Wk 18 — no all play!

No all play this week.  Lines for other games up tomorrow.

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Actually let’s lock in tomorrow’s games too.Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 9.40.33 AM

“Betting closed” lines subject to review.  In other words, don’t use that line until confirmed here.  Also for Wednesday games, use the ‘color’ images posted above.

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113 Responses

  1. Tron says:

    Help us Jim Kanicki. You’re our only hope…

  2. thatsfine says:

    Today I woke up to snow on the ground, a rare treat for a native Ohioan living in Portland, OR. I’m taking the kids out to raise some hell (as much as possible in 1-2″ of snow) this morning, missing all of the early game action. This afternoon I’m watching the games with Bailey’s, coffee, and three kids napping because they will be exhausted. Best of luck to those still with playoff hopes, weekly prize chances, and those who just aspire to be better than average at handicapping football games.
    Seahawks +6.5
    Vikings +3.5

  3. Petefranklin says:


    New york Giants
    This could have been a good year for the Giants except for some major malfunctions. The coaching staff and Eli blew some games they should have won. I guess i would fire Coughlon if I was Giants managemenr so this will be his swan song today. Eli will get his shit together and send him out a winner. The Eagles are looking to get out of Dodge as fast as they can. They wont show up for LaMotte represented Shurmer. Giants by 20.

  4. Dan Whalen says:

    JETS. hoping they send Pittsburgh home, even though I love watching 84.
    SKINS. Cowboys favored by more than a FG? I’ll take the points even though it’s a meaningless game for Washington.

  5. squeekycleen says:

    Essay: Jacksonville Jaguars: Easy to get wrapped up in “motivational” angles at this time of the year, as a lot of teams have nothing to play for from a standings/playoffs perspective. This flat does not work. In fact, it works against you, because it’s built into the line and the public overvalues it. Last weekend is a classic case in point, with double digit favorites all over the place (those lines would have been half what they were had those games been played a few weeks earlier) and one after another did not sniff covering. Week 17 is somewhat trickier, given teams will rest players, but similar things will happen. The Jaguars have shown some positive signs this year, while anyone who is keen about laying nearly a TD (or a TD depending on when you played this) with Weeden and co. needs a reality check.

  6. pateslvrblk says:

    Jets Rams Steelers***

    Essay Steelers -10
    It’s simply going to be a grim chore showing up Sunday for the Browns. Half filled stadium. Steelers fans outnumbering Browns fans. Of the rest, the OSU fans will cheer for the six Buckeyes on Steelers’ roster. Top draft on line for Browns while Steelers playing for a playoff spot. Two time SB winner Roethlisberger vs Austin “The-Rams-cut-me-in-favor-of-Sean-Mannion-and-Case-Keenam” Davis. I started to go back and chart the Steelers’ season enders for score and what coaches got fired post game but got bored with the task and checked out much like Gipson and Schwartz and probably Mack and even Craig ‘youre going to miss, YES ME, when im gone’ Robertson will do on the historic grounds of “First Energy Stadium” field today. And I still can’t believe it’s ok for a publicly-overseen utility to burn cash — $100,000,000 over 17 years — for naming rights. You want a curse Cleveland? There’s your curse: your electric bills are funding Jimmah and Dee’s next shingle style cabin on Nantucket! “Comfortable home energizes and inspires…” — hey Jimmah, why don’t you have your fucking training camp there! How I long for the simpler days when private citizen Art Modell bought land in Strongsville then sold it back to Stadium Corp. CEO Art Modell. You think it can’t get worse? It can always get worse! Anyway sorry for the tangent — Steelers to cover and easily.

  7. Chris Schroeder says:

    – 5.5 Mississippi State vs North Carolina State
    + 10 Michigan State @ Alabama
    + 4.5 Florida vs Michigan 61

    + 9.5 Baltimore @ Cincinnati
    – 3 NY Jets @ Buffalo

    Essay: + 4 Washington @ Dallas
    Location: Arlington, Texas
    Stadium: AT&T Stadium
    Time: 1:00 PM EST
    Broadcast: FOX
    Fun Fact: The Dallas Cowboys team was established in 1960 as an expansion team.
    The Game: This has turned into the pride type game for the Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins have already clinched their birth into the playoffs. Some experts and Vegas for see Washington to rest some players. That’s what drew me back on this game, but remember how dysfunctional the Cowboys have been this entire year. That’s why I’m running with Redskins. Dallas will continue to have QB issues and can’t wait for next year to start.

