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Every year, Bob Gaughan & Mr. Brutal engage in a cross border competition of picking each week’s NFL games against each other with unknown, yet very high stakes on the line for the year end.   

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        ………… Sunday, October 15, 2018 ……………..  

     …………. 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………..  

 Tampa Bay @ ATLANTA (-3)  57.5  

  We dread the push, but we will reluctantly take the gasping-on-fumes Falcons who will beat the Saint Petersburg Pirates even though they are coming in off the “bye” and will have to deal with the return from suspension of the once starting quarterback:  “Famous Jameis Winston,” the NFL’s king of pilfered seafood and prince of perpetual immaturity ( Cam Newton of the Panthers is still the undisputed emperor of that kingdom ). 

 Mr. Brutal:  FALCONS -3 

          Bob: FALCONS -3

 Pittsburgh @ CINCINNATI (-2.5)  53  

  The over/under for personal fouls in this game is seven, which might be a bargain because these teams seem to average about a dozen whenever they meet.  These teams will likely go way over that total.  If Cincinnati wins, they will be 2.5 games up on the Steelers for the division title.  

  We are nervous, because the Bengals are our dark-horse to win it all this year, but we are afraid that LB Vontaze Burfict will completely ignore the new NFL rules protocol and attempt the first in-game decapitation of an NFL quarterback when he levels Ben Roethlisberger to demonstrate a “true” egregious foul for the referees after disputing a previous call against him or a teammate that he was felt unwarranted.  

  Mr. Brutal: BENGALS -2.5

           Bob: Steelers +2.5

 Los Angeles Chargers (-1) @ CLEVELAND  45  

  This could be a very entertaining contest.  The master gunslinger of the wing it and pray offense, Phillip Rivers of the Chargers against his emerging protege: Baker Mayfield of the Browns.   

  During a team meeting this week, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson warned his players about listening to the growing number of “band-wagon jumpers” who are surrounding the team.

  Really?  A couple of wins after a decade of ineptitude and the Browns are worried about overconfidence and acquiring new fans?  Could be one of the best games of the day, but Cleveland has the better defence and 5,000 screaming canine SPCA refugees in “The Dog Pound” to bark them on.

  Mr. Brutal:  BROWNS +1 

           Bob: BROWNS +1

 Seattle (-3) @ OAKLAND  48  

 ( Wembley Stadium, London, England )

  Three of the craziest recent events that highlight mankind’s rampant stupidity and ignorance of science while validating Charles Darwin’s greater theory of Natural Selection: 

 1.)  A man in drought parched California started a 47,000 acre fire causing millions of dollars of property damage at his gender reveal party.  First, he invited dozens of guests to his backyard barbecue celebration.  Then he launched an explosive projectile into some target containing flammable liquid that purportedly would produce pink or blue mist depending on the sex of the child they were expecting ( The gender doesn’t matter, but we can only hope for the future sake of the children, based on the principals of simple Evolution that their mother has a higher IQ than their father ).  

  The explosion triggered a small fire that quickly spread and eventually caused a massive inferno that spread across the dry sage grass behind his property and soon consumed the entire neighbourhood and wilderness territory miles beyond.  ( This rocket scientist/father did not put a fire extinguisher or working garden hose on the party supply list.)

  2.)  A recent poll showed that 55% of Americans generally agree with the statement that the “science” on climate change hasn’t been decided yet.  Another 15% strongly agree with that statement.  Canada isn’t much better:  About 40% think this is an unsettled issue and 18% strongly deny that climate change isn’t settled science.  It is possibly just sad more than it is frightening or hopeless when you consider that 97.5% of the scientists of all stripes have signed off on the current reality of our boiling planet via increasingly trigonometric rates of mean atmospheric temperature acceleration. 

  However, we shouldn’t give up hope, people do change:  Boston Celtics’ guard Kyrie Irving recently withdrew his support from the ancient camp of 15th Century uneducated, mostly religious fear mongers who ruled public opinion before Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan & Sir Francis Drake revealed their cultivated ignorance in triplicate. 

  

  Yes, Kyrie, the Duke alum ( not sure if he graduated, that might make it even worse for the school’s assumed elevated academic reputation, especially if he was enrolled in any science or geography courses. ) has renounced his belief that our planet is indeed flat.

