Welcome back, football fans, to our quasi-professional football picks! Each week we will pick game winners based on Vegas over/under lines, and add some the greatest preview commentary in the world! That’s right, ESPN, we said it.
Our token Brit Rob Wheatley is back at the top of the leader-board, and everyone else is finally above .500 going into Week 13. Well, almost everyone else.
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
LINE: Falcons by 4
The Saints are giving the NFL a serious case of blue balls. They show up early in the season as an easy mark, the type of girl (err, team) that anybody can score with (err, on). Then, after taking it in the can four times in a row, they decided to fend off 5 of the next 6 teams (the lone exception being the Peyton Manning-led Broncos, and who wouldn’t give it up for him?). Then, when the entire world was starting to believe that maybe the Saints had found their way, they let the 49ers have their way with them. Expect Matt Ryan to strap it on and give the Saints what’s coming to them (if he can get Rich Eisen off his jock long enough to do so). The Falcons should win easily, continuing their run towards a “impressive regular season, first-game drubbing in the playoffs” finish.
Rob Wheatley: Falcons-WIN
Steve Elle: Falcons-WIN
Evil Peyton Manning: Saints-LOSS
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills
LINE: Bills by 6
Evil Peyton Manning:
Last week, the Jaguars took a step back from their NFL draft lead by defeating another team in NFL limbo in the Titans. Maybe this is Jacksonville’s way of saying, “Hey, really, we’re fine at quarterback.” Chad Henne has done a great job, considering this is his first season in the NFL where he’s thrown more touchdowns than interceptions, but there’s still a few games to go. Meanwhile, the Bills…well, the Bills are at that lovely point in the season where wins only get you pride and a lower draft pick.
Rob Wheatley: Jaguars-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Jaguars-LOSS
Steve Elle: Jaguars-LOSS
Seattle Seahawks @ Chicago Bears
LINE: Bears by 4
If a Seahawk really battled a Bear who would win? How would it go down? In the unlikely scenario that a bear somehow found its way to the shore on the west coast of Washington near the PCH and a Seahawk indiscriminately assaulted him (I’m assuming this is a male bear, though there are apparently some female bears that have been discovered) how would he respond? Well, if he caught him I think he’d eat him (yes, I’m also assuming a male hawk). What does this have to do with the game? Not much, but I do think the Bears will eat…er, defeat the Seahawks Sunday for what it’s worth.
Rob Wheatley: Bears-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Seahawks-WIN
Evil Peyton Manning: Bears-LOSS
Indianapolis Colts @ Detroit Lions
LINE: Lions by 5
The Colts are hanging on to a playoff chance while the Lions are slipping down the ladder of the NFC North. I think the Lions will prevail at home. Why? Three words: Calvin Johnson. And while the Colts will hope to counter with some words of their own with Lucky Charms mascot, the Amish Attitude, AKA: Andrew Luck at the helm, I think they will fall short.
Rob Wheatley: Lions-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Colts-WIN
Evil Peyton Manning: Colts-WIN
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
LINE: Bengals by 10
Evil Peyton Manning:
The battle for second place of the NFC North continues with two teams that have been giving both fans and analysts headaches. On one side are the Vikings, who seem to win games based on looking at their schedule and using the “eenie meenie miney mo” game plan. On the other side, we have a banged up Packers defense making games look like playoff tests. Yes, that’s what some Packers fans are saying as an excuse these days.
Rob Wheatley: Packers-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Packers-LOSS
Steve Elle: Packers-LOSS
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
LINE: Texans by 6
Texans QB Matt Schaub is expected to be fine, following an “oops, I didn’t mean to kick you in the balls” move from Ndamukong “Oops, I didn’t mean to stomp you on the arm” Suh last week. Meanwhile, JJ Watt continues to put on a clinic on how to play defensive line without maiming people with your cleats, throwing up crazy stats on sacks, passes deflected, and quarterbacks soiling themselves. On the other side of the field, I guess the Titans are still a team or something.
