Week 11: The Wife Hates SportsChump Take On TJ

We have this running joke at my bar.  There’s a specialty drink on the cocktail menu called a Cucumber Mint Gimlet.  It’s muddled cucumbers and mint with a dash of simple syrup, gin, soda water and a splash of lime juice.

It’s actually quite delicious and refreshing, especially in the springtime.  We joke about it, however, because it’s a time-consuming, pain in the ass to make, especially when you have a bar full of customers.

Whenever we have someone new behind the bar, we consider it rookie hazing to have them make the drink over and over again, like a rite of passage.  Recently, one server jokingly asked our newest bartender to make him an “Upside Down Cucumber Mint Gimlet.”

The newbie scratched his head and turned to me bewildered.  I replied that the servers were just messing with him, that there’s no such thing as an Upside-Down Cucumber Mint Gimlet and that they wanted the drink served normally.

That, in a nutshell, is what we have this NFL season: one multi-ingredient concoction that’s been shaken, stirred and turned on its head so that nobody can make any sense of it.

In the last two weeks, the Browns beat the Bengals in Cincinnati, the Broncos beat the Cowboys in Dallas, the Falcons beat the Saints in New Orleans, the Giants beat the Raiders, the Jaguars beat the Bills, the Dolphins beat the Ravens, the Washington Football team beat the Bucs, the Panthers beat the Cardinals and the Lions-Steelers game ended in a tie.  Oh yea, and Cam Newton is back in the league.

In other words, this NFL season is one head-scratching, ticket request for an Upside-Down Cucumber Mint Gimlet.  Games remain as an unpredictable as ever, as witnessed by our nosedive in the latest standings.  You know things are bad when even Kevin’s crystal ball isn’t working correctly.

Now what we’re in Week 11, do the upsets continue or do the better teams right the course on their way to the post-season?  Your guess is as good as mine. 

To help us make sense of it all, we have invited TJ from Fantasy Knuckleheads.  He’s also taken it on the chin lately with some ill-advised parlays but who among us hasn’t.  We’ll get to his picks in a minute… but first.

I’ll take $50 on Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs (-2 ½)

I’ve recently started dabbling in stock trading.  It’s because I’m fancy and would prefer not to work fifty hours a week for the rest of my life.  While the rest of America keeps waiting for the next big market crash, I’ve picked up a few helpful hints along the way.  One such hint is to buy low and sell high.  That’s why I’m selling the Dallas Cowboys this week and buying the Kansas City Chiefs.  One could make the argument that the Dallas Cowboys are the best team in football.  I know, I almost threw up in my mouth at the thought.  On the flipside, the Chiefs have struggled all season long.  The Cowboys are coming off an emotional dismantling of the Atlanta Falcons, with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn drawing up the perfect game plan against his former team.  Rest assured, Mr. Quinn, that the Kansas City Chiefs are not the Falcons.  I mean, even Bill Belichick’s son can shut out the Falcons. Last week, for perhaps the first time this season, the Chiefs finally looked like the Chiefs of old.  They went into Las Vegas and stomped on the Raiders but more importantly, Pat Mahomes got his groove back, connecting with both Tyreke Hill and Travis Kelce however he saw fit.  The Chiefs are going to have to make a playoff push here and the Cowboys are due a trip back down to earth after all the energy they exerted last week.  Besides, this is Dak Prescott’s first trip to Arrowhead.  In what should be a great game, I’m getting the home team in front of a raucous crowd and only laying two-and-a-half.  The Chiefs showed me last Sunday they’re finally headed in the right direction.  For that reason, I’m taking the Chiefs and laying the points.

I’ll also take $40 on the Washington Football Team (+3 ½) at Carolina Panthers

So, Cam’s back, huh?  Let’s see how long that honeymoon lasts.  If you think that the fellow they once called Superman coming out of retirement means all is suddenly right in Carolina, I have a raggedy cape and a pair of nerdy glasses to sell you.  Remember, Van Halen once invited David Lee Roth back and got sick of him too.  While Matt Rhule spins his wheel of fortune to see which signal-caller he starts this week, the Washington Football Team is doing just fine with Taylor Heinicke, who just beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Sitting at 43, this is the lowest over/under on Sunday’s slate of games, which isn’t surprising.  This has all the makings of a close one.  Ron Rivera is headed home to face his former team I do believe for the first time.  Emotions will run high, just as they did with Quinn against the Falcons.  I imagine you’d be hard-pressed to find a Washington football player that wouldn’t run through a wall for their head coach on Sunday.  That’s reason enough to take Washington and the three-and-a-half points.

