NFL

Week 4 NFL Picks – Donald Trump

I took two weeks off from writing about my picks because I’ve been lazy busy, but I’m back with another week of picks. Enjoy the picks, or just scroll down to the Donald Trump part.

As always, home teams are in CAPS.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game – 5 apples:

Giants (+5.5) over BILLS
I find it pretty funny that Kiko Alonso and LeSean McCoy are both already hurt. Pretty reminiscent of the Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade from yesteryear for you baseball nerds.

Vikings (+6.5) over BRONCOS
Adrian Peterson’s newest son is named Axyl, which is not okay. I will, however, stick by him if I’m getting nearly a touchdown against an aging Peyton Manning.

SEAHAWKS (-10) over Lions
This Jimmy Graham-Max Unger deal seems like a real loser for everyone. A depleted offensive in Seattle has slowed down Marshawn Lynch, and Russell Wilson hasn’t used Graham nearly as much as Drew Brees went to him. Meanwhile Unger is wasting away on a bad Saints team.

CHARGERS (-7.5) over Browns
What is Mike Pettine’s end game playing Josh McCown over Johnny Manziel? McCown has proven over and over that he’s just not a good quarterback, and we’ve seen flashes of how great Johnny Football can be. At least have fun while you’re stuck in Cleveland, Mike.

COLTS (-9) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Arizona State sorority girls’ attention spans
2. Joey Galloway’s perception of women
3. The Raiders’ owner’s haircut
4. Josh Donaldson’s interviewing skills (GO JAYS!)
5. Chris Stewart’s awareness of where he hit a ball
6. Donald Trump’s ability to keep a straight face
7. Donald Trump’s conspicuousness
8. Donald Trump’s ability to not gun for attention
9. Donald Trump’s ability to create jobs
10. Donald Trump’s image after getting absolutely slaughtered by South Park

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games – 10 apples:

STEELERS (+3) over Ravens
Personally, I’m very excited to see Michael Vick play on this Steelers’ offense. Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Martavis Bryant are pretty similar weapons to LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin that he had in 2010 across the state in Philadelphia.

FALCONS (-6.5) over Texans
Between Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer, don’t you think the Patriots would have held on to one of them if they thought either had potential to be a starter down the road?

BENGALS (-4) over Chiefs
When your fantasy teams are going poorly, the only solace you can take is players you thought were overrated doing poorly. I did not think C.J. Anderson and Jeremy Hill belonged in the first two rounds, and they’re proving me right so far. Also my two teams are a combined 1-5.

SAINTS (-4) over Cowboys
The NFL’s flex schedule late in the season is made so, for instance, two potentially interesting teams lose their Pro Bowl quarterbacks and you get stuck with a bad game. Enjoy Luke McCown and Brandon Weeden, NBC!

KFC Double Down Games – 20 apples:

Dolphins (+1.5) over JETS
Thank God we sent our Who Cares? Game of the Week overseas to London.

Can we stop pretending that Kirk Cousins has potential to be a good quarterback? Dude is already 27 and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

Can we stop pretending that Kirk Cousins has potential to be a good quarterback? Dude is already 27 and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.

Eagles (-3) over INJUNS
For anyone who wants to rain on the (really sad) Kirk Cousins parade, Hurricane Joaquin may hit the East Coast right around game time Sunday. That should be fun.

Panthers (-3) over BUCCANEERS
The Panthers are going to start 4-0 and get two weeks to prepare for Seattle on the road. I thought their schedule was a joke until I looked at Atlanta’s, and man, their hardest game of the season may be at Carolina. Wow.

Raiders (-3) over BEARS
I don’t know if this is more of a statement about how bad (Jimmy Clausen and) the Bears are or how much improved the Raiders are.

CARDINALS (-7) over Rams
It still blows my mind that Tyrann Mathieu fell to the third round of the NFL draft. Sure, he’s had drug problems, but the man is a playmaker and should’ve been swiped up in the second round at least by someone. I was personally shocked the Patriots didn’t draft him with one of their two second rounders, since they have a knack for taking players whose stock has fallen because of drugs (Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez).

Texas Pete ain’t from Texas Lock o’ the Week – 50 apples:

Packers (-8.5) over NINERS
How this line is not double digits is beyond me. People must still be stuck on how good this game would have been a year or two ago.

Overall record: 26-21-1

Last week: 11-5

Apple total: 185

Apple total last week: 85

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Week 1 NFL Picks – Is Joe Flacco a ELITE quaterback?

I was thinking for a while about what I would write in the intro to my first NFL picks of the year, and then I remembered that no one reads the intro. So I won’t bother.

Here we go again, with home teams in CAPS and wagers in apples because gambling is “illegal.”

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game – 5 apples:

Packers (-7) over BEARS
We’re still waiting to find out if Jay Cutler will work out in Chicago, which has been hard to tell because he’s had great receivers but no offensive line. The Bears tried to fix that this off-season by trading Brandon Marshall and not addressing the offensive line at all.

CHARGERS (-3) over Lions
Every once in a while, we get a player whose head shot is just hilarious. Go do yourself a favor and check out Orlando Franklin‘s picture.

Jordan Matthews

With Riley Cooper and Josh Huff as his biggest competition, Jordan Matthews is going to shoot for 1,500 yards this season.

