by Noah Pires
December 22, 2018
What's the point? My picks are about as consistent as Sam Darnold, who is consistently bad, and it doesn't look like this week will be much different. Vegas has it out for me, and so does the bank that recently foreclosed on my home. If you're reading this, I STRONGLY advise you avoid my picks. Honestly, if you fade mine, you're bound to cash out. Enough rambling, it's time to give some sort of analysis that will mean nothing by the time these games are over and I end the week with 2 wins.
CURRENT RECORD: 106 - 118 - 0
WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ TENNESSEE TITANS (-9.5)
PICK: REDSKINS (+9.5)
If you've been reading these articles, you'd know I think the Titans are complete frauds. I don't care how good their defense is, or the fact that over the past 2 weeks Derrick Henry transformed into a mix of Todd Gurley and Chris Johnson, they instill absolutely no confidence in me. Sure, Josh Johnson may be the 32nd best quarterback in the league, but Mariota isn't much further ahead. I just think the spread is way too big for Tennessee to cover, so I'm rolling with a depleted Skins team that has nothing to boast about outside of a controversial mascot.
BALTIMORE RAVENS @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-4.5)
PICK: CHARGERS (-4.5)
It's a well known fact that I'm a biased Chargers fan, which is why I've chosen them every week outside of their two matchups with the Chiefs. This week is different from last, as I'm rocking with the Bolts, despite how I believe this game will play out. Both teams dominate time of possession and boast strong defenses, so I don't expect either team to exceed 24 points. This all really comes down to whether or not the Chargers can hold off Lamar Jackson, and I believe they can. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram getting into form, and Derwin James playing out of his mind, I have confidence their defense will do enough to limit the ground game, which will force Lamar to throw, something he hasn't done much this season. Deep down, I think this game will be decided by a field goal, but I can't let my rational takes overcome my biased ones, so I'm rolling with LA.
NEW YORK GIANTS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-9.5)
PICK: GIANTS (+9.5)
The Giants got shut out last week, and the Colts shut out the Cowboys. It would be foolish of me to say the script would flip, but look at my record, I am a fool. I just don't see how a team, no matter how pathetic they seem, can put up two straight dud weeks if they have any semblance of pride. Sure, the Colts are looking like one of the league's best teams with an improving defense, so it would be no easy feat for the G-Men, but 9.5 is a pretty big spread for a team to cover against New York, who, before this week, surpassed 25 points in 4 of their past 5. I have no doubts Indy will get the dub, but I'm not confident that they'll take it by 10 or more.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ MIAMI DOLPHINS (-4.5)
PICK: JAGUARS (+4.5)
There's one thing I now for certain about this game: I'm not watching it. If you have any interest in watching Cody Kessler and Ryan Tannehill duke it out, you've lost your mind. This game will end 14-10, and you can bet the house on that. The Jags' defense is probably the best unit in this game, which is why I like them to cover the spread this week. Even though Miami just got blown out, they still have a shot at the playoffs, but I don't think they have enough on either side of the ball to put a hurting on Jacksonville. Sure, they might win, but I'd imagine it to be by a field goal or less.
ATLANTA FALCONS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS (-2.5)
PICK: FALCONS (+2.5)
I'm pretty sure this line has moved in Atlanta's favor since I made my picks, which is why my confidence is so high. Cam Newton is sitting out and rumor has it that CMC may also ride the pine in the final two games of Carolina's lost season. Even though Atlanta has nothing to play for in terms of making the playoffs, they are division rivals, so at least there's pride at stake. On top of that, their defense looked solid last week, so they could get into Taylor Heinicke's head in his first career start. If you got the Falcons as underdogs this week, I'm sorry if I curse you, but you should feel REALLY good about it.
CINCINNATI BENGALS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS (-7.5)
PICK: BROWNS (-7.5)
The Browns still have a shot at the playoffs, somehow, while the Bengals are hopeless, The last time these two teams faced off, Cleveland won by 15, and that was in Cincinnati. Now, at home, playing a team that doesn't give a damn about anything that happens this Sunday, there's no shot they keep it close. The Browns are in round 2 against their former "coach" Hue Jackson, which is a recipe for disaster on the Bengals' side of things. Baker will wake up Sunday feeling dangerous, and there's no shot Cincy wins two in a row, so give me the Browns by 50.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ DALLAS COWBOYS (-7.5)
PICK: COWBOYS (-7.5)
Recently, the Bucs' offense has fallen off a bit, while their defense as really stepped up. Despite their recent defensive success, there's ZERO chance the Cowboys lose this game, and I feel comfortable saying they'll win by 10+. Last week, they got shut out and embarrassed by Indy, an outcome nobody saw prior to the game. They're in for a major bounceback, especially against a quarterback that will be exposed by an elite Dallas defense. The Cowboys should get out to an early lead, and with the Eagles nipping at their heels in the NFC East, they won't take any chances by playing this game close.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-5.5) @ DETROIT LIONS
PICK: VIKINGS (-5.5)
The Lions haven't been completely abysmal recently, which is sort of a surprise due to their lack of depth offensively, while the Vikings have looked like hot garbage. Despite this, I don't see a scenario where Detroit can keep this one close. The Vikings should have no issue getting pressure on Stafford behind that weak o-line, and their only real offensive threat is Kenny Golladay. Detroit's offense will have a tough task come Sunday, which doesn't bode well for their chances of winning. On top of this, even though Minnesota's offense has been inconsistent, they certainly have the weapons necessary to score on any team in the league, let alone the Lions. If Kirk shows up, this is an easy choice, but with the way he's looked recently, it certainly isn't a lock.
