by Mr. Brutal, special to Buffalo Sports Page
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.
………… Sunday, December 2, 2018 ……………..
…………… 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………
Baltimore @ ATLANTA (-1.5) 48.5
This is QB Lamar Jackson’s toughest test ( if he starts for the third time over the injured & performance indifferent Joe Flacco ) so far. The Falcons are desperately clinging to life like a hundred different people in Washington awaiting the Mueller indictments. At home we’ll ride Atlanta in a close one.
Mr. Brutal: FALCONS -1.5
Bob: Falcons -1.5
Carolina (-4) @ TAMPA BAY 54
QB Cam Newton gave a press conference this week dressed like a giant extra from a third rate, off-off Broadway production from a revival of ‘Newsies.’ During the questioning he declared that he is statistically having his best year in the NFL and more than implied that the Panthers’ three game losing streak wasn’t his fault.
Now that’s the type of leadership we expect from Cam. We thought he had changed this year, but no such luck. This week he comes up against his protege in Tampa: Jameis Winston, a quarterback we have even less faith in to win meaningful football games that matter. However, we don’t need the Seafood King to beat the turquoise marine & black Panthers, …. we just need him to cover at home.
Mr. Brutal: BUCCANEERS +4
Bob: panthers -4
Chicago (-4) @ NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS 44.5
QB Trubisky won’t start for the Bears because the braintrust doesn’t feel he is needed for them to win this game. They will start Chase Daniel, a very average quarterback whose claim to fame is that he is the best University of Missouri Tiger pivot in the NFL ( this is a direct dig at current Titans’ backup Blaine Gabbert ).
It shouldn’t matter, Chicago could start Mike Tomczak, Vince Evans or Jim Harbaugh and probably beat the Giants because their defence is that good. However, the Giants could still keep this close and lose by a field goal.
Mr. Brutal: GIANTS +4
Bob: giants +4
Buffalo @ MIAMI (-4) 40
After watching the Chiefs-Rams shootout on Monday Night Football two weeks ago, it is quite obvious to us that the Miami Dolphins are only a player or two away from joining both of them up in the elite performance penthouse of the NFL.
Mr. Brutal: Bills +4
Bob: Bills +4
Indianapolis (-5.5) @ JACKSONVILLE 47
We can’t take the Jaguars who have completely quit on this season after blowing a double digit lead against the Steelers and followed that up by losing in Buffalo last week while displaying absolutely no heart.
Mr. Brutal: Colts -5.5
Bob: Jacksonville +5.5
Cleveland @ HOUSTON (-6.5) 47.5
The Texans are rolling but we like the chances of The Browns here with their big mouth quarterback Baker Mayfield returning to Texas where he had a lot of success winning games as the Oklahoma Sooner quarterback back in his Big Twelve college days. Cleveland head coach and avid practitioner of the “Bounty-Gate” school of yoga, Gregg Williams will put some pass rush pressure on Deshaun Watson and keep this close.
Mr. Brutal: Browns +6.5
Bob: Browns +6.5
Denver (-6) @ CINCINNATI 45
We somehow cannot give up on our “Team of Destiny” as long as they have a snowball’s chance in hell or a slim mathematical, variable rate mortgage algorithm possibility of making the NFL playoffs. Third year pro Jeff Driskel of Louisiana Tech will be starting for QB Andy Dalton, who is definitely gone for the year ( This may be a good thing ). The Indian subcontinent tigers maul the rodeo horses ( especially when getting WR A.J. Green back and six points at home ).
Mr. Brutal: BENGALS +6
Bob: Bengals +6
Los Angeles Rams (-11) @ DETROIT 55
The second greatest “Show on Turf” invades the Motor City. Happy to be returning to their past franchise glory years by playing in a dome and yet through the grace of being only visitors to Detroit, avoiding any fallout from the General Motors’ plant closings.
Mr. Brutal: Rams -11
Bob: Lions +11
Arizona @ GREEN BAY (-15) 44
If the Packers lose this one, head coach Mike McCarthy could be joining about a dozen other college football coaches new to the unemployment line this week. The McCarthy-Aaron Rodgers feud is dominating the headlines, but the Packers will still pull this out, …… but not cover.
Mr. Brutal: Cardinals +15
Bob: Packers +15
…………….. 4:05 pm – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time ………
Kansas City (-16.5) @ OAKLAND 55.5
Recently the two remaining living Khmer Rouge members of former dictator Pol Pot’s brutal regime were sentenced in court for their heinous participation in the worst genocide of the last fifty years. The Cambodian Holocaust resulted in the death of 1.7 million people through execution, starvation and general ethnic & cultural genocide. Last week, the Cambodian Supreme Court in Phnom Penh ruled the two men guilty on dozens of criminal counts of “Crimes against Humanity” and sentenced them both to life in prison.
These were not symbolic show trials or sentences. The two gentlemen are Nuon Che and Khieu Samphan. Che was the Khmer Rouge’s Chief Ideologist and #2 man behind dictator Pol Pot. Samphan was the party’s Chief Administrator and nominal Head of State. In the second role he functioned as a beard for Pol Pot to put a kinder veneer on the Khmer Rouge’s public image; a kind of straw man to shield Pol Pot from criticism regarding their insidious, heinous policies.
Nuon Che is 92 and Khieu Samphan is 87 ( Pol Pot escaped justice by dying while on the lam, still fighting the new government while hiding in Western Cambodia in 1998 ).
