Stalag 2016: Week 1 NFL Picks

Editor’s note: as I mentioned in this site’s September updates; I write a weekly NFL picks column during each week of the professional football season that used to be quite popular on other websites and I’m migrating it here because this is now where all of my writing lives. I should like to state before we begin that although these columns are written in the first person and draw heavily from actual incidents in my life; some of the information in each column may well be completely fabricated – especially any parts that identify me as guilty of a crime “your honor.”

As for the format: home teams are in all capitals, picks are made against the spread as it stands every Wednesday and we’ll mostly be using the lines at Pinnacle; unless the absence of a Pinnacle line forces me to shop around for someone who’s giving action on a game Pinnacle isn’t. In the past I have done a small write-up for each game being played that week but owing to time/length concerns I’ve decided to reduce that to writing up six to nine games a week and merely picking the rest. Since this is primarily a gambling humor column, you can rest assure that I’ll be writing up the Thursday Night, Sunday Night and Monday Night games without fail; I’ll also write up some 1PM games and some afternoon games each week – dealer’s choice.

I should also warn you now that this first article is quite a bit longer than I anticipate most of them will be; I was having fun and feeling inspired when I wrote it but I honestly don’t have the time to devote 3 days a week to writing this column 🙂

Please also note that while it’s certainly not ideal to be wagering on Sunday games with lines and injury information from Wednesday; the National Football League is so powerful it can force the entire nation to watch terrible Thursday Night Football every week and so evil they don’t give a flying fuck how many people this travesty renders inoperably brain-dead in the process. Sadly, I really only have the time for one sports-related post per week and that means either refusing to write about/pick a game most hardcore gamblers will be betting on, or publishing on Thursday mornings with incomplete information.

Finally, and this should go without mentioning but this *is* America so here goes – gambling addiction is a horrible disease that will not only destroy your life but will also ultimately destroy the lives of all those people you’ll end up robbing once you’ve hit rock bottom and turn to traveling across the country on boxcar lines with your hobo gang homies. My editors have insisted that I warn you this website is not responsible in any way, shape or form if you’re dumb enough to take gambling advice from a raving, drug addled-loony who travels around the country destroying cheap motel rooms; like the writer of this column.

* * * * *

I’m honestly not sure, precisely, what it was that finally pulled me out of the impenetrable, albeit oddly soothing fog – but I strongly suspect it was the maddening, incessant tapping noise echoing in my ears. There had also been a sort of intermittent, low, droning sound emitting from somewhere off to my right; or was it my left? Was there even really such a thing as right and left in this endless cloud of grey, swirling goddamn nothingness? Somehow, I’d lost all sense of direction inside the deep shadows and the question of how far I’d wandered was far beyond my ragged mental faculties at the moment.

Neither, can I say for certain how long I hung there on the edge of consciousness; but I do know that when the blinding light finally tore me from blessed sleep, I was immediately faced with two, extremely fucking serious problems – the consecrated, eternal mother of all hangovers and a squat, horrifically angry-looking man with a set of mutton chops that would make Chester Allen Arthur turn green with envy.

“Will you just make a fucking pick lady – we’re still in the first round and this is going to take all fucking night at the rate we’re going already” he thundered loudly as every part of my head exploded in pain on a molecular level.

Who was this angry bulldog man? Why was he shouting? I needed a goddamn cigarette, a shot of bourbon and a moment to catch my bearings; but something about the snarling mask of irritation cast across ol’ Chester’s face made it abso-fucking-lutely clear he was expecting an immediate answer of some sort.

“Now, listen here my good man” I replied with as much false-bravado as I could muster. “I’m an American goddamn citizen and I will not tolerate the likes of you verbally manhandling a proud daughter of Michigan in this clearly unconstitutional manner. Why this is a bloody fucking outrage, I don’t even have a fucking lawyer present you fascist swine – I demand a few moments to consider my answer!”

The expression of utter bewilderment that quickly spread across Chester’s gloriously bewhiskered visage told me that my answer had been neither right, nor wrong – but it had bought me a half-moment to properly take stock of the predicament I found myself in.

