Thursday, September 26, 2013

The FGR Week 4 NFL Picks

We'll get to the FedEx Cup Playoffs wrap-up later but now it's time to pay some attention to the FGR's second child, the NFL. After three weeks, I think we're starting to get a handle on this thing. For the first time since parity began reigning, it seems that the league can be divided into two categories: (1) Teams that have their shit together and (2) Teams that don't have their shit together (to avoid the ongoing crass use of profanity, we will employ the acronyms "HTST" and "DHTST" . . . did you ever notice how obsessed the FGR is with acronyms?). Games that match HTST teams against DHTST teams have become easy to predict like last week's Seattle-Jacksonville game. The tough games are the ones between two HTST teams like Ravens-Texans or two DHTST teams like Jets-Bills. There are also a couple of borderline teams like the Lions and the Titans who have not established their identities yet so their HTST status will have to be evaluated on a week to week basis until we get more evidence.

Based on this latest cockamamie theory, let's try an experiment this week. We're going to label every team as either a HTST team or a DHTST team and in any game that matches one against the other, we're going to ignore the spread and pick the HTST team under the theory that teams that DHTST are going to get hammered in more than half of their games against teams that HTST. When two similarly categorized teams are playing each other like the Drek Bowl between the Steelers and Vikings over in London, we'll go with our gut.

San Francisco (HTST) by 3 over St. Louis (DHTST): The Pick - 49ers

Sorry Sam. Not the best
week to draw the Niners.
In his MMQB column this week, Peter King wrote, "year too early on the Rams optimism." A year too early? Doesn't that statement pretty much cover the entire Sam Bradford era? I know RG, III is off right now but I still say the Rams trading away the chance to draft him was one of the most underrated gaffs of all-time. And if I was doing a suicide pool, I would be very tempted to take the 49ers this week despite the 3 point spread. Patrick Willis is going to pull a Forrest Whitaker and play like Rams fans trashed his car. 

Minnesota (DHTST) Pick 'em v. Pittsburgh (DHTST): The Pick - Steelers

In the 60's, England gave us the Beatles, the Who and Led Zeppelin and we've been repaying them over the years with crap like Hall & Oates, Styx and the Eagles. Now they give us the English Premier League and we repay them by sending over one of the five most unwatchable NFL games of the season every year. This year may be the worst as they're getting the marquee DHTST game of the week. We're apparently having a hard time letting that whole taxation without representation thing go.    

Baltimore (HTST) by 3.5 over Buffalo (DHTST): The Pick - Ravens

By now you've probably heard that Jacoby Jones had a champagne bottle smashed over his head by a stripper while riding in a party bus at 3:00 a.m. last weekend. Ray Lewis has attributed this incident to the leadership void created by his retirement. OK two things: (1) If you've never had a champagne bottle smashed over your head by a stripper, then you're just not partying hard enough and (2) Ray Lewis found himself in an almost identical situation many years ago only instead of a punchline, the story yielded a murder and a conviction for obstruction of justice. People in glass houses should not throw stones and, in Ray's case, people in paper houses should not shoot flamethrowers.
"NO CHAMPAGNE BOTTLE FORMED
AGAINST US SHALL PROSPER!!!

Cincinnati (HTST) by 5 over Cleveland (DHTST): The Pick - Bengals

Let's not get too carried away with the Browns latest version of Derek Anderson or Kelly Holcombe. This is Cleveland. Brian Hoyer is going to find a way to win just enough games to screw them out of a franchise quarterback in the draft.

Indianapolis (HTST) by 8.5 over Jacksonville (DHTST): The Pick - Colts

I don't know this for a fact but I am 99.9% sure that no NFL team has ever gone an entire season without covering a spread. The Jags are currently 0-3 against the number and if they're ever going to break that streak, it's going to be at home against a divisional opponent that is coming-off of an emotional road win right? Before I went with the HTST v. DHTST theme, I picked the Jags to cover based on this theory. Now it looks like we'll have to hold-off until they play the Browns in the "Bridgewater Bowl" on December 1st.

Seattle (HTST) by 3 over Houston (HTST): The Pick - Seahawks

The Texans are barely a HTST team right now. Ron Jaworski noted last week that Matt Schaub always makes one or two plays a game that the rest of the team has to overcome and there he was, right on cue, throwing his third pick-six of the season against the Ravens last Sunday. The Seahawks on the other hand are just plain mean and nasty like the guy in high school who would threaten to kick your ass just because you tripped over his backpack. I could see them winning this game by 20.

Tampa Bay (DHTST) by 3 over Arizona (DHTST): The Pick - Cardinals

I still think that the Cardinals might HTST but I know without any question that the Bucs do not in anyway HTST to the point that they may make a run at outsucking the Jags. They might as well just cut to the chase and let Greg Schiano go coach the University of Texas or Nebraska right now.

