AROUND THE NFL

NFL Week Six ATS Picks and Fantasy Bits

It’s fitting the Giants are playing on Thursday, because I get to talk about bad coaching to start this week’s column.


Pat Shurmur. He’s pretty terrible. After getting to know his incompetence quite intimately when he was head coach of the Browns, the only thing worse than his game management were his quotes.

“Throwing and catching a very important,” – Pat Shurmur.

“I think it’s important on defense that you prevent the score,” Pat Shurmur.

“You’re in third and long because you didn’t do something right on first and second down,” Pat Shurmur.

The Giants are 1 – 4, and star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was outspoken in blaming that on Shurmur and the aging Eli Manning. Beckham is not wrong. Shurmur is awful. I never thought I’d see the Browns manage to find a more incompetent coach, but then along came Hue Jackson.

This week, Jackson let the world know that even though he’s one of 32 NFL head coaches, he doesn’t know the rules of overtime. See, after both teams had multiple possessions in OT, the Browns lined up for a field goal with just a few second left in the period. The kick was good, ending the game. But, as Hue Jackson will eagerly point out, there’s still two second left…two meaningless seconds because it’s a sudden death situation at that point.

How do I know Hue wanted to remind everyone the game wasn’t over? Watch Hue closely at the 10 second mark of this clip.

https://twitter.com/rex_rexchapman/status/1049038409052905473

Yep. That’s Hue telling everyone to keep focus,because there’s two seconds left.

Just when you think Hue can’t get any dumber…

Speaking of dumb, I went 6 – 9 last week to bring my season total to 35 – 41 – 2 ATS, good for 46.1%. This week I’ll be near perfection though so I’m doubling down!

Philadelphia @ NY Giants (+3)

A few takeaway from last week. First, the Giants made a huge error in hiring Pat Shurmur, which everyone in Cleveland already knew. Second, Eli Manning should have just called it a career last season. Finally, they have insanely talented skill position players in OBJ and Saquon. Oh, and they’d have won last week if Graham Gano weren’t insane enough to nail a 63-yarder as time expired.

The Pick?

This division is awful. The Redskins are 2 – 2 and lead the division. The Eagles were supposed to take this one, but they’ve shown some kinks in the armor. The rushing defense is stout and allowing the second least yards per game, but the bad news is the passing defense is in the bottom third. Getting back Carson Wentz wasn’t the panacea they were hoping for, but Wentz can still move the chains through the air.

EAGLES

Arizona (+10.5) @ Minnesota

The last time Minnesota gave double-digits they got beat, straight-up, by the Buffalo Bills. Since that awful day, Kirk Cousins has been huge, passing for over 300 yards the next two weeks, including 422 against the Rams. Unfortunately for them, I labeled Arizona the worst team in football, which motivated them to go out and beat the Niners. The Niners may be the worst team in the league now without Jimmy G, so there’s that.

The Pick?

With Cousins going prolific on the aerial yardage, he’ll get an Arizona passing defense that’s middle of the pack but touts the second worst rushing defense. Maybe for all you desperate for it to happen, it could be Davlin Cook’s week, finally! If he’s healthy of course. Bottom line: Minnesota looks on track and should roll in this one at home.

VIKINGS

https://twitter.com/Vikings/status/1049431746045857793

LA Chargers @ Cleveland (+1)

With the way Cleveland goes to OT every week (and tries to tie every week), this game gets the nod for game of the week! Cleveland’s certainly figured things out, but they have serious issues at kicker. Greg Joseph took over for Zane Gonzalez and he sucks too. He missed a PAT, a 55-yarder to win it at the end of regulation, and then knuckled a ball half an inch above the defenders  to win it. It was so ugly you had to wonder if he’d get cut Monday. He didn’t.

The Pick?

The Chargers offense cruised past the Raiders, but they get the Browns defense that has been excelling in turning over opposing teams. Cleveland gives up a ton of yards, but gets stingy deep in their own territory. They also held the Saints to 21 points in the Dome, the only time this year someone’s held NO under 30. As terrifying as it is to hope Cleveland’s kicker could come through late in the game, that Browns defense will make the difference.

CLEVELAND

Chicago @ Miami (+3)

Which Mitch? The one who went for 6 TD passes and over 350 yards, or the guy going for a pedestrian 200ish each week before that. They’ve got the defense, so if Mitch can be somewhere in between those extremes each week, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

The Pick?

Miami’s dropped two straight after starting 3 – 0. That’s the real Dolphins. They’ll get a rested Bears squad who had a week to prepare. Ryan Tannehill will be relentlessly pursued by Khalil Mack, which is not a fun thing at all. Go Bears hard this week!

CHICAGO

https://twitter.com/ChicagoBears/status/1049830624192856064

Carolina @ Redskins (PICK EM)

The Carolina way seems to really be eking out victories. It feels like they never win by more than a possession. The Gano 63-yard game winner was insane, but it masks the troubles the offense has had. Cam isn’t impressing anyone this year. Christian McCaffrey isn’t doing much other than racking up check-down receptions. At this rate, there’s no chance the Panthers can win their division with the way the Saints have been rolling.

The Pick?

The Skins are atop the division, yet no one has a winning record. They got utterly slammed by the Saints, which happens to everyone except the Browns, of course. Now they get an offense that is struggling…which is always just what an ailing offense needs. A shitty defense!

PANTHERS

Indianapolis (+2.5) @ NY Jets

The NY Jetskyll and Hydes. When the win, they’re a monster. When they lose, it’s ugly. Seeing Ass Wipe Crowell go for over 100 against the Broncos was a good omen. I’d get him on the cheap in your dailies this weekend and let him run again, because Indy isn’t going to slow him down.

