Frontrunning with Extra Vigorish: Week 3 NFL Picks

Editor’s note: well, we’re late again; despite giving myself two whole extra days to get this week’s picks column ready – here I am on Saturday afternoon typing away furiously with the clock ticking and the tiny fascist editor inside my head screaming bloody murder.

Unfortunately, this once again means no introductory story but I have been assured by numerous readers that roughly four thousand words worth of humors NFL picks are good enough for the weeks where that’s all I have time for. I thank you for your patience and I’d like to inform concerned readers that my cat Ginger has actually turned a few small corners and miraculously is in notably better shape than when I first brought her up here on this website. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we have a vet appointment on Monday and it seems like all the extra love and attention might’ve worked a minor miracle for my beloved kitty; it’s been a good week in my family and truthfully my difficulty finishing this column was more about a nagging case of writer’s block than anything else.

At this point, I’ll refrain from making any promises about the return of the Gambler and our intro stories; on weeks where I have time and inspiration I’ll write one, on weeks where I don’t, I’ll focus on making a few more picks to compensate – despite all outward appearances, I’ve learned that writing fiction under a deadline is actually quite hard sometimes.

As always picks are made against the Pinnacle line at the time I write the column, our choice to win is listed first and home teams are printed in all caps. Please be reminded this website is not responsible in any way if you take gambling advice from a deranged madwoman who still hasn’t managed to break .500 on a week this season; at this point we’re subsidizing Vegas with “the vig” each week – or we would be, if we were actually gambling officer.

 

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Admit it, you have no idea if this is Jacoby Brissett or not
Admit it, you have no idea if this is Jacoby Brissett or not

PATRIOTS (-1) over Texans:

During last week’s column, I blithely suggested that “New England could promise to hold a bloody punt, pass and kick contest at halftime to see who gets to play quarterback for the rest of the game and I’d still be picking them” – which as it turns out, is precisely what happened last Sunday when the Patriot’s latest attempt at cloning Tom Brady was slammed hard into the dirt and Jimmy “I’m still looking this shit up every time I have to spell it” Garoppolo went down with a fucked up shoulder.

Reports indicate that Garoppolo is technically dressing for this game as the backup QB but that’s pretty much entirely because Bill Belichick is a stone cold mutherfucker with a long, long memory and Jimmy is hoping to someday succeed Tom Brady in New England; he absolutely cannot fucking play after folding his goddamn throwing wing up like that just four days ago and everyone (including the Texans) knows it. Dutifully, I have spent parts of the past three days watching all nine (yes, nine) passes something or someone called Jacoby Brissett threw against Miami last week on loop like every other deranged gambling addict in the country and I can say with some certainty that Brissett is basically terrible; at least for the moment.

This is a problem, because the Patriots are facing off against a devastating pass rush from a Texans front seven that can be best described as a “pack of psycho, fucked-up butchers” who just happen to play football; Brissett’s family should probably consider taking out a goddamn life insurance policy under an assumed name at this point because the rookie is going to get hit hard and often by a defense that knows New England doesn’t have another “real” quarterback available for this game. Don’t expect the run game to help out much either; the Texans defense is vulnerable to speed when they over-pursue but they eat lard-ass power backs like Legarrette Blount for fucking breakfast on the regular – New England is going to have to win this game in the air, with a rookie 3rd-round QB throwing at least twenty-five passes.

The Texans have prepared all summer for this game; they dropped $72M on a goddamn Ent who plays quarterback just because he beat the Patriots in Denver last year, they’ve known for months they wouldn’t have to face Tom Brady and just about everyone on the fucking planet is assuming they’ll get the job done against a team that might seriously be starting Julian Edelman at QB by the fourth quarter.

This is of course, exactly why the Patriots are going to win this game outright on Thursday Night Football after Bill Belichick drags their asses to a “ho-hum” victory through a combination of dark magic, the ritual sacrifice of a practice squad punter and sheer, unbridled assholery.

I told you folks last week, I’m done losing money because I forgot about Dre.

DOLPHINS (+10) over Browns:

Look, I really don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about this game because objectively, it’s going to be a goddamn crime against football and if you’re the type of person who can actually sit through a contest this fucking terrible from start to completion – you’ve got way damn bigger problems than a ten point Dolphins spread.

I’d merely like to point out that this game represents a reasoned violation of one of our “mostly immutable” rules of wagering; Miami has in no way shape or goddamn form proven that they’re capable of covering a ten point spread and under normal circumstances I’d slam Cleveland so hard here, I’d end up in traction – which is basically where most of the Browns best players are right now and therein lies the problem.

