by Eight Thirty Seven with assistance from J-Dub and Jason from Indiana
Obviously there’s an elephant in the room, and that zoo animal is the one game suspension handed down by the NFL to New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham after a helmet to helmet hit on Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman in Sunday afternoon’s game. The helmet-to-helmet hit did warrant the suspension, but what I’m going to talk about for a second is the way the media covered all of the other stuff that was going on between those two before and after the whistle. A lot of people are crying about the lack of sportsmanship associated with these exchanges, and – simply put – those people need to shut the fuck up. Given the Antonio Brown scuffle in the previous week’s Bengals/Steelers game, this is the second week in a row that I’ve had to write about grown men slapping each other with open hands and it better be the last one. This is absolutely ludicrous from every conceivable angle, and keep in mind this is what happened when Goddell began to instruct his referees to flag everybody for everything. If you’re wondering why hockey’s ratings have gone up in recent years, it might have something to do with the fact that in hockey, two guys are able to settle their differences the way two guys used to be able to do that. I just think all of this is so weak, and not trying to defend Beckham’s headbutt, but since when is any team allowed to carry bats onto the field? I about jumped out of my shoes when I heard that shit, and you almost wonder how that was allowed to even go on in an NFL stadium. Any yahoo could have jumped onto the field, grabbed one of those bats, and no matter how small he was he would instantly become the most dangerous person on a sideline where nobody is wearing helmets. I’m just baffled by this story on so many levels.
Unfortunately I don’t have any time to continue this rant, because I have to head to the pawn shop and sell some of my guitars. Then I’m headed to Western Union in order to wire some money to Dubs, who has had quite a rough year to say the very least.
J-Dub: It’s another week of limping toward the finish line for what has been a truly garbage NFL season, and that has nothing to do with winning and losing at the gambling challenge. Seriously, this is a league where you can have a contender based on a future Hall of Fame quarterback, 6 other guys who don’t suck, and 46 guys who should be loading trucks at UPS. You have a league where the referees can’t figure out the fucking rules, and even if they did, they blow more calls than a Wal-Mart flip phone. And if that weren’t enough, now you have Will Smith making an anti-football movie featuring him doing dialog as Kamala, the Ugandan Giant.
Having said all that, I’m no quitter, so even though this league is now more painful to watch than drinking a gallon of gasoline and firing a flare gun up my own ass, I’ll keep burning my cash on it.
Christmas Eve: San Diego Chargers (4-10) +5 at Oakland Raiders (6-8) (47)
Nothing says Christmas Eve like plenty of public violence. For years and years, fans from Oakland and San Diego have gotten together around the holidays to stab each other with projectiles, and occasionally enjoy a touchdown or two. But as of late, the second one hasn’t been happening very much. As we all know by now, if you’re looking for red zone efficiency the AFC West probably isn’t a great place to start. Oakland is kind of in that same area that Minnesota was in last year – they appear to have found their guy at quarterback, but their schedule has been very unforgiving at times and they’ve lost a lot of close games. They’ll be good next year although they still won’t be elite, and San Diego couldn’t possibly be headed in more of the opposite direction. I know everybody’s all watery-eyed after they won what will probably be their last game in that stadium, but it’s not just the building that’s falling apart down there. Rivers has been there for over a decade and simply put, he’s just not a winner. I saw the dumbest article title on ESPN about him the other day, and if you’d like to read it click here. If you haven’t died laughing yet, we were just getting to the part about how that team is about to be blown up and pieced out. You won’t see the Chargers in the playoffs for the rest of the decade, and get ready for them to be the new team everyone references when they talk about the bottom of the barrel. It’s them and Tennessee, and thank God we don’t have to watch that match-up this year. Oakland covers and I’m guessing there’s long underwear in that box you’re about to open up. I couldn’t give a shit about the point total in this one so let’s just say it’s spot on.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Raiders 27, Chargers 20
J-Dub: $100 on Oakland
