Against my better instincts, I started the usually steady Eli Manning, who ended up with ten fantasy points, and benched the far more erratic Matthew Stafford, who would have garnered me forty-one points. That move cost me not only high money for the week but also the win.
On a far brighter note, I went 8-5-1 against the spread while my opponents both finished under .500.
So I got that going for me… which is hardly consolation but I’ll take it.
To date, I’m only three games behind the dastardly Kevin Paul from The Wife Hates Sports whereas at this point last season, he was already starting to distance himself.
I plan on continuing to reverse that trend this Sunday by following my instincts… and of course, poking at a voodoo doll or two.
This week, we’ve asked a Duck to pick against us. If you don’t know who the Duck is, well then you just haven’t been paying close enough attention. Mr. Hardiman, please present yourself and best of luck to both of you, even though I really don’t mean it.
To Week Seven and Beyond…
SPORTSCHUMP’S INSTINCT IS THE BETTER PART OF JUDGEMENT… I THINK PICKS
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (+6.5)
Two years ago, these two teams were in the NFC Championship Game. This year, they’re both under .500 and fighting for their playoff lives. Over the last few weeks, Seattle should really consider changing the name of its secondary from the Legion of Boom to the Legion of Room since they’re giving opposing offenses plenty of it. Fortunately, San Francisco’s QB has a problem completing a forward pass. Running into Seattle’s struggling secondary should help that. I’d like to say this too shall pass when it comes to Seattle’s woes but there is a toughness factor missing this year that has been present in the last two. As bad as San Francisco is, I can’t justify Seattle laying a touchdown on the road against anyone. After all, even if they have a lead, we know they’ll cough it up in the fourth quarter.
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars in London (+6)
With the all the fuss being made about the Cubs making the playoffs, I’m sure you’ve seen the trendy Back to the Future references about them winning the World Series in 2015, as the script predicted. Well, considering the Mets just swept Chicago out of the playoffs, there’s another prediction far more certain to come true. NFL coaches with losing records that go to London and lose badly get canned on the trip back. If the Jags go 1-6, it might be Gus Bradley’s turn or maybe he should consider missing his flight. Look for a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy in this one as the Bills win and cover, forcing Bradley to enjoy his off-season as miserably as the Cubs.
Cleveland Browns at St. Louis Rams (-5.5)
Say it with me once again. Johnny Manziel is a distraction. When we last left our underachieving and overhyped quarterback, he was speeding on the interstate and driving drunk while arguing with his girlfriend. If you don’t believe me, it’s all caught on some state trooper’s dash cam, readily available on the internet. It’s gotten to the point where we’re all waiting for Johnny Manziel to have his own episode of Cops. Manziel’s not playing this Sunday and might not in a Browns uniform ever again. The only real question is whether he’ll be doing his patented money sign in his mug shot. Johnny’s latest stunt will still be an unfortunate distraction for a team that’s actually not all that bad. Until they get rid of him, he’ll be an albatross around the neck of a team and a city that, like the Chicago Cubs, has worn one for quite a while. I’m taking the Rams to cover.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (+2)
The absence of Ben Roethlisberger and reemergence of Michael Vick has so far worked out well for the Pittsburgh Steelers. On the other hand, KC has lost five straight. In the absence of Jamaal Charles, they’re going to have to figure out who’s going to run the ball and time is running out. The Chiefs are going to need every last ounce of home field advantage against a team whose fan base travels well. For some bizarre reason, I think they get it. I think Pittsburgh luck’s is about to run out, at least ‘til Big Ben gets back. Chiefs win.