The room itself was large, well lit and dominated by some sort of long conference table; on top of which lay a vast assortment of phones, car keys, laptops and magazines of some kind. The air faintly smelled of high-powered, industrial carpet freshener and Windex; was I in a hotel boardroom?  I found myself seated at the table with what appeared to be eight other people besides Chester; all of others were middle-aged men in casual slacks and too-tight football jerseys. Although only one of them seemed familiar, and even then only remotely so, I’d quickly counted three blazing red “Make America Great Again” hats among those seated around the table and immediately realized my first instinct was correct – I was surrounded by fascists and would need to escape immediately!

I counted only two exists out of the conference room and there were multiple fat and sweating, but vaguely athletic bodies between myself and either. Sizing them up, it quickly became apparent that I had little to no goddamn hope of overpowering them and to make matters far more terrifying; the man to my immediate left was a hulking, beady-eyed neanderthal openly sporting a 9mm in a shoulder holster over his skin-tight, faded mutherfucking Terry Porter jersey and loudly rapping a pencil off the table rhythmically in tense anticipation. Clearly, Fritz the wonder-goon was the son of a bitch who’d put a bullet in the back of my skull if I didn’t answer Chester’s questions correctly and thus, any hope I had of getting out of the room hinged utterly on disabling him and getting my hands on that goddamn pistol.

“Holy fuck lady, what in the name of sweet fucking Jesus are you talking about? Just say a fucking name so we can move on for fuck’s sake” Chester finally raved, interrupting my calculations.

“Fine, Bernie Sanders” I said, eyeing one of the mongoloids in a Trump hat warily.

“Umm, yeah – how about you name a fucking football player; holy shit who fucking brought this bitch?”

The mood in the room was quickly turning sour; the shock from my initial snarling retort was beginning to wear off and the natives were starting to get fucking restless. These murderous mutherfucking bastards would turn on me at any moment, I could sense it deep in the reptilian part of my brain; my next answer would have to be absolutely correct or I’d have to make my goddamn play and hope the good lord saw fit to save my belligerent, junkie hide once more.

“I’ll take Joe Montana then; the greatest quarterback in the history of professional football and a man who loved Mexicans – or at least their beer.”

“Are you fucking kidding me, he’s been retired for twenty-two ye-” the snarling man with the mutton chops started to tell me; but it was too late for him because in that single, glorious moment… I saw my chance.

Snatching a thick glass water pitcher from the table, I pushed my chair back and leap to my feet; pouring the water all over Frtiz on my right’s laptop. As he reached forward to instinctively protect thousands of dollars worth of personal electronics; I jerked the handgun out of it’s holster and immediately hauled the son of a bitch on my left out of his chair while pointing the 9mm at his head – by sheer coincidence, it happened to be the one guy in the room who seemed vaguely familiar.

“Everyone sit the fuck down and be cool or I swear on my mutherfucking life I will blow this sad, flabby Kyle Orton-looking prick’s brains all over this fucking room” I snarled, as I pulled my now trembling hostage towards the door.

“But, Nina what…”

“Shut the fuck up, how the hell do you even know my goddamn name? What kind of twisted, illegal PSYOP are you monsters running here anyway” I snapped as I pressed the gun firmly against his temple “just be fucking quiet and nobody has to die you greasy son of a bitch.”

As we slowly backed out the door, the utterly stunned, shocked and horrified looks on the faces in the room told me it would be several minutes before the football-loving fascists came after us or phoned the authorities. Switching the gun down to his back to avoid arousing suspicions, I informed my hostage of our itinerary quietly as we walked down the hotel hallway and out the front door.

“You’re going to be absolutely silent and take me to your bloody car. Once there, you’ll sit in the passenger seat next to me while I start it and assuming everything goes well, I’ll let you go and drive away. I want you to understand up front that I am not a goddamn murderer and I have no desire to kill anyone today but you pigskin neonazis have put me in an awkward position here. I’m leaving, over your dead body if necessary; do you understand me Kyle? May I call you Kyle because you actually look a lot like Kyle Orton if he’d eaten nothing but BigMacs for a month – look, do we have a deal Kyle? Nod slowly if we have a deal.”

