by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from Dubsism and Jason from Indiana
Over the course of history, the number thirteen has been traditionally referenced as being an unlucky number. There is even a particular piece of nomenclature associated with the extreme superstition of the number thirteen, a phenomena labeled “triskaidekaphobia”. I have to admit that I am guilty of this myself. I generally don’t like the number 13 in anything I do, and I don’t even listen to “No. 13” when I listen to “Doolittle” by The Pixies the whole way through. Luck is a weird thing, and since we do lines I feel like I should talk a little bit about why people gamble for a second.
Last week heading into their Thanksgiving “showdown” against the Carolina Panthers, for some reason the Dallas Cowboys were favored by one point on 5dimes at ESPN.com. That’s right, an undefeated 10-0 team with a seemingly unbreakable defense was actually expected to lose against a team whose quarterback eventually would end up re-injuring his collarbone and who could only beat a confused Miami squad by ten the week prior. For the sake of argument let’s just say that this was a misprint and Carolina was actually one point favorites. I’m considering this because Bovada had them as two point favorites, and the other of the major sports books had Carolina favored by at least a point. Wait, wait…hold up…I need to stop and catch my breath for a second…
Are these fucking people out of their minds? This was free money either way you looked at it. It seems like Monday morning quarterbacking now to suggest that this was obvious – as Dallas got clobbered by the Panthers 33-14 – but did anybody really believe Dallas ever had a shot in this one? How does Vegas even make a mistake like this? Free money. Unreal…it was wide open and yet there were still people who throw major money around who didn’t take it. To give you an idea of how much of a lay-up that game was, even Dubs got it right. And if you’ve been following the J-Dub Fantasy Gambling Challenge, you know that so far it has been a year where there is plenty of hot-wing sauce stained furniture available on the Lafayette Craigslist and Facebook Swap sites. Even he was smart enough to make it his “Lock of the week”, netting him $300 en route to a +$475 Thursday in which he won everything he threw money at. Will this week be as successful for him as this past Thanksgiving? Hey fuckhead, what you got for us this week?
J-Dub: There’s “Alanis Morrisette” style irony in the fact the J-Dub Gambling Challenge got fat on Turkey Day. To be clear, “got fat” means “stopped the bleeding” and/or got back to close to breaking even. Having said that, I’m not going to get into a lot of introductory bullshit; let’s cut to the bleeding…
Let’s see what we think is going down in week thirteen of the 2015 NFL season.
Thursday Night Football: Green Bay Packers (7-4) -3 at Detroit Lions (4-7) (46.5)
The Lions are starting to look a lot like the 11-5 team we saw last year, as opposed to the one that we saw in the first five weeks. They could easily complete a season sweep of the Packers at home if they can get their shit together on a short week, and it’s definitely doable. But if you look a little bit closer, let’s pull back on the Lions for a second. They still commit a great deal of stupid penalties and that blowout Thanksgiving win came against one of the worst teams in football. And much like the Minnesota game a couple of weeks back, Green Bay absolutely has to have this one. It is totally possible for Detroit to come out firing, Stafford pick what’s left of that defense apart, and Calvin Johnson to have a huge day. If that happens and Minnesota takes out Seattle, the Packers are fucked and have just wiped every bubble team out of the playoff picture because they have no chance in hell of catching the Vikings. The Packers are going to have a lot of “gun-to-the-head” scenarios in the near future, but not getting swept by the Lions and saving their season is at stake here so I have to take Green Bay to win convincingly. Pack covers and I love the over here.
837’s Prediction: Packers 35, Lions 20
Dubsism’s Prediction: $100 on the over
Jason from Indiana: Detroit
Houston Texans (6-5) +3 at Buffalo Bills (5-6) (41.5)
The Texans and the Chiefs both started out the year poorly to say the very least. Now they find themselves in a situation where both teams could make the playoffs if the Colts end up getting exposed for the frauds they truly are, and the Texans may very well win the AFC South. While JJ Watt has continued to be a beast as one of the best defensive players in the league, it’s the Texans secondary that has made the clutch plays they’ve needed to get back on their feet. Meanwhile Rex Ryan’s frustration with his team is beginning to show in press conferences and on the sidelines. They aren’t playing well in the fourth quarter at all, and they let Kansas City get back into a game that they dominated for the first fifteen minutes. Defense might win championships, but they’ve lost four of their last six and their two wins have come against Miami and the Jets – hardly an impressive resume. This isn’t going to be a game that ends with one of these teams winning 37 to 33, but I have to believe Houston has the upper hand given how hot they’ve looked as of late. I like the under even though it seems a little low, and I like Houston here.