Jason from Indiana: Oakland
Saturday Night Game: Washington Redskins (7-7) +3 at Philadelphia Eagles (6-8) (47.5)
Not to take anything away from David Johnson, but if some kid from Clinton, Iowa can run all over your defensive line to the tune of 187 yards, you might be every bit as bad as Dubs and I have been suggesting all year long. Coming off of a pummeling at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night, the Eagles have their backs to the wall in a must-win game in a building where their own fans are sick of their shit. I am still blown away that this team gave up Nick Foles for a guy even more mediocre, and I’m surprised Sam Bradford hasn’t been beaten to death with an empty bottle of gin by one of Philadelphia’s more sober residents. I will give the Redskins this: Kirk Cousins has done a hell of a job getting everybody on that sideline jacked as hell to win some games. To be brutally honest, I didn’t think the kid had it in him and I was dead wrong. I have a feeling he could be in for the game of his career, because Philly’s defense can’t really handle anyone right now so I’m taking Washington here. I like them to make it messy too. 47.5 seems a little low, so take the over for certain as I love it. But here again, even as a Giants fan that needs the Eagles to win I can’t get excited about this one. If the Redskins put up 50 points, then it’s time to give it another look but for the meantime this one is just sad.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Redskins 37, Eagles 24
J-Dub: Trap Game of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Philadelphia
Dallas Cowboys (4-10) +7 at Buffalo Bills (6-8) (42.5)
Remember Super Bowl XXVII? Yeah, neither do I. Out of all of the Super Bowls I don’t recall much of, that one is definitely up there. This year the Cowboys were supposed to be the darling of the National Football Conference but due to Romo’s injury they’ve ended up being the laughingstock of the NFC East. The Bills had a shot up until a couple of weeks ago when the field (KC, PIT, and NYJ) made a push and rendered their efforts useless. Now the whole thing is pointless and there’s now sense even worrying about this game. I’ve about had my fill of Rex Ryan talk for one season…it’s not even funny to bag on the guy any more because he’s done such a poor job against good teams. But for shits and giggles – and because I can – I’m saying the Bills win the game but don’t cover the spread. That doesn’t mean things aren’t awful in Big D, because they are…You know Dallas has seen better days when Jason is taking the Bills. Good Lord. Total too close to call.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Bills 24, Cowboys 21
J-Dub: $50 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: Buffalo
Cleveland Browns (3-11) +13.5 at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) (43)
It’s kind of amusing that the Cleveland Browns are tied for last place in the league with the Tennessee Titans, especially after all of the media’s hype surrounding a guy whose NFL career will be over next Monday. Kansas City might be the best story in the NFL this season. They’ve now won eight in a row, and I’d be willing to bet Andy Reid gives less than a shit about what you think about Alex Smith as a “game manager”. But hear me out: Taking them to cover a spread this large is just way to much for me to handle. I get it – the Browns are bad and KC is on a roll – but there is no way the Chiefs cover any thirteen and a half point spread from here on out, I don’t care who it is. There is just no way. They may have beaten San Diego by 27, but the Chargers aren’t a real thing and we’ve discussed that already. Don’t be stupid with your money and take the points. Over is probably a solid bet on the total, though.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Chiefs 26, Browns 19
J-Dub: $50 on the Over
Jason from Indiana: Kansas City
Carolina Panthers (14-0) -7.5 at Atlanta Falcons (7-7) (47.5)
Atlanta has been skating along and staying in the playoff hunt because teams such as Tampa and Chicago have failed to perform in the last month of the season. That’s literally the only reason. I have a feeling they are in for a beatdown when the undefeated Panthers come to town, but slow your roll on that one for a second: Out of all of the games to throw down on this week, this is by far the most intriguing. Carolina still hasn’t lost, but the New Orleans and New York games were proof that bad teams are beginning to get on their heels late in games. The Panthers could very easily let this spread get away from them and still get you your payout if you took the points, but I just can’t bring myself to put much faith in a team who has lost eight out of their last ten games. I’ll give you Carolina by ten but I’m not going any higher than that, and for some reason I have a feeling that the under here could be a solid bet. This could be a real shitty game, and it will be interesting to see what Josh Norman has to say during plays…
