Monday, October 14, 2013

The FGR Week 6 NFL Picks

Well what I've lacked in golf forecasting ability, I appear to be making-up with football picks as Thursday night's win pushed me to 45-31-1 against the spread this year. This was setting-up to be a pretty entertaining entry as the original weekend itinerary had me playing a 45 hole tournament with most of my family out of town which would have created the potential for a little late night creativity along with a few inappropriate tweets and Facebook posts. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas and now the golf is off and I'll be heading to Delaware to coach little league soccer in the rain for two days. It's your basic middle aged reversal of fortune seasoned with a dash of "hey let's drive three hours so our ten year old kids can play sports against ten year old kids from other places who look just like the ten year old kids from home."

As a result, some of this week's games will get more attention than others. The good news, however, is that the golf tournament was pushed to next weekend so the prospect of inappropriate tweets and posts still looms.

At Kansas City by 9 over Oakland: The Pick - Raiders

There is little doubt in my mind that the Chiefs will win this game and I usually go with sure winners regardless of the spread but 9 points against a divisional opponent with a wild card quarterback is just a few too many.

Philadelphia by 1 at Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

But not before Glennon
stops at Baskin-Robbins.
The NFC East has two wins outside of the division. One was the Cowboys over the Rams who are lousy and the other was the Redskins over the Raiders which on that day may have been the worst team in the league this year considering Matt Flynn was playing quarterback. I have to believe that getting the stink of Josh Freeman's attitude out of the locker room will give the Bucs a boost. Not to mention, Cinemax is running Varsity Blues this month so there's always the chance that quarterback Mike Glennon could stage a mutiny and force-out Greg Schiano.
 
Green Bay by 3 at Baltimore: The Pick - Packers

I must admit that I'm passing on what will probably be the only chance of my lifetime to watch Aaron Rodgers play live. Football is really the one sport where there is little incentive to see a potential hall of famer come to town because, with only a sixteen game season, no one wants to see him do hall of fame caliber things against your team.*

Detroit by 2.5 at Cleveland: The Pick - Lions

The restoration of Brandon Weeden to the starting spot should get the Browns tanking run back on track though it appears that the Steelers are going to make every effort to out-tank them. A truly bitter rivalry.

At Minnesota by 2.5 over Carolina: The Pick - Panthers

The Vikings now feature a potential quarterback rotation of Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman. That's got to make Viking fans feel like the last guy to show-up at the cookout . . . "um we've got a little bit of potato salad left, I think there are a few radishes still on the veggie tray and . . . hey, did anyone eat that hot dog that the cat was licking?"

At Houston by 7 over St. Louis: The Pick - Texans

"Joey, I am the worst GM in NFL
history. It's not your fault.  It's not
your fault. It's not your fault." 
After his fourth consecutive game with a pick six, they're burning Matt Schaub's jersey in Houston but if you asked a Texans' fan if they'd trade him straight-up for Sam Bradford right now, they'd probably say, "you know what . . . we think Matt's going to come around." So if you're keeping track, here is the official progression: Tony Romo is the poor man's Brett Favre, Matt Schaub is the poor man's Tony Romo, Andy Dalton is the poor man's Matt Schaub, Sam Bradford is the poor man's Andy Dalton, Brandon Weeden is the poor man's Sam Bradford and then you go through a few historically bad quarterbacks like Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith and Joey Harrington and eventually you end with Blaine Gabbert.**

At N.Y. Jets by 1 over Pittsburgh: The Pick - Steelers

You know I may have underestimated the Jets this season considering they're 4-1 against the spread. In my defense, my dislike for them is well-grounded in the fact that I spent two years living with a reeeaaalllly annoying Jet fan (is there any other kind?) in college. I mean if you spent two years having to listen to your roommate butcher Hakuna Matata in the shower, you probably wouldn't be a really big fan of The Lion King right?

I will say, however, that I think that Rex Ryan is being unfairly judged as a head coach. Here is the list of coaches who have been to at least two conference championship games over the last ten years along with their starting quarterbacks - you tell me which one stands-out for overcoming the greatest liability at the most important position: John Harbaugh (Flacco), Bill Belichik (Brady), Jim Harbaugh (A. Smith and Kaepernick), Tom Coughlin (E. Manning), Rex Ryan (Sanchez), Mike Tomlin (Roethlisberger), Mike McCarthy (Rodgers), Sean Payton (Brees), Andy Reid (McNabb) and Tony Dungy (P. Manning). Get the point? So let's stop talking about Rex like he's Rich Kotite or Bruce Coslett. He's an obnoxious blowhard, but at least he can coach. With all of that being said, I'm taking the Steelers.