837’s Prediction: Texans 17, Bills 12
Dubsism’s Prediction: Dog of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Houston
Baltimore Ravens (4-7) +4 at Miami Dolphins (4-7) (43.5)
The Miami Dolphins seem to be chasing the Philadelphia Eagles to see who can spontaneously combust the fastest. After getting rid of head coach Joe Philbin after a week four loss to the Jets in Great Britain, the Dolphins have now pulled a real head-scratcher by getting rid of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor before this week 13 match-up against the Ravens…Why now? Why not two and a half months ago when they got rid of Philbin? They clearly weren’t listening to this guy either, so why did they retain his services? Why not toss the baby out with the bath water? That baby isn’t going to grow up to be a decent OC, so let’s have a little sick fun with this here. And that’s why even as bad as Baltimore has looked this year, I love the Ravens to win this game because Miami is obviously tanking the season at this point. Which is dumb, because there isn’t anything special about the guys who will be available in next year’s draft anyway. I can’t even believe I’m picking a team who may start either Matt Schaub or Jimmy Claussen, but this is my right to do so because it’s America. Everybody that might take a snap is very below average, but then against both defenses suck subhuman shit pipe so I’m taking the over. If you’ve never been to a high school football game, this Sunday it looks like if you have NFL Sunday Ticket you’ll be able to watch one from the comfort of your own home. Sloppy sixteenths all around.
837’s Prediction: Ravens 26, Dolphins 22
Dubsism’s Prediction: Disaster of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Miami
Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) -7 at Cleveland Browns (2-9) (44)
The Bengals got back on track this past weekend by beating the tar out of the Rams, which isn’t much of an achievement considering the Rams seem to be leaking tar from every orifice imaginable. After two straight losses, the Bengals racked up 31 points on a day where they didn’t have a single receiver or rusher over 100 yards. This should tell you that Cincinnati is all about that balance. As long as they can create one solid defensive turnover, they are going to be in good shape. This is one of those games where all of the Sunday NFL Countdown clowns tell you “No matter what their records are, they always play each other tough” and if I was British I’d tell you that’s a “load of bollocks”. Cleveland has no shot here, but they’ll get a late touchdown and make this seem like it’s slightly competitive. Point total is right on the money so it depends on which sportsbook you use.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 27, Browns 17
Dubsism’s Prediction: $100 on Cincinnati
Jason from Indiana: Cincinnati
Carolina Panthers (11-0) -7 at New Orleans Saints (4-7 (49.5)
The Panthers continue their reign of terror in New Orleans this Sunday against the Saints, a team that didn’t score a single touchdown last week for the first time in a decade. To make matters even worse for Brees and company, the Panthers signed veteran CB Cortland Finnegan Monday out of retirement after a Friday tryout, and he appears to be in killer shape. Now the lone remaining undefeated team in the league, Carolina wants nothing more than to get to Brees fast and early. If they can do that, they can make New Orleans look like the same Saints team we saw in September. The Panthers appear to have it all, a solid running game, a fantastic young stud linebacker, and plenty of offensive weapons to boot. They’re sort of the opposite of the Saints, who are probably going to get stomped in this one. The Sean Payton firing is just around the corner, but to be frank it’s the whole franchise that needs to start over. The streaks of brilliance we see are never going to be as lengthy as they were in the past, and they’ve consistently failed to improve that defense in the offseason. Possibility of a trap game, but if that’s the case it won’t happen unless the Panthers turn the ball over at least four times. I’m going to say they don’t, and I’m calling this one a blowout. Really going overboard here, I love Carolina to cover and I’m making this my lock of the week. I’m also calling over, and if you think this prediction is bonkers remember that Giants/Saints game back on November 1st where the two teams combined for 103 points.
837’s Prediction: Panthers 44, Saints 19
Dubsism’s Prediction: $200 on Carolina
Jason from Indiana: Carolina
San Francisco 49ers (3-8) +7.5 at Chicago Bears (5-6) (43.5)
I have to admit, although I didn’t figure the Packers would cover the line in the Thanksgiving night game I was a little surprised that Cutler was able to come through for the Bears in the clutch. It was a very bizarre contest, and right now a team like Chicago can make a case that they are better than several of the teams still in the NFC playoff hunt. One of those teams on the next level down is San Francisco, who also looked better than expected last week keeping their loss against the Cardinals manageable and making it rain for everyone who decided to take the points. But both of these teams are long term underachievers as far as the entire season goes, so who knows what will happen in this one. It’s a home game for Chicago, and San Francisco has nothing to prove so I can’t see this swinging the Niners way at all. I do not like the Bears to cover, because after all it is Smokin’ Jay and he seems due for another three pick game. So take the points, avoid the total, and then you should be safe.
