by Mr. Brutal, Special to Buffalo Sports Page
War of 1812 Football Prognostication: Week Fifteen 2018
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.
………… Saturday, December 14, 2018 ………
…………………. 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time ……..
Houston (-6) …. NEW YORK J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! 41.5
The Jets had their Christmas present gift wrapped to them in their win last week in Buffalo, courtesy of the Bills’ special teams. This week they head home and crash land at LaGuardia, Kennedy or the East River with dire consequences because “Dead Coach Walking” Todd Bowles is no Sully Sullenberger, …. and the Houston Texans wear a dead cow head on their helmet, not a flock of Canada Geese.
Mr. Brutal: Texans –6
Bob: Texans -6
…………………. 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ………
Cleveland ……………….. DENVER (-3) 45.5
Denver still has a shot at the playoffs and is reeling from their pathetic effort last week in Santa Clara resulting in their 20-19 loss to the Forty Niners. We’ve backed the Browns a lot this season, but don’t like them in this spot. After a big home win over the Carolina Panthers and their frustrating quarterback Cam Newton’s fluctuating commitment to quarterback leadership, Cleveland goes on the road to play in the mountains.
The weather will not be a factor, but the non-John Denver “Rocky Mountain High” provided by Colorado’s permissive approach regarding recreational usage of mild, naturally grown hallucinogen/stimulant/depressants has been know to be a distraction for visitors. Add that to the effects of the altitude, a young Browns’ team a little too pleased with itself after winning last week, an even younger, very hyper quarterback in Baker Mayfield and you have the perfect recipe for a Broncos’ win.
Mr. Brutal: BRONCOS -3
Bob: Browns +3
………… Sunday, December 15, 2018 ……………..
…………… 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………
Arizona …………… ATLANTA (-9) 44
The Cardinals are playing to develop their young quarterback, Josh Rosen for next year, the Falcons are playing for who knows what. The Atlanta effort last week in Green Bay was beyond pathetic. QB Matt Ryan has taken a beating and has never looked the same since the Super Bowl collapse two years ago. Arizona covers.
Mr. Brutal: Cardinals +9
Bob: Cardinals +9
Detroit …………….. BUFFALO (-2.5) 39
Second week in a row that the Bills are favored, but this week they don’t collapse on special teams and pull off the win. The Lions won 17-3 in Arizona last week, but they didn’t do much on offense and lucked out with two turnovers from Cardinals’ QB Josh Rosen. I could care a less if Bills’ QB Josh Allen runs for 100 yards again and breaks another record of Steve Young’s, Doug Flutie’s or Fran Tarkenton’s, but I think a disappointing Detroit can’t win two road games in a row, especially when they’re not playing inside this week.
The Buffalo Bills are playing at home for less than a field goal against the two Matts’ ( Patricia & Stafford ) in December? Buffalo every time.
Mr. Brutal: BILLS -2.5
Bob: Bills -2.5
Green Bay ……….. CHICAGO (-7) 45
As we predicted, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers won easily last week in beating the lost Falcons to prove to the fans, journalists and Danica Patrick that fired head coach Mike McCarthy was the major problem holding the green and yellow back. This week they take their slim and none playoff dreams into the Windy City to play their arch rivals. Hard to see them winning, but it will be closer than people think.
The Bears just don’t score enough and Rodgers will keep this close and likely cover.
Mr. Brutal: Packers +7
Bob: Packers +7
Oakland …………… CINCINNATI (-3) 46
The Raiders pulled out an improbable 24-21 win last week at home. This was due to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ overconfidence, bad substitution decisions by head coach Mike Tomlin and the Viet Cong inspired turf maintenance that allowed Steelers’ kicker Chris Boswell to be booby trapped on the tying field goal attempt.
Despite this, the Raiders fired their general manager, Reggie Mackenzie after the game. Then head coach, billion dollar investment and franchise demolition expert Jon Gruden expressed “surprise and mild shock” that his “boss” had been let go. Later he went into a long-winded explanation as to how the present success of former Raider WR Amari Cooper in Dallas is just a case of a player fitting well into a different offensive scheme that is customized for his specific talents.
