NFL Spread Picks Week 4: It Feels Like a Jay Cutler 80s Dance Party In Here
CHIEFS (-4) over Giants
Let’s state the obvious here: this line makes no sense. If it weren’t for the grotesque piece of performance art that is the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants would be far and away the worst team in the NFL this season. They can’t block, run, or rush the passer; I’m pretty sure their intra-squad scrimmages devolve into one giant slap fight. Eli Manning, for all his grace-under-pressure heroics, doesn’t perform well when being sandwiched like he’s the Subtember poster boy. Like most quarterbacks, he’s always needed time to throw to perform well, and with this offensive line, he’s playing like the fourth Manning brother that Archie locked away in the shed.
I imagine that there’s nothing more annoying than a despondent Giants fan right now. After all, they’ve graced us with two miracle Super Bowl runs in my twenties alone…and I’m only halfway through my twenties. Right now, we’re like that friend who always lucks into crazy hot girls and unexpected threesomes, and then bitches non-stop when he goes through a three-week dry spell. All you want to do is grab him by the shoulders and shake him until he decides to go join an intramural team or get a new hobby or something.
I tried to keep that in mind last Sunday, even as my Facebook updates started to resemble my stream-of-consciousness whenever I date a crazy girl. (“It sucks now, but it’s good other times. YOU TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD. YOU CAN DEAL WITH THIS, JOE!”)
But it is hard. At night, I can’t help but dream of a third miracle Super Bowl run. It always goes the same way: the Giants recover from a 0-3 start and sneak into the playoffs, winning the NFC East at 8-8. (Even in my dreams, I can’t talk myself into a winning season.) After squeaking by the Bears in the first round in a 34-30 thriller at home, we somehow knock off the Seahawks in the CLink and the Saints in the Superdome. The Super Bowl is, of course, a Manning Bowl, which leaves me in delirious joy when we win 17-10 on a last-second Brandon Jacobs touchdown run.
And then I wake up and realize that we’re about to play the Chiefs—the third-best team in the NFL, according to Football Outsider’s DVOA rankings. What scares me most? Their fierce d-line, playing in front of a rabid Arrowhead crowd that’ll be decked out in a sea of red like some sort of horribly ill-conceived tampon commercial.
I’d recommend the Chiefs even if this line was at 10. Vegas must be run by Giants fans with dreams even crazier than mine.
Bears (+3) over LIONS
Could the Bears be the third-best team in the NFC after the Seahawks and Saints? It’s very possible. Chicago’s defense remains fierce, and Marc Trestman is finally proving that Canada is good for something other than highlighting the incompetence of the American healthcare system. Jay Cutler looks the happiest I’ve seen him outside of an 80s theme party.
(By the way, that party changed my opinion of Jay Cutler from “he’s a douchebag” to “HE’S INCREDIBLE.” Eighties theme parties have that affect on me. You could murder a member of my extended family, but if you followed it up by throwing a great 80s theme party, I’d probably forgive you. Does anyone else feel this way, or am I just seriously fucked up in the head?)
Seahawks (-2) over TEXANS
If you’re a die-hard NFL fan, I strongly suggest adopting a second-favorite team. They’re like that hot, close friend that flirts with you after your partner flips out at you for picking up the wrong type of potato. It’s not the same—not even close—but for a minute, they’ll make you forget about your problems.
The Seahawks are that team for me, since my best football bud, Michael, is a die-hard Seahawks fan and I started rooting for them for his sake seven years ago. And lucky for me, they’re smokin’ hot. The Seahawks aren’t just 3-0; they’re a historically great 3-0 team with a statistically significant shot at going 16-0. They’re ruthless on both sides of the ball, and having fun in the process. This excellent quote from Richard Sherman, talking about the return of DE Chris Clemons against the Jaguars last week, says it all:
“He’s still in the huddle bitter as all get out,” Sherman said of Clemons. “He came in the huddle and said, ‘Man, shut up!’ I said, ‘Nobody’s even talking right now. Geez.’
If you have Schaub, Arian Foster, or Andre Johnson on your fantasy team, I’d start getting injury replacements lined up.
Ravens (-3) over BILLS
Everyone remembers the Ravens defensive meltdown on opening night against the Broncos, and ignores the fact that they haven’t given up a touchdown the past two weeks while shellacking the Browns and Texans. Meanwhile, the Bills defense gave up 510 yards to the Jets. THE JETS! They go months without gaining 500 yards.