Rob Wheatley: Texans-WIN
Steve Elle: Texans-WIN
Evil Peyton Manning: Texans-WIN
Carolina Panthers @ Kansas City Chiefs
LINE: Panthers by 3
The Panthers are arguably the worst team in the NFC. Their quarterback is in the worst sophomore slump this side of The Walking Dead (which incidentally is the new nickname for their running game). Their biggest receiving threat is 5’2″ and 60 years old. Their defensive roster is composed of guys you couldn’t pick out of a lineup, but probably would need to if you were looking to find the guy who robbed the 7-11. And of course, they are three-point favorites against the Chiefs. In Arrowhead Stadium. Last week’s Chiefs game was so bad that professional fumbler Peyton Hillis was asked to throw the football. It went about as well as you’d expect. With any luck, you won’t have to watch this game on TV. With better luck, they won’t even mention it during highlight shows. If there are highlights, it will be of Chiefs turnovers and Cam Newton doing his Superman routine during a meaningless touchdown late in the game.
Rob Wheatley: Panthers-LOSS
Steve Elle: Panthers-LOSS
Evil Peyton Manning: Panthers-LOSS
San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams
LINE: 49ers by 7
Evil Peyton Manning:
I’m not sure if Jim Harbaugh’s medical procedure was due to a heart issue or a brain issue. Apparently, he didn’t see what even a sliver of quarterback controversy can do in the media when the Jets went and got Tim Tebow. Now he’s going halfway into prep weeks, at a minimum, without allowing anyone to know who the 49ers starting quarterback is, including players. I’m not sure if this is to make sure that Alex Smith doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel like he didn’t do last season, or this is “Joe Montana vs. Steve Young” all over again, but, at the very least, it’s getting other teams excited about the idea of Alex Smith being on the market.
Rob Wheatley: 49ers-LOSS
Darby Shaw: 49ers-LOSS
Steve Elle: 49ers-LOSS
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
LINE: Patriots by 9
The Dolphins have ‘legitimately’ sold out Sun Beam Stadium (or whatever it’s called) for Sunday’s game against the Pats. I invite you to consider the possible reasons why it sold out. Is it a) because the Dolphins are a really good, entertaining team and generally sell out all their games? B) Because Sun Shine Stadium has free Wi-Fi and is a good place to follow your fantasy players? C) Because Gloria Estefan is going to be at the game? D) All the above? Well, that’s a trick question. The reason the game sold out is because there are a lot of people, non Dolphin fans by the way, from the northeast that reside on south Florida in the winter. They are going to this game, hence the sellout.
Rob Wheatley: Patriots-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Patriots-LOSS
Evil Peyton Manning: Patriots-LOSS
Arizona Cardinals @ New York Jets
LINE: Jets by 5
Evil Peyton Manning:
I’ve seen some hilarious things in football games. I’ve seen quarterbacks run screaming from linebackers and hide behind referees and wide receivers get quarterbacks so pissed from dropped passes that their first catch happens because the QB drilled the ball into the receiver’s face mask. I’ve seen players sing and dance entire Broadway musical feature songs after scoring touchdowns, and I’ve seen a quarterback run into his lineman’s ass. Unfortunately, only one of those events wasn’t from a movie. That one event was from Thanksgiving’s Jets game and it looked more like a sports comedy than an NFL game.
Rob Wheatley: Jets-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Cardinals-WIN
Steve Elle: Jets-LOSS
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos
LINE: Broncos by 7
Bucs versus Broncos in Mile High, eh? With Peyton Manning at QB? With essentially no CB’s with significant NFL experience? And the Broncos are only getting 7 points? Now why is that? I’ll tell you why. Because $hit happens. Matt Ryan threw 5 interceptions 2 weeks ago; Drew Brees did the same on Thursday. Will Peyton Manning throw 5 INT’s against the Bucs? It’s unlikely, but you never know. Doug Martin, the Bucs new phenom at RB is used to playing at altitude. He’ll look for a bounce back game. Vincent Jackson has played the Broncos every year of his career. So here’s hoping that a mad Denver teams tries to stick it to the Bucs victory formation at the end of the game, as illogical as that seems.
