Sunday, November 16, 2014

The FGR Week 11 NFL Picks

This week's excuse for delayed picks is the fact that I spent all day on Saturday at a soccer tournament in Columbia, Maryland, the home of the perpetually frenzied soccer mom working her minivan through traffic like an Italian cab driver. If you've never made the trip to Columbia, don't. It's a Stepford like community built in 1967 and based on a master plan of ten villages with a mall as its centerpiece. The original architecture called for all outlying businesses to blend into the landscape so, as you drive down the road, the gas station, the dry cleaner and the karate Dojo all look exactly like the middle school and the drug rehab clinic. Let's just say that it's not for everybody. If you happen to live there, I'm sorry on a couple of levels. And now that I've thoroughly offended roughly 100,000 people, let's make some football picks!

Cleveland by 3 over Houston: The Pick - Browns

Raise your hand if you're starting to believe in the Browns at least a little bit (that would be my hand rising as I look around the room to make sure I'm not alone). They flat-out dismantled the Bengals last week although we've learned this year that the Bengals are, if nothing else, highly dismantlable (new FGR word). Look for a rocky start to the Ryan Mallet era against an underrated Browns' defense (hey, that was like some real authentic frontier football analysis).

Chicago by 3 over Minnesota: The Pick - Vikings

Come on Vikings! Are you
going to just take that!?!?
The Bears just lost their last two games by a combined score of 106-37 which pretty much makes them a really awful high school girls basketball team with Jay Cutler as their pouty point guard who shoots everyone a dirty look after they miss a shot or make a turnover. So how must the Vikings feel being underdogs to that Mongolian Clusterfuck?* I'm going to guess it's got them pretty fired-up.

Green Bay by 5 over Philadelphia: The Pick - Packers

OK, I'm 0-1 betting against the Sanchize but that was a home game versus the inept Carolina Panthers. If there was ever a double-down opportunity, this has to be it right? Not to mention, the Packers are due for a string of games that shows that they're at least as good as the sum of their ridiculously talented parts.

Kansas City by 1.5 over Seattle: The Pick - Kansas City

Since a random opening day loss to the Titans, the Chiefs have proven themselves to be the team that wins the games it should win. The question is whether this is one of those games and I think the answer is "yes"? The Seahawks have kind of righted the ship if you can call wins over the Panthers, Raiders and Giants "righting the ship" (seems a little more like "straightening the tie" or "adjusting the boxers"). In the meantime, they've dumped Percy Harvin, questioned the future of Marshawn Lynch (who then scored four touchdowns last week) and questioned whether Russell Wilson is "black enough."** Apparently Pete Carroll has implemented the full USC rise and fall plan in Seattle.

Carolina by 2 over Atlanta: The Pick - Panthers

These two teams are a combined 6-12-1 and a win by either of them this week combined with a Saints' loss will mean at least a share of first place. Ladies and gentlemen . . . your 2014 NFC South!

New Orleans by 7 over Cincinnati: The Pick - Saints

And with that being said, I'm still taking the Saints here as the Bengals have lost their last two road games by a combined score of 70-17 and their two quality wins this year are over the Ravens who seem to be the only competent team in the league that hasn't figured-out how to force at least three turnovers out of Andy Dalton. Hey Cinci, how's that $21.6M cap hit from 2015-17 looking? Ouch.

Washington by 7 over Tampa Bay: The Pick - Bucs

You mean like this?
The Redskins' secondary couldn't cover Mark Carrier at this point (Carrier is the Bucs' all-time leading receivers and he's currently 49 years old so that's why the prospect of the Redskins not being able to cover him is funny HAHAHA. . . ). OK, let's all settle down because Tampa Bay actually might have one of the best receiving tandems in the league this year with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Add the fact that Josh McCown returned last week to knock some of the rust off and we could be looking at a deserted FedEx Field by 3:00 p.m. today.

Denver by 9.5 at St. Louis: The Pick - Broncos

Thank God the Austin Davis run came to an end before we had to watch Jon Gruden favorably compare him to Drew Brees again (yes this happened during the October 13th game against the 49ers and I'm assuming that highlight package has disappeared from the Monday Night Football archives by now). Peyton Manning is still annoyed that other quarterbacks are being discussed as his regular season equal so look for another week of stat padding to rectify that.

San Francisco by 4 at N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Giants

There is absolutely no reason to think that the Giants, who have lost four in a row by a combined 74 points, can hang with the 49ers but I need another underdog pick and San Francisco had to travel to New Orleans last week so here is the random totally unsubstantiated upset pick of the week.

San Diego by 10 over Oakland: The Pick - Raiders

The Chargers appear to have replaced their traditional slow start with a midseason malaise. I should have unloaded fantasy Phillip Rivers when he had some value. Now I'd be lucky to get Maurice Jones-Drew and a Ray Rice jersey for him (too soon?). Speaking of Jones-Drew, he's racked-up 64 yards on 29 carries and no touchdowns for the 0-9 Raiders this year. Who knew you could make a bad career moving by getting out of Jacksonville? With that being said, this line is too high and the Raiders are due to back their way into at least a cover if not a win.

Arizona by 2 over Detroit: The Pick - Cardinals

It's getting very lonely at the Lions Non-Believer meetings and, if they pull this one off, I'll be the next guy to mention "hey, I have to take a leak" and not come back. I just know the timer on the Matthew Stafford turnover time bomb is going to run-out sooner or later and the Cardinals have the secondary to make it sooner.

Indianapolis by 3 over New England: The Pick - Colts

"This next song is all about
my love of hardcore barely
legal pornography."
The Patriots have reeled-off five wins in a row which feels like about enough as they head to Indy to play a team that, other than losing to the first half of the Roethlisberocalypse, may have been the best in football since week two. Also, this feels like the right time for Andrew Luck to stop getting slapped around by Brady and Manning and pull the reversal like the little brother who just turned sixteen and found the weight room. I will warn you, however, that my pick in this game was partly fueled by my massive hatred of the Patriots much like Neil Diamond was creatively fueled by his massive hatred of, well, you know.

Pittsburgh by 6 at Tennessee: The Pick - Steelers

I can only explain this Monday night match-up by theorizing that there was a Duke brothers like bet at NFL headquarters that they could air the worst possible match-up of the week and still triple the ratings of the next most watched show. After watching a fair amount of the Titans-Ravens game last week, I am here to report that the Titans are really bad . . . like Caddyshack 2 level bad.

Last Week's Record: 7-6 . . . Season Record: 68-77-1

Footnotes

* If you've never watched George Carlin's performance at Carnegie Hall, do yourself a favor. Here's a taste including the aforementioned, "Mongolian Clusterfuck."

** These are Charles Barkley's words not mine. All I know is that no one has ever accused me of not being "white enough." I think it's because I like Journey and Rush, write something called the Fantasy Golf Report and own seventeen pairs of khakis.

Email the FGR at fgr@fantasygolfreport.com.