Jesse: BEST WORST PICK OF LAST WEEK:“You want balls, Clint? The Cleveland “May Art Modell Rot in Hell” Browns. How’s that? *drops mike, walks away*” - Tom (Ravens 25, Browns 15)
As anyone that’s regularly read the column or visited the NFL forum thread knows, I am a fan of the Cleveland Browns. It’s a thankless task, but it also has helped me to calibrate my expectations. I’ve enjoyed the first half of this dismal season, in part because I saw real progress in the development of a talented, young roster. Unfortunately, every season there comes a time for Browns fans when hope gives way to rage, and that happened for me this last Sunday as the Browns squandered an opportunity to beat the hated Ravens. The Browns burned three timeouts because they couldn’t get plays in on time, and Coach Pat Shurmur, proud possessor of the least inspiring name in sports, handed the game to the Ravens by stupidly going for it on 4th down on his own 28 yard line. It was all very Browns-ian.
Shurmur will be gone after this season, and with a new owner on the way, the Browns can look forward to another year of rebuilding. Will having an owner that actually seems to care reverse the Browns’ luck? Probably not, but it will be a refreshing change. For now, Browns fans have seven more games to endure before another off-season filled with misplaced hope and lots of beer. Better luck next year.
- Browns. Oy. (Ohio.com)
- Speaking of fiascoes, Bill Barnwell looks at the Eagles. (Grantland)
- PFT looks at how marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington clashes with the NFL’s substance abuse policy. (Pro Football Talk)
- Jake Locker to start again for the horrible Titans. I live in Nashville and I still don’t care. What a bad, faceless, desultory team. (National Football Post)
- A look at the steady improvement of the Bucs’ Doug Martin. Note this was posted before Martin’s 251-yard game last Sunday. (Matt Waldman RSP)
Indianapolis Colts(5-3) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars(1-7)
Clint: Luck is on the Colts side. Yes I’m talking about the QB, but also playing the Jaguars sans MJD. It’s like a two legged cat, because their management already took one leg away.
Tom: Jags: Bleah, Colts and Luck: Yeah
Atlanta Falcons(8-0) vs. New Orleans Saints(3-5)
Tom: So the Falcons are still undefeated and finally enter the meat of their division schedule. Some say they’re underrated, some say they’re overrated. Either way, they’re undefeated at the half way point of the season, and that’s a tough task to have accomplished. The Falcons and Saints always have entertaining games no matter how good or bad either (or both) teams are. I’ll side with the Falcons defense here—the Eagles defense is not great but decent, and they held the Saints to 28 points, even with Vick the turnover machine. But to see Atlanta drop their first game here would not surprise me.
Clint: In the past I have taken the Saints quite a few times, and just like the most of the last DVDs I reviewed, they let me down. I can’t do it again. Tom ranted for a while about Atlanta being good or bad or whatever, but I also agree they could tank one due to this being a division rivalry that has often gone to the underdog.
Buffalo Bills(3-5) vs. New England Patriots(5-3)
Clint: A rematch to the blowout earlier this year. One of the few times the Pats looked completely dominant as they crushed the Bills. Worst part about that was that was in Buffalo. The Bills haven’t improved much since then (though their running game is healthier) and it’s at New England.
Tom: These Bills wouldn’t even sit on Capitol Hill. They’d be too busy getting points scored on them.
Denver Broncos(5-3) vs. Carolina Panthers(2-6)
Tom: Wow, have you seen the 2nd half of the Broncos schedule? Don’t be surprised if they end up as the #2 (or even #1) seed in the AFC. It starts here with the Panthers. John Fox returns to the team where Delhomme was king (boy, that guy was the definition of a bell curve, right? Mediocre in New Orleans, Super Bowl in Carolina, and then stink-tastic in Arizona). The return of Mr. Pouty Pants as he gets to see how a real QB plays.
Clint: You are crazy Tom. 1st or 2nd seed? They are good, but not that good, yet. Maybe next year. They have 3 losses and will likely tank another before end of year. Who knows, too early to tell. What’s not too early is the outcome of this game. We all know how it will turn out.
Detroit Lions(4-4) vs. Minnesota Vikings(5-4)
Clint: The battle of the wounded ducks. Both of these teams are their own worst enemy. Each of them has a few standouts (AP and Megatron) but the rest of both of the teams struggle to bring their C-game, let alone their A-game. Just based on the fact that they want to win, I’m picking the Vikings. I think Detroit is just there for the booze.
Tom: Ooo…who to pick? The Vikings can’t score on offense, and if Harvin is out, they can’t score on special teams either. The defense isn’t terrible, though. Wait, am I talking about Detroit or Minnesota? As Clint alluded to, these guys are somewhat interchangeable. Clint picks the Vikings, so I play Moriarty to his Holmes and go with:
New York Giants(6-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals(3-5)
Tom: If you pay attention to wacky trends for teams, you notice that the Giants are great in October, and not so great in November. Amani Toomer said it was maybe because they got a little egotistic since they weren’t being crapped upon by the local NY press, and after a bad November, they got their fire back. The Bengals are looking for some win to hang their hat on to say that they belong. Will they get it this week vs. the Giants? The odds are they won’t, but as a famous scoundrel once said, never tell me the odds.
