by Eight Thirty Seven
Until Sunday Night I was convinced I had seen it all on social media. We’ve witnessed countless breakdowns and just about every emotion imaginable from all sorts of athletes, celebrities, and entertainers that I thought I had seen it all. Well, I was wrong. While checking out the end of the Sunday Night Football game between the Cowboys and Saints, I checked into my usual half-asleep torment of the Twitterverse, only to see that right away I had been outdone by the operator of the league’s social networking and posted the above gem. As a writer, of course this pisses me off because I didn’t know “Drink, mash keypad” were the only directions that the social media operator from the country’s most popular sport needed to follow to keep that gig. To further complicate matters, they didn’t even take the tweet down – it’s still up. On the field, there are going to be some great games this week. Others not so much, but either way let’s break it down and take a look at what we think will happen in week five of the NFL season.
Bye Weeks: Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers
837’s brief comments on all of the bye week teams
The Dolphins just fired their coach and their 2015 situation is pretty much irreparable, the Vikings are decent and probably better than we think but it doesn’t matter, the Jets are still overrated and the Carolina Panthers might be 4-0 but trust me they are full of shit. More news on this as it develops.
Dubsism: I referred to last week as the “Week of the Landmine.” The bankroll stepped on one of those landmines, but survived…kind of like that Afghani kid who gets a foot blown off, but doesn’t stop picking up shell casings. Yeah, so what if that joke isn’t “politically correct?” Write your fucking Congressman. We’re here to talk gambling, and if I can win enough, I can help buy the kid a new foot. Feel better now, asshole?
That’s why I need to have a better week this week. After all the landmine carnage, survival meant clearing a net profit of 20 bucks, bringing the bankroll for the season to $3,136.50. Feet aren’t cheap, and the fine folks in Vegas aren’t really helping with this week’s lines.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2) at Houston Texans (1-3) (44.5)
The Texans right now are the laughingstock of a division in which they were supposed to give Indy a run for their money. In a league where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still a thing and Jameis Winston is still an NFL starting quarterback, Houston may very well have the worst offense in the league and JJ Watt is simply not enough to stop eleven people at once. If it seems like I’ve been saying that for weeks, it’s because I fucking have and it makes me very angry. The Colts literally barely survived a home game against the Jaguars, and although it was a game that didn’t see Andrew Luck play a single down I realized something: If the Colts can only put up 12 points in regulation against Jacksonville, there are still a ton of pieces missing from that puzzle. It sucks the rest of the AFC South is so bad, because I feel like whether or not we we want to see them – we are stuck with Indianapolis getting a home playoff game. To quote Courtney Love “I’m so sorry you guys” with regards to picking the Texans to have a great year. So far, that couldn’t be any further from the truth and with Indianapolis getting Andrew Luck back (as weak as the rest of that roster has been performing) they are going to get fucking trampled at home where the only team they’ve beaten is…Tampa. Now that we’ve come full circle jerk, I’ll say this: The Colts might be bad and not living up to expectations, but the Texans are much, much worse and even at home I don’t like them to win this one. I’ll say Colts by 3 and take the under for the total, but I probably won’t be watching this game.
837’s Prediction: Colts 16, Texans 13
Dubsism: DISASTER OF THE WEEK: This is a weird combination of two teams who have three wins between them, won’t win 9 games each, and just may be the two teams competing to win this sorry-ass division. They also happen to be two teams plummeting faster Warren Sapp’s credit score. If you bet this game, you’ll probably need the number of Sapp’s bankruptcy lawyer.
