in the NFL?  Every time I see Mitchell Trubisky play, he looks average at best.  Yet everyone is fawning over him for whatever reason.  And their schedule?  These are the other 8 teams they have beaten besides the Rams:  Seattle (Week Two, when the Seahawks were scuffling, but I’ll give you that if you want), Arizona (by TWO), Tampa, Jets, Buffalo, Detroit, Minnesota, and Detroit again.  Not exactly Murderer’s Row.  Maybe the Rams loss has more to do with a fast, warm weather team not adjusting to the cold very well.  Just a thought.

Green Bay 34, Chicago 24.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore (-8.5)

This is another high number that we should go with the favorite here.  Especially after the Ravens played the Chiefs so tough in Kansas City last week…and probably should have won.  Have a feeling there could be a little letdown here though.

Baltimore 23, Tampa Bay 20. 

Detroit at Buffalo (-2.5)

I hope to see zero “highlights” from this one.

Detroit 13, Buffalo 10.

Seattle (-5.5) at San Francisco  

The ‘Hawks should continue rolling.  Not much more to say.

Seattle 31, San Francisco 17.  

New England (-2.5) at Pittsburgh

I know the Steelers just lost to Oakland.  I know they have lost 3 in a row.  I know Big Ben and their top RB are banged up.  I know the Pats usually handle Pitt…or seem to anyway.  I’m just not feeling it.  I’m sure the Pats will once again prove me wrong.  But maybe this year is different.

Pittsburgh 34, New England 31. 

Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams (-9.5) 

Are we really expecting another Nick Foles miracle run?  Just because he is apparently playing Sunday and facing the Rams in the same spot of the schedule as last year?  Please.  The Rams were embarrassed on the road last week, as noted above.  They are back in their friendly confines where they are undefeated.  I expect this one to be ugly.

Los Angeles Rams 41, Philadelphia 17.

New Orleans (-6.5) at Carolina 

People start anointing the Saints as the next champs and then they throw in a couple of mediocre games in a row?  Sure.  Carolina is 5-1 at home, though they have lost 5 in a row.  These two teams are in the same division but haven’t played each other yet this year.  Two times in the last three weeks  Seems like a bizarre scheduling quirk.  I’m rambling because I still don’t know what I am going to pick for this game.

New Orleans 34, Carolina 24.  

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  112-97

Season (straight up):  129-80

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Week Thirteen…

As we write this, the Kansas City Chiefs have just released Kareem Hunt after TMZ published a video of Hunt shoving a woman.  I suppose the initial thought is that we should give kudos to the Chiefs for acting decisively.  They could have just left him on the Commissioner’s Exempt List for however long they had to.  Then they could have waited out his likely suspension.  After all that, they could have welcomed him back with open arms and given us all some crap like “Kareem has learned from this experience” and “Kareem is a different man these days, that is all in the past”.  And a whole slew of similar nonsense.

But…this happened in February.  Almost a year ago.  And Hunt and the Chiefs apparently both (quietly?) commented on it in August, with no one expecting any suspensions.

Had no one, including the police, seen this video until Friday afternoon?  Hard for me to believe.  As usual, no one in this situation reacted until they got caught publicly, so to speak.  Unbelievable.  Well, kind of believable, since that is basically human nature.

The NFL certainly hasn’t learned, what with this being kinda similar to the Ray Rice fiasco.  Nothing then until the video surfaced.  So they are looking good…again.  What a surprise.

Probably a matter of time before Hunt finds a new team.  I mean, Reuben Foster got a job pretty quickly last week after being cut from the 49ers after yet another arrest related to domestic violence.

We all know that talent, especially young talent, will cause teams to overlook red flags in a player, no matter how serious those red flags actually are.  But maybe someone is finally made an example of.  Maybe.

I’m not counting on it.

Indianapolis (-3.5) at Jacksonville 

Cody Kessler replaces the embattled Blake Bortles.  Jalen Ramsey may not play.  This ship had already been sinking, but I always thought the Jags would start clawing back to respectability.  Now, it’s hard for me to believe that.  Indy and Andrew Luck are rolling and it’s likely to continue for the road team.  I mean, how could anyone possibly pick the Jags now (famous last words, of course)?

Indianapolis 31, Jacksonville 17.

Cleveland at Houston (-4.5)

The Browns are improving.  But they are not there yet.

Houston 27, Cleveland 20.

Buffalo at Miami (-5.5)  

Yuck.

Miami 23, Buffalo 18.

Arizona at Green Bay (-14.5) 

Huge spread, even if one is playing the Cardinals.  The Pack has been up and down, but that may be because they are 0-6 on the road.  They definitely need this one to stay in the mix.  I don’t expect the Cards to put up much of a fight on a December Sunday in Lambeau.

Green Bay 34, Arizona 13.

Carolina (-3.5) at Tampa Bay

Carolina has crept backwards to almost .500 with their 3 game losing streak.  They are 1-4 on the road, but I have to believe they will respond here in this divisional matchup.

Carolina 34, Tampa Bay 27.

Baltimore (-1.5) at Atlanta

Lamar Jackson has led the Browns to two wins in a row while Joe Flacco nurses whatever injury he has.  The Falcons aren’t really any good, so I think we can ride Lamar for one more week anyway.