Clint: I don’t see the Giants losing two in a row right now. They looked bad Sunday, and were only kept in the game from 14 points gift wrapped by the refs. They will be playing to show the world they are better than that, and the Bengals are looking for a way to stop or slow their descent. I disagree with Tom and history and go with:
Oakland Raiders(3-5) vs. Baltimore Ravens(6-2)
Clint: OMG, the Raiders somehow found they had a passing game last week. Just in time because they lost their ground game. The Ravens are a wounded bird, lacking their defensive leader and acting that way. I wish I could pick this different, but I’m siding with the Ravens. Palmer is nowhere near the quality he was pre-knee injury and a flash of talent doesn’t mean it will last.
Tom: The Ravens are itching to show that they can still dominate games. This just might be that game.
San Diego Chargers(4-4) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers(4-4)
Tom: The Bucs have standout rookie RB (SO glad I ignored a friend’s advice and drafted him on my FFL team anyway), and a stout run defense. However, their pass defense is terrible—31st in the NFL. This is why they lost to the Giants in a shoot-out and almost gave away Martin’s fantastic 250+ yard rushing day against the Raiders. Why did they put Blount in again? Geez. I think Rivers will take advantage of that defense, but I also think their on-again off-again running game will get nowhere. The wildcard here is Freeman—if Martin is running wild, he should be fine. If I was Norv, I would focus my defense on Martin and dare Freeman to beat me with his arm. But who am I kidding? Norv is an offense guy, and he probably doesn’t even know who the Chargers defensive coach is.
Clint: Rushing Defense is the only thing the Chargers have going for them. Doesn’t matter, the Buccaneers will steal the win and Norv’s hope of a job after this season.
Tennessee Titans(3-6) vs. Miami Dolphins(4-4)
Clint: Tom, you get to pick for Fleed again. It’s a good thing, because I really thought you may pick the Titans. CJ2K is running again. Right? After the loss to Indy, Miami is going to want a better taste in their mouth. I know when they were picking a name for the Tennessee team, they had to have thought Tennessee Trojans, which I wish they would have used because that would have made my last line so much funnier.
Tom: Miami is good vs. the run, and Tennessee has been awful vs. (almost) anyone. Yep, I’m back on the Fleed bandwagon, even though a bad bit of LUCK derailed the Miami train last week.
New York Jets(3-5) vs. Seattle Seahawks(5-4)
Tom: The dysfunctional Jets travel to Seattle, where the Seahawks are ultra-tough to beat. My prediction? PAIN.
Clint: I really want to disagree to give us more of a spread, but we are talking about Ryan+Sanchez/Tebow here, and that says it all. Maybe Denzel can fly them drunk? It might be an improvement.
Dallas Cowboys(3-5) vs. Philadelphia Eagles(3-5)
Clint: Seriously? The Eagles are nearing disastrous levels at this time. I know the Cowboys have problems in their stables, but I don’t see how a team that can’t score against the Saints can score against anyone else. I pick the Cowboys as long as they arrive in the general area of the stadium.
Tom: Which game is more “feh”–this one or the Detroit/Minnesota game? Andy Reid seems to doing an experiment of how much can he go below expectations and still retain his job. He truly just doesn’t seem to care, which leads to a team that doesn’t care. Jerry Jones the owner is still patting himself on the back about how good his team is, while Jerry Jones the GM thinks he should have fired him already. Wait, what?
St. Louis Rams(3-5) vs. San Francisco 49ers(6-2)
Tom: Boy, the Rams had to travel to London only to get spanked by Gisele’s baby daddy, and now they take on a tough defense in San Francisco. Were this in St. Louis, I’d give the Rams a shot, but they’re away (London was a home game? If I were a season-ticket holder I’d be asking why I didn’t get airfare and hotel to attend at Wembley) and the 49ers realize that the run is the way to get Alex Smith to play well.
Clint: Danny Amendola’s return makes this more interesting than if he was still injured. Those who have him on their fantasy teams may want to let him rest one more week, because the 49ers D is tough. I look for San Fran to play it safe and slow and crawl to a victory.
Houston Texans(7-1) vs. Chicago Bears(7-1)
Clint: This game is the highlight of the week. Two high octane teams right now, but I think the Texans only phoned a game in once this year. Da Bears are hot, but Houston appears to be good and steady. I’m going to be like Tom and say I want to pick the Bears and then wuss out to side with the Texans.
Tom: Have you seen that Bears defense? Holy cow, I know it was just the Titans but jeez–they’ve forced 28 turnovers this year so far, and have returned 7 INTs for touchdowns. I think 5 of those were last week alone. Defense wins championships, and being in Chicago, where it’s probably going to be awfully cold + Houston is a dome team = …
Monday November 12th
Kansas City Chiefs(1-7) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers(5-3)
Tom: Apparently we’ve figured out that if I pick against my beloved Steelers, they win. So far, only the Raider game early on has been the exception to the rule. Now they play (not) arguably the worst team in the NFL. So do I stick with my routine? Let me drop this knowledge on you—the last time a team went 7 games without ever leading in regulation was the 1929 Buffalo Bisons. Who folded the next season. So it’s obvious who I’ll be picking.
Clint: I think the Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL, and playing my Steelers that makes me worry as they always seem to play to the level of their competition. Doesn’t matter, I am going to be the polar opposite in the only game I don’t get to brag about picking right over Tom.