Quick Pick: Green Bay at Detroit (Week Thirteen; 2015)

GB @ DET

  • Favorite: Green Bay

This is a tricky pick. Green Bay’s been slumping as of late, but still tend to do well against division rivals on the road. I say “on the road” because Chicago beat them at Lambeau last week and they beat Minnesota on the road the week before that. Will it be the same with Detroit? Maybe.

I actually like Detroit in this game. They beat Green Bay at home last year. Why not this year? Well, the circumstances are obviously different, but they’re also primed for a juicy match-up between a struggling offense and a surging defense. I’m looking forward to this game a lot.

There’s not a lot to say here, just that I have more confidence in Detroit on their own turf to take down a struggling Green Bay team, much like I thought with Minnesota two weeks prior. See where that got me? Whatever! My gut’s tellin’ me to go with the roar in the dome tonight!

Winner: Detroit

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Seven; 2015)

[Buffalo vs. Jacksonville] (London game)

Buffalo’s been struggling recently. If not their defense against powerful offenses (such as last week against Cincinnati), it’s their offense against mediocre defenses. Their starting quarterback, one starting receiver, and one starting defensive tackle are all out. They have to be pretty thankful that they’re facing a team like Jacksonville in London instead of, say, Green Bay. Maybe a win this week will get their heads back on straight.

But I won’t completely disregard Jacksonville. Despite the fact that they have let me down considerably all season, they’ve had some close games against superior teams. Namely Indianapolis at home with Hasselbeck at quarterback and Carolina, but nevertheless. I don’t think they’ll get blown out, but I certainly don’t think they’ll win. Blake Bortles may have a lot of passing yards and touchdowns this season, but a lot of those are in garbage time, trying to catch up with his opponent’s two-score lead.

I like E.J. Manuel. I like his chances against Jacksonville’s defense. I think he’ll pull through. To be frank, though, if Buffalo loses here, it might be worse than Miami’s loss against New York in the same stadium a few weeks prior.

Winner: Buffalo

[Cleveland @ St. Louis]

This is a tough cookie. Cleveland has been very good offensively lately, even against good defenses. St. Louis is coming off a bye-week and Todd Gurley has shown to be very talented player. Not to mention, Cleveland has given up quite a few rushing yards in the last few weeks. St. Louis has very few weapons on offense to pass to. Tavon Austin may have a big game… rushing and returning.

Both teams are missing a few key players. Cleveland is without Joe Haden. St. Louis is without Chris Long. Both of these players, while good, are one of many good players at their position for their teams. Their respective defenses probably won’t falter without them. Josh McCown actually had one of his worst games of the 2013 season against St. Louis. Will it repeat? Probably not. He’ll probably have a similar performance as he did against Denver last week.

The only thing is: it’s St. Louis. I have no idea if they’ll be really good or really bad. They have little talent on offense, with great talent on defense. Sometimes their offense creates fireworks; sometimes their defense allows fireworks. They’re grossly inconsistent. I can’t really trust any pick I make in regards to this team, but I’ll definitely try.

Winner: Cleveland

[Minnesota @ Detroit]

Detroit got its first win of the season last week. Good for them! Now they get to face a defense that is actually considered “good.” If they call the same aggressive plays as they did last week, they may make this a high-scoring game, which is actually what they need to do. Detroit’s defense has been struggling against the pass, but is fairly good against the run. Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t play well when Adrian Peterson doesn’t play well. But with Detroit’s pass defense thus far, maybe he’ll turn it around. Who knows?

Matt Stafford and his offense should not be having as bad a season offensively with all of their weapons. Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate, Ameer Abdullah, and Theo Riddick. He has plenty to throw to, but the play-calling seems to favor quick releases and possession plays. Gotta say, that may work better if they had any threat of a run game or a good offensive line, neither of which Detroit has.

Detroit got the better of Chicago last week in a game that was supposedly very badly officiated. Assuming the referees aren’t clamoring for a Detroit victory, I think Minnesota’s defense will keep the game close if necessary. Regardless, Bridgewater will probably have a decent game against them. I kinda miss seeing Kyle Rudolph, too. I’d like to see him have a giant game.