Eagles (-3) over FALCONS
JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT JMATT

Titans (+3) over BUCCANEERS
I love the narrative that Marcus Mariota wasn’t throwing any interceptions at the start of camp. That’s probably got a little to do with the fact that he was going up against the Titans’ secondary.

COWBOYS (-6) over Giants
Dallas’ offensive line is so good that almost any halfway decent running back could turn into a 1,000 yard rusher. Which makes me really hopeful that Darren McFadden comes back to relevancy because boy was he fun in 2010.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games – 10 apples:

Browns (+3) over JETS
This season’s first Who Cares? Game of the Week is a doozy.

Dolphins (-3.5) over INJUNS
I’m not sure which is more offensive, Washington’s team name or how they’ve handled RG3.

PATRIOTS (-7) over Steelers
I’m slightly sad we didn’t get to see Jimmy Garoppolo win four games and pull a Tom Brady by taking Tom Brady’s job, but no suspension for TB12 will just have to do.

Saints (+2.5) over CARDINALS
Larry Fitzgerald signed deal with the Cardinals, I guess putting faith in a team that has given him the following quarterbacks to work with: Josh McCown, Shaun King, John Navarre (who?), Kurt Warner, Tim Hasselbeck, Tim Rattay, Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Derek Anderson, Kevin Kolb, Max Hall, John Skelton, Richard Bartel (who??), Brian Hoyer, Ryan Lindley, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Logan Thomas. It says a lot about an organization when Carson Palmer is by far the second-best quarterback they’ve been able to pair with Fitzgerald over the past 12 seasons.

Vikings (-2.5) over NINERS
Remember how laughable the Niners were back before Jim Harbaugh when Mike Singletary pulled down his pants during a halftime speech? Yeah, we’re going back to those days this season.

KFC Double Down Games – 20 apples:

Colts (-2.5) over BILLS
The Colts would kick some serious ass four years ago with Frank Gore and Andre Johnson. Too bad those two only got to play on five playoff teams in 22 seasons before meeting up on the Colts.

Seahawks (-4) over RAMS
I sat through an entire Rams-Titans preseason game and wanted to gauge my eyes out, so I’m definitely picking the Seahawks here as punishment.

Chiefs (+1) over TEXANS
I find it hard to believe that a team led by Brian Hoyer could be favored over a team that finished a half game out of the playoffs last season. And, you know, because they drafted Jadeveon Clowney, a.k.a. THE BIGGEST BUST EVER.

Bengals (-3.5) over RAIDERS
One of the funniest moments I can remember from the NFL draft is when the Raiders took Darrius Hayward-Bey as the first wide receiver ahead of surefire NFL superstar Michael Crabtree. Luckily they’ve corrected their mistake by signing him well after it was established that he is not very good.

BRONCOS (-4.5) over Ravens
Why would we need to make America great again when we have “Is Joe Flacco a ELITE quaterback” sign show up at the first GOP debate?

Texas Pete ain’t from Texas Lock o’ the Week – 50 apples:

Panthers (-3) over JAGUARS
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Reggie Bush’s hurdling technique
2. Randal Grichuk’s throwing arm
3. Matt Williams’ popularity
4. Kansas State’s marching band’s ability to form a spaceship
5. Curt Schilling’s memes
6. Jeff Francoeur’s outfield defense
7. Jeff Francoeur’s ability to make contact
8. Jeff Francoeur’s plate discipline
9. Jeff Francoeur’s baserunning
10. Jeff Francoeur’s ability to tell that a teammate isn’t deaf for over a month

Overall record: 0-0

Last week: 0-0

Apple total: 0

Apple total last week: 0

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NFL Divisional Round Picks – The Panthers Are Really Really Going To The Super Bowl

How exciting is it that the Panthers are going to win eight games in a row in consecutive seasons for the first time ever?

Almost as exciting as the Panthers getting revenge on every team to wrong them along the way to their first Super Bowl title. Let me explain.

On January 10, 2009, the Arizona Cardinals beat the Panthers 33-13 in the Divisional Round in Charlotte after the Panthers went 8-0 at home and earned a first-round bye. On January 3, 2015, the Panthers avenged their loss with a dominating 27-16 victory in Charlotte.

Sometimes I yearn for the days of Nick Goings...

Sometimes I yearn for the days of Nick Goings…

On January 22, 2005, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Panthers 34-14 in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle when the Panthers were just down to Nick Goings at running back. On January 10, 2015, the Panthers will avenge that loss in Seattle to move on to the NFC Championship game.

On January 12, 1996, the Green Bay Packers beat the Panthers 30-13 at Lambeau Field in the NFC Championship Game in just the Panthers’ second year of existence. One week from now, the Panthers will avenge that loss in Green Bay to go back to the Super Bowl.

On February 1, 2004, the New England Patriots beat the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII on an Adam Vinateiri 41-yard field goal with four seconds left. On February 1, 2015, the Panthers will avenge that loss 11 years later with their first Super Bowl title.

The stars are aligning. It’s meant to be. I mean I’ve been saying it for the past two weeks.

