by Eight Thirty Seven
Monday night in San Diego Mike Tomlin took a chance and went for the win with five seconds left on the clock by handing the ball off to Le’Veon Bell. It was beyond a gutsy call, as the clock would have likely run out had Bell not found the endzone and could have put the Steelers three games out of first place less than a month and a half into the season. You would have heard Chargers fans going ballistic at the monumental goal line stand which could have turned their average season into something they could be proud of…At least you would have, had there been enough Chargers fans in attendance to care. You would have thoughts those tickets were only sold at the Pirates-Cubs play-in game back in Pittsburgh. It was ridiculous. Listen, the more and more I see pictures of the inside of that stadium and hear firsthand about the locals losing interest in the Chargers, the more I think that franchise is headed to Los Angeles. We’ve been hearing about it for years, but last night was kind of fate’s way of sealing that casket. The place went crazy when the home team lost. It’s not the first time I’ve seen that happen while watching a San Diego Chargers game, but it very well might be one of the last. But there are a lot of enticing games going around the league this year, so let’s look outside the southern California area and see where you want your money in week six of the NFL season.
Dubsism: I called the last week for the J-Dub Gambling Challenge “The week of the Landmine” and said that I would use the winnings to buy a foot for some poor Afghan kid who lost his collecting shell casings. Well, little (insert non-politically correct name here) isn’t getting a foot this week because the NFL cares more about breast cancer than footless Afghani kids. The lines last week were about as foot-friendly as Josh Scobee getting the lead in the remake of “My Left Foot.” (Yes, I actually get paid by Google for every time you need to search one of my joke references).
Last week, we survived the landmines, but did some serious bleeding. For the week, the J-Dub Gambling challenge took a hot loss of -$148.00; but for the season, the bankroll is still +488.50. We’re in the black, but we still aren’t in “down payment on a foot territory.” That’s why we are interested in this week; as there’s clearly some money-making opportunities out there. But, that also means we have to get those right. Having said that, here’s what we’ve got for Week 6…
Bye Weeks: Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay
Brief comments about the bye week teams: All of these teams could probably use a week off when you think about it. Hopefully, you won’t spend too much time thinking about it. The Cowboys’ decision to go ahead and start Matt Cassel over Brandon Weeden is probably a good one.
Atlanta Falcons (5-0) -3.5 at New Orleans Saints (1-4) (51)
The Falcons needed overtime to beat Washington at home last week, but upon closer examination the Redskins have a better defense than their record would indicate. The Saints on the other hand seem to be so full of holes that I can’t even fathom why this would be only a three point spread. (Pay no attention to the injuries to Julio Jones, he’ll be ready to go and play well…) Devonta Freeman is going to stomp that defensive line like they’re some kind of pesky yard mole, and the Saints may very well not win another game this season. ESPN reported back on Sunday night that the Miami Dolphins are one of the teams that is looking to enlist the services of Sean Peyton when the season ends, leading us to believe that the season has already ended in New Orleans. Rob Ryan will likely be fired at the end of the year as well, but how funny would it be if they promoted him from defensive coordinator to head coach just to give it a shot? It would certainly be hilarious for Bucs and Panthers fans, but the Falcons would be howling and licking their chops to get a shot at Ryan’s pathetic attempt to help manage what used to be one of the most electrifying offenses in football. But -3.5 here? Lock of the week. I don’t care if Matt Ryan gets eaten by a gorilla on the way to the stadium, the Falcons are definitely three and a half points better than the Saints are right now. Even ape shit in a coffin has a leg up on a team that just gave up 39 points to the Eagles. Atlanta covers but take the under because they’re in the middle of a bit of a slide compared to the typical offensive production we saw in the first few weeks. Keep in mind this team is the same Saints squad that lost at home to the Bucs.
