War of 1812 Football Prognostication Week Six
By Mr.Brutal, Special to Buffalo Sports Page
Sunday, October 15, 2017 ……
Bye: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle
1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time …….
Chicago @ BALTIMORE (-6.5) 39.5
Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky didn’t look bad in his debut for the Bears, but he has nobody to throw the damn ball to. Decades of bad draft decisions & overpaying offensive skill position players on the downside of their career in free agency have equally contributed to this situation. One factor that the Bears can’t seem to overlook when evaluating is overcompensating for late season bad weather.
Thanks to unhindered climate change, late season sleet, snow & winds unleashed by the Gods of Olympus are no longer the consistent, seasonal threat in Chicago they once were. Unfortunately, Bears’ management continues to favor draft horses and mudders over the pedigreed talent you need for success in a Thoroughbred Football League.
The Ravens offense finally came to life last week in Oakland during their 30-17 win over the reluctant, retreating Raiders. However, one week does not a trend make and we don’t trust the human ATM, Joe Flacco to lead the Baltimore attack to quite the same success against the very capable and always stout Chicago defense orchestrated by Head Coach John Fox and the very consistent DC Vic Fangio.
In a game like this where both teams are likely to score less than 20 points, a 6.5 point spread is too high.
Brutal: Bears +6.5
Bob: Bears +6.5
Cleveland @ HOUSTON -9.5 47
Kizer! To the bench! ……. Hogan! You’re In!
The Colonel Wilhelm Klink stewardship of the Cleveland Browns continues unabated. Kevin Hogan starts for the Browns on Sunday. Hogan is a Stanford grad and he’ll need that education to helm this lost ghost ship. He’s only the 20th quarterback to start for Cleveland since they drafted still starting All Pro Offensive Tackle Joe Thomas out of Wisconsin to protect the blindside of that score of lost souls.
After Hurricane Harvey, things are looking up in Houston despite the likely permanent loss of All Pro Defensive End, Philanthropist & Camera Shy J.J. Watt. The Astros are headed to the ALCS against the insufferable Yankees and these Texans, despite HC Bill O’Brien’s Rich Kotite inspired coaching philosophy have stumbled upon a starting quarterback!
It was sitting under their noses all the time in the personage of first round draft pick, high profile Heisman runner-up & very mobile DeShaun Watson. We shed a tear along with all the Pittsburgh Panthers alumni at the deep-sixing of the Tom Savage era.
The misery never ends though on the southern shore of Lake Erie as this contest adds insult to the injury perpetrated by the Indians choke job at the hands of the very same putrid New York Yankees.
Brutal: TEXANS -9.5
Bob: Browns +9.5
Green Bay -3 @ MINNESOTA 46.5
QB Case Keenum came in for the ailing, failing, collapsing Sam Bradford who obviously came back too soon & wasn’t ready to play last week. He resembled the ‘Lost Mummy of Imhotep’ once again in mobility, bandages and ability to throw the ball accurately. The Vikings did what they needed to do in beating Chicago in the Windy City.
We like Keenum. He knows how to game manage and make key plays on third down. So far this year, he has stayed within his limitations and kept the Vikings in every game. Green Bay comes in off the big win in Dallas where they couldn’t be stopped on any drives in the second half. Everybody will be jumping on the Packer bandwagon now, but not us.
Minnesota’s defense is more consistent than Dallas’ and their only loss at home was a one score, late turnover crap-shoot against the Lions. This place is louder than a mid 1980’s Motorhead concert and Minnesota wins one in the spirit of Lemmy Kilmister against their hated rival.
Brutal: VIKINGS +3
Bob: VIKINGS +3
Detroit @ NEW ORLEANS -4.5 50
Detroit was silenced at home last week by the Panthers and press conference misogynist Cam Newton, 27-24. New Orleans had the bye after going to Great Britain and shutting out the Miami Dolphins. This could be an entertaining, high scoring game of the day. Jettisoning dead wood/third option malcontent running back Adrian Peterson can only be a positive move by New Orleans. The Saints have the extra week of rest and we like them winning this by a touchdown.
Brutal: SAINTS -4.5
Bob: SAINTS -4.5
Miami @ ATLANTA -12.5 46
The Dolphins come into this game after one of the most uninspired wins in their history last week at home in Hard Rock Stadium. Miami beat a short-handed Titans’ side 16-10, but they ran for exactly 100 yards and semi-interested QB Jay Cutler went 12/27 for a whopping net 78 yards. His QPR was a infinitesimally low 6.5, that’s even 10 points less than opposing quarterback, ‘Suitcase’ Matt Cassell who lived up to his reputation for mediocrity by doing next to nothing for the Titans’ chances to win this very winnable game.