Jason from Indiana: Houston
Buffalo Bills (2-2) -1 at Tennessee Titans (1-2) (41.5)
Everybody’s bagging on the Dolphins right now – and with good reason, they are shit and that’s why Joe Philbin got fired – but what about Buffalo? They were supposed to be a legitimate playoff contender (whatever the hell that even means in the AFC East anymore unless you live in Massachusetts is anybody’s guess) and they had no running game against one of the worst run defenses in the league last week in a home loss against the Giants. And make no mistake, they got handled in that game regardless of what Rex Ryan may tell you about his defensive expertise. The Titans were off in week four, which meant that they got to sit back and watch the other teams in their division either beat the shit out of each other or get the shit beat out of them by the Falcons. I am starting to have a good feeling about Marcus Mariotta, but it’s not because I think he’s going to be a killer NFL QB. I think this year’s AFC South might end up being last year’s NFC North. The Titans aren’t out of this yet. This is a very winnable game against a team that’s surrendered seventy-five points in the last two games, and they’ll be at home to do it. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to hold off on my persistent mockery of Tennessee for one more week. They’re still very much in it, even though the are crazy shallow. I wouldn’t bet this game if my life depended on it. Seriously. If I was dangling over a cliff and the difference between life and a very certain painful death in which my head would surely split open after crashing down onto a rock below, I wouldn’t take either of these teams either way. So let’s just say for shits and giggles I’ll take Tennessee to pull of the upset here and take the under on the point total. You don’t really think I wouldn’t bet on this game if my life was hanging in the balance? Wanna bet?
837’s Prediction: Titans 20, Bills 16
Dubsism: $50 on Buffalo to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Buffalo
Cleveland Browns (1-3) +7 at Baltimore Ravens (1-3) (43.5)
The Browns almost took out San Diego on Sunday, but stop with the ruse…they are still garbage. They have no running game at all, and they are giving up almost four hundred yards a game against teams that don’t really have 400 yard a game offenses. Seriously, if you average the surrender of four hundred yards a game to the Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Raiders your defensive coordinator had better be the fucking greatest janitor in world history. It’s hard to gauge exactly where the Ravens are at right now, because the last time we saw them they were in a Thursday night game against a guy who is famous for a black house with no windows at his estate which held dogfights. But they should be headed in the right direction – even if just momentarily – against a Browns team that is once again dependent on Josh McCown, who won’t be able to go 32 for 41 again versus a Baltimore defense that is struggling but looked pretty damn good a week back with the exception of maybe two drives. Seven is a big spread for a team that’s been as inconsistent as the Ravens have lately, so although I am taking them to win I don’t like them to cover.
837’s Prediction: Ravens 24, Browns 20
Dubsism: $50 on Baltimore to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Cleveland
Chicago Bears (1-3) +10.5 at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3) (44.5)
I am so pissed that the Bears beat Oakland, because save a couple plays in that game they didn’t really deserve it. They won’t get that lucky here, as this is really a do or die game for the Chiefs. After the way they threw that Denver game away three weeks ago, they can’t possibly lose to the Bears and drop to 1-4…can they? Although not likely, it’s quite possible…After all, where a few short weeks ago we were making jokes about how they hadn’t had a passing touchdown to a wide receiver since 2013 now the punchline is how last week against the Bengals they racked up seven field goals. The Chiefs are less effective in the red zone than all three of us are at a fertility clinic, and if you try to tell me that before the season started you had Cairo Santos as a key fantasy pick just know that I’m probably not going to buy into your whole tarot reading scheme either. Knile Davis isn’t working out at all at running back, which essentially puts Kansas City’s entire ground game on the back of Jamaal Charles. Nobody’s back is that strong when Alex Smith is your quarterback – even though he did throw for over 380 yards – and even against the Bears this could be a problem. I’d tell you to take the under as a lock here, but this game could be so sloppy that who knows what will happen? I still think KC will pull it out though, which is sort of a callback to the fertility clinic joke but not really. No betting here for me.
837’s Prediction: Chiefs 27, Bears 17
Dubsism: TRAP OF THE WEEK: The Bears aren’t bad enough to be a double-digit dog to an Andy Reid team, and the Chiefs aren’t good enough to be a 10-point favorite over anybody.