837’s Prediction: Falcons 32, Saints 10
J-Dub: $100 Atlanta to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Atlanta
Cincinnati Bengals -3.5 (5-0) at Buffalo Bills (3-2) (43.5)
Buffalo is living high on the hog after a 13-12 victory last week over the hapless Titans, and probably thrilled that they are only two games out of the AFC East lead. But they’re in for a real wake up call when the Bengals come to town. At first glance this would appear to be a trap game, seeing as how this is usually right around the time of year Cincinnati starts eating a dick and that they were down 24-7 at home against the Seahawks last week before they come back. But the point is – they did comeback and that’s what sets them apart from a lot of these other overrated AFC squads. The special teams play has been fantastic and if you give an above average quaterback a short field almost every possession, he’s going to end up looking better than just an above average quarterback. The whole “playing in the cold” thing isn’t going to work in their favor in mid-October, and neither is Tyrod Taylor who seems to be having a very difficult struggle getting their passing game going against two very questionable defenses after the past two weeks. Nevertheless, this one still makes me really nervous in that sort of “Yeah, but it’s the Bengals” kinda way. So I’ll raise you that by saying “Yeah, but there’s not snow on the ground yet” and take the Hamilton County Hammers to cover the spread on the road. Plus, God doesn’t really want the Bills to be above .500 anyway. You could make the argument that he also doesn’t want the Bengals to be 6-0, but seriously – fuck Buffalo. Point total makes me too nervous to even consider it.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 24, Bills 20
J-Dub: $25 on Cincinnati to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Cincinnati
Denver Broncos (5-0) -4 at Cleveland Browns (2-3) (42)
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anybody who reads this column, but I’m not buying the Broncos as Super Bowl contenders just because they’re still undefeated. They’ve beaten the Ravens, the Chiefs, the Lions, the Vikings and the Raiders. And I’m going to keep listing the teams they’ve been victorious against until they finally do lose, which I feel is coming shortly. The Browns on the other hand had some great luck last week against one of those bad teams – the Ravens – and they simply don’t have the skill to take this one at home without some sort of divine assistance. Look, Denver’s defense is playing very well, but I’m afraid their offense is on its way out of town. (Some of them who weren’t there last year have already left) Four points is a fair spread here, and although I do like Denver to win Cleveland will keep it close so take them. I don’t really have a lot to talk about as far as the Browns go, but if McCown has a career game I’m going to force myself to learn more Brownspeak…at least for the near future. I like the Broncos to win, but it’ll be a three point victory so take Cleveland. I could be way off on this one, but recent Denver performances haven’t given me a recent to second guess myself. I wouldn’t put any money on it…that’s for sure. No point total either.
837’s Prediction: Broncos 22, Browns 19
J-Dub: $25 on Denver to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Cleveland
Chicago Bears (2-3) +3 at Detroit Lions (0-5) (43)
After a year that saw them finish with only five losses all year long, the Detroit Lions have equaled their loss total from 2014 and are once again the winless laughingstock of the league. Playing in an incredibly poor division hasn’t helped them one bit, and the more I watch them the more I think that the ending of “Old Yeller” isn’t all that barbaric at all. The Bears came dangerously close to blowing the Chiefs game, but were still able to sneak out of there with a win. As bad as Detroit has been, for some bizarre reason I think this is the game where they turn it all around. Perhaps it’s because they’re at home. Perhaps it’s because they’re facing Jay Cutler. Or perhaps it’s because I can’t see them going 0-16 again like they did in 2008 under the guise of Hot Rod Marinelli. For some reason, I just have to believe that even though their defense is awful and they seem to turn the ball over every other set of downs they are going to pull this one off. It’s also possible that my hatred of the Bears is now spilling over to include the support of other teams that I hate, and I’m not really too sure how I feel about that but if it’s going to benefit any city it certainly should be Detroit because they could use an extra thing to not have to worry about. Forget the Oklahoma drill that the Dolphins are using, it’s time for Jim Caldwell to use the “hang onto the fucking ball” drill so that they can stretch some of these drives past five plays. I think they will and I like them to barely cover the spread here.
837’s Prediction: Lions 19, Bears 15
J-Dub: DISASTER OF THE WEEK: Betting this game is like sticking your dick in a pencil sharpener, and instead of taking your dick out of the pencil sharpener, you are having a discussion with your self about how many times to crank the handle.
Jason from Indiana: Chicago
Houston Texans (1-4) EVEN at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) (43.5)
The Texans are in complete disarray, even though Brian Hoyer did show signs of promise towards the end of last week’s Thursday night game. Their secondary isn’t even worth mentioning, and their ground game has been very poor. I haven’t had the chance to learn much about Jacksonville, but from everything I understand there isn’t a whole lot that I’ve been missing. Tennessee is probably going to finish with a better record than both of these teams, so while there’s no playoff berth at stake here the loser of this game could very well end up finishing last place in the AFC South. I’m going off the grid here and taking Jacksonville to win this one simply because Houston is totally falling apart, and with virtually no expectations heading into this year that gives the Jaguars all sorts of opportunities to run gadget plays and take this one at home. I know I won’t be watching…will you? Don’t touch the point total with a barge pole.