Baltimore 24, Atlanta 20.

Chicago (-4.5) at New York Giants 

Who saw the Bears at 8-3?  I don’t think anyone.  Who saw the G-Men at 3-8?  Plenty.

Chicago 27, New York Giants 20.

Denver (-3.5) at Cincinnati

The Broncos are on a run where they have knocked off the Chargers and Steelers in consecutive weeks.  Ok, the Steelers beat themselves.  But still.  The Bengals are starting someone named Jeff Driskel at QB, after Andy Dalton has been shelved for the year.  Jeff Driskel?!  I suppose he can’t be any worse than the Red Rifle.  But he probably is.

Denver 23, Cincinnati 14.

Los Angeles Rams (-9.5) at Detroit

The Rams are all rested up from their bye after running up 54 and giving up 51 a couple of weeks ago.  Aqib Talib is back!  Detroit stinks.  Next.

Los Angeles Rams 38, Detroit 24.

New York Jets at Tennessee (-9.5)

I can’t believe the Titans are favored by almost double digits.  I know, the Jets.  But the Titans have been atrocious since winning their Super Bowl against the Patriots a few weeks ago.  But…the Jets.

Tennessee 24, New York Jets 10. 

Kansas City (-15.5) at Oakland 

The Chiefs don’t need Kareem Hunt…or half their team…to stomp the Raiders.  Even though divisional games can be sometimes unpredictable.  And even though they are on the road.

Kansas City 45, Oakland 17.

San Francisco at Seattle (-10.5)  

Seattle seems primed for a run now.  Winners of two in a row, they play 4 of their last 5 at home.  Against mostly weak competition.

Seattle 30, San Francisco 10.  

Minnesota at New England (-6.5)

Said it the other day, still not sure on what to make of the Pats, even at home.  Who is going to cover the Vikes’ WRs?  Think they pull out a close one, but I really have nothing but my gut feeling to back that one up.  We will see how that one goes.

New England 27, Minnesota 24. 

Los Angeles Chargers at Pittsburgh (-3.5) 

How ’bout they both lose?  Damn, they can’t.  A tie would work.  Have a feeling here that the Steelers don’t make the same mistakes as last week, especially at home.

Pittsburgh 31, Los Angeles Chargers 27.

Washington at Philadelphia (-6.5)  

I said last week that the Eagles shouldn’t be favored by six and a half over anyone.  And it actually worked for their game against the Giants.  But this week?  I retract that prior statement…regrettably…

Philadelphia 27, Washington 20.  

Week (against the spread):  0-1

Week (straight up):  0-1

Season (against the spread):  96-81

Season (straight up):  111-66

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

So we are up to the annual Turkey Day games.  The New England Patriots had a bye this past week…so nothing to talk about there.  We could talk about that Monday Night Football instant classic between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.  Wow…what a game!  Old school fans will probably tell you that the game was a joke, with all the offense and guys running wide open all over the place.  That it was an Arena Football League-type game.

And they may be right.  But you know what?  Who cares!

Very entertaining game.  And in today’s NFL, where you can’t breathe on either the quarterbacks or wide receivers, get used to it…especially if you don’t like it.  Since this will be more of the same as the weeks and years go on.  Offense at an all-time high.  And I’m ok with it.

Let’s see if these two teams have a rematch in the Super Bowl.  If the Pats can’t get there, sign me up for this kind of shootout in February.

As for the picks?  The Blowhard may have learned their lesson.  Only completely sober picks from here on in.  Last week’s record is quite embarrassing.  I blame the mai tais.  It’s ALWAYS their fault, regardless of the situation.

Chicago (-4.5) at Detroit

As of this writing, it appears Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky may not play.  Trubisky isn’t exactly a Hall of Famer at this point in his career.  But he may be compared to his backup, Chase Daniel.  The Lions had a nice win last week (thanks Cam Newton!) and of course host the annual Thanksgiving game.  That counts for a little something.  The Lions kind of need this one to stay in the playoff mix as well.

Detroit 24, Chicago 17.  

Washington at Dallas (-7.5) 

Another team with its QB missing…though the ‘Skins will be missing theirs a little longer.  What with Alex Smith’s gruesome injury last week.  I can’t believe that it was 33 years to the day after Joe Theismann’s own gruesome injury.  Same team.  Other coincidences include each QB’s Pro Bowl left tackle missed the game, it happened around the same yard line and in both cases, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year was involved in the play, the only three-time winners (Lawrence Taylor, J.J. Watt).  The final score of the game had the same two numbers.  There are probably other similarities if one was to dig deeper.  But that is F’ing CRAZY!  As for the game, the spread seems a bit high regardless of the Smith injury.  The Cowboys have been inconsistent after all.  But does anyone have any confidence in Colt McCoy?  Nope.  And if he goes down…Mark Sanchez?!  Yup…

Dallas 27, Washington 13.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-13.5)

The Saints are right up there with the Rams and the Chiefs.  They demolished the defending champs last week.  Though the Philadelphia Eagles stink this year.  I hope Lane Johnson is having fun though!  Speaking of teams that stink…the Falcons!

New Orleans 38, Atlanta 24.  

Week (against the spread):  6-7

Week (straight up):  6-7

Season (against the spread):  85-76

Season (straight up):  100-61

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