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Down By Contact #2: The Fun and Games

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The late week edition of Down By Contact will focus on the fans, and how they can be interactive with the action on Sunday, Monday, and even Thursday. Some people like to do it all, office pools, friendly wagering with friends, betting games against the spread, and of course, the ever-popular game of Fantasy Football.

This week, Jeff Rich welcomes Mike Burgermeister and Tarik Adam, the facilitator and top player in the Cheddar Bay Reality Football Competition, respectively, in the first segment. They preview the prime time and other marquee matchups in the National Football League, and even weigh in on the classic Army-Navy game in the college ranks on Saturday. Then, we shift gears from reality to fantasy, where More Than a Fan guru Alex Squires gives our host a remedial lesson on Fantasy Football, and gives some tips on who to start/who to sit in Week 15.

The Players
Jeff Rich (Host) – @byJeffRich

Mike Burgermeister – @603_brown
Tarik Adam – @ClevTA
Alex Squires – @ASquiresFF

Fire Flames ATS Week 14

So I took a brief hiatus for Thanksgiving last week, but we’re back and ready for the playoff push. This is where the games will be rigged by Goodell and it should be evident. Don’t bet on the better team, bet on what will get the most ratings. That might be the best advice of all time. Welcome.
You know the drill:
Red “mortal locks”
Orange  “confident enough to publicly shame myself if I’m wrong”
Blue “Still making more money betting this way than my investor gets me”
Purple “Picks had to be made dude, don’t blame me, just give me credit if I’m right”
Pittsburgh +3 v Cincinnati
Coin flip game. You never know if the Steelers will play like the Broncos or Jets each week, all we know is they very much have the potential to do either. Gun to head I gotta roll with Pitt after letting one slip through their hands at New Orleans. And frankly the Bengals deserved to lose to Tampa.
Denver -10 v Buffalo
I don’t know how Buffalo has continued to work their magic. I really got nothing. All the facts and eye test tells me Denver should roll this game, but I can’t shake Buffalo’s magic. I’ll take the Broncos in the end but I’m not happy about it. I’d stay away from this one.
Tampa +10 v Detroit
Hate Detroit. Stafford just continues to make terrible decisions trying to squeeze passes into zones where he has no business doing so. Anyone could have beaten Chicago on Turkey day. This game is a dead ringer. Tampa is a team that won’t win very often but will cover spreads a spoil dreams like it’s all they know how to do.
Houston -6.5 v Jacksonville
Jacksonville who? Yeah they beat the Giants but whatever, they were due. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re a downtrodden team with a severe lack of talent. Hell JJ Watt will probably end up playing QB at some point this game, all those damn gimmicks.
 San Francisco -9 v Oakland
Hate this game. San Fran is still a fraud team. But Oakland still looks like a train wreck. I guess you go San Fran because the networks want a close playoff race and you have to beat Oakland by more than 10 if you’re going to be taken seriously.
NYG -1.5 v Tennessee
The Titans are deplorable. It’s sickening to watch them attempt anything with that weak O-line. Can’t pass. Can’t run. Can’t win games. The Giants are awful but there is no way they are that bad. ODB will continue to WOW to the world with those sticky mitts. Let’s hope he can snag a W for the G-men this week.
Atlanta +13 v Green Bay
 Too big a spread. Atlanta has played incredibly better the past few weeks. Also worth noting there’s a good chance it will be snowing so I expect it to be fairly low scoring to the point where Rodgers can’t run up the score too much. Plus one of the last Monday night games of the year, they want it to be close for viewership. Packers will tally another W but Atlanta will keep it around a 10 point differential.
New Orleans -10 v Carolina
Always bet against Carolina these last weeks. Cam Newton is playing terribly through the injuries. It makes way too much sense for them to rest him up this season, so now Carolina is losing all their games and jeopardizing their franchise QB at the same time. Oh and Drew Brees is putting up numbers again. Saints will take another small step to .500 and the division title (as pathetic as that is.)
Minnesota -6 v NYJ
The Jets had a perfect game plan against the Fins. Geno threw the ball like 5 times and just let CJ and Ivory handle everything. Rex couldn’t have come up with a better scheme, and it still failed. Minnesota D will put a hurt on them. Teddy is improving with each game too, they should be a dark horse next season with all their pieces falling into place.
Baltimore +3 v Miami
Miami impressed nobody with that win over the Jets. I love all the hype they were getting a week ago but Baltimore just wants it more. The Ravens need this game for AFC North title hopes. Mark my words they will carve up the dolphins better than any Japanese fisherman and end up taking the North. Long live King of the North!
St Louis -3 v Washington
The Skins still suck. They were destined to have a miserable year ever since the name controversy blew up over the off-season. I love the way St Louis has played over the last three weeks beating Denver (rigged), playing the Chargers close, and annihilating the Raiders. The Rams are a rapidly growing team, and although it’s far too late to make a playoff push they can get the season stats up with garbage games like this one.
Seattle +1 v Philadelphia
Everyone has been saying it, “this isn’t the same Seattle defense we saw the first half, they’re ready to go and getting it done.” And it’s true. You think I’m gambling on Sanchez against the new and improved Robocop defense Seattle is bringing to the table? You’re crazy. This game will be filled with strange scores and plays. I bet the score differential will be something loopy like 2 or 5 instead of a standard 3 or 7.
Indy -4 v Cleveland
187. We got a murder on our hands. Cleveland is a disaster with the QB controversy. Hoyer’s out, Johnny’s in, Hoyer’s in, Johnny’s out. This week will be their ultimate lesson that it is finally Johnny Football time. Luck will drop 330 yards and 3 scores while Hoyer will lay an egg. Double digit game, this might be the lock of the millennium.
Kansas City -1 v Arizona
Hey Arizona, how’s that #1 seed feel right now, cuz you sure won’t be there long. Arizona is jam packed with injuries. They have legit zero chance at winning this. Drew Stanton is struggling, Ellington is banged up, and now the D is getting softer and not causing the turnovers they need. KC’s got it ITB.
New England -4 v San Diego
Slight hiccup against the Pack, whatever. New England is still the cream of the crop. Best there is and best there ever was. Belichick brought the boys to the beach for the whole week so they can get themselves comfortable living like the world champs they will soon be.