Furthermore, Madden 15 predicted the Panthers would win back in August. Their intro to the video game shows the Panthers making an improbably fourth quarter comeback in the playoffs with the Super Bowl on the line. The gods have already decided the outcome!

Somehow, though, people don’t tend to see the light as I do. Vegas opened the line on this game at 11.5 points. Eleven and a half points! Mischievous and deceitful. Chicanerous and deplorable.

The Seahawks and Panthers have played each of the last three years and the final scores have been 13-9, 12-7, and 16-12 in favor of Seattle. For those non-math majors out there, that’s a combined 13 points or just a tad over the line for this game alone.

It’s just too hard to see the Panthers giving up enough points for the Seahawks to cover a nearly two-touchdown spread. If it were not for a muffed punt and interception on a miscommunication, the Cardinals wouldn’t have even scored last week.

This line is insulting. It’s ridiculous. The Seahawks beating the Panthers by 12 points and stopping their Super Bowl run is so improbable and ridiculous that I’m going so far as to call this game the Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Eon.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game:

BRONCOS (-7) over Colts

Peyton Manning versus Peyton Manning’s old team. I don’t know if I can muster up enough hate for this game.

All biases aside, the Colts haven’t been particularly good for a 12-5 team in any facet of the team aside from the passing game, which is admittedly first in the league. The running game is a disaster (their leading rusher last week was somebody named Daniel Herron), and they’ve played just two winning teams in the past seven weeks.

While I do worry about Peyton Manning at this point in the season, I don’t see the Colts as a huge obstacle, especially on the road, where the Broncos are 8-0 with an average margin of victory of 14.6 points.

I’ll save the Peyton Manning bashing for later in the playoffs when he’s in a more competitive game.

Prediction: Broncos 30 Colts 17

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Game:

Cowboys (+6) over PACKERS

Let’s try and think of all the things Tony Romo could do and still be called a choker:

– Save a dozen paraplegic kittens from a burning building

– Lead the NFL in completion percentage and yards per attempt

– Bring the Double Down back to KFC

– Beat the Packers on a game-winning 90 yard scramble

– Heal Jose Fernandez’s torn UCL with voodoo

– Wear his hat forwards at a press conference so Colin Cowherd will shut up

I think the Cowboys will still lose this game, but a 6-point line is just a bit too high for me.

Prediction: Packers 30 Cowboys 27

KFC Double Down Game:

PATRIOTS (-7) over Ravens

Yes, I’m aware the Patriots are 1-2 against the Ravens in the playoffs since 2009. Yes, I’m aware that Joe Flacco has 20 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in the playoffs since 2010. I really don’t care.

There’s all this hubbub about Joe Flacco flipping on a switch in the playoffs, but I don’t really buy it. For starters, his career completion percentage is worse in the playoffs (56.0% versus 65.0%). Also, I’ve got 112 games of evidence to show that Flacco is an incredibly average quarterback, and 14 playoff games isn’t enough of a sample size to make me think otherwise.

The Ravens beat the Steelers last week by forcing three turnovers, but that’s not very likely for a team run by Tom Brady that will also feature a heavy dose of LeGarrette Blount.

Give me Touchdown Tom and another Super Bowl run.

Prediction: Patriots 24 Ravens 13

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Eon:

Panthers (+11.5) over SEAHAWKS

Go read the intro.

Panthers 13 Union Seahawks 12

Overall Record: 123-131-5

Last Week: 2-2

Apple Total: 0

Apple Total Last Week: 55

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NFL Wild Card Round Picks – The Panthers Are Really Going To The Super Bowl

Last week you might have thought that I was joking when I said the Panthers are going to the Super Bowl. Little did you know I meant the Panthers are really going to the Super Bowl.

Exactly as I predicted last week, Carolina manhandled the Falcons and advanced to the postseason for the second season in a row. And just like I predicted, the Panthers will continue on their Super Bowl march by hosting the Cardinals for the worst playoff matchup (according to DVOA) since 2004.

But it’s not like “worst playoff matchup” is some suggestion that this Panthers team is bad. Au contraire! It’s a suggestion that the Cardinals are the biggest piece of crap playoff team ever.

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 2.00.30 PM

I like this GIF a lot, so I’ll leave it right here.

Ryan Lindley? Are you kidding me? Who’s going to put their faith in a quarterback on the road on short rest who started his career with an NFL record for 228 pass attempts in a row without a touchdown? And that’s a record for quarterbacks at any time of their career.

That this game’s line started at 4.5 points is a downright abomination. Over the past seven weeks, the Cardinals are averaging 11.3 points, including just 9 points per game when Lindley plays. The Panthers have a larger margin of victory the past four weeks (17 points) than the Cardinals are even scoring.

This game is beyond a lock. The Panthers have never lost in the Wild Card Round, and Bruce Arians has never won a playoff game (FACTS!!). I’d wager Nick Vitucci’s 1995-96 Riley Cup MVP on this game. I’d wager the Bojangles franchsie on this game. Hell I’d wager selling Cheerwine to the North. I’d go there.

But alas, all of this would be illegal, since sport gambling is not allowed in the United States and most definitely not encouraged by The Knuckle Blog. So instead I’ll just wager 50 apples on his game, making it my HICKORY SMOKED PULLED PORK LOCK O’ THE WEEK O’ THE YEAR O’ THE MILLENNIUM.