  Mr. Irving explained in an interview last week that he had evolved on the issue, so while tentatively saying new information has made him believe that our mortal coil indeed wasn’t flat, he didn’t quite say he actually believed that the earth was round either ( What? possibly trapezoid shaped? ).  Kyrie explained that he was tired of some of the online scrutiny, that he didn’t want to be a laughingstock, but mostly he was weary of science teachers accosting him in airports telling him that he was making their job needlessly difficult because a huge portion of their students seriously believed Dr. Kyrie Mercator and his views on accepted scientific facts that he was constantly conveying over Instagram/Twitter/Facebook. 

  Sigh, so maybe his “blinding light on the road to Damascus moment” is more about shoring up his brand and internet image than accepting real science with 500 years of case study confirmation.  Oh well, at least he is pretending that he was wrong.  The power of social media to inspire ignorance rears its ugly head once again.  Remember Kyrie, the crown of inexcusable lack-of enlightenment is often heavy.

 3.)  Head coach Jon Gruden of the Raiders denying the raw physics involved in ramming running back Marshawn “Beastmode” Lynch down the Los Angeles Chargers’ throat on a first and goal from the one yard line last week in the Chargers’ rented soccer stadium.  Of course, everybody remembers the Super Bowl losing play a couple of years ago when Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll ignored Lynch and tried a slant pass that resulted in an interception and the hated New England Patriots winning yet another undeserved title. 

  On Sunday, basically the same thing happened in Orange County.  Raiders’ QB Derek Carr was picked off in the end zone late in the game and the Chargers’ win was sealed.  Marshawn Lynch’s body language spoke volumes as he left the field; one couldn’t help but commiserate with the painful deja vu he must have been experiencing. 

  Of course Chucky Gruden doubled down at the post game press conference, condescendingly explaining to the reporters present that there were several differences between this play and the disastrous Super Bowl decision.  Yes Jon there were, and they were all irrelevant because Newton’s first law of motion would tell you that the greater force of the irresistible projectile ( Lynch ) always trumps the supposedly immovable object ( the Chargers’ defensive line ).  

  We may have part of that wrong, but Gruden was still completely off-base with his dismissive explanation and his so far this year, mindless leadership of the sinking silver & black ship.  Ironically, the Raiders play the Seahawks this Sunday.  Seattle gave the Rams a scare last week and have looked better as each week goes by this season, despite a tonne of injuries.  Maybe it’s because they have a head coach who sometimes learns from his previous mistakes.  

  This game is in England and the only thing we can think of worse than being stuck on a team coached by Jon Gruden is sharing an overseas flight with the blonde curmudgeon.  Using that logic, the Raiders might really perform in this game because they do not want to endure the flight home with their miserable head coach.  However, motivation, warm beer and bad English food will not be enough to beat an improving Seahawk team.

  Mr. Brutal: Seahawks -3

           Bob:  SEAHAWKS -3

   

 Chicago (-3) @ MIAMI  42 

  Chicago travels to Florida, fresh off the “bye week” after their evisceration of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two weeks ago.  Possibly Miami could win this game if the Florida humidity becomes insufferable or the game becomes postponed from an “Act of God” like a sharp right about-turn from Hurricane Michael.  There is also the chance that another remake of Heaven Can Wait might play out too.  That would be their QB Ryan Tannehill returning from the dead and quarterbacking this team like he did during his first two years in the league.

  Two weeks ago, we declared that the Dolphins were the worst 3-0 team in the NFL before they went into Foxboro and lost to the Patriots.  Last week we said that after Miami lost in Cincinnati, they would be the worst 3-2 team in the NFL.  After this week’s loss to the Bears they will be the worst .500 team in the league. 

  Mr. Brutal:  Bears (-3) 

           Bob:  Maimi +3

 Arizona @ MINNESOTA (-10.5)  43  

  This will be rookie QB Josh Rosen’s toughest test after his successful first win in San Francisco last week.  The Vikings escaped Philly last week with a 23-21 win that cost us a lot more than the pick in this column. 

  Part of that was due to the Eagles’ sloppy start, a pick six and a dozen dropped passes, but the ridiculous “roughing the passer” call on Minnesota DE Michael Bennett took the cake.  He rushed Kirk Cousins, was knocked down in the process, then proceeded to crawl the last step and gingerly wrap up the quarterback’s lower legs as he threw the ball away on a third and long.  The phantom penalty gave the Vikes a first down and a subsequent touchdown. 

  The Cardinals may actually have a better defense than the Eagles, so we see another Minnesota game that should be close.  That spread is just too dangerous to take the Vikings, who like the Eagles, still do not quite look as good as they were last year. 