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-4)
Are we at the point of the season yet where teams start losing games intentionally for better draft position? If so, it’s something these two teams might want to consider, although the AFC South is so bad, the Texans could win just by showing up since no other team in that division does. They must think they’re the NFC South, not the AFC South. Miami’s new head coach Dan Campbell is undefeated as he started his career off with a rather spirited 38-10 road defeat of the Titans. The Dolphins haven’t played at home in a month so their fans will be glad to see them. Houston needs this one but so does Miami which is why I’m taking the mammals to cover.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9)
This should get pretty interesting. I can’t tell whether the 5-0 New England Patriots just play bad teams every week or whether they beat the crap out of everybody regardless. Right now they’re like Neo in the unwatchable Matrix sequels, shedding off opponent after opponent with ease. None of that should change against their dreaded division rival as Tom Brady dons his trendy glasses and leather trench coat. Do you hear that, Jets fans? That is the sound of inevitability. New England failed to cover against the Colts last week. That won’t happen this week. Take the Pats to cover before the line moves any higher.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+3)
Matthew Stafford (I shudder to mention the name for the aforementioned reason) finally remembered he had Calvin Johnson on his team. Even though Chicago took Detroit to overtime, Calvin Johnson still finished with 166 big receiving yards. This leads me to believe that these two will finally start clicking. Minnesota impressed the hell out of me last week and has for much of the season, however, I have a feeling Detroit’s emotional victory will carry over. I’m getting the home team and three off a victory so I’m taking it.
Atlanta Falcons at Tennessee Titans (+3.5)
Atlanta had a long week to stew about how they laid an egg against the Saints. Solid quarterback, solid running back, solid receiving corps and a defensive minded coach all still bode well for a deep Atlanta run. I’m picking them to get things back on track against a Titans team who will probably start Zach Mettenberger for the first time this season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins (-3)
I’m calling this one the battle of the Grudens. Unfortunately, the Bucs no longer have theirs. Tampa Bay is getting some key players back on defense but that won’t matter as they still suck. The Washington Redskins are the better team and should cover the three. Even though the Redskins are on a two-game snide while the Bucs are coming off a win and a bye, the talent on the field should dictate the outcome.
New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts (-4)
A few weeks ago, this point spread would have been more than a touchdown. However, with the Saints recent win and the Colts recent doldrums, we’re getting a pretty nice number at four. To be perfectly honest, I’d lay it all day. In fact, I’m going to. Colts take this well-needed chance to get things back on track.
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-4)
Enough about Eli Manning vs. Matthew Stafford, I also have Philip Rivers on my roster. I’m starting him this week, thinking he has the best week of the three. And I’m doing so with confidence. Chargers cover.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-3.5)
Matt Cassel’s going to get the start this week on the road against a Giants team that looked pretty damn bad in Philadelphia on Monday night. I expect a lot of handoffs, on both sides of the football, on Matt Cassel’s side because he hasn’t started a game in a while and on New York’s side because Eli has nobody healthy to throw to. This one might remain close because the Cowboys will want to control as much clock as possible but, without Romo and Bryant, three-and-a-half isn’t all that much to lay considering the Giants are the better NFC East team. Well, at least they are right now. Lay the points.
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3)
What’s up with these reactionary, point spreads? I get that Philly just beat New York but Carolina just went into Seattle and won and they’re only laying three to the Eagles who until last week hadn’t figured shit out? I’m taking Cam Newton because nobody can tackle him, including the Eagles.
Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals (-8.5)
The Ravens are bad. And struggling. The Cardinals started the season off hot and are now struggling. Eight and a half seem like a lot to lay here but Baltimore is reeling. We could be in for an unwatchable Monday night game which is why God invented beer. Cards cover.
THE DUCK IS BACK AND MORE BITTER THAN EVER PICKS
For not a lot of better and far worse than a monkey with darts could do, these are my picks…
10/22 8:25 ET Seattle -6.5 At San Francisco
I’ve seen enough of Seattle to figure they can drop the 40’s like a bad habit. Seattle giving the points.
10/25 9:30 AM Buffalo -4 Jacksonville
(at London) Football with jet lag! Here I thought Bud Selig was the greediest stupidest man in sports. I think Buffalo covers for no better reason than Jacksonville only seems to have ¾ of a tank of gas this season.
10/25 1:00 ET At St. Louis -6 Cleveland
The dog pound looks to cover; but it will take the whole game; I’m calling this one the NFL Game of the Weak.