Fire Flames ATS Week 12

Once again we’re back and we got a beat on Vegas this time. Last week we barely came out positive with a 7-6 record and 2-1 in mortal locks. Whatever, still in the green. Quote for the week “If I don’t go to work, well, it won’t make much a difference.”

Red will be “mortal locks”
Orange is “confident enough to publicly shame myself if I’m wrong”
Blue is “Still making more money betting this way than my investor gets me”
Purple is “Picks had to be made dude, don’t blame me, just give me credit if I’m right”

Baltimore +3 v New Orleans

Someone in the NFC South has to win, right? I’m still stunned they dropped their last couple games. Maybe the Saints really aren’t a good team but I’ve been betting them every week and will probably keep doing the same regardless. I think the Ravens will be the team to emerge from the AFC North with the crown and this will be a key game for them. So in an effort to fade my usual picks, we’re rolling with the despised Ravens on Monday night.

 Tampa +6 v Chicago

The Bears managed a mediocre win against the Vikings last week after being demolished by the Pack the week before. I had said that the team turned on Trestman and they could be done for the season. I stick with that. Cutty will find himself in a hole early with a couple picks and that will set the tone. Chicago will continue to crumble at the might of the Bucs… Okay well Chicago will crumble to just about any team.

 Indianapolis -14 v Jacksonville

This is another classic case of a team swinging back full steam on the pendulum after getting embarrassed the week before. You don’t get exposed as a non-contender on national television and not come back harder than ever the next week. Although there is a very distinct possibility that Belichick and friends broke the Colts for good.

Houston -1.5 v Cincinnati

I kind of love Cincy here after decapitating the Saints in the Superdome last week. Seriously one of the tougher places to play in the NFL and they weren’t phased at all. Now Gio Bernard is back too. Dangerous. This recipe is so good that I have to fade myself and go Texans. When it is all spelled out in front of you, that is the exact time you go the other way. Texans by a TD.

