Friday, November 22, 2013

The FGR Week 12 NFL Picks

"There's a new sheriff in town . . . and
his name is the FGR, y'all be cool."
After a two week hiatus, I finally cranked-out some fully analyzed picks and, as of this moment, I'm on track to post them before 11:42 a.m. on Sunday. Why the sudden inspiration? Well for one, I actually wrote some of this stuff a while ago so if it has a stale feel to it, don't worry, that's going to be nothing compared to when I finally put the finishing touches on my Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin piece. More importantly, however, I am about to spend the better part of 36 hours standing on soccer fields in a place called Fallston, Maryland which is (a) in the middle of nowhere and (b) just far enough from my house to be annoying* so it's now or never for this week's picks.

The Fantasy Golf Report is currently 89-70-3 against the spread. How are we doing it in a season where there doesn't seem to be any particular rhyme or reason? Bullshit and experience . . . so sit back and experience some of our bullshit.

At Detroit by 9 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Lions

I've taken my fair share of shots at Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz but now that he has his team at 6-4 and tied for the lead in the NFC North, I guess I should finally admit that the man knows what he's doing. I mean we're talking about a team coming off a complete second half gag job that also boasts a last second home win over the Cowboys and another close one on the road against a Bears' team quarterbacked by a guy who looked like he spent every minute on the bench getting kicked in the nuts by Robbie Gould. That's quite a resume. And another thing. It's not easy to pull together a roster that features a No. 1 overall pick at quarterback and No. 2 overall picks at running back, wide receiver and defensive tackle . . . all of whom are meeting or exceeding draft day expectations. So smash away on those headsets Jimmy. You've certainly earned the right.

At Houston by 10.5 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Jaguars

The Jaguars are terrible for a variety of reasons but if you had to pick just one, the epic manner in which they have botched their first round picks is a good place to start: 2010 - DT, Tyson Alualu (taken 10th despite being projected as a second round talent . . . now playing like a 6th round talent); 2011 - Blaine Gabbert (his 36.0 passer rating would place him last among current quarterbacks by 16 points . . . if he had enough attempts to qualify); 2012 - Justin Blackmon (taken 5th overall despite numerous character red flags . . . was recently suspended for the rest of 2013 for violating the league substance abuse policy); 2013 - OT, Luke Joeckel (season ending ankle injury on October 8th . . . welcome to Jacksonville Luke).**

At Green Bay by 3.5 over Minnesota: The Pick - Packers

At some point the FGR needs to acknowledge the brilliant work being done by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford** and we might as well use the Green Bay-Minnesota game to do it because (a) Wisconsin and Minnesota might as well be Canada anyway and (b) this game stopped mattering the moment Aaron Rodgers' shoulder hit the turf. Anyway, there are so many great Rob Ford moments that it's hard to pick just one but, since this is ostensibly a football website now (thus the name Fantasy Golf Report), let's go with the fact that the commissioner of the CFL actually asked Ford not to attend the playoff game in Toronto last Sunday. I'm guessing it went down something like this:

"Well if you're going up anyway, I'd love a
corn dog and four Molsons. Thanks."
Commissioner: Mayor Ford, with all due respect we think it would be in the best interest of the league and the Toronto Argonauts franchise if you did not attend the game on Sunday.

Mayor Ford: I don't know.

Commissioner: What do you mean you don't know?

Mayor Ford: Argo fuck yourself!

At Kansas City by 5 over San Diego: The Pick - Chiefs

This is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to get back to creating the illusion that they will win a playoff game this year before they have to play the Broncos again next Sunday and we all say, "oh yeah." If the season ended today, they would play at the Bengals in a game that would struggle in the ratings against the tail end of a Police Academy movie marathon (which would include the last hour of Police Academy 6: City Under Siege and a full showing of Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow and the fact that Mission to Moscow was made in 1994 and does not feature Yakov Smirnoff has to make it one of the greatest upsets of the 90's along with the Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas fight).