10/25 1:00 ET Pittsburgh -2.5 At Kansas City
Pittsburgh tub thumps Andy and the Chiefs. This is a gift from the point spread gods.
10/25 1:00 ET At Miami -4 Houston
Another toilet bowl masquerading as acceptable football. Both teams have some nice players and can make for an entertaining game. No way Miami has the horses so take the points and the Tex-Mexans…
10/25 1:00 ET At New England -9 NY Jets
Jets? Jets? We don’t need no stinking Jets. This is a dogfight; a 4-1er up against a 5-0 and when that happens, I gotta take the points, jets it is.
10/25 1:00 ET Minnesota -2.5 At Detroit
Vikings cover and I’ll tell you why a +13 in points differential against a -52 team.
10/25 1:00 ET Atlanta -4.5 At Tennessee
Falcons humiliate the Mariottas…and cover…
10/25 1:00 ET At Washington -3.5 Tampa Bay
God knows the Fredskins have turned into a massive dumpster fire but the Bays haven’t exactly been the ’59 Colts. Again looking at the point differential which is in the Fredskins favor but then again that means betting on Kirk Cousins, aaargh! Alright the Skins cover. I had to hold my nose on that one.
10/25 1:00 ET At Indianapolis -4.5 New Orleans
I like Indy to cover. The Saints have been suffering from Drew Brees’ inability to make up his mind in the pocket. Last week it looked like he forgot what a progression read was entirely.
10/25 4:05 ET At San Diego -4 Oakland
The NFL equivalent of herpes; it won’t kill you but it’s embarrassing and itchy. I’ll take Oakland and the points.
10/25 4:25 ET At NY Giants -3.5 Dallas
Two ugly weeks in a row for the G-Men, they’re only giving points because Dallas is starting a QB from the 1950’s. I think Dallas wins outright with their star receiver making his triumphant return. The Giants looked catcrap awful against Philly.
10/25 8:30 ET At Carolina -3 Philadelphia
I gotta like Philly and the points but I also like Cam Newton, if they ever put a real offense around him, look out and at 5-1 Carolina is one of the best teams in the NFC…take the Iggles.
Monday Night Football Point Spread
10/26 8:30 ET At Arizona -7.5 Baltimore
Arizona covers with ease, I don’t know what’s wrong with the Baltimore penguins this year but I do know from watching them on my NFL Sunday Ticket it isn’t working.
Words to Live by:
Last year I think I nearly swept the board being wrong 15 out of 16 times, or at least that’s what I think because I repressed that memory faster than an altar boy…my observations that ring true this season for many teams is the zebras are ruining every exciting play with holding calls. The play calling after they run out of scripted plays is atrocious. Many of the teams that ordinarily entertain us are riddled with major injuries and finally the announcing has hit an all-time low. If I ever have to hear Chris Collinsworthless ever again I’m going to torch the local mini-mart in protest.
KEVIN’S I’M GETTING KINDA NERVOUS ABOUT THIS CHUMP GUY PICKS
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (+6.5)
The Seahawks have blown four 4th quarter leads and are winless on the road. Let’s think about that for a second, considering the team’s recent history. Post-Super Bowl jinx, perhaps? As for this game, let’s start with the trenches, where Seattle has given up an NFL-high 26 sacks on the season. Unbelievable! As for the Niners, well – just nine sacks in six games (24th in the NFL). Perhaps Russell Wilson won’t be running like a chicken with its head cut off (for a change). San Francisco may have home field advantage, but the Seahawks will have a Marshawn Lynch, coupled with more time in the pocket for “Danger-Russ”. Seattle knows a run is needed – and that run starts Thursday night. ‘Hawks cover.
