Wk 15, Steelers +3 at Bengals

No college pick requirement this week — i.e., you are not required to pick Army-Navy.

Nick Harlow and Hitthehorns split last week’s weekly.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

  • clayII

    Giants (-1.5) / Dolphins

    Both these teams suck, but the Dolphins suck more. Old red ass has been taking heat for coaching decisions in last 3 close losses, but the team seems to have his back so this seems like a goods spot on Monday night for them to ball out for coach. If Eli don’t throw picks they should be fine. Also I think being on the road is a plus for NYG here

  • pateslvrblk

    Giants essay:
    I read a preview comparing Odell Beckham to Jarvis Landry. Ok it was about their hair styles. But the click-bait headline worked (I clicked.) and so the exercise of comparing ODB 1100 yds, 80 recs, 10 TD to Landry’s 800/80/4 was rendered moot. Still it goes to show what the MNF marketing machine is up against trying to stir up interest in this game. Sure they’re both 5-7 and currently sit 10th and 11th in the playoff standings. But the difference lies in that a Giants win put them in a tie for their division lead where the Dolphins chances at wild card are pretty much zero. The game means more to the team with the classy organization with multiple ring wearing head coach and quarterback. I’ll ride with the class.

  • The Iron Sheik

    Saints
    Colts
    Broncos
    Packers
    Steelers
    Browns***

    Ok you know they have nothing to play for or even an ounce of self respect as professional athletes but these browns can rally for at least one last win for the season by beating the 49ers who are almost in the same boat. The key to the game is johnnie not making stupid mistakes like letting the ball slip out of the back of his hand and just play a conservative style offensive so the rest of the team can at least see he is trying to help the team win rather than playing like he wants traded. (And if I was him I would want out of this town and hope that some team will take a chance). Well it is sad to be a Browns fan again and as always we will curse the next first round draft pick.

  • Matt Borcas

    Bengals, 49ers, Lions, Titans, Giants.

    ESSAY/POTY: Patriots -3 over Texans

    After appearing to be a shoo-in for the AFC’s top seed for most of the season, the Pats have dropped two in a row and have been usurped by the Bengals and Broncos in the standings. They desperately need a win tonight in order to get back into first-round bye territory, and with Gronk set to play I really like their chances. I’m too lazy to look it up, but have the Brady-Belichick Pats ever lost three straight games? I seriously doubt it. James White has emerged as a respectable Dion Lewis replacement, and their pass rush has managed to stay effective despite some injuries on the d-line. Plus, Brian Hoyer’s been a little *too* good these past few weeks … he’s due for a regression to the mean similar to last year’s December swoon. Throw in the fact that Belichick is highly familiar with Bill O’Brien’s schematic tendencies and I feel good enough to make this my play of the year. Pats will surely cover three points and give me a precious six points in the Cheddar standings.

  • oxr

    All-Play Bengals -3 over Steelers

    Seahawks -10 over Ravens
    Lions PK over Rams – it’s either this or pick the damn Browns game

    Packers -7 over Cowboys

    Bills -1.5 over Eagles

    Essay Patriots -3 over Texans – Let’s just assume that the comprehensive special teams meltdown the Patriots suffered last week was a non-predictive event, and that we don’t have to pencil in two return TDs for Houston (currently ranked 32nd in special teams DVOA, for what that’s worth). I don’t care how many wide receivers get injured, the Patriots are still irritatingly good and would’ve easily covered against the Eagles if not for the aforementioned comprehensive meltdown. The Texans have obviously perked up a bit over the course of the last month, but I still think this line is a bit too low. The only question is whether J.J. Watt can win the game singlehandedly – as in, with one of his hands broken.

  • bupalos

    Essaying da bears this week against the Washington Racist Football Team. Da bears are da bears, which means little. The Washington Racist Football Team is The Washington Racist Football Team. Which means a lot. It means they are owned by a man who despite having every advantage and opportunity to do the right thing, instead opts for “heritage” and “history”. The real heritage and history of those favoring heritage over what’s right is that they hang around for a while and then lose. Which is what this guy’s in the process of doing and what his Washington Racist Football Team will do this afternoon.

  • trashycamaro

    Are we changing Seahawks line?

    • nope. seahawks +10 seems in line unless i’m missing something. know it was +13 for a couple days but looks back to around 10 now..

      • trashycamaro

        schaub out, clausen in.

  • STEELERS +3.

    JAGS PK.

    SEAHAWKS -10.

    RAIDERS +7.

    $$$ PATS -5.
    These guys haven’t been playing well, and the injuries don’t help, but gut says go with Belichick and the GOAT. The Pats don’t lose consecutive games often, and they don’t lose three in a row, like, ever. Even on the road, given the fact that the weather will be controlled and Houston’s offense hasn’t put up 30 points since October 18th, I think the Pats will be fine moving the football and will out-pace Hoyer’s squad by double digits.

  • thatsfine

    Bengals -3
    Seahawks -10
    Cowboys +7
    Niners +1.5
    Bucs -4
    Essay up in a minute

    • thatsfine

      Essay: Seahawks
      I can’t say it any better than others on the board here. Jimmy
      Clausen, off the street, for a depleted team, against the Seahawks
      finding their groove. Seattle already played Jimmy once this year and
      destroyed him. Even if Schaub makes it in, this is a team that needed a
      miracle to beat the Browns a few weeks back. 10 points on the road is a
      bunch, but not here. Seahawks will make it look easy.

      • thatsfine

        Mike, I need to switch the Niners and Seahawks in the entry form. Do I just resubmit or do you do it on your end?

