by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from Dubsism and Jason from Indiana
Thanksgiving week is upon us, and the National Football League plans to once again dominate your television screen from your late morning hangover all the way through until you head to Kohl’s to trample other shoppers in search of a comforter you’ll just end up pissing all over at some point anyway. But we’ve done the stock Thanksgiving bits numerous times on this site, so fuck that shit…Let’s get to talking football. The bye weeks are done, and we will finish the season out each week with a full schedule of games. There were three games on my radar last week that had a drastic effect on a feeling I’m beginning to have about the future: In Minnesota, Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a convincing win over the Vikings that Green Bay had to win after dropping three straight. In Carolina the Panthers shelled the Redskins, and out in the desert the Cardinals pulled out a last second victory against the Bengals. These three games were very close to my heart because I am hungry for new blood to succeed in the NFL. To be honest, I’m getting a little bit tired of seeing the Packers win and that’s why I’m so jacked about seeing the Cardinals and Panthers succeed. We can’t just expect Rodgers to be there every year and keep hitting off of the same four guys year after year. It’s getting tiresome and nobody really wants to see that happen over and over, and it’s cool to see a guy who’s getting his second wind and become successful again while this other kid is ripping it up all the way across the country. New England is going to win the AFC unless something disastrous occurs, but watching the NFC playoff picture unfold has been a real pleasure to watch.
One guy that likely hasn’t been taking pleasure in watching any of this stuff is Dubsism, who is going to be taking out a second mortgage on his teepee in about a month. His wife just took a second job at Kohl’s to support his gambling habit, and their house cat Shadow is now moonlighting at Danzer’s off of McCarty Lane in Lafayette. I mean, I know you can’t win ’em all…but God we have really sucked with our picks this year.
J-Dub: What a disaster this week was. Think of the Titanic showing episodes of Ken Jeong’s Godawful sit-com while it gets plowed into by the Hindenburg. The gambling action was so dreadful that the highlight of my week actually came from getting blocked by Jeong for this:
Despite the fact I left out the word “commercial,” he clearly got the message. That lead to this response, which I thought that was pretty funny. It was actually a fuck of a lot funnier than anything I’ve seen from his soon-to-be-dead sit-com.
Thanksgiving Day Game One: Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) +2 at Detroit Lions (3-7) (45)
The Lions quietly won what was hardly a shootout against the Raiders at home last week, and as bad of shape as that team is currently in they sure as hell have hung in there and not given up. I can’t necessarily say the same thing for the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost a laughable home game that ended up becoming a blowout in no time flat. Backup quarterback Mark Villagomez-Senor-Sanchez Vicario couldn’t get anything right, and the Eagles defense gave up over 220 yards on the ground and five touchdowns in the air. The latter had to hurt, given that it was done by a guy who once got caught filling ketchup trays with fountain soda at a Burger King. As a Giants fan, I am supposed to hate the Eagles and in reality I don’t hate them as much as I should. But anybody who enjoys watching a nuclear meltdown such as myself can’t take their eyes off of trying to watch eleven grown men try to figure out how to make sense of an offense that will never work with this group of guys. It’s just an added bonus that they just so happen to get replaced by eleven other guys who think tackling is a fishing term as soon as they leave the field. Not to be outdone, Philadelphia’s special teams are equally as awful and that’s why they are looking up at the Giants heading into this game at Ford Field. To be brutally honest with you, my heart said take the Eagles but what reason have they given me that they’re really that much better than the Lions? None, and that’s precisely why I’m taking Detroit here. But here again, it’s Detroit so don’t get near the point total.
