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Content tagged '2014'

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  1. Post on Best anime of 2014 in Extend

    By The Heretic, posted
    Another tough year down the drain. There were several deserving shows, regardless of the endless flow of mediocrity, and they deserve a mention.

    Space Dandy

    One of the all-time greatest creators in anime, Shinichirō Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo) returned with a fantastic premise in experimentation: start with a ragtag bunch of bounty hunters (Dandy, Meow, and QT) and throw them into impossible scenarios, and then... reset each episode, wipe it clean for the next one. This is anthology done right as each episode became a showcase for the top animators, directors and writers in the business. That did recycle the overall shtick, but somehow, each episode managed to shoot for the highest peaks in blending or bending genre, mixing parodies and homages. I often applaud creativity over technical execution, especially when ambition and originality plays a huge factor in this surreal and over-the-top series. You could say Space Dandy "saved" anime in 2014, but truth be told - there wasn't much to save in the end. Both whimsical and great, Space Dandy would've been a strong contender in any other year, because there's absolutely nothing like it.

    Kill la Kill

    Anime is an unique medium that isn't as grounded in mimicry or verisimilitude - and that means the creators should push its boundaries every time, exploit the medium without respect to realism in the slightest. And Kill la Kill is the latest exponent of this philosophy, in a long line that dates back to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and FLCL - a madcap, hyper-kinetic spectacle with a barely coherent plot and outsized, totally outrageous characters. Absolutely zero filler episodes means this show had impeccable pacing. Admittedly, there were plenty of fan-service-y innuendo and inside baseball jokes (many of the puns are based on Japanese words), so many of the references might fly over your head. Competently animated, and completely slick with its stylized aesthetic, Kill la Kill is a shot of adrenaline to your groin, and doesn't let go until you're pumped at maximum capacity, frothing at the mouth, ready to change the world - or at least blog on the next episode.

    And... that's it.

    Two. Frigging. Shows. All. Year. Jumping Jehoshaphat. 2014 was a down year in Anime. I mean, we are talking the Leastern Conference bad in the NBA these days. Even my favorite anime bloggers burned out (Psgels) or delegated the burden (Scamp) or started blogging other non-anime shows (Guardian Enzo).


    Decent science fiction ideas in the wake of Gen Urobuchi marred by substandard execution.

    Fate/Stay Night Whatever Whatever
    No matter how great a studio is, it just can't get beyond the ridiculous high school setting.
  2. Post on NFL 2014 Week 17 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    At last, the wild 2014 season has come to a close. And here's the secret to picking games in the final week of the year: when the top teams have their backs to the wall, they'll win. And pick the ones that will care more in the remaining games.

    Last week, I went a mediocre 10-6, but any day above ground, or in this case, .500, is a good gambling day.

    Game(s) of the Week

    Lions @ Packers (-7.5)
    Should be a lock - the Packers at Lambeau Field against some team that had trouble vs a comatose team in Chicago? The Lions have been far more lucky than good this year, but luck can only take you so far, and especially against an all-time great in Rodgers at home.
    Packers by 9

    Panthers @ Falcons (-3.5)
    The Falcons have turned their season around since Thanksgiving, and have been invincible against the NFC South all year. Better yet, the NFC South champion has never repeated. Then again, if QB Cam Newton can survive that horrific car accident, perhaps we are better off picking the Panthers.
    Panthers by 4

    Bengals @ Steelers (Sunday Night Football) (-2.5)
    Homefield means zippo to the Steelers, and the Bengals have been decent on the road the past couple of months. But with the divisional title on the line, go with the better team.
    Steelers by 3

    Same of the Week
    Chargers @ Chiefs (-2.5)
    QB Rivers was absolutely clutch last Saturday. However, it's twice as tough to win on the road in hostile arenas two games in a row. The Chiefs still have a shot for the playoffs.
    Chiefs by 2

    Browns @ Ravens (-8.5)
    The Ravens still have a shot at the second season - as long the Chargers lose as well. It matters not who the Browns line up under center - Johnny Football is a fake, and Hoyer has a bad shoulder.
    Ravens by 9

    Bills @ Patriots (-10.5)
    The Patriots haven't lost at home in forever, but they already nailed homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, so there's nothing to play for. But Coach Belichick won't let his guys mail it in. But it's the Bills, a divisional rival with solid defense, so take the points regardless.
    Patriots by 3

    Raiders @ Broncos (-14)
    The Broncos are in danger of falling out of a first round bye. Lose, and the Bengals win, the Broncos will have to play during the wild card weekend. The Raiders OTOH have turned it around in the last 5 weeks, but when the chips are down, go with the superior team.
    Broncos by 11

    Cardinals @ 40 Whiners (-4)
    The Cardinals are a great team missing a legitimate quarterback. And the 40 Whiners are a great team missing chemistry. And that spells what? You tell me.
    40 Whiners by 3

    Rams @ Seahawks (-13.5)
    As long the Seahawks take this game, they'll have homefield throughout. For what it's worth, the Seahawks haven't forgotten the Rams' sheninagans from their previous matchup (fake punt, surprise kickoff, etc.) However, the line is just plain ridiculous.
    Seahawks by 9

    Lame of the Week

    Cowboys @ Foreskins (+6.5)
    Even though RGIII is back, the Skins have no chance against a Cowboys team that's firing on all cylinders & roaring full steam ahead to the playoffs.
    Cowboys by 6

    Colts @ Titans (+7.5)
    After falling flat on their faces in Dallas, the Colts are chomping at the bit to take it out on someone else. Even though the Titans are just horrible, it's never a good idea to take the road favorite in a divisional game.
    Colts by 6

    Eagles @ Giants (-2.5)
    The Giants are on a roll, although too late, whereas the Eagles have lost their collective will after shitting the bed last week. Gotham will be Catching it like Beckham!
    Giants by 3

    Jaguars @ Texans (-9.5)
    The Texans have an outside shot at the playoffs, and should be fired up no matter what, cuz JJ Watt will push them. In fact they've played over their heads with a practice squad QB and injuries to star players half the season. The Jaguars are just playing out the string - with zero incentive other than a high draft pick.
    Texans by 8

    Jets @ Dolphins (-5.5)
    It's Coach Rex Ryan's final game, will the Jets win one for the gipper? The Dolphins OTOH are solid and will try everything to finish the year with a winning record.
    Dolphins by 6

    Bears @ Vikings (-6.5)
    Really, nobody gives a shit. But the Vikings still do, unlike the Bears. Yes, that means QB Culter is back.

    Vikings by 7

    Shame of the Week
    Saints @ Buccaneers (+3.5)
    The Saints have zero incentive, other than just pride. The Buccaneers have played hard, but not with ability to compete. Go with the underdog.
    Buccaneers by 3

    Last Week: 10-6
    Season to Date: 155-84
  3. Post on NFL 2014 Week 16 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    When you win 14 of 16 games, you're allowed to brag. But only for a moment - we're ready for Week 16.

    But first.... How 'Bout them Cowboys?

    Game of the Week

    Colts @ Cowboys (-2.5)
    Two great QBs, but only one of them is still fighting for a division. It'll be a high scoring shootout, regardless. The Colts have trouble playing solid teams on the road so far this season.
    Cowboys by 4

    Broncos @ Bengals (+3.5)
    Mr. Peyton Manning, meet your perfect opposite in QB Dalton - a QB that shits himself when the lights get bright.
    Broncos by 7

    Same of the Week

    Falcons @ Saints (-6.5)
    Although the Superdome is no longer a serious homefield advantage, the Saints will find the Falcons' secondary friendly. Hey, somebody's gotta win the NFC South.
    Saints by 11

    Chiefs @ Steelers (-3.5)
    Both teams are still fighting tooth and nail for the playoffs. Will come down to pass protection - who can bother the quarterback the most? Steelers likely will control RB Charles and force QB Smith to beat them.
    Steelers by 3

    Ravens @ Texans (+4.5)
    The Ravens, facing a third string QB? On the road? Not a problem. They'll stack 9 guys up front, shut down RB Foster.
    Ravens by 14

    Seahawks @ Cardinals (Sunday Night Football) (+7.5)
    Fourth string QB Lindley vs the Legion of BOOM? Come back, Carson Palmer!
    Seahawks by 11

    Lame of the Week

    Eagles @ Foreskins (+8.5)
    Zod bless the Skins. Their substandard defense will help restore confidence to the Eagles' sputtering offense. Yes, that means taking QB Sanchez on the road. OTOH, RGIII finally looks like himself.
    Eagles by 7

    Chargers @ 40 Whiners (-2.5)
    After getting kicked out of playoff contention, the 40 Whiners will no longer have anything to play for. Coach Harbaugh has already checked out. Luckily for the Chargers, they still have a shot, and QB Rivers won't let them down.
    Chargers by 3