 San Diego -4.5 v St Louis

Rivers is evidently playing with injured ribs I guess? Okay well maybe I’m being too optimistic here but I don’t see that stopping the Chargers. The Rams have played spoiler to a lot of teams this year (as many as you can with 4 wins) and they’re not that bad a team. What does kill them is Shaun Hill again under center. You can’t win with that. They need to give Davis another shot, but they wont so they’re condemned to lose. Now give me classic bolo tie Rivers again at home and this spread is as good as won.

Dallas -3.5 v NYG

Hey the Giants are still bad huh? All I’m watching this game for is two of the best receivers in the game, Beckham Jr and Dez Bryant. They are a pair of one man highlight reels. Should be a blast watching them but a real struggle watching the rest of the Giants organization this year. The boys will easily take care of the sad blue man group.

 Arizona +7 v Seattle

How and why is Seattle a full touchdown favorite? I get they are reigning champs, they’re a good team, and have crazy home field advantage especially going against Drew Stanton, but 7? Come on. The spread here should be Seattle -2.5 because this has a 3-point game stamped right on it. I’m seeing right through Vegas here. Arizona’s defense is too good to ignore and while they may not have a terrifying offense it will be enough to keep it close. 16-13 final (Hawks win, Cards cover, points under, book it)

 Denver -7 v Miami

Well last week was the money making game for all the game fixers out there. Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders go down and Peyton has less weapons. The Broncos fell on their face and it was a big payday for Goodell and his Vegas associates. Surprise surprise, Sanders and Thomas are healthy again and this team ready to rebound now that they have to relentlessly chase the Pats for playoff home field advantage. Denver gets it done in what should be one of the better games of the week. 31-20 final.

Cleveland +3.5 v Atlanta

After the hiccup against the Texans last week the Browns will hop back on track to contend for the AFC North. Yea Atlanta is coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season and it’ll be in Hotlanta where the Falcons have been playing their best offensively. Don’t care. That’s a non-factor when your defense is still as shred-able as perforated paper and Josh Gordon is back. Celebratory spark up Josh, here we go.

Philadelphia -11 v Tennessee

Tennessee is still a very poor team. There is no reason to believe they can hang with Philly’s high-powered offense. The Titans have only scored 24 or more 3 times this season! Does that sound like a team that can hang with an elite Chip Kelly scheme that is pretty pissed about getting trounced 53-20 last week. Philly on the rebound will manhandle the Titans like the children they are.

Green Bay -10 v Minnesota

Go back to the tape and watch Green Bay murder the Eagles in cold blood. I would be shocked if the Packers don’t continue this warpath to the NFC Championship game by burying Minnesota by 40+ points.

Patriots -7 v Detroit

The Patriots are world beaters. The Lions only have this many wins from gutting out bad games with great defensive play. There is no defense in the galaxy that can hold Brady and my boys back. Stafford actually derives from a Greek root word meaning “to turn the ball over.” (Might want to fact check that one.) The Lions even with a healthy Megatron are just a cute stop along the way to the Super Bowl in Arizona. See ya there!

NYJ +4 v Buffalo

This is an absolute disaster game. The Jets stink. The Bills stink. The new location where the game will be played (Detroit) stinks. There are no winners in this situation. Because of that there is a 100% chance that whichever team you bet on loses. This is a no touch game. You are clinically insane for thinking about betting it. With that said, I love the Jets to steal the most depressing game of the year, it’s their bread and butter.

 Washington +9.5 v San Francisco

Hate the 49ers. I say it just about every week. They are frauds and have zero shot at the playoffs. Nine points is too much to give even against the cringe-worthy Skins. At some point Washington will win again because the league doesn’t want them to be contenders for the first draft pick. Rat line. Can smell it from a mile away.

 

Fire Flames ATS Week 11

Another week is upon us. Last week I was 2-2 with mortal locks. Clearly it all went wrong when I picked 4 mortals as opposed to the usual 3. Well, we’re back to the basics now and ready to roll. And now a short phrase to describe this weeks games: “Without ash to rise from, a Phoenix would only be a bird getting up.”

Red will be “mortal locks”
Orange is “confident enough to publicly shame myself if I’m wrong”
Blue is “Still making more money betting this way than my investor gets me”
Purple is “Picks had to be made dude, don’t blame me, just give me credit if I’m right”

Tampa +7.5 v Washington

Hey nice to see you again, yes I am still a hater of the skins. Couldn’t care less about the team name, I just don’t believe in RGIII or their defense at all. I went to school in Tampa for a year so this pick is for y’all. Go Bucs.