Jason from Indiana: Chicago
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) +2.5 at Cincinnati Bengals (4-0) (43)
As startling as it may sound, I actually can not wait to check this game out. It should be an old school defensive classic, or at least I hope so. Both of these teams are statistically the two best home teams in the league, and Cincinnati will have that edge here. The Bengals did something unfortunately ironic last week: They made the Chiefs look like the January version of the Bengals. It’s still early in the season and I don’t trust Andy Dalton at all to come through in the clutch, but for the moment he does look quite good – even for the devil ginger he is. Everybody is flipping out about the end of that Seahawks game, but regardless of what the rule book says the real story is Seattle still can’t get any real offense going. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I just can’t see Russell Wilson waking up and having a monster game against that defense. Take the under for sure, and I like the Bengals to cover.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 19, Seahawks 13
Dubsism: $25 Under
Jason from Indiana: Cincinnati
St. Louis Rams (2-2) +10.5 at Green Bay Packers (4-0) (46)
The Rams shocked everybody Sunday by being the team that myself, Sports Illustrated, and countless other writers all across the country had expected them to be when they took out the Cardinals in Glendale just a few days back. They played well, but they got some lucky breaks due to errant mistakes and won’t get the same opportunities against the Packers. Green Bay only put up 17 points against the Niners in the Bay, but look at how consistent their play has been so far in the first month of the season. Wins by eight, ten, ten again, and by 14 this past week tell you this is a perfectly paced squad that is executing well and putting up Belichickesque type results. That touchdown pass where Rodgers switched directions numerous times looked amazing, but the Rams aren’t as easy to decode as the Niners were. He’s going to have some issues establishing a running game in this one, and although the Packers will win it won’t be an easy victory. Keep that money in your pocket.
837’s Prediction: Packers 24, Rams 17
Dubsism: $25 on Green Bay to cover the spread, $50 Over
Jason from Indiana: St. Louis
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) +2.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) (42)
The Jags put up a good fight against Indianapolis, and the Bucs continued their “Let’s Just Get Fucking Crushed By Everybody Else in the League” tour at home in Tampa last week. At first glance it would appear that Jacksonville is the clear favorite here, but upon second glance I realized that both offenses can be pretty unproductive at any given time. Equally weak under center, both quarterbacks are playing very poorly and out of the two of them Winston looks worse. So I’ll take Jacksonville to cover the spread, and ignore the point total because I’d rather not think about this one too much.
837’s Prediction: Jaguars 24, Buccaneers 20
Dubsism: $25 on Jacksonville to cover the spread. Write this down; I may never say those words again.
Jason from Indiana: Jacksonville
New Orleans Saints (1-3) +4.5 at Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) (49.5)
I hate to toot my own horn here, but I had both of these teams pegged for this record at this time in the year. I’m happier than a pig in a mud puddle because I knew before this season started that both of these teams were full of shit from the get go. Oh, the Saints beat the Cowboys at home facing a second stringer whose name sounds like a strain of high potency pot? That’s fantastic, but I couldn’t care less…especially considering that it took them overtime to get that done. What did All-Pro International Superstar Sam Bradford do last week at Washington? Ah…he shit the bed bringing the Eagles to a 1-3 record that will only be saved by the fact that the Saints are every bit as awful as Philadelphia is. I’d love to see Drew Brees get that shoulder back to capacity, go out there guns a blazin’ and torch that secondary for 500 yards but it just isn’t going to happen. Both of last week’s performances were a fluke: The Saints aren’t that good, and even though I want to kill myself for saying this the Eagles aren’t really that bad. Somehow this game depresses me even more than the last one, but I think the Eagles will cover the spread. Both defenses are garbage so what the hell…go ahead and bet the over too.
837’s Prediction: Eagles 30, Saints 20
Dubsism: LOCK OF THE WEEK: As of this writing, Andy Dalton has more rushing yards than DeMarco Murray. That’s why when Joe Philbin got fired, he pointed to Chip Kelly as his “why isn’t that guy getting fired too?” guy. $100 on the Saints.