Right, ….. and if you believe that, you’ll accept that ex-Buffalo Bull Khalil Mack couldn’t handle the climate of the Bay Area and needed to go to Chicago to flourish in the wind and snow.
GM Reggie Mackenzie’s usurping means there is only one African American general manager left in the NFL. If Reggie doesn’t think his prospects for another job within the realm of The Shield are very good, he could apply to be the new White House Chief of Staff who will replace the departing General Kelly in January. After dealing with Raider’s owner Friar Tuck Davis Jr. and his highness Jon Gruden, Reggie is used to handling less than forthcoming individuals with massive egos infected with malignant narcissistic personality disorders. This would make him perfectly prepared to handle the White House.
Besides, he is more than qualified for the job that far less qualified individuals have expressed a serious interest in. Here are some of the candidates who have expressed interest ( for real ):
1.) Jon Voight: Mr. Voight is a great actor with an impressive lifetime resume. He is magnetic playing his latest extended role on cable, chewing up the scenery on Showtime’s Ray Donovan as a violent, career criminal great grandfather who is always scheming to make a score, rob a bank, kill off a rival or screw his sons out of money. Jon’s own political views have sometimes been described as to the right of Atilla the Hun, but unlike fellow noted right-wing thespian Robert Duvall, people generally like working with Jon in film and television.
However, after reading some notes on his background, we think that maybe Jon doesn’t believe he is closer to the Mickey Donovan character in real life than he cares to admit: A violent, deeply conflicted on racial issues recidivist felon who more than anything else is grossly incompetent.
President Trump may pick him anyway, because Jon Voight is famous but not more famous than him, he has no practical experience in the job, but has been in movies and the Prez can see him on television anytime he wants if he learns how to stream, summon on-demand programming or turn the channel from Fox News.
2.) Piers Morgan: This pompous English twit managed to come over to America and take CNN’s highest rated show and tank it all all on his own by exposing his personality or lack thereof to the American people. The Larry King Show’s ratings were declining a decade ago, but they were still strong. Larry had a big, loyal, very forgiving audience. It was a turn-key opportunity. Somehow in four short years, Piers managed to tank the show with poorer and poorer results each year.
If one were to think that this was due just to the declining nature of the importance of television in the greater culture, they would be wrong. The guest hosts who frequently filled in for him constantly attained higher ratings. Time Warner was extremely disappointed with the huge salary they were paying Piers and quietly asked him to leave when his contract ran out. Then Morgan pulled a Trump and offered an alternative reality and claimed he was offered a two year extension by CNN, but that he wanted to “pursue other opportunities” in his journalistic career!
Uh, huh. Kind of like how guitarist and original architect of the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones left the group over “creative differences” to “pursue other opportunities” and wasn’t fired by the power duo of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Jones died of an overdose less than a month later. His friends said he was disconsolate over his dismissal from the band he founded.
Now we don’t expect any tragedy to befall Morgan because he isn’t the sensitive, creative type and isn’t that personally invested in the potential cabinet job. However, the President loves TV, and Morgan has been doing the talking-head rounds for the last few months on numerous networks giving his shallow opinions on politics. In a lot of cases, he has been spouting a lot of pro-Trump opinion in the current trend of desperate hacks seeking employment in the white House despite having no governmental experience.
3.) Steven Seagal: Russian President Putin’s favourite ancient action hero, personal attack Mastiff and pliant, propaganda celebrity for hire. Stephen Seagal was indeed once an accomplished martial artist who founded his own Aikido dojo in Japan. His days of first flight movies released in movie theatres are long gone, but he continually keeps making terrible, formulaic action films in Serbia, Hungary and Kazakhstan that find their way onto discount streaming services around the world. Seagal has zero administrative skills and job experience, so he has that going for him.