    Packers @ Buccaneers (+10.5)
    Wow, the Packers are completely mortal away from Lambeau Field, like the Saints of yore. But luckily, they're facing a team that can't win at home.
    Packers by 21

    Vikings @ Dolphins (-6.5)
    The Vikings look legit, at least for a mediocre team, and they're facing a quickly collapsing team in the Dolphins. But QB Tannehill is slightly better than rookie QB Bridgewater.
    Dolphins by 3

    Lions @ Bears (+4.5)
    The Bears have mailed it in, which means it'll be a walk in the park for the Lions. One hell of an underachieving team in Chicago.
    Lions by 17

    Browns @ Panthers (-3.5)
    Thank you. Merril Hodge, for calling a shitty spade a shitty spade. Johnny Football is just another Tim Tebow, and he's facing a team that's still fighting for a division title in the Panthers. Matters little whether QB Newton is healthy or not.
    Panthers by 7

    Patriots @ Jets (+10.5)
    No matter how shitty the Jets are, or how great the Pats are, whenever they play a game, anything goes. Too bad the Jets played the Pats in a competitive game already, meaning the Patriots will not underestimate them. Take the points regardless.
    Patriots by 6

    Giants @ Rams (-4.5)
    Neither team is in contention for the playoffs, but they both are finally playing well at the end of this season. Thanks to WR Beckham, the Giants' passing game is red hot, and will stay in the game, no thanks to their incompetent QB.
    Rams by 3

    Bills @ Raiders (+6.5)
    The Bills just shocked everyone last week, but they can't afford to look past the Raiders towards Week 17 when they play the Patriots. Raiders will keep the game close, but the Bills will do enough to escape Oakland with a win.
    Bills by 3

    Shame of the Week

    Titans @ Jaguars (Thursday Night Football) (-3)
    Whosoever wins, loses in the upcoming 2015 draft. So, both teams must try to out-lose each other, but too bad for the Jaguars, they have a more legitimate quarterback.
    Jaguars by 1

    Last Week: 14-2
    Season to Date: 145-78
  4. 10-6? Slouching towards respectability, indeed. No excuses for picking against the Seahawks for the third week in a row. No excuses for picking the Saints. Again.

    Game of the Week

    Cowboys @ Eagles (-3.5) (Sunday Night Football)
    Why would you pick Mark Sanchez in a big game? Well, the Eagles are good enough to win their division, but can they repeat their Thanksgiving victory over the Cowboys? After Romo and RB Murray have 10 days rest?
    Dallas by 3

    Same of the Week

    Cardinals @ Rams (-3.5) (Thursday Night Football)
    The Unknown vs the Unknowable? Giving hope to the hopeless? Bringing faith to the faithless? Doubt to the dogmatics?
    Arizona by 3

    Steelers @ Falcons (+1.5)
    Steelers are equally unpredictable on the road as they are at home. Then again, the Falcons just cannot beat anyone else besides the NFC South.
    Pittsburgh by 5

    Dolphins @ Patriots (-7.5)
    Week 1 was a hundred years ago, in NFL time. Coach Belichick will have his guys wired from the get go, and bury the Fish.
    New England by 9

    Texans @ Colts (-6.5)
    What incredible Luck. The Colts are never out of a game, even when they're blown out, thanks to their QB. The Texans will pressure Luck, thanks to MVP Watt, but they don't have enough horses on offense to keep up.
    Colts by 7

    Bengals @ Browns (even)
    Can anyone make sense of the AFC North? After the Browns blow out the Bengals by 21, the Bengals win 3 in a row before getting blown out by the Steelers at home. And here comes Johnny Football!
    Bengals by 1

    Packers @ Bills (+5.5)
    Yes, the Packers are the frontrunning favorites in the NFC, but they're not quite as potent on the road. Then again, the Bills haven't played well for two months versus .500 teams.
    Green Bay by 7

    Broncos @ Chargers (+4.5)
    Remember the Golden Rule about picking the road favorite in a division game? If it's Peyton Manning, then by all means. The Broncos are still fighting for homefield advantage. QB Rivers and the Chargers will fight tooth and nail, but it won't be enough.
    Denver by 3

    Forty-Whiners @ Seahawks (-10.5)
    What in the Sam Hill happened to the 40 Whiners? Team Meltdown is back to their old antics, and facing their hated rivals at the worst time. QB Kapernick has no confidence left, and the team has none in their coach. That spells another blowout loss.
    Seattle by 11

    Lame of the Week

    Raiders @ Chiefs (-10.5)
    Yes, the Raiders aren't that horrible. No, the Chiefs are not that overrated. And that spells another unpredictable game, but the Chiefs are nearly unbeatable at Arrowhead.
    Kansas City by 7

    Jaguars @ Ravens (-14.5)
    The Ravens finally woke up in time last week, but is it too late? The Jaguars are decent, if not necessarily respectable, and that Vegas spread is way too high. But the Ravens will still take it.
    Baltimore by 8

    Buccaneers @ Panthers (+6.5)
    QB Newton seems healthy again, but that won't be a guarantee victory. Remember, it's the NFC South. Anything goes!
    Carolina by 3

    Vikings @ Lions (-7.5)
    The Lions have had a creampuff schedule for 8 straight weeks. The Vikings are solid, but it's hard to take them over the Lions at Ford Field.
    Detroit by 3

    Saints @ Bears (+2.5) (Monday Night Football)
    When a team collectively takes a massive dump at midfield, they're properly embarrassed enough to refocus the next week. And luckily for the Aints, the Bears are missing their top WR in Marshall. QB Culter inspires zero confidence anyway.
    Saints by 1

    Shame of the Week

    Foreskins @ Giants (-6.5)
    Thanks to WR Beckham, the Giants are fun to watch. Thanks to Daniel "Snidas" Snyder, the Skins aren't.
    Giants by 7

    Jets @ Titans (even)
    Jets, favored on the road? LOL ROFL LMAO LMFAO
    Titans by LOL

    Last week: 10-6
    Season to date: 131-76
  5. My holidays went great – the food, the guests, the wine – except for my football picks. Another rough weekend (8-8) in the books. Back to the drawing board, but at least I'm picking better than Bill Simmons, who went 5-11.

    Game of the Week

    Seahawks @ Eagles (even)
    Strange Vegas line. A team that is in 2nd traveling cross country to play a division leader with 9 wins and they're the favorites? Anyway, the key matchup is between the Eagles' offense (5th in passing and 7th in rushing) and the Seahawks' defense (2nd in passing yards allowed and 5th in rushing yards allowed). The Eagles' WR Matthews has taken pressure off WR Maclin in recent weeks. The Seahawks must establish the run early to control the clock and keep the Eagles' offense on the sidelines. Since the Eagles are at home, they'll stop the Hawks early and get an early lead and cruise from there.
    Eagles by 1

    Same of the Week

    Steelers @ Bengals (-3.5)
    Team Inconsistent vs Team Paper Tigers? Nobody knows which Steelers team will show up, and nobody thinks the Bengals will choke at home after three road wins in a row. Then again, Steelers haven't lost twice in a row this year.
    Steelers by 1

    Ravens @ Dolphins (-2.5)
    Ravens' epic choke job was one of the ages. Means they're not playoff-ready. If the Dolphins want to sneak into the playoffs, they can't lose at home.
    Dolphins by 2

    Colts @ Browns (+3.5)
    Whether it's Hoyer or Johnny Football at quarterback, the Colts will keep on keepin' on. QB Luck will outlast the Browns' stout defense and whoever at QB will cough it up enough to seal the loss.
    Colts by 5

    Bills @ Broncos (-10.5)
    The Broncos have no margin for error – they must win out from now on. QB Manning has no desire to play in Foxboro for the playoffs. :snow:
    Broncos by 9

    Chiefs @ Cardinals (even)
    Zona ship be sinking? Well, they still have that incredible defense and the Coach of the Year. Plus the Chiefs are too plain vanilla to out-smart the Cardinals.
    Cards by 1

    Patriots @ Chargers (Sunday Night Football) (+3.5)
    The Patriots will resume their winning ways, cuz they don't choke twice in a row. As for the Chargers, caveat emptor. They've beaten only 1 team with a winning record all year long. Last week's miracle vs the Ravens.
    Patriots by 7

    Lame of the Week

    Cowboys @ Bears (Thursday Night Football) (+3.5)
    The Bears had trouble with RB Bell last week. Whatcha they gonna do vs a superior RB in Murray? Cowboys have their backs against the proverbial wall – they must get this game to keep up with the Eagles before the rematch next week. If the weather is inhospitable, lay the points.
    Cowboys by 7