Visibly trembling, my captive nodded slowly and I cut my pace to allow him to lead the way towards his automobile. With a moment to gather my thoughts as we walked, I couldn’t shake the dreadful sense that despite all outward appearances of successful escape; something had gone terribly, terribly wrong – but we arrived at our destination before I could figure the whole damn thing out.

Sliding into the drivers seat of Kyle’s car, the sense of deja-vu became so overwhelming it actually began to make me feel physically goddamn nauseous; I knew this car, I’d been in this seat before and even the pasty football fascist I’d taken hostage was starting to look like someone I used to know a long, long time ago. Turning the engine key felt like sliding my hand into an old, well-worn glove and as the engine hummed to life, I realized that I’d already knew exactly how it would sound the moment before it did. Confused beyond reason, I turned towards my captive to award him his freedom and suddenly it all came rushing back to me.

“I know you, your name is… Chaz” I stammered; my mind reeling as it attempted to process months worth of hazy memories suddenly thrust forward again in no particular bloody order.

“Oh my god Nina, is it really you? The shitty doctors said you were fine but I knew, I just knew it wasn’t you Nina; I mean how could you possibly be fine after all that rum and cocaine – you kept calling me Kyle and wandering aimlessly away whenever nobody was looking” he blubbered, his sunken eyes moist with tears. “I kept telling them, “she’s not herself doctor, she’s been reading fucking Politico and laughing at Trevor Noah jokes” but nobody would listen to me ma’am – even when you started watching baseball!”

I knew even as he spoke that he was telling the truth and as we pulled out of the parking lot, I finally did remember everything – the vacation after football season with my fabulous winnings, the drug-fueled casino yacht party I’d let our mutual, blackjack-dealing friend Reggie talk me into attending and the horrifying view of the pitch black ocean rushing towards my face after I’d bet the entire party I could dance the Victor Cruz salsa on the guard railing after my ninth cocktail. Two months of hospital rooms and another month of physiotherapy went by my inner eye in a matter of moments as though I were watching scenes of another woman play me on the television of my mind.

“Holy sweet Jesus Chaz; is my monkey okay?!”

“The monkey is fine, he’s staying with Reggie because you repeatedly accused him of being a spy for J Edgar Hoover; you were really out of it for a while…”

Slamming the breaks in the middle of the avenue, I turned toward Chaz in sheer, mortal terror.

“And, what about that rat-fucking editor of mine? Has he been by? Has he called?! Does he expect a bloody column soon? What is the fucking date Chaz, good god man tell me the mutherfucking date boy – our lives could depend on this!”

“September 5th, why?

Smiling, I took my foot off the break and eased the car up the road towards a nearby strip mall. Tossing the gun in the backseat, I began to plan out the next two days in intricate detail. I would need an internet connection, numerous Little Debbie snack cakes and plenty of strong goddamn alcohol; there would also no doubt be a long, awkward call to my editor required but I probably had just enough time to get my week 1 bets in and hammer out a column before the opening kickoff of the 2016 season. As I put the car in park, I suddenly realized there was still one important thing I needed to know.

“Chaz, when I snapped out of it – why the fuck were we in a room full of angry fascists?”

“Fascists? That was my fantasy football league draft; I brought you along because I thought it might help you get back in the swing of things Nina.”

“But, why the fucking Trump hats then?”

“Trump jokes were the second most popular naming scheme in our league this year; right after Harambe puns – hey, when we get back home can I call the guys and reschedule the draft?”

“Good god man, of fucking course not – you know full damn well that my idea of fantasy football is fifteen minutes alone in a locked, windowless room with the Ford Family and a goddamn chainsaw” I replied, slamming the car door shut and moving towards the store.

“And just what in the name of fucking christ is a harambe by the way?”

