Sunday, November 11, 2018

The FGR's Week 10 NFL Picks

We're coming-off a banner run for football in the state of Maryland. First the state university decided not to fire their head coach after a player died on his watch due to some highly suspect medical treatment or lack thereof. I could delve into how this was the most misguided administrative football decision since it took a player uprising to end Coach Kilmer's reign of terror at West Canaan High School but Sally Jenkins already went full fire-breathing dragon on the whole university including the mic drop line "they have nothing to teach a young man except how to disgrace himself in public, and then look in the mirror and see handsome."* The commentary is brilliant and made no less searing by the fact that less than twenty-four hours later the school turned-around and fired the coach. Unfortunately you don't get credit for doing the right thing after you have to stop and ask for directions on how to get there.

Meanwhile, up a level where they admit football is played for profit, the Ravens have lost three in a row and four out of their last five. I tried to convince myself that they were the fifth best team in the AFC behind the Chiefs, Patriots, Steelers and Chargers but that's beyond a stretch at this point considering they (A) let the Saints drive right through them on three 4th quarter scoring drives: (B) utterly failed to show-up against the Panthers and the Steelers; and (C) lost to the Browns when they only needed ten points to win. Now Joe Flacco may need hip surgery which I am actually hoping is a cover story to facilitate the launch of the Lamar Jackson era. Combine all of that with remaining road games against the Chiefs, Chargers and Falcons and . . .  



N.Y. Jets by 7.5 over Buffalo: The Pick - Jets 

A fun exercise (for someone else) would be to go back ten years and aggregate the combined records of the Jets and the Bills on the two days they play each other every year. They're currently 5-13 with a combined point differential of -160 though, in the Jets' defense, -145 of that has been earned by the Bills which is phenomenal considering they've only played nine games and won two of them. In their seven losses, their average margin of defeat is almost 24 points per game. This week, in their ongoing effort to not start Nathan "The" Peterman and in Exhibit 763 in Colin Kaepernick's case against the NFL, they will start Matt Barkley who has not thrown and NFL pass since 2016 when he appeared in seven games for the Bears and threw for 8 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.    

Atlanta by 4 at Cleveland: The Pick - Falcons

There's always a team that gets off to a rocky start and then goes on a roll by winning eight out of their last ten. Do we think the Falcons could be that team? Yes we do. They're on a three game winning streak and, but for trips to Carolina and New Orleans, the rest of the schedule sets-up well. Yes I am including the damn Ravens game because we now know that Lamar Jackson will be starting by then and the first few weeks of that experiment are going to be an epic debacle.  

New Orleans by 5.5 at Cincinnati: The Pick - Bengals

The Saints might be the best team in football. Unfortunately, the Bengals are Kryptonite to NFC teams which is one of the reasons they keep making the playoffs and losing to AFC teams. It's like the NFC is a parallel universe where Marvin Lewis becomes Bill Parcells and Andy Dalton morphs into a clutch quarterback. Also this game is in Cincinnati which is like bizarro New Orleans. No one has ever said the words "I'm going to Cincinnati" with enthusiasm. Not even people from Cleveland. Too many cosmic factors working against the Saints here.  

Tampa Bay by 2.5 over Washington: The Pick - Bucs

I know I spend way too much time talking about point differential but I'm told by those in the gambling know that it's a key metric in rating teams in the same way that yards per play is one of the best ways to measure offensive competency. The Redskins are 5-3 but they've been outscored overall by 12 points which is a pretty good indicator of what I think we already know. They're frauds and Dan Snyder probably wears lifts in his shoes.

New England by 7 at Tennessee: The Pick - Patriots

The Patriots are now on cruise control to the playoffs with the Titans, Bills, Dolphins and two games against the Jets on the schedule. Let's say they split against the Vikings and the Steelers. That gets them to 13-3 with the tiebreaker over the Chiefs. I acknowledge that Brady is a great player and Bellichik can coach but good lord they've basically been playing in the NFL's version of the Missouri Valley Conference for the last fifteen years.  