  8. FTCMikeD says:

    NFL Picks

    Ah, it’s a new year for the Browns and the couching carousel takes another spin. Everything is pointing to a house cleaning by Jimmy. I’m not really sure what purpose it will serve other than to highlight what little patience he has for the next unlucky souls who should happen to stumble upon these jobs. Does he seriously think Peyton Manning wants to come here? That guy will have his pick of jobs, from football to media, why would he want anything to do with the Browns? Time for another round of first time GM pro personnel guy and coordinator dude. Also look for the stadium to be over halfway filled with Yinzers as their team has a decent shot at the playoffs. Johnny’s out and should be looking at real estate in Dallas because he won’t be here next year. Look for another end of season beatdown by our ‘rivals’ 45-6 Steelers.

  9. CLEVTA says:

    6. Lions +1

  10. clayII says:

    Steelers (-10) / Browns

    This line should be 27. No johnny, lame duck coach, trash dick defense vs Steelers high powered offense, 50% steeler fans at the game, oh and steelers need the game for playoff hopes. The worst professional franchise in the world, probably in history. it is statistically damn near impossible to draft any poorer than these idiots, the coaching staff is a joke, corrupt ass owner

  11. Matt Borcas says:

    WVU tonight please.

  12. DQuatts says:

    Arizona State
    Green Bay
    St. Louis
    San Diego***
    If ever a way to end a disappointing season for the San Diego Chargers, it’s to go into Denver and get a ‘W’. Living in Denver, this is a tough play to make against the home team, but I have seen San Diego play Denver tough in the Mile High City plenty of times in the past. Something about playing against Elway and Manning has made Phillip Rivers get to that next level for these games in Denver in years past. This is a very meaningful game for Denver. If they are a SuperBowl contender, they should win this game by 20. I don’t believe they a SuperBowl contender. I believe this game creates a QB controversy going into the playoffs for Denver. Osweiler is banged up and Manning hasn’t been healthy for 6 weeks. The crazy this is…if Denver and Miami both win on Sunday, the Broncos have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Big game all around. I have a feeling it will be closer than Broncos fans want to see.

  13. oxr says:

    Not toting the burden of playoff implications this time around, so I’ll just go with the game I’ll be watching. Ducks -7 over TCU.

    • oxr says:

      That summed up the season pretty well!

      I was hanging in at 55%ish on NFL picks over my first three years, but this quarter-assed title defense I have mounted is going to drag that back to earth. Just like the Baltimore Ravens, I am mentally on to next season already, but unlike them I am not going to upset the Steelers.

      Jets -3 over Bills
      Giants -3.5 over Eagles
      Vikings +3.5 over Packers
      Rams -3.5 over 49ers

      Essay & POTY – Steelers -10 over Browns – Bad karma to go against the poor old Browns here, but since this is the end of my season regardless let’s look at this dispassionately. Reports are already out there saying Pettine and Farmer are toast. Austin Davis is *ahem* unlikely to be the answer at QB. The Steelers gave an unrepresentative performance last week and need this game (plus help) to make the playoffs. The Browns are sinking back into their familiar slough of despond and need this game (plus help) to sew up the #1 pick. The line is not as crazy as it might be, perhaps because of the Ravens upset. I’d make this pick against the Eagles and Pat Shurmur if not for the fact that I always pick the wrong Giants team to show up (this week I’m going with “good Giants” again.) The most entertaining outcome is for the Browns to pull the upset to make everybody’s reported firings more awkward, but the likeliest is probably another massacre.

      Thanks to Mike for another great season and good luck to everyone still in contention – looking forward to reading all the playoff analysis while I sullenly hope for the Patriots to succumb to their injuries.

  14. bupalos says:

    Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
    Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
    Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
    Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
    Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
    Then, have I reason to be fond of grief?

    I’ve been walking up and down with my Cheddar grief for weeks now, but it’s time to cast off this unprevailing woe and take one final poke at the lobster. The key for me here is going to be correctly identifying the teams that are playing one another and not accidentally taking both of them, and getting all 6 picks in on time. If I can do that, the law of averages says I’ll win going away, so here’s my best effort:


    These are all great picks, and as far as I can tell they are even legal and proper. The Browns are the essay because as innumerable coaches have mentioned, the key for this team was to develop consistency. I ask you, what team has been more consistent than the Cleveland Browns? It’s just uncanny how consistent we’ve been, so that really has to start paying off at some time and some place, and that time is now, and that place is Bupalos’ cheddar baskette.