Winner: Minnesota

[Houston @ Miami]

They ain’t no Jacksonville anymore.

Houston had one of the most one-sided games of the season against Jacksonville last week. Brian Hoyer looked like Tom Brady against the weakling Jacksonville squad. But Miami had a similar result against another AFC South team last week. They’re looking like a team that many had expected them to be since the beginning of the season.

Miami finally had a running game last week. They’ll need that against Houston as their passing defense is (or was last week) okay. Ryan Tannehill, despite leading his team to 31 points, threw two interceptions, which is worrying, to say the least. His completion percentage was pretty good, though. But he wasn’t the star of their win last week. The star was Cameron Wake, who had 4 sacks against Tennessee’s lowly offensive line. While I don’t think he’ll have the same results against Houston, I think he, Suh, and Vernon will all have good days. Miami’s defense looks to be spirited after a lopsided win.

After what happened with Miami last week, I don’t think this game will even be close. I shouldn’t assume that, however, as it’s proven me an idiot before (especially last week). I still believe Miami is too good of a team to be losing to a struggling Houston. It’ll probably be another AFC South beatdown.

Winner: Miami

[New Orleans @ Indianapolis]

Drew Brees beat an undefeated team that didn’t take their crazy pill last week. As much as Indianapolis has been struggling lately, I think they’ve somewhat recovered from their offensive flushing last week after a good showing against New England (in the first half). Not to mention, New Orleans is on the road. They kinda suck on the road.

Andrew Luck didn’t turn the ball over last week. That’s good news for someone who had turned the ball over about 10 times through 3 starts. He seems to have found his footing again, but still can’t seem to stop forcing in balls when he’s behind on the scoreboard. At least his offensive line has played better since switching guys around. That may not be as impressive, knowing they were almost complete shit before that.

New Orleans could win this game. Of course, any team could win any game. But I think Indianapolis will bounce back and start winning again. They have to, right? Andrew Luck’s back, the offensive line is better, Frank Gore’s playing hard. I don’t see how Indianapolis’s offensive struggles will continue, especially against New Orleans of all teams. Right? Right?

Winner: Indianapolis

[Pittsburgh @ Kansas City]

Landry Jones is starting for the first time in his career! He only had to wait for what seems like 6 years or so. (Actual number is 2.4.) He played magnificently in relief of Mike Vick, who looked… defeated last week against Arizona’s rough defense. Though, I’ve seen this scenario before. A back-up’s back-up comes in a plays well in relief, but once he actually starts, he ends up being less than people expect. It happens. I don’t expect Landry Jones to play the way he did last week, but we’ll see what happens.

Kansas City’s defense is pretty good, too. Maybe not as good as Arizona’s, but they definitely have some very good players. They’ve allowed less than 20 points in the last 2 weeks. Neither of the last two games were a win, however, as Kansas City’s offense is very, very bad. No Jamaal Charles. No arm for Alex Smith. No weapons outside of Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce. It’s amazing how little Kansas City’s defense has given up with how inept their offense is. It’s kinda sad.

Kansas City’s offense is the deciding factor in this game. If they can get something going, their defense could hold Jones and co. in check. However, with all the weapons Pittsburgh has on its offense (Brown, Bryant, Bell, Miller), I feel they have a much better chance at putting up points than their opponent, even with a 3rd-string quarterback in his first career start. Pittsburgh’s offensive line may be crumbling, but Kansas City’s has already fallen. It should be a very sack-happy game, assuming Andy Reid doesn’t call screens every other play.

Winner: Piitsburgh

[New York (Jets) @ New England]

Ohhhhh. This should be a fun game. Shame I won’t see it.

With everything considered, with New York’s good defense and New England’s great offense, I expect a tough, close, physical game. However, I fully believe that New England is the best team in the league. The kicker? They’re at home. If they’re going to lose this season, it won’t be at home. I highly doubt New York will beat them on their own turf, but I’m sure they’ll give them a run for their money. Here’s to FitzMagic pulling off the 0.1% upset!