 

* * * * *

Panthers (-3) over BRONCOS:

Look, let’s just get one goddamn thing absolutely fucking clear before we talk about this game; Thursday Night Football is an abomination against all that is right, pure and true in this exulted national pastime that also happens to slowly turn grown men’s brains into a scarred mass of dysfunctional, bleeding hamburger. The games are notoriously lousy, having to start the NFL schedule in the middle of the week plays absolute hell with bookies and the only reason the league insists on trotting out an inferior product every Thursday night is because advertisers are preternaturally attracted to prime-time, pro football; no matter how shitty the games are.

With all of that having been noted however, this match-up is probably about as good as it gets on Thursday Night Football as it features a rematch of last year’s Superbowl and arguably the best defense in each respective conference. The Broncos won that game 24-10 but unfortunately for them, they’re replacing a future Hall of Famer at the most important position in professional football with a guy who may well be asking you if you want fries with your Big Mac in three years.

Frankly, I have no fucking idea how good Trevor Siemian is, you have no fucking idea how good Trevor Siemian is – hell, Trevor’s own damn mother probably has no fucking idea how good he is either. What I do know is that the last time a seventh round draft pick with a grand fucking total of one season and one snap under his belt successfully replaced a two-time Superbowl winning, Hall of Fame quarterback was – well, probably fucking never; I’m certainly not looking that shit up. Both teams have lost high performance, mutant freak athletes on the defensive side of the ball this offseason but only one of these squads has a 6’5, 230lb quarterback who single-handedly declared America “beyond” racism this summer in an interview with GQ magazine. Thanks Cam; that should totally solve everything buddy.

For those of you keeping score at home – this week’s official “White America Cam Newton Approval Rating” is “Doug Williams” with a side of “not Colin Kaepernick.”

How many snaps will RGIII take before his knee implodes? Trick question; he doesn't have knees anymore
How many snaps will RGIII take before his knee implodes? Trick question; he doesn’t have actual knees anymore

 

Vikings (-2) over TITANS

Browns (+4) over EAGLES

CHIEFS (-7) over Chargers

 

Buccaneers (+3) over FALCONS:

In a week seemingly devoid of sexy match-ups with probable playoff implications, this NFC South “clash” will likely attract far more more cheddar from degenerate gamblers than either one of these fairly shitty teams deserve. Additionally, since this game features Tampa Bay and Jameis Winston, I am morally obliged to remind readers that the Bucs starting quarterback is almost certainly a rapist and indisputably dumber than than a goddamn pile of bricks. Disturbingly enough, only one of these two things is actually considered a drawback in professional football; but I digress.

As far as the match-up on the field goes; a casual observer will look at last season’s overall records and quickly take the Falcons at home against a young Tampa team that finished 5-11 in 2015 after dropping their final four games like a Mongolian wrestling coach dropping trou at the goddamn Olympics. This is of course completely fucking wrong as the Bucs are arguably the more talented team, they finished slightly ahead of Atlanta in most key statistical categories and they actually swept the Falcons last season in head to head contests between teams nobody gave a shit about by December – the lesson here is that casual football fans are to Las Vegas what slow-moving baby seals are to Canadian fishermen with a hakapik.

The Bucs boast a talented, physical offense with the league’s best one-two punch at runningback, two freakishly large wide receivers who like to crash through midget cornerbacks like traffic pylons and the aforementioned Jameis Winston; a young, rocket-armed quarterback who hasn’t raped anyone in at least a full calendar year (that we know of) and should be learning how really to “bring home the crab legs” in his second NFL season.

If there is anything about this game that were to give me pause before laying down my hard earned greenbacks, it would be the presence of unstoppable god-being Julio Jones at WR for the Falcons. At the top of his game, there isn’t a mutherfucking cornerback in the entire NFL capable of shutting down Jones for four whole quarters and if he’s healthy enough to eat; Julio could completely devour a very mediocre young Tampa secondary. Atlanta also has one of the better offensive lines in the league and a competent (if unspectacular) quarterback in “Matty Ice” Ryan; who’s firmly settled in to the Drew Bledsoe “more name than game” portion of his career at the ripe old age of thirty-one.

Both of these defenses are absolutely fucking putrid and frankly the less said about them, the better – take the over.