    Rams @ Foreskins (+2.5)
    The Rams are among the most physical teams in the league. And the Foreskins? Among the least.
    Rams by 6

    Panthers @ Saints (-9.5)
    Which is it? Saints are invincible at home, vulnerable on the road, or vice versa? Then again, whoever heard of a 5-7 team giving anyone 10 points? Anyone? Anyone??
    Saints by 6

    Buccaneers @ Lions (-10.5)
    The Lions seem to have righted the ship with that resounding victory over the Bears, but it's probably too early to lay double digit points on them. Even if it's against the Buccaneers.
    Lions by 8

    Texans @ Jaguars (+4.5)
    The Jaguars seem to have grown up lately. Also, there's a golden rule of gambling about picking against a home dog in a division game. The Texans aren't just good enough to go against that golden rule.
    UPSET SPECIAL: Jaguars by 3

    40 Whiners @ Raiders (+7.5)
    The boys from Santa Clara will be stewing mad over that loss last Thursday. As for the Raiders, they've already packed it in after getting one win. See Exhibit A: last week's 0-52 loss to the mediocre Rams.
    49ers by 7

    Falcons @ Packers (Monday Night Football) (-11.5)
    A red-hot QB Rodgers versus a heavily decimated Falcons secondary? That's. All. She. Wrote.
    Packers by 14

    Shame of the Week

    Giants @ Titans (even)
    The Titans are the worst in the league at pass defense, so expect QB Manning the Younger to look like a legitimate QB. Finally.
    Giants by 1

    Jets @ Vikings (-4.5)
    The Vikings are the classic good bad team. They beat the crappy teams but lose to the decent ones. Heaven-sent for us handicappers. And the Jets? They're the classic bad bad team.
    Vikings by 6

    Last Week: 8-8
    Season to Date: 121-70
  6. Post on NFL 2014 Week 12 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Holy. Fritjolies.

    That was one hell of a wild weekend – giant upsets, inexplicable blowouts, etc., etc – one that set me back to .500. Why? Cuz whenever it comes to the NFL, No one knows diddly-poo. Yes, we are all Billy Zima.

    You know my motto: NO EXCUSES.
    Bring on Week 12!

    Game of the Week
    Cardinals @ Seahawks (-6.5)
    Wow, the Seahawks have lost more games already than they've lost the entire season in 2013. They're 3 games behind the Cardinals, so it's a must-win. The Cardinals must ride RB Ellington to control the game & run on the Hawks' defense, but they are 30th ranked in rushing offense for a reason.
    Seattle by 3

    Same of the Week
    Lions @ Patriots (-7.5)
    Yes, they stumbled last week in Arizona, but the Lions are still one of the top teams in the league. Unfortunately they'll be prohibitive underdogs this Sunday at Foxboro, against a red-hot Patriots team that won 6 in a row after getting blown out in Kansas City. If the Lions can stop the run and pressure Brady, they'll slow down that offense, and give Megatron a chance in the endzone.
    New England by 10

    Bengals @ Texans (-1.5)
    Happy Happy, Joy Joy. Two consistently inconsistent teams. Which version of QB Dalton is gonna show up this week? He's had trouble in Houston in two straight playoff games, so that might be enough, but he will get WR AJ Green back. The Texans won't have any trouble running on the suddenly porous Bengals defense.
    Houston by 6

    Dolphins @ Broncos (-7.5)
    Wow, was that a mulligan last week? At least the Broncos are back home. The Dolphins have a great defense and a decent offense, meaning they won't be pushovers. But Manning will be twice as focused, which is his wont after losing.
    Denver by 11

    Cowboys @ Giants (+2.5)
    Is QB Manning on his way out? After a decent if not great season, he immediately shit the bed last week with 5 picks. The bye week was a timely reprieve for the 'Boys, but they must return to form and send the Giants back to the stone age.
    Dallas by 6

    Ravens @ Saints (-3.5) (Monday Night Football)
    The Saints are lucky that they're in the worst division of the NFL, meaning they're still in the race for the playoffs even at 4-6. And the Ravens? Who the Hell knows.
    New Orleans by 4

    Lame of the Week

    Chiefs @ Raiders (+7.5) (Thursday Game of the Week)
    Raiders aren't as horrible as their record, cuz they have lost by one score 5 times. Does that mean they're due? And since this is a division game? After all the Chiefs have beaten the defending Super Bowl champs and are feeling real good themselves... Then again, it's the friggin' Raiders.
    Kansas City by 5

    Browns @ Falcons (+3.5)
    The inconsistent Browns are at it again, but they got one of the top 5 WR back in Josh Gordon. He'll be way too much for the inferior Falcons defense. But the Browns are banged up on the front seven, making them susceptible to the Falcons' dangerous passing attack.
    Atlanta by 3

    Titans @ Eagles (-10.5)
    The Eagles fell back to Earth as QB Sanchez turned out to be who we all thought he was. But they'll right the ship against a completely inferior team in the Titans. All the Eagles have to do is get the ball to Shady McCoy and control the game.
    Eagles by 11

    Packers @ Vikings (+9.5)
    Yes, the Packers won't score 50 points again because they're not playing at Lambeau Field. But the Vikings don't have enough on offense to stay at arm's length with the red-hot QB Rodgers.
    Green Bay by 13

    Jaguars @ Colts (-13.5)
    The Colts didn't just get beated like a red-headed stepson last week. They also lost key guys in TE Allen and RB Bradshaw. But the talentless Jaguars won't be able to take advantage.
    Indianapolis by 14

    Jets @ Bills (-4.5)
    Even though QB Orton has stunk up the joint lately, the Bills still have a stout front 7 that will control the Jets' offense.
    Buffalo by 7

    Rams @ Chargers (-4.5)
    The Rams can beat anyone (Seahawks, 49ers, Broncos) and lose to anyone. Last week, the Chargers barely edged the inferior Raiders. If the Rams can apply the same pressure on a hobbled QB Rivers, they'll walk out of San Diego winners.
    St. Louis by 3

    Foreskins @ Forty-Whiners (-7.5)
    QB RGIII throwing his guys under the bus? Skins Coach Gruden burying his QB? WR Jackson going on Instagram? It's a full-on meltdown mode for the Skins. To think that was the Forty-Whiners a couple of weeks ago. They do have both the physical and the intellectual edge over the Skins, though.
    San Francisco by 13

    Shame of the Week
    Buccaneers @ Bears (-5.5)
    Both teams broke out of a season-long slump last week. All the Bears have to do to seal a win is keep throwing bombs to their two terrific WRS in Jeffery & Marshall against the Bucs' cover 2 defense.
    Chicago by 7

    Last week: 7-7
    Season to Date: 103-57
  7. Post on NFL 2014 Week 11 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Another NFL weekend in the books. Then again... What does a 9-4 weekend spell?
    A return to normalcy

    Game of the Week
    Patriots @ Colts (+2.5)
    Classic showdown between the Hall of Famer and the Young Gun. Normally you go with the veteran, but betting against QB Luck is not a good idea. The Colts have covered 7 of 9 times this year. Yes, the Patriots are the best team the Colts face since the Broncos in week 1, but the Patriots aren't the same team on the road.
    Indianapolis by 5

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Bills @ Dolphins (-4.5)
    The Dolphins' defense will be key to this game - a low scoring barn burning type. The Bills' defensive front will feast on the Dolphins' shoddy OL, indeed, but the Dolphins will protect their homefield.
    Miami by 2

    Same of the Week
    Texans @ Browns (-3.5)
    The pleasantly surprising Browns are actually inconsistent - they're 28th against the run, giving up 134 yards a game. If RB Foster is ready to go, that might be enough for the Texans. But they're led by a rookie QB, on the road, against the Dawg Pound. The Browns are in first place of a heavily competitive division, after all.
    Cleveland by 3

    Bengals @ Saints (-7.5)
    The NFC South race to 8 wins will no doubt prove entertaining, if embarrassing to said fans of that division. Absolutely nobody has any confidence left in the Bengals, given the generous line spread. If QB Brees and the Saints draw QB Dalton into a shootout, they'll control the game. Key matchup is RB Ingram vs the Bengals' 31st ranked run defense. Lay the points.
    New Orleans by 10

    Broncos @ Rams (+9.5)
    Coach Fisher will have the Rams playing hard and competitive, and they'll mix pressure and coverage to slow down Manning. Playing at St. Louis has been a problem for heavy favorites, but nobody thinks QB Manning will buy what the Rams are selling. The Rams don't have enough on offense to keep up with the Broncos.
    Denver by 10

