Pigskin Pick’em: Another week is upon us

  • By Nolan Rose
  • Wednesday, November 12, 2014 11:24pm
  • Sports

The Law of Averages continues to confound the Sultan of Sides. Another near .500 week (7-6 ATS) leaves the column at 81-65-1 for the year. A number of bizarre results a week ago foiled what could have been a positive mark. Siding with the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Carolina Panthers proved particularly startling. Have you ever seen a quarterback play worse than the Bengals Andy Dalton last Thursday? Dalton was impossibly bad. If the Red Rocket had my psyche on the ropes, the Pittsburgh Steelers meltdown in New York knocked me out. The Steelers losing to the New York Jets is inexplicable. As if my confidence hadn’t suffered enough I was on the Panthers side in the week’s final contest, which seemed like a good idea until the game started. Somehow in between that mess of picks we found a couple of winners to salvage the week.

There are better days ahead with a number of great games on the NFL schedule. The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins start the week in a matchup of AFC playoff hopefuls. Sunday’s games of note include the Seahawks-Chiefs, Patriots-Colts, Eagles-Packers, and Lions-Cardinals. You can even set your NFL Ticket dial to the Bucs-Redskins if you want to make your eyes vomit. The NFL is all about providing its audience with options!

Buffalo Bills @
MIAMI DOLPHINS -6

Thursday night kicks off week 11 with an interesting matchup of AFC East rivals. The Dolphins and Bills are traditionally preparing for draft day come November, but oddly both teams sit at 5-4, still in the thick of the playoff race. This contest amounts to an elimination game. I don’t see the loser reaching ten wins. The likely number needed to earn a playoff berth. The edge goes to the home side. Ryan Tannehill has performed admirably at Quarterback in recent weeks, and the once meager Dolphins defense more closely resembles sharks on Sunday. Dolphins win 24-13

MINNESOTA VIKINGS @
Chicago Bears -3.5

Ha! Da Bears are a field goal plus favorite in a professional football game? Impossible! If the Bears were playing the Minnesota Golden Gophers I would consider the home side, but it’s the Vikings coming to town. Incredibly, Chicago has been outscored 80-7 in the first half of their last two contests… Wow. That’s called quitting. Sports enthusiasts are left with no choice but to fade the Bears until signs of competence emerge. Vikings win 30-23

HOUSTON TEXANS @
Cleveland Browns -3.5

Ryan Mallett is getting his first NFL start this Sunday for the Houston Texans after years of backing up Tom Brady in New England. Former QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, a Harvard graduate, undoubtedly could solve a rubrics cube more efficiently than his replacement, but Mallett can throw ball further than 15 yards, which is sure to help the Texans passing attack. Call me stubborn, but I still don’t think the Cleveland Browns are a good football team. Texans win 20-17

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS @
Kansas City Chiefs -1

I’m jumping all over the chance to back the defending Super Bowl Champions without laying a point. The Seahawks have won three straight to resurrect their postseason hopes led by the re-discovery of Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode was in full force last Sunday leading the Seahawks to a franchise record 350 yards rushing against the New York Giants. Of course, the Chiefs aren’t the Giants. Kansas City, riding a four game winning streak, is a quality side. In a close game Russell Wilson gains an edge over his counterpart Alex Smith. Seahawks win 17-14

ATLANTA FALCONS @
Carolina Panthers -1.5

Cam Newton is a terrible quarterback. It’s one thing to stink on Monday Night Football, with a national audience watching, it’s another thing to get badly outplayed by “The Sanchize”. At this point retiring is an honorable option for the embattled Newton. Atlanta is hardly watchable, making this one of the least interesting games in recent memory. I’m contractually obligated to make a selection in each NFL game. Falcons win 28-21

CINCINNATI BENGALS @
New Orleans Saints -7.5

As bad as Cam Newton was last Monday night the Bengals Andy Dalton was much worse against the Cleveland Browns. Dalton was awful. My girlfriend could have played better. In fact, Dalton’s performance may have been the worst I’ve ever seen. Small children were injured watching it. That’s how bad it was. I’ve been wrong on the Saints all year. I’m confident siding with the Bengals is a colossal error, but taking the Saints minus a touchdown seems like a reach. Saints win 28-24

