War of 1812 Football Prognostication Week 13

By Mr.Brutal, Special to Buffalo Sports Page

               …… Sunday, December 3, 2017  ……

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

  Minnesota @ ATLANTA (-3)  47.5 

The Viking hoard invades Atlanta, but unlike General Sherman and the March to the Sea, we don’t see them leaving victorious with the South razed and beaten.  Atlanta has been on a winning streak.  A winning streak where they put together decent second halves.  A problem that carried over from last year’s Super Bowl loss to the first half of this season.

Matty Ice, a coming around Julio Jones and the Falcons continue their streak.

Brutal:  FALCONS -3

  Bob: Falcons -3

New England (-8.5) @ BUFFALO  48.5

You would have to be certifiable to bet the Bills this week after watching these two teams over the last month.  However, we just saw the weather forecast and……. sigh, it calls for perfect, shiny weather.

Brutal:  The Faustian Bargain Horde -8.5

  Bob:  Pats -8.5

San Francisco @ CHICAGO (-3)  40.5

Last week after an injury to starter C.J. Beathard, the prize piece of china from the hutch cupboard was brought into the game and didn’t wet the bed.   So, it looks like QB Jimmy Garoppolo has finally mastered the complicated, intricate, Da Vinci Code offensive scheme that the coaching staff of Kyle Shanahan had previously deemed too advanced for Jimmy to succeed with until next training camp.

That and the fact that beating the Cleveland Browns to the NFL sub-basement where the North Korea thwarting nuclear fallout shelter dwells was the real priority.  The prime concern for the Niners has always been about obtaining a better draft pick for this sad, sorry, post Kaepernick version of a once proud franchise.

Brutal:  BEARS -3

  Bob: Bears -3

  Tampa Bay @ GREEN BAY -2.5  45

People in the state of Florida are more excited about the hiring of Dan Mullen in Gainesville to lead the Gators than they are about any of the three pro football teams in the state.

It is the opposite in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, people are far more excited about the Packers than the Wisconsin Badgers shot at the College Football “Playoff” resulting from their game with Ohio State this weekend.

Suicidal Packers followers are praying that they will be in a position to make the playoffs in a couple of weeks when Aaron Rodgers is legally eligible and theoretically ready to start for the Packers.  Getting to that point will be hair-raising, high blood pressure inducing, night sweats torture along the way.  Many cheese-heads cannot face the prospect of not making the playoffs and enduring the long off-season in cold exile.

Packer fans might take direction from the World Court this week in The Hague, Netherlands.  A former Bosnian Croat military commander was convicted of war crimes by the court for his role in mass murder, rape, ethnic cleansing and other miscellaneous war crimes in the Yugoslavian conflict over twenty years ago.

At sentencing after losing his final appeal, rather than accept a twenty year sentence in prison, Slobodan Praljak took matters into his own hands.  He stood at the podium and defiantly declared that “He was not a war criminal!”  Then he took out a vial of something he had concealed and drank it.  He collapsed on the floor and told the EMT attending him that he had just swallowed poison. He died soon after in hospital.

This was the final trial in the endless court action that followed that regrettable Balkan war.  The World Court was concluding 24 years of litigation involving that illogical tragedy.  It certainly ended with a bang.

We do not usually recommend Martyrdom as an effective way to deal with football depression.  There are a lot of very committed Packer fans who have in the past been prone to these types of extremes.  We formally to not recommend martial measures when it comes to these issues and disavow any knowledge of……

Oh, it doesn’t matter, …. even with Hundley filling in for Rogers the Packers will cover this small spread and win this game against the Saint Petersburg Pirates.

  Brutal:  PACKERS -2.5

  Bob: Packers -2.5

  Houston @ TENNESSEE (-6.5)  43 

In the great Volunteer State of Tennessee, everybody is abuzz over the soap opera in Knoxville that is unfolding after the merciful firing of University of Tennessee Football Coach Butch Jones.

First there was the attempt to hire Greg Schiano, the subsequent sudden internet assault over false, triple hearsay allegations that Schiano was somehow involved in the pedophilia scandal involving Jerry Sandusky at Penn State which led to the U of T Athletic Director, John Currie withdrawing the offer.

