This week is not one of those weeks.
This is the week where you make those family plans you've been putting off for a while, or you set aside some time to finish that project around the house you've been meaning to get to, or you do something that normal people do, like read a book or interact via conversations with other humans (honestly I have no idea what normal people do on Sundays, but I'm trying here).
Fittingly, the week is capped off with the ultimate in craptastic, craptacular and craptificent Monday night matchup you could ever dream of, the 2-10 Rams against the 5-7 Seahawks. NFC West in prime time, with no other games to watch. It just doesn't get much better than that.
So how will this week remain interesting, and why will we all be still be sitting on the couch after canceling plans with Aunt Martha and pushing back fixing that leaky faucet? Well, taking a look through these point spreads is probably a good start.
We'll get into all of those, and though I had my first double-digit wins week of the season last week, we have some Ridiculous Quotes From Last Week's Picks (RQFLWP) to relive.
(Home team in caps.)
Cleveland (+14) over PITTSBURGH
Pittsburgh's just too hot-and-cold to trust with a 14-point spread. They may end up winning by 28, like they did last week, or they could find themselves in another surprisingly competitive game on national TV (Kansas City, Week 12). Whenever there's a question, you take the 14 points.
NEW YORK JETS (-9) over Kansas City
What you do with your time and money is your own business, but if you want to invest either of those things in Tyler Palko, then I'm sorry. I can't help you.
Tampa Bay (-1) over JACKSONVILLE
Jacksonville was an unmitigated disaster on Monday night. You couldn't pay me enough money to switch places with Mel Tucker.
(That was a lie. You totally could.)
(Bonus points if you knew who Mel Tucker was without looking it up.)
(I had to look it up.)
RQFLWP: "And did I mention that the Bucs are wearing the creamsicles? Chalk it up as a W."
Note: That'll be the last time I make a decision based almost entirely on the color of a jersey. Maybe.
New England (-8) over WASHINGTON
My initial reaction was that eight points is a lot for a team that plays Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman on defense, so I started looking for reasons to believe Washington can compete.
And I couldn't really find any.
Let's just hope Bill Belichick's team doesn't call for any draw plays to Larry Centers on third-and-5 with less than two minutes to play. Signed, everyone who's still randomly hung up on one of just two Patriots losses in the championship 2003 season.
RQFLWP: "Even if the Patriots blow out Dan Orlovsky and the Colts, you'd have to sit there sweating bullets in the fourth quarter praying Julian Edelman can cover Reggie Wayne so the Colts don't pull within three touchdowns in garbage time. That's a lousy way to live a life."
Note: This is only ridiculous because it's exactly what happened, only substitute Pierre Garcon for Wayne. This is why you can't trust 20-point spreads in the NFL.
Atlanta (-2.5) over CAROLINA
I'm not usually one for showboating, or look-at-me athletes, but I'm just drawn to Cam Newton. I don't know what is. When he scores touchdowns I get all giddy as he does his little Superman jersey tear and smiles wide for the camera. Yes, he's like the real-life version of Willie Beamen, but I can't help but revert to my third-grade self and enjoy watching him.
Oh, but my goodness is he on a terrible football team. They're not going to win.
Indianapolis (+16.5) over BALTIMORE
The Ravens are leaps and bounds and head and shoulders and any other way you want to measure it better than the Colts, obviously. But the Ravens have also scored fewer than 17 points in four full games this year. Winning by 17 will be no easy feat, not with Dan Orlovsky, or as I've come to call him, Garbage Time Marino, slinging bombs to Pierre Garcon when everyone in the stadium has already driven halfway home.
Philadelphia (+3) over MIAMI
I fully recognize what Miami's done in the past month or so, as I've been doubting them all along the way. It'd be easy to buy in and admit that the Dolphins are a competetive bunch, but I just refuse to believe that Dolphins — the same Dolphins who started the season 0-7 — are going to win five of six NFL football games, with the only loss in that stretch coming by one lonesome point on Thanksgiving. I refuse to believe that Matt Moore – the same Matt Moore who entered the season with more interceptions than touchdowns — is going to continue this charade as an NFL quarterback. I refuse to believe that Tony Sparano is some grand motivator who has his guys fighting for his job.
RQFLWP: I think the Philadelphia Eagles are terrible. … I think Seattle is much worse.
Note: I didn't anticipate the Eagles putting forth the least competitive effort I have ever seen in pro sports.
Minnesota (+8) over DETROIT
Detroit stinks now. Minnesota's stinking less lately. That's legitimately my only reasoning. Well, I do use more swear words in my head.
