Pigskin Pick’Em: What doesn’t make sense does make sense

  • By Nolan Rose
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2015 11:44pm
  • Sports

Week 9 proved to be another humbling experience for the Sultan of Sadness, I mean Sides… A 4-8 tally against the Vegas suits leaves the column at a pedestrian 62-61-6 mark for the season. At this point, I have to acknowledge Paul the Octopus is my superior.

Denver Horse fans must be furious. All season I have doubted the Horse as a “real” contender in the AFC, citing their strength of schedule, narrow victories, and Peyton Manning’s noodle arm as cause for concern. In response, all Denver did was win, and local Horse fans loved to point out that fancy little zero in the loss column. Well, I finally gave in after Denver’s emphatic victory against Green Bay, admitting that the Horse was a Super Bowl contender. Then something magical happened. Denver lost to a previously pathetic Indianapolis Colts team. For the rest of the year you’ll only hear, “Go Denver, Go!” from this column.

Buffalo Bills @
NEW YORK JETS -2.5

Rex Ryan returns to New York! Oh man, if nothing else football fans are in for some excellent postgame media sessions. The Airplanes laying less than a field goal at home is a great play in this spot. Buffalo is coming off a resounding victory last week, and young teams have a tendency to slip after such a positive performance. There won’t be any letdown on the home side. Jets win 27-17

Detroit Lions @
GREEN BAY PACKERS -13

The Packers have spurned me in consecutive weeks. There’s no doubt the Clarion’s own Jeff Helminiak would prefer the Sultan to back Detroit, but that’s just not going to happen. The Lions have officially closed shop on the 2015 season, they’re terrible at football.

Green Bay has been in a funk, but Detroit is the proven cure for funkiness. Packers win 31-14

Dallas Cowboys @
TAMPA BAY BUCS -1

Love the Bucs laying a point at the Pirate Ship. Dallas can’t get a win without Tony Romo, sadly neither can my fantasy team. Romo’s injury has all but doomed the Fighting Jerry’s, and even more appropriate nickname now that Greg Hardy is on the Roster. I have to give credit to Bucs rookie passer Jameis Winston. The former Seminole looked overwhelmed the first month of season, but Winston has come on strong of late. Finally, Pirate fans have hope. Bucs win 28-21

CAROLINA PANTHERS @
Tennessee Titans +5.5

The Panthers are another team that the Sultan of Sides has been leery of. Carolina just doesn’t jump off the screen as an undefeated, Super Bowl contender. Their record says otherwise. Tennessee is a much better team without woeful coach Ken Whisenhunt on the sideline. Of course, a healthy Marcus Mariota has helped the Titans cause, but that won’t be enough against a Panthers team that has found the magic formula. Panthers win 30-17

Chicago Bears @
ST. LOUIS RAMS -7.5

It’s time to play to the “Good Rams, Bad Rams” game again. Remember, Clarion faithful, St. Louis is good when you think they aren’t, and bad when you think they’re good. Does that make sense? It’s not supposed to. Atlanta lost to a lifeless San Francisco team a week ago for crying out loud! The NFL isn’t supposed to make sense. You just throw darts at the dart board and this week the dart landed on St. Louis. Rams win 24-10

New Orleans Saints @
WASHINGTON REDSKINS even

New Orleans was rolling heading into a very winnable game against the Tennessee Titans at home last Sunday. A win would have left the Saints at 5-4 despite a slow start to the year. Remember, this is the same Saints team that posted 52 points the week prior against the New York Giants. Second reminder, Tennessee stinks! Of course, New Orleans lost because what doesn’t make sense in the NFL makes sense. I’m confused. Redskins win 30-28

Miami Dolphins @
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -7

The Canned Tuna rode a wave of momentum when Coach Dan Campbell took over after Joe Philbin’s firing. That wave is gone now. Back to back blowout losses to division rivals New England and Buffalo have left the Dolphins on the endangered species list. Eagles love it when fish carcasses wash ashore. That’s basically what has happened here. Lunch is served. Eagles win 33-17

CLEVELAND BROWNS @
Pittsburgh Steelers -4.5

You have to feel bad for Steelers fans. A healthy Pittsburgh team would clearly compete for an AFC Championship, but with Le’Veon Bell in and out of the lineup before tearing his ACL, and Ben Roethlisberger expected to miss more time with an ankle injury, it’s just too much to overcome. The fact that Pittsburgh is still above .500 despite the roster turmoil is a testament to Coach Mike Tomlin’s quality. Steelers win 20-17

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ Baltimore Ravens -5.5

Toilet Bowl nominee! The mighty 2-6 Jaguars travel to Baltimore to face the 2-6 limited flight Ravens. This doozy has all the makings of a Sunday afternoon nap for the poor souls forced to endure witnessing this debacle. Steve Smith’s victory lap kept the Ravens relevant, but he’s out with a leg injury. There’s really nothing to get worked up about. Blake Bortles? Where’s the snooze button. By rule one of these teams will cover the point spread against all odds. We’ll take the road side. Jags win 23-20

Minnesota Vikings @
OAKLAND RAIDERS -3

This matchup is the opposite of the previous affair. It’s actually interesting. Oakland’s offense is firing on all cylinders. Derek Carr is finding Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree with ease. Latavius Murray has provided an excellent threat at running back. The Vikings are a team on the rise as well, but they’ll likely be without starting passer Teddy Bridgewater. I don’t expect the Vikings to keep pace on the scoreboard with a backup under center. Raiders win 28-17

New England Patriots @
NEW YORK GIANTS +8.5

I wanted to side with the Patriots because they have Tom Brady and the Giants don’t, but over the years New York has proven to be Patriot kryptonite. Brady has won four Super Bowls and played in six. Both losses came at the hands of the lesser Manning. For whatever reason Eli Manning has Brady’s number. That trend will continue. Giants win 30-28

Kansas City Chiefs @
DENVER BRONCOS -5.5

The Horse are going to roll! This game won’t even be close! Denver is so superior I dare say it’s impossible for the Chiefs to win. There, let’s see if that works. Go Seahawks! Horse win 30-20

ARIZONA CARDINALS @
Seattle Seahawks -3

This is a clear “anti-jinx” play. Seahawk fans are hoping the offensive line had time to learn how to block over the bye week. Seattle enters the contest at 4-4, largely due to an ineffective front five. A loss at home to rival Arizona would likely leave Seattle out of the playoffs come January. The NFC is shaping up to be an 11-win league. You don’t want to rely on winning your final seven games just to squeak into the tournament. Needless to say, this will be a nerve racking Sunday for your local columnist. Cardinals win 24-19

HOUSTON TEXANS @
Cincinnati Bengals -12

Will Primetime Andy ever show up? For years Andy Dalton has had an uncanny knack for failing under the bright lights. To this point the Red Rocket has avoided those issues this season. Could this be the week Dalton finally remembers that he’s not good at throwing the football? Cincinnati isn’t going to go undefeated. I don’t think the Bengals lose this week, but the Texans can play well enough to cover if Dalton returns to form. Bengals win 28-21

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