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Panthers 27, Falcons 17
J-Dub: $100 on Carolina
Jason from Indiana: Carolina
Chicago Bears (5-9) +3 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) (45.5)
Both of these teams are out of the playoff race, so it doesn’t really matter who wins this game. If I were Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, I’d figuratively pour Jameis Winston a glass full of gin and hand him the keys to the car if you know what I mean. I’d let him air it out maybe 45 to 50 times in this one and see what he can do in a meaningless game. It’s not going to tell you anything about his risk management skills, but it will let you know if you’ve found the right guy for the job. I actually love Tampa to cover here, the Bears have been extremely streaky and they’ve shown even less strokes of brilliance this year. They have nothing to play for so Cutler might actually bring it, but I doubt it. I actually love the over here because neither one of these defenses have lived up to what little expectations have been set for them.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Bears 22
J-Dub: $50 on Chicago
Jason from Indiana: Tampa Bay
San Francisco 49ers (4-10) +10 at Detroit Lions (5-9) (43)
If you thought the Tampa/Chicago game was going to boring, hoooooooooly shit do I have some bad news for you: This game will be even worse. Both of these teams were expected to be in the postseason by several different writers, and none of us should have trusted either of them. The Lions were a garbage fire waiting to happen after they lost Suh, and the Niners…Well, let’s just say they have so many problems it’s going to be hard to zero in on where to rebuild. And that’s likely what they’ll do, after they realize they are going to have to swallow that ridiculous contract they gave Colin Kaepernick when he ended up one play short of winning the Super Bowl. I don’t really have much to say here, other than the fact that I love the under (who wouldn’t) and if for some reason you do have to watch this one make sure you have plenty of water handy. Detroit wins, take the points.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Lions 14, 49ers 6
J-Dub: Disaster of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Detroit
Houston Texans (7-7) NO LINE at Tennessee Titans (3-11) (N/A)
Well, at the moment the Texans are exactly where I want them: First place in a very bad division, ahead of the Colts, and faced with a paper mache football team in the Titans who’ve won only one home game by three points. I fucking love it. No line on this one is interesting…Because I’m not really that sure it matters who starts for Houston. We’re not talking about a seven point swing here, it’s the Titans. Their offense is going to get eaten alive no matter what, and the Texans aren’t hanging 40 on anybody. I would set this at at least +6 and 48, and if that was the case I’m take Houston to cover and the under. It’s take the under if it was 39.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Texans 26, Titans 12
J-Dub: $50 on Houston
Jason from Indiana: Houston
Indianapolis Colts (6-8) NO LINE at Miami Dolphins (5-9) (N/A)
Now here’s a game I won’t be around for. I can’t think of a more embarrassing way to follow up a loss to the Giants on Monday Night Football than getting fucking shelled by the Chargers in a game that they should have easily won if Ryan Tannehill was actually an NFL quarterback. Miami is pathetic this year. They were the first to can their coach and almost nobody noticed. They handed the interim job to their tight end coach – something which never happens – and somehow they are even worse off for wear. That being said, I’m sure everybody on this panel is going to be the biggest Dolphins fans in the country this weekend because you’re just simply not going to find three guys who hate the Colts more than myself, Dubs, and Jason. Irsay has to be furious with the fact that the Colts could be out of the playoff hunt by Sunday night even though a 40 year old quarterback won his first three starts. If that happens, I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked to see Pagano gone Monday morning, just as a message to the next guy coming in that from this point forward, Opium Jimmy isn’t fucking around. But even with as much hatred for the Colts as I hold in my heart, the Dolphins are in such bad shape I actually think Indy will win this game even though it’s a road matchup. Barely. I didn’t say it would be fun to watch, though. I think this one will come down to a two-point conversion which Miami will blow, and then Ryan Tannehill will turn to the camera and shrug his shoulders as if that was the plan all along.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Colts 17, Dolphins 15