Now in the case of Schiano it was actually nice to see such real concern over that hideous crime that doesn’t mirror the Sergeant Schultz mentality of Alabama voters approaching the special Senate election.  Schiano had one or two good years at Rutgers, then a disastrous stretch as head coach in Tampa Bay.  He’s a decent position coach, probably not the best head coach or recruiter, ….. but there is no evidence he was ever involved in the Sandusky fiasco, other than being on the coaching staff of the Nittany Lions.

Funny, but the lunatic alumni & booster groups didn’t seem to mind Oklahoma State Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy being considered for the job because he is seen as a far more desirable hire by all the fans, especially the ones with deep pockets.  Somehow the morality of Gundy using a player in Stillwater for several years that he knew was involved with real sexual assaults was not an issue.  Amazing what selective memory and lack of due diligence amnesia can achieve.

What ever happens now, Schiano’s prospects of ever getting another head coaching job in any form of football have become minimized.

Then there were attempts to hire Washington State iconoclast Mike Leach ( who turned it down ), a floating notion to possibly rehire Lane Kiffin ( thousands of death threats ended that idea in hours ), & the bizarre crowd sourcing movement to bring 82 year old Johnny Majors out of the retirement home to once more lead the team.

There have even been new undertakings involving hiring any former University alumni available back to the fold to help right the ship.  Tee Martin, Peyton Manning, novelist Cormac McCarthy, journalist Woody Paige, politicians Al Gore, Bob Corker and the ghost of Estes Kevfauver have been solicited as possible candidates for the job that will pay handsomely but ultimately lead to eternal depression & damnation.

The plot thickened when Currie was fired as Athletic Director halfway through the week.  Then ex-coach Phillip Fulmer was brought in as temporary AD to right the ship in the typhoon that had been created.  The way this is going, Fulmer will be director and coach next season because this is a job that is cursed until the fans stop singing ‘Rocky Top’ after every Volunteer touchdown.

(Okay, we made that last part up, but we weren’t even sure they still sang that cursed song because there have been so few meaningful major scores in Neyland Stadium this year.)

All of this has been good for the NFL Tennessee Titans, who are flying under the radar on their way to a showdown with the Jaguars for the division title or quite likely an AFC Wildcard slot.  In this game the Texans come in off a short week and an uninspiring loss to the Ravens.  They still don’t have a quarterback in Tom Savage, who may soon be ranked below Buffalo’s Nathan Peterman as the worst Pitt Panther signal caller in the NFL.

The Texans are poorly coached. Without DeShaun Watson, HC Bill O’Brien looks like Rich Kotite pacing the sidelines, hoping for something or someone to take him away.  The Titans’ boss, Mike Mularkey isn’t much better with his training wheels offense that tries to protect QB Marcus Mariotta, but just ends up making the Tennessee offense average and predictable.

With all the noise in Knoxville, the always second fiddle Titans are feeling less pressure than usual.  They cruise over the Texans.

  Brutal: TITANS -6.5

  Bob: Texans +6.5

Denver (-1) @ MIAMI  38.5 

The only reason we are taking the water mammals here is because Jay Cutler is starting and is the better quarterback.  Yes, we can hardly believe we just typed that line, but he is a better quarterback than rookie Paxton Lynch who is being thrown to the wolves, err, aqua-familiar toothed cetaceans in this game.

Dolphins are a member of a paraphyletic group of highly evolved cetaceans that includes killer whales.  They are also highly intelligent.  Certainly they are smarter than horses, and if that Marlin Perkins’ logic doesn’t fly, just realize that you are more slow-witted than either wild feral ponies or whales if you wager serious money on this dog of a game being played in front of a half empty stadium in South Beach.

  Brutal:  DOLPHINS +1

  Bob: Miami +1

  Kansas City (-3.5) @ NEW YORK JETS  44 

Not the first game this week that we would avoid wagering on with advanced knowledge.  Much like if we were a woman, we would avoid entering Matt Lauer’s office knowing ahead of time, that at any point during our “meeting” he could press a button and deadbolt the door so we couldn’t escape from his grabby ass mitts.