Hey, remember when JJ Watt was remotely likeable? Me neither, fuck Wisconsin
Hey, remember when JJ Watt was remotely likeable? Me neither, fuck Wisconsin

 

Packers (-4.5) over JAGUARS

Bears (+6) over TEXANS

RAVENS (-3) over Bills

Oakland (+1) over SAINTS

 

JETS (+2.5) over Bengals: 

Easily the most exciting 1PM match-up in week 1; this game features two teams that wildly out-performed expectations last season before ending the year with a stupefying (and yet, entirely fucking predictable) choke job that reminded everyone that “they are who we thought they were” and that God hates both the city of Cincinnati and Jets fans. By virtue of waiting an additional week to actively defecate all over their entire season, the Bengals enter this game as the favorites – but I’m honestly not sure how much goddamn sense that actually makes when you look at where these two rosters are in week 1.

The Bengals responded to shitting the bed by letting half of breakout star QB Andy “the Red Rifle” Dalton’s targets leave town for more money, bringing in octogenarian outside linebacker Karlos Dansby from the “stalwart” Cleveland defense and that’s basically fucking it. Star tight end and part-time Gronk impersonator Tyler Eifert is out for week with a severe case of “don’t play in football games that don’t fucking matter” after shredding his ankle in last year’s Pro Bowl and there’s no guarantee his backup will play either. Noted Rhodes Scholar and part-time raging berserker Vontaze Burfic will also sit out the game as part of a three game suspension for “doing things on a football field that would land your ass in fucking jail off of it,” but considering the fact that he’s almost solely responsible for the Bengals season-ending loss to the hated Pittsburgh Steelers in the first place – I’m not entirely sure that’s actually a negative for Cincinnati.

In turn, the Jets responded to their abject humiliation at the hands of hated division rival Buffalo by forcing popular left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson to retire rather than continuing to pay him a fair salary, bringing in a 30 year old runningback who’s total yardage numbers fell off a fucking cliff last season (for 3 yrs at $4M per) and dicking the franchise’s best QB since Vinny Testaverde around all summer over nickles; until he threatened to retire and both star wide recievers started sitting out practices in protest – hey, these are the NY Jets my friends.

Despite these issues, the Jets have a talented (albeit aging and somewhat shallow) roster with impact players at every level, on both sides of the ball. Any team that trots out Darrelle Revis and Muhammad Wilkerson is going to be reasonably fucking dominant on defense and right now, for week 1 of the NFL season, the Jets just have more talent stepping onto the field than the Bengals do. Dalton’s rise to quasi-elite status last year was predicated on moving the ball quickly to the open man before bloodthirsty pass rushers could even get near him because Andy practically shits himself in the face of even a nominal pass rush. What happens when nobody’s fucking open because the Jets are triple-teaming manbeast WR AJ Green and everyone else on the field will be playing in Canada by 2017? Someone better keep the goddamn Bactine handy because I think it’s going to be a long, painful afternoon for the Red Rifle.

Please note that the Jets will be without the services of star defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson who will be serving a draconian one game suspension for (and I could not make this shit up if I tried folks) drag racing another car at 143 mph on a city street, with a twelve year old boy in the backseat of a vehicle containing multiple loaded firearms; after apparently ripping a blunt to calm his racing nerves or something. In other words; the league will suspend you for four games for maybe, possibly deflating a football in a blowout win, but only one game for endangering the life of a minor in almost every goddamn way imaginable  – when it comes to responsibility, accountability and protecting the lives of children; apparently NFL stands for “not fucking likely.”

 

Dolphins +10.5 over SEAHAWKS:

At this early juncture of the 2016 NFL season, I find myself completely devoid of anything interesting to say about either one of these teams; even though neither of them are strictly bad and indeed it’s possible the Seattle Seahawks might represent the NFC in this year’s Superbowl if things break absolutely perfectly for them – I’m sure we’ll spend plenty of time talking about Seattle and their groundbreaking QB Russell Wilson; who remains the only 100% synthetic human being to play in the National Football League.

No, I chose to write up this game instead to discuss a matter of questionable gambling wisdom and to lay down one of “the rules” of wagering according your own humble, wretched scribe. To quote the indomitable Walter Sobchak – “Smokey, this is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.”