Denver -10 v St Louis

Just like last week this is yet another regular season garbage game for Manning to pad his stats so he can break records. Normally that wouldn’t be my tone with the Rams, but alas, now that Shaun Hill is the starting QB and Austin Davis has been tossed aside like scrap metal I can’t stand by their side. Go ahead Peyton; this is your time. Just remember the deal, you get regular season glory, but the multiple Super Bowl rings are reserved for QBs with ice in their veins like TB12.

San Diego -10.5 v Oakland

Will we see the Phil Rivers from the first third of the season or his Eli impersonation from week 9? Every fiber of me wants to say it’ll be the potential MVP but Oakland did play them tough last time. Ah, screw it. Coming off a bye the Chargers will rip the Raiders arms off like a wookie.

Pittsburgh -6.5 v Tennessee

Well that was a major fluke last week (albeit one we should have seen coming with the Steelers only being favored by 6 against the inept Jets.) New week, new outlook. Tennessee is still trash. I’m not even high on Bishop Sankey anymore. The whole team is sad. Pittsburgh will 100% recover from their turnover woes and right those wrongs. I like Bell to rush for 130 yards and a TD.

Patriots +2.5 v Indianapolis

Both teams are coming off a bye. Both teams are putting up very enjoyable offensive numbers. Both teams have key defensive soft spots. No wonder the total points is set at a steep 58.5. I’ll keep this simple. When Vegas zigs, I zag. Smart money says to go with the over and the Colts. So what’s the clear answer? Patriots and the under. E-Z Mon-Ay.

Houston +3.5 v Cleveland

So uh, um, Cleveland has been awesome. I absolutely did not expect to say that in 2014 without Manziel starting. And now I think I’m about to purchase my ticket for the Browns Bandwagon…so now is a good time to evade the mush by going with Houston. Yeah I haven’t forgotten about this Arian Foster fella. As great as the Browns have been recently you can’t overlook their porous run D. Right now Foster is speculated to be a game time decision but even if he can’t go Alfred Blue ought to plug in nicely.

Seattle +2 v Kansas City

This smells like a trap game, but now I’m second-guessing myself. I’m like a hunting dog that lost the scent and now is frantically sprinting in one direction just hoping I’m right so my owner lets me sit in the front seat on the way back to the house. Moving on, Kam Chancellor is back! This spells bad news for the rest of the league. Unfortunately I don’t see him making any impactful plays this game. Lynch has been the hot hand but I also don’t see him filling the stat sheet with crazy numbers like last week. This will be low scoring (under 42) and without a doubt decided by a Steve Hauschka field goal. Book it.

Minnesota +3.5 v Chicago

The Bears have been so bad over the last two weeks that I’m even blaming them for me getting sick. It has honestly been hard to tell which faction of their team looked worse, their offense or defense. In any event, that is exactly why you might roll with the Bears this week. Minnesota is a better team than most will give them credit for but at some point the Bears will start to play with the talent we know they have, right? Wrong. The team has turned on Marc Trestman. This will be a very long season for the Bears if Trestman remains at the helm.

Green Bay -6.5 v Philadelphia

Numbers. Numbers, numbers, numbers. This game has me salivating with the potential points that will be thrown around. Rodgers is playing as good as anyone in the world right now and the Sanchize looked great in his full game debut. Both teams are stacked with offensive talents. Unlike the Pats Colts game this will be a high scoring bill that lives up to its label. In the end, Rodgers will be too much for Philly to handle and the over (55.5) will be succulent.

Arizona -1 v Detroit

The Cards are undefeated at home (5-0) and Stafford has been shaky for the Lions to say the least. Even without Carson Palmer leading the Cards, the home crowd and defense may be enough to derail the Lions. They are one of the top three teams in forcing turnovers and that will be their bread and butter. Drew Stanton just needs to do his part, make smart quick passes, not turn the ball over, and manage the clock and they will be a shoe in.

