- The Season's Over -

Degenerate Gambler Weekly: Week 8 NFL Picks Against the Spread

October 27, 2011

Drew Brees

By Brian Spencer

How We Did Last Week

Meh. It wasn’t a total disaster, but our 3-4 record for Week 7 was disappointing. We swung and missed on the favored Titans and Raiders covering–both were handily blown out–but few saw that coming.

What rankles us more is the Browns failing to cover -3.5 in the biggest Toilet Bowl game so far, a mind-numbing 6-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Most of our ire is directed at Seahawks DT Red Bryant, who not only blocked two Phil Dawson field-goal attempts but also prevented a third one late in the fourth quarter. From the good people at ProFootballTalk:

After the Seahawks sacked Browns quarterback Colt McCoy on third down with about a minute to go, Bryant head-butted Browns tight end Alex Smith. That personal foul got Bryant ejected and gave the Browns an automatic first down, and all they had to do was kneel down twice to run out the clock.


The Vikings’ inspired effort against the Green Bay Packers wasn’t good enough for a win, but 1.5 points good enough to cover the 7.5 spread in their 33-27 loss. We thought that one was in the bag, particularly with Aaron Rodgers shredding the Minny secondary and staking his team to a healthy 33-17 lead after three quarters. Hey, that’s football.

Best Bet

Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) at Seattle Seahawks: The 2-4 Seahawks return to Seattle for just their third home game following that riveting loss at Cleveland… and they’re still in second place in the NFC West! Exciting! This team has a well-known (and earned) reputation for overachieving at home in what’s always a rowdy atmosphere, but we wonder if that home-field advantage is strong enough in this matchup against the streaking Cincinnati Bengals to warrant this low spread: they’re otherwise overmatched in almost every category.

The 4-2 Bengals look like a playoff team. Led by unglamorous-but-effective rookie QB Andy Dalton and explosive rookie WR A.J. Green, the Bengals offense is capable, though not unstoppable, but it’s their rock-solid defense that’ll largely determine the team’s fate going forward. They’re yielding just 18.5 points/per (4th overall), and are 5th overall in both passing and rushing yards allowed. That’s bad news for a stinky Seahawks offense putting up just 16.2 points and 262.8 total yards per. QB Tarvaris Jackson looks like he’ll return to the starting lineup, but he’s really not been much better than Charlie Whitehurst. Cringe.

The home-field advantage is not insignificant, but neither is Seattle’s loss of starting CBs Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond. Look for Dalton to hook up with Green for another score and for the Bengals DEF to cause a few key sacks and turnovers. PICK: Bengals Cover

Strong Bets

New Orleans Saints (-11.5) at St. Louis Rams: Heading into a tangle with a defense that’s giving up 28.5 points/per, the Saints are averaging a league-best 34.1 points/per, a number significantly aided by the 62 smackers they laid on the Colts in primetime last week. Coincidentally, the Colts defense is the only one that’s been more generous than the Rams’. Happy Late-October, Drew Brees.

Brees is again leading a prolific attack that’s 2nd in total yards, 2nd in passing yards, and 9th in rushing yards. New Orleans is relatively healthy on both sides of the ball (though rookie RB Mark Ingram is likely out), they’re motivated, and… enough about the Saints. This one’s about the winless Rams.

Sam Bradford will likely sit again, which means the league’s worst offense, the only one averaging less than 10 points/per (9.3, to be precise), will again be led by A.J. Feeley. Get psyched, Rams fans! The question isn’t if the Rams can pull an upset here–they absolutely cannot–but whether they can cover that hefty 11.5 spread. Their last two games have been a 27-point loss to the Cowboys and a 21-point loss to the Packers, so here’s your answer.
PICK: Saints Cover

Tim Tebow

San Diego Chargers (-3.5) at Kansas City Chiefs: He can deny it all he wants, but something’s not right with San Diego’s bolt-thrower Philip Rivers. One of the league’s best and most consistent regular-season QBs for the past 3 years, Rivers has looked out of sorts from the get-go and is on track for a career-worst season through 6 games. He’s thrown more picks (9) than TDs (7), and based on what he saw in DirecTV’s “Short Cuts” version of last week’s Chargers/Jets game, my colleague Mr. Thell is convinced Rivers is hiding some sort of injury.