J-Dub: Dog of the Week
Jason from Indiana: Miami
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9) +3.5 at New Orleans Saints (5-9) (52)
Technically the Jaguars are still in the playoff picture as they could still win the AFC Slouch, but that’s like saying Rick Santorum has a chance at being on the podium once half of these assbags drop out of the presidential race. Possible, but not probable. The other guys are split here, but I’m not. I’d like to see Jacksonville go in there and destroy the Saints…just blow them to shreds. That won’t happen, but I’d love to see them win New Orleans and get some momentum back heading into next year. I don’t really care what happens to the Saints, and I’ll take the Jaguars here for the win. 52 seems a little high but I get it, but I will still take the under here.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Jacksonville 26, Saints 24
J-Dub: $25 on Jacksonville, $25 on the Under
Jason from Indiana: New Orleans
New England Patriots (12-2) -3 at New York Jets (9-5) (45.5)
Memo to New York Jets: This is your chance to prove that you are for real. If you are anywhere near the team that Fireman Ed and his merry band of lunatic Jets fans say you are, and if you really believe that your 9-5 record isn’t just a happy accident…This better be the moment you prove it. Get wiped off of the map by Tom Terrific again, and you’re right back down there with a host of other teams in the AFC that didn’t make the postseason as far as I’m concerned. New York actually has a chance here, and if the Eagles can take out New England the Jets definitely have a shot. But the Patriots are as healthy as they can be given all of the injuries they’ve had, so I like them to cover here but it won’t be pretty. If the Jets do get in I’d at least like to see them take out a team like Cincinnati or Denver, otherwise I’ll kind of feel like this whole thing was a trick. I love the over here, this one could be kind of high scoring. Still not buying New York’s defense as “shutdown” by any means, and if this one is a race to 35 you know Brady isn’t going to lose that one twice in the same year.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Patriots 35, Jets 26
J-Dub: $50 on NY Jets
Jason from Indiana: New England
Green Bay Packers (9-4) +4.5 at Arizona Cardinals (12-2) (49.5)
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth once famously said “Hindsight is always 20/20, but lookin’ back it’s still a bit fuzzy…” I could only imagine that’s probably what Bruce Arians was thinking as Tyrann Mathieu went down with that ACL injury when the game was essentially out of reach for a bad Eagles team, losing him for the foreseeable future. There are going to be all sorts of people who will criticize Arians and say “Why the fuck was he still in the game?” Although I will agree that is a fantastic question, what you have to understand is that in football sometimes these things happen. And for a guy who flies all around the field at top speed, it’s kind of incredible he didn’t suffer that injury already this year. But man, this is a devastating blow for the Cardinals. I could kind of tell when the rest of their secondary rushed over there that shit had gotten real, and this is going to be a tough one for Arizona to overcome as that kid is massively talented. It might just be the break that Aaron Rodgers is looking for in order to beat a team that is actually upper echelon – something that hasn’t been a regular occurrence on that fruitcake schedule of theirs over the past month. But hold your horses, the Cardinals have a solid running back that looked great against Philly last week in David Johnson. And unless I missed something, the Packers’ defensive line and linebacking corps isn’t exactly chock full of Pro Bowlers either…so this might end up being a fantastic display of offensive expenditure with Mathieu out. Cardinals win but they don’t cover in what promises to be an awesome game. Take the over. If there’s a way over, take that too. Whoever decided to flex that MIN/NYG over this one should never work another day outside of a Dollar General for the rest of their life.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Cardinals 34, Packers 31
J-Dub: $100 on Arizona
Jason from Indiana: Arizona
St. Louis Rams (6-8) +14.5 at Seattle Seahawks (8-5) (40.5)