    Happy new year to all, the sun also rises, etc etc.,
    Yr. Bupalos

  15. Mike B. says:

    sat nite playoff update, nine in(?) (on?) the bubble.

    these five can still get over the red line:
    cltil 77
    dq 84
    mike 78.5
    acto 80 (okst tonite)
    pate 80.5
    super p 79

    these four can get passed (their max in parens):
    cwonder23 +4 (82.8)
    trashycamaro +5 (83.3)
    jdoepke +2 (79.5) (okst tonite)
    thatsfine +2 (79.0)

    if i had to guess, i’d say 79 is the number.
    (i havent factored in anything about people playing the same teams).
    i havent heard from dquatts but did remind him that we dont have his picks or poty.

    congrats to the top 6 who have their slots locked:
    FHCF, AmplifiedEsq., schroedinger, clay, HitTheHorns, CLEVTA

  16. Petefranklin says:

    Ole miss

  17. Nick says:

    Steelers….Does anyone want 4 lower bowl seats for Browns/Steelers for free, I would have to overnight these today?? Is UPS or FedEx even open? email me: nmesha@gmail.com
    Stanford Essay

    According to Al Roker and the rose parade, Iowa will have plenty of fans down there for this game. Which makes sense, it’s been a while since they’ve been in the Rose Bowl. I kinda dislike Iowa hard, it’s a family thing. Iowa hasn’t done anything impressive or relevant this year, the big ten is weird, and overrated, Stanford rolls. I’m happy for this football season to come to an end. I’m going to back to reading books and playing Rocket League and doing yoga. Happy new year folks and see you next year.

    • HitTheHorns says:

      You can email your tickets using the Cleveland Browns locker room website. Or if you call will call they should be able to reprint them and hold them at the window for a small fee.

  18. AmplifiedEsq says:

    1) Ohio St.
    2) Michigan

    • AmplifiedEsq says:

      3) Oregon *ESSAY*

      Personally, I would have expected the line to move more than it did given the Boykin suspension but it didn’t (pretty sure it’s -7/-8 depending on where you look at this time). This isn’t a situation where a backup QB got the extra three weeks of work with the team to get ready to go for the bowl game. This is an unexpected event a few days before the game that forced the coach’s hand in suspension.

      TCU with Boykin out, while competitive, was no where near as explosive as they are with him. Whichever QB TCU ends up starting certainly got some run with the offense those weeks Boykin was out, but where was their mind heading into this bowl game figuring to be nothing but the backup? Factor in that Josh Doctson is not going to be playing in this game for TCU and I have some serious questions with how TCU can keep pace with Oregon.

      The TCU defense has been beat up all year and I have no idea if they are getting any of those players back for this game. Even if they are I don’t think Oregon is the team you want to be facing in your first live action in however many weeks.

      Oregon closed out the season strong and their transfer QB is only getting more and more familiar with the system. Oregon did lose their OC, no idea if he is coaching this game or not, but even if he isn’t the replacement is already on the staff and I don’t see that as a big loss in terms of executing the game plan they have been all season – play fast.

      I’d say Oregon runs away with this game handily, but Oregon’s defense is suspect and not very good. Whatever direction this game takes, I do expect Oregon to cover.

    • AmplifiedEsq says:

      4) Skins
      5) Steelers
      6) Rams

  19. Its Only Money says:


    Essay: Bears
    So last week it may look like I took the holiday weekend off, but no that was just an 0 fer. Way to finish strong, I thought I might be able to work my way into the playoffs, but that dream is over. Te Bears played a lot better this season than a lot of people thought they would. The lions played a lot worse than most expected. I think this game will be a lot like the season overall for these two teams. The bears will finish on a high note while the lions will go out like a lamb. We have seen in years past that the lions don’t have much pride and after the holiday week the will be a no show in Chicago.

  20. Mike B. says:


    Rams essay
    Going to continue my trend of taking the essay against the 9ers. My goodness they are awful. Rams are probably feeling pretty good about themselves after last week’s win in Seattle, so I think they go into San Fran and take care of business here. The 9ers just want the season to be over with at this point, so I think they just lay down and die in the season finale. This will be a really ugly game, but as long as the 9ers are playing, I am picking against them.