Over the past two seasons we’ve been rewarded by picking Cleveland to cover when shockingly competent Browns QB Josh McCown is playing but he apparently snapped his collarbone like a deep-fried chicken wing (again) last week and the Browns are starting a rookie QB (Cody Kessler) that even management admits is nowhere near ready to play at the bloody NFL level. The Browns are now so desperate at the most important position in football that they actually signed the quarterback-like substance and accomplished clipboard warrior Charlie fucking Whitehurst to back up Kessler; despite the former having proven conclusively over his eleven year career that having Chuck Whitehurst at quarterback is pretty much exactly the same goddamn thing as having no quarterback at all.

The Dolphins don’t really deserve our faith this Sunday, but I’m not even sure the Browns can actually score on offense at this point and Cleveland is already staring at a long, painful year of absolutely fucking brutal tanking; in week three of the 2016 season.

Breakout QB Trevor Siemian signals the size of contract he expects from Denver soon
Breakout QB Trevor Siemian signals the size of contract he expects from Denver soon

 

Broncos (+3.5) over BENGALS

Raiders (-1.5) over TITANS

 

GIANTS (-3.5) over Racial Slurs:

As virtually anyone with a damn television in American knows by now, this match-up between the Giants and the Washington football franchise I absolutely refuse to fucking name is being billed as the Odell Beckham Jr vs Josh Normal “revenge” match; after Norman took up residence inside Beckham’s skull and drove him absolutely out of his goddamn mind in the first half of the Giants/Panthers game last season. It’s a nice story to be sure, but nobody seems to remember that despite all of Norman’s tough talk this summer, Beckham absolutely fucking eviscerated him (and a much better secondary than the one Washington will field this week) in the second half of that game because OBJ is a mutant superhero freak of goddamn nature and when he’s on, there’s not a single mutherfucking corner in the NFL who can actually stop him. Should Beckham have been thrown out of that game for literally trying to fucking murder Norman with an obvious spear? You betcha – but he didn’t get thrown out and the reason Norman is still talking trash is because OBJ snatched a piece of his mutherfucking soul right out of his damn body in the second half of that contest.

As for the rest of NY’s roster; Eli Manning has looked notably better than I thought he would after riding a roller coaster between “oh wow, I guess he is a Manning” and “holy sweet fucking jeezus why are the Giants paying this fucking bum eighty-four million dollars to suck like that” last season. The real surprise for New York so far however has got to be the Giants attacking, ravenous front seven that has spent the first two weeks breaking down opposing running backs like R. Lee Ermey ripping a strip off private fucking Pile. The secondary still sucks gorilla testicles and New York’s running game remains a near-mythical beast that may or may not show up for the game during any given week; but if the Giants can pair one of the best passing attacks in the league with a pack of bloodthirsty cannibals that live to devour runningbacks on defense – New York might be one of the surprise teams in this NFL season.

In lieu of discussing anyone besides Norman on the Washington roster until such a time as they change their objectively racist team nickname, this week’s Dan Snyder fact is:

  • In 2005, Dan Snyder attempted to abuse his power as owner of the Washington football franchise by informing fans that the team would only be accepting the “R******s Extra Points MasterCard” for season ticket payments; a threat he only walked back in the face of a season ticket holder revolt and after the Mastercard corporation itself told him to stop being such a greedy fucking prick. That’s right folks, when you think “forcing fans to get an objectively fucking racist credit card to watch your shitty football team in a scam so fucking odious it turned Mastercard’s stomach” – think Dan Snyder

Folks, I bet against Washington every week because I’m just not comfortable profiting from bigotry in any way but the truth is; the Giants can and should win this game outright and going away – there’s no sacrifice required to bet against Dan fucking Snyder and his racist football team this time because New York might actually drop forty goddamn points on a very questionable Washington defense.

