By Mr Brutal and Bob Gaughan
Every week, every year, Bob Gaughan & Mr. Brutal engage in a cross border competition of picking NFL games against each other with unknown high stakes on the line.
Editor’s note, due to a technical problem, the entire text of this week’s column was erased by a computer and jettisoned into cyber space. For the sake of the ongoing, uninterrupted legacy of this decade old competition, we submit it this week with just the picks and some point-form notes that we could recall from memory and cram into this stream-of-consciousness form in a fevered rush before press time.
Sunday, September 16, 2018
………………. 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time …………..
Carolina @ ATLANTA (-5.5) 44.5
…. Burt Reynolds died last week. The late, great actor was unique and underrated. He could perform seamlessly in many different types of films with seeming ease. He had a long apprenticeship in television and experienced all the hard knocks of Tinseltown for more than a decade before he became a major movie star in his late thirties ( much like Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood ).
…. One of his underrated movies of all-time was 1981’s Sharky’s Machine. It isn’t Citizen Kane and has its flaws, but it is an atmospheric, possibly too ambitious film that attempted to combine several genres simultaneously, replicating Film Noir ambivalence alongside New Age European 60’s Cinema emotional isolationism all within the plot curve of a typical Hollywood cop & action feature.
….. The movie showcased the brand new Peachtree Plaza skyscraper in Atlanta and some incredible non-CGI stunts that were performed on and going down that structure, which at the time was the tallest building in America south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
….. The movie was shot in, and sponsored by the City of Atlanta along with the State of Georgia, ostensibly to bring recognition and tourism to the growing, greater Atlanta area.
….. It also signified the beginning of the 37 year run resulting in Atlanta becoming today, the third largest movie & television producing city in North America ( after Los Angeles & Toronto ).
…. This is because a lot of people watch Tyler Perry movies and use his facilities and the region’s cheaper labor costs to produce their projects in the union hostile, “right-to-work” state.
…. A couple of extras wore Atlanta Falcons hats in that movie too. The first time the football team’s merchandise had ever shown up in a Hollywood or major, wide release film.
…. Today, the Atlanta Falcons have now become a perennial playoff team in the NFL with an enhanced reputation, much as their city did after that film.
….. The Falcons will be without RB Devonte Freeman, but have had ten days off after their loss in Philly. They will have to go with his co-workload partner RB Tevin Coleman ( Drafted out of Indiana, and who we loved as a collegiate player in Hoosierville and really ever since ) and the unproven, smallish Ito Smith from Southern Mississippi.
…. QB Matty Ice of the Falcons helped lose that Thursday night game against the Eagles by exclusively and unsuccessfully throwing to WR Julio Jones six straight times in the end zone, even though he was double covered
…. Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has had time to reacquaint himself with his other wide receivers like Mohamed Sanu, who has been a red zone specialist in the past with the Falcons, Bengals and Scarlet Knights.
.... This is a divisional rivallry game, but the Panthers looked very average against a very less-than-average Dallas Cowboys’ team last week and they have the very predictable, still not expanding upon learning the position with any discernible degree of results based perception Cam Newton leading the Panthers this week.
Mr. Brutal: FALCONS -5.5
Bob: Falcons -5.5
Indianapolis @ WASHINGTON (-6.5) 48
…. QB Andrew Luck is back for the Colts.
…. He looked good, but took a lot of hits against Cincinnati.
…. He is bound to be sore and as much as we hate the Beltways, they will probably win, ….. but not cover.
Mr. Brutal: Colts +6.5
Bob: Colts +6.5
Houston (-2.5) @ TENNESSEE 45
….. QB Marcus Mariotta got hurt in Miami, but might play. That may not matter anyway. The entire Titans’ team have to be tired after the eight hour “There is no such thing as Climate Change” Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in southern Florida last week. Close game and despite the fact that this is their second consecutive road game with the always hovering possibility of Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien’s innate ability to blow this game, we’ll take the Dead Cow Heads.
Mr. Brutal: Texans -2.5
Bob: Texans -2.5
Philadelphia (-3.5) @ TAMPA BAY 44
…. Ten days rest for QB Nick Foles to get over his Super Bowl hangover. Can Tampa Bay repeat their offensive juggernaut that flattened the Saints last week?
No! Fitzmagic turns into Fitztragic this week.