        • resubmit and ill fix. i took me three months but now im sorting by name to check for dupes. durrr… [mike golic noises]

  • 1) Seahawks -10
    2) Broncos -7
    3) Lions PK
    4) Giants -1.5
    5) Bengals -3 *All-Play*
    6) Patriots -3 *Essay*

    Essay: Pats -3

    Whether Gronk plays or not I don’t see this Patriots team losing three in a row. I definitely don’t see them losing their second Sunday Night game in three weeks. Of course, they could win and still not cover, but I don’t see that being the case either. Last week the Eagles just wanted it more. Sometimes a team just wants it more than the other and takes it, even with a large talent gap (remember in 2010 or thereabouts when Mangini shocked the Saints and then a week or so later the Patriots?). I chalk last week’s Patriot’s loss up to that more so than the lack of talent surrounding Brady. Sure, the lack of playmakers is going to prevent them from putting points on the board every time they touch the ball, but it’s not going to stop them from putting enough on the board to win and cover this game.

    • Broncos lose and Bengals lose… Pats with a chance to take sole possession of the AFC lead… Let’s make this my pick of the year in an effort to salvage this week’s disappointment.

  • Concierge no essay week.

  • CLEinMPLS

    Falcons
    Chargers
    Eagles
    Broncos
    Steelers
    ***Pats
    Pats coming off a loss going on the road to play a decent Texans team that is being led by Hoyer. My guess is Hoyer has a complete dog of a game here. The Pats are still littered with injuries, but it sounds like Gronk made the trip, so I am guessing he goes. The Pats are at their best when playing with a chip on their shoulder, and after the Denver disaster and the loss last week, they are coming out for blood tonight. Been another rough cheddar year, so I am going down fighting with the NFL’s best here.

  • Dave Borcas

    Vikings +7.5 (winner)
    Packers -7
    Seahawks -10
    Bills -1.5
    Bengals -3 (all play)
    Patriots -3 (essay)
    Talk about subplots in a game, this one has them all. O’Brien takes on his former boss. Hoyer faces his former team. Wilfork faces the team that got him some rings. Edelman won’t play but will Gronk make his return? JJ Watt wants to take down Tom Brady on Monday night. John Gruden will verballyl fellate Tom Brady all night, but how will he treat Brian Hoyer. I do see The Patriots bouncing back from a sloppy game on both sides of the ball this week. It will be interesting to see what Billy Boy has in store to contain Deandre Hopkins. Patriots get healthy with a two TD win.

  • Chris Schroeder

    -1.5 New York Giants @ Miami
    -7.5 Carolina vs. Atlanta
    -11 Seattle @ Baltimore
    -3 New England @ Houston
    All Play: -3 Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh 51

    Essay: -7 Green Bay vs. Dallas
    Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Stadium: Lambeau Field
    Time: 4:25 PM EST
    Broadcast: FOX
    Fun Fact: Green Bay is the smallest city to host an NFL team.
    The Game: The Cowboys season has been so awful. Living with an avid Dallas fan has been entertaining. It has gotten to the point the chosen one can’t bare to even turn on the game anymore. Its really hard to think that the Cowboys are still a long shot to make the playoffs with so much mediocrity in the NFL this season. Dallas isn’t in the driver seat but mathematically they could still win the division with some help. Now that’s crazy!!….Both the offensives are struggling. Dallas will continue to struggle until next season when T.Romo returns after his collarbone injury. On the other hand Green Bay with A.Rogers and the offensive struggling has been a surprise. Cowboys defense keeping them in the game, look for a low scoring game. No home field advantage at Lambeau today with temps hovering around 45 degrees. Rogers will find a way to score and cover the 7 points.

  • Harbaugh Handshakes

    Bucs -4
    broncos -7
    Eagles -1.5
    Pats -3
    Bengals -3
    Pick of the year. Browns -1.5
    The Browns are a disgusting franchise that offers their fans no hope for the future, but even they should beat the miners today. The miners have one of the worst offenses in the league and are traveling east for the second week in a row. I’m hoping Johnny can hook of with Benjamin for a few big plays and put 21 up on this pathetic defense. The miners have no business’s putting more than14 up in the Browns. I’m going to let me season ride or die with the brownies. Browns 24 -49ers 14

  • limaontinder

    I don’t know that the Mangini storyline is the best reason to take the Niners in Cleveland today, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. We’ll roll with that plus Frowns’ love of Mangenius and keep working on the assumption that there isn’t a single good thing happening in Cleveland/Berea these days. We’ve heard lots of folks say they wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny wins this afternoon and that’s fair, but the last month has also shown that there’s no bad outcome that wouldn’t be completely expected or believable when it comes to the team that barks together. They go down hard today.

    Otherwise:
    Bucs
    Eagles
    Steelers
    Jets
    Skins

  • HitTheHorns

    1) Essay: 49ers +1.5

    Any other year, any other team, this is an automatic Browns pick. A not good West Coast team with nothing to play for, traveling for a 1pm kickoff in a 65% empty stadium. Public backing SF. This Browns team, for me, is redefining the absurd. The projected Phil Dawson 50 yarder to win it seems too simple; maybe he’ll tackle Marlon Moore at the 2 yard line after a 98 yard return with no time left or something. The A-Z guys made all the same points I could make here: Yes, JFF is going to play balls out trying to prove people wrong today. Other than the guys that need good game tape to stay in the NFL, are the other 52 going to be fighting that same battle? Plus Mangini, plus a trip to Seattle looming. Going to be a lot of eye rolls on our sideline if he starts the money sign bullshit in this game.

    2) Steelers +3

    3) Texans +3

    4) Raiders +7

    5) Falcons +7.5

    6) Buccaneers -4

  • squeekycleen

    Essay: Rams: Just like me, the Rams have hugely underachieved this season. There is flat out no reason for this team to be 4-8. I understand their offense is limited, but this defense is loaded with high end talent and has only been average to above average. For everyone being all over Fisher’s nuts, he has been flat terrible with the Rams, but will probably be brought back given Kroenke is a walking corpse as an owner – unless of course that means trying to walk to LA, which he’s really good at. Regardless, the Lions still stink, and had their borderline playoff spot blown up last week in spectacular fashion. If the Rams can’t win this game, then they should can Fisher immediately afterward.