Also Ohio State sucks.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game:

STEELERS (-3) over Ravens

Gather round, children, and listen to Old Ben tell you a story.

Not so long ago, Steelers-Ravens was an incredible fun rivalry. Now, don’t be so quick to laugh.

This was a rivalry between two smashmouth teams led by heavy running games. I know that can be hard to believe with Ben Tate facing off against Justin Forsett, but it was true! Jamal Lewis versus Jerome Bettis. Ray Rice (when he didn’t beat women and did average more than 3.1 yards per carry) versus Willie Parker.

Jimmy. Quit playing with that fancy schmancy iPhone 6 Plus. Back in my day, we didn’t have those fancy gadgets; we were happy playing Angry Birds on our iPhone 5, and we listened when people told each other stories.

If you can believe it, once upon a time the Ravens-Steelers games were almost always close and competitive. From late 2007-2013 10 of the 15 matchups were determined by a field goal or less. Don’t get dismayed by the 20-point games this season: these games used to be fun.

Maybe you kids will get to see a good Ravens-Steelers game. Those were the good ol’ days. Back when Mariano Rivera wasn’t retired and Chip Kelly was still in college.

Prediction: Steelers 17 Ravens 13

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Game:

COWBOYS (-6.5) over Lions

It’s fun and all to rip on Tony Romo, but he was actually really good this year with the highest completion percentage in the NFL  and yards per attempt while he had a broken rib. Not only that, but his running back led the league in rushing by 484 yards while he had a broken hand.

Like it or not, the Cowboys are really good on offense this year. Then again, the Lions’ defense is really good, and something’s got to given with the #1 rush attack going up against the #1 rush defense.

What I worry about for the Lions is that they haven’t been battle tested much this season. They’ve played just one competitive team the past five weeks (Green Bay after beating Chicago twice, Tampa Bay, and Minnesota) with just a 2-4 record against teams with winning records.

One last note: Romo faces a disproportionate amount of criticism compared to Matthew Stafford, who has consistently done less with more over the past six seasons. Hopefully this game puts a stop to the discussion over which quarterback is better.

Prediction: Cowboys 26 Lions 16

KFC Double Down Game:

COLTS (-3.5) over Bengals

I hate to boil playoff games down to which team has the better quarterback, but I’m going to do just that here. The Colts get a major plus here for having Andrew Luck (and not Andy Dalton).

But of course, there’s more than that. A.J. Green is doubtful with a concussion, so even if he does play, he isn’t expected to do much. Green has already missed three games this season with an injured toe, including the Bengals’ 27-0 drubbing… in Indianapolis.

Now, I’m not going to call for another shutout, but it’s hard to see much in the favor of Cincy. They have plenty of big names in their secondary (Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Pacman Jones), but they’ve largely been ineffective, which doesn’t bode well against then NFL’s top passing attack.

Cincinnati was able to handle a big passing attack in Denver by picking off Peyton Manning 4 times and rushing for over 200 yards. That seems unlikely to happen in Indy, though, because the Colts have allowed more than 142 rushing yards just once all year (allowing 32 yards to the Bengals), and Luck hasn’t thrown more than 2 interceptions in any game this season.

Prediction: Colts 24 Bengals 10

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Millennium:

PANTHERS (-4.5) over Cardinals

Go read the intro.

Panthers 56 Cardinals 0

Overall Record: 121-129-5

Last Week: 8-8

Apple Total: -55

Apple Total Last Week: 55

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Week 17 NFL Picks – The Panthers Are Going To The Super Bowl

I probably got you to click on this link with that title, right? Classic.

Do I actually think Carolina, a sub-.500 team without an offensive line, is going to the Super Bowl? Maybe. But I’ve never been more confident in a single game than I am in the Panthers winning beating the Falcons today.

With a win against the Dirty Birds, the Panthers will head to the to the playoffs for the sixth time in playoff history. They have never been eliminated in the Wild Card round before and have a 6-5 all-time record.

The Falcons, on the other hand? They have the fourth-worst winning percentage in NFL history. Fourth-worst! Only the listless Lions, the only team to go 0-16, the 13-year old Texans, and creamsicle Buccaneers are worst.

I want YOU

I want YOU to bet all your life’s savings on the Panthers today. I can feel it.

Never before have I been more confident in an NFL pick. Never, I say. I would bet the Charlotte Hornets franchise, Cam Newton’s healthy vertebrae, and the Charlotte Checkers’ 1994-95 Calder Cup on it. Plus the Cats are 3-point underdogs? Please.

Am I riding a high off reading Scott Fowler’s Tales from the Carolina Panthers Sideline (buy it on Amazon here)? Maybe. Am I worried that the Falcons’ 32nd-ranked pass defense may be underrated? No (ha!).

The Panthers are perfectly set up for another Super Bowl run. They’ll be gifteed the gimpy Cardinals in the first round (redeeming the worst playoff game I’ve ever seen), take down the Lions in the Division round (who they easily dispensed of in Week 2), and then easily beat Dallas when they go full Romo (you never go full Romo).

This isn’t my Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week. This is my Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Century.