"I hate you headset . . . I hate you,
I hate you . . . asshole headset!"
Detroit (DHTST) by 3 over Chicago (HTST): The Pick - Bears

I was ready to give the Lions the benefit of the doubt and grant them HTST status but I can't get the image of Jim Schwartz throwing down his headset after the win against the Redskins on Sunday. It's a fine line in the coaching business between controlled rage and an anger management problem. Schwartz appears to be on the wrong side of that line . . . and nowhere near it.

Kansas City (HTST) by 4 over N.Y. Giants (DHTST): The Pick - Chiefs

No team at this point has TST less than the Giants. On the other hand, Andy Reid appears to have taken a franchise that didn't even know where TS was and gotten it together almost overnight. Speaking of Reid, his new bright red Chief's duds make him look an awful lot like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka only if her name had been Rose or Tomato.

Tennessee (HTST) by 4.5 over N.Y. Jets (DHTST): The Pick - Titans

If the Jets pull this one out, we'll temporarily remove the "D" from their acronym but wins over the Bills and Bucs in no way prove that a team HTST especially when they committed 20 penalties last week and their quarterback has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes. However, anything that makes a Jet fan more indignant about the public perception of his favorite team is a good thing so let's hope this builds for a couple more weeks before crashing into the inevitable 5-11 season.

Dallas (HTST) by 2 over San Diego (DHTST): The Pick - Cowboys

I know this is hard to believe but there is every indication that the Cowboys may finally HTST. I know it's only September and Jerry Jones hasn't fired-up the nuclear reactor on his tanning bed yet but, in light of their NFC East competition, the Cowboys may clinch before they have a chance to start gagging in December.

Washington (DHTST) by 3 over Oakland (DHTST): The Pick - Redskins

This one is tough for the Raiders because, by their standards, they actually appear to HTST but it's all relative as that only yields a 6-10 season in Oakland. I can tell you from personal experience that Redskin fans have already quit on the season representing the most precipitous drop from unbridled optimism to unrelenting pessimism since the 2013 Washington Nationals.

Denver (HTST) by 10.5 over Philadelphia (DHTST): The Pick - Broncos

A team can't just HTST on one side of the ball like the Eagles apparently do (even though I'm not convinced that losing the time of possession battle 2 to 1 every week is a recipe for success). Peyton Manning has thrown 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions against two respectable defenses and the Giants this season. What's he going to do with 40 minutes of possession time against the sieve that is the Eagles secondary? Considering the 10.5 point spread and the 58 point over/under, we're looking at 500 yards and 5 touchdown passes minimum.

Atlanta (HTST) by 1.5 over New England (DHTST): The Pick - Falcons

"You know I die a horrible death right?"
I'm sorry, but wins over the Bills, Jets and Bucs do not mean that the Patriots HTST. Fortunately, their next five games are at Falcons, at Bengals, Saints, at Jets, Dolphins and they still have to play the Broncos, Texans and Ravens. Let's get Moe Greene's take on the matter: "Yeah, let's talk football Tom. First of all, you're all done. The Patriots don't even have that kind of muscle anymore. The Gronk is injured right? You're getting chased out of the AFC by the Broncos and the other teams."  

New Orleans (HTST) by 6.5 over Miami (HTST): The Pick - Saints

The Seahawks and the Broncos have been so splashy this year that we've kind of failed to notice that the Saints really HTST. If Drew Brees' team has a defense that is going to continue to allow less than 13 points per game, just hand them one of the two byes right now. On the other side, the Dolphins have strung together two quality wins in a row and Ryan Tannehill's passer rating is 94.3. If this keeps up, we could be looking at a lot of Mrs. Tannehill this season which is a good thing.

Now I'm going to play golf. Good day.  

Last Week's Record: 10-6 . . . Season Record: 27-20-1

The FGR Week 3 Fantasy Team

Another solid week for the non-existent FGR fantasy squad thanks to an old-fashioned Ed Reed style performance from the Ravens' defense bailing-out an utter no-show by the receivers. Things are looking good as long as Matthew Stafford stays healthy (can't believe I just said that out loud).

Two Defensive/ST scores and the
cheerleaders were rockin' the Daisy
Dukes to boot. Charm City indeed.
Matthew Stafford - 24
LeSean McCoy - 24
Bernard Pierce - 12
Randall Cobb - 5
Marques Colston - 7
Jason Witten - 6
Ravens - 27
Jay Feely - 1

Total - 106

Bench

Eli Manning - 3
Chris Johnson - 9
Shonn Greene - 0
Knowshon Moreno - 3
T.Y. Hilton - 1
Julian Edelman - 4
Alshon Jeffrey - 5

Endnotes

* No endnotes this week meaning I didn't have a single random tangential thought (which is mildly disconcerting) so here's one. You know how we're always complaining that old people drive too slowly. Well just imagine the alternative and be thankful.

Email the FGR here.