Two years ago, I lost my mind.
Actually, that happened a lot longer ago but the specific moment I’m referring to is when I decided to give my own money to the reader who could best predict NFL winners. Crystal balls ain’t cheap.
Kevin Paul of the The Wife Hates Sports and I used to do weekly run-downs of the entire NFL slate, even inviting guests to contribute, but I soon realized nobody bets like that. I decided to narrow things down, choosing only five games each week. After all, we only wager on the games we’re sure of and even then it’s not the greatest of ideas.
The point is I’ve decided to host that contest again and give away FIFTY DOLLARS OF MY OWN MONEY TO THE WINNER! Kevin will also be contributing fifty to the cause meaning the winner of this contest will be walking home with A COOL HUNDRED BUCKS (and bragging rights which we all know is far more important).
Now do I have your attention?
Here’s how it works. Every week, he and I will post the weekly NFL lines and some friendly advice. Even the almighty J-Dub has offered to contribute his wisdom in haiku form. You will choose FIVE GAMES and assign them confidence points based on that line. Leave your weekly picks in the comments section on either his site or mine. We’ll be checking both. If you wager five points on a particular game and that team covers the spread, you get the five points. If they don’t, you lose the five points. It’s that simple. YOU MUST PARTICIPATE AT LEAST TEN WEEKS TO BE ELIGIBLE TO WIN THE GRAND PRIZE. I will track everyone’s points all season long and the person with the most points at the end of the season takes home the money. If you don’t believe me, ask good old Hanky Panky who cashed a nice check of mine two years ago, which he promptly spent on house repairs and Yuengling, not necessarily in that order.
Here are the lines for Week One. Happy gambling!
Atlanta – Philadelphia (-1.5)
Pittsburgh – Cleveland (+4.5)
San Fran – Minnesota (-6)
Cincinnati – Indianapolis (-3)
Buffalo – Baltimore (-7)
Jacksonville – New York Giants (+3)
Tampa Bay – New Orleans (-9.5)
Houston – New England (-6.5)
Tennessee – Miami (+1.5)
Kansas City – Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)
Seattle – Denver (-3)
Dallas – Carolina (-3)
Washington – Arizona (-1)
Chicago – Green Bay (-7.5)
New York Jets – Detroit (-6.5)
Los Angeles Rams – Oakland (+4.5)
SportsChump’s Picks for Week One
Five Points – Let it be known that I am not on the Jimmy Garoppolo bandwagon. I’m not wishing the guy ill. I just think him saying he was better than Tom Brady might have been a little premature. We’ll soon find out as a whole new season begins this week… finally. Winners of their last eight games, Jimmy went from back-up quarterback to dating porn stars. Meanwhile, the Vikings were one of last year’s best teams. I will take that defense against Jimmy G any day of the week. Look for them to treat him like a porn star and not in a good way. Vikes minus the six for FIVE CONFIDENCE POINTS.
Four points – There is a new sheriff in town in Las Vegas… or is it still Oakland, I’m not sure. Don’t look now but Chuckie is back patrolling the sidelines, which means that hopefully Dennis Miller returns to the Monday Night booth. I believe I remain the only person on this planet to have enjoyed that little experiment. Trust me when I tell you his stand-up is far better than Tony Kornheiser’s. Gruden returns to Monday Night Football this week, this time coaching against the high-falootin’ Los Angeles Rams. Do you remember last year? I do. Todd Gurley won me my fantasy league almost single-handedly. He might be the first to remind Jon Gruden that he should have stayed in the broadcast booth. No Khalil Mack for Gruden means no win for the Raiders. I like the Rams minus the four-and-a-half for FOUR CONFIDENCE POINTS.
Three Points – The Baltimore Ravens could be sneaky good this year. Or I could be entirely wrong. Meanwhile, the Bills will be starting Nathan Peterman who used to have a nice clothing catalog on those old Seinfeld episodes. I’m taking Baltimore at home because I’m only laying a possession. The Bills made the playoffs last year but they have far too many question marks in key positions to not start the season 0-1. Ravens cover for THREE CONFIDENCE POINTS.