Oh, and Matt Ryan can’t win big games.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

Lions (+7.5) over PACKERS
For a game with so much on the line (a bye and potentially home field advantage in the playoffs), I am incredibly uninterested in this game. Take that, Midwest!

Browns (+13.5) over RAVENS
Which was more unlikely 12 months ago: Justin Forsett being the 6th-leading rusher in the league or Connor Shaw being a starting NFL quarterback?

Jets (+6.5) over DOLPHINS
Weird stuff happens in Week 17, especially in games with nothing on the line. Just take the points.

Rams (+11.5) over SEAHAWKS
I’m not giving double digit points in Week 17.

Raiders (+14) over BRONCOS
I’m not giving double digit points in Week 17, part II.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Colts (-7.5) over TITANS
It’s almost time to switch the weekly “things still better than the Jaguars” feature to “things still better than the Titans,” but it’s just too much fun making fun of Jacksonville.

PATRIOTS (-6) over Bills
What do you think Bill Belichick would enjoy more than making sure the Bills don’t have their first winning season in a decade?

Bears (+7) over VIKINGS
I know there’s a usual rule of never betting on Jimmy Clausen, but I’m not giving up a touchdown for a team that allowed Ryan Tannehill to throw for nearly 400 yards.

Saints (-4.5) over BUCCANEERS
Hey, remember when pundits thought the Bucs would be a .500 team?

NINERS (-6.5) over Cardinals
I’m not sure who is going to be sadder: The Niners without Jim Harbaugh or Harbaugh stuck at Michigan.

KFC Double Down Games:

TEXANS (-7.5) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. The NBA’s Christmas Day jerseys
2. Kansas City’s wide receivers
3. Mitch Albom columns
4. Shaq’s weird Christmas tradition
5. Josh Smith’s shooting
6. Kevin Garnett’s blowing
7. Kevin Garnett’s trash talking
8. Kevin Garnett’s biting
9. Kevin Garnett’s grace
10. Kevin Garnett’s acceptance of how others choose to dress themselves

Chargers (+2) over CHIEFS
Did you know that Philip Rivers is 8-0 in Week 17? #math

STEELERS (-3.5) over Bengals
Did you know that Ben Roethlisberger is also 8-0 in Week 17? #math

Cowboys (-5.5) over INJUNS
Washington is just an unmitigated disaster. This Washington Post article is just illuminating.

Eagles (+1) over GIANTS
I still pick Jordan Matthews over Odell Beckham Jr.  Always go with your gut over your brain.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week o’ the Year o’ the Century:

Panthers (+3) over FALCONS
Go read the intro.

Overall Record: 113-121-5

Last 5 Weeks: 34-44-1

Apple Total: -110

Apple Total Last 5 Weeks: -115

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Week 12 NFL Picks – A True American Hero

This is my first NFL picks column in three weeks because, well, I’ve been pretty lazy/busy. In the mean time, I’ve been 21-20 and made 110 apples, so I’m finally no longer in debt! I’m really starting to catch the hint that I should stop posting weekly picks if I want to pick well… does that mean I’m overthinking things when I write about each game?

Too late now, I’m writing this intro last.

As always, home teams are in CAPS, and here’s a run through of each section:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

Titans (+11) over EAGLES
Yes, the Titans are second-to-last in the league in rush defense going up against one of the best rush attacks in the league, but I’m not about to give away double digit points to a team that lost by 33 last week.

COLTS (-14) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Florida men’s ability to not act like a Floridian
2. Brandon Knight’s clutch gene
3. Missouri High School principals
4. Cam Newton’s actually tweeting compared to his hacked tweeting
5. These Ice Bucket Challenges
6. Lance Stephenson’s ability to avoid cameras
7. Lance Stephenson’s rapping ability
8. Lance Stephenson’s ability not show off after a game-winner
9. Lance Stephenson’s accuracy slapping other people
10. Lance Stephenson’s accuracy slapping other people (on second thought this is pretty on point)

Rams (+4.5) over CHARGERS
After starting 5-1, it seems the Chargers have remembered their skill position players are Donald Brown, Branden Oliver, Malcom Floyd, Eddie Royal, and Keenan Allen.

NINERS (-9) over Injuns
With all this hubbub about benching RG3 for Kirk Cousins, Cousins turning out to be so bad he needed to be benched for Colt McCoy, and RG3 coming back and playing badly off the injury, you know Dan Snyder is going to draft Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston.

SAINTS (-3.5) over Ravens
Obviously this isn’t the same Saints team as old, but I just can’t see them losing three straight home games, especially in prime time. Hope that fifth round pick they got for Darren Sproles was worth it.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Browns (+3) over FALCONS
What a weird world we live in that the Browns are good and the Falcons are bad.

Jets (+3.5) over BILLS
This game isn’t going to be played in Buffalo because there’s too much snow and probably just shouldn’t be played at all to save us from three hours of awful football. Without a doubt the Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Game of the Week.

Cardinals (+6.5) over SEAHAWKS
Serious question: Kurt Warner couldn’t be that much worse than Drew Stanton at this point, right?

BRONCOS (-7) over Dolphins
The great thing about picking Peyton Manning minus a big spread is that even if they lose, like last week against 9.5-point underdog Rams by 15, I’ll still be happy no matter what.