Cincinnati +7.5 v New Orleans

The Saints don’t lose at home…except for last week, but screw that. Moneyline Saints is an easy winner, but that’s not the name of the game here. Even with Gio still sitting out with the hip issue, Jeremy Hill should come out the gates hot (as long as we don’t have a repeat of last week’s miserable play calling) and burn em. Cinnci will do all they can to hang around and stir the pot. In the end the Saints will prevail but the Bengals will 2000% cover 7.5.

Atlanta -1 v Carolina

Hahahah the NFC South is still imploding. This is terrific fun to watch all four teams piss all over themselves only to let the Saints take the division by default. Atlanta has gouged me with their no defense approach far too often so why not let the trend continue. Falcons by a TD. Also, good tid-bit here, Cam is clearly playing through an injury and unable to make any electric plays like he should be able to so even with Atlanta’s three man defense I think they can hold Carolina to below 20 and grab a W.

NYG +4.5 v San Fran

The Niners continue to be frauds in the NFL. Also did people just outright forget how good Jennings was before the injury? He should have a time share with Williams but that combo could cause major problems. You also cannot look at ODB’s last three games and not be super impressed. Clearly this dude has hands. He also has great chemistry with Eli and now Patrick Willis is done for the season too? Hurry and jump on this before the line moves! Next stop, the Trump Tower.

 

Fire Flames ATS Week 10

Looking back to last week, the outcomes couldn’t have been better. Virtually all my purple and blue games I got wrong (got screwed by a couple points here and there) but nearly all my orange and red moral locks were on the money. So with no further adieu let’s jump head first into this weeks games.

Red will be “mortal locks”
Orange is “confident enough to publicly shame myself if I’m wrong”
Blue is “Still making more money betting this way than my investor gets me”
Purple is “Picks had to be made dude, don’t blame me, just give me credit if I’m right”

Chicago +7.5 v Green Bay

I wish I had answers here but nobody does. Green Bay is clearly the better team. I don’t have much doubt that they will win this but I’m not particularly fond of the 7.5 points. I could see the Pack winning by 7 but no more. When Chicago and Green Bay clash, yes Green Bay wins, but the games are crazier than the guy who is allowing himself to be eaten alive by an anaconda. Gun to head, gimme da Bears finding some groovy offensive rhythm and covering.

Atlanta -2 v Tampa Bay

Half of me thinks the Bucs are ready to plunder Atlanta with a vengeance after their week 3 monstrosity. Tampa has played two very close games the last two weeks, so maybe they are finally turning the corner. Then again, my other half knows Atlanta has more offensive weapons and almost clawed their way to a win against Detroit in their last game. Coming off a bye I think Atlanta may actually have a game plan and could hold Tampa to under 22 points (they have only held a team to under 22 points once this season and it was against Tampa last time.)

Seattle -9.5 v NYG

Seattle is too good to play down to the Giants level. The G-men have one play-maker, Odell Beckham Jr. That’s it. C’est fini. And playing in Seattle, oh where’s the mercy. This could be a bloodbath, like watching the Lakers play now, it’s depressing. If Lynch doesn’t find the endzone at least twice this game it’s a waste of my time to watch. This shant be close by the second half. Ew New York. Get your shit together.

Baltimore -10 v Tennessee

Baltimore is the far superior team. Their slew of running backs seem to keep doing fairly decent jobs and Flacco is always good for a couple home games each year where he puts up Madden numbers. Tennessee face-planted week two against Dallas and never got up. The Titans are just titanic(ly) bad. 10 points should be doable here.

Oakland +12.5 v Denver

Huge spread. Knee-jerk reaction to it is take Oakland. At home, big spread, probably tons of garbage time points, and Oakland has played semi-close games as of late. Something about the worst team in the league taking on one of the best makes me think it’s meant to be.
PS. Wishful thinking but maybe the Pats broke Denver last week. Crazier things have happened.

Miami +3 v Detroit

Calvin Johnson is finally back and ready to torch defenses. Oh wait, I don’t buy that for a second. It’s his first game back in forever and Stafford has been eh, wishy-washy without him. Normally this wouldn’t be a cause for concern but against the second best pass defense? I don’t like it. I in fact love the way Miami has played and love the notion they are sneaky AFC East contenders (even though we all know that road still runs through NE and that’s not about to change any time soon.)