  Mr. Brutal:  Cardinals +10.5 

           Bob: Cardinals +10.5

 Indianapolis @ NEW YORK J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! (-3)  45.5 

  The Colts have struggled this season.  They are better than last year with QB Andrew Luck back, but his shoulder is still not 100% and it may never return to the same form it possessed when he was tearing up the league after replacing Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.  Luck had the same injury as ex-Jets QB Chad Pennington, which resulted in the Marshall grad being unable to throw more than one or two convincing passes over 20 yards per game. 

  Maybe Luck will recover more original arm strength than Pennington.  He better, because he threw it 59 times last Thursday in New England and is on an NFL record pace for attempts and completions this season.  The Colts lost 38-24, but statistically held their own with the Patriots, even after accounting for the usual boost a team gets on the final numbers when they trail badly throughout a game.  The Colts held the clear advantage in possession and total plays.  Luck threw for more yards (365-341) and tied Brady with three touchdowns and two interceptions for each of them.  

  The Colts also played that road game on three days’ rest without their best offensive weapon, WR T.Y Hilton as well as seven other starters. 

  This week they head into New York off ten days’ rest with Hilton and half the absentees from the New England game returning.  The Jets have some momentum, but we think the Colts have played well this year despite their 1-4 record and all the handicaps they have faced. 

  Mr. Brutal:  Colts +3 

           Bob: COLTS +3

  

 Carolina @ WASHINGTON (-1)  45  

  It’s been a bad week for politically incorrect named professional sports teams in America.  The Cleveland Indians and “Chief Wahoo” were swept by the Houston Astros.  The “Tomahawk Chop” Braves were likewise dispatched by the Los Angeles Dodgers in short order.  Finally, the unmentionable Washington DC NFL club became a pathetic footnote to history on Monday night, losing 43-19 in Louisiana.  In the process, they barely showed up to give the New Orleans’ Saints and now all-time passing king Drew Breeezzze! any type of a competitive game in his record producing performance. 

  Once, it was inconceivable that the Washington football club could not sell out a game and lose fans, but we expect to see thousands of empty seats on Sunday, just like their last home game.  We’re no fans of QB Cam Newton and the Panthers, but they come in after an exciting win over the New York Giants ( a last second, non Colorado altitude, NFL record tying 63 yard field goal by Graham Gano ).  Washington comes in off the short week and the prospects of executing head coach Jon Gruden’s only slightly less arrogant brother Jay’s game plan that will inspire poster boy for bland QB Alex Smith to lead the team into battle again.  

  On the optimistic side, Washington owner Little Danny Snyder has put his $49 million dollar mansion up for sale, so if he’s planning to move away, maybe he’ll sell the team to somebody who knows what they’re doing and won’t further run this franchise into dust like he has over the last two decades.  

  Mr. Brutal:  Panthers +1

           Bob: Panthers +1

 Buffalo @ HOUSTON (-10)  41

  Battle between the two NFL starting quarterbacks who take the longest to release the ball.

  Bills’ QB Josh Allen has an arm like Jeff George but the decisiveness of Neville Chamberlain.  Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson can scramble like Steve Young, but is as fragile as Marie-Reine Le Gougne ( The 2002 Winter Olympics figure skating judge who was emotionally intimidated to favor Russian figure skaters causing an international scandal ).   

 The Ruskies have a history of interfering in others’ contests and elections, but nothing they might do will influence the outcome of this game.  Watson took a lot of hits last Sunday night in their victory over Dallas.  This week his practice time was as limited as his head coaches’ offensive imagination.  As bad as the Bills may seem, they have the healthier quarterback.  They are 2-3 on the year, the same as the Texans and have played about at the same level.  

  Mr. Brutal: Bills +10 

           Bob: Texans -10

         

   …………… 4:05 pm – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time ………..  

 Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) @ DENVER  52.5  

  Hmmm, the long  successful Denver history at home, the altitude, coupled with the large spread, coupled with the Rams’ close win in Seattle last week might lead one to think that the Broncos can cover here.  The Rams are going to have a couple of sub-par efforts and a loss or two before they head to their inevitable Super Bowl Coronation in Atlanta.  The back door beckons. 

  Mr. Brutal:  BRONCOS +7.5 

           Bob: BRONCOS +7.5

 Jacksonville (-3) @ DALLAS  40.5  

  Like Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden whining about his lack of a pass rush after dispatching LB Khalil Mack to the Bears;  Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones continues to cry in the press about Dallas’ lack of wide receivers.  This week he explained that they hadn’t had an elite receiver on their roster for “years.”  Now, maybe that obligatory time frame reference included Dez Bryant, who was extremely productive for almost a decade in Jerry-town and remains unemployed and eager to re-sign with the Cowboys.  We cannot tell what he was rambling about; Jerry is getting increasingly senile and delusional. 