KFC Double Down Games:

Chiefs (-7) over RAIDERS
It’s honest-to-God sad to watch the Raiders. That’s all.

BEARS (-6) over Buccaneers
So this Marc Trestman experiment isn’t going very well. After starting 3-0 last year, the second-year head coach is now 9-14 and has adopted a baby to save his relationship with the team.

Packers (-9.5) over VIKINGS
After looking at the way Minnesota plays without Adrian Peterson, do you think he deserves the title Most Valuable Player?

Bengals (+1.5) over TEXANS
The Texans are 5-5 with wins against Washington, Oakland, Buffalo, Tennessee, and Cleveland. Color me completely unimpressed.

c

When you think of the Patriots, think of those actual patriots in 1776 or Captain America.

Cowboys (-3.5) over GIANTS
I think I’m picking against the Giants every week @turntuptina doesn’t make picks for me just to spite her.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week:

PATRIOTS (-7) over Lions
A vote for the Patriots is a vote for America.

Overall Record: 79-77-4

Last Week: 7-7

Apple Total: 5

Apple Total Last Week: 0

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Week 9 NFL Picks – Johnny Halloween

No intro this week.

As always, home teams are no CAPS, and here are explanations for each of the officially unofficial sponsored sections of picks I have.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Happy Halloween, Cleveland!

Happy Halloween, Cleveland!

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

BROWNS (-6.5) over Buccaneers
Even if Brian Hoyer continues to play horribly, there’s no way Johnny Football will be in any condition to play after Halloweekend.

Cardinals (+3.5) over COWBOYS
Did you know that the Cardinals have a two game lead over the rest of the NFC West? Yes, they haven’t played Seattle yet, but they took care of San Francisco, Philadelphia, and San Diego. Give them a little more credit than worse-than-a-field-goal underdogs.

Rams (+10) over NINERS
What ever happened to Vernon Davis? He’s been banged up a bit, but he only has 34 catches on the year (34th among tight ends) for 142 yards (33rd). Really I’m just grumpy because my main fantasy team is 6th out of 12 in scoring yet somehow 0-8.

PATRIOTS (+3) over Broncos
I’ll probably miss this one, but I’ll be damned if I pick against Tom Brady at home against Peyton Manning and give up points.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

PANTHERS (+3) over Saints
The Saints are second-to-last in the NFL in pass defense, so expect Cam Newton to put on a bigger show tonight than either LeBron or Jameis.

BENGALS (-11) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. The New Orleans Pelicans’ acting
2. Lamarr Houston’s dancing
3. That weird rendition of God Bless America last night
4. Wrecking Ball in G-Major
5. Danny Green’s social media acumen
6. Dirk Nowitzki’s drunk uncle impression
7. Dirk Nowitzki’s taser victim impression
8. Dirk Nowitzki’s impression of a student asking a question
9. Dirk Nowitzki’s dizzy zombie impression
10. Dirk Nowtizki’s impression of a dying and dead swan (you know what, just go watch the whole video)

Chargers (+2.5) over DOLPHINS
The Dolphins only beat the Jaguars by 14 last week, so I’ll count that one as a moral loss.

Ravens (-1.5) over STEELERS
Last week, Ben Roethlisberger was 40-49 for 522 yards with 6 touchdowns and no interceptions or sacks and got a 99.0 QBR. What on Earth do you need to do to get a 100? Or even a 99.5?

KFC Double Down Games:

Eagles (-2) over TEXANS
I’m afraid the Texans may have gone the way of the Cardinals when J.J. Watt said Zach Mettenberger disrespected the game by taking selfies. Guess I can’t pick them or root for them anymore.

Injuns (+1) over VIKINGS
Nine weeks into the season, it’s time to welcome back the Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Game of the Week!

CHIEFS (-9.5) over Jets
Serious question: how much longer of a leash does Rex Ryan get? He hasn’t been good for 5 seasons and has the team looking like a laughing stock while still running his mouth.

Raiders (+15) over SEAHAWKS
Don’t call me crazy yet… the Raiders will probably be down 21 before scoring a garbage time touchdown with a minute left against the Seahawks third string secondary. Or, alternatively, Seattle hasn’t won a game by more than 10 points since Week 1.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week:

Colts (-3) over GIANTS
If you’re wondering why I’m already in debt triple digit fruit, it’s because I keep missing these locks o’ the week. Like the Colts (-3.5) over the Steelers last week. So here is Andrew Luck’s one shot at redemption in my heart.

Overall Record: 58-58-4

Last Week: 7-8

Apple Total: -105

Apple Total Last Week: -75

Categories: NFL | 1 Comment

Week 8 NFL Picks – Go Fund Yourself

I took a week off from writing my weekly picks since I was in Gatlinburg, and my picks didn’t go especially well. Irregardless, I’m back guns blazin’ with my Week 8 picks.

As always, home teams are no CAPS, and here are explanations for each of the officially unofficial sponsored sections of picks I have.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games:

Chargers (+9) over BRONCOS
Whoops.

COWBOYS (-10) over Injuns
South Park has been absolutely on point this season (and has been especially good about tying all the episodes together), but none have been better than the season premier, Go Fund Yourself, about the Washington football team’s name.