Carolina by 3.5 at Miami: The Pick - Panthers

Carolina proved last week that they can closeout a game against a quality opponent on a primetime stage as long as they are allowed to tackle that opponent's receivers on the last play of the game. More importantly, after winning six in a row, they have proven to have one of the league's best defenses and Cam Newton finally appears to be comfortable getting paid over the table.

At Cleveland by 2 over Pittsburgh: The Pick - Steelers

Don't bother Cleveland with
your sports team woes.
Just when you thought the "Factory of Sadness" had run out of ways to crush the hopes of its customers, along comes the 2013 season where the Browns have somehow managed to go from hopeless (Brandon Weeden) to hopeful (Brian Hoyer) to hopeless (Weeden) to hopeful (Jason Campbell) to hopeless (last week's game when they turned a 13-0 lead into 31-13 halftime deficit). If you're a Browns fan, you almost need to take the Ron Burgundy approach when Baxter ate the wheel of cheese and pooped in the fridge and just say, "I'm not even mad . . . that's amazing."

At Oakland by 1 over Tennessee: The Pick - Titans

Speaking of factories of sadness, I'm still carrying Jake Locker on the roster of one of my fantasy teams because when three of your first four picks were Doug Martin, Stephen Jackson and Tom Brady, who really cares anymore? As for picking this game, good luck. You'd have a better chance of walking into a little league girls basketball game and asking a random parent if they want to put a hundy on the red team. (I wouldn't advise doing that by the way).

At Baltimore by 4 over N.Y. Jets: The Pick - Ravens

If the Dolphins lose to the Panthers and the Ravens can pull-out a win against the Jets at home (didn't think I'd be writing that three months ago), then I believe the defending champs will move into control of the second AFC wild card spot with a record of 5-6. It's sad but not quite as sad as the clock management display put on by John Harbaugh last week after he magically found his team with first and goal at the 5 yard line with 1:11 on the clock and two timeouts left (they would have had all three if not for a completely wasted challenge call but that's a whole other topic).

On first down, Ray Rice ran it to the 2 yard line and the Ravens called timeout with 23 seconds left. Fine. Now here's where brainlock set-in. The Ravens had second and goal from the 2 yard line with one timeout which they would need to stop the clock for the game tying field goal if necessary. If they run it there and don't make it, they (a) have to use their last timeout so they can run one more play before kicking the field goal and (b) the third down play will have to be a pass because they will need a touchdown to win or an incompletion to stop the clock. If, however, they pass on second down and don't make it, they will still have a timeout left for third down so the defense won't know if a run or pass is coming. So what did they do? Handoff to Ray Rice for a loss of a yard. Timeout. Fumbled snap. Incomplete pass. Field goal. Overtime. Loss. Blech.

At St. Louis by 1 over Chicago: The Pick - Rams

Note that I was all set to blast Marc Trestman for what I initially thought was his superior clock management screw-up against the Ravens but then I read this explanation and, I must admit, I agree with him. I'm glad to see someone's finally thinking this stuff through. Unfortunately for the Bears, this whole Josh McCown thing can't keep rolling and the Rams are just the defense to derail it.  

These ridiculous outfits are
what happen when you move
a team from LA to St. Louis.
At Arizona by 2 over Indianapolis: The Pick - Cardinals

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere on or about September 5th that the Cardinals were going to go 10-6 this year and take one of the NFC wild card spots (oh wait, here it is FGR Week 1 NFL Picks). Well after ripping-off three consecutive wins over the murderer's row of Atlanta, Houston and Jacksonville, the Cardinals are sitting at 6-4, tied for the second wild card spot with the 49ers and Bears. I like them here because I'm starting to think that the Colts might be frauds without Reggie Wayne. At least their recent shaky play has had a pie-hole shutting effect on Jim Irsay and we can all be thankful for that as we head into this holiday week.

At N.Y. Giants by 2.5 over Dallas: The Pick - Giants

For years Pat Summerall was the voice of the NFC East. Every Sunday on CBS, it seemed like their was a match-up involving the Cowboys, Giants, Eagles and Redskins and it always seemed to matter. Pat Summerall died on April 16th of this year and the NFC East apparently died with him as these four teams are scratching and crawling over each other to see who can reach 8-8 first to earn the right to get blasted out of the playoffs at home in the first round. At this point, I'm envisioning a three interception game by Eli Manning against the Panthers so I'm riding the Giants to that inevitable beatdown.

