Thursday, November 8, 2012

NFL Week 10 Picks: This Gloat's For You

Is Pink Boy Gonna Cry? CRY!
I know that I'm straining the identity of the place with one more politically-tinged post, but I'm not going to have any chance to say this later, so here it is: I Demand Gloating Time. (And yes, feel free to scroll down if you aren't interested. It's your eyes, after all.)

This is going to come as news to the folks who believe Eeeee Vile as the first through tenth motivations for anyone drawing a public paycheck, and hence believe that the President is some kind of over the top socialist / leftist / commie pinko rat... but, um, he's basically a moderate. He's cut government spending when you look at the overall numbers, and if he hadn't inherited wars, that would have been more obvious. His signature health care plan was a moderate Republican plan when it was introduced, not so long ago. He uses military force rather indiscriminately for a guy with a Nobel Peace Prize, and if he wasn't black and running against a wildly racist opposition, he would have taken a lot more flak from his base.

Now, why do I bring all of that up? Simple: I'm about to get sold down the river, again. Like Charlie Brown with the football, my side is going to yank it away and watch me fall on my oversized head in an unnecessary compromise on entitlement programs, whittled down subsidies for green energy and education, continued use of the drone program and some form of continuation for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. All of this will happen, no matter how much spine he gets from the new warrior women of the Democratic Senate, because that's just who Obama is -- a moderate and a pragmatist who keeps making the mistake of thinking the opposition is just like him, but with different ideas. (They aren't.)

So, since I'm going to take it in the neck very, very soon?

I'M GONNA GLOAT.

I'm going to gloat for a really long time. I'm going to read despairing message boards from conservative Chicken Littles. I'm going to delight in every fool promising to move to Canada, a land with single payer health care, trivial military and dramatically more socialism than the bluest American state. I'm going to delight in every batshit theory over how a party that ran a cavalcade of clowns in a traveling primary sideshow just didn't pick the right bozo. I'm going to stare down every pundit who was completely and absurdly wrong and drink in their tears like the sweetest wine.

And when all of that is done?

Then, I'll get personal.

AND GLOAT SOME MORE.

I'm going to delight in the utter and intense human misery that is Linda McMahons, spending nine figures to become even more of a laughingstock than she was when getting slapped for rubes in a wrestling ring. I'm going to contribute to a culture that asks Todd Akin, at every possible opportunity, if what happened to him in this election cycle was legitimate. I'll ask Richard Mourdock how much he enjoyed this gift from God, check the police records to see when Allen West wears handcuffs from his many demons, and make a pilgrimage to the bridge that Joe Walsh will be living under.

And to the people who say that I should be above all of this, that I should win with class, that I should show charity towards people who will always consider me and mine to be social parasites no matter how much more I spend in taxes and don't take in from services?

Those people get my special fingers, the fighting ones, the duelists, the ones that go long and all night. I put money into my candidates, endured the other side's sickness. I got dismissed in the first term, just like I'll be dismissed in the second.

But four years ago, I got to see the other side have one of the worst nights in their lives. And then yesterday, they had one that was even worse.

OH HELL YES, I'M GONNA GLOAT.

Besides, um, the Eagles are well and truly horrible. I kinda need something here.

And with that... on to the picks!

* * * * *

INDIANAPOLIS at Jacksonville (+3)

Why do I bother picking Thursday night games? To take the edge of that gloating problem, and to have it happen with speed. The Colts are on the road, on a slow track, have a weak defense and middling running backs, and are way too young to handle the chance at actual prosperity. Lucky for them, they also have the only guy in this game that will still have the same job in 10 years: QB Andrew Luck, who will drag his team, kicking and screaming, to a cover. (Oh, and the Jags are also just that bad on offense to give up a TAInt to anyone, really.) Besides, how can a team that shaves their heads in solidarity with its cancer-fighting coach lose to the who cares Jags?

Colts 24, Jags 27

NEW YORK GIANTS at Cincinnati (+4)


I don't get this line at all, really. The Giants are coming off a weak effort at home, where, well, they just aren't as good as they are on the road. They are going to Cincy, a team with turnover issues and severe problems in the secondary. The Giants don't really need the game, since the NFC East is the worst division in football this year, which is the only thing that gives me pause... but, well, not that much of it. Look for Big Blue to have one of those testing moments that they almost always pass, against an opponent that gets one-dimensional way too quickly on offense. (And as Pittsburgh showed last week, passing is not the one dimension that you want to have against these guys.)

Giants 31, Bengals 24

TENNESSEE at Miami (-6)


Just too big of a number to carry for the relatively earthbound Dolphins, who are, let's be clear about this, better than the Titans. But for an emerging mediocre team that's a little banged-up (I think RB Daniel Thomas could be better than RB Reggie Bush here), covering everything and the back door cover just seems like too much. Especially with the Titans probably going back to QB Jake Locker, who's prone to big plays in garbage time.

Dolphins 24, Titans 20

Detroit at MINNESOTA (-1)


One of those big divisional games that really isn't, mostly because, well, neither of these teams is really all that good, or prone to winning a road playoff game, which they will have to do. I like the home team here, mostly because I think QB Christian Ponder is due for a bounce-back game, and that the Lions are going to try to keep running the ball like they did last week in Jacksonville. The problem with that plan is that while the Vikings aren't what they used to be against the run, they aren't that pliable. There's also this: RB Adrian Peterson might have replaced his knee ligaments with something from a cheetah. From another planet. (Dude is absurd.)

Vikings 27, Lions 23

Buffalo at NEW ENGLAND (-11)


I might take the Pats at 21, honestly. What's different from this game when they played it in Buffalo, NE fell down early and then peeled off half a century? Buffalo hasn't really fixed their problems since that game, and New England is going to be fresh off the bye. Maybe the Juggernaut isn't what they used to be, but you'll never know if from this game.