    Seahawks @ Chiefs (even)
    Something smells definitely rotten in Seattle. Nobody should take last week's victory over a shitty team in the Giants seriously. OTOH the Chiefs are solid with Coach Reid and QB Smith - hell, they have covered 7 of the last 8 weeks! Houston and Hali are ferocious off the edge, combine for 16 sacks. If the Seahawks dedicate to the ground game, take advantage of the Chiefs' weak run defense, the pass rushers will be neutralized.
    Kansas City by 4

    Lions @ Cardinals (+1.5)
    Had QB Palmer stayed healthy, this matchup would qualify for the Game of Week honors. Yes, QB Stanton is solid, and can thrive in Coach Arians' offense. But the Cards will struggle against the Lions' number one ranked defense, led by the ferocious Suh and Slay. Plus with WR Megatron back, that makes them the favorites, even against the best team in the NFC.
    Lions by 3

    Eagles @ Packers (-4.5)
    Another potential Game of the Week derailed by injury to QB. Yes, Sanchez looked good last week, and the Eagles may not need QB Foles. But that isn't enough to pick the Eagles in Lambeau, against snowy weather, temperatures in the low 20s, and a revived & explosive Packer team.
    Packers by 6

    Lame of the Week
    Vikings @ Bears (+3.5)
    Absolutely nobody should take the Bears, after they rolled over and gave up two 50-plus points in a row. Yes, they're desperate, backs against the wall, at the end of their ropes. Talent means diddly poo when you don't have the work ethic or character to survive adversity. QB Bridgewater and WR Patterson will take full advantage of the Bears' discombobulation.
    Minnesota by 2

    Falcons @ Panthers (-1.5)
    Yes, the Falcons are back in the NFC South race to bottom. Both teams have shitty offensive lines, but QB Ryan & his WR corps will take advantage of the crappy Panthers' secondary.
    Falcons by 6

    49ers @ Giants (+4.5)
    The 49ers may have recovered their old smashmouth identity. The Giants are just dogshit in every position and aspect.
    San Francisco by 9

    Raiders @ Chargers (-10.5)
    For the slumping Chargers this is a must-win game, whereas the Raiders are in contention for the first pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. Off a bye week, the Chargers should cover the spread.
    San Diego by 11

    Monday Game of the Week
    Steelers @ Titans (+5.5)
    Another lame game for MNF. If the consistently inconsistent Steelers were Dr. Jekyll last week's flop, then they will be Mr. Hyde come Monday.
    Steelers by 6

    Shame of the Week
    Buccaneers @ Deadskins (-7.5)
    RGIII being back doesn't mean the Skins are worse off. They certainly can easily handle the 29th ranked Buccaneers' defense, but since they haven't covered more than once in their last 6 games, nobody should lay the Skins more than a touchdown to anyone. Anywhere.
    Skins by 6

    Last week: 9-4
    Year to date: 96-50
  8. After flying high for 5 straight weeks, batting .750, I fell flat on my face with 7-6 in week 9. Regression to the mean is always a threat no matter how good of a handicapper you think you are.

    Game of the Week

    40 Whiners @ Saints (-4.5)
    On top of winning 19 in a row at home with Coach Payton, the Saints also have beaten the Whiners 4 of the last 6 games at the Superdome. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the 40 Whiners are experiencing a classic Season from Hell where everything that could possibly go wrong, is.
    New Orleans by 5

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Browns @ Bengals (-6.5)
    Who the hell knows what's going on with the Bengals? Or the Browns, for that matter? Beating Steelers, then gagging vs the Jaguars. Key matchup is the Bengals' 9th ranked running offense versus the Browns' 31st ranked run defense. Then again, the Bengals won't have their best corner, Leon Hall. Don't be surprised seeing the Browns pressure QB Dalton into mistakes and steal the win.
    Cincinnati by 7

    Same of the Week
    Chiefs @ Bills (+1.5)
    Two surprisingly 5-3 teams with veteran Qbs, solid running and stout defenses. Yes, the Chiefs look great lately, but against who? Two craptacularly crappy teams? Hold your horses. Bills OTOH are coming off a bye and 2 wins in a row. Then again, the Chiefs have covered 5 of the last 6 games. QB Smith is playing Reidball perfectly.
    Kansas City by 4

    Dolphins @ Lions (-2.5)
    The Dolphins are surprising everyone, myself included. But who did they beat, besides New England in week 1? Moreover, they won't be able to run on the Lions. But the Lions aren't committed to the run, and that might play into the Dolphins' athletic pass rush and excellent secondary. With both RB Bush and WR Megatron back, the Lions steal this in the end.
    Detroit by 2

    Cowboys @ Jaguars (+7.5)
    How fast things swung after 2 weeks. It doesn't appear that QB Romo will be healthy in time, but will that make any difference? The Jags are utter crap against the run. Run, Murray, Run the Cowboys into Bye week with a win.
    Cowboys by 6

    Titans @ Ravens (-9.5)
    After two tough games, the Ravens are back in Baltimore and foaming at the mouth at the prospects of playing a rookie QB. The Titans are completely overmatched in ever position, and should just forfeit to protect their 2015 pick, physique and psyche.
    Baltimore by 11

    Steelers @ Jets (+4.5)
    Weird game, weird line. QB Rothlisberger vs QB Vick appears one-sided on paper. But remember, the Steelers play up to the level of the competition. Yes, they did lose to the Buccaneers. On the road, and where are they playing? At Giants Stadium. Take the points.
    Steelers by 3

    Broncos @ Raiders (+11.5)
    Yes, the Broncos are angry after getting snowballed last week in Foxboro. But they're facing a team with decent pass defense (10th in league), with talented guys like DJ Hayden and Ellis. Moreover, the Broncos have covered on the road only once this year (Jets in week 6).
    Denver by 9

    Rams @ Cardinals (-7.5)
    Yes, the Rams did beat both the Seahawks and the 49ers on the road, but they have trouble with consistency. The key is RB Ellington vs the Rams' 29th ranked rush defense. And Coach Arians is the prohibitive favorite for Coach of the Year.
    Arizona by 6

    Giants @ Seahawks (-9.5)
    The Giants are still playing like it's the preseason, and yet here we are in Week 10. Coach Coughlin has trouble challenging plays. Nobody knows what they're doing. No running game. No consistency in the passing game. The Seahawks, on the other hand has completely lost their aura of invincibility, and has not covered the Vegas line in a month. But then again, the Giants are complete dogshit.
    Seattle by 10

    Bears @ Packers (-7.5)
    It's Green Bay football weather again – clear skies and freezing cold. It'll be a high scoring game, since both teams are fresh off bye week. But the Bears will get blown out regardless cuz they're what, 27th in defense? Facing a hot QB Rodgers? Plus QB Cutler lost his mojo a month ago and is facing Dom Capers defense.
    Green Bay by 12

    Panthers @ Eagles (-6.5)
    Backup QB Sanchez replacing Foles isn't the end of the world – Foles hasn't been his 2013 self so far this year. If the Panthers can control RB McCoy and force the Eagles to pass, then LB Kuechly will eat Sanchez alive. But the Panthers are a collective mess, whereas the Eagles have the talent edge at every position except QB.
    Philadelphia by 3

    Lame of the Week

    Shame of the Week

    Falcons @ Buccaneers (even)
    Wow, how far have the mighty Falcons fallen from week 2 where they led the Bucs 49-0. Sure, the Buccaneers are shitty, but they've played hard in 4 of the last 5 games. The only question is whether Coach Mike Smith will even have a job after the game.
    Tampa Bay by 3

    Last Week: 7-6
    Season to Date: 87-46
  9. Post on NFL 2014 Week 9 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    NFL 2014 Week 9 Picks

    Week 8 was a tale of two halves. What seemed like a great start with 9-1 in the early games ended in a resounding thud with 1-4.

    Then again. The NFL stands for Not For Long. Every hot streak ends in a cold slump towards Gomorrah.

    The first half of the NFL season is over, and we now know who's legitimate and who's a phony. This week I will incorporate Vegas lines, to heighten the stakes.