(I love this video far too much.)

Winner: New England

[Tampa Bay @ Washington]

Another tricky match-up. Interesting.

Kirk Cousins has been playing like a back-up quarterback the last few weeks. However, in those games, he never had any running game, either. I think this should change against Tampa Bay. Their defense isn’t, well, great. I also think this is the week that Washington bounces back, especially when their defense allows them chance after chance to get as many points or throw as many interceptions as possible. I really don’t believe in Tampa Bay’s offense.

It’s a real shame, too. Tampa Bay’s offense, if not for their alright offensive line, has some good players. Mike Evans, Doug Martin (sometimes), Vincent Jackson, and what-not. I’m not saying they should be putting up 30 points a game or anything, but I don’t think the connection is there with Jameis Winston. He’ll have to improve his play considerably if I want to take his team seriously. The game against Jacksonville didn’t help much: he threw the ball less than 20 times. I’d like to see him with something on the line. Against New Orleans was impressive, but, eh, it’s New Orleans.

But wouldn’t it be funny if Washington lost this game by 3 scores and head coach Jay Gruden decided it was time to go to Colt McCoy, only to lose the next three games, so he goes to RG3 and loses every other game of the season? That’d be hilarious. That could never happen.

Winner: Washington

[Atlanta @ Tennessee]

Atlanta, you had a tough loss against New Orleans last week. You fucked up considerably and let yourself be trampled on by a lesser team. But that is no reason for you to go out and lose to Tennessee against their back-up quarterback. You cannot fuck this up. Stomp these losers I thought were actually kinda decent but are actually very, very bad. Look up Ken Whisenhunt’s head coaching record since 2012. Go on, look it up.

Winner: Atlanta

[Oakland @ San Diego]

Hmmm. San Diego’s without Eric Weddle. Oakland has shown that they can be pretty good offensively. They’re coming off a bye-week. Their defense has held their opponent to less than 23 points in their last 2 games. Derek Carr is a hot, young quarterback with quite a few weapons. The head coach has history in this division. Their offensive line is very good. They’re an up and coming team.

On the other hand, Philip Rivers threw for 500 yards against Green Bay.

Winner: San Diego

[Dallas @ New York (Giants)]

See, now, had this match-up included Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, I would’ve picked Dallas in a heartbeat. However, they are not playing this game. Instead, we have Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, Jason Witten, and Matt Cassel.

New York looked like Jacksonville against Philadelphia last week, despite Philadelphia also looking like Kansas City offensively. They had one good drive… and man, that drive was really good. However, they’re in their snug and adequately-lighted abode this week against a defense that isn’t as punishing as Philadelphia’s. I suspect Eli Manning will have a good game, assuming Odell Beckham plays. Their defense shouldn’t have much of a problem against… uh, yeah. Matt Cassel.

But I’m being unfair. Matt Cassel has made some big plays in the past (even recently) and can win games as a starter. He has more losses than wins, sure, but he can still win! The only thing here, though, is he’s only been with Dallas for, like, three weeks? Remember what happened with Josh Freeman when Minnesota tried to start him a week after they traded for him? That was hilarious. While Matt Cassel is no Josh Freeman (thankfully for Dallas fans), I don’t think he has the type of big-play weapons to score a lot of points. Then again, New York’s passing defense is awful and their defensive line likely won’t get much against Dallas’s awesome offensive line. This game will probably be pretty high scoring.

Winner: New York

[Philadelphia @ Carolina]

After what Cam Newton did to the Legion of Boom at home, combined with Philadelphia’s most recent offensive performance, I don’t see how anyone could genuinely think Philadelphia could win this game. Carolina is a much, much better team. Injure all of Carolina’s starters, maybe?