Mr. Brutal: Eagles -3.5
Bob: Tampa Bay +3.5
Kansas City @ PITTSBURGH (-4.5) 53.5
….. A bad Chiefs’ secondary, but oodles of offensive weapons. High scoring game, Steelers win, but Kansas City covers if young QB Mahomes follows Andy Reid’s game plan.
Mr. Brutal: Chiefs +4.5
Bob: Steelers -4.5
Miami @ NEW YORK J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS (-3.5) 44
…. Miami barely beats Tennessee last week in the “Old Testament Rain Game.” They will be exhausted coming to The Big Apple.
….. Jets will win their home opener in a lower scoring game and with QB Sam Darnold doing less than last week, but it will be enough.
….. We still believe that the Dolphins may be overall, the worst team in the NFL this year.
Mr. Brutal: JETS -3.5
Bob: Jets -3.5
Los Angeles Chargers (-8.5) @ BUFFALO 43
.… Two really bad defenses.
….. Buffalo paying the price on the protection and running front for trading OT Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati and allowing OG Richie Incognito to vanish into the Witness Protection Program ( Irony and Pun, all in one ).
…. QB Josh Allen will be just fine after adjusting to this offensive line, a serious downgrade from the one he played behind in college at Mountain West Conference perennial powerhouse, the University of Wyoming Cowboys.
…. In related local news, the Buffalo Zoo, with much hoopla, announced this week that they have a new sloth on display. No word on whether his football sense or pocket preseance is effective but we hear he is a little slow with his footwork, has an unorthodox three finger grip on the football when he throws and that he has a rocket arm.
…. In the interests of Western New York football fans everywhere to widen the search for a capable, emergency backup, we encourage the Buffalo Bills’ front office to call the zoo immediately ( 1-716-837-3900 ) and arrange a tryout, because it appears that Nathan Peterman will never be allowed into an NFL game ever again.
Mr. Brutal: BILLS +8.5
Bob: Bills +8.5
Minnesota @ GREEN BAY (-1) 42
….. Whether QB Aaron Rodgers plays or not, he won’t be able to get away with only three step drops and a non-blitzing defense like last week’s conservative second half Chicago Bears’ approach to stopping him from that epic Roberto Duran-George Foreman-Frank Reich comeback.
…. The Norsemen eat up a one legged quarterback as Danica Patrick gasps in a horror from a private box.
Mr. Brutal: Vikings +1
Bob: Vikings +1
Cleveland @ NEW ORLEANS (-9.5) 49.5
….. Cleveland is probably exhausted and emotionally drained after last week’s “Kiss your Sister” tie with Pittsburgh.
….. Saints defense has returned to the pre-Rob Ryan Defense Coordinator days of existential, wing-and-a-prayer pass coverage schemes.
…. However, this is a big spread, so we’ll flip a coin, and it comes up:
Mr. Brutal: SAINTS -9.5
Bob: Browns +9.5
………….. 4:05 – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time ……….
Detroit @ SAN FRANCISCO (-6.5) 48
…. Saturday night in Lost Wages, Nevada, …. Canelo Alvarez faces Triple GGG ( Gennady Golovkin, what the hell does the third “G” stand for? Golem?) in a much anticipated boxing rematch dubbed the “Contaminated Meat Showdown.” This is because Alvarez tested positive not once, but twice after their last fight for PED’s which he later claimed were from eating hormone laced meat at a grill while dining with former American President Bill Clinton.
…. Golovkin, the more or less consensus winner of their previous fight that was ruled a draw, ridiculed Alvarez for the incident at the press conference weigh-in. He claimed the six month suspension Alvarez received just gave him more time to find harder to detect steroids that he will need to win tonight’s multi-championship belt fight because it is the only way the red haired Mexican fighter can beat the “Man from Kazakhstan!”…..
….. Rumors are that Sacha Baron Cohen in the form of Borat will be on hand to sing his much beloved ( to everybody but Kazakh citizens anyway ) version of that country’s mythical National Anthem and former President Clinton will help Michael Buffer with the ring introductions while wearing a thong.
Neither of those previous rumoured speculations is anywhere near true, but it is so easy to start rumours on the internet and create a firestorm over nothing.
Based on last week’s NFL results, this Detroit-San Francisco game is the easiest, most obvious, contaminated game to pick of the week, so we won’t overthink it.
