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NFL Week 7 Picks

I think I need to start this week’s post off by apologizing to the Packer faithful. The featured image curse reared its ugly head yet again last week, taking down not only the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers as well.

But we will persist. Brett Hundley will be out there on Sunday giving it his all and I’ll be here going undefeated this week to get this train back on the tracks.

 

Tennessee Titans (-5.5) @ Cleveland Browns

Marcus Mariota had perhaps his best performance of his young career last week on MNF, and he was battling a hamstring injury.

Commonly thought of as a dual threat QB, Mariota didn’t record a single rushing yard and instead relied on his arm to end up with 306 yards, removing any doubt that he doesn’t have the pocket presence, awareness, or skill set to be a long term great quarterback.

He is now back to practicing in full, so it’s safe to assume that Mariota will build off his passing performance from last week while adding two dangerous weapons called his left and right legs.

For the Browns, top CB (also ranked #1 in the league) Jason McCourty injured his ankle in practice Friday and is listed as questionable for this game. That would be huge for Mariota as that removes not only a solid CB but a former Titan playing in a revenge game.

The Titans have injuries of their own to be concerned about with Delanie Walker and DeMarco Murray. Both are great players, but the Titans are low key stacked at both positions with young guys ready to prove their worth. Derrick Henry might be the best running back on this team. If the Titans follow through with their plan of incorporating Henry into the offense more each week, they will have perhaps the most potent and dangerous three-headed monster of guys that can kill you with their legs in the backfield.

If Delanie Walker is unable to play, Jonnu Smith is the name to remember. The rookie out of Florida International is absolutely in the Titans long term plans and he’ll look to make an impact Sunday if Walker is out.

The Browns have a dumpster fire at QB and announced that they’re running it back with DeShone Kizer this week. Normally I attack the Titans’ secondary, but with a revolving door of not-so-good QBs with a short leash combined with a rag tag receiving core, I think that the Browns are in trouble against a Titans team that is starting to roll.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) @ Indianapolis Colts

The key injury to keep an eye on of course is Leonard Fournette.

Despite looking gruesome, Fournette apparently was cleared to return last week against the Rams but was held out as a precaution. Chris Ivory has been a very suitable backup and he even caught 10 passes last week. To put that stat into perspective, Ivory caught only 20 balls in 31 games for the Jets from 2013-2014. Chris Ivory rushed for 1,070 yards just two seasons ago and has some Marshawn Lynch in him once he gets his motor running. He’s a notch below Fournette, but he is another quick, bruising back in a great matchup against a Colts defense that just allowed DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry run allllll over them last week.

The Jaguars’ special teams unit let them down last week by allowing a game opening kickoff return TD, as well as allowing a blocked kick to be returned for a TD. If they clean it up (which is saying a lot considering Blake Bortles is their QB), the Jags should leave Indianapolis with a W.

Andrew Luck suffered a setback and will be out again this week. So Jacoby Brissett will be up against the staunch Jaguars secondary that allows 189 passing yards a game, and only 4 total TDs through the air. They also have 10 INTs already. Their run defense is a bit of a liability, but until the Colts come to realize that Marlon Mack fits their scheme better than Frank Gore, they’re going to be kicking more than Kangaroo Jack.

Here’s the matchup of the game. If Jalen Ramsey can hold his own against TY Hilton, then the Jags have this one locked up.

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Dallas Cowboys (-6) @ San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have lost their last 5 games by 3 points or less. The Cowboys have lost two in a row at home but are coming off of a bye. The Cowboys will also have Ezekiel Elliott, at least for this week, as his lawyers continue to overturn rulings and delay the entire process. That of course bodes well for Dallas, as Zeke is leaps and bounds better than Alfred Morris or Darren McFadden (Rod Smith is actually the best backup on the team). Dem Boys average 124 yards per game on the ground while the 49ers allow 112 per game. You know what that means:

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The Cowboys front office probably has an idea of how Zeke’s suspension will shape out in the coming weeks. If they think that they’re just delaying the inevitable, then there is no reason to pound the rock with Zeke until he can’t physically run anymore. If Zeke does get suspended for 6 games after these next two, the Cowboys could give the ball to him 30+ times these next two weeks and then have Zeke rest during his suspension. Then when he returned around Week 14/15, he’d have fresh legs ready to do it again.