Jason from Indiana: New Orleans
Washington Redskins (2-2) +8 at Atlanta Falcons (4-0) (48)
Atlanta is a one hundred-percent, no bullshit, for real, bona-fide, hard core balls-to-the-wall pro football team that will kill you before halftime. They don’t fuck around at all, and right now outside of New England I’m not sure that there is an offense anywhere near as dialed in as Matt Ryan and his crew. If that wasn’t enough, this might be the most difficult game on their schedule until they play the Colts on November 22nd. Here’s their lineup after this one: They’re on the road against New Orleans, then they head to Tennessee where they will likely leave the stadium 7-0. After that they head home for a cake walk against the Bucs, and then out West for a game at the 49ers which they should easily take. Their only challenging road game for the rest of the year is at Carolina, and I think I made myself clear where I stand on the severity of that situation in the first section of this piece. And not to take anything away from what Atlanta has done so far, but damn they have an easy year. Barring injuries, the only downside to this is when they get to the playoffs they might not be used to a Seattle or Green Bay because they don’t have a lot of practice against postseason-caliber squads. The Redskins are very puzzling…at times their defense looks very solid and performs above expectations. Other times they all look they are trying to be Helen Keller for Halloween, and they lost to the Dolphins so they don’t get any space here. Falcons cover with no real effort, and don’t kid yourself…this ain’t no “trap game”. Atlanta at home for sure, this is my lock of the week.
837’s Prediction: Falcons 36, Redskins 13
Dubsism: $50 on Atlanta to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Atlanta
Arizona Cardinals (3-1) -2.5 at Detroit Lions (0-4) (43)
Although last year’s contest was hardly entertaining to the casual sports fan, it was a defensive showcase that propelled the Cardinals to a 9-1 record and was easily the best game that week even though it ended up 14-6. The Cardinals lost a tough one to St. Louis last week, and to complicate matters it happened at home. Any NFL player will tell you going back on the road after a tough home like that is far from easy, especially when one of the main reasons you lost is because of something that happened before the first play from scrimmage. The second David Johnson let that ball get ripped from his hands, that game was effectively over. There are two plays in football where turning the ball over will result in a problem that costs you so much more than the change of possession: One of them is the opening kick-off, and the other is the play afterwards. Ask Peyton Manning to show you his Super Bowl ring from two years ago if you don’t believe me. It’s a momentum thing, and anybody who tells you any differently can go jump in the river with a cinder block tied around their ankle. But here’s the beauty of that for the Cardinals: Even with that horrid start which mentally toyed with their emotions the rest of the game (How often have you seen Larry Fitzgerald fumble?) they still came within half of a drive from pulling that one off. I’d take the Cardinals over Carolina eleven times out of a ten game series, because I’m confident they are an even better team than they were last year. For obvious reason, the Lions are pointing a lot of fingers at the NFL and the officiating crews this week but let’s face it – God hates Lions fans. Arizona covers and take the under.
837’s Prediction: Cardinals 18, Lions 12
Dubsism: $25 on Arizona to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: Arizona
New England Patriots (3-0) -10 at Dallas Cowboys (2-2) (50)
After a heartbreaking loss in the first thirteen seconds of overtime against the Saints last Sunday night, the Cowboys need a layup of a game to get Brandon Weeden’s self-esteem back intact after that killer drive he put together at the end of regulation which Dallas promptly squandered away. That won’t happen here, because the Patriots are a total killing machine on every level. At first I thought “This game is in the 4:15 PM slot for a reason” but then I noticed Denver is also playing at the same time so now I don’t know what to think. Very few teams are good enough to be a ten point favorite on the road, but in this case the Patriots are every bit as deserving of that spread as one might think. I like them to get raw on Dallas early and often, and for Weeden to really be exposed by the hoodie’s mastermind defensive power. Avoid the point total because New England drops into prevent with about eight minutes left in every game they’ve got on lock down, so you never want to lose money on any useless late touchdown. They cover easily.