Mr. Brutal: FORTY NINERS -6.5
Bob: Niners -6.5
Arizona @ LOS ANGELES RAMS (-13.5) 45.5
….. The Cardinals made it to one Super Bowl but came up short. This is because there is a little known curse that was put on them by an Ornithologist of French & Native American heritage who cursed the team the day they left St. Louis for Phoenix in 1988.
“The Arizona Cardinals will never win a Super Bowl until they rename their team after a bird that is actually indigenous to the American Southwestern Desert.”
….. So until they become the Arizona Roadrunners we will rest easy that they are going nowhere.
…. In the here-and-now, the Cardinals couldn’t be as bad as last week, could they?
….. Yes they could, unless their immobile mummified quarterback Sam Bradford isn’t soon replaced by UCLA draft pick and avowed Libertarian Josh Rosen.
Mr. Brutal: RAMS -13.5
Bob: Cardinals +13.5
New England (-3) @ JACKSONVILLE 45.5
…. To ensure that this competition between Mr. Gaughan and I does not remain in a deadlock this week, I am going to pick the Jaguars. Bob Gaughan hates the Patriots almost as much as I do, but he really loathes the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think this is because QB Blake Bortles cost him a big wagering win when he helmed the Central Florida Golden Knights in Orlando.
….. Go ahead Gaughan! I dare you to take Bortles and the Jaguars!
Mr. Brutal: JAGUARS +3
Bob: NE -3
Oakland @ DENVER (-6.5) 46
…. Raiders’ coach Chucky Gruden pulled a Donald Trump this week in two ways.
….. First he doubled down on his facial bronzer for his weekly press conference and looked like a tangerine faced marionette with murderous intentions when he took the microphone.
….. Second, —- never allowing a fading issue to go away —- he blamed LB Khalil Mack for the trade to Chicago because he claimed that Mack never wanted to play in Oakland anyway.
…. Really? Sure it wasn’t the infamous Jon Gruden “Charm Offensive” ( according to several unbiased observers ) that was really what discouraged him from resigning with the Raiders after meeting you for just the first time?
….. QB Case Keenum improves on his average performance last week and the Broncos go to 2-0.
Mr. Brutal: BRONCOS -6.5
Bob: Broncos -6.5
………….. 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………..
New York Football Giants @ DALLAS (-3) 43.5
….. Great to see that the NFL schedules these National TV games from the fan perspective of 1990.
….. Giants have offensive potential, the Cowboys have high 2019 draft pick potential.
Mr. Brutal: Giants +3
Bob: Giants +3
…………… Monday, September 17, 2018 ……………
…………… 8:20 pm Eastern Standard Time …………………
Seattle @ CHICAGO (-3.5) 43.5
.…. Seattle has signed ex- Browns’ and Eagles’ LB Mychal Kendricks.
….. Kendricks has pleaded guilty to insider stock trading ( what is he, an NFL owner too? ) and faces up to twenty-five years in prison when he is sentenced in January ( fat chance ).
….. The NFL is not expected to suspend him because ( surprise ) they have no policy on white collar crime.
…… NFL Commissioner Roger “Goody Two Shoes” Goodell is expected to announce a steering committee headed by Cleveland Browns’ owner Jimmy “The Truckstop Godfather” Haslem and inside expert Bernie Madoff to come up with a policy on white collar crime that rivals the unprecedented level of critical success achieved by their Ray Rice inspired “Domestic and Spousal Abuse” doctrine that became league-wide policy. A landmark piece of sports legislation that is revered by other leagues and organizations around the world.
….. Haslem is experienced in these matters as his coterie of top drawer lawyers outmaneuvered the Federal Government by running out the clock and the statute of limitations on the long running fraud case against his Pilot Flying J company and several of his executives. A year and a half ago, the Feds failed to file new charges, so Haslem is now essentially as clean and innocent as a Catholic Bishop who has changed Dioceses three times.
…… In related news, the Seahawks have declined hiring Martha Stewart’s former legal team to represent Michael Kendricks during his sentencing.
….. In unrelated news, the Seahawks front office has hired Ms. Stewart, the “Domestic Diva of the Hamptons” to redecorate their corporate offices and accessorize the antique planters around their executive, roof-top infinity pool.
Mr. Brutal: BEARS -3.5
Bob: Seattle +3.5
Last Week: Mr. Brutal: 6-7-2