All of this should give Raider fans hope and inspiration that Jon Gruden will not escape justice forever. Somewhere in the karmic universe during this lifetime, he will eventually be held accountable for his utter and complete criminal destruction of this once proud football franchise.
Despite all of that, Oakland should cover this big spread because TMZ has just released tape of RB Kareem Hunt going Ray Rice on a woman last February in a Cleveland hotel. The former Toledo Rocket was sent home from practice Friday and he will quite likely be out for this game. With or without Hunt, that is too big a spread between AFC West rivals.
Mr. Brutal: Chiefs -16.5
Bob: Chiefs -16.5
New York J-e-t-s, Jets! Jets! Jets! @ TENNESSEE (-8.5) 40.5
Last week the Titans lost “The Battle of the linear Houston Oilers and the new Houston football team” 34-17 ( We always felt that the team should have kept the “Oilers” nickname when they moved to Tennessee because despite the incongruous superficial nature of the label, it is geographically & geologically relevant. Jed Clampett had a major “black gold” strike in eastern Tennessee during the early 1960’s ).
This week the Titans keep their faint playoff hopes alive by hosting a team that is even worse shape than them. The Jets have fizzled this season and have dropped five in a row. It’s probably a bad pick, but we’ll take the Titans to cover That BIG SPREAD as New York continues to tank to win the Joey Bosa Sweepstakes.
Mr. Brutal: TITANS -8.5
Bob: titans -8.5
San Francisco @ SEATTLE (-11) 46
QB Nick Mullens looks a lot like Steve Young running that left coast offence in the gold and red of the Forty Niners. He’s a little short by NFL standards but he is pretty efficient and has all the intangibles.
Everybody comments how he broke all of Brett Favre’s records at Southern Mississippi during his college career, but like Favre he finds himself starting his pro career playing behind an established starter who the team is financially committed to. This means that just as Favre was traded from the Falcons to the Packers because Atlanta already had Chris Miller, Mullens will have to eventually go because San Francisco is committed to Jimmy Garoppolo.
We hope the Buffalo Bills are at least paying attention to these undertakings.
In other game notes: Ex Seahawk Richard Sherman will be playing his old teammates and the strong safety mentioned in the pre-game hype that he had no relationship with his ex-quarterback, Russell Wilson. He also implied Wilson was nothing special since he once got picked off five times in a single game.
Speaking of Russell Wilson, he like Nick Mullens is also short by NFL standards, but the Seahawks are on a roll, having won four out of six. The two close losses were to the two very good teams that call Los Angeles home, so one could argue that Seattle is as hot as any team in the league.
Hot, but not eleven points hot against a divisional rival.
Mr. Brutal: Forty Niners +11
Bob: Seattle -11
Minnesota @ NEW ENGLAND (-5.5) 49.3
We think the Norsemen come into this game with more to prove and we can’t help but think through our lying eyes that the Patriots are still not as good as in past years.
Mr. Brutal: Vikings +5.5
Bob: New England -5.5
………. 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time ………
Los Angeles Chargers @ PITTSBURGH (-3.5) 51.5
The fight between two teams who have recently lost to the Denver Broncos.
Yes the Steelers had a big comeback win in Jacksonville two weeks ago, but that was mainly because the Jaguars don’t possess an able bodied quarterback on the roster whose name people can say out loud without laughing. Last week as we suspected, Pittsburgh stumbled in Mile High City and fell to the Broncos 24-17. the game was settled when QB Ben Roethlisberger threw a goal line interception into the hands of a 375 pound, 6’6″ defensive tackle that he somehow missed prowling in the vicinity, even though he was only five yards in front of him. Then this week, Big Ben went into his default passive aggressive mode and blamed WR Antonio Brown for running too flat a route on the play; an excuse that defies logic, fact and the infallibility of instant replay.
Two weeks ago the Broncos also came away with a one point win in Los Angeles over the Chargers as we anticipated they might. Last week the Orange County Vagabonds rebounded by beating the living crap out of the Cardinals when QB Phillip Rivers broke a few NFL records for consecutive completions to start a game, not getting touched in the pocket by the non-existent Arizona pass rush and conceiving his fourteenth child between halves.
The criticism of the Chargers is that that they don’t beat good teams. The weakness of the Steelers is that their constant locker room bickering has affected their play and is finally showing on the field in their last few games.
Something has to give and even with the absence of RB Melvin Gordon & the weather not being a factor, we’ll take the Chargers.
Mr. Brutal: Chargers +3.5
Bob: chargers +3.5
………… Monday, December 3, 2018 ………..
………. 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time ………
Washington @ PHILADELPHIA (-6.5) 45
In a public relations fiasco worthy of their reputation, the Washington football team claimed LB Reuben Foster off waivers this week to bolster their efforts to keep up with the surging Cowboys in the NFC East. Foster was released by the Forty Niners this season after two domestic abuse arrests. Washington was the only NFL team to show interest. The criticism has been unrelenting, but owner Little Danny Snyder is undeterred. He claimed he has the best interests of his team at heart, so he is always looking for upstanding individuals to bolster his roster and feels Foster could help.
Besides, Ike Turner didn’t return his calls.
Mr. Brutal: EAGLES -6.5
Bob: eagles -6.5
Last Week: Mr. Brutal: 4-7-1
Year-to- Date: Mr. Brutal: 75-78-5