    Game of the Year

    Broncos @ Patriots (+3.5)
    The Patriots are rounding into playoff form, but so are the Broncos. Patriots have outscored their last 4 opponents 158-87, while the Broncos went 149-75. But the Broncos have played playoff teams with excellent defenses (49ers, chargers, and Cardinals). Plus QB Manning has had 10 days to prepare for Coach Belichick, and that should be enough for a win.
    Broncos by 1

    Game of the Week

    Cardinals @ Cowboys (-3.5)
    Despite choking last Monday night, the Cowboys are still legit. Yes, the Cardinals' record at 6-1 is mighty impressive, but who did they beat on the road besides the Giants and Raiders? As long they remember they have the best OL in the league and RB Murray, the Cowboys will bounce back strong. Even against a truly fearsome Cardinals team that's finally found its stride.
    Cowboys by 3

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Saints @ Panthers (+1.5)
    Yes, the Saints redeemed themselves last Sunday night – but then again, that was in the Superdome and this game is in Carolina. The Saints are winless on the road, and they got outscored by 27. Expect QB Brees to turn the ball over again.
    Carolina by 4

    Same of the Week

    Buccaneers @ Browns (-6.5)
    Here comes QB Hoyer, up against the Buccaneers' 30th ranked pass defense! Yes, the Buccaneers did upset the Steelers, but that is quickly becoming more and more of a fluke with each loss. Lay the points.
    Browns by 7

    Eagles @ Texans (+1.5)
    The Eagles certainly aren't as good as everyone thinks, myself included, but Houston is even worse than anyone thought. Fitzpatrick is a fraud at QB, so expect the Eagles to put 9 defenders in the box versus RB Foster.
    Eagles by 7

    Jets @ Chiefs (-10.5)
    No matter what happened last week with that stinkbomb vs Buffalo, the Jets are still 5th against the run in the league. That spells a close game, although I expect Coach Reid and QB Smith to edge past the Jets. Take the points.
    Chiefs by 6

    Jaguars @ Bengals (-11.5)
    The Bengals aren't back to their Super Bowl hype levels, but the Jaguars QB Bortles slumped. Most importantly – the Bengals haven't lost at home yet, not since 2012, and they've blown out 3 of 4 opponents with 121-78. Lay the points.
    Bengals by 12

    Chargers @ Dolphins (+1.5)
    It's always an iffy bet to pick the team that's traveling 3000 miles after playing in a divisional game. But luckily for the Chargers and for us, they have a couple of extra days of rest. Moreover, the Dolphins are not a consistent team – and they haven't beaten anyone legitimate since Week 1. Plus after this Sunday, the Dolphins will have to face 3 playoff teams in a row.
    Chargers by 4

    Rams @ 49ers (-10.5)
    After the Rams upset the Seahawks, they're back to their craptastic ways in rolling over to the Chiefs. And here come the 40 Whiners, fresh off bye week, and much healthier. It'll be a low scoring game, cuz Coach Fisher will have his guys ready. Take the points.
    40 Whiners by 7

    Raiders @ Seahawks (-16.5)
    Yes, the Seahawks are in a mid-season slump, but they broke through last week vs Carolina. No, they're not the same tough bastards from last year, and that's why the Vegas line is way too high. Take the points.
    Seahawks by 11

    Sunday Night Football
    Ravens @ Steelers (pick)
    Both teams are 5-3, but the Steelers' offensive eruption last Sunday was more of an anomaly than anything. The Steelers are nothing close to a high scoring team, given the previous 7 weeks. Thus, the Ravens will steal this in the end.
    Ravens by 1

    Monday Night Football
    Colts @ Giants (+3.5)
    Despite being almost blown out vs the Steelers, the Colts nearly came back and just ran out of time. Yes, the Giants are undefeated at home, 3-0, but they're still completely out of whack. QB Luck must be loving that 25th ranked pass defense of the Giants.
    Colts by 6

    Shame of the Week

    Foreskins @ Vikings (-1.5)
    Who would've thunk it? Colt McCoy now owns Texas! The trend here is that whenever a shitty team plays their absolute best game versus a divisional rival , expect them to shit the bed next week.
    Vikings by 3

    Last Week: 10-5
    Season to Date: 80-40
  10. Post on NFL 2014 Week 8 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Despite an upset-filled Sunday, and incredible comebacks in the last seconds, I escaped Week 7 with an 11-4 record.

    One of these days I'll lay out the basic fundamentals to picking NFL games... but let's get on to Week 8!

    Game of the Week

    Chargers @ Broncos
    It's rare that the Game of the Week falls on a Thursday, but there's not much else this weekend to qualify. The Broncos look more well-rounded than they did last year with that legitimate defense and a superior running game in Ball and Hillman. Chargers will be ready, but they might have been looking past the Chiefs last Sunday. It'll be close, but the Broncos will start to separate from the pack.
    Broncos by 3

    Eagles @ Cardinals
    An even bigger Game of the Week, the Cardinals will get the biggest test of the season to date vs a completely evenly matched team with an entirely different philosophy in the Eagles. Cards have been winning despite all the injuries, but it'll be hard versus a well-rested offensive machine with a genius coach in Kelly.
    Eagles by 3

    Same of the Week

    Seahawks @ Panthers
    The Seahawks' problems are due to a weaker defensive line that used to rotate fresh hungry sackmeisters. They were eight last year in sacks, but cratered this year, all the way down to 27th. Things aren't going to improve all of sudden, but perhaps the suddenly-toothless Panthers (gave up 37 or more points in 4 of 5 games) are what the doctor ordered.
    Seahawks by 3

    Ravens @ Bengals
    The Bengals have not been themselves the past 3 weeks, likely due to the disappearance of stud WR A.J. Green. If he's suited up, even as a decoy, the Ravens have to respect him, and that takes pressure off from embattled ginger QB Dalton. However, the Ravens have turned everything around and seem near unstoppable in recent weeks. Then again, they're not the same team on the road.
    UPSET PICK: Bengals by 3

    Bears @ Patriots
    The Patriots rose from the dead 3 weeks ago and resumed their old position as Lord of the Manor. Da Bears, have shit their bed for three straight weeks, and are going through internal strife with WR Marshall blowing up at everyone. It's possible that this will turn around things, but not at Gillette Stadium. The Bears have the talent to score with anyone, but their lack of discipline will be their Achilles' heel vs Belichik.
    Patriots by 9

    Colts @ Steelers
    The Colts are legitimate, having won five in a row after dropping the first two games and just destroyed the Bengals 27 to zip. The Steelers are a shadow of their former selves, and no magic will be enough versus QB Luck.
    Colts by 6

    Packers @ Saints
    Two superstar quarterbacks, two opposite directions. QB Rodgers has his team firing on all cylinders while QB Brees has been misfiring every cylinder. That gag job last week doesn't inspire much confidence, even though the Saints are back at home.
    Packers by 4

    Lame of the Week

    Lions @ Falcons
    Unfortunately, both teams will have to play at 9:30 ET in London, throwing out their biorhythms out of whack. However, the Lions are completely legitimate, even without WR Calvin Johnson. The Falcons, OTOH, are not, because they have the same problem from last year – no depth to offset all those injuries. No defense to speak of. Meaning WR Golden Tate will explode once again.
    Lions by 7

    Rams @ Chiefs
    Both teams are fresh off upset victories last week, but the Chiefs were actually a couple of plays away from being 4-1. The Rams were outgained by 200 yards, and thus their win was a fluke. As long the Chiefs benefit from a couple of turnovers, their offense will look much better than they really do, and best of all – they're at the Arrowhead.
    Chiefs by 6

    Texans @ Titans
    Two choke-artists trying to out-gag each other to their next loss. What a world.
    Texans by 3

    Dolphins @ Jaguars
    Despite getting off the Scneid last Sunday, the Jaguars are still a craptastic team – leading the league in interceptions thrown and giving up 29 sacks in 7 games. Too bad the Dolphins have an incredible defensive bookend in Cameron Wake and Oliver Vernon.
    Dolphins by 7

    Bills @ Jets
    The Bills may have suffered a Pyrrhic victory last week over the Vikings – they lost both Rbs in Jackson & Spiller to serious injuries. Unless the Bills have a secret backup plan, the Jets will easily control QB Orton and take full advantage.
    Jets by 3

    Raiders @ Browns
    It matters not that the Raiders are winless, because if QB Hoyer repeats that awful performance from last week vs the Jaguars, the Browns will lose again.
    Browns by 3

    Deadskins @ Cowboys
    The league's best team with the best RB face off against QB Colt McCoy. Gee, what a difficult decision. For encore, perhaps the Deadskins will start resurrecting dead quarterbacks.
    Cowboys by 14

    Shame of the Week

    Vikings @ Buccaneers
    Those young quarterbacks don't bode well for their franchises' future. The Buccaneers' inability to run will be enough for the Vikings to escape this Shame of the Week with a little face.
    Vikings by 3

    Last week: 11-4
    Season to date: 70-35
  11. Post on NFL 2014 Week 7 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted

    After four weeks of piddling picks at 59%, the past two weeks I am now picking at a cool 79%. Let's see if I can't keep the momentum going!