  • trashycamaro

    Colts PK at Jags

    Eagles +1.5 over Bills

    Bears -3 over Redskins

    Lions PK over Rams

    Pats -3 at Texans

    AP, Essay Steelers +3 at Bengals Rough week last week as I went 0 for NFL, hitting only on the Clemson AP, dropping me out of the top 10 for the first time in a while. Time to get the groove back. Unfortuately, I do not see may clear winners in this week’s slate, just some value in the picks. This game, however, I do see as a clear winner. With Rapey Ben back, the Steelers are one of the class offenses of the NFL. On the season, including starts by Landry and vick, the offense is #3 in the league per Football Outsiders. Their defense is stronger than it has been in recent years, coming in at 13 overall. That said, the Bengals do come in as the #1 overall team, with the #1 offense and a top 10 defense.

    Digging a little deeper, the Steelers defense is not good against #1 WRs which bodes poorly against AJ. However, they are top 10 against both TEs and RBs out of the backfield, important weapons in the Bengals offense. Combined with the strength of the Steelers #4 rush defense, the Bengals will have to rely on the Red Rifle to make plays down the field. At the end of the day, I am comfortable fading Dalton’s down field big play ability in a big game.

    • trashycamaro

      If Seahawks-Ravens line stays at -10 in light of Clausen starting, I will make the follwoing changes

      Remove Pats over Texans Pick

      Remove Eagles over Bills

      Change Steelers over Bengals to regular all play (non-essay)

      Add Seahawks -10 over Ravens as new essay. Really not a lot needs to be said for this essay. Seattle is the number 2 overall team in DVOA, ranking top 10 in offense, defense, and special teams. Baltimore is ranked 15, thanks in part to a very strong #2 ranking in special teams, while offense and defense are both in the 20s. The “strength” of the Baltimore offense has been their #13 rushing attack with a passing attack #26. Of course, the bulk of the passing numbers came with Flacco at the helm and the rest with a reasonably talented Schaub who has been with the team all year. Sub in Clausen who still is learning the playbook against a Seahawks team for whom every game is a must-win and you have a recipe for disaster. Really the only reason not to go with Seattle here is they are not going to get the free pick-6 from Schaub as would normally be expected.

  • jdoepke

    I miss the college games already, me pickinng NFL games is a scary thing this year so you should all probably fade the following picks.

    Bengals -3 (AP)
    Falcons +7.5
    Bucs -4
    Browns -1.5
    Texans +3

    Essay:
    Raiders +7

    This is the game Osweiler comes back to earth. Broncos are hot with him but it will end at some point and I’m betting on today. Just over half the bets on Denver but 78% of money on Raiders. Raiders outright 23-20 at the gun!

  • CLEVTA

    1. Steelers +3
    2. Falcons +7.5
    3. Bucs -4
    4. Raiders +7
    5. Jets -7
    6. Browns -1.5 (essay): major contrarian play here. Nobody in the world is picking the Browns and I get it. But geeze we are talking the crappy 49ers here. Whenever you can essentially just take a pick em on a west coast team having to play on est in b2b weeks with shitty Blaine Gabbert and Shaun Draughn as your starting QB/RB combo while the rest of the public is pounding your team you have to do it right? Um no. As bad as the Browns are its still the Niners. Because they won one road game this entire season everyone loves this team now? They have been out scored by an average margin of 16 pts/gm on the road and yes they are scrappy as big dogs but not against a team that doesn’t look at themselves as the favorite. Tight game here but Johnny makes enough plays deep to Benjamin in good weather to win the game. If this was in bad wind or snow I wouldn’t touch it but Bae needs her warm weather to sit in the suite and she got it. Go Browns

  • Its Only Money

    Browns
    Bears
    Chiefs
    Patriots
    All Play: Bengals

    Essay: Jets

    I love the Jets this week. I think thier defense will give the Titans fits in NJ. The Titans will have to rely on Mariota’s arm and that just can’t be counted on at this early stage in his career. The Jets will prevent the Titans from getting any running game going and force the action through the air. I look for the Jets to create turnovers and capitalize on them. Fitzpatrick will continue to do enough to get things done for the Jets. I think they can start to see the playoffs in their future and are liking what they are seeing. The Jets know they need to keep winning to keep pace with the Chiefs and Steelers. This will be a week for them to get a game up on Pittsburgh.

  • jpftribe

    This is the week, the big week when the Browns finally figure it all out.

    Orchard and Mingo will emerge as dominant OLB’s that can stop the run, rush the passer and drop into coverage, per a brilliant scheme by the young O’Neil. Our shutdown corners will smother the 49’ers receiving corp, but of course it will rarely be needed, as the front line pass rush will get to the QB early and often after having forced them into the pass by shutting down the run.

    Special teams will play error free, and will have discovered that a touchback is better than a 24 yard return that starts 7 yards deep. Gilbert will emerge as a dangerous weapon on punt returns.

    Flip has fully implemented the Manziel package, RFL (run for your life). McCown carried the torch for as long as a 36 year old can be expected, now it’s Manziel’s chance to shine. We’ve fully minimized the need for first and second read accuracy by having the smurfs get blown off the ball in the first five yards. With Manziel running around in the backfield, we are sure to find plenty of busted coverages, ala Marlon Moore’s touchdown.

    Crow will be powering through holes whilst Duke will be heavily featured in the second half, after Crow has worn them down.

    Pettine will say after the game, “We knew we were close”…….

    BHAWWWAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! This team is so bad they should be getting points in the Fiesta Bowl.
    49’ers plus the unimaginable points.

    Bengals – Really like the Bengals in this game. As bad as the Browns were, credit the Bengals for installing gadget plays to practice before the big Steelers game.

    Patriots – Line seems really low to me. Belicheck has Hoyer’s number. Gronk is back and this is a really good team.