Let’s just say the Chiefs’ offense has completely vapourized from the first month of the season.  Even though they are playing the Jets, 3.5 points looks more like 7.5 points, so we’ll back the hometown J-e-t-s, Jets! Jets! Jets! ……

 Brutal: JETS +3.5

 Bob: Jets +3.5
Indianapolis @ JACKSONVILLE (-9.5)  41

Speaking of Mr. O’Reilly, Franken, Ailes, Keillor, sorry, Lauer.  Yes, Matt Lauer has been fired for sexual harassment.  The highly paid Today Show host was let go immediately this week after he got caught up in the domino after-effect perpetrated by the Weinstein Inquisition that has exposed lots of famous and powerful men as workplace predators.

Other than Katie Couric saying in an interview after she left that show that she had to get used to Lauer no longer constantly grabbing her ass, most people had no idea that this type of workplace behavior was so pervasive involving him in particular.

We of course knew nothing about this type of behavior, but we instinctively never liked Matt Lauer for other reasons.  He always seemed like a guy who wasn’t that intelligent or proficient at his profession, but still insisted on being a little snide and condescending with those around him.  He had this unwarranted air of self-satisfied arrogance that seemed to revolve around a delusional sense of self-importance because he was one of the highest paid people in his profession and was always listed as one of the sexiest men alive in those trash magazine features.

( If that is true, we have to question women’s taste on this one.  I have no idea what makes a man physically & emotionally attractive to a woman, but we have always suspected that as a gender, they generally have better instincts than men.  However, Matt Lauer?  His best genetic feature was his wallet and I guess that carried a lot of weight with women who are more than a little gullible.)

Regardless, he was such a lightweight interviewer and intellectual minor-league player, he made Charlie Rose ( another offender now in permanent exile ) and Barbara Walters look like Mike Wallace and Christiane Amanpour.

Obviously we were not alone in that judgement.  Years ago at the 1997 White House Correspondence Dinner, comedian Norm MacDonald was hosting.  He mentioned that the Smithsonian Institution had just opened a new electronic exhibit where a visitor could sit down in a simulator and pretend to be a real journalist.  MacDonald pointed out with his patented, disconnected & sardonic wit that he and a long lineup of people all wanted to test it out, ….. but were unable to because Matt Lauer had hogged it all to himself for the entire afternoon.

Lauer was memorably photographed squirming in his seat at that dinner and not even politely laughing, ….. much as we are sure he has been sitting and squirming all this week.

Unlike Lauer, we at least once did like QB Blake Bortles when he played at Central Florida and looked good for the NFL ( His undefeated Alma mater is currently getting screwed by the Jim Crow College Football Playoff system that ensures the Golden Knights will likely get a New Year’s Bowl game only. …… and some of the table scraps that the big boys let leak out of the seams from the Paul Manafort proportion giant money bag so as to avoid a Congressional Investigation into antitrust…. never mind, …. we have digressed ).

Regardless, Bortles is playing like the paragon of mediocrity, like he did last year, ….. maybe even a little worse.  He actually was much better during his first two years in the NFL.  However, the Jaguars have a great defense this year, so they can afford to carry a quarterback with a lifetime batting average of .228.

That was the late Baltimore Oriole short stop Mark Belanger’s 18 year career average to go along with one home run a year.  The Orioles carried him all those years, batting ninth, because he was that good defensively between second and third.  They even won a couple of World Series.

The entire Jacksonville Jaguars football operation represents the Golden Glove career stats of Belanger, which is why they will at least likely win the AFC South.  However, there is no way we will lay that many points with a shortstop starting at quarterback who is hitting below the Mendoza Line.

  Brutal:  Colts +9.5

  Bob: Colts +9.5

 

  Detroit @ BALTIMORE (-2.5)  40.5 

The Battle of the two highest & overpaid quarterbacks in the NFL!

Yippee!