He also has duo American/Russian citizenship, but we can’t see that being a security issue in the current political climate in Washington. Mr. Seagal also can’t move very quickly anymore ( he’s at least 75-100 pounds over weight, so the same doctor who weighed President Trump for his last annual physical would label him at maybe 220 pounds. ), but he would still pose a lethal threat to anybody in the Trump White House who was too enthusiastic about pursuing policy over optics. Besides that, Mr. Seagal also has a softer voice than the departing John Kelly, who reminded Donald Trump far too much of his father.
4.) Jose Canseco: The longest shot in the race and strangely, maybe the most qualified and sympathetic. Jose has absolutely no experience even balancing a cheque book, so that qualifies him in the administration’s eyes since they no longer recognize the concept of a ballooning National Debt or the financial consequences of running massive Federal deficits.
Jose was blackballed by Major League Baseball during the steroid era. His book: “Juiced” was an inside guide to Baseball’s hypodermic epoch and all the goings on that scandalized the statistics of a sport that worships numbers like they are sacred icons. The main drawback for Jose is that not one fact or statement in his manifesto has ever been proven false. That would make him a bit of a Pollyanna on a White House Staff that has become as jaded to the concept of truth as they have to financial mismanagement.
5.) Chris Christie: The former New Jersey Governor did one great thing during his tenure in Trenton before leaving the office with lower approval ratings than Skip Bayless, elective root canal surgery or the Ebola virus. Through court actions, he paved the way for the arrival of “real” sports gambling in The Garden State. Now, President Trump has never lost touch with his fifth grade bully and that was on display during the Presidential Campaign where Mr. Trump took every opportunity to humiliate, fat shame and belittle Mr. Christie’s physical appearance.
At press time, it appears Mr. Christie has withdrawn his interest in the position of White House Chief of Staff. We guess he hasn’t completely lost touch with being the victim of fifth grade bullies.
All of these people have expressed serious interest in the position ( we’re not kidding ). Former Oakland GM Mackenzie is certainly more qualified than any of them and President Trump is in desperate need of some African Americans to balance out the optics and pallette of his Cabinet ( Omarosa was fired for ostensibly being Omarosa: spectacularly unqualified, treacherous, egomaniacal & duplicitous and in other words: a little too much like the President himself ). In addition, HUD Secretary Ben Carson hasn’t been seen in weeks. Apparently he is in the middle of a four year hibernation of non-intervention; sleeping amidst the $75,000.00 of personal antique office furniture he purchased with taxpayer money while the Housing and Urban Development Agency collapses due to neglect.
The Bengals will win this game over the Oakland Raiders and cover because they will want to win one for long-time head coach Marvin Lewis ( much as they won in Baltimore last year and sent the Bills to the playoff ). The cool weather and the time zone change mean the Raiders’ recent little run of finally showing passive interest in playing decent football this miserable season comes to an end.
Mr. Brutal: BENGALS -3
Bob: Raiders +3
Dallas ……………. INDIANAPOLIS (-2.5) 47
You have to give old toffee face, Jerry Jones credit. He made an expensive trade to get WR Amari Cooper from the Raiders, but it has paid dividends. However the biggest factor in the Cowgirls’ resurgence, beyond their lack of competition in the NFC East has been the vast improvement in their defence.
On the other hand, the Colts are desperate to make the playoffs and put together their most complete game of the season last week in beating the Texans and ending their nine game winning streak. We’ve loved QB Andrew Luck all year and we’ll take the Colts because we know Bob Gaughan will take the Cowgirls.
Mr. Brutal: COLTS -2.5
Bob: Dallas +2.5
Miami ……………. MINNESOTA (-7) 44.5
Miami won last week over the Patriots with a last second, miracle lateral play that benefited from head coach Bill Belichik’s arrogance in placing Rob Gronkowski on the field to play safety, despite the fact he has the turning radius of an aircraft carrier. Both these teams have a shot to make the post season. We hate backing either quarterback, Tannehill or Cousins, but we’ll take the Norsemen at home and hope their defence to score a pick six because we cannot count on their offence to cover one touchdown.