Well when you put it like that,
we'll take the Jags anyway.
Indy by 3 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Jags

The Colts have won two in the row over the Bills and the Raiders which is like beating your kids in poker. Meanwhile, the Jags have reverted to their substandard mean but what would you expect from the team that extended the contract of a quarterback with 72 interceptions and 44 fumbles in four and a half years? (Not much).  

Green Bay by 9.5 over Miami: The Pick - Packers

Apparently it's a given that Mike McCarthy is just playing-out the string this season. That's what happens when you only make it to one Super Bowl with arguably the best quarterback of a generation. He's going to look great in Cleveland Browns hoodie next year.

Kansas City by 16 over Arizona: The Pick - Chiefs

Want an example of how fast it can all go south in the NFL? (You know you do) In 2015 the Cardinals went 13-3 and came within one game of going to the Super Bowl . . . if you can call losing 49-15 to the Panthers coming within one game. Since then they're 17-22-1 and still in some kind of quasi three year rebuilding mode as evidenced by the fact that they're almost 16 point underdogs, an honor usually reserved for the Bills playing at New England. Being a 16 point underdog is basically Vegas' way of saying you've become a team of prison guards.  

Chicago by 6.5 over Detroit: The Pick - Bears

Matthew Stafford's ten sack effort last week which dropped the Lions to 3-5 got me to thinking about the best quarterback to never win a playoff game (this is what happens when you take golf away from me). Stafford is the all-time leader in passing yards among playoff winless QB's and one of three who are active and have over 25,000 yards - Andy Dalton and Fitzmagic are the other two . . . dubious company to say the least. This is his tenth year in the league and it looks like the futility streak will continue as the Lions are in the express lane to the bottom of the NFC North. What I want to know is whether Matt Patricia considered this before he took the job or did he come home from that game on Sunday, Google "Mathew Stafford contract" and slowly drop his forehead to the desk while whispering "fuck" when saw "five year extension with $92M guaranteed starting in 2018"?     

L.A. Chargers by 10 at Oakland: The Pick - Chargers

You have to give Jon Gruden credit for transitioning so quickly from being kind of a mildly annoying novelty when he left coaching to a neodymium super magnet for scorn and ridicule upon his return (symbol Nd, atomic number of 60 and apparently really magnetic . . . SCIENCE!!!). He may ultimately get the last laugh if he can rebuild in Las Vegas but remember that the only time someone took that kind of break from coaching and returned with any success was Dick Vermeil who stepped on a roller skate and fell ass backwards into Kurt Warner.    

L.A. Rams by 10 over Seattle: The Pick - Rams

I got suckered into thinking that the old Seahawks were still lurking in there somewhere because they had compiled a winning record on the back of wins over the Lions, Cowboys, Raiders and Cardinals plus the fact that they had the Rams on the ropes in the fourth quarter at home a few weeks ago before letting it slip away. Russell Wilson is still solid but he only has 118 yards rushing through half a season which puts him way behind his typical 500+ yard pace. It's almost like he's running less as he gets closer to his contract's 2019 expiration date.

Philadelphia by 7 over Dallas: The Pick - Eagles

I went into the Monday night game only needing one of two things to happen for a successful fantasy football outcome: (1) the Cowboys defense to play with a pulse and/or (2) Dion Lewis not to have his best game of the year. Obviously the two were connected and I lost. The lesson as always, when you lay down with Dallas . . . 

"Why do I always forget to
drop a deuce before the game?"
San Fran by 2.5 over N.Y. Giants: The Pick - 49ers

I'm not even going to ask why they're showing this game in primetime because I've long since given-up on trying to understand the methodology of picking Monday night games which brings us this stale waffle on the heels of Dallas-Tennessee, Patriots-Bills and Giants-Falcons. Fortunately we have Chiefs-Rams up next and then Saints-Panthers on the horizon but the crescendo is going to be the 6-9 Broncos at the 2-13 Raiders where the only thing worth watching will be Gruden's resting dick face.     

Last Week's Record: 7-5 . . . Overall Record: 21-18.

Footnote

* I wish I could quote her whole vitriolic assault but I can't so here's just one more: "Don't send your son to Maryland. Don't, because no one in the administration of that reeking junk heap knows what class, or excellence, or winning, or big time really is." As someone with a diploma from that reeking junk heap, I approve this message.     

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