On to the picks…
Last Week: 6-7-2
This Week (so far): 0-1
Last Week: 6-7-2
This Week (so far): 0-1
Minnesota @ Green Bay (-5)
Ryan: During the week before Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reporter and NFL Hall of Famer Bob McGinn wrote that the Packers could win without Rodgers:
The theory goes that it makes no difference what players might be behind Rodgers. If No. 12 goes down, all hope is lost — the Green Bay Packers would be finished. Every coach, player and executive working at 1265 Lombardi Ave. should take that as a personal affront.
We’ve seen Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, their staffs and the players overcome more injuries in the last four seasons than any National Football League team. Time and time again they’ve lost key players only to plug in well-prepared backups and keep on winning. They’ve never had to make do without possibly the finest player in the league. Losing Rodgers to major injury would be the nightmare of all nightmares. He makes everyone’s job easier.
Yet, no organization would be better equipped to handle it than Green Bay.
Since then, a bunch of morons have claimed that McGinn somehow jinxed the Packers with this column and have directed their ire at him accordingly. While that assertion and behavior is aggressively stupid, we’ve now had a large enough sample size without Rodgers to assert that McGinn’s supposition was incorrect.
Before Green Bay played Philly two weeks ago, Bill Simmons noted that Aaron Rodgers was worth nine points to the Packers’ spread. After seeing the team play without him for essentially three games now, I’d argue that he’s even more valuable than that. Yes, there have been a monumental amount of injuries on both sides of the ball this year, but you’d have to think that if Rodgers were fully healthy that the Packers would’ve been at least 2-1 versus the Bears, Eagles, and Giants.
None of this is a knock against Scott Tolzien, who has played about as well as you could expect anybody to, but the idea that Rodgers is and has been supremely and irreplaceably valuable to this team has been fortified in his absence. Vikings cover.
Asif: What has to be sad for Vikings fans is that Scott Tolzien is probably better than whoever Minnesota has under center on Sunday (I didn’t bother to check because does it really matter?). Packers cover.
Tampa Bay @ Detroit (-9)
Ryan: Tampa continues to be a little bit underrated due to the tyrannical megalomania of Greg Schiano. The Bucs have won their last two games and covered three in a row. They’re bad, but not terrible — there’s a difference.
The Lions, meanwhile, had the chance to control their own destiny in the NFC North until getting popped in the mouth in Pittsburgh last week. I don’t fully know what to make of them. When they are firing on all cylinders, they can beat almost anyone in the League. However, once every few weeks — seemingly without rhyme or reason — they just can’t get out of their own way. I have no idea how one would logically project when that happens. Bucs cover.
Asif: I’m seeing a bounceback for the Lions. Detroit covers.
Jacksonville @ Houston (-11.5)
Ryan: I had a tremendous triumph when I was doing laundry earlier this week. My dryer costs $1.50 per hour cycle, but if you put a quarter in when it’s already running it adds 15 minutes. Therefore, you can save about 75 cents (stuff only really takes 45-50 minutes to dry) if you get down there right as one is ending.
So anyways I got downstairs, there was one minute left on the timer, and I beat the buzzer. Such a wonderful moment. The opposite actually happened a few weeks ago, and it was day-altering. Jacksonville covers.
Asif: Is there a less compelling division than the AFC South? It’s not the worst of the divisions quality-wise (hello there NFC East), but I’ll be damned if it isn’t filled with teams that no one rightfully gives two shits about. Has anyone ever gotten pumped for Jaguars-Texans?
And while I’m on a rant, what’s with the stupid team names in this division? I guess the Colts are okay, but Jaguars? Pretty sure there aren’t any in Jacksonville. Titans? Dumb. Texans? Oh, is that what you call people from Houston? If I were made NFL-god-commissioner I would contract all three of those teams and/or move them to LA.
Jacksonville remains the worst team in the league, but Houston has had a nightmare scenario of a season. Considering all that’s gone wrong for the Texans, I can’t justify leaving this many points on the table. Jacksonville covers.
San Diego @ Kansas City (-5)
Ryan: And in the spirit of my aforementioned laundry situation, let’s talk about overrated and underrated chores/responsibilities. IMHO:
Not as bad as you think it’s gonna be: Laundry, dishes, taking out the trash, paying bills online (when you have the money), going to the gym (actually usually ends up being awesome), standardized tests, getting groceries
Even worse than you realize beforehand: Going to the dentist, shoveling, physically mailing anything, watching your team lose any football game, getting rid of a cough, stuffy nose, or sore back/neck
Asif: San Diego is the definition of a league average team. The Chiefs are something better than that. Chiefs cover.