Denver by 2.5 at New England: The Pick - Broncos

Hey look it's the Broncos playing another night game. Or to quote Alan Arkin from Little Miss Sunshine,**** "what's that the Broncos? . . . every night it's the fuckin' Broncos . . . Holy God Almighty . . . is it possible just once we get something to watch around here that's not the Goddamned fucking Broncos . . . I'm just sayin'." (Clearly losing steam on the picks at this point).

San Francsico by 4.5 at Washington: The Pick - 49ers

Remember not so long ago when we were debating the best young quarterback in the league and Ron Jaworski was saying things like, "Colin Kapernick could be the best of all-time." And remember when Kaepernick wore sunglasses inside at the ESPY Awards. And remember when RG, III was "all-in for week one." And remember when his best throw last week was the one where he threw his coaches and receivers under the bus after the game. And remember when the Ravens won the Super Bowl. Ahhhhh . . . the salad days. What? Oh yeah, the 49ers should dominate this game but it's really a no-lose scenario for those of us who despise both of these teams because there is a strong chance that we may get to see the head of at least one really unlikeable coach explode.

Last Week's Record: 9-4-2 . . . Season Record: 89-69-3

Email the Fantasy Golf Report here.

The FGR Fantasy Squad

You may have noticed that I kind of abandoned the fictional fantasy squad and I just wanted to let you know that there is a good reason for that. Everything I write is judged by the same standard: "would I want to read that?" The answers to that question generally ranges anywhere from "yes" to "maybe" to "no" to "can I have that 30 seconds of my life back?" When looking back over the fantasy stuff I had written, I found that most of it fell into one of the last two categories. Besides, I drafted a starting line-up below so I'm pretty sure I'm kicking the crap out of every other fictional fantasy lineup (to the extent there are any) thereby proving my point (season long fantasy rank per position in parentheses):
"Oh my . . . where in the
hell is that kick going?"

QB - Matthew Stafford (3rd)
RB - LeSean McCoy (1st)
RB - Chris Johnson (10th)
WR - T.Y. Hilton (15th)
WR - Alshon Jefferey (11th)
TE - Jason Witten (7th)
FX - Knowshon Moreno (6th)
K - Jay Feely (17th)(Nobody's perfect)
D - Ravens (11th)

Average Points Per Game: An Assload

Endnotes

* For me, that means anything in the 45 to 60 minute range. It's just not quite far enough to get a hotel room for the weekend but just a little too far to drive home between soccer games so you find yourself sitting at the Chick-fil-A asking your kids if they want another refill on their drink like Mark Ratner in Fast Times at Ridgemont High when he forgot his wallet. Speaking of Fast Times, is there a more painful scene to re-watch than Mike Damone and Stacy having sex in the pool house? I know we all looked like that the first time but Jesus, I don't need to see it on screen.

** If you want to know why bad teams stay bad, you need look no further than that 2012 draft. In addition to the Jags taking Blackmon who was a suspension waiting to happen, the Browns screwed-up the chance to trade-up and get RG, III and then used the 3rd pick on Trent Richardson (since traded to the Colts) and the 22nd pick on Brandon Weedon, a 28 year old rookie (seriously) who is currently the 33rd rated passer in the league.

Do the Rob Ford pictures even
need captions anymore?
*** I'm going to be very disappointed if Rob Ford doesn't get his own Kenny Powers style show when his political career finally runs its course. In the meantime, we need The Daily Show or Jimmy Kimmel to hit the streets of Toronto and start asking people the number one reason they voted for Ford because, when you look at pictures like this one, even we Americans are entitled to an explanation as to how this man was elected mayor of the largest city in the third most important country in North America.

**** One of the all-time classic scenes from one of the all-time most underrated movies. If you've never seen it, just enjoy this 14 second segment.