Our first rule is “don’t bet NFL teams to cover a double-digit point spread unless you have a very good fucking reason for doing so.”

There is an unnerving, self-destructive tendency for those new to the blessed pastime of wagering on professional football to focus too much on which teams are likely to win the games; while largely ignoring the all important point spread. The point spread is however what determines whether you win or lose your bet; the spread is both life and death to the experienced degenerate gambler and after a few years of riding the insane roller coaster of betting on pro football – most serious junkies won’t even talk about who actually won or lost the bloody game.

The truth, is that it’s actually damn near impossible for a professional football team to consistently cover double-digit point spreads; there are simply too many variables and too much parity in the NFL on a week to week basis to expect pro teams to blow out weaker opponents like this is Conference USA college goddamn football. Everyone playing in the NFL is strong, freakishly athletic and fast; this generally serves to keep the games much closer at the pro level than in other leagues – even if the better team has no real chance of actually losing!

The Seahawks are almost certainly going to win this game because they have the better defense and the better quarterback; by that same measure their offensive line sucks donkey ass and their about to spend all day tangling with suspected serial killer Ndamukong Suh. There’s nobody outside of Wilson on Seattle’s offense who’s likely to break the game wide fucking open for a blowout either. The only way I see Seattle actually covering this spread is if Dolphins overrated, failson-douchebag QB Ryan Tannehill melts down against a very good (but no longer historically good) Seahawks defense – which is always a possibility, that’s why they call it gambling kids.

 

"Relax, it's just a vertebrae, I'm back by Week 4 - book it"
“Relax, it’s just a vertebrae, I’m back by Week 4 – book it”

COWBOYS (Pick Em) over Giants:

This game is only interesting to us for two reasons; the debut of promising (so far) Cowboys rookie QB Dak Prescott and explaining that a “pick em” game just means that neither team is favored by Vegas – this is not a case of a game having no line because of an unresolved injury for example.

Dallas is probably going to be either really good, or really, really fucking bad this season and a lot of that is going to depend on how Prescott performs in this game against a Giants defense that has stunk like a vacant body bag house in The Wire and played like traffic pylons for three of the last four years. I don’t know if Tony Romo’s career as the Cowboys starter is already finished, but what I do know is that he’s come back from injury too early at least twice in his career and the results have distinctly resembled hot vomit in a cup; it would be best for Dallas (and Romo’s spine) if the 36 year old quarterback wasn’t allowed to play again until he was fully healed this season.

 

Lions (+3.5) over COLTS:

This “titanic” contest of wills features two teams that both think they’re better than they are, trying to build on 2015 finishes that give the illusion that they might be playoff teams in 2016; also one of them happens to own my mortal soul for reasons I still can’t entirely fathom – I’m a Detroit Lions fan.

As has become usual of late, the Lions roster consists of numerous athletic freaks of goddamn nature who will largely fail to produce because they’re either mismatched pieces in the scheme or they’re injured too often to actually play. On paper and if everyone is healthy the Lions are strong on both lines, can field five elite (ish) targets in the passing game and roll out what’s actually starting to look like an excellent secondary after years upon years of failure against the pass. Hell, even QB “Fat” Matty Stafford showed up to camp looking considerably less strung out and bloated than normal; we’ll see if that holds after the team’s 6th loss this season or he reverts to being a belligerent swollen dick-bro when the going gets rough.

Of course, the linebacking corps still positively reeks of failure (even if certified goddamn werewolf OLB Levy is back to normal, of which we’ve seen no evidence whatsoever thus far) and the Lions objectively suck at running the football; regardless of which highly-flawed runningback is toting the rock. Furthermore, I still have no fucking idea who’s playing tight end in this game and after watching the video of (thus-far) frustrating as fuck TE Eric Ebron’s injury three times in gruesome slow motion I’m A) pretty sure it’s still not gonna be him and B) seriously considering throwing up – that was ugly folks.