KP’s Pick: Seattle Seahawks
Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (+4.5)
It’s London Part II for the 2015 season, as Rex Ryan and Co. take on Blake Bortles and the Jags. Start with Buffalo, a team that is not only dealing with injuries (Tyrod Taylor is out, Karlos Williams doubtful), but also turmoil in the locker room. Rex apparently breeds it or just brings it with him, but comments have been made by Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams and Sammy Watkins. How long before that locker room implodes? Meanwhile, Buffalo’s pass defense has allowed 13 TD’s through the air (2nd most in the NFL). The Jags are a pass-first offense (heck, nearly pass-only). Jacksonville’s ‘D’ has allowed an NFL-worst 50% conversion rate on third down, which is worrisome, but Buffalo’s clubhouse turmoil and injury report keep me far away. Give me Jacksonville and the points.
KP’s Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5)
Shootout Alert: Drew Brees and Andrew Luck slinging the ball across the field in Indy? Very likely! The Saints are 3rd in pass offense (302.3 ypg) while the Colts are ranked 13th (cut ‘em a break, Luck was out for a few weeks). The New Orleans defense is ranked 24th against the pass, while also allowing 11 TD’s with just 2 INT’s. However, Rob Ryan’s boys did show up big last week against the Falcons, but that was a home game and a divisional rivalry. Is that improvement or just familiarity meshed with an enhanced sense of urgency? Pass happy games like this typically result in an exchange of touchdowns, so with that in mind, give me the home team – and that’s with the assumption that Chuck Pagano refuses to attempt any more ridiculous 4th down trick plays.
KP’s Pick: Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs (+2.5)
The Steelers found a savior in Landry Jones, who aided in a key win over the Cardinals last week. This week, Big Ben could return, but either way, it appears that Pittsburgh is in good hands. Playing in Kansas City is always a bear, but the Steelers will be facing a K.C. offensive front that has allowed 24 sacks (2nd most in the NFL). Pittsburgh is 6th in sacks (17) and could feast on the Chiefs’ weak front. Toss in a K.C. pass defense that is 25th in the NFL and almost certain to have trouble containing Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh – with Big Ben or not – is riding an emotional high and should cover easily.
KP’s Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9.5)
Rex Ryan deserted this rivalry – ok, he was pushed out. Not to worry, as there should be plenty of sparks left. Many didn’t expect the Jets to play this well and that’s a credit to Todd Bowles and his staff. New England clearly has the advantage in the talent department, as well as home field advantage, but New York’s accomplishments cannot be ignored. The Jets are currently 2nd in pass defense (186.6 ypg), 2nd in run defense (82.6 ypg) and 1st in rushing offense (146.0 ypg). The New York defense also has more picks (8) than TD’s allowed (6). Call me crazy (and you’ll likely do so), but I see the Jets controlling the clock with its strong run game, while causing enough headaches for Tom Brady. Remember, this isn’t Rex Ryan’s team. Bowles and the 2015 Jets talk more on the field. Give me N.Y. and the points.
KP’s Pick: New York Jets
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+2.5)
The Lions exploded offensively last week, getting big games out of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. This week, Detroit faces Minnesota’s pass defense, which has allowed just six TD’s through the air in five games. Throwing the ball will likely remain the focus for the Lions, considering the team’s run game, which is fumble-prone (we’re looking at you, Ameer Abdullah) and ranked last in the NFL, averaging just 66.5 ypg. Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater and Minnesota’s run game will face a Detroit defense that is ranked 26th against the run and has allowed an NFL-high 10 TD’s on the ground. Toss in Stefon Diggs, a new weapon in the passing game, and I like the Vikings to send the Lions back to their losing ways. Minnesota covers.
KP’s Pick: Minnesota Vikings
Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (-4.5)
Following its bye week and a major coaching change, the Dolphins suddenly have new life. Next up is a Texans team that has struggled to slow down opposing offenses and failed to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Miami has a steady pass defense that will likely focus on slowing down DeAndre Hopkins. But analysis aside, the Dolphins looked so strong last week that it seems silly to pick against them, especially when playing at home against an opponent that has failed to get consistent QB play.