    Game(s) of the Week
    49ers @ Broncos
    QB Manning needs 3 more TDs to pass Favre for the all-time record, and he might get it this Sunday night. The 49ers are solid, with a powerhouse running offense and a dynamic QB, but their defense isn't what it once was. LB Willis is out. Expect a historic but boring victory for the Broncos.
    Broncos by 9

    Bengals @ Colts
    The football gods were kind enough to bless us with two Games of the Week. In this game, the Colts are out for revenge after getting smacked around last year 42-28. They're hot, having won 4 straight thanks to QB Luck. The Bengals have lost a lot of their Super Bowl look in the last two games, getting gashed on the ground by the Patriots and the Panthers. If the Colts keep running, they'll win.
    Colts by 3

    Thursday Game of the Week

    Jets @ Patriots
    In this corner, with 3 Super Bowl titles, Tom Brady! And in this corner... um. Second year QB Gino Smith? It's hard to pick the Butt-Fumbling Jets over a resurgent Patriots team at this point.
    Patriots by 13

    Same of the Week
    Falcons @ Ravens
    The Falcons are decent on offense and can score on anyone. Then again... with the 29th worst defense in the league, the Falcons picked a bad time to play an incredibly hot Ravens team. Did you see that 5 touchdown passes in 16 minutes?
    Ravens by 14

    Seahawks @ Rams
    Well, well, well. The Seahawks are mortal after all. But lucky for them, the Rams are 26th against the run, giving up 140 yards a game. And. That's. All. She. Wrote.
    Seahawks by 11

    Saints @ Lions
    Detroit is getting it done on defense this season – first in total D, in passing D, in sacks, in scoring D, and third in run defense. The Saints will offer a tough test, but the Lions have already destroyed a great QB in Rodgers.
    Lions by 4

    Panthers @ Packers
    The Packers are hot, winning 3 in a row, and after that fake spike play in the House of Marino last week, they're ready for anything. The Panthers undoubtedly will be no pushovers, but this game is at Lambeau Field.
    Packers by 3

    Chiefs @ Chargers
    QB Rivers is building a case for 2014 MVP and the Chiefs' heavily decimated defense won't offer much resistance.
    Chargers by 4

    Giants @ Cowboys
    The inconsistently unreliable Giants face off against a consistently disciplined Cowboys team? What's the world coming to? Is it 1992 all over again?
    Cowboys by 7

    Lame of the Week
    Browns @ Jaguars
    Bad news for the Browns: their great center Mack is gone for the year. Worse news for the Jaguars? It makes no difference at all.
    Browns by 7

    Vikings @ Bills
    After getting bashed into a pulp last week, QB Bridgewater needs to show he can bounce back. But unfortunately for the Vikings, the Bills have a ferocious pass rush that might be even nastier than that of the Detroit Lions.
    Bills by 3

    Dolphins @ Bears
    The Bears might have saved their season last week, beating the Falcons with smoke and mirrors. They'll need every trick in the playbook to beat the Dolphins again.
    Bears by 3

    Cardinals @ Raiders
    No matter who gets hurt, the Cards reload and win. The Raiders OTOH keep losing no matter who plays for them.
    Cards by 4

    Texans @ Steelers
    Sweet. Fancy. Moses! J.J. Watts is a legitimate MVP candidate, but he can't win without a decent offense that won't shit itself. The Steelers aren't what they used to be, but they'll resurrect some magic on Monday Night Football.
    Steelers by 1

    Shame of the Week

    Titans @ Foreskins
    Is it time to bench QB Cousins? If that's the case then expect an exciting game between craptacular QBs Colt McCoy and Whitehurst.
    Foreskins by 1

    Last week: 11-3
    Season to date: 59-31
  12. Now that's more like it. Winning 12-3 means all is right with the world.

    That was one of the most insane weeks I've ever seen – crazy comebacks on the road, blown leads, and the proverbial defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in overtime.

    Game of the Week
    Cowboys @ Seahawks
    The Dallas Cowboys have the league's finest running game and a decent defense. But that's not enough vs a ferocious defense, in a place that hasn't lost more than a single game in 2 and half seasons.
    Seahawks by 7

    Giants @ Eagles
    A few weeks ago this matchup was clearly one-sided in Philadelphia's favor. Now, after blowing out 3 teams 105-53, the gods of football are now favoring the Giants. The Eagles haven't figured out how to run the ball consistently like they did last year, and there's no reason to suddenly think they will before they prove it.
    Giants by 4

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Colts @ Texans
    Enough with the blowouts on Thursday nights already! This matchup will be for first place in the AFC South division. It's trendy to go with the Texans at home, but the Colts should sneak out of Houston with a win, thanks to QB Luck.
    Colts by 3

    Same of the Week

    Lions @ Vikings
    When healthy, the Lions are completely legitimate. But they're crippled with injuries to WR Megatron & RB Bush, and here comes the Vikings with their rookie QB Bridgewater.
    Vikings by 3

    Patriots @ Bills
    After that insane comeback win over the Lions, the Bills are hyped for their rivals from New England. They certainly have the right defensive line to push around the Patriots and make QB Brady feel his age, but they don't have a legitimate QB to scare Belichick into chickenshit calls on defense.
    Patriots by 3

    Panthers @ Bengals
    The Bengals were widely proclaimed as serious Super Bowl contenders for 4 weeks. Then Sunday night happened. But they're back home, where they haven't lost in 2 years, and ready to resume Super Bowl fever. The Panthers don't have enough on offense to make a difference.
    Bengals by 6

    Lame of the Week

    Ravens @ Bucanneers
    Clearly, the Bucs are no pushovers. After stealing a game from the Steelers, they nearly shocked the Saints last Sunday. The Ravens are coming off a tough loss and will be looking for an excuse to take that bitter taste out of their mouths.
    Ravens by 6

    Broncos @ Jets
    On one hand, you got a QB that just cracked 500 career TDs. And OTOH, you got a team with two crappy options at QB. Another win for Denver, and another excuse for Rex Ryan.
    Broncos by 13

    Steelers @ Browns
    With 4 teams at .500 in the AFC North, every divisional game matters this year. After stealing the game in Week 1, the Browns have the Steelers' respect. Too bad the game is at Cleveland. After fumbling vs the Bucaneers, and barely eking by the Jaguars, the Steelers have no credibility. Yes, that spells another loss for Pittsburgh.
    Browns by 2

    Packers @ Miami
    After back to back blowout wins for Packers, Cheesehead Nation can relax. But nobody knows how good the Dolphins are, and we will know for sure come Sunday night. If the Dolphins can rush QB Rodgers with only 4 defensive linemen and keep the rest in coverage, they'll steal the game. Plus QB Tannehill is mobile enough to bedevil the weak Packers' defense. Thus it'll be closer than the Vegas line.
    Packers by 1

    Chargers @ Raiders
    The Raiders are 0-4 but they will benefit from the “new coach bump” where everyone plays twice as hard to impress the new coach. That may spell UPSET victory in most weeks, but not against the Chargers. They're FOR REAL, thanks to QB Rivers and the new scatback called Not-Sproles.
    Chargers by 6

    Bears @ Falcons
    The Bears' recent offensive troubles will find the perfect solution in the Falcons' 29th ranked defense, cuz the Falcons cannot rush the passer. That's music for QB Cutler, who'll have time to find his favorite WR in Jeffrey and Marshall all day long. Expect a high scoring shootout, regardless.
    Bears by 4

    Foreskins @ Cardinals
    Not only were the Cardinals finally beaten last week, they also lost key players on defense and QB Stanton. If QB Palmer cannot go due to that degenerate nerve in his shoulder, then go with the Skins. Otherwise, the Cards will hold down the fort.
    Cards by 3

    40 Whiners @ Rams
    The 40 Whiners have somewhat returned to their old ways, but they're still in the grips of discontent. The Rams will offer a stiff test on Monday Night, but it'll be over by halftime.

    40 Whiners by 11

    Shame of the Week
    Jaguars @ Titans
    The Titans just choked their way into the record books, but the Jaguars are just inept on offense.

    Titans by 3

    Last week: 12-3
    Season to date: 47-28
  13. 6-6? Slouching towards Gomorrah, indeed. This should be an easier week to pick because a bunch of stronger teams are playing at home.