You’ll recall that the last time Rivers and the Chargers ventured to Arrowhead Stadium, in Week 1 last season, they left with an unexpected 21-14 loss to a Chiefs team that unexpectedly went on to the playoffs. Last year was last year, however, and though the Chargers’ four wins have come against teams with a combined 6-19 record–including a narrow 20-17 win over these Chiefs in Week 3–we have a hunch Ryan Matthews and Mike Tolbert are in for big games against a KC defense allowing 125.5 yards rushing/per; Matthews had 149 yards from scrimmage and 2 TDs in their first matchup. Beyond Dwayne Bowe, the Chiefs offense simply has nothing to counter-punch with. PICK: Chargers Cover

Detroit Lions (-3.5) at Denver Broncos: You knew it was going to happen, right? (Of course you did, it was predicted in Corinthians 16:22.) You knew Tim Tebow, after logging 56 minutes of some of the worst quarterback play I’ve ever seen on a NFL field (4-14, 40 yards), would bounce back and comandeer a come-from-behind victory against the winless Miami Dolphins. There’s simply no way our Lord would let the bad guys win and fail to deliver the good guys into the victorious promised land.

Lost in the “excitement” of Denver’s 18-15 overtime over the putrid Dolphins is the fact that those were both very, very bad teams… and that the Dolphins were actually the better one, arguably by far, for all but the last 4 minutes of regulation. Fantasy production aside, Tebow was God awful (ahem), somehow actually worse than expected. At one point “he sailed one pass maybe 15 yards over the head of a wide-open receiver, prompting play-by-play guy Kevin Harlan to say softly, almost to himself, ‘But there’s no wind,’ as if ruminating over a Zen koan,” noted Deadspin’s Tommy Craggs. He was sacked 7 times.

There’s been a lot of media backlash against the 5-2 Detroit Lions this week following two straight home losses to playoff-contending teams, and that’s reflected in this paltry 3.5 spread (now down to 2.5). Let the suckers take Tebow’s Broncos: we’ll take the far better team that’s thus far 3-0 on the road, sports the NFL’s 9th-ranked pass defense, and will unleash the NFL’s best WR on an aging Broncos secondary. Expect another dominant performance from Megatron, regardless of who’s behind center. I smell a double-digit win for the visitors and 3 Tebow INTs. Pick: Lions Cover

Just Trust Us

San Francisco 49ers (-9.5) vs. Cleveland Browns: With Jim Harbaugh and his 5-1 49ers done jacking themselves off during the bye week after their impressive 25-19 win at Detroit in Week 6, they welcome an uninspiring Browns team whose offense littered Cleveland Browns Stadium with pellet-sized turds last week against the Seattle Seahawks. There’s just little to nothing to see on that side of the ball in Cleveland, save for promising WR Greg Little–somebody please get that guy a legitimate quarterback.

The Browns defense is another story. Led by unheralded CB Joe Haden, the Browns are surprisingly fielding the league’s top-ranked pass defense and are in the top 10 in points allowed. If they can contain a resurgent Frank Gore (393 yards rushing, 3 TDs in last 3 games) and force QB Alex Smith, quite possibly the league’s most accomplished checkdown artist, to try and make plays, they have a chance to keep it close. In a game pitting two teams who both rely heavily on their defenses to hide middling offenses, we’ll take the points in what figures to be a slugfest. Pick: Browns Cover

Houston Texans (-10.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: I can’t imagine what the ratings would have been for the second half of the Jags’ unwatchable 12-7 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football if not for fantasy football. Both defenses came to play, but that doesn’t excuse the brutal offensive performances, particularly on the Ravens’ side as 10.5-point favorites (7 first-half passing yards, no first downs until 5:26 left in the third quarter, 146 total yards).

Jacksonville travels to Houston as 10.5 dogs, again, to take on a 4-3 Texans team that thumped the directionless Tennessee Titans 41-7 on the road last week behind 219 yards combined rushing from Arian Foster and Ben Tate, arguably the best 1-2 backfield combo in the league. They figure to rely heavily on them again with WR Andre Johnson likely out or at best very limited, which will be a good test for an underrated Jags defense ranked 8th in points allowed and 10th against the run. They also don’t give up many passing plays over 20 yards, which doesn’t bode well for Texans QB Matt Schaub, who sports a career 1-5 record against Jacksonville.

Jaguars rookie QB Blaine Gabbert may have a future in this league, but we’ve seen enough through six games to know he doesn’t have much of a present, particularly with that piss-poor receiving corps and a mostly listless Marcedes Lewis. The recipe for Jags success, or at least for staying in the game, is a steady diet of the venerable Maurice Jones-Drew, who toted the rock 30 times against Baltimore and now has 22+ carries in 4 of 7 games. Amazing stat considering, as Mr. Thell pointed out last night over microbrews at Barcade, the man is coming off a serious knee surgery.