This is the game of the week to not mortgage the house on if you haven’t already on the Broncos/Dolphins contest.  Although both teams have slim to average playoff possibilities, it could go either way.  QB Matt Stafford is slightly damaged, but has had ten days off since the Thanksgiving Massacre loss to the Vikings.  Flacco is on the downhill side of his Brinks’ Truck Robbery contract and we never trust him or his decision making.

Sigh, when in doubt, take the home team with the far better head coach and the better defense.  We fully expect Detroit wide receivers’ Golden Tate & Marvin Jones III to be shut down by the Ravens’ secondary.

Brutal:  RAVENS -2.5

  Bob: Lions +2.5

        ………… 4:05 pm – 4:25 pm EST……….

Cleveland @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-14)  42

Well, this is one team visiting Orange County that probably won’t outdraw the home team for once.  Two weeks ago, the Browns were competitive at home against Jacksonville and ended up only losing 19-7 on a last minute turnover touchdown.  Despite this, half of their 50% filled stadium left half way through the third quarter.

After watching that and their capitulation last week in Cincinnati to their mediocre in-state rivals, one would be hard pressed to believe many Cleveland fans are going to show up in California to cheer on the Browns to their first win.

The good news for Cleveland is that wide receiver Josh Gordon is cleared to practice with the team and his reinstatement is just around the corner.  Smoking drugs constantly has really slowed his career through suspensions.  Although he has missed two years of playing football, he has still graded out statistically as the most valuable performer over the last 36 games played by the Browns according to a rogue algorithm derivative postulated from Sagarin analytics.

Speaking of Gordon, it was also revealed this week that Josh was basically channeling Pablo Escobar when he was a Baylor Bear.  In a ‘Coming to Jesus’ moment in an interview over the internet, Josh explained that he received at least 6 pounds of cannabis through the mail each week and then sold it in various cities around Texas.  He claims he cleared over $10,000 a month.

Well we admire Gordon’s honesty and entrepreneurship, he better be careful.  Just smoking pot in Texas, let alone dealing the stuff, ….. has no ‘Statute of Limitations.’  It is considered legally on a par with murder, not buying a gun, preventing impregnation via condom or any other means of birth control other than the official state sponsored and preferred rhythm method and divine prayer.

The Chargers need this game, but two touchdowns seems like a ridiculous overreach by Vegas based on the facts.  It reflects far more on how little money is bet on the sad, winless & doomed Browns each week.

  Brutal:  Browns +14

  Bob: Chargers -14

  New York Football Giants @ OAKLAND (-7.5)  42 

Finally, Eli Manning is benched so the Giants can get a good look at their future.  Time to evaluate the young, back-up quarterbacks to assess their future.  Yeah, right.

Starting Geno ‘Canvasback’ Smith on Sunday signifies that New York is blatantly tanking for the draft.  Now despite this, one might believe that they would be capable of a win against the Raiders, whose mid-season performance graph has mirrored the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs.  The reason you might think the Giants could win against a mediocre team is because a new quarterback with a good attitude might really inspire the others in the locker room with a rousing speech.

Unfortunately, the last time Geno caused a stir in the locker room he was with the Jets.  He was sucker-punched by a reserve linebacker and laid out like Michael Spinks at the hands of Mike Tyson.  This was all over Geno reneging on a $600.00 debt he owed over some airline tickets.  Most players sided with the reserve linebacker, but despite this, he was released and picked up by Buffalo that same week.

Not an inspiring accomplishment for Geno to carry across the hall to the other home team locker room at the Meadowlands.

  Brutal:  RAIDERS -7.5

  Bob: Raiders -7.5

 

Carolina @ NEW ORLEANS (-4)  48

Finally we have an answer for Carolina QB Cam Newton’s odd post-game sartorial choices.  It was revealed this week that the same fashion consultant who dresses White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been tasked to provide Cam’s fashion statements.  It does seem to be having an effect.  Both of them give press conferences that defy logic, truth and the American Way.

However, Cam has a long way to go if he wants to lie that effectively without breaking eye contact with the speaker or the camera.

A tough NFC South game with major implications, we’ll take the home team in the loudest dome in the NFL.

