Pigskin Pick’Em: Column looking rather average

  • By Nolan Rose
  • Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:37pm
  • Sports

After ten weeks of professional football the Sultan of Sides, the Prince of Prognostication, the King of Covers, and all the other imaginary personalities I’ve created over the years have been reduced to a shell of their former selves. Gone is the swagger and confidence that propelled this column to greatness. It’s been replaced with a sense of average. A complex of diminishing returns. That’s what another middling 7-7 tally against Las Vegas’ suits has done to my alternate reality. The performance leaves our season total at 69-68-6. We’re drowning in juice! Somebody throw me a life line!

TENNESEE TITANS @
Jacksonville Jags -2.5

Jacksonville is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. Even at home against the lowly 2-7 Tennessee Titans the Jags are less than a field goal favorite. Of course when you possess the losing tradition Jacksonville so proudly owns, it can’t be much of a surprise, regardless of the competition. The Titans need this loss for draft position, but I expect them to botch that strategy with an “upset” victory over the Jaguars. Titans win 27-23

San Francisco 49ers @
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -13.5

This has been one of the most frustrating seasons in my 32 years as a Seattle Seahawks fan. The Seahawks are 4-5, three games behind Arizona in the NFC West. Their playoff aspirations and hopes of reaching a third straight Super Bowl are on life support. Unbelievably, Seattle has had the lead in the fourth quarter of all five of their losses! It’s been one heartbreak after another. San Francisco was terrible, and they replaced Colin Kaepernick with Blaine Gabbert, and somehow that led to win. That makes a ton of sense. Seahawks win 26-10

OAKLAND RAIDERS @
Detroit Lions -1

Somehow the hapless Detroit Lions travelled to Lambeau Field last week and defeated the Green Bay Packers. That actually happened. This is the 2015 NFL season. Oakland was a good football team until they got completely gashed on the ground last week against Adrian Peterson and Minnesota Vikings. The Lions don’t have an Adrian Peterson. That’s good for the Raiders. Raiders win 33-24

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS @
Atlanta Falcons -5.5

I would say a Matt Hasselbeck led Colts team couldn’t keep pace on the scoreboard against Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, and the Atlanta Falcons. That was before Atlanta inexplicably lost to a San Francisco 49ers team led by Blaine Gabbert. The same Gabbert that couldn’t survive life in Jacksonville. Remarkable. Gabbert is awful! That’s the most stunning result of the season. Fade the Falcons until further notice. Colts win 21-20

New York Jets @
Houston Texans no line

The Questionable list on the injury report reads like a who’s who of players in this contest, producing yet another game this season with no posted line as of Tuesday evening. What in blue blazes is going on around here! Jets win, unless the Jets lose. If that happens the Texans will win. Maybe.

Tampa Bay Bucs @
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -5.5

Tampa Bay was supposed to be bad and they’re decent. Philadelphia was supposed to be good and they’re decent. It’s more of the same in this unpredictable season. If I’m coming across as a little jaded by all the bad beats and epic misses, you’re reading this correctly. Incumbent Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford is likely to sit this one out with an injured shoulder, he’ll be replaced by Mark Sanchez. Yes, the “Sanchize” is back. In this alien NFL universe that’s a good thing. Eagles win 30-23

DENVER BRONCOS @
Chicago Bears even

The only joy I’ve gotten from this NFL season is mysteriously unlocking the key to Denver’s success. I questioned the Horse and their winning ways all season to no avail. They won, and they won, and they won again. It wasn’t until two weeks ago when I finally gave in and accepted the evil Horse as true contenders and look at this! They’ve lost two in a row! The only question, is the curse dependent upon on Peyton Manning’s noodle arm? Regardless, I love the Broncos in this spot! Broncos win 24-21

ST. LOUIS RAMS @
Baltimore Ravens -1

St. Louis may have paved the way to prominence by benching incapable passer Nick Foles in favor of Case Keenum. Not that Keenum is any good, but the hope here for Rams faithful is that he’s not Foles-level bad. The Ravens are in tight race for next year’s number one overall draft selection. A win here would be devastating to their hopes. Rams win 21-14

DALLAS COWBOYS @
Miami Dolphins even

Presumably Dallas isn’t going to lose the rest of their games. Lunatic owner Jerry Jones is still babbling about the playoffs. That turkey is cooked, but with the return of Tony Romo, Dallas feels like a team that could make a late season push to finish 8-8, and kill their draft position. Miami has been up and down under interim coach Dan Campbell. Miami won last week. Dallas wins 30-23

WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ Carolina Panthers -8.5

Carolina has to be the biggest surprise of the NFL season. Nobody had the Panthers at 9-0 after 10 weeks entering the year. Washington has yet to win a road game, but you get this feeling like the Native Americans might be on to something. They have a strong running game and a sometimes capable defense. If Captain Kirk Cousins can avoid turning the ball over this could be a close affair. Panthers win 20-17

Kansas City Chiefs @
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS +3

Give me the Lightning Bolts plus a field goal. I’m not buying Kansas City’s win over a great Denver team last Sunday as some signal that the Chiefs are suddenly the Chiefs from last year again. Still no Jamaal Charles, still plenty of Alex Smith. That’s a bad recipe. Philip Rivers finds a way to get the Chargers back in the win column. Chargers win 26-19

GREEN BAY PACKERS @
Minnesota Vikings even

Green Bay has been awful of late dropping three consecutive contests. Minnesota has been the opposite. The Vikings are 7-2 and have a one-game lead over their border rivals in the NFC North. All the signs point to a rising Minnesota team being the play, but that’s why we’ll take a slumping Packers team. That’s my new mantra. Do what doesn’t make sense! Packers win 23-20

 

Cincinnati Bengals @
ARIZONA CARDINALS -5

Have Andy Dalton’s primetime struggles resurfaced? Dalton appeared to be immune to Daltonism through the first half of the season leading the Bengals to an 8-0 start, but that all changed last week when Cincinnati mysteriously lost to a bad Houston Texans team at home. The Cardinals are a much better team than Houston, and should be riding a high after their dramatic (heartbreaking) win last Sunday in Seattle. Cardinals win 28-14

Buffalo Bills @
NEW ENGLAND PATS -7.5

Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills are still not quite ready for primetime, and New England is starting to show some flaws. The Patriots had already lost running back Dion Lewis, and now the Brady Bunch will be without star receiver Julian Edleman. No matter. It’s still Ryan vs. Bill Belichick, and Hooded Sith Lord owns his loud mouthed opponent. Patriots win 21-17

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