837’s Prediction: Lions 24, Eagles 21
Dubsism: $50 on Detroit, $100 on the under
Jason from Indiana: Detroit
Thanksgiving Day Game Two: Carolina Panthers (10-0) +1.5 at Dallas Cowboys (3-7) (45.5)
I’ve spent the better part of this week laughing my ass off at everyone declaring that the Cowboys are now contenders now that Romo is back in the fold. Mathematically these writers are indeed correct as the NFC Least is pathetic at best, but nobody seems to respect the fact that Carolina is about to eat them alive in their own building as they enter this game still undefeated heading into the last week of November. Can the Cowboys do it? Sure they can. If this game was week sixteen and Romo had time to get re-adjusted to that offense, Carolina had nothing to play for because they had already clinched home field advantage and was starting all CFL guys, and Roger Goddell finally got his head out of his ass and told Greg Hardy to go dry out in the Bahamas, then yes…they’d have a chance. For now? I’d be shocked if the Panthers didn’t clean their clock and score on their first four drives. Cam Newton wants nothing more than to wipe his balls on that star while the whole world watches, and facing Dallas shouldn’t be any more of a challenge than what they’re used to. All of these writers jocking the Cowboys because they are “back” simply don’t understand that if they lose one more game they’re 3-8 and even then it’s going to be hard for them to get in (even in the East) when they still have to play Green Bay who is on the rebound and will be looking to crush their soul. This line is the purest definition of free money you’re going to see this week. Carolina by a mile, don’t touch the total.
837’s Prediction: Panthers 29, Cowboys 16
Dubsism: Lock of the Week – $300 on Carolina
Jason from Indiana: Dallas
Thanksgiving Night Game: Chicago Bears (4-6) +9 at Green Bay Packers (7-3) (46)
As most of you are probably aware because it’s been drilled down your throat to no end by every sports media outlet on the face of the earth, this will be the evening in which the Packers finally retire the jersey number of Brett Favre. What are the prop bets here? Number of times he cries? How about the number of times he mentions how his wife stuck with him after all of the Vicodin overdosed and shared dick pics? I say, who cares. The Bears seem to play the Packers tough in games like this, so if Rodgers really has that team fired on all cylinders we’ll know if he comes out and whoops up on that weak ass secondary in this game. Chicago looked good on defense last week, but Aaron isn’t Brock Osweiler. Still, they’d love nothing more than to play spoiler here and ruin all of Green Bay’s fun or even try to level the middle of this division out so that they might have a shot at the wild card if Atlanta keeps on shitting in their cleats. But I don’t think it’s going to happen. That stadium is going to be alive, it’s going to be on fire and Jay Cutler just doesn’t have the talent around him to pull this one off on the road. And by “around him” I mean “inside his helmet”. Line has moved a point since Tuesday, so I’m taking Chicago and the points but they won’t win.
837’s Prediction: Packers 28, Bears 20
Dubsism: $25 on Chicago
Jason from Indiana: Chicago
Buffalo Bills (5-5) +7 at Kansas City Chiefs (5-5) (41.5)
Here are two teams that appear to be headed in two very different directions…Kansas City is starting to really pick up steam after a terrible start, and with Denver losing home games and struggling on all fronts this is clearly their time. Arrowhead and Ralph Wilson stadium are essentially the same place without Buffalo’s annual snowfall, so I don’t see the home field making much of a difference here. Alex Smith was a very efficient 20 of 25 although it was against a bad Chargers squad that doesn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, but he is still a lot more dialed in that a lot of people realize because the Chiefs are never on television. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a lot of offensive explosiveness on either side so I’ll take the under, and I have to admit the Bills did play the Patriots quite well even though the officiating was horrible. So I’ll take the points here and let’s hope for sure I’m right.