    Seahawks – Lot of points to give away, but Jimmy Clausen is starting for the Ravens and there is no Steve Smith to throw to.

    Eagles – It’s that time of year where the Rex Ryan teams mail it in……

    Lions – They are due for a bounce……….

  • Petefranklin

    Drunk but…
    Steelers
    Lions
    Bucs
    Giants

    • Petefranklin

      Essay Lions

      This lion team defines the opposite of the Clowns, a team that started out getting KO’d early then fighting back into near playoff contention. That is why Caldwell is a bonafide NFL head coach and Pettine is not, Caldwell sucks at X’s and O’s but managed to keep control of the team and have them step up their play as the season has progressed.I like the fact that they should have a chip on their shoulder from last weeks loss, play with extra rest,and get to face Case Keenum and a banged up Ram O Line. Maybe Jeff Fisher gets to turn down the Browns when they come calling in January, and for that I will be thankful, as we can fuck up our own first round picks without his help, Thank You.

    • Petefranklin

      Bears -3

  • ChuckKoz

    Seattle -10 (Ravens)
    Patriots -3 (Texans)
    Jets -7 (Titans)
    Chargers +10 (Chiefs)
    AP: Bengals -3 (Steelers)
    ESSAY: Giants -1.5 (Dolphins)
    Two teams with the same record, but it seems Giants have much more to play for. Moreover the Dolphins offense has been so inept since October, that I can’t see them outscoring the Giants offense, which is still explosive even since Victor Cruz went down. There is that concern that the Dolphins muster some extra something on Monday night, but ends up Dolphins are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 Monday games….and 0-8 ATS in their last 8 games in December. So basically the Dolphins suck and I am banking on the Giants to rebound from some recent/close/tough losses.

  • FTCMikeD

    Remainder of selections:
    Panthers
    Chiefs
    Jets
    AP: Bengals
    *****
    The Broncos are revived with Bross Ockweiler, err I mean Brock Osweiler. Peyton was fading fast and hardly the player he used to be. With the young QB Brock, the whole team seems to be rejuvenated. Their Defense is lights out, and they are playing the offense that Gary Kubiak wants to: run the ball and play action. The Donkeys should be able to take care of business at home against a shaky Raiders team.

  • The last Browns HC to get the team to play in December will be back in the stadium tomorrow for the first time since he was ousted by the criminal Holmgren at the end of the 2010 season. He’ll have the best player in modern Browns history with him. I’ll be at the stadium tomorrow for the first time all season to pay my respects to Eric Mangini and Phil Dawson which makes my essay choice a no-brainer, as much as it’s been 7 weeks and 6 games in a row that the Browns haven’t covered the spread. Niners LB Aaron Lynch has emerged as a young star in Mangini’s defense but is questionable due to a concussion. They will really miss him if he doesn’t end up playing. Anyway, it should be a really special day at the Factory of Sadness.

    Re-post: http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/2015/12/the-browns-are-a-supernatural-conflagration-of-disappointment-and-despair/

    ***Niners over Browns***

    Also: Eagles, Bengals, Cowboys, Texans, Cards (L).

  • DQuatts

    Cleveland
    Tennessee
    Miami
    Detroit
    Dallas
    Pittsburgh

    Essay on its way. Thanks!

    • DQuatts

      I’Il take Miami as my essay. Thank you!

      • DQuatts

        Here’s why I like the Dolphins tonight. They are balanced. They are starting to play to their potential on offense and they have a defense that has unlimited upside. They have talent. They have playmakers. They are playing at home on Monday Night Football. With the NFC East so tight and Washington and Philly already winning, I believe the Giants move away from the division lead. I see Miami winning this game tonight. Do they still have a chance to sneak in the playoffs? Sure do!….just ask them. Go Phins.

  • FlyHighCharlieFrye

    Steelers

    Army

    Texans

    Falcons

    Niners

    Seahawks -10

    Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen.Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen.

    Are we there yet?

    Streaking vs. reeling. That defense vs. Clausen, again. The Ravens are banged up, can’t score, can’t defend the pass. Jesus has willed Russ Wilson to 3 TD passes in three straight games. They need the game, the Ravens need to go home. Hate laying this many but have to.

    Jimmy Clausen.Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen. Jimmy Clausen.

  • Jmacdaddio

    Niners +1.5
    Texans +3
    Panthers -7.5
    Jets -7
    Bengals -3
    Eagles +1.5 (Essay)

    I can’t think of a bigger confidence booster than beating the Pats up in Foxborough. Improbably the Eagles are in the running for the NFC Least title. True, they needed defensive and special teams scores, however they all count. Once again the Bills are fading after being a sleeper pick. The LeSean McCoy soap opera is a non-factor. I figured the Eagles were favorites by a field goal, not a home underdog. Good thing this week is a non-mandatory college week – Navy this year is so far ahead of Army that a romp is likely. Until Navy sends in their second and third units and Army comes back to cover with meaningless scores late in the game.

  • Army!

    • Bengals, Chiefs, Bills, Panthers, and Texans for the essay.

      Will be back with an essay no doubt stressing Texans getting FG at home, playoff contention, DeAndre Hopkins, and Bill OBrien’s Belichickian heritage, and specifically not about the Pats’ injuries or potential late-season slump.

      • Rarely do so many talking points on an essay reveal themselves so fast.

        1. playoff team: with the colts loss Texans are incredibly the leaders of AFC S.

        2. the better clemson WR than sammy hopkins is third in the league in receiving yds. behind jjones and abrown ; ahead of beckham and fitz. weird when you consider..