Winner: Carolina

[Baltimore @ Arizona]

This should be a fun match-up to watch. And by fun, I mean one-sided. It may be close, seeing as Monday Night games tend to be, but like with Philadelphia, I don’t see Baltimore winning this game. Their secondary is too bad. Their offense is too depleted. Arizona eats defenses like Baltimore’s for breakfast. Just don’t ask the same of them against Pittsburgh or St. Louis. Maybe Baltimore will get lucky and heave a few touchdown passes Steve Smith’s way. I just expect Larry Fitzgerald to triple whatever Steve Smith gains.

It’s so nice seeing Fitzgerald’s renaissance right now.

Winner: Arizona

NFL Pick ‘Ems (Week Four; 2015)

[New York (Jets) vs. Miami] (London game)

The first of a few London games means no team is necessarily “at home.” Both will probably face crowd noise. Both will probably go through the motions of having momentum from the audience. This will be a match-up of skill.

With the amount of talent Miami has on their team, there’s no reason they should be 1-2. New York had a bad outing against a better defense in Philadelphia. I would think that Miami’s defense would be just as good, but they haven’t shown it thus far this season, especially after last week, giving up over 40 points to Buffalo. At home.

Reports are speculating that head coach Joe Philbin may be fired if he gets blown out in London. If that’s the case, his players may be playing for Philbin’s job tomorrow. The question is, do they want him there? Juicy, juicy gossip, indeed. I like the stability of New York in this match-up, even if their team isn’t exactly as well-balanced as Miami should be.

Winner: New York

[New York (Giants) @ Buffalo]

New York beat a visiting Washington team last week, so they have reason to be optimistic against Buffalo, who went toe-to-toe with New England.

In all seriousness, I don’t think this game will even be close. Eli Manning has too few weapons and Buffalo’s defense has too many playmakers. I’d be surprised if New York scored more than 17 points. Tyrod Taylor may be new to starting, but he’s proved better than Kirk Cousins so far this season. LeSean McCoy is out this week, but Karlos Williams had a great game against Miami last week. I doubt New York’s defensive line is better than Miami’s. Logically, this isn’t even close. And Buffalo’s at home, too.

Winner: Buffalo

[Carolina @ Tampa Bay]

Carolina struggled a little last week against an awful New Orleans defense last week. Now they’re going up against an awful (but sometimes okay) Tampa Bay defense. Despite the close game with New Orleans, Cam Newton had debatably his best game of the season, and so did Greg Olsen. If they can keep up that chemistry, I think they’ll go through Tampa Bay just fine. Carolina’s defense should prove a problem for Tampa Bay’s offense.

Mike Evans will definitely help Jameis Winston, who used him effectively last week against Houston. What worries me is the offensive line, who has let Winston get sacked 7 times this season, which isn’t too bad, but Carolina’s defensive line now has Jared Allen in the place of Charles Johnson. Yeesh. Let’s just hope for their sake that Brindza can make some field goals this week.

Winner: Carolina

[Oakland @ Chicago]

If Jay Cutler plays this game, Chicago has a chance. If not, I don’t see Chicago winning. They’ve had the displeasure of facing three elite-ish teams in the first three weeks of the season. Now, they’re facing a team that seems to be emerging in quality, but still needs to prove it down the stretch. If Chicago plans to get the winning started, they need to start it with Oakland.

Trading Jared Allen and Jon Bostic, along with releasing Brock Vereen last week may be a sign of trouble with Chicago’s current situation. They’re planning for the future, knowing their current team can hardly be salvaged. This is just speculation, but can you blame them? In the meantime, Oakland is rolling and looks to improve to 3-1 for the first time in, man, I don’t even know. 1998? Oh, according to Reddit, it was 2001.

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are looking to be the next Andy Dalton/A.J. Green. Not to mention Latavius Murray running well behind Oakland’s revamped offensive line. Oakland’s offense looks to be headed for a bright future. Their defense, however, still needs some improvement. But hey, they have time to fix it up. And Charles Woodson is the best 38 year-old defensive back in the NFL today. Fun fact: he’s the only one. You’ll get there next year, Terence Newman.