837’s Prediction: Chiefs 19, Bills 14
Dubsism: $50 on Kansas City, $100 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Kansas City
St. Louis Rams (4-6) +10 at Cincinnati Bengals (8-2) (42)
Before dropping a key home game to the Texans last Monday, all you heard was how the Bengals had this swarm of a defense that was supposedly unstoppable and nothing could touch them. Then Sunday night happened and it verified what we thought might have been the case when they lost the first game to Houston: Maybe the Bengals are nearly as unstoppable as we thought they might have been. Clutch situations are definitely not their strong point, as under the lights they are now 1-13 in games coached by Marvin Lewis that start after 6PM eastern Time. And for the record, the “best defense in the league” doesn’t give up 34 points to a guy they fired five years ago. They’re primed for their annual slump, and if they need any pointers on how to fall down a hole they can certainly ask the Rams. That would be a good place to start, given that St. Louis has lost four out of their last six and the two victories in that stretch have been against the Niners and the Browns. A team with such a talented running back who showed such promise early on this season has now been relegated to mediocrity once again, and a lot of that blame can be placed on Nick Foles who has looked very poor this year. This looked like it was going to be a fantastic piece of television back in early October, but now the jig is up and we are aware that St. Louis is toy. Bengals have to get this one, and they are going to look very solid because they really have no other option. I like Cincinnati to cover and I like the under here, just so long as nobody else gets shot.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 26, Rams 13
Dubsism: $50 on Cincinnati
Jason from Indiana: Cincinnati
New Orleans Saints (4-6) +3 at Houston Texans (5-5) (47.5)
We’re going to learn a lot from this game, which is not necessarily what you would expect after seeing in print that these two teams are playing. The first thing we are going to learn is if the Saints’ defense can stop a very average and middle of the road Texans offense which barely beat the Jets. While in the process of that, we’re going to find out if the Texans do in fact have enough offense to sneak up and grab that sixth seed that the Chiefs are also chasing. We’re also going to see if their secondary can continue to play as well as they have been playing for the last month against a gunslinger like Brees, who won’t be in the playoffs if they lose this one no matter how bad Atlanta tanks the rest of their season. I’d have to think that Watt and crew are going to really be making sure Brees doesn’t have time to make the good decisions which he’s been able to turn into success his whole career, so I like Houston here because they are determined to get back over .500 to make the Texans a good landing spot for whoever wants to join that franchise now that Foster is history. Three should be an easy spread to cover at home, and you know DeAndre Hopkins is going to burn someone for at least 2 TDs deep. I like the under here, I have a feeling that New Orleans is going to have a rough time getting things going.
837’s Prediction: Texans 24, Saints 13
Dubsism: Dog of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Houston
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5) +3 at Indianapolis Colts (5-5) (46)
So Dubs decided to but his balls on the chopping block last week and it’s fair to say that he’s walking a little differently because of that fact. I’m going to do the same thing here and say the Colts get worked. Just fucking destroyed. It’s not about who’s starting or who the home team is or any of that shit. It’s not about the line, not about the fact that the three of us loathe the Colts and the nature of the way they essentially gave Pagano all of the credit in the world after Bruce Arians built that franchise from the ground up before getting the fuck out of there because he knew something wasn’t right. It’s because if you look at the heart and will of both these teams, Tampa’s got it and Indy is a joke. Right now Tampa has nothing to play for, and shouldn’t be in the playoff picture at all. That said, they don’t want to fucking hear it and want nothing more than to prove that since they are in a division they can’t win, the Colts shouldn’t win theirs either. This is about more than just Indy being weak sauce with a cake schedule, and it’s about more than the fact that they ran the Eagles in Philly last week. None of that shit has anything to do with me calling an absolute slaughter at Lucas Oil Stadium in the favor of the Bucs. Boo birds will be out strong by the third quarter of this one, and the only reason that Indy won last week is because the Falcons were more like the Colts then they were. Blood. Violence. Slow death. Torture. And you bet your ass we’ll love every minute of it. Tampa in a blowout, and I love the over here because Colts will score a couple of late, meaningless touchdowns.
837’s Prediction: Buccaneers 35, Colts 24
Dubsism: $50 on Tampa Bay
Jason from Indiana: Tampa Bay
San Diego Chargers (2-8) +4 at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6) (46.5)
If the San Diego Chargers were classified ad, this is how it would read: FOR SALE – professional football franchise…$500 or best offer. Doesn’t work at home, stadium included but in very poor condition. Sold as is, no warranties or exchanges. It’s unlikely that anybody would call and even ask about the product, especially after they pissed their pants at home against the Chiefs last week to the tune of 33 to 3. Philip Rivers is old now, and the Chargers are a fucking disaster all throughout the franchise chain of command. The Jaguars on the other hand have sort of spun their season around, albeit just a little bit too late. There’s no way they lose this one, not with San Diego already looking at the draft board and hoping nobody gets injured during the college football playoffs. Jacksonville covers the spread two weeks in a row, which is something I almost never get the chance to type. Take the under here, even if the Jags turn it up to eleven remember the Chargers didn’t cross the goal line last week.