The Pick?

Indy’s decimated by injuries at this point. They’re not very good to begin with, but you shave some depth off the squad and they’re really not good. You have to flip a coin to determine which Jets squad you’ll get, but at home, you can bank on the hope the Jets can win this one by a kick.

JETS

https://twitter.com/nyjets/status/1049669514080776192

Pittsburgh (+2.5) @ Cincinnati

The ugliness Miami’s offense displayed against the Bengals was a thing of beauty for Cinci fans. Getting a pair of defensive touchdowns, the Bengals scored 24 in the fourth quarter to come back from 17 – 3. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh came out on fire and never relented against the Falcons. The Falcons defense is awful, but so is the Miami offense. So what’s going to give in this one?

The Pick?
Cincinnati’s defense has vulnerabilities that the Steelers can take advantage of. The Steelers especially got the ground game back on track, which is a source of pride for the team…even if it’s petty just to zing hold out Le’Veon Bell. On the road, I still love the Steelers getting these points. Expect them to come out focused knowing they can even up the loss column with the division leader.

STEELERS

Tampa Bay (+3.5) @ Atlanta

Week one Fitzmagic would probably throw for 700 yards against this porous Atlanta Defense, but it’s back to Jameis time in Tampa. He’s had the bye to get re acclimated to his team, which means the high scoring TB offense could find some additional footing. That’s a bad sign for Atlanta. The good sign for the ATL is TB’s defense is atrocious as well, and the Falcons can put up yardage with the best of them. This should be an epic shootout.

The Pick?

The over should be something like 70 in this one…let me check. Nope! 57.5. I’m on that. Harder than a diamond in an ice storm. Get on that too. These guys are going to throw for over 300 each, so if you aren’t vibing on my Cousins suggestion, take your pick here boys. And in the end, I’m thinking Matt Ryan gets the better of Famous Jameis.

FALCONS

Seattle (in London) Oakland (+3)

I don’t wanna go to London! Says every team ever, and my brain every time I see a game scheduled there. Third Eye Blind, ladies and gentlemen!

The Pick?

London games are the Thursday night games of Sunday. You just don’t know how a team will react to flying over there and dealing with the time change and all that. So, as a rule, I just take the points.

RAIDERS

Buffalo (+8) @ Houston

Perhaps the most unbelievable thing this season is that the Bills have two wins. Last week they mucked the fuck out of a game against the Titans, who have been winning ugly themselves this season. Now, the Bills get 8 on the road against Houston, who barely slipped past the Cowboys.

The Pick?

Josh Allen threw for 82 yards last week. Eighty-two. You’d be pretty pleased if a running back got that for you on the ground, but for a quarterback, it’s like a drive and a half for Drew Brees. Allen will have Watt and Clowney on his ass all game. Maybe he’ll get over 100 yards in this one?

TEXANS

LA Rams @ Denver (+7)

All hail the Rams! The greatest team in football!

The Pick?

Denver got beat up by the Jets. You really think there’s anything to consider here?

RAMS

https://twitter.com/RamsNFL/status/1049086636095500289

Jacksonville @ Dallas (+3)

I’m not a historical statistician type of guy, but I’m pretty sure Blake Bortles had the worst 430-yard passing game in NFL history last week. He threw 61 times, completing only 33 of them…37 if you count his four interceptions. One of them went the other way for six, and he lost a fumble. That’s five turnovers. If you’re wondering how one of the best defenses in football can get smoked so thoroughly, it’s because your quarterback sucks.

The Pick?

The Cowboys haven’t lost at home, which is a net positive here. They also get three points, which is possibly good enough for a push if Bortles is tossing INT’s like crazy. I don’t think Dallas has the guns to make him play that poorly. I also think they lose their first game at home.

JAGUARS

Baltimore @ Tennessee (+3)

Baltimore played an ugly ass game against Cleveland, which fits right into the Tennessee mantra of “win as ugly as fucking possible.” I”m pretty sure they have that phrase on a tin sign they all tap on their way out of the locker room. That Titans D allows the seventh fewest yards in the league, which is how they get wins as the fourth weakest offense in the league. They beat the Jaguars with 83 yards passing. That is next level ugly.

The Pick?

I fully expect the Ravens to be playing with their hair on fire this weekend. That loss to the Browns will stick in their craw and get them going. It’s a smart play to nab Jon Brown as a WR, as the speedy guy is a target of Flacco and he’s a threat to go for a big one every weekend. That will be this weekend.

RAVENS

Kansas City (+3.5) @ New England

Remember when the Patriots lost two straight and everyone threw dirt on the Bill and Brady dynasty? I do. Remember when everyone said they beat up on two shitty teams the past two weeks, hence the turnaround? Well guess what? Vegas has the second best team in football as a 3.5 dog on the road in Foxborough. That means the Patriots are legit again, and now they’ll get to prove it at home against the beasts from KC.

The Pick?

I can’t imagine that The Hoody wants to be shown up by Patrick Mahomes. He has built himself up on stifling all the hot and trendy guys in the NFL. But this is a great KC offense, so Brady will also have be tremendous. He connected with new toy Josh Gordon last week, albeit on a risky pass. That indicates it’s time to get JG in your lineups and this weekend is a great time to do it. At home, I love the Patriots handing KC an L. Admittedly, I’m torn on if NE covers. It’s going to be close though…

PATRIOTS

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