The 49ers announced that rookie QB CJ Beathard will make his first career start on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know about him:

He went to Iowa with 49ers rookie TE George Kittle, and they were roommates.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Purdue

He was also childhood friends with Taylor Swift:

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If you want to buy into the college roommate/T Swift haters gonna hate narrative and take the Niners +6 I won’t blame you. But I do think that the Cowboys get the ball rolling out of their bye week while the Niners’ rookies make some costly mistakes.

Atlanta Falcons (+3) @ New England Patriots

You know I love me a good revenge game. Even when there is absolutely zero tension between a player/coach and another team, I make myself believe that there is and I’ll go on from there. But this is a good ole fashioned revenge game. You all know why:

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Nearly every main player from last year’s Super Bowl will be on that field Sunday night. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be emotional. It’s also going to be a cakewalk for the Falcons. The Patriots have looked atrocious and would be 2-4 if it weren’t for Nick Folk’s shank fest and a shitty rule that stole a TD from the Jets.

The Patriots allow 338 passing yards per game and another 115 on the ground. The Falcons average 271 passing and 120 on the ground. They haven’t hit their stride in the passing game yet with some minor injuries to key guys, but they are now coming off of a bye week with 13 days to prepare for redemption.

This week, injuries to the Patriots’ secondary might prove costly.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Sanu seems to be back at 100% as does Julio Jones. TE Austin Hooper has emerged as a legit red zone threat and Taylor Gabriel has game changing speed. The Falcons also have one of the best 1-2 punches in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

The Falcons also have a defense; something that the Patriots know nothing about. They allow 230 yards in the air per game and 102 on the ground. Vic Beasley looks like he’ll be ready to rock on Sunday while Keanu Neal and Deion Jones have been looking strong in the secondary.

The Patriots are good, but they’ve already floundered at home against a high scoring offense in the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Brady is doing the best he can to keep his team in the game, but their defense is letting him down over and over again. If this game turns into a shootout, the Patriots defense might allow over 50 points. Does Tom Brady have 50+ points in him? We’ll see.

 

 

***College Picks & Upset Alerts***

West Virginia is trying to avoid an embarrassing loss in Waco Texas Saturday. I don’t think it’ll be as easy as they think the game will be. Luke Falk and Washington State are coming off of a tough loss in which Falk turned the ball over 6 times. If that performance is still in his head and he doesn’t prove to have a short term memory for turnovers, Colorado may be able to come into town and shock the Cougars two weeks in a row. UCF may also have their hands full going into Annapolis to face Navy’s triple option. Their coach was taking scout team reps last week in practice!

Louisville (+6.5) [MONEYLINE] @ Florida State

UCF @ Navy (+7.5)

USC (+3.5) @ Notre Dame

LSU @ Ole Miss (+7)

I’m buying into the angry former school narrative:

 

 

There you have it. These picks feel good. All it takes is one good week to get the motion back in the ocean. Call me Ty Dolla $ign because you’re gonna say “ty” for all the $ I make you.

NFL Week 6 Picks

It’s Friday the 13th so Young Jeezy and I are here to remind you that scared money don’t make no money.

It’s been a tough couple weeks batting .500 but scared money don’t make no money so I’m getting back after it this week. Stay tuned for some college football picks at the end.

Eskettit.

 

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

Injury wise, these two teams are trending in opposite directions.

Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery is practicing in full and seems likely to play at least some snaps. Jordy Nelson has also been a full participant after suffering a back injury last week. Starting tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari might be ready to rock together this week as well.

Rookie CB Kevin King may be out, so the Vikings will have to rely on Adam Thielen to beat the subpar Packers secondary on his own. He’s going to get 12+ targets easy. Behind him on the depth chart are Michael Floyd and Laquon Treadwell, who haven’t done diddly squat this year. Without Sam Bradford, the Vikings are going to trot out Case Keenum, who to his credit has been playing as well as he could be this season. He has a completion percentage of 64.5% and has thrown 4 TDs to 0 INTs. But those stats were with Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook in the lineup. Now he has the aforementioned WRs with Kyle Rudolph, Jerick McKinnon, and Latavius Murray. The Bad News Bears of skills position players.