Colts (-7.5) over JAGUARS
I’m pretty sure Britain refused to back us up on Syria because we’re sending the Jaguars there for the next four years. How is #lolJaguars not a thing yet? Especially when they’re bribing their fans to buy tickets ($10 on Stubhub) with free drinks?
49ers (-3.5) over RAMS
Obviously this game already happened, but I have the bet slip to prove that I went with the Niners. Why did anyone think that the Rams would be a fringe playoff contender before the season? Their under/over of 8 wins was insane. I’m pretty sure that Sam Bradford’s playbook is just filled with disfigured anime cartoons. This GIF basically sums up his entire career.
LIKE A LINDSEY LOHAN-HILLARY DUFF RAP BATTLE
VIKINGS (+3) over Steelers
Not only are we sending the Jaguars to London, but we’re also sending this 0-6 stink bomb. The Roger Goodell could have taken upskirt shots of Kate Middleton and it wouldn’t have hurt the NFL’s chances of building a following in London as much as this. (Seems like the kind of thing he’d do if he got the chance, right?)
Cardinals (+1) over BUCS
Through 12 games last season, Josh Freeman had 21 TDs, 7 INTs, and was averaging 7.9 YPA. But hey, anytime you can bench your promising 25-year-old QB for a raw rookie named Mike Glennon, you have to do it. Sure, Freeman has been terrible, but what’s the upside here? Schiano gets fired in week 6 instead of week 4? He might as well just pretend to have the flu.
RAIDERS (+3) over Redskins
Between Terrelle Pryor running around like a madman and the potential that RG III’s lower leg will fall off, this game will be surprisingly entertaining.
Jets (+4) over TITANS
A battle of surprise 2-1 teams! The winner here will be 3-1 and a legit playoff contender. It really says a lot about the Mark Sanchez era that Geno Smith has turned the ball over multiple times in every game and Jets fans are still absolutely giddy over his performance. The New York media must be in heaven. There’s nothing more entertaining than press conferences featuring a cocky Rex Ryan or a pissed-off Tom Coughlin. They’re pretty much the only thing keeping the NYC tabloid industry alive.
CHARGERS (+1) over Cowboys
Another pair of surprisingly competent teams after Philip Rivers went all Stella on us and got his groove back. He must be so happy that he can yell at things with confidence again—receivers, opposing fans, small animals, mailboxes.
Bengals (-3.5) over BROWNS
There’s definitely serious letdown potential here for the Bengals after their 21-point comeback against the Packers, but I think people are getting too excited about the Brian Hoyer era in Cleveland. (What a strange sentence to type.) Yes, he threw for over 300 yards in last week’s win, but it took him over 60 attempts. And yes, he threw three touchdowns, but he was also intercepted three times by the Vikings’ terrible pass defense. Let’s hold off on Hoyersteria for a week or two.
QUARTERBACKS I’M TERRIFIED TO BET AGAINST
Patriots (+2.5) over FALCONS
On second thought, I’m going to wait one more week before I call the Patriots washed up. I flipped on the Pats-Bucs game last week and Bill Belichick was just staring at me angrily. IT WAS TERRIFYING.
SAINTS (-7) over Dolphins
“Imagine how scary the Saints would be if they had a good defense” is one of those barstool hypotheticals that I assumed would never come true; even during their Super Bowl run, they’d get gashed before coming up with a lucky turnover. The Dolphins are good, but the Saints are borderline great.
BRONCOS (-11) over Eagles
Loved the Evil Manning theory that one of Bill Simmons’ readers proposed this week. Here’s how it goes: Pissed off by Eli’s rings and all the neck-surgery doubters, Peyton is gunning for a 6-6-6 season: 600 points, 6,000 yards, and 60 TDs. Incredibly, he’s on pace to do it (677 points, 6,096 yards, 64 TDs), and his new menacing headshot seems to prove the theory:
Whatever you do…do not bet against that man. He has a laser rocket arm and he’s not afraid to use it (cue Dr. Evil voice) for evilll. The Eagles pass defense has looked pretty shoddy so far, and Chip Kelly might give half his offensive line an aneurism running in that Mile High air. Cue the sad FOX music.
Last Week: 9-6-1
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