"holy shit Rob, I think they just fired the *offensive* coordinator, wow..."
“holy shit Rob, I think they just fired the *offensive* coordinator, wow…”

 

Cardinals (-3.5) over BILLS

Ravens (-1) over JAGUARS

 

PANTHERS (-7) over Vikings:

Carolina proved to us last week that they’re a big-time, professional goddamn football offense by easily covering a double digit spread against the San Francisco 49ers and they did it going away after a shaky-as-fuck start that had me feeling pretty good about picking the 49ers. With that having been noted, and despite the Vikings injury room bearing a shocking fucking resemblance to a M.A.S.H. unit; I’m still not entirely comfortable with this spread because of one solitary man – Stefon Diggs. Whatever the Diggs family may surrender in spelling talent they have clearly more than made up for it in the “producing terrifying goddamn wide receivers who’re already threatening to take over the NFL in just their second season” department. After literally years of watching the walking failbus that is new Vikings QB Sam Bradford I can tell you with some certainty that he didn’t just magically “become” good enough to beat the Packers in prime time last week; Diggs was utterly fucking unstoppable throughout most of the game and as long as he’s healthy and on the field, the Vikings will be a legitimate threat to upset literally anyone they play this season. It’s hard to win football games when the other team’s QB is throwing to a wide open bloody assassin who isn’t even remotely afraid of the moment; Diggs might be the best player in the NFC North already and he’s just getting fucking started.

Lions (+7) over PACKERS:

After a mere two weeks in the NFL season, I am now almost convinced that the Lions are this year’s new “surprisingly good, putrid team” and consequently Detroit fans are in for a psychotic hell-ride of mixed emotions this fall on a week to week fucking basis. At their best, the Lions are probably capable of dueling with some of the best goddamn offenses in the NFL but there are simply too many players still on the roster who’ve been completely “Lionized” and thus have learned only to fail in new and spectacular ways each week. Yes, a brutal number of injuries at the linebacker position and some shockingly inept officiating were a factor last week but ultimately the Lions still absolutely shit the bed against a Titans squad that might be lucky to win six games this year in a division that once again threatens to be a steaming pile of dogshit. All of this was of course the week after Matt Stafford’s balls grew three sizes larger in a last minute, week one victory over an Indianapolis Colts squad that probably doesn’t deserve to be 0-2 right now.

Adding it all up, I’m left with the distinct idea that I won’t be taking the Lions as favorites very often this year but they do make an intriguing dark-horse, underdog pick if the line is favorable enough; which it is this week because apparently literally fucking nobody in Las Vegas has watched the Packers first two games this season.

Literally thousands of goddamn words have been written this past week about what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense but the entire situation can be summed up simply enough; the Packers no longer appear to be special – the receivers aren’t getting open, Rogers isn’t fitting the ball into microscopic fucking windows and rotating between two slow fat guys at halfback isn’t really working any better than it has the past three goddamn seasons. Frankly, this isn’t really a new fucking problem for the Packers either; outside of human-waterbug hybrid and “great white hope” Jordy Nelson, Green Bay has lacked explosiveness on offense for multiple years now and anyone who’s watched Nelson on film this season can tell you he’s looked a lot more “late-era Don Beebe” than “prime of his life Lance Alworth” so far.

Both of these defenses are pretty much one catastrophic injury away from reenacting the hospital bedside scene from fucking Brian’s Song mid-game, but that’s probably an advantage for the Lions; they’re already used to sucking orangutan ass because they’re starting street free agent quality players on D, while this will represent a new (and unpleasant) experience for Green Bay. I’ll take the points and hope this isn’t the week Aaron Rodgers figures out how to throw goddamn touchdowns when nobody is actually fucking open again.

Steelers (-3.5) over EAGLES:

Although it pains me to take the Steelers here because at this point I feel like I’m locked into a one-sided relationship based on gambling-fueled lust with rookie sensation Carson Wentz; I’m going to have to step off the Eagles hype train for at least this weekend. While Wentz has unquestionably been the best rookie QB in the NFL this season (to the point of forcing grown Rams fans to break out in open weeping) and we’ve made a tidy bit of cold hard cash wagering on his magnificent arm; there is a long, long mutherfucking distance in terms of quality between the likes of Cleveland or Chicago and the pack of fucked up, violent goddamn felons the Pittsburgh Steelers run out on defense. Remember, Pittsburgh just beat the holy shit out of a Bengals offense that actually looks eerily similar to the one Philly is going to field on Sunday afternoon and they have a longstanding reputation of bringing the entire fucking house against young quarterbacks – the Steelers are 19-2 in their last twenty-one games against rookie QBs and that includes several near fatalities.

On offense the Steelers are still lead by a slovenly, bloated (probable) rapist who’s way, way fucking better than any man who’s as corpulent as Roethlisberger is, has any right to be; armed with arguably the best WR in the NFL and an older than fucking dirt runningback who’s improbably leading in the league in rushing yardage at this early point in the the NFL season – because the NFL does not have a goddamn performance enhancing drug problem, alright?!