If Aaron Rodgers isn’t currently on fire, he’s got his hand firmly on the flint striker. He’s thrown 7 TDs to 0 INTs his past 2 games and is coming off of a game winning drive in Dallas that everybody knew was coming. Every year Rodgers finds his groove for about a 6 week span where he’s unstoppable. I think that begins now. He has a full arsenal of pass catchers that are healthy and has a true RB in Aaron Jones to compliment Ty Montgomery. He also has one of the most favorable WR/CB match ups coming up this week:

Last year, the Packers brought Jordy into the slot a bunch to get him away from Rhodes. Jordy ended up with a 9/154/2 stat line. Rodgers threw for 4 TDs and ran for another en route to a 38-25 victory. The Vikings are going to have to keep up with the Packers this week and I don’t think that they have it in them.

San Francisco 49ers (+11) @ Washington Redskins

The 49ers are 0-5 but have lost their last 4 games by a combined 11 points, including the last 2 games in OT. The 49ers’ head coach is Kyle Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator for Washington from 2010-2013. Pierre Garcon was also a Redskin from 2012-2016. So yes I’m buying into the revenge narrative a little bit.

The Redskins will be without Josh Norman, so that opens the door for Garcon and Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin is an Olympic caliber sprinter that would be talked about a lot more if Tyreek Hill wasn’t a thing. He can flip the field any play and he has two 50+ yard receptions over the past 3 games. Brian Hoyer has been a pleasant surprise for the 49ers as he has at least kept them in contention against superior opponents such as the Rams and Cardinals. With Carlos Hyde at RB and emerging TE George Kittle climbing the ranks, this is a great spot for the Niners to cover 11.

The Redskins are coming off of a bye week which always is an advantage. Kirk Cousins had about 14 days to mesh with Terrelle Pryor and the gang, while Jordan Reed was able to heal up. However, RB Rob Kelley will be unable to play, which thrusts rookie Samaje Perine into a starting role. He is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry, but is in a meaty matchup against a morbid Niners run defense. How he fares in this role will greatly dictate which direction this game goes. The Redskins are averaging 130 on the ground per game while the Niners are giving up 116.6 per game.

This normally would be a smash spot for the Redskins but I think that the absence of a lead RB will keep the Niners within striking distance to cover. Shanahan will be holding nothing back against his former team and Pierre Garcon may be a one man wrecking crew in the passing game. I wouldn’t be surprised if a late TD by San Francisco brought them within single digits to end the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) @ Arizona Cardinals

This is another game that will be heavily influenced by the injury report. While the Cardinals are mostly healthy (RIP David Johnson), the Bucs are expected to return 3 of their best defensive players this week.

David, Alexander, and Ward are all starters that will make a huge impact upon their return. All three have missed the past two games.

All 4 returning players will help bolster a Bucs defense that allows 315 yards per game through the air. They’ll be put up to the test right away as Carson Palmer is on pace to set the NFL single season record for passing attempts. The Cardinals as a team have only attempted 100 runs this season while throwing 227 passes. Palmer has been up and down this season, as he’s thrown 6 TDs and 5 INTs. With TJ Ward and Keith Tandy returning to the lineup, deep threats JJ Nelson, John and Jaron Brown have a much harder matchup. Palmer will have to feed targets to ol’ reliable Larry Fitzgerald, as well as RB Andre Ellington, who has caught 9 passes in consecutive weeks.

I guess it’s worth noting that Adrian Peterson was traded to the Cardinals this past week, but he hasn’t been a viable RB option since 2015. He has never been a threat in the passing game, so I would still value Ellington over him, at least until AP learns the offense a bit more.

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I was boasting about Patrick Peterson’s season last week, but Mike Evans still has the potential to be his kryptonite, as he showed last year:

However, with DeSean Jackson now on the team, Jameis Winston won’t have to force feed Mike Evans like he did last year. Evans will get his 8-10 targets, but Jameis is not afraid to spread the ball around more this season. In a similar situation last week against New England, Evans was mostly being shadowed by Stephon Gilmore. Winston connected with DeSean Jackson 5 times for 106 yards against lesser DBs, including multiple clutch 3rd down conversions. Now matched up against Justin Bethel, I can see DeSean finding daylight down the field on his way to consecutive 100+ yard games.

