NFL Spread Picks Week 11: The Tom Coughlin Tune-Out Theory

Tom Coughlin

GIANTS (-4.5) over Packers

I have a theory about the Tom Coughlin era Giants, who always seem to play like absolute shit for a 6-week stretch every season and are great the rest of the time: The team just tunes Coughlin out for a month and a half every year, and this year, the tune-out game early.

Don’t get me wrong—Coughlin is a great coach, but the team probably just can’t help but get sick of his hard-ass routine, and the tune-out is a coping mechanism that allows them to be great the rest of the time. Simple as that. Normally for the Giants, the tune-out starts during the 9th game, which makes sense because at that point, the team has had to put up with him for the entire off-season conditioning program, training camp, and the first two months of the season. Before this season, the Coughlin-era Giants averaged a 6-2 first half of the season and a 3-5 second half. They seemed to stumble from 6-2 to 7-6 pretty much every year.

My theory is that this year, Coughlin—the NFL’s oldest coach in the league at 67 years old—felt the sting of last season’s collapse especially hard and started smothering the team like a lonely parent the three months before their baby leaves for college. As a result, the Giants got sick of Coughlin early every year—right before Week 1, to be exact. After 6 weeks, they tuned back in, went on a 3-game win streak, and are suddenly only one game out of the NFC East lead in the loss column. With their tune-out already out of the way, they’ll continue to thrive.

Now, if I could only come up with a similarly optimistic theory for why the Knicks have been so terrible to start this season, I’d really be getting somewhere.

Raiders (+7) over TEXANS

I may be the kind of boy that has sex on the first date, but I am not the kind of boy that lays 7 points with a 2-7 team.

BUCCANEERS (+1.5) over Falcons

After taking Seattle to overtime and beating the Dolphins, the Buccaneers look surprisingly spunky. Between Coughlin and Schiano, it looks like the hardass coach is making a comeback! Let’s get these two heroes on stage so that they can scowl at everybody.

Can the Madden computers just announce this game so John Lynch and Kevin Burkhardt can make better use of their time and hit a strip club or something?

Chiefs (+8) over BRONCOS

Has a 9-0 team ever been 8-point underdog? (Googles.) No! Congratulations, Kansas City. You’ve made history. Now let’s synthesis this line into some crystal “nobody believes in us,” give it a good snort in both nostrils and GO COVER THAT GOD DAMN BETTING LINE.

SAINTS (-3) over 49ers

It seems that at this point, Vegas docks every team that loses to the Jets three points the next week. The Saints are the better team. They’ll cover.

SEAHAWKS (-12) over Vikings

Betting against an injured Christian Ponder in Seattle isn’t the kind of thing you end up regretting.

PANTHERS (-2.5) over Patriots

Riverboat Ron’s Panthers are going to be pumped up to play the Patriots. Fun Fact: This is a rematch of Super Bowl 38! At the time, that 32-29 thriller seemed like the Greatest Super Bowl of All-Time. Heck, Peter King even called it that. Now? No one even remembers it. It just seems really strange that Jake Delhomme outdueled Tom Brady at the height of his power. I bet Jake was high as shit on angel dust that entire season and screamed “I GOT THIS FOXY!” at Panthers coach John Fox every time he took the field. There has to be an NFL clip of something like this.

EAGLES (-4.5) over Redskins

The Eagles haven’t won at home yet this year, which is great ammo if you want to make fun of any Eagles fans in your life. (Such as my boss, and yes, I’m probably going to get myself fired.) But it’s a dangerous stat, one that leaves you wagering big money on a gimpy RG III even though the Eagles are clearly a far superior team.

If you take out the three games that didn’t prominently figure Matt Barkley, the Eagles are 5-3. Otherwise? Losses to the Broncos and Chiefs (excusable), and a 3-point loss to the Chargers. I can’t bet on the Eagles in this game because I’m a Giants fan…but you certainly should.

(Realizes Eagles are going to go 9-7 and keep the Giants from winning the division at 8-8)

(Slams head in bathroom door)


(Watches Love Actually)

(Feels better)


BILLS (-1) over Jets

EJ Manuel returns for the mobile rookie quarterback bowl! I can’t wait for the Playoff Race graphics to get rolled out this week. Both conferences are such clusterfucks, especially the AFC Wildcard Race. I want the Bills to stay on the bubble! C’mon, Bills! You’ll only be 1.5 games back of the Wildcard Spot. Don’t let yourself get relegated to the top 10-draft picks graphic! That’s not a happy graphic.

BENGALS (-6) over Browns

If the Browns win this game, they’ll only be a half game out of first place. For obvious reasons, that clearly can’t happen.

BEARS (-3) over Ravens

I’m still shocked that there’s a McCown still in the league, but 12-year vet Josh McCown is sporting an 87.0 QBR and 103.2 QB rating for the Bears this season. That’s pretty fucking impressive. It seems crazy to say, but with Cutler a pending free agent and out indefinitely with a high-ankle sprain, McCown could force him out of town.

DOLPHINS (+2) over Chargers

I’m with Drew Magary. Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito being star-crossed lovers would be the most logical explanation for this bizarre Dolphin saga.


Joe Lazauskas
Editor of The Faster Times. Managing Editor at Contently. Twitter: @joelazauskas more


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