Despite all this negativity however, I can’t help but honestly think the Colts are in a worse situation. The Indy offense is basically Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and 9 “street” free agents who happen to be healthy and available that week. On defense they have a few elite talents surrounded by guys who’re older than fucking dirt and trying to squeeze out one last season from broken bodies held together primarily by bloody athletic tape at this point. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis is one of the best CB’s in the league and he’ll punish Stafford like he damn well stole something if Matty goes after him in week one; but he’s only one guy and the rest of Indy’s back four isn’t impressive.

Update: Colts top corner Vontae Davis has been ruled out for week one with a dinged up ankle; which looks pretty good for our Lions +3.5 pick.

I’ll bite and take the Lions so they can stomp all over my little Honolulu-blue heart again nice and early this season – an no, I am not ready to talk about Calvin Johnson’s retirement yet, thank you very much.

 

Technically not a picture of Pats QB Jimmy Garoppolo
Technically not a picture of Pats QB Jimmy Garoppolo

CARDINALS (-6) over Patriots:

Look folks, I know that pretty much everyone in the world who watches football and isn’t already a Patriots fan hates them with the passion of a thousand dying suns; but realistically, New England is going to be one of the better football teams in the NFL this year – despite having to replace Tom Brady for four games with a guy who’s primary skill on display thus far has been carrying Tom Brady’s wardrobe to and from the drycleaners before “business trips” each week.

The Pats would be better than three of the four teams they’ll play while Brady is serving his “cause Goodell said so” suspension with sixty-four year old head coach Bill Belichick at quarterback and no matter how completely devoid of talent Jimmy Garoppolo is; he’s still piloting an offense loaded to the fucking gills with elite weapons and a healthy (for now) mutant superhero in Pat’s tight end Rob Gronkowski. Even if they slip to 2-2 while Brady is away, the relatively putrid opponents on the schedule after Text-Message Tom’s return make it really hard to see how the Pats finish worse than 11-5 – which will almost certainly be enough to win the secretly shittier than you think AFC East.

All of those facts should give Patriots fan’s solace this Sunday Night as they watch the Arizona Cardinals beat the holy shit out of their over-matched replacement QB and unloaded years of collective national frustration on New England. The Patriots were going to have a hard goddamn time winning this game in the desert against an elite Cardinals team (burning with humiliation after last year’s playoff debacle against Carolina) even with Tom Brady – without him, they’re absolutely fucking doomed.

The Cards have the most diverse and explosive passing attack in the NFL, they can run the ball consistently against NFL defenses and their aggressive, absurdly goddamn physical defense keeps quarterbacks awake at night sweating – although, they can at times gamble too much and give up huge plays. Unless Carson Palmer reverts to “Ryan Leaf, high on painkillers” mode again against the Patriots (no trust me, that playoff game against Carolina was so fucking bad it could be career ending if he’s not mentally over it) – the Cardinals should win and cover at home.

 

Big (fat rapist) Ben Roethlisberger; finely tuned athletic machine
Big (fat rapist) Ben Roethlisberger; finely tuned athletic machine

Steelers (-3) over RACIAL SLURS:

In the odd event that you’ve spent the last few years in a comma, please allow me to regretfully inform you that Washington has a professional football team and they are still named after a racial slur against Native Americans in the year of our lord, 2016. I would like to make a funny joke about that, but the goddamn truth is that it just isn’t very funny at all, so I won’t bother. Neither will I waste several paragraphs explaining why the name of the franchise is bigoted, morally wrong and should result in expulsion from the National Football League for team owner and colossal jackass Dan Synder. You already know all of this and if anything I just said made you angry; it’s because you’re part of the fucking problem frankly.

What you may not know however, is precisely just how big of a puckered, steaming asshole Dan Snyder is and that’s why, in lieu of discussing his shitty, racist football team; I will share with you a single Dan Snyder fact each time I am required to write about Washington – and unlike the “facts” about Native Americans the franchise in Washington pays shills to repeat; mine will be true!

Ready? Lets go:

  • Since this game will be played a mere day after the disturbing spectacle that is the US annual remembrance of the terrorist attacks against New York on September 11th; today’s Dan Snyder fact is that after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Racial Slurs began charging fans an additional $4 “security” fee and almost immediately started selling $24 commemorative 9/11 hats. When you think “brazenly exploiting the deaths of thousands of Americans” think Washington Football owner Dan Snyder folks!