Dallas -7 v Jacksonville

Wait. A minute ago Dallas was the best team in the NFL (according to some hack analysts) and Jacksonville was at the bottom of the barrel. So what gives with the one TD spread? Shit, I’ll roll the dice on that. It almost seems too good to be true. I guess it’s because the game is in London again and for some forsaken reason the league continues to try to hammer American football down the Brits throats. Anywho, Romo should be back, maybe not 100% but I’d say good enough to handle the Jags. Plus Murray is still the most dangerous back in the league until he goes down right before the playoffs.

St. Louis +7.5 v Arizona

So all we’ve been hearing about the last two weeks is that Arizona has flown under the radar until recently and now we know they are legit contenders. Doesn’t that spell the perfect recipe for a loss? Or at least scraping by with the skin of their teeth. Sure the Rams got inflated stats playing a terrible O-line with San Fran last week and they haven’t looked that impressive but you don’t always need to. Don’t need to play good to win, just need to win. Jeff Fisher has earned my adoration with awesome fourth down plays and bribing refs to beat Seattle. Keep it coming Jeff.

New Orleans -5 v San Fran

Hear that? That’s the sound of the Saints roaring back to gambling relevancy. Winning three of their last four games and still playing undefeated ball at home this team is for real. Jimmy is getting better with each game after returning from his injury and Brees has been as good as ever. Meanwhile the 49ers are playing like sewage waste. Their O-line is laughable, they gave up eight sacks last week, and there is zero indication they will right the ship.

Kansas City -2.5 v Buffalo

Two pretty good defenses going at it in this matchup. Buffalo has been rock solid at stopping the run and KC has been even more dominant with the pass. As much as I love Kyle Orton, he has a better chance growing back his stache by Sunday than winning this one. Buffalo isn’t offensively gifted enough to challenge the Chiefs. It will be a low scoring affair and the difference maker, Charles, will likely be the lone bright star in two mediocre offenses.

Pittsburgh -6 v NYJ

The Jets have only covered a spread once this year. They are 1-8 and have been routed in too many games to be considered capable of keeping this within 6. Pittsburgh has the golden touch on offense at the moment. Ride them while they are burning the world to the ground with insane numbers.

Philadelphia -6 v Carolina

Fear not! The Sanchize is here! Foles went down last week but was he really amazing anyway? Verdict: No. Sanchez will be an apt replacement because all Philly needs is a system QB who can understand the offense and not turn the ball over more than twice a game. Not asking too much. Hell, just dump it to Shady 75% of the time. Carolina’s defense is struggling and sadly that’s not even the worst part of the team. Newton’s lack of pass protection and poor decisions have haunted them this season. Even against a bad pass defense in Philly, I don’t think Cam and company will find their stride and get back to the 2013 versions of themselves.

Photo cred terezowens.com
Photo cred terezowens.com

NFL Against the Spread – Week 4

The mediocrity continues. 7-6-2 last week (I didn’t pick the Colts / Niners game for some reason. I think I would’ve picked San Fran and lost, so good on me for missing it). Some “opportunities for improvement” are coming clear. Such as:

  • It’s possible I was wrong in thinking that Buffalo is better than Miami.
  • It’s possible my week 1 quote: “Josh Freeman is going to be better than expected, INSERT JETS QB HERE is going to be worse than expected” will continue to be laughably incorrect
  • I also called Atlanta “one of the best teams in football”. That too may be laughable by year’s end. I’m not willing to say definitely, but it may.

21-22-4 on the season so far. The first goal is above .500. Let’s see about getting there.

49ers -3.5 over RAMS

The Rams got smoked by Dallas. Dallas barely beat the Giants in a game where the Giants had 57 turnovers, and the Giants are 0-3. I do not buy Sam Bradford.

I wrote that yesterday morning before the game. Off to a good start.

VIKINGS +3 over Pittsburgh

Who still thinks the Steelers are good? I held out hope that they’d “win for pride” or something stupid like that last week, and they got destroyed at home against Chicago. Since Chicago beat Minnesota by only 1 in Chicago. I do not understand why the Vikings are giving points here. Either I’m reading something wrong, or I’m getting played. The latter is probably true, but I’m taking the Vikes as my pick of the week. Pick of the season if Christian Ponder doesn’t play.