837’s Prediction: Jaguars 30, Chargers 10 (Mercy TD)
Dubsism: $100 on Jacksonville
Jason from Indiana: Jacksonville
Miami Dolphins (4-6) +3 at New York Jets (5-5) (42.5)
I can honestly say I don’t really have much of an idea of what to write here. I don’t know enough about either team to give you the lowdown on how they might perform, but that’s kind of why they have those records. Fitzpatrick got bashed around by the Texans last week, but the Jets are still in pretty good shape as long as the Bills keep losing every other week. The only problem is that teams like Houston and Kansas City are starting to bury their chances, and if that’s the case there is definitely grass growing on the grave of Miami. But good riddance…It’s real funny how the Dolphins have become the most irrelevant football team in the league while remaining so close to .500 where they are destined to float around until Ryan Tannehill gets the phone call from the Toronto Argonauts that we all know is coming. I couldn’t give a shit who wins this one, I really couldn’t. But for shits and grins, let’s say it’s NY just to make the AFC playoff race somewhat interesting. Jets cover, total too close to call.
837’s Prediction: Jets 22, Dolphins 17
Dubsism: $50 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: NY Jets
Minnesota Vikings (7-3) EVEN at Atlanta Falcons (6-4) (46)
The Vikings’ five game winning streak was snapped at home on Sunday when they lost to Green Bay, but something tells me they’ll be right back to work and that defense is going to learn from their mistakes. The biggest problem they had in that game was they got on the officials’ bad side very early on and they were penalized heavily. They never fully recovered, and there’s no way they make that mistake two weeks in a row. Part of getting on the officials’ good side and not committing braindead penalties is counting on the other team to make those mental mistakes, which shouldn’t much of an issue when they head to Atlanta to take on a team who lost a home game to a forty-year old backup. After looking invincible out of the gate, the Falcons have lost four out of their last five and don’t appear to be capable of turning it around. Running back Devonta Freeman suffered a pretty serious concussion last week, so even if he plays – I’m guessing he won’t – he’s not going to be all there. I like for the Vikes to get back on track here and they don’t have the kind of secondary that you can just carve up all day, so Matt Ryan is going to struggle a little bit (and maybe a lot) if they can get pressure on him early. I like the Vikings to hand the Falcons yet another depressing home loss.
837’s Prediction: Vikings 24, Falcons 17
Dubsism: $25 on Minnesota, $50 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Minnesota
New York Giants (5-5) -2.5 at Washington Redskins (3-7) (46.5)
As we discussed in the intro, the Panthers mauled the Redskins last week in a game that resulted in a lot of busy ice packs and athletic tape once the Skins got back to Virginia. The Giants had a great week off, because not only did they not have to play but they also probably watched a great film session on how to eat this team alive. It certainly hasn’t been difficult, as the Redskins have been smacked around quite a bit in 2015. New York has to have games like this one, because when they play Carolina and then Minnesota a couple of weeks down the road they won’t have such easy tasks ahead of them. If they can stay out of Eli’s head, this should be a blowout but I think I feel pretty confident saying they can cover two and a half points. Don’t you dare open up the Pandora’s box that is the point total here as it could go either way but the Giants will cover.
837’s Prediction: Giants 28, Redskins 17
Dubsism: $50 on the Giants
Jason from Indiana: Washington
Oakland Raiders (4-6) EVEN at Tennessee Titans (2-8) (44)
After a promising start under new head coach Jack Del Rio, the Raiders have sank quite a bit in just about every power ranking after dropping three in a row. In their defense, two of those losses were to Minnesota and Pittsburgh – two very solid teams that I’m sure we’ll be seeing in the playoffs. Tennessee’s record makes it look like they have played poorly all year, but they’ve lost a lot of close games and I feel that Mariota is really going to be a good NFL quarterback if they can put people around him that know what their doing. However as a defensive minded head coach, I’d have to think that Del Rio has to be pretty good at scrambling the brains of youngsters so I think Mariota is going to have a hell of a time here. Probably won’t be very focused on this one, but since picks are what we do I like Oakland and think Carr has a good game so I’m also taking the over here.