837’s Prediction: Bears 24, 49ers 20
Dubsism’s Prediction: $100 on Chicago
Jason from Indiana: Chicago
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7) +1 at Tennessee Titans (2-9) (43)
I have beef against both of these teams, but not for the same reasons I did earlier on in the year. The Titans have continually let me down. I wanted to believe that Mariota had the stones to get a decent head start as the killer NFL quarterback all the scouts said he might be, and I have said numerous times that the Titans are probably a lot better than their record would indicate. But over the past two months, they’ve only won one game and that was against New Orleans so I’m officially giving up on Tennessee to produce anything more than an embarrassing finish. Speaking of not being able to fertilize the egg, Jacksonville had a fantastic opportunity to get back into the AFC race last week at home against the energy-depleted Chargers and let it slip away. That’s where I draw the line with them: I don’t give a shit who you are, if you’re facing San Diego at home and have the chance to get what has typically been a failing ballclub a game out of first place and fail – that’s precisely why you’re the butt of just about every NFL joke that doesn’t involve somebody from the Raiders failing a drug test. I’m dishing out Rodney lines here and giving neither of these teams a bit of respect for what they’ve done so far. I’m strongly suggesting that you don’t gamble on this game, and I’m sticking both of these teams with a semi. Yeah, I fucking went there.
837’s Prediction: Titans 16, Jaguars 16 (OT)
Dubsism’s Prediction: $100 on the over
Jason from Indiana: Jacksonville
Seattle Seahawks (6-5) EVEN at Minnesota Vikings (8-3) (41.5)
The Vikings have had one hell of a year. They’re in first place in the NFC North, and aside from that game they dropped to the Packers that Green Bay absolutely had to have they haven’t lost since they played the Broncos back on October 4th. Should Bridgewater probably have scored more that 20 points against the Falcons? Of course. But while a lot of talking is done on radio about game managers and quarterbacks who possess characteristics that make them elite, it’s quite possible that Teddy Bear might be somewhere in between and that’s A-OK…for now. Once he gets into the playoffs there will be teams like Seattle and Arizona who are going to try to beat him with phonebooks so that they avoid the hefty late hit fines, and that’s where perhaps his biggest test of the year comes so far when they host the Seahawks. Seattle has had some problems on both sides of the ball, but got a huge boost of confidence when they were able to rack up 39 points against the Steelers last week. I can promise you they’re not going to get the same explosiveness out of Doug Baldwin this week, and the offense could really struggle against Minnesota. Still, I have to think that I feel a lot safer picking the Hawks here because they seem primed to go on their yearly tear and last week might have been the start of it. This is easily the best game of the week, and for the life of me I can’t understand why – especially after Seattle beat Pittsburgh – that this game wasn’t flexed. Low scoring affair, but a damn good one and I’m taking Seattle in a game that’s too close to feel good about throwing money down on. Point total seems about right so I wouldn’t go near it.
837’s Prediction: Seahawks 22, Vikings 19
Dubsism’s Prediction: $50 on Minnesota
Jason from Indiana: Minnesota
New York Jets (6-5) -1 at New York Giants (5-6) (43)
It only figures that the Giants would get gypped out of this being an away game for them, because really why would it be? If they were the away team here, that would mean they would essentially get nine home games. If there’s any team that needs it it’s the G-Men, because they’ve had so many games they should have won this year it’s not a surprise I hardly feel sorry for the Patriots finally losing. But the Jets are not nearly as strong as the box scores say they are. They’re plastic when it comes down to it, and they aren’t going to advance to 7-5 because the thought of that is simply to nauseating for the rest of the NFL to handle. This one will be close, and I don’t want to sound like a homer but the Giants are going to show the fuck up big time and shock a lot of doubters. I know because I myself am one of those doubters, and I’d have to think that even if they have to go dirty to make this happen the franchise that wears blue has more mob ties than the one that wears red. I like the under, but with caution as this game could easily get out of control and the score I pick could be light years from the final.