Additionally, I will be picking against Washington every week, regardless of opponent or point spread. Is this a good strategy to make money? Fuck no, the Racial Slurs are likely to be battling Dallas for the NFC East title this year and will probably win between 7-9 games; I just don’t fucking care. I’d rather lose money betting against a pimple on the ass of humanity like Dan Snyder than profit by his success; you should consider adjusting your bets in regards to “tolerance for open racism” accordingly.

Finally, you have my word that this column will never say the franchise’s full name on this website because repeating racial slurs just isn’t my idea of “entertainment” – hereafter they shall be “Washington” if I’m feeling generous and the “Racial Slurs” if I’m not.

As for the Steelers; Pittsburgh is one of the sexy, dark-horse picks to win the entire AFC this year and they return a deep, talented roster that includes star runningback Le’Veon Bell (who’ll miss the first 3 games because he can’t stop smoking pot) and suspected Kyrptonian WR Antonio Brown – who is without a question one of the baddest goddamn men in the NFL; but in a good way.

Which unfortunately brings us to franchise quarterback and portly spokesmen for Hostess Ding Dongs; Ben Roethlisberger. Despite looking exactly like the fat guy in your office who used to play highschool football before letting his body go to pot and who now complains daily about how hard golf is on his knees; Roethlisberger is easily one of the five best QBs in the NFL, a likely Hall of Famer and capable of winning literally any game on the Steelers schedule this year with his arm. He’s also almost certainly a goddamn rapist and his success in “overcoming” this “character concern” is more than likely the reason Tampa Bay pulled the trigger on Jameis “Crab Legs” Winston without even blinking; after similarly credible allegations dogged him at FSU.

Have I mentioned that pro football is evil? There are no good guys in the NFL, Virginia.

 

He man not play, but Kaepernick will be on America's mind in Week 1
He man not even play, but Kaepernick will be on America’s mind in Week 1

Rams (-2.5) over 49ERS:

The truth is that there is almost no good reason to write about this game whatsoever besides the fact that it’s the Monday Night double-header and Colin Kaepernick’s recent protest has moved beyond the confines of professional football and is raising important questions about race and police violence in our society at large. I am hoping to have a piece that discusses Kaepernick in some form out later this week and as such I won’t insult his commitment by glossing over it for a paragraph here, in a sports gambling humor column.

The reason that there’s no other reason to talk about this match-up however is because both of these teams legitimately suck like a brand new Hoover vacuum. Kaepernick won’t even be starting at QB for the 49ers, who’ve decided to go with former-Jaguars washout and future anonymous Missouri congressman Blaine Gabbert; which speaks more to how poorly Kapernick has played the past couple of seasons than any sort of reasonably predictable bounce-back performance by an obvious goddamn bust like Gabbert.

As for the Rams they’re young, they’re talented and they have the makings of what might be a historically great defensive line. They’re also starting someone or something named Case Keenum at the most important position on the field and it’s never a good sign when the best description I can think of for your signal caller is “a quarterback-like substance.” Number one overall draft pick Jared Goff will be inactive for the game and that’s probably a good thing considering how absolutely fucking terrible he looked in the preseason. Rams RB Todd Gurley is the kinda psycho, fucked-up butcher who could run around you but might just go over you out of spite instead; this kid puts a lot of cleat marks on the chests of defeated defenders over the course of a game and it’s a beautiful, if ferocious sight to watch. The Rams aren’t really a very good team, but they have pieces – as opposed to the 49ers who are just in pieces.

Note: the St. Louis Rams are now the Los Angeles Rams; a fact that you will hear about roughly fifty times on Monday night’s game broadcast despite the fact that it’s a road game in San Francisco for the Rams and virtually nobody in America actually gives a fuck anyway – including people in Los Angeles and St. Louis.

 

Last Week: 0 – 0 – 0

2016 Season: 0 – 0 -0

 

  • Nina Illingworth

 

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