Zach Mettenberger: starting NFL quarterback or trailer trash? Or both?

Zach Mettenberger: starting NFL quarterback or trailer trash? Or both?

CHIEFS (-7) over Rams
Zac Stacy was only given one snap and zero touches last week, so effectively now, I’m boycotting the Rams.

Texans (-3.5) over TITANS
I’m currently writing these picks from a FOX Sports truck in LP Field, and it’s bizarrely foggy in Nashville. There’s no way I’m betting on Zach Mettenburger if there are anything less than perfect conditions.

BENGALS (+2) over Ravens
Please don’t dress up as something stupid for Halloween.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games:

Lions (-3.5) over Falcons (in London)
Fun fact: the Falcons don’t know where London is. If they don’t show up, would that be a forfeit? In that case shouldn’t I switch my pick to Falcons (+3.5) since there will be no scoring in this non-existent game?

PATRIOTS (-6) over Bears
Never count out Touchdown Tom, unless you’re doing a QB sneak from your own 1-yard line.

Bills (+3) over JETS
Yeah I’m not going to give points and take Geno Smith and the Jets.

Vikings (+2.5) over BUCCANEERS
Yeah I’m not going to give points and take Josh McCown and the Bucs.

Raiders (+6.5) over BROWNS
Yeah I’m not going to give points and take Brian Hoyer and the Browns.

KFC Double Down Games:

Eagles (+1.5) over CARDINALS
The Eagles are coming off a bye week, and the Cardinals already had theirs in Week 4. Who needs a bye after three games??

Dolphins (-6) over JAGUARS
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Leonard Fournette’s helmet
2. Kentucky’s tackling
3. This guy’s driving skills
4. High school football teams’ welcomeness to freshmen
5. Alexis Normand’s singing
6. Joakim Noah’s free throw stroke
7. Joakim Noah’s manners
8. Joakim Noah’s dancing skills
9. Joakim Noah’s hair
10. Joakim Noah’s ability to not look like a completely stereotypical pothead

Packers (+2) over SAINTS
Which city would you rather spend a weekend in: Green Bay or New Orleans?

Seahawks (-5) over PANTHERS
The Panthers might be really bad, who knows? But I keep picking the Panthers this year, and I figure maybe their fortunes will turn around if I pick against them.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week:

Colts (-3.5) over STEELERS
I really don’t have anything to add for this game, so this is your Who Cares Game of the Week. Indianapolis and Pittsburgh just seem like the most boring cities.

Overall Record: 51-50-4

Last Week: 6-8-1 (5-10)

Apple Total: -30

Apple Total Last Week: -5 (-90)

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Week 6 NFL Picks – The Return(t) of Tina

I know plenty of you were wondering why I didn’t post any picks last week, and there’s a good reason. After my Week 4 picks went the way of the Titanic and I lost 95 apples on a 4-8-1 record, I knew there was only one person to turn to: huge Giants fan and noted ridiculous person Cristina Dafonte.

Unfortunately due to things like “homework” and “meetings” and “leave me alone I have to make a philanthropy banner by myself” @turntuptina was not able to make picks last week, so I cancelled the weekly column. Sure, I did do well picking Week 5, finding my way back into the black on the season, but her posts usually get more clicks than mine do anyway.

In case you don’t remember, Tina went 17-11-3 last year in two weeks of picks and made me 85 apples (including nailing the Giants games twice for the Lock o’ the Week). Her picks were also two of my top five most viewed NFL picks of last year, and the only reason she doesn’t have the most viewed post is because my Week 12 picks entitled Big Daddy Indonesia gets several new clicks per month from Indonesia.

Without further ado, here are Tina’s Week 6 picks with home teams are in CAPS. All of the commentary on the games below are direct quotes and words in parenthesis are my responses. Lastly, here’s an explanation for each of the categories of games:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game:

Steelers (-2) over BROWNS
I know the Steelers are better than the Browns. Right? I find it hard to care.

TITANS (-5.5) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Stephen Tulloch’s dancing skills
2. Cole Adrich’s teeth
3. Adam Levine’s ability to find a nice girl
4. Madison Bumgarner’s ability to pour beer into his mouth
5. Yasiel Puig’s ability to open beer with his hands
6. Corbin’s ability to control his excitement
7. Corbin’s ability to fit in a car
8. Corbin’s ability to pick a good team to root for
9. Corbin’s drinking problem
10. Corbin’s willingness to let his owner* play with his balls (*not actually Tina’s dog)
Ravens (-3) over BUCCANEERS
The Ravens are the favorite, and they’re not going to win by only 2.
RAMS (+3.5) over Niners
Zac Stacy is on the Rams. I’m going to pick the Rams.
Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Game:
TEXANS (+3) over Colts
I’m doing this to make Beth happy.
CARDINALS (-3.5) over Injuns
Without RG3, the [redacted] are horrendous. I hate the [redacted].
VIKINGS (+1.5) over Lions
I’m going with a safe underdog pick
Packers (-3.5) over DOLPHINS
Because Jay Cutler. Isn’t he the quarterback of Green Bay. (No.) Who’s the quarterback of Green Bay? (Aaron Rodgers.) Oh his brother went here. The Vanderbilt connection is confusing.
Panthers (+7) over BENGALS
We’ll go with Carolina. Make Ben a happy camper. Also fuck Groll.
KFC Double Down Game:
FALCONS (-3) over Bears
I’m a new-founded Atlanta fan thanks to Beth and Morgan. Also, Morgan’s favorite player is Julio Jones (pronounced Jew-lio) not Julio Jones.
Broncos (-8.5) over JETS
If there’s one thing I learned about picking games last year, it’s don’t pick the Jets.
Patriots (-3) over BILLS
My cousin goes to all the Bills games, and her pictures are so fucking annoying.
Chargers (-7) over RAIDERS
Kayla, I love you, but the Raiders are going to lose.
SEAHAWKS (-8) over Cowboys
I’m going with the Seahawks because it’s against my religion to pick the Cowboys, but I want it to be known that I am in no way a fair-weather Seahawks fan.
We believe in Eli Manning.