Rob Wheatley: Broncos-WIN
Darby Shaw: Buccaneers-LOSS
Evil Peyton Manning: Buccaneers-LOSS
Cleveland Browns @ Oakland Raiders
LINE: Raiders by 2
Somewhere deep within the NFL rulebook is hidden the following codicil: “Any veteran free agent who joins the team known as the Raiders, no matter what city they’re playing in, must grow terrible facial hair and offer an on-field performance at least 20% worse than they are capable of.” Carson Palmer, ever the over-achiever, has taken this rule to heart, attempting to rival Randy Moss’ “evil twin” stubble and lackluster play (the standard by which all crappy Raiders should be measured). Meanwhile, the Browns are on a six-game winning streak. Okay, technically they’ve won three games against second-tier teams, and lost three games by relatively decent margins; in Cleveland, that counts as six wins. Cleveland should roll in Oakland, then maybe just stay there because why the hell would you come back to Ohio?
Rob Wheatley: Raiders-LOSS
Steve Elle: Browns-WIN
Evil Peyton Manning: Browns-WIN
Cincinnati Bengals @ San Diego Chargers
LINE: Bengals by 1
Evil Peyton Manning:
It seems that the Norv Turner stock watch is now a reality, as real sports analysts are starting to refer to Turner’s impending doom as the Chargers’ head coach as much as regular fans cracking jokes. It makes sense, since Norv should obviously be the scape-goat as management slowly dismantles his team and leaves Phillip Rivers throwing to the towel boy by accident. The Bengals, meanwhile, are trying to finish the season strong, if only to dash their fans’ dreams in the playoffs again.
Rob Wheatley: Bengals-WIN
Darby Shaw: Chargers-LOSS
Steve Elle: Chargers-LOSS
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
I don’t know if ready to play after hurting him widdle ewbow, or if he’s going to be tired from staying up all night with his baby’s nanny, shagging her rotten. But I know that Chaz Batch and Byron Leftwich, between them, don’t have enough arm to complete a pass beyond twenty yards. So if Ben doesn’t get his shit together and play, the Steelers are going to have a lot of time to work on their golf games this off-season. Meanwhile, the standard for manliness (and getting away with manslaughter), Ray Lewis, is attempting to come back to play in the regular season after, I don’t know, tearing his own arm off or something. I hope he doesn’t, because so far this season the best thing he’s done is make those Madden 13 commercials with Paul Rudd. Also, I’m boggled that the spread on this game is even, the Vegas equivalent of throwing one’s hands up in the air and saying “Fuck if I know.” If the Ravens can’t get listed as the favorite after the past two Steelers’ games, they’re in trouble.
Rob Wheatley: Steelers-WIN
Steve Elle: Ravens-LOSS
Evil Peyton Manning: Ravens-LOSS
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
LINE: Cowboys by 10
They’re still playing this game? If the NFL can elevate certain games to prime time due to relevance, certainly it can also drop some due to the same. Alas… so here we have Nick Foles against the Romosexual. Yippee. That means there will be nearly 100,000 bored fans at Jerry’s palace. The Cowboys have proven that there is no home field advantage at their new digs. There is also no enticement with this game. So instead of trying to come up with something snappy I will just say that I am glad I won’t be watching this game.
Rob Wheatley: Cowboys-LOSS
Darby Shaw: Eagles-WIN
Evil Peyton Manning: Cowboys-LOSS
Monday, December 3rd, 2012
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
LINE: Giants by 3
Evil Peyton Manning:
While the Giants may have defeated an injury-ridden Packers team last week, they did the almost impossible and had a winning record through November, and that should count for something. Oh, they’re 1-2 with one game left? Well, it’s still an improvement if they win this game. Unfortunately, it’s against this year’s America’s Sweetheart RG3 and the Washington Redskins, who are legitimately in the playoff hunt for the first time since 2007. That should count for something.
Rob Wheatley: Redskins-WIN
Darby Shaw: Redskins-WIN
Steve Elle: Giants-LOSS
Rob Wheatley: 98-93
Darby Shaw: 97-94
Steve Elle: 95-96
Evil Peyton Manning: 91-100