Brutal: SAINTS -4

  Bob: Saints -4

  Los Angeles Rams (-7) @ ARIZONA  45

With ex-Bills WR Robert Woods out, finally another Buffalo castoff, WR Sammy Watkins has taken the opportunity to seize the moment.  He has been catching touchdown passes and producing.  Sammy should be here for this game on Sunday to continue his improved play for the Rams.

That is unless he has taken a “personal weekend” pass to join Kyrie Irving in attending the 2017 Flat Earth Society International Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Sadly, this is a real thing not born of comedy or irony.

The organizers expect between 1,000 and 1,500 attendees.  They point out that the movement has been growing each year for the last fifteen years, mostly because of the reach and effectiveness of the internet.

Many of the true believers have different points-of-view regarding the dogma of our current society.  Some of these enlightened “Renaissance Men” espouse slogans and beliefs from quite varied perspectives and disciplines that include:

“Science is for Simpletons!”

“What happened to all the sailors before Columbus who fell off the edge of the earth and disappeared?”  ( The inference being, we guess, ….. that they indeed did sail off the edge of the earth. )

“The Catholic Church was/is infallible, so they should return to their commendation of Galileo, Copernicus & Brahe as heathens.  Pope Francis should release a Papal Bull declaring once again that the earth is flat and the centre of the solar system, the universe with the sun revolving around us!”

“Stephen Hawking will not replace us!”

“Newton was an Asperger Syndrome suffering Alchemist who bamboozled future scientists who accepted his fraud without further investigation!”

and

“The concept of the round earth was Satan’s greatest hoax against man!”

The growing numbers of this group of complete and utterly ignorant fools exhibits the sad state of simple logic today.  On a sociological level, it shows just how needy some people are for attention, the lure of companionship in associating with like-minded morons and the opportunity to believe in ridiculous nonsense that exceeds their capacity to accept fact beyond their limited purview.

It also says a lot about the priorities of an educational system that doesn’t stress history, geography, physics or general science anymore.

In the case of Sammy Watkins & Kyrie Irving it is a living indictment of the exposure to & quality of education for undergraduate ‘Pay-as-you-Play Athletes’ at Clemson and Duke.

We like the Rams, but somehow we think they might be looking ahead to next week’s showdown with the Eagles.  Cardinals manage to cover at home.

  Brutal:  CARDINALS +7
 
  Bob: Cardinals +7

………. 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time………

  Philadelphia (-6) @ SEATTLE  47.5 

Speaking of the Eagles, they are in the great Northwest for this game against the Seahawks.  Seattle is missing 3/4 of its secondary, a reliable field goal kicker and any improvement in some of head coach Pete Carroll’s game-time decisions.

However, with heavy rain in the forecast, the 12th man noise and Russell Wilson scrambling like a television network public relations rep trying to head off sexual harassment allegations, …… we see the Seahawks at least covering this game in a desperate attempt to stay in the playoff hunt.

The Eagles, like the Rams just might be looking forward a little too much to the showdown next week with each other.

  Brutal:  SEAHAWKS +6

  Bob: Eagles -6

         …….. Monday, December 4, 2017………

………. 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time………..

 Pittsburgh (-5) @ CINCINNATI  43.5

For once, the Monday night game might be better than the Sunday night one.  That’s because both these teams are relatively healthy and genuinely hate each other more than the Hatfields & McCoys.  Bengal linebacker Vontaze Burfict will be watched closely as he has a very bad history involving his assaulting of Steelers.

The over-under for for Vontaze to be thrown out of this game is 2:39 into the third quarter.

The Cincinnati Bengals keep it close in their last gasp attempt to make the playoffs.

  Brutal:  BENGALS +5 

  Bob: Steelers -5

Bob Gaughan

Bob Gaughan has worked in Buffalo media for over 25 years. He spent 15 of those years as a staple on WGR radio as a talk show host and sports director. Currently, Bob works for UB Athletics on the radio broadcast of football and women’s basketball. Off the air, he has been an adjunct professor for over 20 years at Buffalo State College where he developed and has taught a class on how to be a talk show host.

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