And how about $30 on Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+ 4 ½) at Clemson Tigers

If it weren’t for Clemson this year, I’d be in the red.  We’ve talked about them laying too many points every week this season.  I’m not sure why Vegas hasn’t caught on but betting against Clemson to cover is like finding a fifty-cent coupon for something that costs only forty cents and having the cashier give you ten cents change.  Clemson is 2-8 against the spread this year.  This week, they host tenth-ranked, one-loss Wake Forest.  Wake’s only loss was a 58-55 road barn-burner to UNC.  Yes, you read that right.  Wake put up 55 in that game and still lost a heartbreaker.  Did you know that Wake Forest ranks behind only Ohio State in points scored per game this season?  They score nearly 45 a game!  I’m not sure Clemson will be able to a) stop Wake from scoring or b) match their scoring when they do.  They over/under is only 56 and Wake is getting four-and-a-half.  Considering all we know, I’m not sure either of those numbers make sense.  I’d be silly at this point to not take “the team Clemson is playing” plus the points.  In this case, that team is Wake and Wake ain’t bad so I will take Wake Forest plus the four-and-a-half.

I’ll do $20 on the New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10 ½)

You’ve seen that look on Tom Brady’s face before.  The one where his team is down and he’s about to get the ball back to perfectly execute a two-minute drill.  Everybody in the stands knows what’s coming.  So does the opposing team.  Victory Brady.  This week, the Bucs are coming off back-to-bye-to-back losses.  They lost to New Orleans, had a week to ruminate about it, then came back to lay an egg in Washington.  This week, the defending Super Bowl champions take on the lowly Giants, who are also coming off a bye.  The Giants are better known as the team that Brady could never beat in the Super Bowl.  This Monday is not the Super Bowl.  In fact, the way the Bucs are playing, they’ll be lucky to get back there.  Mums the word on whether Brady’s two biggest security blankets, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, will return but either way, Brady is pissed.  He just got a public tongue-lashing from his coach who said the stupid has to stop.  It will on Monday night.  The Bucs get back on track and cover the 10 ½ spread against the lowly G-Men.

And finally, $10 on Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+ 2 ½)

The Minnesota Vikings play in tight football games.  Whether they win or lose, their games are always close.  Their last six games have been decided by a touchdown or less.  While I’d love to be getting a touchdown this Sunday as they host the Green Bay Packers, I am not.  I’m only getting two-and-a-half, so a tease might be in order if you bet that way.  In keeping with my buy low, sell high stockbroker 101 class, I’m going to do double down.  People are already penciling the Green Bay Packers into the Super Bowl.  Meanwhile, the Vikings’ season is on the line.  They call ill afford to drop to 4-6.  Not only would a win here essentially give the Packers the NFC North but the Vikes would be all but out of the playoff race.  They’ve fought hard all season so I can’t see them not doing that on Sunday.  I’ll take the Vikes and the two-and-a-half for $10 please, Alex.

THE WIFE HATES SPORTS WEEK ELEVEN PICKS

$50 NFL: Baltimore Ravens (-5) at Chicago Bears

Justin Fields faces Lamar Jackson and an aggressive Ravens defense this week.  The Ravens have been up and down as of late.  Despite that, this matchup features two teams that tend to lean heavily on the ground game (including the QB’s).  Baltimore ranks fourth against the run (88.2 ypg allowed) while the Bears defense ranks 22nd (122.8 ypg allowed).  Offensively, the Ravens rank 2nd (414.1 ypg), while the Bears are 31st (280.7 ypg).  Rashod Bateman is settling in as a solid #2 WR for Baltimore and that is only going to give this team more balance offensively.  Overall, despite an ugly three-week stretch for the Ravens, I think the extra few days preparation will help.  Baltimore covers in a big way.

$40 NFL: Green Bay Packers (-1) at Minnesota Vikings

We have ourselves a heated divisional rivalry and a tossup line.  The Aaron Jones injury and Minnesota home turf are likely the primary reasons for the one-point spread.  Let’s squash those facts first.  For one, A.J. Dillon – the backup to Jones – is a beast.  He can carry the load on his own, and quite honestly, should have a solid game against a Minnesota defense that ranks 28th against the run (130.6 ypg allowed).  Also, the Packers have won two straight games in Minnesota and seven of eleven.  We are looking at a likely shootout, because well… Cousins isn’t playing this game on Monday night.  Zing.  Overall, I like the talent and consistency of the Packers more.  Green Bay covers in what should be a close game.