Carolina (-4) @ Miami
Ryan: This fascinating hypothetical was presented in the wake of Carolina’s controversial late victory on Monday night:
Can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if the roles were reversed, and it was Cam Newton chasing a ref down the tunnel.
— Mr. Sports Journo (@BIGSPORTSWRITER) November 19, 2013
Let’s just say there would have probably been some backlash about Newton’s maturity and all sorts of backlash to that backlash. And since we’re on the topic, this was exquisite sarcasm after the Panthers scored late to take the lead:
I think Cam Newton might be clutch, but first I need to see what the Panthers defense does here.
— Chase Stuart (@fbgchase) November 19, 2013
Asif: All the talk about how the ref’s decision to pick up the flag on the final play of Monday Night’s game didn’t really affect the outcome is nonsense. Of course it affected the outcome, it was the last play of the game. Would it have been assured that the Pats would have scored a touchdown on the next play? No, but they absolutely deserved the chance to. The Panthers should be mad as well that their signature win will now carry the taint of that terrible decision. Carolina covers.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (-2)
Ryan: As Gregg Rosenthal notes, Ben Roethlisberger is 15-1 in his career against the Browns. Steelers cover.
Asif: Gross. Pittsburgh covers.
Chicago @ St. Louis (-1)
Ryan: I’m jusssst about done reading Boss, Mike Royko’s biography of Richard Daley, and it was fantastic. I learned untold amounts about Chicago’s history of corruption and racism — I hadn’t even realized that Martin Luther King spent a significant amount of time here — and it really helped me understand a lot more about why the city looks the way it does today. I hate it when engrossing books like this end, but I am sure I will really enjoy re-reading it in five or ten years.
I don’t have the slightest clue why the Rams would be favored in this game. Bears cover.
Asif: I can’t think of a single reason to pick the Rams here. Bears cover.
NY Jets @ Baltimore (-4)
Ryan: No idea how one would go about having a good feel on this game. Ravens cover.
Asif: Two teams that will either miss the playoffs or get bounced in the first round. Ravens cover.
Tennessee @ Oakland (-1)
Ryan: You cannot stop Matt McGloin, you can only hope to contain him.
Asif: Doooooon’t care. Tennessee covers.
Indianapolis @ Arizona (-2)
Ryan: If the Colts had Carson Palmer and the Cardinals had Andrew Luck, the Colts would be a lot worse than 7-3 and the Cardinals would be a bit better than 6-4. That is such a meaningless hypothetical — if clouds could support human weight, they’d be really comfortable beds — but it just popped in my head, and I have about five or 10 of you captive right now, so you’re just gonna have to deal with it.
Gonna do the George Costanza opposite method on this one, because that’s seemed to work well. Cardinals cover.
Asif: So basically whoever made the lines this week was drunk right? Colts cover.
Dallas @ NY Giants (-2.5)
Ryan: Reports of the Giants’ magical resurgence have been greatly exaggerated. Their four consecutive wins have come against teams starting Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Terrelle Pryor, and Scott Tolzien. Not exactly a murderer’s row, unless you’re talking about what you’d expect to happen to their own teams. (I know I just said earlier that Scott Tolzien is not terrible, but I also broke the news that he’s not Aaron Rodgers, either.) Cowboys cover.
Asif: Since Ryan took my line about the QBs the Giants have faced on their four game winning streak, I will point out that Tony Romo may be better than those guys, but he’s just as capable of throwing a terrible pick at the most inopportune moment. Giants cover.
Denver (-3) @ New England
Ryan: If I have the time and mental capacity for it in the next couple days I will expand on this thought, but Wes Welker really shouldn’t be playing for the Broncos on Sunday. We just saw Brett Favre, who retired just three years ago and was asked to play by the Rams a few weeks ago, look like a broken man earlier this week. In the event that you ever forget what that feels like, you’ll be reminded of it by Wes Welker sooner or later.
And I’m complicit in all this because it’s not like my disgust is gonna keep me from watching. Broncos cover.
Asif: Dear Jack Del Rio,
Can I kindly ask what the fuck is wrong with you? After Montee Ball fumbles on his first carry of the game, you still give him not one, but two goal line carries that result in touchdowns after letting Knowshon do all the heavy lifting? How are you going to do Knowshon like that? You cost me a spot in the playoffs you twat.
Every person who has Knowshon Moreno in fantasy. Pats cover.
San Francisco (-5) @ Washington
Ryan: Feels like stealing. 49ers cover.
Asif: It’s been delightful watching Washington fans turn on RGIII, if only because now I can constantly accuse them of racism, because we all know that they’re racist. 49ers cover.