        3. the starting qb wasnt good enough for ray farmer. iggy’s own, native of north olmsted, gym rat dedicated to rehab on the acl tear suffered after gutting out helping the shitty 2012 chud browns to 7-3 start gets cut when fan boy owner and sycophant toady front office determine to throw out scout reports and defer to retarded arkansas qb coach with cell phone. christ. anyway in addition to being wildly COMPETENT, the guy works at his craft, studies hard and

        4. .. ALSO know belichick defensive schemes having played there for a couple years. speaking of…

        5. bill obrien knows belichick. it’s not true that belichick assistants dominate the pats but if you remove RAC from the mix, the record is 6-7 which is better than the population at large vs belichick. importantly, the belichick game planning mystique is negated through obrien’s having lived it.

        6. texans own the best defense vs 3rd down converts and by a wide margin. that said, pats’ offense is 2nd in third down converts.

        7. home dog gets a FG. seems like a lot of points to give on the road in a national game against a division leader.

        8.. pats injuries. dont really give a rats ass about edleman fo gronk or amendola. whatevr. i see nate solder on IR and marcus cannon taking LT against jj watt. i see a fourth rd rookie starting next to him at left guard. i see clowney looking to make a name on SNF and then there’s VINCE FUCKING WILFORK ready to do this dance.

        https://www.instagram.com/p/od_f_no1w8/

        it’s a lot in the aggregate. i dont think the pats suck and i dont think their steak was a mirage and i dont think theyre ‘slumping.’ just think this is a great matchup for houston.

  • super p forever:

    falcons +7.5 panthers
    tom brady -3 jj watt
    chiefs -10 chargers
    bills -1.5 eagles
    ap: steelers +3 cincinnati
    essay: seahawks -10 ravens

    How anyone is supposed to think about football when the following is going on is beyond moi:

    1) Cavs and Warriors are on a big cliched collision course for Christmas Day. The Warriors are going to be undefeated on the season at that point and the Cavs will be fully stocked at long last. Shump, Kyrie, Santa, etc.

    2) We’re mere years away from being able to rewrite our own DNA from the garage, if you’re of a mind to do some illegal stuff. Look up CRISPR, and then George Church, and then just get really happy about how you’ll be able to hack yourself soon.

    3) We’re in the final days of having to ever wait more than a year for a new Star Wars movie, and while we’ve only waited a decade for The Force Awakens, we’ve really been waiting for The Force Awakens for 30+ years. Pretty astounding. I have tickets for four (4) showings the in the first 3 days of release.

    I really wanted to essay the Browns, since they’re somehow both unwatchable and must-see at the same time, but we went with the Seahawks.

    I didn’t check their record but I know they’ve won at least one or two Super Bowls recently? I assume they’re gearing up for the Playoffs? I don’t know anything? Kylo Ren?

    • mmmmsnouts

      jinx

  • NAVY. One cheddar.

  • mmmmsnouts

    Now things get tough. I’m a college football specialist and try to pick as few NFL games in this contest as possible because a) I can barely stand to watch the NFL anymore and b) trying to figure out what these teams are going to do from week to week is a fool’s errand.

    Then again, I sucked balls all season in college so it’s not like these picks are going to be markedly worse than the ones that came before them.

    ALL PLAY: Steelers +3 vs. Bengals – went back and forth on this. Cincinnati gave away their two losses with bad game management and that’s enough to get me to pick the Steelers.

    Broncos -7 vs. Raiders
    Panthers -7.5 vs. Falcons
    Bucs -4 vs. Saints – I actually like this team, goddammit.
    Washington Football Team +3 vs. Bears – I mean the Bears lost at home to Blaine Gabbert and Jim Tomsula last week.

    ESSAY: Patriots -3 vs. Texans

    I agree with everyone who picked earlier and said they would have just written Rob Gronkowski 50 times in a row and made that their essay if it were allowed. He changes the Pats’ offense completely. And although I did pick the Eagles ATS last week, I thought it would be a game where the Pats would win with as little effort as possible. One of those 20-14 specials that Belichick has mastered throughout the years against overmatched teams. I did not expect an incredibly fluky loss where the Eagles scored three non-offensive touchdowns. That after a week in which the Patriots basically ran out of pass-catchers and lost in overtime. This is not a trend, this is not a downward spiral, they’re going to be fine.

  • Capitalgg

    All-play: Steelers +3 @ Bengals: when in doubt, take the points.
    1. Bills -1.5 @ Eagles
    2. 49ers +1.5 @ Browns
    3. Giants -1.5 @ Dolphins
    4. Bears -3 v. Redskins

    Fortune favors the bold, so this week it’s Army +21.5 v. Navy. I haven’t lost an Army-Navy pick since I’ve been doing Cheddar Bay, so this might be the year. But I’ve got a hunch that the Black Knights keep this one close before losing #14 in a row to their rivals. Navy’s head coach Ken Niumatalolo is set to leave for a chat in Provo after the game. Keenan Reynolds has to get over the Heisman snub. This is a definite throw-out-the-records game. So give 3 TDs plus seems a bit rich as Navy cruises by something like 18. GO NAVY. BEAT ARMY.

  • cwonder23

    Navy -21.5 vs Army
    Bears -3 vs Redskins
    Chargers +10 vs Chiefs
    Panthers -7.5 vs Falcons
    All Play: Bengals -3 vs Steelers – think this is the right number. Went back and forth on this one.
    Essay: Ravens +10 vs Seahawks

    The Seahawks are rolling and are the hottest team in the NFL right now. The Ravens could be starting Jimmy Clausen. However, I can’t resist the urge to take a double digit home underdog. The Ravens haven’t lost by more than 8 points all year which is why I took them last week. The fact that they are at home and playing the two cities decisive Super Bowl Seahawks tells me fans will show up and at least give the feeling of a great atmosphere. I have lived off of college football all season and now is my time to prove my salt with the NFL picks.

    • cwonder23

      *Two consecutive trips to Super Bowl Seahawks. Too excited about the Cubs getting Heyward I guess.