Tampa Bay Bucs @
WASHINGTON REDSKINS -7

For as much as the NFL likes to boast about parity the Tampa Bay Bucs make for a great rebuttal. Tampa is a horrendous football team that can ill afford a victory this weekend. Currently the 1-8 Bucs are racing towards a bottom two finish. The Oakland Raiders are the only team with a worse mark, and the Raiders already have a young quarterback they want to build around. If Tampa can continue to lose they should be positioned to select a quarterback with a pulse in next year’s NFL Draft. Redskins win 30-17

DENVER BRONCOS @
St. Louis Rams +10

The NFL is providing us with another doozy when the Denver Broncos visit the St. Louis Rams. Facing Denver’s illustrious quarterback, Lord Manning, can be a daunting task, so the Rams are returning to the Shaun Hill experiment, citing that the move gives them the best chance to win. Let me repeat that, Shaun Hill gives the Rams the best chance to win against Peyton Manning. This could get real ugly. Broncos win 41-10

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @
New York Giants +4.5

The San Francisco 49ers are the NFL’s version of the Walking Dead. Jim Harbaugh and his many alternate personalities just won’t die. Now, with many of its top players set to return from injury or suspension, the Bay Area Boys are poised to make a postseason push. Stick a fork in Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants. The only excitement surrounding New York City football is which team, the Jets or Giants, will fire their head coach first. 49ers win 30-14

OAKLAND RAIDERS @
San Diego Chargers -10.5

The San Diego Chargers were 5-1 and looked the part of a legitimate Super Bowl contender a month ago. Things change quickly in the NFL. Three straight defeats leave the Chargers on the brink of missing the playoffs. Fortunately, for lightning bolt fans, a much needed bye week is being followed by a matchup with the winless Oakland Raiders. The Raiders are the cure for losing streaks and there are no known side-effects! When will the Davis family finally relent and move the team to San Antonio, Los Angeles, or Afghanistan? The United States government should take notice. Why water-board the enemy when you can force captured terrorists to watch Oakland Raider football games? Chargers win 30-20

Philadelphia Eagles @
GREEN BAY PACKERS -6.5

As great as Mark Sanchez was for the Eagles on Monday Night I still want to see more before I confidently side with Philadelphia. The assumption is the Carolina Panthers ineptitude played a huge role in the quarterback’s success. If the Prince of Pick’em has ever been sure of anything in his life it’s that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will provide a much stiffer challenge for Sanchez this Sunday. The Packers outscored the Bears 147-0 in the first half last week. That’s only a minor exaggeration. Packers win 38-27

DETROIT LIONS @
Arizona Cardinals -1.5

The Arizona Cardinals are hosting the Detroit Lions in a mid-November showdown that could determine the top seed in the NFC playoffs. That’s a line that’s never been uttered in the history of human civilization! You never root for injuries, but from a Seahawks fan perspective, the Desert Bats losing quarterback Carson Palmer could be the leak that sinks the ship and allows Seattle back into the NFC West Division race. Detroit has won three straight games with scores on their final possession. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for a franchise that had mastered the art of losing in stunning fashion. Lions win 20-17

New England Patriots @
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS -2.5

The Chowder Heads aren’t going to go 14-2 this season and with a daunting schedule ahead of them it’s doubtful the Patriots stay at the top of the AFC. That regression towards the mean begins this week in Indiana. Andrew Luck has been nothing short of spectacular since I traded him off my fantasy team for Russell Wilson and Demaryius Thomas a month into the season. Obviously, I’m a huge Seattle homer, I readily admit that, but with Thomas involved and the opportunity to get my favorite teams quarterback I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Luck has crushed me for my lack of loyalty. I have no greater fear than a Seahawks-Colts Super Bowl when the young wunderkind would surely put the final nail in my coffin! Colts win 30-27

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ Tennessee Titans +6.5

The Pittsburgh Steelers provided a brilliant example of why picking NFL games ATS is nearly an impossible endeavor. After three straight wins, including 94 combined points scored against the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers travelled to New York to play the hopelessly pathetic Jets. The Jets aren’t capable of scoring 94 points in an entire season! Surely Pittsburgh would cruise to an easy victory. Wrong. The Steelers fell 20-13. Pittsburgh gets another featherweight this week. Can the Steelers rebound from such a dismal performance? The Sultan of Sides says they can. Steelers win 24-10

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