837’s Prediction: Jaguars 24, Texans 13
J-Dub: $25 on Houston to cover, $50 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Jacksonville
Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) +4 at Minnesota Vikings (2-2) (44)
The Chiefs and the Vikings were two teams that had great expectations before the season started, and if either franchise is salvageable it most certainly isn’t the Chiefs. After an embarrassing home loss to the Bears in which they lost Jamaal Charles to a torn ACL, Kansas City is staring at 1-5 with no real chance at making the playoffs given the way their offense has been executing. There is still hope for the Vikings, albeit not a great deal of it. But Minnesota seems to fly under the radar quite well. You’re not going to see Sportscenter leading with Teddy Bridgewater highlights, especially not after the weak one performance against San Francisco on Monday night, the lone win on the Niners’ wretched resume. I’m really starting to wonder how long the Chiefs are going to give Andy Reid to figure this thing out…I would honestly say that if they go on a hefty losing streak, there has to be some consideration as to whether or not the experiment has worked. Ever since that playoff collapse two years ago against the Colts, that team just doesn’t have the same killer approach they did in the regular season of that year. If they finished 3-13 this year it wouldn’t startle me one bit, especially since the only team in the league who is performing worse inside the red zone is the New York Giants. I love the shit out of this line, and the Vikings cover easily at home. Love the under on the point total here as well.
837’s Prediction: Vikings 20, Chiefs 13
J-Dub: $25 on Minnesota to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Minnesota
Miami Dolphins (1-3) +2.5 at Tennessee Titans (1-3) (43.5)
Just because these two teams have the same record doesn’t mean they are headed in similar directions. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Titans have at least looked respectable in two of their three losses, keeping it within two points in the last two contests they’ve dropped. And to be fair, they are not a better team than the Dolphins but I like their will more than the one that Miami possesses. As stated previously, the Dolphins don’t seem to have the urgency that we shouldn’t have expected out of them in the first place – right on cue, if you ask me. If you read most sporting news publications, you would have thought that the AFC East was going to me the most likely division to produce three playoff teams. Just so we’re clear, the Dolphins are out of that discussion if they lose this game…providing they aren’t already out of it now. I have to forget my heart and go with my brain here though, and I’m going with the Dolphins to put together an uncharacteristically average game in which they just pull it off. They don’t cover the spread though so take Tennessee and don’t touch the total just so we’re clear.
837’s Prediction: Dolphins 19, Titans 17
J-Dub: $50 on Tennessee to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Tennessee
Washington Redskins (2-3) +7 at New York Jets (3-1) (40.5)
The New York Jets are easily the quietest 3-1 team in the league, which should be no surprise to anybody who couldn’t possibly care less about the New York Jets. The Redskins came very close to pulling a huge road upset over Atlanta last week, but they are simply addicted to bad decisions such as the final play in overtime of that game. As long as they have the same quarterbacks that they currently have on that roster, they will continue to make those mistakes even though they are improving. It’s only a slight improvement, but I can’t figure out why the Jets are seven point favorites here. They’re still not an elite team, and probably won’t be until next year or possibly even later. Not only do I like the Redskins to beat the spread, I’m going to also say they win. Once again, it’s the Jets so avoid the point total.
837’s Prediction: Redskins 23, Jets 17
J-Dub: $25 on NY Jets to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Washington
Arizona Cardinals (4-1) -3 at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) (44)
A rematch of what I believe was one of the most underrated Super Bowls of all time, seven years later this matchup sees Kurt Warner in a much comfier seat and Ben Roethlisberger nursing an injury that most of us probably should have seen coming from a mile away. A week ago this is a perfect example of a game I would have thrown down on, but after that ballsy call Omar Epps whipped out against the Chargers on Monday Night I have every reason to think that Mike Tomlin is fucking crazy. We all saw last year how Arizona’s offensive production declined after Carson Palmer got knocked out, so I can only assume that a coach who walked out onto the field to try and trip Jacoby Jones after seeing him return a kick for a touchdown on the Jumbotron just two years ago will be dropping some heavy non-verbals in that locker room similar to the ones used in Bountygate. It’s going to be so obvious Isaiah Thomas will be sitting in front of his TV yelling “That’s my boy!” The Cardinals should win this game, but I’m not going anywhere near this one. I’m not giving you a score or a point total. Anything can happen in this one. Hold your bills, but pay close attention.
837’s Prediction: “No way, punk” – Phil Anselmo
J-Dub: $50 on Arizona to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Arizona
Carolina Panthers (4-0) +8 at Seattle Seahawks (2-3) (41)
After this game, the feeling we’ll likely have about these two teams will be that one of them is for real and the other is not. Seattle blew a 24-7 lead to the Bengals, but it was a road game and their road struggles are well documented. (They’re 0-3 so far this year) Carolina has an easy schedule beginning in mid-November, but as far as I’m concerned if they lose this game we’ll know they aren’t for real because it could potentially be the beginning of a four game losing streak. They’ve already had their bye week, and could easily blow the Eagles and Colts games. After that, they will definitely lose to the Packers, and then we’re right back where we started. However if Seattle loses this game, they are going to have a lot of ground to gain with Arizona playing as well as they are. They still need to figure out how to produce points without relying on their defense to help them do so. Vegas obviously doesn’t trust either offense, but can you blame them? Seattle wins, but they don’t cover and take the under. Not a lot of offense will transpire in this one.