Winner: Oakland

[Kansas City @ Cincinnati]

I have a confession to make: I think Kansas City is in the same boat as Pittsburgh and Miami. It has a great team with a lot of good players, but bad coaching decisions prevent them from being any better than their current records (2-2, 1-2, 1-2). Andy Reid has shown me something I noticed in their Week Two game against Denver: he thinks he’s smarter than the opposing team’s defense. All sorts of trick plays and illusions of screens and fakes and blah blah blah. He’s a cute coach, or should I say, finesse. I think that’s his biggest drawback.

Kansas City’s defense is good. I know it’s good. Last week at Green Bay was an exception, because Aaron Rodgers is a god. However, it’s given up a lot of points due to miscues by the offense. Kansas City’s offensive line is a huge negative for Kansas City, which leads to misguided throws or fumbles, which leads to shorter fields for the opposing offense, which usually leads to points. It’s a deadly cycle, and it’s unfair on a really strong defense.

Cincinnati’s defensive line has come alive this season and they should find no problem getting to Alex Smith tomorrow. More of those pressures are going to lead to mistakes, mistakes Kansas City can’t afford to make. In the meantime, Cincinnati looks to be a near-elite team. But hey, Andy Dalton hasn’t played a primetime game yet!

Winner: Cincinnati

[Houston @ Atlanta]

Atlanta, while not as strong as most other 3-0 teams, has fought their way through some tough games and have earned their wins. Julio Jones isn’t a guaranteed active, but he’s likely to play regardless. If he does, hopefully his injury doesn’t slow him down, because he’s been the best wide receiver so far this season. Leonard Hankerson will not carry this offense on his back.

Their defense looked really bad in the first two quarters against Dallas last week, but didn’t allow a single point during the second half. Chalk it up as another “bend, but don’t break” performance for them, much like against New York and Philadelphia before. They’re looking like a good, solid team, but not great.

Houston, on the other hand, is slowly adjusting to starting Ryan Mallett. He got his first win as a starter this season last week against a self-imploding Tampa Bay team. Even so, he played very meh. I think Atlanta’s defense will give him more trouble in the secondary than their defensive line, but it should be a close game, as Houston’s defense is better than I think it is. Though, I trust Matty Ice more than Mallett Rice.

Winner: Atlanta

[Jacksonville @ Indianapolis]

Y’know, Jacksonville beat Miami a couple weeks ago…. Maybe they can beat Indianapolis?

Y’know what, I’m tired of shitting on Jacksonville. They’re a good team, damn it! And I believe in them! They’re gonna kick Indianapolis and their overrated ass! Suck with Luck! Posluszny can have my children!

Winner: Indianapolis

[Philadelphia @ Washington]

Washington is at home tomorrow against a Philadelphia team that seems to do better on the road for some reason. Philadelphia’s defense is also really, really good. It just has a disgustingly inconsistent offense with Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. Ryan Mathews had a much improved performance last week than DeMarco did… any week. How many rushing yards does DeMarco Murray have on the season? 11? Right, got’cha.

Washington didn’t have a pass rush last week. That doesn’t fare well when Philadelphia’s offensive line is very weak, especially in the middle. If they can’t get any pressure on Bradford, they aren’t gonna win the game. DeAngelo Hall, debatably Washington’s best cornerback, also won’t be in this game, so that leaves little corner help for Washington. Ryan Kerrigan and company has to step up the pass rush if they want to throw Philadelphia off-balance. Oh, and Kirk Cousins has to flat-out play better. Philadelphia’s defense won’t be an easy ticket.

Winner: Philadelphia

[Cleveland @ San Diego]

Okay, Philip Rivers. You got this. You’re elite. Cleveland’s defense has been inconsistent this season AND you’re at home. You can’t fuck up this game. It’s Cleveland. And Josh McCown. Just stay calm and throw touchdowns. Keenan Allen has grown to be a reliable target. Use him. If not Woodcock.

Okay, Josh McCown. You got this. You had a good season once for Chicago some years ago. San Diego’s defense has been inconsistent this season AND you have cool hair. You can’t fuck up this game. Johnny Football is right behind you whispering voodoo curses upon your throwing arm so that he can play. Just stay calm and don’t throw interceptions. Your defense should do the rest. Rely on it. If not Travis Gabriel.