The Falcons come in off the bye, well rested and probably only needing 20 points to bury this sorry excuse for a football team and still cover the large spread.
Brutal: FALCONS -12.5
Bob: FALCONS -12.5
New England -9 @ NEW YORK J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! 47.5
There is less pressure on the Jets than the Patriots. Nobody expected the Turbines to be this competitive, the Giants to be this bad, and the Yankees to be so damn lucky! So not many people are paying too much critical attention to the Jets.
Tom Brady has been hit more times already this year than the last two seasons combined. The Pats defense was better last week in Tampa, but Jameis Winston was more a victim of his own unforced errors than the New England defensive scheme. Still, the Patriots only won 19-14.
Once more, the favourite should win, but that is a big spread against a divisional rival.
Brutal: JETS +9
Bob: New England -9
San Francisco @ WASHINGTON -11 46
Owner Danny Snyder has had a relatively calm year on the controversy front. It has helped that the very popular Washington Nationals have hogged the headlines with their baseball run into the playoffs. The Chicago Cubs ended that dream Thursday night in a game more exciting than 99% of the football games coached by Jay Gruden.
We take responsibility for this as we but a very specific curse on the team when they left Montreal and dropped the Expos team name:
“Il n’y a pas de championnat à Washington jusqu’à ce que Montréal obtienne une équipe de baseball de ligue majeure et Rusty Staub soit élu au Temple de la renommée de Cooperstown!”
( No championships in Washington until Montreal gets a major league baseball team once again and Rusty Staub is elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown! )
Our curse isn’t quite as famous or storied yet as the Bambino or Billy Goat maledictions, but give us time! People will take it seriously when it lasts 100 years.
We think the unmentionables will win this game over San Francisco, but we can’t conceive of betting on them to cover a spread this big against the always competitive (this year anyway) Forty Niners.
Brutal: Forty Niners +11
Bob: 49ers +11
4:05 – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time
Tampa Bay -1.5 @ ARIZONA 45
Square peg Adrian Peterson makes his debut for the square hole Arizona Cardinals after being traded from the round hole New Orleans Saints. Nobody could figure out what he was doing with New Orleans in the first place, so the move makes complete sense. AP may have some juice left in his quads, so he could help the geriatric Cardinals who have the worst running game in the NFL after the season ending injury to half back David Johnson.
One word of caution to Arizona players and staff. Make sure you closely monitor the behaviour of your offspring during “Bring your Children to Work Week” and keep them away from English Boarding School Headmaster Peterson.
Brutal: Buccaneers -1.5
Bob: Bucs -1.5
Los Angeles Rams @ JACKSONVILLE -2.5 42.5
Could be one of the best games of the day that 90% of America won’t see because the big networks would rather show the boring Steelers, the fading Raiders, and the no-hope Cardinals.
The Rams ran into a coming-back-into-form Seattle defense last week. Many thought it showed their inexperience and the reality that they weren’t ready for the big stage. Possibly, but despite being suffocated by the Seahawks, the Rams came within a fingertip catch of winning this game in the final drive before falling 16-10.
These two teams both have excellent defenses, but Jared Goff is a better quarterback than Blake Bortles. These two defenses are excellent and should keep this game close down to the final minute. The Jaguars are bound to be a little too high after their massacre of the Steelers in Pittsburgh last week. However, we don’t see the Rams being reckless on offense or Goff throwing five interceptions like Philosopher Roethlisberger did last week.
Edge to the Rams.
Brutal: Rams +2.5
Bob: Rams +2.5
Pittsburgh @ KANSAS CITY -4.5 47
QB Ben Roethlisberger lost his mojo last week in the aftermath interview after his dismal performance against the Jaguars. He reflected on whether his abilities had left him, God’s greater plan for his post football career, and his greater general role in the universe.
“If a quarterback throws five interceptions and doesn’t care, …… can his diva wide receiver then trash all of the Gatorade containers on the sideline with impunity?”
Big Ben changed his mind two days later after the loss to Jacksonville and said everything was now fine.
We don’t expect another existential crisis this week from Big Ben Kierkegaard, but we do expect him to lead the Steelers to another loss in western Missouri.
Brutal: CHIEFS -4.5
Bob: CHIEFS -4.5
San Diego @ OAKLAND NL
The Orange County Chargers head to a stadium where they are actually less popular than they are at their home soccer stadium south of Los Angeles. This old AFL & AFC West rivallry has always been hard hitting and contested. These hated rivals, the Raiders probably will even have ten times as many fans as the Chargers when the New Years’ Eve rematch of this game takes place in Los Angeles.