Despite all this–the strong defense, the elite running back, the shocking win over the Baltimore Ravens–the Jaguars are still a pretty bad 2-5 team that could walk in here and get blown out. We don’t think the Texans have two consecutive blow-out efforts in ‘em right now though. Pick: Jaguars Cover

Carolina Panthers (-3.5) vs. Minnesota Vikings: Mired on a 1-6 team struggling through a transistion (read: rebuilding) season, Vikings RB Adrian “All Day” Peterson has quietly pounded his way to the top of the league’s rushing pack with 712 yards (4.9 YPC) and 8 TDs. On the heels of a blockbuster performance against a stout Green Bay Packers’ run defense (24 carries for 175 yards, 1 TD), AP draws a hospitable Panthers unit ranked 29th overall against the run and one that’s allowed the most long-gainers and TDs to opposing RBs in the league. Any guesses as to the Vikings offensive game plan on Sunday?

Wins will continue to be hard to come by with a somewhat brutal schedule looming after next week’s bye: @ GB, OAK, @ ATL, DEN, @ DET, NO, @ WSH, CHI. Still, we don’t see Peterson, Jared Allen, and the rest of this team packing it in like some teams have. Rookie QB Christian Ponder will be one to watch as the season progresses; he’s already helped wash away the bad taste Donovan McNabb left in Vikings Nation’s collective mouth. (I know how that sounds; get your head out of the gutter.) PICK: Vikings Cover

Drew Brees & Tim Tebow Prayer Circle Photo Credits: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 27, 2011 at 1:29pm in ETB Articles, NFL

Degenerate Gambler Weekly: Week 7 NFL Picks Against the Spread

October 20, 2011

Pittsburgh Steelers

By Brian Spencer

How We Did Last Week

It was a good-not-great debut for Degenerate Gambler Weekly as ETB went 4-3 on our Week 6 picks against the spread. If you wagered an equal amount of paycheck points across the board on all seven picks, you still came out on top.

The high point was the Jets clubbing the Dolphins 24-6 in a thrilling MNF matchup; as you recall, I predicted a 23-6 final score. MNF gets another clunker this week when the Baltimore Ravens, a team that around here we find mostly unwatchable, visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, who for some unbeknownst reason make two MNF appearances this year. Sunday night’s primetime game on the Fuddy-Duddy Network isn’t much better as the 14-point favorite New Orleans Saints host the Indianapolis Colts. Isn’t it time to put flex scheduling–for SNF and MNF–in play all season long to avoid this?

Despite going 4-3, we did miss our Best Bet (Saints didn’t cover and lost to the Bucs… booooo!) and one of our Strong Bets (Lions didn’t cover and lost to the 49ers… hissssss!). We’ve been in the film room all week, however, and promise to get that fixed for Week 7.

Best Bet

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) at Arizona Cardinals: Amazing what a decent left tackle can do for your offense, eh? After an uninspiring 2-2 start to the season in which Ben Roethlisberger looked every bit the part of Rob “Robo-Sack” Johnson behind a decimated offensive line, ex-LT Max Starks rejoined the team and helped shore up the Steelers’ most glaring weakness.

Let’s not pin their two-week offensive resurgence solely on Starks’ arrival, but Roethlisberger has clearly looked more comfortable (36-57, 428 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT) and the running game has taken off (11 carries, 107 yards for Jonathan Dwyer in Week 5; 23 carries, 146 yards, 1 TD for Rashard Mendenhall in Week 6) since then. This week the surging Steelers offense matches up with a mediocre-at-best Cardinals defense allowing just over 24 points and 258 passing yards/per. They’re also near the bottom of the league in total sacks (11) and interceptions (4).

You know things are bad when you lose by 24 points to the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings; you know they’re really bad when your starting quarterback is named Kevin Kolb, who in his past three games has a combined 61.4 QB Rating while tossing 5 picks and just 1 touchdown. The Cards are always tougher at home (read: luckier), but Kolb will struggle against the Steelers’ top-rated pass defense and strong pass rush.

The spread seems suspiciously low, which gives us pause, but we’re still confident everything adds up to a 10+ point win for the visitors. PICK: Steelers Cover

Strong Bets

Green Bay Packers (-7.5) at Minnesota Vikings: Not only are the Packers the only undefeated team left in the NFL, they’re clearly the best one. Aaron Rodgers has been scary good and is well on his way to a career season, with 2,037 yards passing (70% completions), 17 TDs, 3 INTs, 2 rushing TDs, and a league-leading 122.4 QB Rating; by comparison, Tom Brady is second with 104.8. Wow.