This should be a stupid game. I can smell it.

Winner: San Diego

[Minnesota @ Denver]

One of, if not the most interesting match-up this week. Ever since getting destroyed by San Francisco in Week One, Minnesota has been on fire. Teddy Bridgewater has done less and Adrian Peterson has done much, much more. Coincidence? Peyton Manning has effectively re-taken control of his team because that bully Gary Kubiak tried to make him take snaps from under center! He isn’t as good as he was last year (before St. Louis), but he’s still better than half the starters in the league.

Denver’s defense and Minnesota’s defense are both bruisers. They get a lot of sacks and hold the run. Their secondaries are pretty spiffy, too. The reason this game is so interesting is because they’re pretty evenly matched on paper. It’s hard to choose a team in this case. Though, you should never count out Peyton Manning in the regular season. Wait until the postseason to do that.

Then again, Adrian Peterson is still a monster, too. But will the offensive line be able to hold up Denver’s punishing defensive line? That may be the key to this game. I’m sticking with the home team in this case.

Winner: Denver

[Green Bay @ San Francisco]

Colin Kaepernick played really, really badly last week against a good defense. Now, he’s going up against a slightly worse defense in Green Bay. I’m not ready to give up on Kaepernick yet, but a bad game tomorrow may further his descent into back-up territory. Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, whether he’s at home or on the road.

It’s funny, a lot of people are saying that San Francisco has a great chance at upsetting Green Bay, because they’ve done it a few times before. Uhhh. That was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. This is not the same San Francisco team that ran for 500 yards against Green Bay’s defense in the playoffs. I don’t think they have any chance, frankly. I don’t think it’ll even be close.

Winner: Green Bay

[St. Louis @ Arizona]

Uhhhhh.

Winner: Arizona

[Dallas @ New Orleans]

See now, if it wasn’t for Brandon Weeden and Joseph Randle putting on a no-show for the second half of last week’s game against Atlanta, I would’ve picked Dallas immediately, Drew Brees or no Drew Brees. That offensive line is way too good. It devours any defensive line and makes room for many, many rushes. But again, that was the first half of the game. Second half: nothing. Just stop after stop after stop.

But again, this was Atlanta’s defense. New Orleans’ defense is a little worse. And by that, I mean it’s a lot worse. It’s near shit. It’s pathetic. But its offense is okay… sometimes. It actually looked better with Luke McCown in at quarterback than Drew Brees! But hey, what do we know? One performance isn’t entirely telling.

This is hard, it really is. I don’t trust Brandon Weeden. I don’t trust New Orleans’ defense. My trust in Dallas’s offensive line is strong. My trust in Drew Brees is fading. There are so many variables in this match-up that virtually anything could happen. It’s tough. Do I go with my brain and pick Dallas? Or do I pick with my heart and choose New Orleans? Mrmm. Mrmmmmm. Mrmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Winner: New Orleans

[Detroit @ Seattle]

Seattle is a little fishy this season. They were beat by St. Louis in overtime in Week One. Then they were beat by Green Bay in Week Two. In Week Three, they destroyed Chicago. The difference? They were at home against Chicago. They were on the road against Green Bay and St. Louis. This only leads me to believe that Seattle is shit on the road and amazing at home. Like that’s a surprise to anyone who’s followed Seattle the last few years.

Detroit is even fishier. They’re 0-3, and were beaten by teams with records of 1-2, 2-1, and 3-0. They were at home last week against said 3-0 team: Denver. They have given up a good amount of points in each game and all games have similar qualities: Matt Stafford throws at least one interception, the running game was atrocious, and the offensive line allowed at least one sack per game, along with a few more QB pressures. This only leads me to believe that Detroit’s 2014 run was a fluke. But hey, it’s early. They have time to turn it around. They just won’t against Seattle at home.

To any fantasy football fans: I’d sit Matthew Stafford for this game.

Winner: Seattle