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Vikings @ Packers
    Although the Vikings just dropped 41 on the sad Falcons, they need more than a few days to prep for a revived QB Rodgers and the Packers.
    Packers by 6

    Game of the Week
    Cardinals @ Broncos
    Even tho the Cards are undefeated, they're getting 8 points on the road vs the Broncos, who almost stole the game in Week 3 vs their Super Bowl rival, the Seahawks. Plus QB Palmer doesn't seem healthy enough to start, and the backup QB Stanton will not be able to keep up with Manning.
    Broncos by 9

    Bengals @ Patriots
    The Patriots aren't ready for the glue factory, but their defense is subpar, and they can't run the ball, and QB Brady has lost his aura of invincibility. Go with the undefeated Bengals.
    Bengals by 3

    Same of the Week
    Bears @ Panthers
    After two straight blowout losses, can anyone really trust the Panthers' defense again? Nor can the Panthers run or pass. Once the Bears get going, they'll start looking for that panic button.
    Bears by 3

    Buccaneers @ Saints
    Yes, both teams are tied for DEAD LAST in the NFC South. Then again, both teams are only 1 game behind first place, cuz the NFC South sucks. Even tho the Saints have shit the bed so far this year, they're still decent on offense (third in total offense, third in passing and 10th in rushing). Moreover, they're back at home, where they look like a legitimate playoff contender. Bucs QB Glennon won't pull off magic two weeks in a row.
    Saints by 10

    Texans @ Cowboys
    Run, Murray, Run. Texans can't stop the run? See Cowboys win, win.
    Cowboys by 6

    Bills @ Lions
    QB Manuel has completely shit himself this season - missing open WR, making bad throws. The Bills are playoff caliber, only if they have a solid QB. As for the Lions, Megatron is still hobbled, making their dynamic offense far more manageable. It will be much closer than the Vegas line.
    Lions by 2

    Ravens @ Colts
    Potentially the most entertaining game of the week, this might turn into an old fashioned AFL styled shootout where the team with the ball last wins it. Both QBs are riding a hot streak, but the money is on Luck snatching victory from the clutches of Ravens.
    Colts by 1

    Chiefs @ 40 Whiners
    The Chiefs have been respectable vs the Broncos, and blown out the Dolphins and the Patriots. Since the 40 whiners are fragile, the Chiefs will stay within spitting distance.
    40 whiners by 1

    Seahawks @ Foreskins
    The Kirk Cousins express derailed last week, and sank to the bottom of the Potomac River. Moreover, the nasty boys from Seattle are coming off a bye, and will be too happy to bury the Skins another six feet deep in the muck.
    Seahawks by 9

    Lame of the Week
    Rams @ Eagles
    What in Sam Hill happened to Shady McCoy? He isn't averaging even a measly 3 yards a carry? Luckily for him, and the Eagles, that the Rams are 30th against the run. As long the Eagles run all day long, they'll cover and win. The Rams will be fresh, but they don't have anyone dynamic to match the Eagles' playmakers.
    Eagles by 9

    Falcons @ Giants
    The Falcons have a decent offense. Too bad their defense is about as tough as a wet kleenex. And they're facing a team that just scored 75 points in two weeks? That spells another loss.
    Giants by 4

    Steelers @ Jaguars
    There's no reason to pick the Jaguars again this year. They're that bad.
    Steelers by 6

    Jets @ Chargers
    Although the Chargers have been hot shit so far, the Jets are actually solid on defense (3rd in yards allowed, 2nd in rushing). Therefore they'll control the pace of the game, and limit the Chargers' big plays.
    Chargers by 4

    Shame of the Week
    Browns @ Titans
    For some Assbackward reason, Las Vegas has the Titans favored by 2.5, even though they got blown out in 3 losses in a row, whereas the Browns have been snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
    Browns by 4

    Last week: 6-6
    Season to date: 35-25
  14. Post on NFL 2014 Week 4 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    After two solid weeks of picking straight up, I tumbled to a below average 9-7 in Week 3. Billy Zima is on the other line.

    But we are all about results, not excuses. Bring on Week 4!

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Giants @ Deadskins
    With QB Cousins at the helm, the Skins are completely legit. He's thrown for 677 yards and 5 strikes so far in two games. The Giants OTOH have an illegitimate QB at the helm. He just can't make any passes over 10 yards anymore.
    Skins by 9

    Game of the Week

    Eagles @ 40 Whiners
    Logic says the comeback team should beat the choke artists. But logic never works in the NFL. QB Kaepernick will feast on that substandard Eagles defense and the Santa Clarita franchise will finally protect a lead.
    40 Whiners by 4

    Rest of the Week
    Packers @ Bears
    The Packers have defied expectations. So have the Bears. But both in opposite directions – QB Cutler looks like an All-Pro with those two great receivers, whereas QB Rodgers no longer can carry his team.
    Bears by 3

    Bills @ Texans
    Two similar teams, in that they're both more talented on defense than on offense, but the Bills have the superior QB in Manuel. QB Fitzpatrick just plain sucks the sweat off donkey balls. Moreover, RB Foster isn't expected to suit up.
    Bills by 4

    Panthers @ Ravens
    The Panthers are too injured to survive a smashmouth game with the bullies from Baltimore. Their RB corps is depleted, and plus QB Newton isn't completely healed.
    Ravens by 6

    Saints @ Cowboys
    This game will not be a classic high-scoring shootout, cuz QB Romo isn't healthy and QB Brees hasn't clicked on offense this season. But the Saints are back on the road, and they cannot control the Cowboys' offensive threats. However, it all could come down to a Romocoaster styled interception. Or Not.
    Cowboys by 1

    Patriots @ Chiefs
    The Patriots are no longer the offensive powerhouse of the yesteryear. Is QB Brady losing his golden touch? Plus the Chiefs are actually legitimate on defense, and have excellent pass rushers in LBs Hali and Houston. Expect another close game in Arrowhead.
    Patriots by 1

    Lame of the Week
    Titans @ Colts
    The Titans are getting worse every week, and they just lost QB Locker to a wrist injury. And the Colts will be back at .500 come Sunday night.
    Colts by 13

    Lions @ Jets
    The Jets coulda shoulda been 3-0 if not for a couple of plays. But the NFL never rewards coulda shoulda woulda excuses. Plus the Jets' secondary don't even have a snowball's chance in hell of covering Megatron.
    Lions by 11

    Dolphins @ Raiders
    We apologize to the British for suffering through another Shame of the Week game between two inferior teams.

    Jaguars @ Chargers
    The Jaguars might surprise people because they're finally starting QB Bortles. But he's still starting behind a shitty OL, and against a legitimate playoff contender in the Chargers.
    Chargers by 11

    Falcons @ Vikings
    QB Bridgewater is starting for the first time vs the Falcons, and might have a decent game cuz that defense isn't much to write about. But can the Vikings keep up with that Falcons offensive machine? Even at home?
    Falcons by 3

    Shame of the Week

    Buccaneers @ Steelers
    The Buccaneers will make this closer than 56-14, but not enough to steal a win. They just plain suck.
    Steelers by 13

    Last week: 9-7
    Season to date: 29-19
  15. Post on NFL 2014 Week 3 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Another tough week spells another 10-6 record. It just feels like it gets harder and harder to pick winners every week.

    Regardless... Bring on week 3!

    Thursday Game of the Week

    Buccaneers @ Falcons
    The Bucs already stink, and they just lost their best defender in DT McCoy. They just don't have enough horses to pull an upset on the road vs the Falcons. QB Ryan is more confident at home.
    Falcons by 9

    Game of the Week

    Broncos @ Seahawks
    Superbowl revenge games are tricky. Even though the Seahawks stumbled last Sunday, that doesn't mean it'll be an easy win for the Broncos, cuz they have their own problems - letting teams back into the game. Their pass defense still needs work. Moreover, this matchup is in Seattle, where the Seahawks are nearly invincible. The score will be much closer than that 35 point blowout loss, if Manning exploits the Seahawks' defense with TE Thomas like the Chargers did with TE Gates.
    Seahawks by 3

    Same of the Week

    Chargers @ Bills
    The resurgent Bills are 2-0 thanks to C. J. Spiller's dynamic running. Will that be enough vs a West Coast team in San Diego, who are pulling a Jekyll and Hyde act: sloppy vs Arizona and world beaters vs Seattle? Expect QB Rivers to pull this out in the clutch.
    Chargers by 1

    Ravens @ Browns
    New Browns vs Old Browns. The Ravens bounced back against the Steelers, but the Browns may be for real: they have a running game and a stout defense that can tire out the Ravens.
    Browns by 3

    Titans @ Bengals
    The Titans are completely unpredictable, capable of upsetting a heavily favored team on the road, as well as coming out flat at home. Moreover the Bengals look great after 2 weeks, and won't need super WR A.J. Green to beat the Titans.
    Bengals by 6

    Cowboys @ Rams
    The Rams' stubborn defense can rattle QB Romo into mistakes. Dallas, yet another up & down team, can control the game with RB Murray, but that will mean the score is low enough for the Rams to steal.
    Cowboys by 1

    Packers @ Lions
    The Lions' homefield adavntage won't be enough to mask their problems at cornerback, which is instant death in facing a superior QB in Rodgers. Dynamic WR Megatron and RB Bush will keep the score close, but the Lions aren't ready.
    Packers by 6

    Foreskins @ Eagles
    Will the Eagles need to spot the Foreskins 10 to 14 points before they decide to start playing? Then again, backup QB Cousins may be easier to game-plan than RG Knee. Moreover, QB Foles will pick apart that weak Skins secondary completely clean.
    Eagles by 7

    40 Whiners @ Cardinals
    If the Cards follow the Bears' gameplan, by being disciplined and never blitzing QB Kapernick, they'll expose him. But QB Palmer might not be ready to go again, which means the 49ers are facing a backup QB Stanton. And That's. All. She. Wrote.
    40 Whiners by 3 if Stanton plays.

