Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Follies: NFL Picks (Week 3)

Oh man, what a shit week.  I went 0-3, which puts me down four units thanks to our mercilessly punitive scoring system.
Let’s review.
 -- Bengals at Steelers (-3.5).  Lock
 -- Colts at Broncos (-6).
 -- Ravens (-6) at Browns.
 -- Bengals 16 at Steelers 24.  2 points.
 -- Colts 20 at Broncos 34. 1 point.
 -- Ravens 25 at Browns 20. -1 point.
Ben’s Total (Year-to-Date): 0 points.
Earning three points puts Ben even on the year.  Meanwhile, his team, the Pittsburg Steelers, are on fire this season.  I’ve never been a Steelers fan, but they are playing an Army grad at left tackle, so that’s got to be worth something.  I should probably get on board, but as an old Titans’ fan, I’m not sure I can.
 -- Titans (+5) at Lions.
 -- Falcons at Raiders (-5.5)
 -- Dolphins at Patriots (-6.5).  Lock
 -- Titans 16 at Lions 15.  1 point.
 -- Falcons 35 at Raiders 28. -1 point.
 -- Dolphins 24 at Patriots 31.  2 points.
Chris’s Total (Year-to-Date): +6 points.
I thought Chris was in trouble when QB Jimmy Garoppolo went down, but the Pats had already built enough of a lead that they were able to cover the spread.  Then he got lucky with that finish in Detroit.  His Raiders made him sad, however.  He actually sent me a text-emoji sad-face.
 -- Jets at Buffalo (+1).
 -- Saints at Giants (-4.5).
 -- Seahawks (-3.5) at Rams.
 -- Jets 37 at Bills 31.
 -- Saints 13 at Giants 16.
 -- Seahawks 3 at Rams 9.
Dan’s Total (Year-to-Date): -4 points.
The Bills are in disarray, and the Seahawks are apparently cursed against the Rams.  Truth is, I barely follow the NFC West, and I hadn’t realized that QB Russell Wilson was playing with an ankle sprain until I heard it on the radio.  He looked like shit out there.  I, of course, had made this my lock of the week.
I feel like I have to defend my pick of the Giants, however.  Big Blue won despite having three turnovers in a game where Eli Manning threw for more than 350 yards, and Beckham Jr. had two highly uncharacteristic drops, one in the End Zone.  TE Larry Donnell also had a drop in the End Zone.  The Giants won this game, and more to the point, they should have covered.  But Manning’s O-Line gave up a strip-sack, and Cruz had a very uncharacteristic fumble, and there you have it.  
I don’t fault HC Ben McAdoo’s decision to run the clock out and kick a last second field goal as time expired, but if he’d tried a running play at the End Zone, I might at least have salvaged something from this miserable week.
The Giants are 2-0 but 0-2 against the spread.  I am in no way sure what to do with that.
Week 3 Picks
This week we welcome a new contestant to our weekly picks league, my friend Sharona from the Inside the Pylon and Sports by Sharona.  Regular readers may remember the interview I did with her a few weeks ago on the Talk Back with Sharona podcast following Army’s Week 1 win at Temple.
As gentlemen should, we’ll let Sharona go first this week.
Note: We made these picks yesterday, so as I write this, I'm already down two points.  Un-fucking-believable!

Sharona.  Tennessee-based sports-writer, podcaster, and all-time Titans fan.
Texans (-1) at Patriots.  This is Sharona’s lock.
Raiders at Titans (-1).  “My #1 fav team.”
49ers (+9) at Seahawks.  “I like the Niners to cover that spread.”
Jets at Chiefs (-3).  “I think the Chiefs will definitely cover, too.”
Sharona sent me four picks, and since she’s coming in a week late, I’m going to use all of them.  Whatever she scores this week, I’ll multiply it by 2.25 to come out an even number of points compared to the rest of us.
Ben.  Connecticut-based computer guru, Ironman triathlete, and Steelers fan.
Broncos (+3.5) at Bengals.  This is Ben’s lock.
Steelers (-5.5) at Eagles.  Interesting pick.  I’m assuming that Ben will pay at some point for his decision to pick his favorite team to cover every week, but I don’t know that this is that week.  The Steelers have looked damn good so far.
Vikings at Panthers (-7).  Gutsy call.  That’s a pretty big line.
Ben made these picks on Monday.  Some of the lines have moved since then.
Chris.  Aviation officer at Ft. Hood, mathematician, and long-suffering Raiders fan.
Raiders at Titans (-1.5).  “This was hard, but Tennessee is showing me more heart right now.”
Rams at Buccaneers (-5.5).  “It's the Rams on the road. Need I say more?”
Denver (+3) at Bengals.  “This is my lock. I don't think I've ever picked Cinci to win in this matchup ever, and I'm not starting now.”
Nobody believes in the Bengals.  I think they have a good team.  Of course, I’m also running dead last, but still…
Dan.  Connecticut-based engineer, occasional swim teacher, and Giants fan.
Texans (-1) at Patriots.  I wanted to take the Patriots getting a point at home, but I just can’t.  There is a real chance that Julian Edelman winds up playing emergency quarterback in this one, and oh by the way, the Texans’ defense is pretty good.  I think the Pats drop a game they can afford to lose, having already put themselves in position to succeed once Brady gets back.
Redskins (+4.5) at Giants. This was a tough call, not only because I want the G-Men to romp, but also because I feel like the Giants were just a few plays away from winning big last week.  However, that’s a big line on the road, and the Redskins must know that if they don’t win this week, they’re all but eliminated from the playoffs.  I don’t know how good the ‘Skins can be this year, but whatever they’ve got, we’re going to see it on Sunday.
Ravens (even) @ Jags.  This is a steal.  The Ravens are 2-0, and the Jags are 0-2, and more to the point, it looks like the wheels are starting to come off in Jacksonville.  I appreciate that the Jags are supposed to be a better team this season, but they get tromped just last week by a mediocre (at best) Chargers team, and the Ravens are actually good.  This is my lock.
And... the Texans got smoked.  Ugh.  

Wish me luck, folks.  It looks like I’m gonna need it.
Bonus Coverage: College Football
Syracuse at UConn (-4.5).  This seems ludicrous, but UConn has only lost one game—at Navy, of all places—and if they manage the clock better, they win that one, too.
Florida (+6.5) at Tennessee.  I think Tennessee wins the game, but they’ve been winning ugly, and Florida’s defense is for real.  This one’s not gonna score a lot of points.
Duke (+20.5) at Notre Dame.  That’s a huge line!  Also, one of these teams is about to drop to 1-3!
Wake Forest (+7.5) at Indiana.  Wake is without sophomore star QB Kendall Hinton, whom Army fans ought to remember from last year’s game at Michie Stadium.  Nevertheless, I won’t be surprised if the Demons Deacons win.  They have a better team than people seem to believe.
North Texas (+7.5) at Rice.  Does this mean that Rice is terrible or that North Texas has improved a whole lot?

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