Cincinnati by 8 at Buffalo: The Pick - Bengals

I'm not sure which I find more unbelievable: (a) That the Bills did not have a quarterback that they deemed back-up worthy on their active roster or (b) that the player they promoted from the practice squad is a black guy named "Thad." Of course it turns-out he went to Duke which is also the Alma mater of "Shane" Battier, "Corey" Maggette and "Elton" Brand. I had a joke about them missing out on a recruit named Thurston Washington but I think it's time to move on.

At Seattle by 13.5 over Tennessee: The Pick - Seahawks

The next three quarterbacks the Seahawks will see at home are Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mike Glennon and the aforementioned Christian Ponder/Matt Cassel/Josh Freeman cookout leftover plate . . . just in case you were wondering about the roaring laughter coming-out of their defensive film room.

At Denver by 27.5 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Jags

Why do I think that Peyton Manning is going to run this thing up to 35-3 in the first half and then ease off the gas just long enough to allow the Jags to cover? Maybe it's all of his charity work? ("Look, I'll kill a snitch . . . I'm not saying I have . . .").

At San Francisco by 11 over Arizona: The Pick - Cardinals

I'm applying the same theory that I used on the Chiefs-Raiders game. The 49ers will win this thing but it's a divisional game and the Cardinals defense is good enough to continue exposing Colin Kaepernick as a suspect passer. If only the Niners had a reliable quarterback who could complete a high percentage of his passes and not turn the ball over.

At New England by 2.5 over New Orleans: The Pick - Saints

Rumor has it that Gronk is coming back. Unfortunately for the Patriots, unless he can cover Jimmy Graham, it isn't going to matter.

At Dallas by 5.5 over Washington: The Pick - Cowboys

Or we could call them the . . . wait,
what were we talking about?
Since I've already started digging the race joke hole, let's keep shoveling. The recent resurfacing of the "Redskin" name controversy reminds of comedian Nick Dipaolo's classic line in response to people who don't like the way Italians are portrayed in The Sopranos, "if you want to complain about the way Italians are portrayed on TV, let's start with those Olive Garden commercials." With that being said, I fully expect the Redskins to change their name within the next five years. The question is which way do they go? Do they stick with the Washington theme like the Capitals and Nationals or do they go a different direction like the Wizards? The Illusionists would be fitting in light of what they led us to believe they were going to be this season (a good team) as opposed to what they are (not a good team).

Indianapolis by 1.5 at San Diego: The Pick - Colts

The Colts look very solid right now and they've proven they can win on the road with victories at San Francisco and ahem Jacksonville. On the other side, the Chargers looked like they might have a wild card shot before they Norved it up against the Raiders last week.

Last Week's Record: 9-5 . . . Season Record: 44-31-1

The FGR Week 4 and 5 Fantasy Teams

I wasn't hiding last week's fantasy scores (though I should have been), I just forgot to report them so here are two weeks' worth. The weekly per team average of the league from which I am drawing these scores is just a shade over 90 points per game so Week 4 would have been my first fictional loss.

Week 4 Week 5
Matthew Stafford - 15 Matthew Stafford - 14
LeSean McCoy - 9 LeSean McCoy - 14
Chris Johnson - 3 Chris Johnson - 13
T.Y. Hilton - 4 Randall Cobb - 10
Marques Colston - 9 Alshon Jeffery - 30
Jason Witten - 4 Jason Witten - 21
Ravens - 14 Ravens - 12
Jay Feely - 7 Jay Feely - 9
Total - 65 Total - 123
Bench Bench
Eli Manning - 7 Eli Manning - 18
Bernard Pierce - 0 Bernard Pierce - 4
Shonn Greene - 0 Shonn Greene - 0
Knowshon Moreno - 14 Knowshon Moreno - 20
Julian Edleman - 14 Julian Edleman - 3
Alshon Jeffery - 23 Marques Colston - 1
Randall Cobb - BYE T.Y. Hilton - 29

For this week, I'm going with McCoy and Moreno at running back with Jeffery and Hilton at wide receiver. Visiting wide receivers generally don't fare well in Baltimore (at least that's my completely baseless theory) so I'm gambling by leaving Cobb on the pine.

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Endnotes

* Consider that this is coming from the perspective of a fan who has had the pleasure of watching his favorite team win two Super Bowls and reel-off five consecutive playoff seasons. I can't speak for Browns fans or Bills fans who probably covet the opportunity to watch Adrian Peterson run roughshod over their defenses because at least it makes their teams highlight worthy. (What? The Browns are 3-2?!? Yeah right).

** I genuinely hope that Gabbert goes on to be a great coach or make a fortune in the restaurant business because he's certainly earned it by suffering through his brief awful career without taking a swing at a writer. Then again, Blaine and I have never met.