    Steelers @ Panthers
    The Panthers have beaten expectations that they will regress, and will continue against the Steelers. The Panthers are slowing returning to full health, whereas the Steelers are slowly realizing that they suck. Just 9 points in the last 6 quarters?
    Panthers by 7

    Bears @ Jets
    Bears came back from behind last Sunday to win, whereas the Jets blew a lead and lost. Which means nothing for this matchup, other than the fact that the Jets will continue to shoot themselves in the foot. The Bears outgained the Bills and committed fewer penalties, but they turned the ball over and choked in OT. Once they stopped turning it over, they beat the 49ers in a comeback win. Plus the Jets have nobody to cover two great WRs in Marshall and Jeffrey.
    Bears by 6

    Lame of the Week

    Texans @ Giants
    The Texans are a pleasant surprise, and the Giants are a embarrassment. Another surprise win for the Texans, and another inexplicable loss for the Giants.
    Texans by 3

    Colts @ Jaguars
    At 0-2, the Colts have blown their margin for error. They'll have to fight tooth and nail just to get back to .500 and sad-sack Jacksonville is the perfect place to start.
    Colts by 11

    Vikings @ Saints
    The Saints are 0-2 for different reasons, and against teams that sucked last year. So far, they've been self-destructive (blown coverages, ill-timed penalties, etc., etc) Lucky for them, they're facing a team completely distracted by scandal in the Vikings. And best of all -- the Saints are back at home.
    Saints by 4

    Chiefs @ Dolphins
    Every week, the Chiefs lose a key player (LB Johnson in week 1 and Rb Charles in week 2). The Dolphins will add another player to that ledger.
    Dolphins by 3

    Shame of the Week

    Raiders @ Patriots
    The Raiders have no business being on the same field as the Patriots. Plain. and. Simple.
    Patriots by 16
  16. Post on NFL 2014 Week 2 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    What a great opening week! And starting the new season with 10-6 in the most difficult week isn't half bad!

    Thursday Night Game of the Week
    Steelers @ Ravens
    QB Rothlisberger, WR Brown, and RB Bell all had huge games last week. The Ravens? Not so much even tho they did move the ball, came back and tied the Bengals. Plus the Ravens are horribly distracted with that scandal.
    Steelers by 3

    Game of the Week
    Eagles at Colts
    Sunday proved that the Colts with QB Luck are never really out of a game. But he needs to be solid for 4 quarters to beat a powerful Eagles offense.
    Eagles by 3

    Same of the Week

    Dolphins @ Bills
    After slapping around the Patriots, can the Dolphins continue against a team with superior offensive line? The Bills ran for 197 yards on the hapless Bears.
    Bills by 3

    Lions @ Panthers
    The Lions won't find the Panthers' defense as easy to bully as the Giants last Monday night. QB What's-His-Face won't find that much time to scramble and buy time. Plus QB Newton will be back at 100%.
    Panthers by 4

    Falcons @ Bengals
    Potentially a Game of the Week. The Bengals will realize the huge gap between their AFC and the NFC after this game, after trying to corrall what might be the best WR corps in the league. After all they had trouble slowing down QB Flacco and his guys on Sunday.
    Falcons by 3

    Seahawks @ Chargers
    The great QB Rivers will challenge the Hawks deep and often, but it won't be enough for an upset win. The Chargers don't have enough on defense to slow down that versatile offense.
    Seahawks by 6

    Chiefs @ Broncos
    The Chiefs hardly look ready last Sunday. They'll look even less so vs the Broncos.

    Broncos by 14

    Lame of the Week
    Saints @ Browns
    The Browns are unlucky to schedule their game vs the Saints after they lost to a hated rival. This will be over by halftime.
    Saints by 13

    Patriots @ Vikings
    After a rough second half last Sunday the Pats are ready for a bounce back. But WR Patterson and RB Peterson could exploit that overrated Patriot defense, so it'll be close.
    Patriots by 6

    Cardinals @ Giants
    Giants totally shit the bed Monday night, and the Cardinals will take full advantage.
    Cards by 7

    Jets @ Packers
    QB Rodgers will resume his legendary status vs a weaker team than that almighty Seahawks defense.
    Packers by 9

    Bears @ Forty-Whiners
    The 49ers will run through, over, and around that laughably poor Bears defense for 60 minutes. Despite major defections from their world class defense, they easily controlled the Cowboys last Sunday. The Bears hardly have anything better to offer.
    Forty Whiners by 10

    Shame of the Week
    Cowboys @ Titans
    QB Locker will look like a hall of famer vs that suckass Cowboys defense. Plus the Titans completely stoned a decent Chiefs offense. If they control RB Murray, it'll be a laughter.
    Titans by 9

    Jaguars @ Foreskins
    The Jaguars are much better than most think; the Foreskins are much worse than many think. That spells another loss for Washington.
    Jaguars by 3

    Rams @ Buccaneers
    The Rams will continue to embarrass themselves.
    Buccaneers by 7

    Texans @ Raiders
    DE Clowney is out for a month. Luckily for the Texans, and unluckily for the Raiders, JJ Watts is indestructible. Down goes QB Carr!
    Texans by 3
  17. East conference

    Indiana vs Atlanta

    If Atlanta's perimeter guys get hot and stay hot from outside, and the Pacers fail to utilize their size advantage, the Hawks can win.

    Because Indiana is still a powerhouse defensive team, & Atlanta is average on both offense & defense, the Pacers will win.

    Pacers in 5

    Miami vs Charlotte

    If Al Jefferson turns into Wilt Chamberlain and dominates Miami up front, with post play and on the boards, the Bobcats can win.

    Because this series is tailor made for LBJ, the Heat will not have trouble advancing. Expect several nuclear explosions from the King, who may be pissed that he's not the MVP this year.

    Heat in 4

    Toronto vs Brooklyn

    If Toronto can run and gun with Lowry & DeRozan, and out-athlete the Nets, they can win. They do have the right antidote because Brooklyn is now oriented from the outside-in.

    Because Brooklyn is full of playoff scarred vets, all primed for the money season, they'll move on.

    Nets in 6

    Chicago vs Washington

    If Wall & Beal play with confidence and focus, and Nene is healthy enough to overpower Noah, they can upset the Bulls.

    Because Coach Thibodeau will have the perfect defensive strategy for Washington, exploiting their impatience, the Bulls will advance to the next round.

    Bulls in 6

    West conference

    San Antonio vs Dallas

    If Dirk Nowizki reverts to his MVP peak, averages 30 & 15, & Ellis wreaks havoc, and their defense controls Parker, without doubling Duncan or leaving the Sharpshooters around the perimeter, Dallas can steal this series.

    Because San Antonio is utterly the superior team in every regard, and they're built to destroy Dallas, it'll be a sweep.

    Spurs in 4

    Oklahoma City vs Memphis

    If Z-Bo & Gasol the Younger control the interior & their outside shooters hit consistently, they can steal the series.

    Because KD & Rusty are two of the best players in this series, as well as the best duo in the league, Oklahoma City will not break a sweat more than once.

    Thunder in 5

    Los Angeles vs Golden State

    If the Splash Brothers hit everything & David Lee competently replaces the injured Bogut, they can steal this series.

    Because Coach Rivers has successfully changed the team's mindset & has them focusing on defense & half court plays, and Griffin has become the best player, they will advance.

    Clippers in 5

    Houston vs Portland

    If Howard controls both ends of the floor & Harden produces efficiently as the go to guy, they can win the series.

    Because Aldridge & Lillard will out score Howard & Harden, Portland will survive this series.

    Blazers in 7

  18. Post on NFL 2014 Super Bowl! in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Talk about the matchup to end all matchups here.

    The #1 offense vs the #1 defense.
    The #1 AFC team vs the #1 NFC team.
    The #1 MVP (Peyton Manning) vs the #1 Public Enemy (Richard Sherman)

    Should be a great game!