    Broncos -9
    Eagles +3.5
    Packers -3.5
    Michigan -4.5
    Northwestern +8.5

  21. Mike B. says:

    ***Arkansas essay to follow

    • Mike B. says:

      bagging iowa; replace with UGA.

    • Mike B. says:

      Arkansas essay.

      In a weekend of blow out bowl games, I’m hoping we find another here although admittedly Bill Snyder teams are not ideal marks for these. However, Arkansas is one of the better 7-5 teams you’ll find. Matchup wise, Arkansas’ weak spot is pass defense which is also what KState does poorly. In order to cover double digit spreads, a team needs to score points: 30 on LSU and 50 on MSU indicate the Hogs can do this. Arkansas features three year starter local boy Brandon Allen and he’s a NFL prototype-sized QB with plenty of experience. I view it as a big plus that old MAC friend, Dan Enos (ex of CMU) is game planning and calling the plays for him. After the huge Auburn win, Allen has been over 400 yards twice and has a 16-2 TD-INT rate. Enos and Allen have built something in the second half of Enos’ first year. Same holds for Allen and Bielema since Allen’s first year as starter was Bielema’s first year as HC and they suffered zero wins together. Now Allen is leaving and this game ought to be the crowning touching to a fairly complete program transformation.

  22. trashycamaro says:

    Oregon -7 over TCU

    Essay: Michigan -4.5 over Florida The time has finally come – Florida with a line that does not take enough advantage of the fact that Treon Harris is a pile of steaming garbage as a QB. He’s so bad in fact that the Browns probably won’t even be tempted to use him as a starter. He is so inconsistent that he throws swing passes in the dirt AND into the sideline. The one thing he can do is throw the ball far and Calloway is really, really good. I think Harbaugh will keep the safeties in a deep shell with LBs playing up which should thwart the offense. 21-10 feels about right for a final. As an alum of both schools (Alabama is my other), I had to pick one anyway, right?

    Rams -3.5 over 49ers

    Chargers +9 over Broncos

    Giants -3.5 over Eagles

    Redskins +4 over Cowboys

  23. thatsfine says:

    Big thanks to Mike for running the show. Glad to be a part of it again. Beers are on me if you’re ever in Oregon.

    Tennessee -8.5 essay

    The Vols finished 8-4, but they could have had 10 or 11 wins. They had 4th quarter leads against Bama, Oklahoma, and Florida. 4 losses by a grand total of 17 points. After the Bama loss they closed the season on a 5 game win streak. So did Northwestern, whose signature 16-6 win over
    Stanford to open the season put them on the national radar. Yes, the Wildcats have a superb defense. However, in the middle of the season when knocking on the door of the top 10 they were crushed by Michigan 38-0 and Iowa 40-10. Going into that Michigan game they were the higher ranked team (I’m not sure if UM was ranked at that point), and I think they were also getting +8 there.

  24. Jmacdaddio says:

    Oklahoma St +7
    Oregon +1
    Iowa +6
    Notre Dame +6
    No All Play All Play: West Virginia -1.5
    No Essay Essay: Jets -3

    Another strange week. Holiday distractions abound, a whole ton of meaningless NFL games aside from a couple of very meaningful ones, a couple of college games that mean something, and a good number of college games that only mean bragging rights however do mean more than the meaningless NFL games on tap.

    I need to run the table and everyone ahead of me needs to tank in order to make the playoffs, assuming I’m still mathematically alive at this point. Playoffs? Are you kidding me?

    It’s been another great year. Everyone be safe for new year’s eve. If you’re having a few drinks, take a taxi or an Uber. You’re safer with Uber than taking the wheel while drunk, even after accounting for the small chance that your Uber driver will leave you in pieces in a dumpster. As far as you leaving your Uber driver in pieces in a dumpster, that’s a personal choice.

  25. agnesbojaxhiu says:

    Switch Alabama for MSU please

  26. Harbaugh Handshakes says:

    Michigan st
    Ohio state -6 essay

    I’m just hoping all the guys getting ready to jump to the NFL want to go out with a win and are focused. Notre Dame should help gets their attention. Ohio state is the more talented team and was coming into their own. Hoping they can jump out early and give Cardale a lil show case for the NFL. going to miss this group of players been a great run.