San Diego won last week as we predicted, but it was against the lowly Giants in New York whose fans turned on them back in the preseason. With Derek Carr likely still out and the Raiders being exposed defensively last week on this same field against Baltimore, we’ll take the erratic, enigmatic & entertaining Phillip Rivers and the Kurt Vonnegut inspired living embodiment ‘Team Without a Country’ Chargers.
Brutal: Chargers NL
8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………
New York Football Giants @ DENVER -11.5 39
You hate to see the Broncos with this big a spread to cover, but…..
The Giants come into this game after losing their franchise diva receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., a hostile Gotham press casting more doubts about Eli Manning’s abilities and commitment to winning along with scores of Giants’ fans defecting to the not quite as bad Jets.
Embattled Head Coach Ben McAdoo is doing his best to play his Nick Saban card: “It’s us against the world schtick! Nobody gives us a snowball’s chance in hell routine! The opposition is extremely talented and underrated! Don’t sell them short!” ….. which would all be fine if he actually was coaching the five deep Crimson Tide and facing the Colorado School of Mimes in Mile High Stadium in Denver.
Unfortunately, the Giants are playing the Broncos who come in after seven days’ rest. The Denver defense may cover this spread on turnovers alone as the Giants’ collapse continues.
If there is any good news for McAdoo and his 0 and 5 football team, it is that next week is not a bye, so it is less likely that the conservative Mara/Tisch ownership tandem will fire his ass after another humiliating loss.
Brutal: BRONCOS -11.5
Bob: BRONCOS –11.5
Monday, October 16, 2017 …….
8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time …….
Indianapolis @ TENNESSEE NL
In the sad political dog and pony show the NFL finds itself in thanks to political grandstanding, hijacking of message, and a willing electorate to be led down the path of moral indignation, …. we have the quarterback situation of the Tennessee Titans. With Marcus Mariota hurt, they started the predictably inadequate Matt Cassell last week. Thanks to the fact the Dolphins had Jay Cutler leading the team on the other sideline, Tennessee had a good chance to win.
But they didn’t. Cassell doesn’t fit this offense ( He really doesn’t fit well into any NFL offense in actuality ). The read-option, speed-option, sideline to sideline scheme the Titans run requires a mobile quarterback.
Matt Cassell is as mobile as a fire hydrant, but the unsigned Colin Kaepernick is not. We have our reservations about the “Mad Man of Civil Disobedience,” although none of them are about his political views, fan reaction or his physical abilities. Our reservations are about his competitive aptitude and attitude that have marked his diminishing performance since his Super Bowl appearance in San Francisco.
That being said, he is extremely athletic, elusive & fast. He could fit into OC Terry Robiskie’s simple scheme with little preparation. Yes, it would take guts to hire “Typhoid Mary Kaepernick,” in Tennessee, but those fans are starved for gridiron success ( Have you seen the Tennessee Volunteers this year and the coaching/roster decisions that Butch Jones has made? ). The fans would probably overlook all of that if a couple wins came their way.
With this offense, let’s face it, Mariotta is going to get hurt again and again. Matt Cassell is incapable of running this as a back-up behind a non-pocket protection oriented offensive line. There won’t be many victories if the defense of the legendary, unflappable Dick LeBeau doesn’t deliver pick sixes every week.
If the NFL had a living, breathing Commissioner who would stop taking Jerry Jones’ elastic, wavering, self-serving advice on these issues, he would do something concrete. Maybe, phone the Titans, call in or offer a future favor and get them to facilitate the hiring of Mr. Kaepernick like a real politician would do. After the initial uproar by the empty vessel political manipulators, the easily outraged and climate denying Luddites, we’ll bet things would improve. Every side would pull back a bit and claim victory.
People might learn that Colin never meant his initial action to be an insult to the flag or the military. It was textbook, Constitutionally protected protest. The public might also learn that he started to undertake the action to kneel after following the advice of a very patriotic Green Beret veteran who thought it was prudent and reasonable.
The owners & players would both save a little face, they could take a step back before this issue becomes a bigger bomb that gets bigger and threatens to go off week after week in some capacity or other.
Now let me e-mail Roger Goodell’s wife on her ghost account and get the ball rolling on this issue since he seems incapable of ever having any inspiration of his own.
Mariotta and Andrew Luck both may start or they may not. Jacoby Brissett is a far better back-up then Cassel and may even end up being the long term solution for the Colts regardless.
However, not knowing what the hell is happening in this game we’ll take the home team who is better defensively and on special teams.