Doug Martin also returned from suspension last week and looked powerful, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. The Cardinals will have to respect the run, which in turn will open up DeSean in man coverage, as well as Adam Humphries in the slot. If Jameis plays a halfway decent game, this game belongs to the Bucs.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5)

I like this line so much that I’m starting to hate it. Big Ben and the Steelers just got bent over last week by the Jaguars. Big Ben threw 5 INTs (2 pick-sixes) and Leonard Fournette was begging for defenders to hit him:

Not a good look. Now they head over to Kansas City to face the undefeated Chiefs and Kareem Hunt.

I don’t have the numbers but Big Ben on the road is not nearly the same QB as Big Ben at home. Apparently that isn’t saying much after last week’s performance, but I’ve been betting against him on the road for at least a couple years now. While Antonio Brown has still been producing due to his insane number of targets, Martavis Bryant has been a ghost, allowing rookie Juju Smith Schuster to start stealing snaps and targets from him. We might see a changing of the guard soon.

I can’t with a good conscience bet on the Steelers or bet against the Chiefs until they show me that I should. I’m going to keep riding the Chiefs wave and you’d be a fool not to follow suit.

 

**COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS**

Had a nice hit on the Stanford upset last week. This week I think that #6 TCU is in the most trouble coming into Kansas State. Texas Tech could find themselves in trouble heading into West Virginia as well.

TCU @ Kansas State (+7)

Auburn (-7) @ LSU

Colorado (-10)  @ Oregon State

Texas A&M (+3) @ Florida

  • There is absolutely no way that Florida wins wearing these heinous uniforms:

 

There you have it. And remember; scared money don’t make no money gon’ make no money don’t hate no money. Call me Freddy Kreuger because after this week, your dreams will become reality.

Tanking for a QB is Not the Solution

The NFL isn’t the NBA. There are 11 players on the field at a time, and 53 on the roster. NBA teams have 5 players on the floor and 14ish on the roster. That means that one individual basketball player has a much higher chance to change the course of a game. If one individual doesn’t do his job, that means that a basketball team is only being 80% efficient on the floor. If one football player doesn’t do his job, the team is still being 91% efficient. Some positions are obviously more important than others (Quarterback), but if you put the world’s best QB behind the world’s worst offensive line he won’t be able to reach his full potential.

The argument that Jets fans have that every win is a giant step in the wrong direction is IDIOTIC. For every top 5 pick that’s a stud, there’s a colossal bust drafted next to him. Jets fans have been clamoring for an 0-16 season to lock up the first overall pick for a bunch of question marks in this year’s upcoming draft. The top two QB prospects, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold, still haven’t decided if they’re going to declare for the draft or stay in school. So what’s the point of sucking for a pair of QBs that very well might not even be on a draft board until 2019?

I looked at every Quarterback drafted since 2000. The best QB in the draft class was drafted 10th overall or later in at least 12 of those years. That means that historically, there will be a good to great QB available after the teams that are ‘tanking’ make their picks. 5 of these drafts’ best QBs came from the 3rd round or later. I would say that only 5 out of the past 17 drafts had the best Quarterback selected first.

2017 Draft:

It is wayyyyy too early to tell, but Deshaun Watson was drafted 12th overall in the draft. He just threw for 5 TDs on Sunday Night Football. DeShone Kizer was drafted 52nd overall, and he has shown some potential in his limited playing time for the Browns. Mitchell Trubisky is getting his first start tonight on MNF and Pat Mahomes doesn’t look like he’s going to touch the field this season. But Watson was the 3rd QB off the board and looks like he’s the cream of the crop.

2016 Draft:

Goff and Wentz went 1 and 2 and they both have looked pretty solid so far this season. One QB has looked better, however, and that is Dak Prescott, who was drafted 135th overall. Jacoby Brissett was also drafted 91st. So the most successful and arguably most skilled QB in this class was drafted 133 spots after the other 2 guys.

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2015 Draft:

Winston and Mariota went 1 and 2. They were also both surefire prospects for the entirety of the college football season. However, Broncos QB Trevor Siemian was drafted 250th. Again, a very serviceable QB that is currently winning games in the NFL was available in the 7th round.