  Some free advice for the Dallas head honcho at his next meeting with the Cowboys’ general manager:   

  1.)  Short Term:  Discuss signing Bryant and a few other unemployed free agents that are able to achieve occasional separation from cornerbacks and safeties. 

   2.)  Mid Term:  Make an honest evaluation of QB Dak Prescott’s progress and decide whether you can honestly win with him going forward.  Review the possibility that “certain people” in the organization consistently overvalue “certain players'” employment & contributions.

   3.)  Long Term:  Re-haul your complete scouting and drafting departments to start picking and developing better prospects with more potential value. 

  Of course this meeting will likely never take place because owner Jerry Jones is also the general manager and chief scout.  If it did, it would certainly be entertaining and unhinged; kind of like watching Norman Bates debate his mother about his dating choices, …… or Kanye West this week meeting President Traffic Cone in the Oval Office, explaining to the world, amongst other insane observations & hypotheses:  How Donald Trump saved the country, the planet as well as the universe after his election, …. and that he should immediately replace Air Force One with a hydrogen powered 21st Century version of the Hindenburg.

  The Jaguars were flat and somewhat outclassed last week in Kansas City.  That won’t be the case this week.  Even Blake Bortles will throw at least one touchdown pass and the Jag defence will produce between ten and fourteen points in Texas.  

  Mr. Brutal:  Jaguars -3 

           Bob:  Jaguars -3

 Baltimore (-3) @ TENNESSEE  41 

  This could be a real World War One trench battle with little offense.  Lots of experts will take the Ravens, citing the Titans’ inability to beat better teams.  We see them a little differently.  Tennessee lost last week by a point in Buffalo, 13-12 as we expected they might.  This week at home, with another low scoring “under” expected, getting three points, they may win or lose by a similar margin, but still cover. 

 Mr. Brutal:  TITANS +3 

          Bob:  Ravens -3

 

       

      ………….. 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time …………….  

 Kansas City @ NEW ENGLAND (-3.5)  59 

 The marquee match-up of the week of course goes to NBC, because they paid the most money to acquire their portion of the NFL’s television pie.   Scariest stat that we will ignore:  Tom Brady and the Patriots are 25-0 in Foxboro when facing a starting quarterback under 25 years of age.  

  Well, every empire falls and every record is eventually broken ( Except maybe the 5,714 career strike-outs thrown by pitcher Nolan Ryan ). 

  The hook makes this appealing too, so we’ll take the Chiefs, but we wouldn’t even bet a typically cheap Bill Belichik waitress gratuity on this game.

 Mr. Brutal:  Chiefs +3.5 

          Bob:  New England -3.5

    

             ………… Monday, October 16, 2018 ……………….. 

    

       ………….. 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time …………….  

 San Francisco @ GREEN BAY (-9.5)  46.5  

  In the words of actor Gerritt Graham from the cult classic movie Used Cars:  This spread is “Way too “F*$K&*@ing High!” 

 

  Mr. Brutal:  Forty Niners +9.5 

          Bob:  Forty Niners +9.5

 Last Week:  Mr. Brutal:  9-5

                            Bob:  9-5

  Year-to-Date:  Mr. Brutal: 37-33-1

                                  Bob: 36-34-1

Kevin Sylvester

Kevin Sylvester has over 20 years of experience in media, working for stations, professional sports teams, leagues, and national broadcast entities. This experience includes being an announcer for NHL, NBA, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, NCAA Hockey, and The PGA Tour. Kevin also served as the producer for the Buffalo Sabres post-game show, executive producer for a Sabres radio show, and started his own media production company, All Square Media LLC in 2008. All Square Media serves as the executive producer of the Tee 2 Green TV and Radio shows (created by Kevin), handling distribution, sponsorship sales, fulfillment, and production of the shows.

Kevin's business background extends beyond broadcasting. He served as the Director of Amateur Athletics for WNY Arena LLC (Key Bank Center in Buffalo), procuring major amateur sporting events for Buffalo, NY. The major highlights include two sold out NCAA Tournaments First and Second Rounds (2007, 2010), and the 2011 IIHF U20 World Championships (Kevin co-wrote the winning bid, and served on the organizing committee for USA Hockey). Kevin created The Duster Challenge in 2016, a local 18 hole putting competition, and serves as an advisor to WNY golf ball company, OnCore Golf.

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