  27. The Iron Sheik says:


  28. pateslvrblk says:

    Lol, Oklahoma

  29. pateslvrblk says:

    Oaklahoma -3.5
    Michigan St +10
    Ohio St -6
    More to come…

  30. jpftribe says:

    Clemson, OSU and Alabama for 1 pt each please. Arguably the three best teams in the country.

    • jpftribe says:

      Thanks to Mike for all the hard work all year, and to the Exec Committee for a good balance of edgy and conservative decisions. Appreciate you all allowing me to play this year. It’s been fun and somewhat cathartic.

      Last 3 picks:

      All year long I have been chasing the Packers. They’ve cost me every time I’ve picked them. I keep telling myself Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, blah , blah , blah…. After actually watching them the last two weeks, I’ve come to the firm conclusion that they are well, terrible. It matters not have good the reads, accurate the throws, if a pair of stone hands is on the other end. Their D is ummm, porous comes to mind. And not like sponge kind of porous where it can only absorb so much before being saturated. We’re talking sieve kind of porous where it just flows right through.

      Vikes are more talented, motivated and are well coached this year.

  31. FTCMikeD says:

    Bowling Picks:
    Ohio State

  32. Heads up to all that we’re going to have to change the TCU/Oregon line due to the Boykin suspension.

  33. Brian says:

    nd +6.5 osu
    msu +10 alabama
    PICK OF THE YEAR, ESSAY, WHATEVER: clemson +3.5 oklahoma:

    Give us the points.

    We’re currently at #16 in the rankings, meaning we need to jump 6 spots to hit the playoffs. (16-6=10) Or seven. I don’t know what happens if there’s a tie for tenth.

    super p herself has been all over Clemson this season, and I don’t know that we’ve lost when we’ve picked them, or did the point spread in their favor, or whatever.

    (I know you’re tired – if you’ve read these essays – of my “I don’t understand point spreads” schtick. I am, too – believe me. Fact is, I still don’t understand point spreads. I also dislike them conceptually. “Let’s place a bet on a made-up, arbitrary number” seems like a flawed endeavor.)

    A quick Google search shows me that this Clemson game is actually one of the football playoff games. Wow!

    On New Year’s Eve? Why would ESPN try to take over this holiday. As I remember it last season, I quite enjoyed these games. Could’ve just been because of Ohio State, but I believe they were compelling.

    Seems like they’d get the ratings on any day they set these for, but they’re guaranteed to lose a certain segment of watchers by placing it on NYE, AND/OR make some people resentful of them placing these games on this date.

    Like if I’m holding a NYE party and 33% of my guests have one eye on the TV, I’m a little like, “why would you do this, ESPN? You could make the College Football Playoffs a pseudo-national holiday akin the the Super Bowl. Why place them on an actual holiday. You don’t see the Super Bowl trying to overtake Valentine’s Day.”

    Anyway, Clemson is our PICK/PLAY of the YEAR, and we would like to get the points and make the Playoffs. Happy New Year.

  34. FlyHighCharlieFrye says:

    Tex AM
    Michigan State
    Notre Dame


    First, LOLOLOLOLOL. Browns, December, Austin Davis, Mike Pettine, Ray Farmer. Clown show. History. Steelers need the game. Browns secondary. Browns anything. An awful joke on any and every level. Season’s been over since September and they’re playing in January. Against this team? I thought 10 was a joke line when the midget was in there, it should be 21 with this joker at QB. Take the free points as they come.

  35. actovegin1armstrong says:

    U of H
    Kan State
    Ok State
    **** Oregon ****

    • actovegin1armstrong says:

      Trevone, Shmavone, I was going to take this as my essay even before the incident at Pat O’Brien’s. (not exactly a fun bar anyway, just because one may be a tourist that does not mean that one must act like a tourist.) But, Trevone went all the way with this one, as the poet said, “When in Rome, act like a Romanian”.
      Losing Center Joey Hunt will hurt as much if not more than losing Mister Boykin. TCU owes most of it’s success to a terrific offensive line. When Oregon is on defense, watch for Deforest Buckner, it will be more difficult for TCU to always double team him and the rest of the Oregon defensive line is not exactly chopped liver either. TCU’s star receiver, Josh Doctson is also out of the game, which of course would be a much bigger bit of trouble if he had someone to throw to him.
      My only concern in this game was that Oregon’s secondary gets burned on occasion, but a lot of that is due to the fact that teams are winging the ball around because they have to to keep up. With Hunt, Doctson, and now Boykin out for the game this should be easy for Oregon.