The thankfully short-lived Donovan McNabb Era in Minnesota ends after just 6 games (even his mom couldn’t watch anymore), with jaunty first-round pick Christian Ponder taking over. He had over a month to watch McNabb get knocked around behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines, so we presume he’s lobbying heavily for a game plan centered on Adrian Peterson getting 30+ carries.

The Vikings’ ferocious pass rush, perhaps the team’s lone saving grace in what’s already a forgettable season, figures to give the Packers’ O-line some fits, but not as many as the Packers’ well-rounded wrecking crew will deal to Ponder & Co. PICK: Packers Cover

Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders (-3.5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs: A week after all-world punter Shane “I Want to Have Your Babies” Lechler was the best quarterback on the field for the Raiders (1-1, 35 yards, 1 TD on a fake field goal), the recently acquired and previously “retired” Carson Palmer projects to start ahead of warm body Kyle Boller.

Isn’t the dearth of playable quarterbacks in a quarterback-driven league amazing? The Raiders are more comfortable starting a guy who hasn’t played a snap of football since last season, and has been with the team less than a week, than one who’s been with them since last year… and, honestly, Palmer probably does give them a better chance to win than Boller does. There are some exceptions, but most teams are essentially fucked if their starter goes down because the guy behind him is more often than not incapable and a worst-case scenario.

Anyway, we like this 4-2 Raiders team, particularly at home, though the visiting Chiefs have beaten them there three out of their past four matchups. Important fact about your 2011 Chiefs, though: they’re terrible. Despite Dwayne Bowe’s best efforts (23 catches, 420 yards, 4 TDs), the Jamaal Charles-less offense is averaging just 15.4 points/per (29th overall) and the defense, well, they’re the worst in the NFL in allowing an even 30/per. Don’t expect an against-the-grain performance this week. PICK: Raiders Cover

Carolina Panthers (-2.5) vs. Washington Redskins: He’s been a better fantasy player than real-life player so far (fourth-ranked QB based on ETB’s scoring), but Cam Newton has at least kept his otherwise poor Panthers in the game into the fourth quarter and given them a chance to win. Last week’s 31-17 loss at Atlanta represented their biggest end-game deficit: the other four losses have been by an average of 5.5 points.

Newton’s 9 interceptions in those 5 losses hasn’t helped, but he’s arguably made up for at least half of them with his ability to extend the play, turn negative yardage into positive gains, and connect with a rejuvenated Steve Smith (32 catches, 675 yards, 3 TDs). The real problem here is the Panthers’ anemic defense, which is yielding a generous 27.2 points/per (tied 29th overall) and a whopping 140 yards/per on the ground (31st) in the wake of starting MLB and leading tackler Jon Beason’s season-ending torn Achilles in Week 1. Michael Turner burned them for 139 yards and 2 TDs last week, and Matt Forte hung a career-best 205 yards on them in Week 4.

The Redskins, now led by QB John Beck, fortunately employ nobody nearly as explosive as Turner or Forte. Following a week of bye-week hype for Ryan Torain, he and the rest of the ‘Skins offense laid a vomitous turd on Fed Ex Field against the previously matchup-friendly Philadelphia Eagles. Aided by four Rex Grossman interceptions, Torain rushed 10 times for just 22 yards and Roy Helu 2 times for 6 yards; Beck was actually the most effective running threat with 2 carries for 14 yards and a score.

Beck is no worse than Grossman, and give the Redskins a (huge) advantage on defense, but Newton and Smith will concoct enough magic to win and cover what’s almost a pick-em spread at home. PICK: Panthers Cover

Just Trust Us

Miami Dolphins (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos: Glory, Glory, Hallelujah! Forgive us our sins, oh Lord, and may we never again doubt the Mile High Messiah, who like Moses will soon divide the AFC West Ocean and lead his Broncos to the Blessed Land of Milk & Honey & Touchdowns. We faithfully put our fantasy fates and billfold contents in the saintly hands of Brother Tebow, dear Lord. Deliver us from failure, oh Lord, and may God bless those Broncos. PICK: Broncos Cover

Cleveland Browns (-3.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks: Two evenly matched teams in that they’re both in the league’s bottom half in points allowed, bottom third in scoring, and bottom tenth in watchability.