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2014 Draft:

Blake Bortles was drafted 3rd overall. He was just in a QB competition with Chad Henne. Derek Carr was drafted an entire round later at 36th overall. Teddy Bridgewater was also the last pick of the 1st round. Both are miles ahead of Bortles. Even Jimmy G, drafted 62nd overall, is a better QB than Bortles.

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2013 Draft:

EJ Manuel was the first QB drafted at 16. He’s now the Raiders backup after a couple failed stints around the league. This actually was a terrible QB class, but Mike Glennon was available in the 3rd round at 73rd overall.

2012 Draft:

Andrew Luck went 1st. RGIII went 2nd. Ryan Tannehill went 8th. Brandon Weeden went 22nd. None of whom played last week. Super Bowl Champion Russell Wilson did play, however, and he was drafted 75th. Kirk Cousins didn’t play because he had a bye, but he was drafted 102nd in this draft.

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2011 Draft:

Cam Newton went 1st overall. That was a good pick. A similar QB was drafted 180th overall in Tyrod Taylor. Even Andy Dalton slipped into the 2nd round.

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2010 Draft:

Sam Bradford went 1st overall. The only other QB even worth mentioning was Tim Tebow at 25th. Although Tebow has won more playoff games.

2009 Draft:

Matthew Stafford went 1st. Mark Sanchez went 5th. Stafford has been solid over his career, while Sanchez not so much. So that’s a 50% success rate for top 5 QBs in this draft.

2008 Draft:

Matt Ryan went 3rd overall. Joe Flacco went 18th. One of those two won a Super Bowl. The other took part in the worst Super Bowl collapse of all time.

2007 Draft:

JaMarcus Russell went 1st overall. He is one of the worst busts of all time. No QB in this draft class was any good though in his defense.

2006 Draft:

Vince Young went 3rd. Matt Leinart went 10th. Jay Cutler is the only active QB left, who went 11th. So again a middle-low tiered team drafted the best QB, not the teams with top-10 picks.

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2005 Draft:

Alex Smith went 1st overall. But somebody named Aaron Rodgers was drafted 24th overall. That means that a playoff caliber team was able to draft the best QB in the game today.

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2004 Draft:

Eli went 1st. Rivers went 4th. Big Ben went 11th. I’d rather Big Ben than Rivers, and probably over Eli as well. So once again, a team outside the top 10 drafted the best QB.

2004 NFL Draft

2003 Draft:

Carson Palmer was drafted 1st overall. Good pick.

2002 Draft:

David Carr went first. He wasn’t good. The only remaining QB from this class is Josh McCown, who was drafted 81st overall.

2001 Draft:

Mike Vick went 1st overall. Exactly one round later, Drew Brees was drafted. Vick has the highlights, Brees will have the Hall of Fame plaque.

2000 Draft:

Chad Pennington was drafted 18th overall. Oh and this guy named Tom Brady was drafted 199th overall.

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So, what’s my point? Rooting against the Jets is illogical. There is never a guarantee that the top QB of a class will be the best when it’s all said and done. There is no guarantee that he’ll even be good. Throwing an entire season out the window for 1/53rd of a roster is a terrible idea. The way to build a good team is by treating picks 2-7 with as much importance as #1. Build a strong, deep line. Decide on your defensive scheme and draft players that fit the scheme. Get playmakers and get the ball in their hands. And draft the mid-round QB that maybe was in the wrong system in college. History shows that nearly every draft has at least a starting caliber QB that drops down below the 10th overall pick, and oftentimes even further.

So while the Jets continue to beat the teams that they should be beating, fans should hoot and holler and root for upsets against their tough slate coming up. They have the Patriots x2, the Falcons, the Bucs, the Panthers, the Chiefs, the Broncos and the Saints. The Jets proved that despite their question marks all over the field, they can still show up and beat the lower tiered teams. That is something to build on. Todd Bowles is coaching well, the defense is making big plays, and Josh McCown is exceeding expectations. McCown has shown that the Jets can win with a middle of the road QB. They nearly made the playoffs with Ryan Fitzpatrick two years ago. So why should they throw away a season to draft a QB that might not even be worth a damn? With Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, and Jimmy G set to hit the free agent market after this season, why shouldn’t the Jets try to knock off a couple playoff caliber teams to prove to those three guys that they could really do something special in 2018. Then, the Jets could use their 8-15th pick the address roster spots 2-53. Then, when the 3rd round or so comes along, they can take a flier on a QB. Expectations won’t be crazy high, and he could possibly learn as Kirk’s/Drew’s/Jimmy’s understudy.