  • zarathustra

    Bengals -3
    Lions PK
    Giants -1.5

    Eagles +1.5
    I don’t put too much weight on beating an injury-riddled Patriots team last week and I won’t truly get on the Eagles bandwagon until Chip comes to his senses and brings in a qb that is a running threat (not too late to bring back Tebow for the stretch run; or for next year Kaeperick could be interesting), but nevertheless I like them vs the Bills. I can’t remember where I saw it, but the Eagles are something like 3-0 when Jason Peters plays and like 5-1 when all five starting o-linemen play. Again, don’t remember the specifics, but that was the general idea.
    There is a lot to like with the Bills, but if you go back and look at Rex’s teams since the start of ’12 you’ll find that most victories are followed by a loss. They are still incredibly undisciplined and on the road. They may win, but this number gives them way too much respect.

    Patriots -3
    Nothing original here. Hard to see them dropping three in a row, especially if Gronk is back. Right now they are so banged-up it is hard to consider them legitimate Super Bowl contenders, but there is that mystical experience I had–and recounted here last year–that the fates of the Patriots and Browns have been intertwined for 20 years and with the Browns seemingly at their nadir this year it can only mean that the Pats repeat….

    49ers +1.5***
    …which segues nicely with my essay pick.
    I don’t watch it anymore, but I used to love Big Brother. I mention this because there is an all-star game player in Berea who is playing in a proverbial house with a bunch of morons who don’t even know they are playing a game. That they are playing HIS game. Another comparison I like is to Littlefinger on Game of Thrones–the guy who manipulates and consolidates power amidst the surrounding chaos. I don’t like him because his game-playing was single-handedly–with an assist from Banner whom he quickly double-crossed–responsible for the Browns not hiring McDaniels when they hired Pettine and I believe that was a terrible mistake. I should say the potential silver-lining to having a Littlefinger in the building means there is at least somebody with a brain there so maybe it is a good thing that he should have more power as opposed to the sea of morons currently on hand. Nevertheless, presently chaos works to his benefit so I will wager it shan’t be subsiding any time soon.

    Since the strong finish in 2009–when the team actually had a good coach–the Browns have won a grand total of three games in December, zero since ’12. Yet, for some reason they are favored here. Sure the Niners aren’t very good and they are on the back end of a back-to-back and on the east coast for a 1pm game, but the Browns have quit…like they pretty much always do this time of year. It is a disease in that building. If the Browns want to hire a czar they should go the unconventional route and hire Phil Jackson if for no other reason for him to come in and smudge the shit out of the godforsaken place. (Kidding aside, football acumen really shouldn’t be a prerequisite for such a position. What they need is a good executive to properly organize and reduce inefficiencies within the firm. I would trust an experienced hedge-fund jerk over a Holmgren-type any day. Relatedly, the correlation between being a good coordinator and a successful head coach doesn’t seem to be very strong, yet teams only hire coordinators. Why? Because that’s what has always been done. Doesn’t seem like a very good reason to me, but I digress.)

    The Niners may not be great but they are at least moving in the opposite direction of yet another loathsome Browns team. Gabbert has been decent enough and the defense is starting to come together quite nicely. (Who is their coordinator again?) Here is a quote I came across from NaVorro Bowman:
    “I really see that we can really have something special here. Maybe it didn’t come as fast as we wanted it, but we definitely see the process. And it’s looking good for us.”

    The process. I love it.

    I do worry that Johnny will be putting in extra work this week in preparation for all of the exotic looks he’ll see Sunday. Just kidding. I don’t worry about that at all.
    My only real concern with this pick is Johnny-related though. Trying to look ahead to what could actually make this situation worse I see two possibilities. One is that Johnny looks good enough the next four weeks that they commit to him for next year. Sounds ridiculous, but you cannot rule out anything with this team. Or they stink as expected to close the season and use the number one pick on Goff. That would by far be worse than even semi-committing to Johnny for next year. That would mean commiting to a guaranteed bust for several years. That would definitely be the worse option so experience tells me that that is definitely what will happen. There is no hope.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I really enjoy that I only “not quite entirely unlike” understand 20% of your post.

      • zarathustra

        Fear not friend. My esoteric ramblings need not be a mystery to you. It has been foretold by the great ones that you too shall be an initiate. I will provide the coordinates for the abandoned warehouse where I’m domiciled. You only need bring a hair dryer, a 25 lb kettle bell, and some goats blood. I will provide the kool-aid. Please come, post-haste. It will all be so clear to you.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Grape Kool-Aid? I am in!
          There’s a strange one in the jungle
          and I think I hear him calling my name

    • What makes you so sure that Goff will be a bust?

      • zarathustra

        Mostly arrogance. This contest should have completely defeated it within me by this point yet it persists.
        My reasoning mostly comes down to this: name the successful nfl quarterbacks to come from that system. I love Mike Leach as much as anyone and I’m not really a “get off my lawn with your fancy spread offense” kind of guy, but the fact of the matter is that success in that type of offense doesn’t seem to translate well to the nfl. Goff is plenty talented and sure seems to have all of the tools, but he has spent the past three priceless years to a qb’s development with an 8 page playbook, not reading defenses like he would have in a more pro-style system, and throwing to a lot of wide open receivers which he won’t see on Sundays. This is the reason that last year I was so adamant that Jameis will be a stud in the nfl and Mariotta (I understand the chip kelly offense is incredibly different than the air raid, but it was a nontraditional offense by nfl standards nevertheless) would prove not worthy of a top pick. So under this thesis it probably doesn’t matter how talented you are if you don’t spend your most formative years preparing for the next level. Unfortunately, Goff hasn’t been doing that and he’s probably picked up some bad habits along the way that will probably mske success at the next level that much more difficult.
        Even putting that aside though, Goff may look the part and have big numbers (system) but what did he do against some of the better pac-12 defenses? Turned it over too much and his team lost every game, all of them blowouts save for the Utah game where he threw some like 5-6 interceptions if serves.
        Don’t know about the other guys, but I feel pretty strongly Goff will bring many years of yet more misery.