Patriots 38, Bills 17

ATLANTA at New Orleans (+2.5)


I'm tired of blowing picks on when the Falcons' winning streak will end, and they care too much about this game and this rival to suffer the letdown game here. The Saints' defense is as bad as advertised -- it took a heroic amount of dreadful offensive line play and poor play-calling in the red zone for them to take advantage of the eternally generous Eagles on MNF -- and they aren't going to be any better on a short week, against an offense that doesn't stain the sheets when they get close to the end zone. High confidence pick.

Falcons 31, Saints 24

San Diego at TAMPA BAY (-3)


Have to say, RB Doug "Muscle Hamster" Martin's effort in Oakland had to impress, and while he won't perform to that level probably ever again, he will become the opposition's biggest worry. On the road in Tampa against a Bucs team that's also been throwing it fairly well, it's going to be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. And while the Buc defense is also frankly awful, Chargers QB Philip Rivers really hasn't been putting up good numbers all year against similarly giving units. The Bucs are starting to look like an easily crushed wild card team.

Bucs 27, Chargers 20

DENVER at Carolina (+4)


Who do I blame for last week's $1,600 problem, aka the Panthers' surprising road win in DC that was the only miss in my what the hell 8-game parley? I'm going to demonize Mike Shanahan for it, but it does show how the Panther defense can have a pulse, especially against a limited offense without playmakers on the edge. Sadly for them, that doesn't describe the Broncos at all, who are riding a startlingly vintage year from QB Peyton Manning to what might wind up being a home field edge in the playoffs. Basically, this is the Bengals game all over for them, only easier. They'll win and cover.

Broncos 27, Panthers 17

OAKLAND at Baltimore (-7.5)


Remember a month ago, when the Raiders came off the bye, went to Atlanta, and came very close to winning and ending a ton of survivor pools? This is that game all over again, especially with RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson likely to be out, and QB Carson Palmer looking at doing volume business against a Ravens defense that isn't what we've come to expect from Charm City. Baltimore will still win, because Oakland will turn it over too much to get the upset, but I like the chances of the back door cover.

Baltimore 24, Raiders 20

NY Jets at SEATTLE (-6.5)


Once more into the breach for slowly developing QB Russell Wilson, who has much better numbers at home and seems to be moving beyond worries that he's going to lose his job or fail to develop. Against the sideshow Jets, he's going to get quite a challenge, but as always, that serious Seahawks defense is going to give him short fields and a clock to manage. If Jets QB Mark Sanchez throws for more than 150 yards in this game, I'll be surprised; this may be the best DBs in the league against the worst QB/WR combo.

Seahawks 24, Jets 13

DALLAS at Philadelphia (+1)


The Pretend Bowl will decide which team will not threaten the Giants down the stretch, and while I'd like to see the Eagles somehow have a single moment in the sun against the similarly doomed Cowboys, taking this team against anyone outside of Division I-AA right now just seems unwise. Philly is basically operating with one occasionally useful WR, a TE with ball security issues, an OL that's bereft of healthy starters, and a defense filled with mismatched mercenaries with checkbooks where their hearts should be. Dallas has more talent, more to play for, a coach with a better command of the locker room, and in this game, a friendlier field. If the Cowboys still had fans, you'd see oceans of stars at this one, because Philly Fan has well and truly checked out on this team. (But remember, folks, Andy Reid is a great coach, the election's going to be razor close, and the media do not piss on your back and tell you it's rain. It's just that people in Philadelphia are so more unfair in their hopes for wins than any other NFL city.)

Cowboys 27, Eagles 17

ST. LOUIS at San Francisco (-11)


I just hate this line. The Rams are still making me shudder from that "effort" in London where the Patriots ended them in minutes, and haven't been good on the road for, well, ever. (Seriously, even the Warner Rams did most of their damage at home.) The Niners are surprisingly erratic on offense this year, mostly because they aren't getting as lucky with the football on turnovers, and some teams have even managed to run on them. I'm going to take the Rams to cover just because I think they'll get a big lift from the return of WR Danny Amendola, who has to inspire the team a bit and help move the sticks, and coach Jeff Fisher has to give them a little more steel than usual.

Niners 24, Rams 20

HOUSTON at Chicago (-1)


What the Bears have been doing by scoring so many touchdowns on defense and special teams is downright  historic, which means that it also can't last. Look for the professional Titans to keep their heads in the SNF road game (unlike, well, that home game against the Packers a few weeks ago), and for Bad Jay Cutler to make one of those periodic prime time appearances that makes everyone in Shy Town break out the pitchforks and torches. This is going to be a very good bye week for the Pack.


Texans 27, Bears 17

Kansas City at PITTSBURGH (-11.5)

There are metrics that show that the Chiefs are better than advertised, which seems impossible to say, given that they have not led for a single minute of regulation. The issue is that while they have weapons (WR Dwyane Bowe, RB Jamal Charles) and occasional moments of competency from their various terrible QBs, and a defense that doesn't grade out as utterly hopeless, they just turn the ball over too much, as kind of a homeless man's Eagles. But the problem with those metrics is that it's all skewed by garbage time numbers against weak AFC West defenses, and neither of these things describe the Steelers right now.

If this was a 1pm Sunday game, I might think about a back door cover here. But since it's MNF, I think they've got too much focus on making this end early and getting away from the usual short week issues. The Steelers are looking more and more like the class of the AFC North, and maybe even deeper than that.

Steelers 31, Chiefs 17

Last week: 10-4

Year to date: 65-54-2

Career: 607-592-28

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