In short, there is no such thing as kharmic justice in a cold and uncaring universe and like it or not, the Steelers are a legitimate Superbowl contender this season – and the Eagles aren’t; although I look forward to making money off morons in Vegas who don’t watch the games and still have no damn clue how good Carson Wentz already is at this exact fucking moment. It’s just not gonna happen this week, because Pittsburgh is going to beat Philly senseless and claim the so-called “Battle of Pennsylvania” on Sunday – much to the delight of thousands of yinzers who’ve been legally barred from entering the city of Philadelphia for public drunkenness and general townie dipshittery.

Seattle/Rams - where offensive football goes to die
Seattle/Rams – the elephant graveyard of offensive football

49ers (+10) over SEAHAWKS:

The Seahawks have scored a grand bloody total of fifteen points this season in two games so far; including a microscopic goddamn field goal against the same LA Rams squad the 49ers hung twenty-eight on in what may have been the most shocking result of week 1. Let’s be real here, the 49ers are clearly a terrible fucking football team but the Seahawks would have to pitch a mutherfucking shutout and increase their season scoring average at the same time just to cover this ridiculous ten point spread; all while protecting a clearly hobbled Russell Wilson who’s already limping around on a fucked-up ankle because he’s playing behind an offensive line that is to football what steaming hot vomit in a cup, is to summer refreshment – I’ll take the points.

BUCCANEERS (-4.5) over Rams:

Which brings us to the only offense in the NFL that’s more of raging goddamn dumpster fire than Seattle’s; the LA Rams, who are somehow 1-1 this season despite failing to score a single mutherfucking touchdown in two complete games. Frankly, after watching both of those games I’m strongly tempted to believe they might not score a TD all month; the Rams starting quarterback is a guy who absolutely should be working in the fucking snack bar and star halfback Todd Gurley is already seeing phantom goddamn defenders on the field as America collectively watches all joy and desire drained from his eyes by millionaire mega-fraud “coach” Jeff Fisher’s offensive system. I’m not thrilled about laying four and a half points on a shaky Bucs team quarterbacked by a (probable) rapist but at this point all seven Rams fans in Los Angeles that actually give a flying fuck about football have gotta be wondering how utterly putrid this offense has to get before the Jared Goff era finally begins – the Bucs should hasten his arrival by beating the goddamn snot out of LA this Sunday.

"I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?"
“Please tell your many children to forgive me for what I have to do here Phil”

COLTS (-1) over Chargers:

Neither team is even remotely fucking healthy and I’m still smarting from last week’s wild ride on the “which Phillip Rivers will show up today Magical Mystery Tour” against Jacksonville, but the Colts are probably just too damn talented to start the season 0-3. After two weeks against some of the most terrifying goddamn pass rushers in the NFL, expect Andrew Luck to put up a monster game against a Chargers defense that couldn’t hold a bloody three score lead when facing off against the mighty offensive juggernaut that is KC’s Alex Smith – yes, that was sarcasm.

Jets (+3) over CHIEFS:

Dear Alex Smith, please kiss my shiny pink ass because we are so fucking through you hack, scrub mutherfucker; me and my money are leaving you and the Chiefs until such a time as y’all can find an open goddamn receiver with five full Mississippis to work with for fuck’s sake. To say that last week’s Chiefs/Texans game was infuriating would at this point be an understatement of truly fucking colossal proportions; I spent three entire quarters watching Smith stand like a goddamn dear trapped in oncoming headlights while his offensive line bought him far, far more time than any quarterback has a goddamn right to expect against a gang of bloodthirsty, pirate mutherfuckers like the Texans front seven. That loss is pretty much entirely on Alex fucking Smith and whoever decided to build a professional football team with precisely zero bloody receivers who can get open at any damn distance. I sincerely hope Andy Reid slathers the entire fucking offense in barbecue sauce and then chokes to death while attempting to consume the backups like Tennessee Williams trying to huff back a nasal spray cap – fuck you Kansas City.

On the other side of this match-up the Jets come into this contest with a shockingly explosive offense that has done literally every single goddamn thing in it’s power to fumble away New York’s season before it even started. Lead by rehabilitated hobo soothsayer Ryan “Fitzmagic” and yet another thirty-something runningback who has turned his mysteriously turned his biological clock back five years at precisely the same time as his body should be breaking down; the Jets can score points in fucking bunches – which is a good thing because they collectively make so many utterly moronic, boneheaded mental errors that quite literally no fucking game is safe; last week they actually let a 20-7 lead against the objectively fucking brutal Buffalo Bills evaporate in a wave of dumb turnovers before eventually rebounding to close out idiot “not a” savant Rex Ryan’s boys 37-31.

