by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from Jason from Indiana
A majority of the game that take place in week nine of the 2015 NFL season fall on November 8th, which also happens to be my birthday. I’ve probably mentioned this a billion times on this website, but I’m not a huge fan of birthdays in any form. I’ve actually gone into my options on Facebook and specifically removed the option that allows for people to be alerted my spirit journey formation anniversary. The reason that I did so speaks volumes about how little I care about it, but I had to come up with a theme for this intro and this was all I could drum up. So sue me, it’s a free product.
Simply put, the NFL is filled with teams that have been leaving the fucking cake out in the rain at various points throughout the season. Like age, statistics rarely lie and the wrinkles are starting to show in purest form. The old Bill Parcells adage “You’re only as good as your record” still doesn’t materialize as the truth for a couple more weeks, and if you don’t believe me look at the Chargers and the Ravens. I don’t give a shit what anybody says, one of those is an 0-8 team and the other is only a 1-7 team because they’ve played each other. The Niners probably don’t deserve to be 2-6, and the Bears shouldn’t have any wins either. But it’s not just heaping credit on a pile where credit isn’t due, there are some misfirings on the other side of the coin as well. Look at the Falcons. If you think they’re really a 6-2 team after that home loss against Tampa, you’d better believe somebody from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is at your door ready to pounce. And don’t even get me started on the Saints or the Colts. Life’s too short and these pieces are too long as it is.
Bye Weeks: Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans
I’m pissed I can’t watch the Arizona Cardinals play this week. I could watch them play defense for decades and it would never get old. I can’t wait until they host the Bengals on the 22nd. It’s going to be the greatest 15-12 game of all time. Seattle still needs to figure out a way to score more than 30 points in a game, and the other four teams that are off this week can go fuck themselves.
Cleveland Browns (2-6) +11.5 at Cincinnati Bengals (7-0) (46)
Although not his best performance, last week Dalton was able to get the road win he was looking for in Pittsburgh against a still-ailing Ben Roethlisberger. Good thing Andy’s got a killer defense behind him, because otherwise he probably wouldn’t have won that one. He should be in great shape back home against the Browns, who have been able to come up with decent offensive showing this year so far but have a wretched defense. Which means you would think that they’d be ripe for the picking, but don’t jump at this line without taking a good hard look at this one. This game will end up being closer than you think, and although at first glance it looks like a genius move to start Dalton in your fantasy league don’t do it. The Bengals are easily one of the three best teams in the league right now, but I’m taking the points here because eleven and a half is a big chunk of change here. Cincinnati simply doesn’t have the explosiveness on offense to be given spreads like this no matter who they’re playing, and there could be a lot of ground and pound here so I’m taking the under. Talk to me when the Bengals are 14-1 heading into that Broncos game on the 28th of December and then maybe I’ll change my mind.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 24, Browns 16
Jason from Indiana: Cleveland
Miami Dolphins (3-4) +3 at Buffalo Bills (3-4) (44)
Well, well, well…what have we here? From the looks of it, two teams of which we were promised the world only to get nothing. Buffalo had the week off to try and reorganize to compensate for the fact that – as it turns out – Rex Ryan is hardly Chuck Knoll, and the Dolphins spent the better part of last Thursday night getting steamrolled by the best team in the league in New England. Ho hum. The most depressing thing about this game is that one of these teams is going to leave the establishment at .500, which is hardly fair to the American consumer and everyone who values the product of the game. Since Roger Goddell can’t honestly count himself as one of those people, I’m sure he’ll be watching this game above others that are probably better. Ryan Tannehill is a joke, and to those who say otherwise…just remember that the only two quality starts he’s had thus far this year are against Tennessee and Houston – two of the shittiest teams in the league’s most awful division. These are showboat teams in soft markets that are passed off as being gritty and rough on defense. But they should never forget this: God smiles down on the purveyors of purity and hands down shame on the paraders of vanity; and he judges you more than anything in the world by the company you keep…so get the fuck on your knees and speak. On other words, you can pray that we care, just so long as you know that you’re fighting a losing war. I’ll take Buffalo just to spite Dolphans here, but I want to make it clear that in no way is it in any way indicative of me having any belief in the Bills or what they are doing up there. This seems like a low total to go under on considering Tannehill does have the capability to go nuts on a team that gave up 34 points to the Jaguars on another continent, but I’m gonna do it anyway. Either way, I promise you this game is gonna suck.
837’s Prediction: Bills 23, Dolphins 17
Jason from Indiana: Buffalo
Green Bay Packers (6-1) -2.5 at Carolina Panthers (7-0) (46.5)
Here’s the deal: The Packers are still an elite team. That said, they faced a great defense in Denver on Sunday night but at the same time looked very scared doing so. For the first time since Aaron was named the starter and the key to the franchise with which he would win a Super Bowl, he seemed very uneasy and super-intimidated by a high quality defense. He’d better find a way to at least hide that feeling around Luke Kuechly, who is going to eat him alive if the Packers can’t find a way to protect Rodgers from that Carolina defense. I have a feeling that both of these teams are going to be crazy prepared for this one, but I get why Green Bay is favored. Carolina still relies on great field position to springboard their offensive production, and they are probably going to lose the special teams battle here. That means this will be a game of field position, and save one or two major turnovers I think if the Packers can take the crowd out of it early – or at least keep them at bay – then they can cover two and a half points. I’m a total troll this week, because I’m gonna be under the bridge a lot…but this shouldn’t be a shootout at all.
837’s Prediction: Packers 22, Panthers 18
Jason from Indiana: Green Bay
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) +7 at New York Jets (4-3) (41)
Last week’s loss to the Raiders was cool with me because it brought the Jets back down onto the runway of real life. Yeah, their defense is good but they’ve got a long way to go if they want to even think about anything higher than a 6 seed two months from now. That vulnerability will likely be pointed out in this week’s film sessions but probably won’t be as urgent as one might expect, because Jacksonville is up next. The Jaguars haven’t won a single game this year by more than a field goal, and their lead story on their ESPN home page is about how they rose from last place in the power rankings to 29th in a week where they didn’t even play. I can’t possibly see how the Jets blow this one at home, especially with the opportunity to finish half the season two games over .500 heading into a less than thrilling Thursday night matchup on the 12th against the Bills. When the lines came out on Tuesday, none of the major sports books had a line on this game…probably because they were checking to see if the Jaguars could figure out how to get their luggage to Newark. But now the Jets are seven point favorites, and as bad as the Jags are that seems like a bit much. I’m taking the points and avoiding the total.
837’s Prediction: Jets 21, Jaguars 17
Jason from Indiana: New York Jets
St. Louis Rams (4-3) +2.5 at Minnesota Vikings (5-2) (39.5)
Aside from Green Bay/Carolina, this is probably going to be the most exciting game to watch this week. Both of these teams have exceeded expectations for the year, and who would have guessed that heading into week nine the Vikings would only be one game behind the Packers? Well, it’s true…Much like the reality that is the Rams only being a game and a half back of the NFC West leading Cardinals, whom they’ve already beaten on the road. St. Louis has done so on the back of one Todd Gurley, who is well on his way to a Rookie of the Year award. The Rams are on some Rodney Dangerfield shit here: Whereas the Steelers are 9th in the power rankings, St. Louis is now at 13th behind the Eagles Jets, and the Raiders. They’re all still behind Minnesota who is eighth, but for the record that could change very quickly for the Rams with a victory over the Vikings on Sunday. These two teams may very well be jockeying for a playoff spot the last week of the year, and while there is always the possibility of both these teams making the postseason whoever wins this game will likely be in and whoever loses it will likely be out. I want the Rams to win so bad, but I can see why they’re the underdog and since I never get what I want I can at least be right here and take Minnesota to cover the spread. And even with the lowest point total of the week being attached to this game, I still think it’ll be the under. Gurley’s hot streak ends here.
837’s Prediction: Vikings 19, Rams 13
Jason from Indiana: Minnesota
Washington Redskins (3-4) +14.5 at New England Patriots (7-0) (52)
Oh, the Redskins. Those adorable Jaguars of the NFC, the Least division’s biggest losers are…wait, they’re in second place? Good Lord this division is a mess. I loved how the media tried so desperately to make a story out of Kirk Cousins getting jacked on a cameraman after a home victory against a team they shouldn’t have needed that much clutch play to begin with. They’ll get DeSean Jackson back from that hammy, but it won’t matter. I’m willing to flip your brain pancake on end here and give you an even more mindfucking take on this Redskins team: Their four losses have all come against teams that are all floating around the .500 mark (Jets, Giants, Bucs, and Dolphins) and who might be full of shit or are completely full of shit. This should tell you something, the most important assumption being that they aren’t anywhere near ready to take on the Patriots who should beat them senseless in Massachusetts on Sunday. I still can’t bring myself to take them to cover though, even after they made Dubs and I eat our keyboards last week by curbstomping Miami. I’m saying ten points because the Pats will give up a couple of useless scores late. I’d stay away from the total here, because every once in a while Washington’s defense shows up against good opponents and no one really knows why.
837’s Prediction: Patriots 33, Redskins 23
Jason from Indiana: New England
Tennessee Titans (1-6) +8 at New Orleans Saints (4-4) (48.5)
After winning a shootout against the Giants in the Superdome last week where Drew Brees added 511 more yards and seven touchdowns to his already earth-shattering first-ballot Hall-of-Fame statistics, the Saints will stay at home to face the Titans who were embarrassed by the Houston Texans. Try this on for size: Tennessee managed to lose a game by two touchdowns to a Brian Hoyer-led team in a game where they only allowed the Texans 56 total yards on the ground. Not that the Titans did much more on the ground anyway, but that’s been the case pretty much all year long. I can’t believe I’m admitting to this, but I may have been – at least temporarily – wrong about New Orleans. Their defense is still total bullshit, as would be any team that surrenders 49 points at home against Big Blue. But at the moment they are in a groove, and I think that in a particularly weak portion of their schedule they are going to eek their way past the Falcons unless Atlanta can step on the gas and prove otherwise. That said, the Titans have a much better defense than the Giants do (What planet is this again?) so it won’t be another ACC-caliber free-for-all to say the least. Saints will still cover though, and I like the over.
837’s Prediction: Saints 30, Titans 20
Jason from Indiana: New Orleans
Oakland Raiders (4-3) +4.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4) (48)
I’m starting to love me some Oakland Raiders. They’re my cream cheese and syrup covered waffles behind the Rams, and if that makes me a bandwagon fan color me champion of the Oregon Trail. Boy Michael Crabtree sure got the hell out of San Francisco at the right time and into the better of his potential situations didn’t he? That’s a short move, and finally in Derek Carr he’s got a guy who knows how to utilize his skill set. The Steelers had a tough week last week, where Big Ben threw three picks because he was rushed back by dumb trainers into a game that they probably wouldn’t have won either way. But the most damning casualty of that game was by far the loss of Le’Veon Bell for the season due to that injury, because that seriously jeopardizes their chances at making the playoffs with Cincinnati being as hot as they have been. So unless this Isaiah Pead character they signed to fill that void becomes Superman overnight, the Steelers are going to be in real trouble even though the rest of their schedule is pretty cake. But ninth in the power rankings? Yeah, I don’t know about that. I’ll take Pittsburgh to win at home because I think the Raiders are a little too young and green to be successful in that building, but I doubt they’ll cover so we’ll take the points in this one. Not really sure where Roethlisberger’s head is at just yet so take the under on the point total here as well.
837’s Prediction: Steelers 24, Raiders 21
Jason from Indiana: Oakland
New York Giants (4-4) -1 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) (47.5)
Here’s how you know which analysts to never listen to on any of the sports networks: If anybody cites the week one loss against Dallas, the week two loss against Atlanta, and last week’s tankjob to the Saints as being “heartbreaking losses that could have easily resulted in the Giants being a 7-1 team”, you know you never have to listen to a single thing that meathead every has to say for the rest of his life. If they really did have the stones to be a 7-1 team (or let’s just say a 5-3 team for the upcoming example) don’t you think they would have been able to pull off at least one of those fucking games? And if they were really that good and still in control of their destiny in the NFC Least, don’t you think something other than their defense would have been responsible for those three losses? That’s kind of my point. I gotta hand it to Tampa, which is a sentence you haven’t heard me utter a lot since Jon Gruden was exiled to a life of torturing the Monday Night airwaves for years to come. They went into a 6-1 team’s stadium – albeit a very poorly built one, the structure and the team – and left there with a victory in a game almost nobody expected them to win. But they seem to expend a majority of their energy in their wins, and if the “highlights” from the first two quarters of the NYG/NO game has taught us anything, it’s that the Giants’ defense should be more than plenty well rested for this one. I like New York here to be in the “on” position of their seemingly endless on/off switch at the side of the Coughlincoaster. Giants cover and take the under.
837’s Prediction: Giants 25, Bucs 20
Jason from Indiana: New York
Atlanta Falcons (6-2) -7 at San Francisco 49ers (2-6) (45)
As previously stated, the Falcons are going to be the butt of several jokes around NFL circles this week for losing to the Bucs at home. Both of their losses have been against teams in the NFC South, where they are starting to lose ground on Carolina and secretly praying he flips his truck over on the expressway again. The 49ers are really starting to look like the NFL’s version of The Bad News Bears, only with endless possibilities for failure with no sign of success in sight. Tomsula is in way over his head here, and although he’s a rookie head coach that excuse only stretches so far in the NFL these days. Lovie Smith could coach circles around this cat right now, and just the fact that I typed that sentence makes me want to throw myself off of the Golden Gate bridge. In a week where the Niners traded Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos, the big news out of the Niners camp is of course Colin Kaepernick getting benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert which is not only hilarious but probably a couple of weeks overdue. Although not shocking, you heard it here first: His career is fucking done. It looks like they’ll have to miss the playoffs without his further assistance. The Falcons have to have this one on the road, and they’ll get it. If they don’t, the next thing they know they’ll be looking up at both Tampa and New Orleans. Forget about catching the Panthers. I’m not in love with this line, but Gabbert is going to be rusty as shit so this one could be a complete mess and I like Atlanta to cover. Don’t touch any point total in any game that the Niners are playing for the remainder of the year except for week 14 against the Browns and week 16 against the Lions.