BUFFALO BILLS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-12.5)
PICK: BILLS (+12.5)
This is the lock of the damn light year. New England has looked AWFUL, losing in back-to-back games, and now, they draw a Bills team who has found some life with Josh Allen at the helm. Their defense has been solid all year, and now, they can finally do something offensively. With the Patriots being terrible against mobile QBs, and Josh Allen using that part of his game to its fullest extent, New England could have troubling holding off Buffalo, as wild as that sounds. As for the Pats, they just lost another offensive piece with Josh Gordon out of the league for the forseeable future, which certainly won't aid in their efforts to edge out an elite pass defense. There's only a handful of teams who the Pats should be this big of favorites against, and I don't think the Bills are one of them. If you own a house, take out a mortgage on it and lay it on the Bills.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-0.5) @ NEW YORK JETS
PICK: PACKERS (-0.5)
Oh how the mighty have fallen. How the hell are the Packers half point favorites against the New York Jets? I'll tell you how: THEY STINK. When it comes down to it, though, am I really going to side with Sam Darnold over Aaron Rodgers in a pickem? NO CHANCE. Sure, maybe A-Rod doesn't give a damn anymore, but he still has some pride left. There's no shot he lets Darnold outduel him this week, and even if he did, I have no faith in the rest of Jets to pull through.
HOUSTON TEXANS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-1.5)
PICK: TEXANS (+1.5)
This pick is fairly simple to me. Before last week, would the Eagles have had a chance of being favorites against the Texans, even at home? My thoughts are that they wouldn't, because before Foles took over, they looked lost. Sure, they beat the Rams pretty badly last week, so everyone's back on the Philly train, but I'm not buying it. The Texans are a team that has proven to actually be good, and are consistent, unlike the Eagles, and have shown promise on both sides of the ball. If Foles puts up a dud, which is certainly in play, this game shouldn't be close. Then again, there's something about 'Ol Saint Nick in December that makes me cautious, so I'm not overly confident in the pick.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (-14.5) @ ARIZONA CARDINALS
PICK: CARDINALS (+14.5)
These two teams faced off earlier this year, and the Cardinals lost 34-0. Sam Bradford was still at the helm back then, and although Josh Rosen isn't much better, he's certainly no Sammy Sleeves. The Cardinals are still pathetic, and they don't utilize their best offensive player, David Johnson, consistently, so there's no chance they win, but with the way the Rams have been playing, I think 14.5 is way too big of a spread. On top of their recent woes, it looks like Todd Gurley will be a game-time decision. Sure, a runningback won't change the spread, but it shows that they aren't going to push guys out there if they don't need to simply because this game doesn't pose much of a threat. If the Cards show any sort of life, they'll be able to keep this within 15, but I'm putting a whole lotta faith in them giving a shit about this one.
CHICAGO BEARS (-4.5) @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
PICK: BEARS (-4.5)
The Bears are shaping up to be one of the most dominant teams in the league, boasting the best defensive unit and an explosive offense. Sure, the 49ers edged out the Seahawks last week, but I don't think Mullens will get much of anything going up against Khalil Mack and Co. The Bears held the Rams to 6 points, and although San Francisco has looked much improved offensively, they aren't the Rams. Chicago should be able to hold them off defensively, while, on the other side of the ball, Trubisky will throw 5 yard passes to Tarik Cohen, who will take them 80 yards. I just don't see a scenario where the Bears lose, or one where they only win by 4.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-5.5)
PICK: SAINTS (-5.5)
The Steelers are coming off a pretty big win against the Patriots, while the Saints are coming off a short week where they edged out a Panthers team led by a shoulder-less Cam Newton. Despite this, the Saints are still probably the best team in the league while the Steelers are closer to the middle of the pack. The last time the Saints allowed more than 17 points was in their matchup with the Rams 7 weeks ago, facing teams like the Falcons, Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Eagles in that span. They should be able to limit Pittsburgh, and even though their offense hasn't looked great, I'm sure if they were forced to score they could, as they did two weeks ago against Tampa. On top of this, Brees is at home and is fighting for the 1 seed, so he should handle them with ease.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-2.5) @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
PICK: SEAHAWKS (+2.5)
The Chiefs are coming off a long week after falling to the Chargers last Thursday, and now, they're heading to Seattle. Obviously, this isn't an easy place to play even when the Seahawks aren't playing well, but this year they've been incredible. Their defense has been among the league's best this entire year, and Seattle's offense is looking extremely efficient with Wilson at the helm. Obviously, the best unit in this game is Kansas City's offense, but I'm not sure that'll be enough for them to pull away. Over the past two weeks, they've faced defenses that can actually put up a fight (Baltimore and Los Angeles Chargers), and in these games, they struggled offensively in comparison to their previous matchups with teams like Oakland, the Rams, or even the Browns. I think a sneaky play is to take the Seahawks outright, so I'm fairly confident in them as home dogs.
DENVER BRONCOS (-2.5) @ OAKLAND RAIDERS
PICK: RAIDERS (+2.5)
How is this a Monday night game? Who is going to watch this? I guess the NFL realized nobody's going to tune in during Christmas Eve, so they just left the worst game in that spot. Honestly, I don't have much reason for choosing the Raiders other than the fact that they're home dogs in a divisonal game against a team that isn't all that great. Sure, the Raiders suck, but I don't trust Denver to win by much, or even at all. Give me Oakland, but if I had to choose, I'd go with neither team and just hope the rest of my picks shape up nicely. If they did, that would be a Christmas miracle.
December 24, 2018
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