The Browns are sorting through issues with a 30th-ranked rushing “attack” that’s been hampered by an ineffective, unhealthy, and perhaps tuned-out Peyton Hillis (52.8 yards/per, 3.5 YPC). The Seahawks are right there with ‘em, averaging just 1.6 yards more per game than the Browns on the back of Marshawn Lynch, whose predictably poor season was somewhat disguised in Week 5 by an anamolous effort against a bumbling Giants defense (12 carries, 98 yards, 1 TD). Lynch has otherwise racked up 141 yards (2.7 YPC) and 1 TD in the ‘Hawks other games, but is still enjoying a free pass thanks to his beastly run in last year’s playoffs.

When two blah 2-3 teams collide with a toss-up spread like this one, logic usually says take the points. We’ll take the home team and the one not starting “Checkdown” Charlie Whitehurst at QB. PICK: Browns Cover

Tennessee Titans (-3.5) vs. Houston Texans: We’re not sure what to make of the Titans. They looked legit during a three-game win streak that included a 26-13 spanking of the Ravens at home, but were flattened in Week 5 at Pittsburgh 38-17. This week’s tilt with the division rival Houston Texans is the first of three consecutive post-bye home games that are all winnable, starting with this one against a Texans team missing two of its top impact players in WR Andre Johnson and DE/LB Mario Williams.

We’d feel more comfortable with -2.5 points, but don’t like what we’ve seen from the battered Texans the last 2 weeks and think Chris Johnson has a good shot at the breakout game we’ve been waiting for. PICK: Titans Cover

Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders Photo Credits: Icon SMI

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:20pm in ETB Articles, NFL

Degenerate Gambler Weekly: Week 6 NFL Picks Against the Spread

October 14, 2011

Darryl Gamble

By Brian Spencer

Hey, kids, look! Empty the Bench is back, and this time they’re gambling away their paychecks to degenerate low lifes and stinky Hacidics! Yay!

Degenerate Gambler Weekly is a new weekly ETB column–no, seriously, we’re going to follow through on this one… honest–in which we, your lovable NFL Sunday Degenerates, share the seven NFL picks we’ve made against the spread for our weekly pool at the local watering hole. Don’t worry, Mom, it’s just for points, not money: 100 points entrance fee and 11 points a week.

Why should you bother following and trusting our picks? Because most of the time we know our shit, even if we don’t always get into (not)witty nitty-gritty stat nerdom in our explanations of why these are our picks. Just trust us: we have a proven track record, which from here on out we’ll keep track of here. The last few weeks have been particularly good: 16-5 against the spread. Of course, that means these will all be wrong.

Okay, you get it. Welcome, my degenerate brethren, and may your wallets prosper with points.

Best Bet

New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Tampa Bay Bucs: In a week without many spreads screaming “Bet on me!”, this one looks like the most likely gimme. The road team has won the past four matchups between these NFC South rivals: in fact, the past two games in Tampa have a combined score of 69-13 in the Saints’ favor. It’s a new year with different players, but we don’t have any reservations about the Saints’ ability to go into Tampa and stomp the Bucs… and stomp them they really should.

Though both defenses have been porous in allowing 25/per through five games, the Saints offense is averaging 14 points more than the Bucs mostly because, well, they employ a top-threeish QB named Drew Brees and a cadre of playmakers, while the Bucs have a good, solid young QB in Josh Freeman and a dearth of playmakers. This week that dearth gets deeper with leading rusher LeGarrette Blount joining DT Gerald McCoy on the inactive list.

The Bus are not as bad as the 48-3 thrashing they suffered last week in San Francisco, but not as good as their 3-2 record, which was padded with (narrow) wins over Donovan McNabb’s Minnesota Vikings and Curtis Painter’s Indianapolis Colts. The Saints are the Saints, and after trading scores with the Bucs early will pull away in the second half and win this one by double digits. PICK: Saints Cover

Strong Bets

Philadelphia Eagles (-2) at Washington Redskins: The ‘Skins are at the top of the NFC East standings, while the Eagles are buried at the bottom heading into their first matchup of the season: that’s football for you. Hey, we don’t like the Eagles anymore than you do, but despite their improvements across the board we’re not sold on the Redskins either.