837’s Prediction: Seahawks 21, Panthers 16
J-Dub: $75 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Carolina
Baltimore Ravens (1-4) -1 at San Francisco 49ers (1-4) (44)
Boy the age of free agency is some serious shit, isn’t it? The two teams you see in the above photograph look nothing like the teams that both of those franchises are putting on the field this year, which is crazy because they both have the same quarterbacks as they did in Super Bowl XLVII. This is a perfect example of why football is such a team sport. Right now – even after an embarrassing loss to the Browns – the Ravens are actually the better team. But that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot, considering the 49ers are at the bottom of just about every statistical category in the league right now. They are capable of so much more than they have been producing, and they still could snap off at any given point. But as long as they aren’t catching any balls with their feet (you can make your own “Ten Little Piggies”- related fetish jokes here) they shouldn’t be too much of a threat to Baltimore who is probably the better team anyway.
837’s Prediction: Ravens 24, Niners 17
J-Dub: DOG OF THE WEEK: Another battle of the Harbaugh brothers…Wait, you mean it isn’t? Well, then who fucking cares?
Jason from Indiana: San Francisco
San Diego Chargers (2-3) +11.5 at Green Bay Packers (5-0) (50)
The Chargers were dealt a really tough home loss on Monday Night Football at the hands of noted dog murderer Michael Vick, who sure picked a hell of a time to show up and crush their dreams at home. Their defense has struggled, but in the first three quarters of that game it had played pretty well. The Packers seem to be inching along but are easily the most complete team in the NFC at the moment. The line looks ridiculous at first but the Chargers might really be this bad. I can’t foresee any situation where the Packers blow it at home, but I’d stay away from the line even though I think they’ll cover. Total is spot on so avoid that one too. It will be interesting to see how Rivers responds to his recent struggles. He looks like the disgruntled postal worker that’s just about to snap, so I’d duck if you see him coming. It seems to be effective for that joke of a receiving corps he has left.
837’s Prediction: Packers 31, Chargers 19
J-Dub: $50 on Green Bay to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Green Bay (Does Green Bay ever play any road games?)
New England Patriots (4-0) -8 at Indianapolis Colts (3-2) (55)
Don’t let the fact that this is a home game affect your perception of reality. And don’t think for a second that the Patriots and Tom Brady are going to be affected by all of the hatred that’s about to be tossed in their direction because of the Deflategate “scandal”. If anything, the events which transpired after last year’s AFC championship game are going to motivate the Brady Bunch to go out and prove they are the real deal even more than they would had the end of last year’s postseason gone off without a hitch. Which shouldn’t be all that difficult, given that the Colts have not exactly lived up to this Super Bowl contender all of the writers are making them out to be. Look, I’m not just saying these things because J-Hick is a Pats fan and Dubs hates the Colts with the passion of a thousand searing thrush infections…I’m saying them because they are true. The Patriots are still the best team in the league right now, and since they have all of the motions down as far as the play calling and the route running I guarantee you they have spent all week trying to figure out just how many ways in which they can expose Indianapolis in front of their home fans. Perhaps they’ll even take down that stupid “AFC Finalist” banner they put up this offseason.
I’m not nearly as confident as Jason is on this one, but at the same time I’m not going to shit a brick if this game ends up being 52 to 7. Patriots cover the spread, and since I have less than an overwhelming amount of faith either of these teams will run the ball a lot I can see the over covering 55 with no real issue.
J-Dub: LOCK OF THE WEEK: The Patriots Scorched Earth” campaign continues. The Colts end up on the receiving end of a seal-clubbing …$250 on New England to cover the spread.
Jason from Indiana: New England (I’d take New England -20)
New York Giants (2-3) +4.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) (50)
Since this is my area of expertise – and chronic disappointment – I feel like I can give you an accurate assessment of what’s going on here. Yes the Giants put together a hell of a last drive, and yes this isn’t one of less than twenty six fourth quarter or overtime games in which Eli has done so. But San Francisco’s lack of a defensive infrastructure allowed that to happen. The Eagles are the better team right now even though the Giants have won three straight. Philadelphia made a mess of the Saints last week, which wasn’t that hard but they did look quite impressive. New York is due to begin the downward spiral that will eventually cost Tom Coughlin his job, so if they get blown out of the stadium here it shouldn’t be earth-shattering news. Eagles cover the spread, but I really don’t like the total here. I feel guilty as fuck for picking Philly, but I love being right so what else am I supposed to do?
837’s Prediction: Eagles 28, Giants 23
J-Dub: TRAP OF THE WEEK: Do you really want to choose between having faith in Eli Manning or Chip Kelly? I didn’t think so. $50 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Philadelphia
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Eight Thirty Seven