      • We have to change the spread on this game due to the Boykin suspension. Stay tuned.

        • actovegin1armstrong says:


          • Because because because because because. Because of the wonderful things he does.

          • actovegin1armstrong says:

            This is ridiculous, a quarterback is not that important. Even if it was that Peyton Brady guy the line should not move and we should play along as planed. The “Exalted Executive Committee” was racing stripes on their tightie whities.

          • actovegin1armstrong says:

            Please change my essay pick to That NFL team in the District of Columbia.
            **** Kirk Cousins is doing an admirable job filling in for the greatest quarterback the Browns should have given all of their draft picks for the next 11 years for, The Great RGINJURY. That team from DC shall be even better when they get him back, but in the mean time Kirk Cousins is playing well. There is also a chance that since this is a completely meaningless game for The Team from DC, they will sit their dual FRANCHISE quarterback tandem of RGINJURY and Kirk Cousins and play the even more talented Clot McChips. McChips has been in the league long enough to actually win some games. (This is known as the Fitzpatrick Syndrome.) The smart kids are going with the Cowboys because they are Sabermetrically better than their record would indicate and the Team from DC will sit their starters. Obviously this being a “rivalry game” the Cowboys are the smart pick because they have something to play for. I am just a dum kid, but if I was playing “B-u-r-r-o” (the Texas version of H-o-r-s-e), drunk, in a snow storm, using a stuffed animal as a basketball, I would still be an overly competitive JACKASS. There is an 8-7 team playing a 4-11 team and the 8-7 team is getting points. I will take the points thank you. “Both teams played hard, my man”.

  36. Capitalgg says:

    1) Michigan St. +10 v. Florida
    2) Ohio St. -6 v. Notre Dame
    3) Clemson -3.5 v. Oklahoma
    5) TBD
    Essay: Michigan -4.5 v. Florida: words forthcoming

    • Capitalgg says:

      4) Florida St. -7 v. Houston

    • Capitalgg says:

      Michigan comes into it’s bowl game this year having lost both games to it’s rivals. In the most painful fashions for both. A last second fluke botched punt returned for a touchdown and later simply getting out-classed and blown out. Both at home. The indignity for new coach, hometown hero, and legacy Jim Harbaugh. So despite 9 wins the Wolverines have something to prove.

      Florida had their season derail when their starting quarterback got suspended by the NCAA for PED use. He’s since announced his intention to transfer. Despite have zero offense to speak of after the suspension, the Gators still managed to win the SEC East (easily the worst P5 division in college football and probably worse than a few Po5 divisions). They posted a 2 against FSU and were subsequently rolled by Bama in the SEC Championship.

      Michigan’s strength is a pretty good offense. Their weakness is a defense that was a times this season good, but attrition took its toll as the year wore on. Florida brings zero offense into this game, but a really solid defense. I don’t think it will be enough because any points Michigan scores will likely hold up. As such and with my sister in attendance, her Wolves should have enough to win by more than 4 1/2.

    • Capitalgg says:

      Obviously meant 1) Michigan St. +10 v. Alabama

    • Capitalgg says:

      4) Rams -3.5 v. 49ers

    • Capitalgg says:

      Playing for pride at this point but
      5) West Virginia -1.5 v. Arizona St.

  37. GRRustlers says:

    Week 18 Picks

    Stanford (-6) over Iowa

    Oregon (+1) over TCU

    Packers (-3.5) over Vikings

    Falcons (-4) over Saints

    Bills (+3) over Jets

    Essay Pick

    “You know we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

    Moonlight Graham was a wise man.

    Well. Sunday is that day. I used to stare out the window every February wondering to myself if I would ever have this chance again. We have that chance for 3 hours on Sunday. Pat Shurmur is once again an NFL head coach. It’s only for one game so I ask you to all treasure this gift. Try and drink some water during the game with a headset on. Do all of the things that Pat tried so hard to do. Most importantly…battle.

    Giants (-3.5) over Eagles

  38. mmmmsnouts says:

    Getting USC in for a point just under the wire (~10 minutes before kickoff as I type this). If it’s too late I’ll pick another game.

