Wednesday, October 1, 2014

week 5 picks

Last week:
5-8 ATS
6-7 straight up
5-8 over/unders

24-37 ATS (39%)
30-31 straight up (49%)
33-28 over/unders (54%)

Let's be honest, there's no way to pick the games above .500 against the spread when you can't even pick the games .500 straight up.  And this season, with about five inexplicable upsets every week, it's like trying to guess heads or tails.  Completely pointless.

The Cowboys beating the Saints by 21?
Minnesota stomping an Atlanta team that just racked up 56 points on Tampa, while Tampa meanwhile goes to Pittsburgh and trashes them?
Eli Piece of Shit Manning scoring 45 points and a near-perfect QB rating?

It's all just nonsense.

There are 5, and only 5, constants in the NFL right now.  Here they are:
1) Seattle is good
2) Denver is good (as long as Peyton doesn't get hurt)
3) Andrew Luck is good
4) Jacksonville sucks
5) Oakland sucks

These five truths are undeniable from week to week and will remain.

Nothing else in the NFL makes one bit of sense.  Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees have lost all reliability.  Conversely, guys like Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick might just put up 7 TDs next week.  No one knows what defenses are good, what offensive lines are good, what running backs or receivers will produce from week to week. Absolutely nobody knows anything.  LeSean McCoy has 4 fantasy points in the last 2 weeks. Combined.  Adrian Peterson is done as a Viking forever.  DeMarco Murray, currently putting up vintage AP numbers, could easily put up 32 yards on 22 carries next week.  No one knows.

So what the hell.  Here are my worthless week 5 picks:

Vikings (2-2) @ Packers (2-2)
Predicted Line: GB by 7.5

Actual Line: GB by 8.5

You know the NFL is screwed up when these teams have the same record and AP is closer to going to prison than playing for the Vikings.  No reason to think Teddy Bridgewater (or Christian Ponder potentially) and Matt Asiata will be any match for the Lambeau crowd.  Rodgers might be finally rolling.  Pack 34-13.
(Under 48)

Bills (2-2) @ Lions (3-1)
Predicted Line:  DET by 6

Actual Line: DET by 7 

Ah yes, the Jim Schwartz Bowl!

The big story this week of course was the benching of former 1st round pick EJ Manuel and the promotion of neckbearded Kyle Orton to lead the Bills.  This probably means a safer, more steady offense, and a heavy dose of CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson.  It also means less athleticism and less arm strength, which ideally means less chance of Sammy Watkins burning the still-yet-to-be-exposed crappy Lions secondary.

Speaking of which ...

Darius Slay is honestly not bad.  I'm just saying.  He looks like the best corner Detroit has had in 10 years.  I hope I am not speaking too soon.

And I like Detroit's safeties right now.  They can tackle and they haven't made mental mistakes, being out of position, committing unnecessary interference penalties.  Considering I've yet to see Jim Caldwell make a facial expression or speak a single word during a game, I guess I have to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's instilling discipline into the defensive players.  Overall tackling is the best its been since the early 90s.

No doubt, we'll miss Stephen Tulloch over the course of the season.  But DeAndre Levy is well on his way to a Pro Bowl season, which should be his second consecutive if it wasn't all a garbage popularity contest.

So, if Detroit's front 7 can contain the running game, make big stops on 3rd downs, and force Orton to beat them with his arm, they'll have a great chance to be 4-1 and avenge Jim Skunkhair Schwartz for all his fiendishness and crappy coaching.  But that's a big if.   Chris Ivory ran all over Detroit in the 1st half last week, and if the Jets stuck to the run they might've ended up with the win.  So we will see.  It would be nice to see Suh do something vicious to Orton in this game; he is overdue for a signature Suh play.

On the flip side of the ball, Detroit's offense will hopefully take advantage of Schwartz's hubris and idiotic "wide 9." Run right at their linebackers, catch the DEs in overpursuit, and use the tight ends in the middle of the field.  Feature Golden Tate out of the slot until they can stop him.  If any team knows the blueprint for how to beat a Jim Schwartz defense it should be Detroit.  And if Calvin is back to full health, then this game should be no contest.

Normally, I would say I'm against picking Detroit as a large favorite unless the opponent is completely incompetent, which Buffalo is not.  But this season feels different.  Honestly.

I see something different in Matt Stafford.  He seems to have grown up, to have moved from 'trying to look cool' to just playing to win.  He's no longer trying to fake the intangibles; he genuinely seems to be displaying them.  His poise in the pocket still isn't good, but it's kind of adorable in a messy way.  His footwork is bad, but he compensates in other ways.  He still makes bonehead decisions, especially on 3rd down, and throws the ball away before he needs to.  But to me, he's a different quarterback this year.

I'm not sure if Joe Lombardi or Jim Caldwell should get the credit for this apparent transformation.  I would just give the credit to Stafford himself for growing up.  Either way, I think this week is a big opportunity to make a statement that these are not going to be the 'same old Lions.'

Detroit 27-16.
(Under 43.5)

Bears (2-2) @ Panthers (2-2)
Predicted Line: CAR by 3

Actual Line: CAR by 2.5

I am incapable of picking Bears games correctly. Just when I think Jay Cutler has stopped sucking, he sucks worse than ever.  Also, I can't stand Cam Newton.  Better just stay away from this game.
Panthers 26-24.
(Over 46)

Browns (1-2) @ Titans (1-3)
Predicted Line:  TEN by 3

Actual Line:  TEN by 1 

No idea. Let's just take the home team and move on. Titans 23-20.
(Under 44)

Rams (1-2) @ Eagles (3-1)
Predicted Line: PHI by 8.5

Actual Line:  PHI by 7 

Sure looks like a blowout on paper.  But I don't fully trust Philly yet, especially their defense.  Eagles 27-23.
(Over 48)

Falcons (2-2) @ Giants (2-2)
Predicted Line: ATL by 1

Actual Line: NYG by 4.5

Nope, no way I'm falling for the Giants in any way, shape or form.  Falcons 28-13.
(Under 50.5)

Bucs (1-3) @ Saints (1-3) 
Predicted Line: NO by 12
Actual Line: NO by 10 

The Saints' 1-3 record is misleading; they are 0-3 on the road, and really should have won 2 of those games.  They'll continue to be unstoppable at home.  Tampa just doesn't match up.  New Orleans 44-17.
(Over 48.5)

Texans (3-1) @ Cowboys (2-2)
Predicted Line: DAL by 2

Actual Line: DAL by 6

What a stupid line. These are still the same Cowboys.  Houston 24-18.
(Over 46.5)

Ravens (3-1) @ Colts (2-2)
Predicted Line: IND by 4.5

Actual Line: IND by 3.5

I will say Colts by 3, 24-21.
(Under 49) to come later ...

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