        • I’m not sure if we’re confusing the (Cal) Sonny Dykes’ spread with (Wazzu) Mike Leach’s Air Raid but Leach — I dont think — ever had a pro sized prototype QB before. He has now with with Luke Falk and I am all in for him in 2017. I pass on Goff too… I’m back on the trade-back-get-more-picks train so long as I still walk away with Laquon Treadwell.

          • zarathustra

            Trust me, I LOVE Luke Falk. My guess is that if you were to look back at my picks this year you will see a few Wazzus. I promise you there were twice as many in real life. I love him. I love Leach too. I’m definitely on them for the bowl and suspect I will be a lot next year too. I hope Luke Falk makes it. I just don’t think there is much precedent for it. And I’m not just thinking leach. I’m thinking any spread passing offense since Leach started it all like twenty years ago. I could definitely be wrong. I didn’t put a whole lot of research into it, but there have only been so many successful nfl qbs since then and I have a hard time thinking of any that came from that type of offense.

          • see i think there is a diff: when i think leach/air raid, i think coryell and that’s legit nfl offense. whereas briles-kelly-sumlin-dykes hurryup spreads,, notsomuch.

            we’re pretty much in violent agreement here.

          • zarathustra

            That’s an interesting point. Maybe a Leach qb will be the one to do it. He’s the smartest and surely most capable of it. I’m no expert of these offenses and don’t know a lot of how they differ beyond the general. I do know that I enjoy watching a Mike Leach offense flow and a Sonny Dykes offense kind of makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit. So maybe. Like I said I love Falk and hope he ultimately makes the transition to Sundays. I watched a pretty decent amount of Pac-12 this year, Cal very much included, and I think Goff will be a bust.

        • Thanks for clarifying.

          “[I]t probably doesn’t matter how talented you are if you don’t spend your most formative years preparing for the next level.”

          I’ve heard this before and it makes sense. I’m surprised we don’t hear about it more w/r/t recruiting wars over top QB prospects.

          • zarathustra

            It has since occured to me that Cam Newton confounds what I’m saying pretty spectacularly so it’s quite possible I’m full of shit with all of this. He got zero pro preparation in college. But, he is a physical freak so he might be an outlier.
            Regardless, in my opinion Goff is likely to need a lot of time and patience if there is to be any hope of him succeeding. I think his success is highly unlikely anyway, but it is completely unfathomable to me that the Browns of all teams would be able to develop him properly.

  • Petefranklin

    Cards

  • thatsfine

    Cards

  • Dave Borcas

    Vikings +7.5 tonight

  • GRRustlers

    Week 15 Picks

    Arizona (-7.5) over Minnesota – How are the Vikings 8-4? This is why we have stupid people on Twitter stating that the Browns are close.

    Navy (-21.5) over Army – Picks college game and remembers when Army/Navy was mandatory AP game. Get off my lawn.

    Eagles (+1.5) over Bills – Congrats to LeSean McCoy who has made Chip Kelly look really good this year. Also…the Eagles are going to the playoffs…one week after I invoked the name of Manny Acta and accused them of quitting.

    Bears (-3) over Redskins
    AP – Bengals (-3) over Steelers

    Essay Pick

    Gronkowski is back.

    I could just write that 34 more times and call this a night but it really is just that simple. He’s the single most dominating force in the NFL today. Even if he is at 75% it changes everything on the field. Add this to the fact that Bill spends the entire week praising JJ while planning to completely make him irrelevant on Sunday is what makes the Patriots so good. The Bengals are a good football team. The Broncos are a good football team. The bottom line is that there is nobody who is going to stop the Patriots in the AFC if Gronk is upright. It sure as hell is not going to be the Houston Texans led by a former Mr. Hero spokesperson. I think I’ll have a Romanburger during this Sunday night bloodbath.

    Patriots (-3) over Texans

  • FTCMikeD

    Cards for 1 point tonight please

  • actovegin1armstrong

    **** Army ****
    This one is all about the kickers, Navy has 3 Place Kickers on their roster and the controversy of who to play has been tearing the team apart. I wish I could continue with a comic treatise on kicking worthy of this week, but other than Garo Yepremian’s famous pass, kickers are not even interesting enough to be funny.
    The smart kids expect this to be a blowout for the sailors, because they have been piling on the points all year to try to get their quarterback Keenan Reynolds The Heisman Trophy. There is a bit of a letdown now because guess what? That ship has sailed. Keenan Reynolds, like all quarterbacks, is overrated. Navy has never produced any good quarterbacks.
    Army also has a very talented receiver named Edgar Allen Poe, and while spelling is not his strong point, his more famous namesake went to West Point under an assumed name and he “became insane, with long intervals of sanity”. Army has also lost 13 in a row. This is not going to be Navy’s lucky day.
    Vikings
    AP – Steelers
    Falcons
    Browns
    Cowboys

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I do not want to edit something once it is posted, but to add to the essay, Army runs a triple-option offense, so does Navy. Even though Navy may have more talent, Army sees that attack on a regular basis. That should take a touchdown off of Navy’s 30+ point blowout. Wait…. I think I may need to redo the math and then try this again. (Not really MB. Army has this one.)

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Wow! I should change my pick just because of those Navy helmets. I really like those helmets.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Cardinals for one point tonight.

    • CleveLandThatILove

      Navy and their helmets today.

      • CleveLandThatILove

        Bengals
        Bills
        Broncos
        **Browns
        This pick is silly and kind of a joke, but probably less so than whatever will take place at First Energy today. But we all love to be entertained, so of course we’ll all be tuning in. Any hope I may have had in the people in charge of the Browns disappeared that night of the draft when I heard “Cleveland Browns select Johnny Manziel” coming from the TV. Silly and kind of a joke, on us. Of course, Manziel will probably win the rest of the games and somehow screw up next year’s draft as well. Enjoy the weather everyone!