    • mmmmsnouts says:

      Other picks:

      Mississippi State (win)

      USC (pending)

      Jets -3 vs. Bills

      Texans -6 vs. Jaguars

      Oklahoma -3.5 vs. Clemson

      ESSAY: Michigan -4.5 vs. Florida

      The last couple months have recharged me, football-wise. USF started winning and scoring tons of points, and I caught fire in Cheddar. Won some money, turned a profit on the year, and got all the way up from dead last to middle of the pack. My second half of the season has easily been playoff pace. Heck, if my record in half-point games this year wasn’t like 0-10, I might have even had a shot at the playoffs. (Seriously, the half points have screwed me hard.) I guess it’s like that master thespian Emmitt Smith once said, “Don’t quit, don’t even quit.” Let me be an inspiration to all the Cheddarers who fall down and bust their ass at the first hurdle and want to give up for the year. You aren’t getting your money back unless you win it back.

      Anyway, this game. It’s the third game in a row I’ve picked against the Gators, for the same reason. How are they going to score points? Stop the run and unless they hit some jackpot deep ball, they’ll take care of stopping the pass for you. Don’t make dumb mistakes when you have the ball and you’ll take care of business. This game will be low scoring and ugly as sin, but a score like 13-7 is still a cover.

      Good luck to everyone in the playoffs. And I know I’ve been a huge drama queen about it, but I guess I’ll do this again next year. This is actually pretty fun.

  39. HitTheHorns says:

    3) Essay: Eagles +3.5

    Let’s talk about Chip Kelly. Congrat Philly players, you got your coach fired (did I use that right)? A coach who started his career with 10 wins, 10 wins. A coach who did not give rah rah speeches or ask you to play with concussions, but cared so much about your health and the longevity of your career, that he not only asked you to sleep 8 hours and eat healthy, he tracked and monitored it. Your health was so important to this supposedly cold individual, that he made you wear a monitor to make sure you slept 8 hours a night. He left you alone, and asked you to be a professional and do your job. He wanted to score as many points as possible. I used to tell my parents I hated them when they would make me shut my TV off at 10 pm, but guess what? I got good grades. I was never late for school.

    This is a win for the meat head, a win for Mike Greenberg and Colin Cowherd and Cris Carter and Mike Ditka. Tony Dungy has been described as a players coach…Chip Kelly wanted you to EAT HEALTHY FOOD AND SLEEP 8 HOURS EVERY DAY AND SCORE A TON OF POINTS. So jobs on the line this week, natural uptick in effort for the Eagles players. And Pat Shurmur will act like a taskmaster this week, his team will win, and I’m sure some dickheads will dump gatorade on him and carry him off the field. Not sure who the Eagles third string tight end is, but he better prepare for a carry on third and goal from the 4. The Eagles will hire a Jim Tomsula/Dan Campbell type, they will absolutely win their opening game in 2016, and then they will suck. And Demarco Murray will never play another meaningful down in the NFL.

  40. Dave Borcas says:

    USC -3
    Oklahoma -3
    Georgia -6.5
    Jets -2.5 essay
    Falcons -3.5
    Redskins +1

    The J-E-T-S jets are playing their best football at the right time of the year, even with a bit of a gift from the Patriots last week. They play physical on both sides of the ball and Ryan Fitzpatrick is having a career year at QB. How lucky are the Jets that Geno got sucker punched? It’s amazing what a couple of big receivers can do for your team, Browns take notice please. The Jets may be primed for a playoff run.

  41. agnesbojaxhiu says:

    I was going to take this as my no essay week after my penultimate week in cheddar bay proved to be my worst of the entire season. At one point all that stood between me and a virgin lobsterita was the Redskins in all their racially insensitive glory. I decided however that I owed my fellow cheddar bayers one more gem of an essay and a little insight into my voting scheme. Here is a hint- I write an essay first and then try to find a team that fits it. When I get an essay idea it burns in my brain until it is down on paper (or rather a series of ones and zeros).