Mr. Brutal: VIKINGS -7
Bob: Vikings -7
Tennessee ……… NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS (-3) 43.5
The Titans will win this game if they don’t fall behind by more than ten points. The Giants are playing their best football of the year now that there is no pressure on them to make the post season and the Gotham press entertains the deluded notion of QB Eli Manning getting one more chance next year to lead the team to the Super Bowl.
Mr. Brutal: Titans +3
Bob: Giants -3
Washington ……. JACKSONVILLE (-7) 36
Things are so bad in Washington that the players are now in nasty Twitter feuds with their fans. Owner Little Danny Snyder has been relatively silent after last week’s disastrous 40-16 loss at home to the Giants that saw the crowd boo his team off the field. Even though the Jaguars are starting a scarecrow at quarterback, like The Vikings playing the Dolphins, we’ll count on the Jacksonville defence to score at least once to win this game and cover the touchdown.
Mr. Brutal: JAGUARS -7
Bob: Jaguars -7
Tampa Bay ……… BALTIMORE (-7.5) 46.5
This is the game that has the worst prospects for heavy precipitation this weekend. Normally that would favour the team that runs the best ( The Ravens ) and has an excellent running quarterback ( The Ravens ) who have now officially given the job to Heisman winner and first round pick Lamar Jackson ( The human ATM Joe Flacco is healthy enough to reclaim his job, but has been effectively Wally Pipped for the rest of his career ).
However, Mr. Jackson also fumbles a lot during normal conditions and the torrential rain can only enhance that eventuality. As well, QB Jameis Winston ( another Heisman winner ) is not afraid of a little water, because he is known as Mr. Seafood. We’ll gamble that this game is closer than a two point converted touchdown.
Mr. Brutal: Buccaneers +7.5
Bob: Bucs +7.5
………… 4:05 pm – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time ………
Seattle (-4) …………… SAN FRANCISCO 43.5
The great modern blues legend and San Francisco native Robert Cray once sang that “The Forecast Calls for Pain.” This weekend it calls for a 75% chance of rain in the Bay Area. That is a climate eventuality gift for the predatory sea birds that will migrate south from the great Northwest on Sunday and play in weather that they are more used to than a nineteenth century whaling ship crew.
Mr. Brutal: Seahawks -4
Bob: Seahawks -4
New England (-2) ……. PITTSBURGH 52
Both of these perpetual playoff contenders lost on last second plays last week that were of the improbable and miracle variety. QB Tom Brady traditionally plays the Steelers well, but we don’t think either team is quite as good as in past years, although they are better than most of their competition. I am physically sick of both of these teams ruining the NFL every year with their arrogant coaches, crybaby quarterbacks and dull, predictable, successful yet unenterprising & robotic play, but both am forced to pick one.
We will. The Steelers at home.
Mr. Brutal: STEELERS +2
Bob: New England -2
………. 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time ……..
Philadelphia ……… LOS ANGELES RAMS (-11) 52.5
QB Carson Wenz is out for the Eagles but is travelling with the team to La la Land and the Academy Awards are looking for a politically correct host with no history of social media misogyny, homophobia or racial issues.
Coincidence? We think not. Wenz will win the job hosting Oscar and backup QB Nick Foles repeats his stellar relief efforts from last year. Maybe they won’t be enough to win or make the post season, but they should cover.
Mr. Brutal: Eagles +11
Bob: Eagles +11
……….. Monday, December 17, 2018 ………..
………. 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time ………
New Orleans (-6) ……. CAROLINA 52
We have given up trying to evaluate QB Cam Newton’s sartorial fashion choices, his attitude, football aptitude or trusting his approach to quarterbacking. The weather forecast is clear, so the Domed Saints beat their rival easily and continue to pursue first place overall in the NFC.
Mr. Brutal: Saints -6
Bob: Saints -6