Despite the festering warts (on Vick’s… sorry, couldn’t help it) that have marred the Iggles first quarter of the season–poor quarterback play, poor offensive line play, poor rushing defense, turnovers–this team still has more raw talent than the Redskins and, frankly, at 1-4 they need this game more than the Redskins do. Yes, the Redskins are 3-1, their defense is ranked third overall in the NFL in points allowed, they sport an eighth-ranked rushing attack, and they’re at home and rested coming off a bye. They’re also the Redskins.
PICK: Eagles Cover

Ndamukong Suh

Detroit Lions (-4) vs. San Francisco 49ers: Am I the only one who’s tired of hearing about Alex Smith as “game manager”? We’re now into the sixth fucking year of it for the former first-overall pick, who in the course of his sub-mediocre career has never thrown for more than 18 TD passes, never hit 3,000 yards passing, or finished with a QB Rating north of 82 points. Seriously, 49ers, enough already.

It’s nice that he’s off to a good start (104.1 QB Rating, 66% completion percentage, 7 TDs, 1 INT) and hasn’t yet earned his annual benching, but I just don’t buy it and, hence, don’t buy this San Francisco 49ers offense either, which is somehow averaging 28.4/per (7th in NFL). They’re due to come back down to earth before getting back to playing pattycake with the rest of the NFC West (the Rams, Seahawks, and Cardinals are a combined 3-11).

Raucous Ford Field seems like a likely place for it to happen. In the midst of a three-game homestand that began with a rowdy 24-13 win over the Chicago Bears on MNF, the undefeated Detroit Lions are playing as confidently as any team in the league. Their plan and personnel are clicking on both sides of the ball–and both sides have been tested by quality opponents. Only four teams are averaging more than their 31.8/per, and while the 49ers’ hard-nosed defense is definitely legit and rank second in the league in points allowed with 15.4/per, the Lions DEF is just three spots behind with 17.8.

Kudos to first-year HC Jim Harbaugh on the early returns, for coaching in and benefitting from the NFL’s worst division, and, of course, for massaging Alex Smith into an even duller and less-dynamic game manager than he was. Exciting. Wooooooo. Woooo!
PICK: Lions Cover

Oakland Raiders (-6.5) vs. Cleveland Browns: There might be nothing more exciting in the NFL than the Raiders’ kicking game. Sebastian Janikowski, who matched the NFL record for longest field goal in Week 1, and Shane Lechler, whose weekly punting exhibitions border on erotica, on the same team? Are you fucking kidding me? It’s not fair.

The Raiders return to Oakland for their first home game since Al Davis’ passing, so expect the atmosphere to be even more jacked up than usual. The 2-2 Browns are coming off a bye, but will be missing top CB Joe Haden and are trotting out a rush defense allowing nearly 125 yards on the ground per (though only 1 TD overall). That’s a problem Darren McFadden, the league’s leading rusher, is happy they have–he’ll exploit it, and the Raiders will roll.
PICK: Oakland Covers

Just Trust Us

New England Patriots (-6.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys: Say it with me: the Dallas Cowboys are not a great team, at least right now. I’m not interested in talking about the reasons why, or about Tony Romo, or the return of Miles Austin, or the underrated pass rush because, hell, you’re as tired of hearing about this perenially underachieving franchise as I am.

The Patriots, on the other hand, are a very good team in spite of their cringeworthy defense, though to be fair part of the reason they’re giving up a league-worst 433 passing yards/per (yikes) is Tom Brady and his league-best 366 yards/per. The ‘Boys will hang some points on the Pats, but we have little to no faith in their ability to keep up for four quarters and not shoot themselves in both feet. PICK: Patriots Cover

Cincinnati Bengals (-7) vs. Indianapolis Colts: I have trouble trusting the Bengals, but my other half on ETB has been a stalwart supporter the past few weeks. Loves their defense, cites the addition of difference-making rookie WR AJ Green (24 catches, 402 yards, 3 TDs in first five games), and this week points out something even I can’t dispute: they’re playing Curtis Painter’s Colts at home. PICK: Bengals Cover

New York Jets (-7) vs. Miami Dolphins: The winless Dolphins, who’ll debut the first episode of their new Sunday afternoon sitcom called Matt Moore, Starting Quarterback, have beaten the Jets three of the past four times they’ve met, including two consecutive wins in New York. The Jets have lost three consecutive games, haven’t been able to run the ball with disappointing Shonn Greene behind a meh offensive line (76.2/per, second worst in NFL), can’t rush the passer, and are starting to point fingers at each other. Just a hunch, but I see something like Jets 23, Dolphins 6. PICK: Jets Cover

Darryl Gamble and Ndamukong Suh Photo Credits: Icon SMI

1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 14, 2011 at 9:04pm in ETB Articles, NFL


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