KP’s Pick: Miami Dolphins
Cleveland Browns at St. Louis Rams (-4.5)
The Browns pushed the Broncos to the brink last week and now get a well-rested Rams team on the road. St. Louis has seen back-to-back big time performances from RB Todd Gurley, who now faces a Cleveland run defense that is ranked last in the NFL (149.8 ypg). Sure, the Browns shocked the Ravens two weeks ago and gave Peyton Manning fits last week, but Gurley may be running better than any back in the NFL. Besides, Denver and Baltimore have each struggled offensively. Todd Gurley is going to trounce the Browns at home. Rams cover.
KP’s Pick: St. Louis Rams
Atlanta Falcons at Tennessee Titans (+4.5)
Atlanta suffered its first loss of the season last Thursday and has had a few extra days for rest, corrections and preparation. The key matchup here will be Atlanta’s high-flying pass offense (8th in the NFL) versus Tennessee’s top ranked passing defense (184.0 ypg). More notable, however, is the loss of rookie QB Marcus Mariota to injury, leaving Zach Mettenberger to run Tennessee’s one-dimensional offense. That leaves the Falcons to focus on Mettenberger, while tossing a steady dose of RB Devonta Freeman against a Titans run defense that is ranked 28th in the NFL. Plain and simple, between Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Freeman, the Falcons have too many weapons. Atlanta covers.
KP’s Pick: Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Redskins (-3.5)
Only the real die-hards will focus on this game, which features rookie QB Jameis Winston and turnover-happy QB Kirk Cousins. Cousins continues to be a rollercoaster ride for the franchise and its fans, but what better option is there? Don’t say RGIII, unless you want your credibility to be flushed down the can. Colt McCoy? Eh, maybe. Meanwhile, the Bucs showed it can score against the Jags, but the Redskins have a much stronger defense – and one that gave the Falcons headaches a few short weeks ago. Tampa Bay is 4th in passing yards allowed, yet have allowed 12 TD’s through the air. That could mean a better performance from Cousins, when compared to last week’s struggles against the Jets. Give me Washington at home by a touchdown.
KP’s Pick: Washington Redskins
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-4.5)
The Raiders are coming off a bye and have had extra time to prepare, while San Diego is fresh off a painful loss where Philip Rivers threw for 503 yards against the Packers. The Raiders are 31st against the pass (299.2 ypg) and will be taking on Rivers and a Chargers passing offense that is #1 in the league (346.3 ypg). That alone combined with the home field advantage make the Chargers the stand-out pick in this one. Also, a shootout is a good bet, in case you are thinking about taking the over.
KP’s Pick: San Diego Chargers
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-5.5)
The Cowboys are coming off a bye and are expected to start Matt Cassel at quarterback, with RB Christine Michael to get an expanded role, as well. Dallas is looking for a spark, as its offense has struggled without the likes of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. The Giants are playing on short rest, after an ugly loss at the hands of the Eagles in Philadelphia. The difference in rest could be a big key here and it’ll be interesting to see how Michael performs behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Change can be good and for Dallas, my gut says there will be some offensive improvement. Will it be enough to win? That’s another story, but to keep it inside 5 ½ points, I say yes.
KP’s Pick: Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers (-3.5)
The Eagles are in a groove and back on top of the NFC East, while the 5-0 Panthers are one of the surprise teams of the season. The Panthers should be applauded for last week’s 4th quarter comeback in Seattle, but again, it’s just not the same Seahawks team in 2015. Carolina is a talented team, but its first five opponents shouldn’t be ignored: Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Seattle. The Eagles are playing better football and let’s remember how fast-paced the Philly offense is. If the Panthers tire out and fall behind, it will be tough for its 30th ranked passing offense to catch up. Considering these factors, I’ll take Chip Kelly and the Eagles.
KP’s Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals (-7.5)
Riddled by injuries and struggling on defense, the Ravens have been arguably the biggest disappointment in the league this season. Sitting at 1-5, Baltimore now faces the high-flying Cardinals on the road. Carson Palmer should have plenty of success against Baltimore’s 27th ranked pass defense, throwing plenty of strikes to the likes of John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald. I wouldn’t count out the Ravens in this game, but when making picks, you can’t trust Baltimore’s depth. Arizona by 10.
KP’s Pick: Arizona Cardinals
Bye Week: Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers