by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from Dubsism and Jason from Indiana
The tenth week of the NFL season opens up with a lot of controversy regarding Greg Hardy’s questionable off field behavior and a bizarre incident at the end of the Broncos/Colts game where Aqib Talib tried to poke the eye of Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye. Here’s the way I look at how the media has covered these two stories: If you follow the NFL like TMZ covers sports and you go out of the way to look for shit like this, that’s exactly what you are going to find. Here at FOH, we’re much more concerned with what goes on between the snap and the whistle. Don’t get me wrong, what Hardy did was deplorable and what Talib did took us all back to the famous line from “A Christmas Story”, but for two football players it’s not like either of those two behaviors are shocking given what we’ve come to know from the NFL. Ray Rice probably thinks Greg Hardy had bad aim, and Ndamokung Suh probably thinks what Talib did was rookie stuff. And here again I’m not trying to make light of bad situations, I’m simply stating it as an educated opinion.
That’s why when Cam Newton was all over the headlines for taking down a Packers’ fan’s banner at his own stadium, I didn’t even bother to read the story. I don’t know anything about the details and I don’t care. Green Bay should only be focused on why a team they have pretty much owned for years made them look invisible in an entire half at the control of a guy like Aaron Rodgers. Instead, FOX is making a huge deal about something that no true football fan should be concerned with. So onward and upward, this is what we think will happen starting tonight when week ten in the NFL finally kicks into high gear.
Bye Weeks: Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers
A lot of people are saying the Colts are back on track after last week’s win over Denver. Don’t buy it or anything else they’re selling you. The Chargers and the 49ers won’t make the playoffs, and if the Falcons do it’ll be a miracle because I can easily see them losing half of their remaining games despite their schedule being so weak.
J-Dub: You may have noticed that I took last week off from the J-Dub Gambling Challenge. You can get the full story as to why in Episode 25 of Radio J-Dub, but to make a long story short, I really can’t tell who is good in this league anymore. Having said that, it’s a minor miracle that I’m not down more money than I really am. Having started the season with a bankroll of $2,500, I’m only down about $200. That’s amazing considering some of the beatings I’ve taken. Does the turnaround start this week? Meet me at the plasma center on Monday, and I’ll tell you.
Buffalo Bills (4-4) +2.5 at New York Jets (5-3) (42.5)
The Bills and the Jets are doomed to float around the middle of the AFC East amidst a sea of wounded Dolphins but at least the Jets can brag that they were able to beat the Jaguars, which Overratasaurus Rex can’t even say about his squad. At least the Bills know where their skill set lies: They are going to run the shit out of the ball and direct just about everything thrown in the direction of Sammy Watkins. Tyrod Taylor only threw 12 passes in that game against Miami and had one incompletion, which is one hell of a stat line for a guy who is never going to be asked to drop back 60 times a game like Matthew Stafford. But the Jets have also seemingly found their guy in Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bills win this game on the ground (The Jets’ leading rusher last week against Jacksonville was Chris Ivory, who posted a sorry 26 yards on 23 carries) and I think they take this one on the road to sort of bring New York back down to earth here. I don’t really know why because I hate the Bills with the passion of a thousand burning toenail clippings, but they seem due and don’t get near the total even though I’m leaning towards the under here.
837’s Prediction: Bills 19, Jets 17
J-Dub’s Prediction: $25 on the Jets
Jason from Indiana: Jets
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) +5.5 at Baltimore Ravens (2-6) (48)
John Harbaugh has to find a way to get this team to six wins by the end of the year or else he may seriously be out of a job soon. Think about this for a second: It happened to his brother, who led his team to the same Super Bowl that came down to the last play so it won’t look all that weird if Ozzie Newsome decides to cut the cord at the end of the year. They’ve lost a lot of close games to a lot of good teams – and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt because their schedule has been fucking straight up brutality – but you just the feeling that there is a serious aura of miscommunication going on within a franchise that has a pretty solid roster although that defense has seen better days. It’s almost unfathomable that this is the same team who lost a 35-31 heartbreaker to the eventual Super Bowl champions in the AFC Divisional Playoff game just ten months ago after being up two touchdowns in the third quarter of that contest. So that’s why I’m going off the grid and saying the Jaguars pull an “upset” here. I’d like to see Baltimore kind of self-destruct, and if you’re not a fan…admit it, so would you. I’m probably going to regret this, but I wouldn’t put any real money on this game if winning both bets scored me a free goat. And I know somebody who raises goats for slaughter. Total seems right about on.
837’s Prediction: Jaguars 27, Ravens 21
J-Dub’s Prediction: $50 on Jacksonville
Jason from Indiana: Baltimore
Cleveland Browns (2-7) +4.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4) (41)
The Steelers have to be feeling pretty lucky that they are in the AFC North this year. They’ll be playing once again without Roethlisberger who will be out for a couple of weeks with yet another injury. I’m hearing a couple of sports talk radio guys discuss whether or not Big Ben was rushed back too quickly, and I’d like to take this space to say fuck that bullshit. You get a year where the Ravens (who knocked you out of the postseason last year) are completely terrible, and you have to pick up as many wins as humanly possible because you know there’s no way in hell you’re going to catch the Bengals. If he can plant and throw, you put him in there. He needs to rest now otherwise he could potentially have a career ending injury on his hands, but these guys have the best physical therapists in the world at their disposal and their bodies heal much quicker than dudes who drive a UPS truck for a living. I’m guessing this line has a lot to do with the fact that the Browns will be starting McCown instead of Johnny Fruitbasket, but for some reason I just can’t feel good about betting this game either way. I’ll take the Steelers to barely cover the spread, but only because right now the Browns don’t have a lot going for them in any way, shape or form. 41 for a point total? Just go ahead and put a gun in my mouth now, I’m not watching this shit.
837’s Prediction: Steelers 21, Browns 16
J-Dub’s Prediction: Disaster of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Pittsburgh
Carolina Panthers (8-0) -4.5 at Tennessee Titans (2-6) (43.5)
The Panthers are on a killing spree as of late, so at first glance this one seems like a no-brainer. For some odd reason, this feels like it could be a trap game to me. Mariota is starting to come around and looked very good last week, and the Titans aren’t nearly as bad as their record would indicate. But the Panthers are jacked and road games don’t mean shit to them. I don’t care how chalk it is, I already picked Jacksonville and there’s no way in fucking hell I’m picking the Titans and the Jaguars in the same week. I don’t give myself a lock of the week the way J-Dub does, but if I had to this would probably be it. Mariota is going to get blitzed all day long and if he doesn’t leave this game in a stretcher it will be a miracle. There’s been a lot of talk about why Cam Newton has been so successful this year, and really overall not much of what he’s doing has changed. He’s still taking an uncomfortable amount of risks, but they are more manageable risks than in previous seasons and that’s why he’s seeing greater success this year. As long as they keep winning, Ron Rivera is probably cool with it. But if they don’t get a bye, they could look an awful lot like that 14-2 Chargers team that got bounced out of the postseason a few years back where Marty Schottenheimer got canned before he could get to his F-150. Panthers cover, point total makes me super nervous.
837’s Prediction: Panthers 27, Titans 16
J-Dub’s Prediction: $50 on Carolina
Jason from Indiana: Carolina
Chicago Bears (2-5) +7.5 at St. Louis Rams (4-4) (42.5)
This a lot of “Next: More of the same” because the Rams are once again the best .500 team in the NFL (although Oakland and Seattle are a close second and third) and the Bears couldn’t be anymore irrelevant if Men Without Hate performed “The Safety Dance” at halftime of all their home games. The Rams signed free agent tight end Wes Welker, who’s not going to get a whole slough of targets but he could be the difference in a couple of close games and St. Louis seems to have a lot of those lately. Look, the Rams have the Bengals in Cincy on November 29th, and you know that’s on the radar as a game they can’t possibly expect to win given the way Dalton has been playing. But with the Bears and the Ravens next, they can easily end that stretch 6-5, be .500 again after losing to the Cardinals at home, but then easily back to 8-6 if they can take out the Lions and the Buccaneers. I don’t put any stock in that late victory that the Chargers gave away to Chicago on Monday Night, but Jeremy Langford sure looks like the dual purpose back the Bears are going to need when Matt Forte is in a Raiders uniform next year. I love me some St. Louis but fuck, seven and a half points? I don’t know about that. The only teams the Rams have beaten by a field goal are Cleveland and San Francisco. I’ll take the points here, no matter who’s on the injury report. Under seems solid because Cutler’s due for at least three quarters of buttcrack tomfoolery, because don’t forget the Bears only scored 22 points in sixty minutes against San Diego and they were held scoreless by that joke of a defense in two of those quarters.
837’s Prediction: Rams 20, Bears 15
J-Dub’s Prediction: Trap Game of the Week
Jason from Indiana: St. Louis
Dallas Cowboys (2-6) +1 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) (43)
Both of these teams are coming off of shameful losses against NFC teams last week, but for the Cowboys it was more humiliating. While Greg Hardy continues to be the centerpiece of the media’s concern down there because his off-field antics are writing a fantastic script for a made for TV movie set to air on Lifetime Movie Network the second the next pot roast is burnt, the real issue here is how the Cowboys are about a game or two away from mathematically incapable of winning the second worst division in football. That could potentially escalate to whole new level of depression on the road in Tampa, where the Cowboys will be coming off of a heartbreaking home loss against the Eagles in overtime in which their defense was exposed as fraud…which it is. Tampa struggled a lot against the Giants, but from the film of that game the blame can’t really be put on Winston. He didn’t throw any picks, he was making good reads, and his receivers were dropping passes right in their hands left and right. He could do a better job at managing the game with regards to time of possession, but that shit doesn’t happen overnight and the Bucs are hardly a 3rd down conversion machine with the roster he’s currently stuck with. Tampa can win this game. I don’t think that they will, but I’m not going to be running down the street naked with a lit stick of dynamite up my ass if they do. Cassel played good at times last week, but he’s relying too heavily on Darren McFadden to keep everybody’s heads above water. That said, I’m still taking Dallas here to make it work on the road. Point total is dead on, but even if the Cowboys win it speaks volumes about them being an underdog against the Bucs…even it is on the road.
837’s Prediction: Cowboys 23, Bucs 20
J-Dub’s Prediction: Dog of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Tampa
Detroit Lions (1-7) +13 at Green Bay Packers (6-2) (47.5)
I bet the Green Bay Packers can’t wait to see the Lions on Sunday, because they are the exact medication the doctor ordered for a team that’s lost two straight after winning their first six. They did show some resilience late in the Carolina game, but they also took forever to find a groove in that one and it could hurt them if they exhibit those characteristics when they face Arizona or any one of the two upcoming games against Minnesota who they are now looking up at in the NFC North because of a conference record tiebreaker. But after two tough road losses, they’re headed home for what could be an all-you-can-drink frenzy of bottled up and unused Green Bay offense against Detroit. It’s hard to believe this team is the same Lions squad that went 11-5 last year, almost as hard as it is to believe that the Ford family has fired everybody who has a key to the building but Jim Caldwell. Thirteen may seem like a lot, but keep in mind this is a team who gave up 45 points to the Chiefs just two weeks ago. So not only do I love this line, but I am pretty hyped on the over for the point total here as there shouldn’t be much defense present. And if this turns out to be a 16-13 game either way, you can pretty much fucking forget about seeing Green Bay in the top five of the power rankings from here on out. If you think they’re still a lock for the NFC Championship with the way Carolina is playing, I’m going to need your pharmacist’s email address and about five weeks off of work.
837’s Prediction: Packers 37, Lions 17
J-Dub’s Prediction: $100 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Green Bay
Miami Dolphins (3-5) +7 at Philadelphia Eagles (4-4) (46.5)
I’m still trying really hard to figure out how the Sam Braford / Nick Foles trade worked out for either team, and I can’t seem to do it. Nevertheless, Bradford looked great in overtime and made the most clutch throw of Philadelphia’s season on Sunday night to send Dallas packing when they didn’t even have a plane to catch. Even as a Giants fan, I thought that was pretty hilarious. The Eagles produced 459 yards of total offense and had twenty-five first downs even though Dallas had the ball 13 minutes more than they did. Which may mean that finally the efficiency portion of Chip Kelly’s offense is finally starting to grow legs, but that situation is pretty week to week. Speaking of “weak”, the Dolphins got their asses handed to them yet again in a game where Ryan Tannehill fumbled out of the end zone to put the Bills on the scoreboard immediately. In true Super Bowl 48 fashion, the Bills didn’t look back and unless you started Lamar Miller on your fantasy team – and you know you didn’t – Sunday was a pretty bad day for Dolphins fans. The Giants fan in me wants so badly to see Miami rise from the dead and clean Bradford’s clock all afternoon, but the sinister prick that lives underneath my chest and beats with passion and undying hatred wants to see the Dolphins continue to lose and eventually fire their interim head coach as well. The realist inside my brain knows it’s probably the latter of those two that will end up happening, so the Eagles will win but I’m taking the points because I just can’t see them producing a blowout here…even at home. My pick would indicate I like the under, but I’d let that trigger finger itch and stem because that shit is just not worth it.
837’s Prediction: Eagles 24, Dolphins 20
J-Dub’s Prediction: $25 on Philadelphia
Jason from Indiana: Philadelphia
New Orleans Saints (4-5) EVEN at Washington Redskins (3-5) (50.5)
I posted a fun football fact on Facebook Sunday night: The Saints have gave up 83 points to the Titans and the Giants at home in eight days. Thankfully for them, Washington doesn’t exactly have the resources to exploit such a poor secondary with Kirk Cousins at the helm of an offense that boasts Pierre Garcon as its biggest legitimate downfield threat over five feet tall. Four receptions a game simply isn’t going to cut it, but I did visit Garcon’s homepage while typing this up and in his “about me” section he misspelled the words “Indianapolis” and “Receiver” if that tells you what we’re working with there. The Saints are back to this “First one to 34 points wins” thing they were doing a few years back, where their defense takes the whole afternoon off like they were getting salary bonuses for ending up on blooper reels. The Redskins shit their pants every time they do anything right, which is why they got stomped by New England last week after taking a week off to celebrate their one point home victory against Tampa in pro-wrestling like fashion. I’m guessing the over here of fifty and a half is assuming that the Saints are going to score at least 30 points, which seems like a solid deal but if Washington goes out there and lays an egg I wouldn’t be the lest bit shocked. No way I’m touching the total and I like New Orleans to cover. How funny is it going to be if they finish the year with a better record than Atlanta? Yeah, you’re right, I probably wouldn’t laugh either…
837’s Prediction: Saints 30, Redskins 16
J-Dub’s Prediction: $100 on New Orleans
Jason from Indiana: Washington
Minnesota Vikings (6-2) +3 at Oakland Raiders (4-4) (43.5)
Last week’s loss to Pittsburgh has to be discouraging for the Raiders because any time you knock out a team’s starter, still score 35 points and lose, that’s a tough pill to swallow on the road. Actually the fact that it happened in Pittsburgh is probably even worse, because then you have to spend the whole flight home wondering what went wrong as opposed to just heading to the nearest hash dispensary and forgetting you just blew a perfect opportunity to advance to 5-3. What that tells us in that Jack Del Rio still has a ways to go with that defense of his, and my guess would be he’ll be spending a majority of February trying to stack that roster with corners and safeties. But they have been killer at stopping the run this year, so they shouldn’t have any problem keeping Peterson under wraps. Derek Carr and Amari Cooper trying to pick apart that secondary is going to be a blast to watch, and this is probably the most difficult game of the week to pick. I’d usually go against the other two guys and take the Vikings because I like the idea of them sneaking into the postseason this year, but as far as I know this is Teddy Bridgewater’s first NFL-caliber concussion so he’s going to be playing what will not be an easy road game with his bell still ringing pretty heavily. I like Oakland but I don’t feel like I’d feel confident on throwing anything down on them. This could go either way and could potentially be low scoring, so while I’m leaning towards the under I can tell you I definitely wouldn’t put a house payment on it.
837’s Prediction: Raiders 23, Vikings 20
J-Dub’s Prediction: $25 on Oakland
Jason from Indiana: Oakland
Kansas City Chiefs (3-5) +7 at Denver Broncos (7-1) (41.5)
Now that the conversation about the Broncos having the greatest defense in the Super Bowl era has died down, Denver can finally return to its specialty – the offensive side of the football. At home against the Chiefs would be an excellent place to start, but if they’re not careful they can blow this one. Kansas City has one two in a row coming off of a bye week after eating a heaping helping of dick five weeks straight, but I’d have to think they are going to take this personal because in the first meeting between these two teams they threw the game away. Kansas City is 3-5, but it’s the AFC and so are the Texans whom they could only clear by a touchdown in week one. So you’d have to think that at home the Broncos could cover seven, but I smell bullshit all over those orange uniforms every time they come out to play. They just lost to the Colts, and three of their wins have come against the Browns, the Ravens, and of course these assholes. Seven is a lot of points for the spread here given the holes the Broncos have, so Swiss cheese ain’t gonna keep that sandwich standing up straight for long. Taking the points here and I’m just as pumped about the point total as J-Dub is.
837’s Prediction: Broncos 29, Chiefs 24
J-Dub’s Prediction: $50 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Kansas City
New England Patriots (8-0) -8 at New York Giants (5-4) (55)
As a Giants fan, I’m definitely not looking forward to this. With the Eagles winning in overtime against Dallas last week and just a game out of first, it seems like high time for Tom Coughlin to spend an entire half blowing his cork because nobody reads the playbook. Or listens to anything he says. Or is feeling anything other than lucky that Tampa dropped nearly everything Winston threw their way last week otherwise the Bucs would have crushed them. The Giants’ offensive line has not played well in several games this year, which is bad news in this one because Chandler Jones leads the NFL in sacks and because we hear so much about the Patriots’ offense we often forget that they still have one of the best defenses in the league. This spread seems a little low to me, and even at home I don’t buy into this notion that just because the Giants have handed the Patriots Tom Brady’s only two Super Bowl losses that they have New England’s number. Pats cover easily and if I were you I’d recommend the under here as well. Either way, the Eagles are going to be in first place in the NFC East come Monday morning.
837’s Prediction: Patriots 28, Giants 17
J-Dub’s Prediction: $50 on New England and $50 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: New England
Arizona Cardinals (6-2) +3 at Seattle Seahawks (4-4) (45)
This is an absolute must-win, must-have-big-performance, do-or-fucking-die for the Seattle Seahawks no question about it. Two games behind the Cardinals in the standings and not playing them again until next year, this is their moment to show they are still the team to beat in the NFC West. I could easily make the case that they are far from that. Arizona may not have the better defense in this matchup, but their defense is playing better at the moment for sure. And we all know that the Seahawks offense has struggled to become a serious threat thus far this season, so the Cardinals have a leg up on them there as well. If the 12s don’t turn this into a deafening experience for the Cards every time they snap the football, Arizona could easily wind up 7-2 which would effectively put them in control of their own destiny with regards to winning the NFC West. I’m turning on the Seahawks effective immediately. Unless they can score 40 plus points and blow Arizona out of the water, I’ll go ahead and stay on the Redbirds’ side. I’m going to go ahead and say for sanity’s sake that they can’t possibly cover three, but I have a very uneasy feeling about all of this. I bet Seattle wishes Jimmy Graham could turn into the 100 yard a game receiver that they thought they were getting, but since he hasn’t thus far I can’t take the Seahawks here. I hope for Neil’s sake that isn’t the case, but I can’t take my eyes off the Cardinals long enough to buy into Seattle with a .500 record halfway through the season. If you bet the point total on this game you should be in a zoo.
837’s Prediction: Cardinals 24, Seahawks 22
J-Dub’s Prediction: $50 on Arizona
Jason from Indiana: Seattle
Houston Texans (3-5) +12 at Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) (47)
After a ten day rest following a home beatdown of the Browns, the Bengals will stay in Ohio to try and decode what’s going with the Houston Texans who had last week off. That’s not nearly as daunting of a task as it was a year ago, and with Cincinnati in pure form and looking damn near unstoppable with New England nowhere to be found on their schedule I’m expecting this to be a relatively easy victory for the Ginger Winger. Unless I’m getting my information from an unreliable source, Cincinnati has covered every spread in every single game they’ve been favored in this year and that’s saying a lot because they’ve been getting some large ones. I feel like this is the game where they could easily break this streak, but they’re at home again on eleven days rest and the Texans shouldn’t be 3-5 anyway…Who have they beat? Miami, Tampa Bay, and the Colts? I’ll take the Bengals to cover in that case, and just to be a dick I’m pick the exact same score they beat the Browns by so you can bank on the under, especially with that killer Cincy defense. Read it and weep, bitches.
837’s Prediction: Bengals 31, Texans 10
J-Dub’s Prediction: Lock of the Week: $150 on Cincinnati
Jason from Indiana: Cincinnati
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Eight Thirty Seven