Two Points – The Giants were a disgrace last year. The Jags shook up the world and made the playoffs, in a large part thanks to their defense and a lesser part due to the play of Blake Bortles. The Giants finally signed that hot blonde Odell Beckham, Jr. to a record contract. While their offensive line is still rickety, this will be Saquon Barkley’s NFL debut. Even against a stout run, he’ll want to make a good first impression. This year, we will see a revitalized Eli Manning. Give me the G-Men plus the field goal for TWO POINTS.
One Point – Alright, I’ll bite. Did any other teams do anything else this off-season other than Cleveland? I know they were on Hard Knocks and all but Baker Mayfield became the most talked about white quarterback since Aaron Rodgers. And why not? He’s the next in line to succeed (unlikely) or fail (far more likely) as Cleveland’s QB… eventually. I don’t expect the Browns to win this game but I think that home crowd will be fired up enough to keep this game close against Pittsburgh who generally gets off to a slow start. I’ll take the Brownies and the four-and-a-half.
J-DUB’S POETICALLY PROPHETIC PICKS
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5, 45.5)
Star quarterback will not start
Green birds still cover
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings (-6, 46)
Cousins is a Vike
Viking fans fuck their cousins
But Vi-Queens still win
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants (+3, 43.5)
Much hope in Gotham
But Eli is still Eli
A pick-six machine
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts (-3, 46)
The return of Luck
Will simply not mean a fuck
As Indy still sucks
Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders (+3, 49.5)
NorCal v. SoCal
Al Davis’ ghost cannot help
Raiders get pillaged
KP’s Holiday-Not-Holiday Five Pack: Week 1
Considering my current visit to the Space Coast (in Florida), let’s treat these picks as a launching pad and smooth flight into the 2018 NFL season.
The first week or two of the year is always a tad bit tricky, so let’s hope that perhaps there’s a little more smooth and a bit less of a bumpy ride on re-entry. OK, enough of the cheesy NASA jokes, let’s get to the pigskin prognostication, shall we?
Oh and just in case you didn’t pick up on the trend, “FIVE” is the top confidence game of the week (as in, five points) and “ONE” is my fifth pick in the line, with all winners marked in BOLD.
FIVE – Los Angeles Rams at Oakland Raiders (+4.5)
Chucky is back, but it could be a rude awakening, like a Child’s Play sequel’s rating on IMDB. The Rams head into ‘The Black Hole’ packing a ton of firepower on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, the Raiders sent Khalil Mack packing, cut Martavis Bryant and feature a head coach that hasn’t paced the sidelines in nearly a decade. Give me the LA Rams, a legit Super Bowl contender for the 2018 season.
FOUR – Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-7)
Well, the SportsChump already swiped the good Seinfeld line, so I’ll simply have to say this: If you have a team that relies on either Nathan Peterman or Josh Allen to move the ball on the road in Week 1, you go with the home team. In this case, it’s the Ravens, who addressed gaps at the WR position and have the pieces on defense to take control of this one early. Give me Baltimore by double digits.
THREE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-9.5)
The Saints have stewed for an entire offseason, reliving a heartbreaking loss to Stefon Diggs and the Vikings in last year’s playoffs. Place a very talented and hungry team in front of a raucous crowd, then toss in the interception-happy Ryan Fitzpatrick on the other side and you’ve got yourself a potential blowout. Give me the Saints to cover comfortably.
TWO – Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (-3)
Take a talented Carolina defense at home, toss in leader Luke Kuechly and stack the box against Zeke and the Dallas offense. That should put the pressure on an unproven Cowboys receiving group that no longer has Dez Bryant or Jason Witten. An amped up Carolina home crowd should be ready and extremely loud. I’ll take Cam Newton and that new Norv Turner-led offense at home.
ONE – Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals (-1)
The road test worries me a bit, but it’s hard to know what this revamped Arizona roster is going to do. The Redskins, meanwhile, have an underrated O-line that suffered through a plethora of injuries last season. Toss in Alex Smith, an underrated winner that gets more out of his teammates, and this has the makings of a nice start for the ‘Skins in what is a tossup line.
Happy picking and enjoy the 2018 season!