837’s Prediction: Patriots 34, Cowboys 21
Dubsism: $30 on New England to cover the spread
Jason from Indiana: New England
Denver Broncos (4-0) -4.5 at Oakland Raiders (2-2) (43.5)
Much in the same way that I don’t trust the Panthers, I also feel the same way about the Broncos but it’s harder for me to sell you on that idea because their quarterback is a first ballot Hall of Famer. But don’t let it fool you from thinking they are all that much different in the long run: Both teams have slipped away with some easy victories against bad teams, and both teams have defenses who have exceeded expectations in crucial yet convenient situations. All I have to say about the Broncos is that if the guy who produces Sportscenter ever gets lockjaw, John Elway is going to be the loneliest guy on the planet. It’s just out of fucking hand. I know a lot of writers can fall into the trap of remembering what a team did – or didn’t do – last week and I’m guilty of it myself but the Raiders ruined all of the good vibes I was smelling out of their camp up until this point by blowing a late lead against Smokin’ Jay and the Bears last week. It was inexcusable, and as much at kills me to say it Denver is going to destroy them. Four and a half points is an easy spread, and even though the Broncos have been winning close games I like them to cover it. Don’t touch the point total.
837’s Prediction: Broncos 26, Raiders 19
Dubsism: $25 on Oakland
Jason from Indiana: Oakland
San Francisco 49ers (1-3) +7.5 at New York Giants (2-2) (43)
I can’t believe that the Giants are headed into week five with a home game in which they could easily take out the opposition. They might have blown the Atlanta and Dallas games, but I’ll eat my toaster if they fuck this one up. Last week against the Packers, the 49ers tallied eight first downs and allowed six sacks. This was the franchise’s worst offensive performance since 1964. Colin Kaepernick looks like a rookie that won’t start the following year, as fans pray for his peaceful exit out of their great city. It’s so strange that this game was scheduled to be a Sunday Night prime time match up, because you wouldn’t have thought this game would look appetizing at all given some of the other killer match-ups this week. Of the two teams the Giants look considerably more impressive, but it’s easy to look like a ten when you’re standing next to a two. The 49ers are the ugly girl on the online dating site with the eye patch that keeps messaging you, but you can’t bring yourself to blocking her because it just wouldn’t be right. But even if you let her keep trying, you’re still doing a better job blocking than the Niners offensive line. As a Giants fan I’ve watched Eli blow a lot of games in his career that he should have easily won. This won’t be one of them, and the beginning of the end of Kaepernick’s career is in full swing. He’s going to get tarred and feathered, so Giants cover and 43 is a poor total so take the over.
837’s Prediction: Giants 28, 49ers 19
Dubsism: $25 Under
Jason from Indiana: New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) +3 at San Diego Chargers (2-2) (45.5)
Surprisingly this game peaks my attention, although obviously not nearly as much as it would if Beard Ben was healthy. Dubs makes an interesting point here, but I’m believing in the Chargers because I have to. Without Roethlisberger and at the mercy of Michael Vick, San Diego has to win this game to stay on track for my now nearly impossible prediction of them winning ten or eleven games. I could easily see both of these teams missing two extra points each, but in order to say that firmly I’d also have to expect them to each get in the end zone twice. This won’t be a high-scoring affair, but then again even with everyone healthy we wouldn’t have expected it to be anyway. Chargers cover, take the under because it’s solid money.
837’s Prediction: Chargers 20, Steelers 15
Dubsism: DOG OF THE WEEK: The only reason the Chargers are favored is because Ben Roethlisberger is hurt. But there’s a ton of reason both teams can blow this game. Step on the landmine at your own risk; I’m not buying you a foot, too.
Jason from Indiana: San Diego
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Eight Thirty Seven