837’s Prediction: Falcons 31, 49ers 18
Jason from Indiana: Atlanta
Denver Broncos (7-0) -3 at Indianapolis Colts (3-5) (45)
When the schedule came out, this looked like it was going to be a magical matchup between two teams that weren’t going to be as good as New England but would be feeling out ways to get around them by beating up on the rest of the AFC. Now, I think this is virtually a home game for Denver. They’re so much better than the Colts are right now, and Indianapolis is always going to feel like home to Peyton Manning. Listen, I get that the Broncos’ defense isn’t probably as good as ESPN is making them out to be. But if you have Talib in the secondary, Miller coming off of the outside, and that stuffy defensive line coming hard on almost every single play that’s going to create enough chaos that there are going to be very few offenses who can crack that code. If only Manning himself could sprinkle some of that pixie dust on that neck of his, this would be a team who would be easily on par with the Patriots. Getting Vernon Davis before the trade deadline should give him that extra short range target he’s looking for now that Wes Welker is nowhere in sight. Indianapolis looked somewhat impressive in the second half of the Monday Night game against Carolina, but other than the fire still being there I didn’t see enough to think it balanced out that horrid first half that would make me think they’ve snapped back into it. At least not enough to come within four points of Manning & Co. in the house he helped construct, so I’m taking Denver to cover but the point total seems dead on so don’t go near it. As Indiana native David Letterman would probably say “Get ready for some bad red zone play, kids…” Field Goal Fiesta!
837’s Prediction: Broncos 26, Colts 19
Jason from Indiana: Denver
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) -2.5 at Dallas Cowboys (2-5) (44.5)
As a Giants fan, typically I’d be thrilled that these two teams are making up the bottom half of the NFC East at the moment, but as we all know those standings don’t mean jack shit week-to-week this year. Matt Cassel faced a tough defense in Seattle last week but 13 for 25 for 97 yards in the air? Are you serious? What kind of aim is that? I mean, for the love of God Stevie Wonder has nine children. You got to do better than that, I don’t care who it is. Also, how immensely fucked is your offense that your leading rusher in that game was also your leading receiver? That team deserves to be in last place if they can’t figure out a way to adapt. America doesn’t know much about the Eagles at the moment, but I have a feeling this is the game they put together something solid and make a push to take this division over. Plus, home field advantage doesn’t mean shit when Uncle Jerry’s diddling back n’ forth between Cassel and Brandon Weeden. I have to be honest, even though the tail end of Dallas’ schedule is relatively simple and easily winnable (with the exception of the Green Bay game) the damage has already been done in a division where eight wins could do it. To have that many wins, you’ll also have to have eight losses and the Cowpokes already rassel’d ’em five. This’ll be six. I love this line and the Eagles cover it easily. I’m not throwing down a single nickel on the total in a game where the home team only scored twelve points last week in the same location. Nice try, but no fucking way.
837’s Prediction: Eagles 27, Cowboys 17
Jason from Indiana: Philadelphia
Chicago Bears (2-5) +3.5 at San Diego Chargers (2-6) (49)
See why I think maybe flexing Monday Night games wouldn’t be a bad idea? What an absolute stinker. Sometimes I wonder what the AFC West would look like if Cutler had stayed in Denver, and other times I spend my time thinking about things that actually matter. I’m gonna go ahead and spoil this one and let you know I’ll have some Chicago style here. Which is pretty pathetic given the fact this game is in Southern California, and Philip Rivers has twice as many passing yards this year as Smokin’ Jay does. If you can’t believe I’d even consider picking against San Diego in this game – think of how I feel – I picked the Chargers to go 11-5 this year and now they’re 2-6. The 3.5 spread in favor of them is awful and in no way is it enticing to even the most compulsive gambler. I’ll take the Bears and the points just for the hell of it and because San Diego is so bad, but this game is going to fucking suck and it looks like I’ll be doing voiceover work that night so I don’t feel the least bit bad about missing this one.
837’s Prediction: Bears 23, Chargers 15
Jason from Indiana: San Diego
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Eight Thirty Seven