As an aside, I think it’s now safe to say that Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis has in fact lost a step but people looking to dig his pro-football grave (myself included) are out of their fucking minds. Yes, Revis got absolutely torched by a kid who can only run one fucking route last week but the Jets adjusted by putting a safety over top of him in coverage; thereby exposing their star corner to less one on one match-ups down the field and everything worked out fine for NY afterwards. At this point, Revis probably shouldn’t be left on goddamn island with elite receivers but if the Jets can adjust to protect the deep ball better, number twenty-four should still be able to produce at a high level for them – he just isn’t really worth seventeen million fucking dollars anymore; if he ever was.

COWBOYS (-6.5) over Bears:

Can anyone explain to me whose bright fucking idea it was to schedule a Chicago Bears team coming off a goddamn 6-10 season in back to back prime time games this year; are the sons of bitches in the scheduling office actively trying to bore half of America to death here? The Bears are, to put it bluntly, utterly fucking terrible and that’s with starting quarterback and cherished community hero Jay Culter running the offense; who they probably won’t have for this game because of a jacked-up thumb – although, Cutler is inexplicably lobbying to play for a fanbase that typically calls him a gutless coward every time he’s legitimately injured.

The situation in Dallas is far brighter however as rookie heartthrob Dak Prescott continues his one man quest to permanently retire Tony Romo in time for the soon-to-be former Cowboys starter to enjoy a few years with his children; before replacing most of his back with a terrifying, experimental cybernetic exoskeleton and joining the Avengers. While the (seemingly overrated) Dallas offensive line has struggled mightily at times to move bodies in the running game, Prescott has been good enough to keep the Cowboys offense on the field and stop their paper-thin, but athletically gifted defense from breaking down like it has every other year for precisely fucking forever in Dallas.

Speaking of athletically gifted defenders, keep an eye on Cowboys rotational linebacker Justin Durant who pretty much came out of fucking nowhere to repeatedly shut Washington down in the fourth quarter of last week’s win; although it doesn’t really show up on the stat-sheet, Durant was more disruptive down the stretch than a goddamn Pepe meme on the ladies church auxiliary message board – wandering the field like a vengeful, murderous samurai and swatting away multiple passes as if they were unwanted fucking flies, is one surefire way to earn yourself more playing time in the NFL.

"no, you cannot borrow Julio next time"
“no, you cannot borrow Julio next time; it’s against the rules Drew”

SAINTS (-2.5) over Falcons:

Looking at this week’s Monday Night Football match-up, it suddenly occurred to me that the NFL as a whole could easily do without the NFC South. Oh sure, we’d lose some half time shows with some talented rappers, easy access to dirt cheap Hurricane cocktails in the French Quarter and Cam Newton but then we could also stop pretending 37-31 shootouts on Monday Night Football between two teams that can’t even fucking spell defense will mean a goddamn thing come playoff time – worthy goals require sacrifice damnit; it’s not like half the population of Tampa isn’t comprised of retired French Canadians anyway!

As for the game itself, Matty “Ice” Ryan brings what is starting to look like a scorching-hot Falcons passing attack to face off against wizened veteran Drew Brees and a group of receivers you’ve only vaguely even fucking heard of, but who will all finish the year with over 1,000 receiving yards none the less; because playing with Brees turns mediocre prospects into goddamn millionaires on a regular basis. On paper, both of these defenses are essentially “fucking putrid” and neither one has really proven they can stop anyone in the air; although they were both better than advertised in last week’s games.

In other words, expect total fucking chaos because this is a prime time match-up between two teams that can both sling the damn rock in the murky middle of the utter madness that is NFC South football; this game could be a ridiculous aerial shootout, or a hard-fought, blood and guts defensive battle and neither result would be particularly fucking surprising. Have I mentioned that I hate the goddamn NFC South yet?

I’ll take the better quarterback at home, but I wouldn’t be shocked in the goddamn slightest if supposedly-injured superhuman Julio Jones went completely fucking H.A.M. on an over-matched New Orleans secondary and took a steaming piss all over the Saints season by sending them to 0-3; that’s just how shit rolls in the NFC’s dirty South – okay, I ran out of bathroom jokes pretty quickly there but you get the idea; this is a pretty shitty Monday Night match-up to bet on in my humble opinion.

 

Last Week: 8 – 8 – 0

2016 Season: 17 – 16 – 0

 

  • Nina Illingworth

 

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