837’s Prediction: Giants 24, Jets 17
Dubsism’s Prediction: Trap game of the week
Jason from Indiana: NY Jets (Editor’s Note: JFI communicated that he is actually hoping this game ends in a tie)
Arizona Cardinals (9-2) -7 at St. Louis Rams (4-7) (43)
The Cards barely eeked by the Niners last week in a game where they lost running back Chris Johnson…probably for the rest of the season. That meant that Andre Ellington was their leading rusher – and only delivered 24 yards on five carries. Which would be fine except for the fact that when you have an aging quarterback like Carson Palmer, you need a back that’s had a year like Johnson has had in order for your shoulder to not come apart by halftime. So I guess I’m a little shocked that the line in this one is still seven on 5 Dimes, and I expect it to move as they’re the only one boasting Arizona as a touchdown favorite. But if it doesn’t, I think that speaks volumes about what has happened to the once promising 2015 St. Louis Rams. Coach Jeff Fisher said that anyone in the media questioning their skid being a result of effort can “kiss his ass”, but even though I consider myself to be a Fisher guy he’s wrong here. You know how the old saying goes – “When somebody says it’s not about the money, it’s about the money” – same thing applies here. This is definitely about effort. The Rams are too good of a team to be 4-7. Nobody that’s giving one hundred percent has their starting running back on the cover of Sports Illustrated and then farts in their own dinner in the manner they have the past month. But even after all of that, I’m sticking with the points here and saying the Cards just win here in a mess of a game where I’d think even at 43 you’d have to take the under.
837’s Prediction: Cardinals 15, Rams 13
Dubsism’s Prediction: $50 on Arizona
Jason from Indiana: Arizona
Atlanta Falcons (6-5) +1 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) (46)
I’m not going to pussyfoot around this: The Atlanta Falcons are full of shit. They’ve lost five in a row, and even though their hot start still puts them in the thick of the playoff discussion they don’t really belong to there at all and everybody reading this knows that. In last week’s loss against the Vikings – their third straight home loss – they threw for just a hair over 200 yards and only had the ball for 26 minutes. The way that team is structured right now Charlie Sheen has a better chance passing the screening at the plasma center Dubs goes to when he loses all of this money than Matt Ryan does winning any game where they put up numbers like that. So it’s going to be quite humourous when Jamies Winston makes him look like a rookie on Sunday when the Falcons come to Tampa. The Bucs dropped one to Old Man Hasselback and the ponies last week, but I think that they can easily rebound from a loss like that one. The Falcons are underdogs for a reason: Nobody trusts them as far as they can throw them. Bucs cover, and avoid the point total because it’s simply too risky.
837’s Prediction: Buccaneers 20, Falcons 17
Dubsism’s Prediction: $25 on Tampa Bay
Jason from Indiana: Tampa Bay
Denver Broncos (9-2) -4 at San Diego Chargers (3-8) (43)
The Broncos and Brock Osweiler shocked the world on Sunday night when they took out the Patriots in overtime. C.J. Anderson seems to be the perfect compliment to Osweiler, who is still learning the ins and outs of the NFL but appears to be developing quite nicely while he’s doing so. If he could win a game of that magnitude, it should be no real problem knocking off the Chargers who scored almost as many points in the second quarter last week against Jacksonville than they did the two previous weeks combined. It’s going to take more than one win against the Jags to convince me they’ve got their shit together…They still can’t run the ball and I’d have to think that Von Miller is going to be all up in Rivers’ face all afternoon. I’m looking for Aqib Talib to pick Rivers more than I pick my nose when I’m at work typing these damn things – which for the record is a lot – and even though the Chargers looked better last week they won’t stand a chance against Denver so I like the Broncos to cover here. San Diego could very well lay another real egg like they did against the Chiefs, and that’s why the total is so low. I’m going out on a limb and saying they don’t, and I’m going to probably regret the hell out of this but I’m taking the over as well. Big game for Emmanuel Sanders against a joke of a secondary.
837’s Prediction: Broncos 32, Chargers 17
Dubsism’s Prediction: Lock of the week – $500 on Denver
Jason from Indiana: San Diego
Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) -2.5 at Oakland Raiders (5-6) (44)
The Chiefs stock is going up, but a division loss against the Raiders on Sunday could easily send them spiraling in the opposite direction quickly. Oakland was able to barely squeak by with a road win against the Titans, but is hardly the team they were a month ago. Their stock value has dropped at times, but appeared to be stay really flat overall and with as crowded as the AFC playoff picture has become they’re probably not going to make it. The Chiefs can bury that possibility this weekend, and I believe that they will. Out of all the non-division leading AFC teams still in the hunt, they have the highest chance at making that happen – as well as the easiest schedule. They’ve made a hell of a run, but the way things seem to be going only two teams in the lot of the Steelers, Texans, and Chiefs are going to make it if the Colts keep winning. Everybody else has a snowball’s chance in hell…except for the Raiders who might be able to make it if the Jets fuck it up (which they will) and if they win this game. As much as I wish they would, I can’t count on the Raiders to not be the Raiders anymore than I can the Jets to not be the Jets. So Kansas City wins, Smith has yet another average game, and the Chiefs look to be in excellent shape to have changed their season around to the point where I can’t really remember a team doing a better job of that. Take ’em to cover and don’t touch the total even though the under looks very appetizing.