837’s Prediction: Raiders 27, Titans 22
Dubsism: $50 on Tennessee
Jason from Indiana: Tennessee
Arizona Cardinals (8-2) -11.5 at San Francisco 49ers (3-7) (45)
You knew that with the way San Francisco has been playing this like was going to be double digits, especially given that the Cardinals are coming into town fresh off beating one of the best teams in the AFC. The Niners are one of the worst teams in the league, and they even made Seattle’s offense look somewhat presentable last week. Their run defense is particularly bad – letting a backup rack up over 200 all purpose yards – but it’s not like their passing defense is much better. The Seahawks beat them by sixteen points, so at first glance it seems real obvious that the Cards should cover the spread. But they are a real streaky football team, and for some reason even though this seems like a slam dunk I just can’t take them to cover this line. I have to go with my head over my heart, and my head tells me Arizona is going to make a couple of really stupid mistakes – much like Palmer’s two interceptions earlier in last week’s contest – and although they will dig themselves out of that hole again eleven and a half is just a smidgen too much. Point total is spot on.
837’s Prediction: Cardinals 28, 49ers 17
Dubsism: Trap game of the week
Jason from Indiana: Arizona
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) +3.5 at Seattle Seahawks (5-5) (45.5)
I’ve always said I thought that Super Bowl XL was one of my least favorite Super Bowls. It was a total bore to watch, and Seattle got hosed by the officials. These two teams look much different a decade later: Big Ben is ten years older and Troy Polamlau is now prepping his hair for his eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, while Seattle should be sitting here as repeat Super Bowl champions even though their offense has been questionable at best. Last week they looked great, but keep in mind that was against the Niners and we just went over how putrid they currently are. Seattle’s “12th Man” effect seems to be losing a little bit of its magic, as evidenced by their two home losses already. Although those losses were against two of the best teams in the league, the Hawks still aren’t getting Jimmy Graham the ball enough and they’re relying way too much on their ground game to get shit done. So I really, really like the Steelers here but I think the under is the bet you need to make. It has to be.
837’s Prediction: Steelers 20, Seahawks 18
Dubsism: $50 on Pittsburgh, $100 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Seattle
New England Patriots (10-0) -3 at Denver Broncos (8-2) (41)
With all of the craziness going on in Denver, it’s still very important to understand that for the moment they are 8-2 and the only real other team they have to worry about in the West is Kansas City. But they’re about to be 8-3, because there’s just no way the Broncos pull this off. Even though Manning isn’t playing, he’ll still be on that sideline and Tom Brady will still be inside the head of whichever team he ends up playing for next year…if he can even play at all. This game in mental, and don’t think for one fucking second that Belichick hasn’t designed his game plan with that in the front of his mind. If he was yelling Rex Ryan’s names as audibles last week, you can only imagine how they plan on torturing Denver with similar on-the-field trolling. Osweiler may give the Broncos the better chance to win, but that’s a tall task even against a beat up Patriots offensive line. If Denver can blitz often and early they will and should, and then they may have a chance here but they’re a three point road favorite for a reason – because they’re still the best team in the league. I like them to get it figured out at the line of scrimmage even though the Broncos have a brutal defensive front, and I like them to cover here as well but take the under to be safe.
837’s Prediction: Patriots 20, Broncos 16
Dubsism: $250 on Denver
Jason from Indiana: New England
Baltimore Ravens (3-7) +2.5 at Cleveland Browns (2-8) (41)
I can guarantee you I won’t be watching this piece of garbage. With Joe Flacco out and the Browns looking like a wet box of fireworks, there’s really no need to watch this game or put any money on it. You may want to go for the under here, but this is for straight up degenerate gamblers, no questions asked. Believe it or not, at 2-8 heading into this matchup Flacco busting his ACL might be the best thing that could have happened to the Ravens. Here’s why: Not only does Baltimore have virtually no shot at making the postseason even if they win out, but it may very well save Harbaugh’s job. In ten months he went from almost taking out the World Champion Patriots in a divisional playoff game to barely squeaking out a victory over the Rams at 1-8. That’s brutal, but if they finish 3-13 he’s at least got the Flacco injury to blame the overall record on. It looks as if we’re going to see even less of Johnny Football from here on out, but let’s be honest this game is going to suck hippo anus and that’s precisely why maybe we’d better start thinking about flexing these Monday night games out. This one could really go either way, so let’s just say it does. Baltimore wins barely here and the point total is right on.
837’s Prediction: Ravens 21, Browns 20
Dubsism: Disaster of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Cleveland
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Eight Thirty Seven