 

TL:DR – Draft Luke Falk:

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NFL Week 5 Picks

Welcome back to everybody’s favorite (semi) weekly gambling post. If you were missing me last week, it’s because I gave myself a 1 week ban for my subpar Week 3 performance. I went 1-3, bringing my season total to 8-8. But let’s not tread on the past. Here’s what I like for Week 5:

 

San Francisco 49ers @ Indianapolis Colts OVER 44.5

Ordinarily a Brian Hoyer vs. Jacoby Brissett matchup wouldn’t scream points. But this is no ordinary game. Peyton Manning will be in the building for his statue unveiling and seemingly all of the recent Colts greats will be in attendance as well:

The Colts are giving up 36.5 points per game and the 49ers are giving up 23.5. Two weeks ago, both the Colts and 49ers played another team with a crappy defense. The 49ers lost to the Rams 41-39 in that fascinating Thursday night game. The Colts beat the Browns 31-28. I expect a similar outcome in this game; 4+ TDs for each team.

Hoyer and Brissett are both serviceable QBs with a plethora of offensive weapons on their side. Pierre Garcon is playing against his former team alongside speedsters Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson. Carlos Hyde has been a top-5 RB now that he has become effective in the passing game this season.

Brissett showed some chemistry with TY Hilton last week against the Seahawks. That’s key as the season progresses. He and Donte Moncrief will be damn near impossible to cover this week. Mix in a little bit of Frank Gore revenge and there are 4 TDs.

Look for the Colts to drop 30+ in homage to Peyton Manning.

Los Angeles Chargers @ New York Giants (-3.5)

The old west coast team traveling east to play the 1:00 slate. I got burnt by the Broncos playing at Buffalo a few weeks ago and I won’t let it happen again. Both the Chargers and Giants are 0-4, but the Giants are a much better team across the board.

There are two match ups that will that heavily dictate how the game goes:

Casey Hayward vs. Odell Beckham Jr and Janoris Jenkins vs. Keenan Allen. Both CBs have been shutdown this season and they have the potential to all but eliminate two of the best receivers in the game. That means that the Chargers will need Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin to step up against Eli Apple on the other side of the field. The Giants will need to have Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram step up, as Brandon Marshall has yet to show that he has even one ounce left in the tank.

The Giants have also been getting hosed by opposing TEs for what seems to be the past decade. The Chargers have Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry and if they are smart, they’ll feed the young Henry as opposed to the dinosaur opposite him. Last week the Giants gave up TDs to both Cameron Brate and OJ Howard, and I wouldn’t put it past the Chargers to replicate that outcome this week.

However, the Giants defense is good to great everywhere else besides covering the TE, and I expect their D Line to be all over Phillip Rivers. Give me some big plays from Landon Collins and the Giants should coast to their first victory of the year.

Arizona Cardinals (+6.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles

I think 6.5 points is way too many to give the Cardinals in this game. The Philadelphia Eagles have an atrocious secondary, which is good news for the Cardinals because with David Johnson’s injury, Carson Palmer is averaging over 45 pass attempts per game. Larry Fitzgerald has proven that he still has plenty left in the tank, with a huge performance against the Cowboys two weeks ago followed by a game winning TD reception last week vs. San Francisco. With John Brown being healthy followed by Jaron Brown and JJ Nelson, the Cardinals will have a solid mix of deep threats and intermediate routes to move the ball all game. Andre Ellington has also emerged out of the Cardinals’ backfield to be a huge threat in the passing game. So while the Cardinals have virtually no run game, they have enough weapons in the passing game to completely overwhelm the Eagles’ secondary.

On the other side of the ball, Patrick Peterson is having a historic season at CB.