BILLS +3 over Ravens

I’m hooked on a feeling here. I picked EJ Manuel as the top rookie in the NFL at the beginning of the season; no need to abandon the bandwagon yet. I think he makes Terrell Suggs look like the Terrell Suggs of…..well…..now. Terrell Suggs is no longer good.

BROWNS +4.5 over Bengals

The Brian Hoyer era is very bad for this organization. He’s a competent QB that can clearly toss the ball all over the field and keep the Browns in every game. When they end up missing both the playoffs and the top 10 of the draft, their fans should blame Hoyer.

JAGUARS +9.5 over Colts

The Jags have to cover a game eventually, right? And everyone’s been promising a Colts regression since the end of last season. I’m banking on that regression coming this week; Colts by 7.

Seahawks -3 over TEXANS

I’m not betting against the Seahawks anymore until they give me a reason. I guess they’re on the road, so that’s something, but I am all-in right now on Seattle and all-out on Houston. Matt Schaub isn’t taking anyone anywhere.

Cardinals +2.5 over BUCCANEERS

I thought Arizona was supposed to have a halfway decent offense? Seven points against a Saints defense that set records for futility last year? Either Carson Palmer isn’t as good as his stats looked in Oakland last year, or that Saints D is catching up to their O. I’ll take the latter and continue to pat myself on the back for being an early entrant onto the Saints in 2013 bandwagon.

LIONS -2.5 over Bears

Boy do I love that ½ point we’re getting here. And settle down Bears fans – wins against the Vikings and Steelers are almost meaningless. Detroit definitely wins this game – the only question is whether it’s by 1, 2, or 3+.

CHIEFS -5 over Giants

The Giants are another team that’s got me baffled. I trust their coach, I trust their QB, I trust their weapons, and they’re apparently terrible. That’s pretty rare. I think 5 is a lot for Alex Smith to cover (I said last week, I think he wins a lot of games but looks unimpressive doing it), but I can’t find a reason to pick the Giants. Hard times for Big Blue when the upcoming return of Andre Brown is the only glimmer of hope.

TITANS -4 over Jets

The Jets are not good. Geno Smith might be, but Rex Ryan is not and Santonio Holmes will absolutely self-destruct at some point soon.

CHARGERS +2 over Cowboys

As I’ve already said, the Cowboys are not good. I’ll take the home underdog and continue to root for the rejuvenation of Phil Rivers.

RAIDERS +3.5 over Redskins

Seriously, what have the Redskins done to make them the favorite on the road against anyone? I’d even consider taking the Jags at home against Washington if you gave me 4 or 5. I think this line is giving undue credit to Mike Shanahan and the 2013 version of Robert Griffin III.

BRONCOS -11.5 over Eagles

I’m taking the Broncos until they burn me.

Patriots +2.5 over FALCONS

I literally could not give less of a crap about watching this game (Breaking Bad finale), but I feel pretty confident that the Pats can beat Atlanta by at least a field goal. Possible returns of both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, but even if they don’t come back, Tom Brady is developing rapport with his rookies and I think they’ll keep getting better. Plus, Bill Belichick vs. Mike Smith? C’mon. TBone knows what I’m talking about. His Marauders tried to hang with The Green Machine in week 2 of fantasy football.

SAINTS -6.5 over Dolphins

I don’t get this. Isn’t everyone a Miami fan these days? I half expected to see Mercury Morris saying a bunch of dumb crap about how he doesn’t want his team’s undefeated season record broken, even by these Dolphins (I don’t know that there’s a team I hate more than the 1972 Dolphins; maybe the Cowboys of Aikman, Emmit, and Irvin. It’s close).

And now that I’ve had my come to Jesus moment on the 2013 Dolphins and can finally admit that they’re better than the Bills, shouldn’t I overrate them and think they can beat the Saints in New Orleans? Isn’t that exactly what a mediocre gambler would do? If there’s one thing you should know about my relationship with sports – it’s that mediocrity is hell. Good or bad are the only two ways to be. I’m taking the Saints. March on.