We believe in Eli Manning.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week:

Giants (+2.5) over EAGLES
Does there need to be an explanation? My apologies to JMatt. I’m sorry that you got picked by such a shitty team.
Overall record: 40-32-3Last week: 8-5-1 (4-8-1)

Apple Total: 65

Apple Total Last Week: 90 (-95)

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Week 4 NFL Picks – Who is Alfred Blue?

Panthers had to ruin my good week by losing the Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week. I really aught to come up with a less absolute name than that… Anyway here are my Week 4 Picks, the first week of byes.

Home teams are in CAPS, and as always, here’s an explanation for each of the categories of games:

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Games are worth 5 apples.

Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Games are worth 10 apples.

KFC Double Down Games are worth 20 apples.

Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week is worth 50 apples.

Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked Game:

Saints (-3) over COWBOYS
R.I.P. Dez Bryant, he died for all of our sins. But mostly the Cowboys’ sins.

Eagles (+5) over NINERS
I may or may not be upset that I left Vernon Davis in my lineup last week while Frank Gore only got 1 points and I lost by 4.6 points.

INJUNS (-3.5) over Giants
Did I ever mention that DeSean Jackson is the best?

CHARGERS (-13) over Jaguars
Here is a running list of things better than the Jaguars:
1. Charlie Manuel’s teeth
2. Phil Hughes’ luck
3. Mario Balotelli’s haircut
4. Nelly’s credit card’s utility
5. Nicki Minaj’s gastrointestinal health
6. Peyton Manning’s ability to deal with kids
7. Peyton Manning’s clutch game
8. Peyton Manning’s patience towards younger players
9. Peyton Manning’s ability to not be a thug
10. Peyton Manning’s face (did you really think I wouldn’t include this on the list?)
Dunkin’ Donuts Plain Cake Game:
RAIDERS (+4) over Dolphins
It’s a good thing the Raiders and Dolphins are coming to London because Europeans should be used to low-scoring, boring football by now.
TEXANS (-3) over Bills
Pop Quiz: Is Alfred Blue A) the Texans’ starting running back last week with Arian Foster out with a hamstring injury B) Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III’s original stage name before choosing Aloe Blacc or C) the author of the science-fiction book The Demolished Man? If you guessed C, you’re close. That’s Alfred Bester. If you guessed B; you’re just wrong.
Lions (-1.5) over JETS
If Eric Decker is out again, do you think you could name any two other Jets receivers? I know I can’t.
Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount's dominating performances last week may have been enough to turn Pennsylvania's opinion on marjiuana.

Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount’s dominating performances last week may have been enough to turn Pennsylvania’s opinion on marjiuana.

STEELERS (-7.5) over Buccaneers

Through three quarters, the Falcons-Bucs game last year looked like a score out of Backyard Football where the Falcons got all the power ups.
KFC Double Down Game:
BEARS (+1.5) over Packers
Here is a list of wide receivers taken before Alshon Jeffery in the 2012 NFL Draft: Michael Blackmon, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright, A.J. Jenkins, Brian Quick, and Stephen Hill. Floyd and Wright both have far less receiving yardage than Jeffrey, and the rest are essentially cast-offs. Blackmon only played 4 games last year because of injuries and a suspension and likely won’t join the Jaguars this year after getting arrest again this summer for marijuana possession. Jenkins has yet to eclipse 150 career receiving yards and has already been traded, Quick has yet to go reach 20 receptions in a year, and Hill is now on the Panthers’ practice squad.
COLTS (-7.5) over Titans
Sure, the Titans are second in the NFL in pass defense, but that’s because teams they’re playing are so far up they just run the ball for three-quarters of their plays.
Patriots (-3.5) over CHIEFS
*covers ears* la la la I can’t here you la la la Tom Brady isn’t on a clear downward spiral la la la
Panthers (+3.5) over RAVENS
Steve Smith has been waiting six months for this game. And he specifically picked a team that was playing the Panthers this year. There will be blood and guts everywhere.
Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Lock o’ the Week:
Falcons (-3) over VIKINGS
Took the Vikings long enough to pick Teddy Bridgewater as their starting quarterback (but only because Matt Cassel got hurt). They’ll still need a real running back and upgrades at at least five other positions before competing with middling teams like the Falcons, though.Overall record: 28-19-1Last week: 10-6

Apple Total: 70

Apple Total Last Week: 5

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