He is expected to shadow Alshon Jeffery all game. So that means that you would have to trust Carson Wentz passing to Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor on the other side of the field. Agholor has a few TDs this year (1 in complete garbage time) and Torrey Smith has basically been in witness protection. Zach Ertz might rack up 15+ targets this game, but he’ll have to handle Tyrann Mathieu for at least a percentage of his routes. After losing Darren Sproles for the season, the Eagles have relied on Wendell Smallwood to take his spot. However, he has a knee injury and isn’t expected to suit up. There are far too many cons against the Eagles for me to be comfortable betting on them. I could even see an upset brewing at Lincoln Financial Field.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)

It’s safe to say that Le’Veon Bell is back. Bell was a workhorse last week against the Ravens, tallying 35 carries and 186 yards from scrimmage. The Jaguars just gave up 256 yards to the Jets last week. They gave up two huge running plays to Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, two running backs that aren’t nearly at the level of Le’Veon Bell, as well as an offensive line that can’t hold a candle up to the Steelers’.

For the Jaguars, Marqise Lee doesn’t seem like he’s going to play. That leaves the Jags with pretty much just Allen Hurns. Joe Haden should be able to handle him no problem. Blake Bortles is always good for a turnover or two, and the Steelers should be able to capitalize.

Once they get a nice two score lead, I expect the Steelers to feed Le’Veon over and over as he records 200+ yards from scrimmage. Book it.

Regular Season

Kansas City Chiefs (-1) @ Houston Texans

I’m going to keep rolling with the Chiefs in what is essentially a pick ’em this week. The Texans exploded last week against the Tennessee Titans, and I think that the oddsmakers as well as the public are overreacting to their performance. The Titans secondary is one of the worst in the NFL, while the Chiefs boast one of the best, even without Eric Berry.

With a rookie QB in Deshaun Watson starting for the Texans, you can never fully know what to expect from him. We’ve seen him pick apart a couple horrid secondaries, struggle against the Bengals and their middle of the road secondary, and be quite bad against a good Jaguars secondary. Watson was able to secure a win against the Bengals by using his legs. If the Chiefs can contain him and force him to throw the ball, he’ll be more apt to make mistakes.

The Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the league and have looked unstoppable at times. Kareem Hunt has 659 yards from scrimmage through 4 games. Travis Kelce has 2 100+ receiving yard games. Tyreek Hill has been quiet as of late but can completely change the course of a game in just one snap. With veteran QB Alex Smith running the show, the Chiefs have been limiting their turnovers and taking advantage of the turnovers they create on defense. I expect age and experience to prevail in this game against the younger Texans.

 

That’s all for this week. Time to get back on track and go 5-0 this week. Call me Tony Soprano because a wrong decision is better than indecision. And rememba that.

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**BONUS COLLEGE PICK ‘EM**

I could sit here and brag about picking Troy last week @ LSU, but we’re not here to dwell on the past. I don’t foresee any upsets at that level this week, but if I had to take a stab I’d say that Utah is in the most trouble to lose to an unranked opponent this week in Bryce Love and Stanford. Washington State is heading into Oregon as well, and Royce Freeman is a bad bad man. But here are the real picks for CFB:

Penn State (-14) @ Northwestern

West Virginia (+13) @ TCU

LSU @ Florida (-1)

Minnesota @ Purdue (-3.5)

 

Which Team Should Mets Fans Root For This Postseason?

The Mets’ improbable 2015 World Series run and their outrageous 2016 playoff berth brought forth high expectations for this 2017 season. All of the star players were healthy, Yoenis Cespedes was locked in long-term, and the messiah himself was hitting dingers in Columbia.

Except one by one, the Mets players began dropping like a shallow popup to Luis Castillo. The Mets players that survived the Orange and Blue Wedding were soon sold off to contending teams, and half of their farm system was in the starting lineup by mid-August.c-v52cnxkai_p-3

So now that the atrocity that we call the Mets season is finally over, our attention can be shifted to the playoff race, and the former Mets that are now scattered throughout it. Of the 10 teams in the playoffs, 7 teams have a former New York Met on their roster. Now that bodes the question, which team accompanied by a former Met should the Mets faithful root for? Well I’m here to answer that question.

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Right off the bat, the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Colorado Rockies are eliminated. None of those three teams have a noteworthy former Met on their team. And even if the Yankees did, we were raised better than to support them.