$30 College: Baylor Bears (+1) at Kansas State Wildcats

Listen, I know most of us feel that the College Football Playoff committee has done a fairly poor job this season.  That’s being kind.  It’s almost like they are drawing numbers out of a hat and assigning rankings to teams that way.  Despite that feeling, I’m trying to understand a spread that has the #11 Baylor Bears as a one point underdog to Kansas State.  Sure, the game is being played in Manhattan, KS.  This Kansas State team has been competitive, yet failed to beat any strong opponents, with losses to Oklahoma State (11 points), Oklahoma (6 points), and Iowa State (13 points).  I’m not even going to check the past history in this rivalry.  I’m simply going to take the 11th ranked Bears on talent alone.  Baylor wins.

$20 NFL: San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags have actually won two straight at home and face a Niners team playing on short rest.  That’s why I have this ranked lower on the list.  Overall, I can’t get over just how good San Francisco looked against the Rams.  Jimmy G. distributed the ball well, the play calling was sharp, and the run game was potent.  This looked like the Niners team of a few years back.  That was against a much more talented Rams team.  Add in the fact that Jags RB James Robinson is day-to-day and the matchup looks even more lopsided on paper.  For me, it comes down to the Jacksonville run defense, which actually ranks 12th in the league in yards allowed.  If that unit has success, this could be a close game.  Despite the short rest and the cross-country travel, I like San Francisco to build off last week’s momentum.  Niners cover.

$10 NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-10)

In this rivalry, the Texans have lost three straight and five of seven.  While most of those games were closely contested, let’s remember that included Deshaun Watson at QB and more talented Houston players on the field.  This is a rebuilding team.  As for Tennessee, while there’s no Derrick Henry, there is home field advantage.  The RB replacement trio has fared well to this point.  Tennessee’s defense has played well as of late and is tied for fifth in sacks (27 on the season).  Plain and simple, the Titans are rolling as of late – and I don’t see Houston getting in their way.  Tennessee covers at home.

Cowboys +2.5 over Chiefs

Are we sure the Chiefs are back to normal? They just destroyed a Raiders team that is falling apart, but apparently now we think they’re the same Chiefs? Isn’t the Cowboys offense better right now? If it comes to defenses, isn’t the Cowboys defense slightly better? I don’t know, but I think this is a gift…I think the Cowboys should be favored by 1 or 2 so I’m taking the points. In fact, I’m running with them. Catch me if you can. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a Cowboys fan…but not your average Cowboys fan…if that makes sense…I separate myself from the fandom, I can’t stand them, I’m just like you…

CELEBRITY GUEST PICKS: TJ

Cowboys +2.5 over Chiefs

Are we sure the Chiefs are back to normal? They just destroyed a Raiders team that is falling apart, but apparently now we think they’re the same Chiefs? Isn’t the Cowboys offense better right now? If it comes to defenses, isn’t the Cowboys defense slightly better? I don’t know, but I think this is a gift…I think the Cowboys should be favored by 1 or 2 so I’m taking the points. In fact, I’m running with them. Catch me if you can. FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a Cowboys fan…but not your average Cowboys fan…if that makes sense…I separate myself from the fandom, I can’t stand them, I’m just like you…

Patriots -7 over Falcons (and yes, this pick was to me on time, prior to kickoff)

The Patriots own the Falcons for all eternity. They’re coming from destroying the Browns. The Falcons themselves are still looking for their teeth in AT&T Stadium. This line is not high enough. Double it, I don’t care.

Bengals -1 over Raiders

For no other reason that the Raiders are falling apart right in front of our eyes and the Bengals need a bounce back game.

Titans -10 over Texans

I love double digit lines. They’re so enticing. You talk yourself into “a few garbage points by the bad team” and they always fall short and you feel like an idiot for it. No way the Titans beat the Texans by less than 30. Just no way…don’t fall for it again.

Giants +11 over Buccaneers

Speaking of double-digit lines…something’s wrong with Brady and the Bucs. I’m taking the Giants and the points because I honestly think they can win this game, let alone cover. I don’t know, I have a feeling.

One thought on “Week 11: The Wife Hates SportsChump Take On TJ

  1. 1) Cucumbers give me hurricane-force gas.
    2) At least I’m not the worst guest picker.
    3) Preach it on Clemson, brother.

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