  • actovegin1armstrong

    Vikings for one point please.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Brilliant using Sylvia Plath! She was more than just The Bell Jar. (I was trying to be clever, but certainly not succeeding with the dual meaning.)

  • Cards for one point.

  • PJD19

    I’ll take the cards over the vikes tomorrow night for one point, remainder of picks and form fill out to follow.

    • PJD19

      Let’s go ahead and make the cards my essay pick for this week. I’ve got about 5 minutes to write this essay, because my seven month old son Sam and I are on our first solo mission, while Mom is out town (he’s napping). Tonight is a big night for my wife as she bids farewell to her job of five years and a bunch of close friends. A couple hundred miles up I-90, Sam and will be rooting on the Cardinals, my favorite childhood team (before I really became a diehard fan for the local team). Going to be a great night, why not make it even greater with a pick of the week victory – a cherry on top, if you will. Cards are going to make a statement tonight that they’re serious contenders. The cards are too balanced on offense and defense for this one to stay close, as long as they don’t turn it over a bunch of times. Vikes are banged up. I’ve watched Carson Palmer play a few games this year and he looks like a top tier QB to me. John Brown has the best name in pro football.

  • Nick

    I just got paid my first $ from cheddar in 3 years, and I’m on my third bourbon, and it’s a heavy pour, and I’m coming off a 10 point week, and I just read an essay about kickers, so it’s time to make some plays.

    Essay Play Oakland +7 vs Broncos

    Sebastian Janikowski, aka the polish cannon, aka seabass, is Oakland’s kicker and has caused me to laugh the most in the last 10 years of watching football. He’s notorious for having a big leg, as well as a big ego (which is strange for a kicker) and is capable of making very long field goals, even 70+ yarders. So at least once a year, Oakland will close out a half on a drive around midfield, and the camera guy will zoom in on Seabass warming up on the sidelines, and you can just feel how excited he is in preparation to try to make a super long field goal. For about 30 seconds, we’ll get super extended leg stretches, and he still wears the 1 bar facemask helmet from 1960 which completely makes the look. It usually, almost always, goes horribly wrong, just like my use of commas, and of course it’s never Janikowski’s fault either, and I can be found in tears laughing on my couch. So here’s to Oakland giving Denver a piece of Janikowski’s foot in Mile High.

    Bears -3 vs Skins……Robbie Gould……good as gold….
    Giants -1.5 vs Fins
    Lions over Rams
    Bengals -3 vs Steelers
    Saints +4 vs Bucs

    • actovegin1armstrong

      If you were sober that could not be considered an essay either. (By the way, lost a bet and had to switch from my beloved, cheap, rot-gut gin to Bulleit Bourbon for a week. It was good to go a week without drinking. Did the local banjo players make you start drinking whiskey when you moved?)

      • Nick

        I’m trying to become a banjo player myself and that has caused me to drink more because it is really, really hard. I also travel to Kentucky a lot for work and so bourbon comes with the territory quite literally. I’m all about the rye’s lately, I drink mainly Willet, Bulleit Rye can still be found for under $30 in some places, and that is a great deal.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          After you master the banjo, of course you must begin rigorous training in Cat Juggling.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          “I’m trying to become a banjo player myself”
          Why are you throwing this amazing pick-up line into the ether? You are married to a genius and goddess. Please keep the good lines under wraps for us single guys.

  • agnesbojaxhiu

    An early football memory of mine was watching Adam Vinatieri kick the game winning field goal in the super bowl (I don’t know which one-he did it twice). I was wondering why he couldn’t be the MVP when one of the announcers also commented on that saying “why can’t a kicker be your hero?” I was pretty happy with that as it seemed like he was giving me permission to continue my love of kickers. My idea is that if you have someone who can score points on your team, you should let him or her score points. (Adam has the NFL record for the most post season points scored-pretty good for an undrafted South Dakotan- he went to high school with a doctor whose husband I used to work with so it is almost like I know him-too bad he is not on a team that can get the ball within 50 yards of the end zone very often). This past week has been one of my favorite as a football watcher (not as a football voter though-now that I have tasted lobster I am unsatisfied with anything less than a perfect week) as so many rare football plays occurred. The Ravens’ blocked field goal game-winning touchdown, the blocked punt touchdown return for the Eagles and then the Saints made history with their blocked extra point return for two points. What an exciting week. It really makes having a kicker with a good leg and nerves of steel a key asset to winning games-if you have the guts to use him. This week many of my votes have great kickers. The Seahawks Hauschka has made 95.7% of his FGA with a 10/11 record on 40+ yard attempts; the Giants Josh Brown has the highest % FGM of anyone with 25 FGM or more this year, but the vote on my list with the best kicker is the Lions. Matt Prater is the only kicker in the NFL this season with 100% success on field goal attempts including 4/4 from 50+ yards. The Rams on the other hand have the worst kicker. Good stuff. Here is to hoping these teams give their kickers good ball positions. Cheers

    Here is the breakdown of my votes and their kickers FBM/FGA%

    49ers 94.7% vs Brown 90.5%
    Seahawks 95.7% vs Ravens 78.8%
    Chargers 87% vs Chiefs 81.3%
    Giants 96.2% vs Dolphins 80%
    Steelers 90.9% vs Bengals 85.7%
    Lions 100% vs Rams 65.2%

    • actovegin1armstrong

      I like it, and to quote my favorite movie, “you know I love you”, but that cannot count as an essay. An essay should be about football teams and football players, not about guys from “kick the ball and pretend you are hurt”.

    • bupalos

      Obviously this season has been a complete disaster and no one who matters cares about this voting contest thing anymore, but Agnes Bojax Hiu continues to be the revelation that redeems all these dark days.

      “the vote on my list with the best kicker is the Lions”

      That is poetry people. Makes my whole brain-pan tingle.

      • Don’t forget this gem from two weeks ago: “If your ball position is decent, trying for a fair catch kick might be a radical way to score a few points.”

Skip to toolbar