7. Chicago Cubs – Rene Rivera

Rene Rivera was traded to the Cubs this season and naturally hit .341 for them after a season and a half of batting .226 for the Mets. He is a strong fielder and smart catcher, and the Mets staff always enjoyed him and seemed to pitch better when he was behind the plate. He was a good guy on and off the field but overall was a very forgettable player.

6. Boston Red Sox – Addison Reed

Addison Reed was acquired by the Mets during their 2015 push and he was one of the best setup men in the league for a year and a half. He appeared in 97 games from 2015-2016 and recorded 46 Holds with a sub 1.80 ERA and a WAR of 3.7. Then this past season he stepped into the closer role as Jeurys Familia missed a significant amount of team. He recorded 19 saves with a 2.57 ERA. However, the biggest knock on his Mets legacy is his playoff performance. He gave up 5 earned runs in 8 innings pitched over two playoff runs and lost a World Series game in 2015.

5. Minnesota Twins – Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee

The Twins are idiots and aren’t carrying Bartolo Colon on their playoff roster for the Wild Card game. Maybe they’ll give Big Sexy another shot at glory if they survive and advance. Dillon Gee went 40-37 with the Mets with a 4.03 ERA over 6 seasons. He was just an average pitcher on a team that had budding superstars nipping at his heels. I don’t have to give a soliloquy for Bartolo Colon; the home run, the behind the back flip, the helmet falling off of his head when he swung. He oozed sex and despite being the oldest player on the Mets, he brought a refreshing attitude that emulated a young Jose Reyes.

4. Cleveland Indians – Jay Bruce

Bruce had an atrocious half a season for the Mets in 2016. But this year, booooo’s quickly turned into Bruuuuuuce as he carried the Mets’ offense during Cespedes’ multiple absences. He hit 29 HRs in 103 games and held down RF better than expected. He hasn’t ruled out returning to the Mets after this season, so I’m going to keep supporting him throughout the postseason. However, his service time on the Mets isn’t long enough for him to be the frontrunner here.

3. Washington Nationals – Daniel Murphy, Oliver Perez, Alejandro De Aza

Oliver Perez and Alejandro De Aza were anigif_sub-buzz-3851-1478668544-4.

I nearly contract AIDS and PTSD thinking about them. But I think it’s time to give Daniel Murphy some respect. Sure, he absolutely MURDERS the Mets every season, but his HR tear during the 2015 World Series run was out of this world. I was living on Cloud 9 for the entire month of October. It’s like seeing your ex from a bunch of years ago living happily with a good guy; you’re happy for them. Plus I already let it all out earlier this season:

2. Los Angeles Dodgers – Curtis Granderson, Justin Turner

Grandy man only played for the Mets for 3 1/2 seasons, but he was an absolute fan favorite on and off the field. While he didn’t replicate his numbers from his tenure on the Yankees, he was a steady bat in the lower half of the order (95 HRs) with a solid glove in RF. He runs the Grand Kids Foundation and it’s harder to find a more charitable athlete in the MLB. It’s impossible not to root for the guy.

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Justin Turner was never given a real opportunity on the Mets and sure enough, became an All Star for the Dodgers this year. He was battling with Daniel Murphy for the batting title for half the season because of course. But there’s no bad blood here, let him and Grandy ride.

1. Houston Astros – Carlos Beltran, Tyler Clippard

Carlos Beltran was a 5-time All Star for the Mets who compiled 149 HRs during his tenure. Unfortunately his name is synonymous with watching a hanging Adam Wainwright curveball drop into the strike zone to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. Despite Beltran’s playoff prowess, he has yet to win a World Series in 20 seasons.

It’s time for that to change. Beltran is another charitable guy who currently is raising money to help his home, Puerto Rico. He is tied for 9th all time in postseason HRs.

And for Tyler Clippard….he’s riding Beltran’s coattails. Clippard didn’t do anything for the Mets in his half season with them in 2015 and did even less in the playoffs.

 

So there you have it. We as Mets fans are now Astros fans this postseason. In a perfect world, the Astros and Dodgers get to square off. There is a 70% chance that at least one New York Met from the 2015 or 2016 team will earn a World Series ring this year. That’s gotta count for something, right?

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