I read an interesting article on FOX Sports a week or so back which suggested Seattle’s slow start may end up dooming them in the end because they will most likely have to win every playoff game on the road in order to make it to Santa Clara. The casual fan in me understands the premise for writing the piece, but the die hard football fan that lives under this sad sack of skin that need to lose about 30 pounds to get back to fucking weight says “Good, now finally we’ll get to see it…”. I want to see Seattle become less dependent on their home stadium and the noise that emanates from it as if Kanye West was being publicly executed by firing squad, every gunman had live bullets, and they were all expert marksmen that were aiming for his head. It’s time for them to turn into the complete team they looked like last year up until the dumbest play call in Super Bowl history, and if they have to play every single one of their playoff games on the road to get there again you’re not going see a single tear stream down my face in the process. The Rams are a hurricane on fire, and if Jeff Fisher gets to keep his job after all of this nonsense I officially don’t understand how any front office in the league works. Alright Seattle, I’m taking you to cover and we’d better see more of that offense. Make it happen. Avoid the total here because St. Louis could very easily do nothing. If you want it that bad, I guess take the under.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Seahawks 25, Rams 8
J-Dub: $50 on Seattle
Jason from Indiana: Seattle
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) -11.5 at Baltimore Ravens (4-10) (47.5)
You have to really hand it to Pittsburgh for stepping up and sticking it to the Broncos in a game that they could have very easily lost. I don’t have to give Baltimore credit for anything in 2015, because even when they had their Super Bowl winning quarterback they still weren’t doing anything correctly and this game is going to blow up in their face. Usually no matter who is and isn’t hurt these ones are very close, but in this case it’s going to be all Steelers. I like Pittsburgh to go apeshit in this one, scoring early and often. The over also looks delicious.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Steelers 34, Ravens 17
J-Dub: $50 on Pittsburgh
Jason from Indiana: Pittsburgh
New York Giants (6-8) +5.5 at Minnesota Vikings (9-5) (45.5)
The New York Giants gave Carolina run for their money last week, but fell short and kept the Panthers from covering the spread. This dropped them to 6-8, although I must say as a fan it feels a whole lot more like 4-10 for me. They’re effectively out of the playoff race, unless the Eagles beat Washington and then both of those teams spontaneously combust in the parking lot after the game. The Vikings are in a weird spot…over the past two months their only legitimate victory came against the Chiefs, and they only scored sixteen points against a team that has ended up winning every game since. Other than that when a team who is the truth come strolling through town, they tend to slit their own throat before jumping off of the balcony. (Case in point, their 38-7 loss to the Seahawks…) Thankfully for them they won’t have to worry about how they fare against teams who are top-tier, because the Giants are hardly that and will be missing their star WR. I look for Big Blue to either eat shit in the first half and not do anything productive only to race back and fall short at the end, (see Carolina last week) or come out swinging and then completely forget what the shape of a football looks like in the 4th quarter as Tom Coughlin’s face yet again turns into a huge strawberry. Believe it or not I could actually see the Giants ground game being strong here and them actually pull off the win, but not nearly as much as I can see everything I’ve already seen out of that failure of a team up until this point. Five and a half? I’ve never felt any more sure about a team covering the spread in my life. Take the over the Giants are a mess on defense.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Vikings 37, Giants 24
J-Dub: $50 on NY Giants
Jason from Indiana: Minnesota
Cincinnati Bengals (11-3) +3.5 at Denver Broncos (10-4) (40.5)
Funny how a couple months back this was fixing to be a great game until both starting quarterbacks were put out to pasture. If the Broncos aren’t careful, they’re gonna fuck around and throw away the AFC West just like they threw away that game against Pittsburgh late in the fourth quarter this past week. They had that game in the bag and the way they choked it away, it was almost hard to believe Manning didn’t even play. AJ McCarron is going to make some mistakes in this one, and the game itself will likely depend on how he’s able to minimize the number of those errors. I think in the end Denver’s defense will be too much, and even though it’s low I like the under here and the Broncos barely cover.
Eight Thirty Seven’s Prediction: Broncos 20, Bengals 16
J-Dub: Lock of the Week – $200 on Denver
Jason from Indiana: Denver
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Eight Thirty Seven