TENNESSEE (+3.5) over New Orleans
The Titans, quite clearly, hate me, and just as I believe the Saints start to look like the only team in the NFC good enough to beat the Packers in the playoffs, I know that the Titans are ready to stun me and everyone else with one of those random games that just happens from time to time. This is that random game that catches you by surprise, only it won't catch you by surprise because I'm a nice fellow and am alerting you well ahead of time. You're welcome. Send any and all gift baskets to NESN.
CINCINNATI (-3) over Houston
I'm still irked that my "Always bet against Matt Leinart no matter what" strategy didn't even last a week. I really needed that mental break every week where no thinking was required. Alas …
Similar to my feelings about Miami, I'm not sure Houston can string together wins with T.J. Yates under center. And while I know the Bengals have lost three of four, all of those losses have come against Pittsburgh and Baltimore, two teams that could lay claim to being the best in the AFC.
Maybe with everyone healthy, the Texans could try to get in that conversation, but as it is, they can't.
Interesting: The Bengals' seven wins have all come against non-playoff teams (Cleveland twice, Buffalo, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Seattle and Tennessee) with a combined record of 24-48. Against Denver, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Baltimore (combined record of 35-13, all in playoff picture), Cincy is 0-5, getting outscored 127-78 in the process.
By that measure, they should lose to Houston, a playoff team with a winning record, but the Texans didn't get there behind T.J. Yates.
DENVER (-3.5) over Chicago
Last week, Tim and the Tebows were one-point underdogs, which delighted me to no end. Easiest pick of my life. I had no doubt Tebow was going to lead the Broncos down the field three times in the fourth quarter; it's just what he does. And I know I was going to be screaming "TEEEEEBBBBOOOOOOWWWWW!!!" while he did it; it's just what I do.
Now, he's a favorite, but only by three points. I'm going to go ahead and count that as Vegas still doubting Tebow being able to keep this up, especially considering he's playing against Caleb and the Hanies.
Note: That's the only thing I wrote to explain why I picked the Bears over the Chiefs. I stand by it.
ARIZONA (+4) over San Francisco
There's a combination of factors at play here. One is that the Niners have locked up the NFC West (a truly impressive feat, considering the other three teams are 12-24. Bravo, San Fran! Bravo!) and may save a little fire for the playoffs. The other is that the Cardinals are certifiably unpredictable. Just a crazy team. The last is that this is one of two games taking place that involve a pair of NFC West teams. In a way, it's nice, because the rest of the league doesn't get sullied by NFC Westitis, but on the other hand, it basically wipes two games off the schedule for you to enjoy. The point? Expect ugly football, and don't by any means tune in to watch.
SAN DIEGO (-7) over Buffalo
I, along with everyone else who picked San Diego, was a resident of Heart Attack City rooting for the Chargers on the Monday Night Football Game That Will Never Be Remembered, but doesn't it seem like Philip Rivers and the Chargers' offense are about to go on one of those December runs that has somehow allowed Norv Turner to keep his job every year? Granted, they won't catch the Tebows in the standings, but Rivers is 21-3 in December with a 100.9 rating, by far his best month in his career. And he's catching the reeling Bills, losers of five straight, traveling across the country. A Chargers blowout is in the cards.
Oakland (+11) over GREEN BAY
I don't think it's healthy for a team to go undefeated. They get bored. They get complacent. They believe they're better than everyone else (because they have been better than everyone else and have nothing else to believe).
I'm calling for the Oakland upset. Oakland 31, Green Bay 27.
While I feel a little comfortable saying that, I feel 97 percent more comfortable saying that with an 11-point cushion. That's a lot of points.
RQFLWP: "The Raiders are 4-1 on the road and I don't see them having a problem here [against the Dolphins]."
Note: Miami 34, Oakland 14.
New York Giants (+3.5) over DALLAS
It's time for the Giants to pull out one of those "Hey, we won! Does it matter? What? No, it doesn't? Aw, man!" games, and the Cowboys to pull one of those "We're supposed to win and set ourselves up for an easy road to the playoffs and, let's face it, we just won't do that" games. Losing in Arizona last week was the perfect setup for a prime-time, nationally televised face flop on Sunday night.
SEATTLE (-4.5) over St. Louis
Or as it's known in Bristol, Conn., The Guy Who Scheduled This Game Has Been Fired Bowl.
I'll take the Seahawks, mostly because whenever I pick against them at home, it's insufferable to watch as that place is just rocking out of control.
I've said it 500 times before, but one more can't hurt: I really, really, really don't like the NFC West.
Last week: 10-6
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