837’s Prediction: Chiefs 24, Raiders 16
Dubsism’s Prediction: $25 on Oakland
Jason from Indiana: Oakland
Philadelphia Eagles (4-7) +11 at New England Patriots (10-1) (49)
Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Eagles, now they have to head up the Eastern seaboard to face the Patriots in Foxboro…a city we now know by heart given New England’s dominance in the NFL over the past decade and a half. The Patriots lost a tough contest in overtime last week that was marred by some very poor officiating, but in the end they were outplayed and had a couple of drives that really stalled. They also lost Gronkowski for this game, which obviously doesn’t help. Either way, that game proved that while they can do great things with very little – even they’re not indestructible. They’re going to look like they are on Sunday, where they’ll be hosting an Eagles team that seems to be doing everything wrong. It’s one thing to lose, it’s quite another to lose by 31 to Detroit while the media is reporting you have guys stretching injuries so they don’t have to play games for Chip Kelly. It’s really that bad, and any Eagles fan that tells you it’s not isn’t really an Eagles fan. What a fucking disaster that squad is at the moment. When you trade for the league’s leading rusher and you’re staring a certain 4-8 record square in the face, something is going on and I don’t think I’m shocking anybody when I say Kelly has lost that team. New England is going to be out to prove last week was a snow-drenched fluke, and even though they don’t have the worst record in the NFL Philadelphia is just the team to do it against because they are by far the least focused group of guys in the league. Even without Gronk this line is at eleven for a reason, and the Eagles look like the Benny Hill theme song should be playing every time they touch the football anyway so I say this gets ugly fast. No way on the total.
837’s Prediction: Patriots 32, Eagles 18
Dubsism’s Prediction: $200 on the over
Jason from Indiana: New England
Indianapolis Colts (6-5) +7 at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) (N/A)
These two teams have the same record, which is very deceiving. So are last week’s results, in which the Steelers let what I consider to be a pretty close to average offense score 39 points, and the Colts beat a Bucs team they shouldn’t have been able to pull one over on. So basically this game comes down to this one question: Who do you trust? Do you trust a two time Super Bowl winning quarterback that is backed by a great coaching staff, or a guy pushing forty-one years of age that is going to piss his pants the second someone gets one good shot at him? If it seems like I’m trying to steer you in one direction, it’s because I really believe the Colts’ luck is about to run out. Vegas thinks so too, but I have to admit taking Pittsburgh to cover does make me a little bit nervous here. I want to be bold and say the Colts get creamed, but my luck hasn’t been that great lately either. I spend a majority of my day either getting berated on Twitter or yelled at by a guy who looks he had his neck tattoos done by someone who had cerebal palsy. Shit is so bad these days I’m tempted to pick Indy altogether even though all three of us hate those whiny bastards, but I can’t bring myself to do it. So I’ll meet you assholes in the middle and say the Steelers win but don’t cover. Is that fair? It had better be, because I’m not changing my mind on this topic again.
837’s Prediction: Steelers 27, Colts 23
Dubsism’s Prediction: $50 on the over
Jason from Indiana: Pittsburgh
Dallas Cowboys (3-8) +4.5 at Washington Redskins (5-6) (42)
Monday night’s game between the Redskins and the Cowboys features two teams that ESPN will tell you are very much in the playoff race. While this is the case, you could make the argument that the only reason they are is that Philadelphia and New York have been making them look fantastic all season, even though both of them aren’t playing up to par. I really want Washington to win this game because they are probably best qualified to win this division given who’s in it. Really there is no best case scenario here, nobody will be watching this piece of shit and Dallas is a complete mess. Even with the Romo injury, if Jason Garrett isn’t fired after this year with that roster and the talent he put around Tony to begin with that proves to the world that Jerryworld either has no balls whatsoever or they have simply retreated so far back into what’s left of his decrepit body he may not live to see another Cowboys winning season. The sadness starts here old man, and the Redskins cover. I love the under, unless you really do trust Kirk Cousins to go apeshit. At the end of the day, it’s your money.
837’s Prediction: Redskins 20, Cowboys 13
Dubsism’s Prediction: $50 on the over
Jason from Indiana: Washington
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Eight Thirty Seven