    Week 17 Essay: A Tribute
    Game after game, week after week, I have noticed that there is little recognition amongst the football industrial machine for the most scrutinized and least thanked employees. One might think I am thinking of the cleaning crew, but I am referring to the zebras of football. There are very few jobs in the world in which every on-the-clock decision is taken into question and the decider ridiculed. I get yelled at during the course of my work day as much as the next fellow, but I have about a 10 to 1 ratio of happy /neutral to unhappy/criminally insane interactions. Most officials be they umpires or back judges not only get insults and complaints but they are coming from huge men, many of whom have difficulty controlling their emotions in a professional manor. Then there are the legions of unexplained loiterers on the sidelines who feel they have to tell the officials which side recovered the fumble (what the heck are all those people doing on the side of the field who seem to have no purpose other than to make the team not look understaffed compared to the opposing team). Then there are the coaches whose curses are easily lip read by children everywhere and who somehow think their yelling will influence a linesman’s (or lineswoman’s) call. Then there are the fans. That’s where the unhappy occasionally cross over to the criminally insane. During one dark day in Minnesota (you may remember Cowboys vs Vikings 1975 playoff game with a funny little game winning pass from Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson) during which unhappy fans rained debris on the field, and one upstanding Minnesotan threw a full bottle of Jack Daniels at field judge Armen Terzian knocking him unconscious.
    (https://www.youtube.co/watch?v=B8jip6EmggI hee hee hee- I love how this happened 40 years ago and people are still commenting on the youtube video arguing who should have won the game as recently as 6 days ago. The injury occurs about 2:04:59, if you must see the hail Mary pass go back to 2:01:28). Despite all of this I am still considering a career change ever since I read about the NFL’s WON program (Women Officiating Now) (http://operations.nfl.com/the-officials/officiating-development/women-officiating-now-won/). I too could don the old stripes, possibly a balaclava for those wonderful snowy games, and spend my days studying the rules for fair catch kicks and other fun facts. If I can survive the everyday belligerent banter of bozos I currently endure, certainly I am tough enough to stand up to muscle headed rule bending behemoths. Sarah Thomas is my new hero. Packers over Vikings.

    Final votes
    Packers -3.5 Essay
    Iowa + 6
    Arkansas -13
    Jets -3
    Houston + 7
    Michigan State+ 10

    • bupalos says:

      >>>I too could don the old stripes, possibly a balaclava for those wonderful snowy games, and spend my days studying the rules for fair catch kicks>>>

      If Jesus keeps a list in heaven of the real winners of this contest (and it’s ridiculous to think he wouldn’t), I know in my heart that he is currently shooting lasers out of his eyes engraving the name “Alice Bojax Hiu” on the brass plate for 2015. It’s better than money. Good show madam.

  42. FlyHighCharlieFrye says:

    One Cheddar point on Texas A&M plus 4, please

  43. CleveLandThatILove says:

    Hi – Auburn tonight.

    • Auburn kicked off at noon.

    • CleveLandThatILove says:

      Make that Texas A&M, thanks Mr. Frowns.

      • CleveLandThatILove says:

        **No need to pile on here, but I guess I have no choice but to go with the sure thing clinging here on the far edge of the bubble, at least I think that’s where I still am. It’s easier to write an essay when you actually have something to say, like when thinking about it makes you feel a certain way about what might happen. Not so, although if feeling just vague sadness qualifies as feeling. So, since most fans and probably all but a few players have checked out for the year, maybe forever, it’s strictly about the math. 10 points is nothing, and my only hope is that people stop calling this a rivalry, etc etc. it’s just silly.
        Good luck, playoff people! Always a pleasure playing with you all, and thanks to the executive committee for keeping it going the right way.

  44. cwonder23 says:

    Mississippi State -6 vs NC State for one cheddar point please.

    • cwonder23 says:

      FSU -7 vs Houston for one cheddar point.

      • cwonder23 says:

        Clemson +3.5 vs Oklahoma for one

        • cwonder23 says:

          Michigan -4.5 vs Florida for one.

          • cwonder23 says:

            Final picks:
            Kansas State +13 vs Arkansas – way too many points for a Bill Snyder team.
            Essay: Skins +4 @ Cowboys

            Although the Skins have already locked up the division, I expect them to treat this game like a playoff game and try and beat a divisional opponent handedly. The Cowboys have all but given up on a lost season that has seen them have a QB carousel of backups. With Dez now out for the year and getting surgery, it’s obvious the ‘Boys are ready to turn the page to 2016. I will take the points and put them on the better team.

    • 3) **Notre Dame** — I’m usually looking for any excuse to bet against ND but I think they’re the pick today. I think the Irish match up well with the Buckeyes, with future NFL All Pro LB Jaylon Smith as good a player as there is to help neutralize the OSU rushing attack. They’ll also have Jarron Jones back from injury to help stuff the middle and keep Smith clean. On the other side, Adolphus Washington’s absence leaves a big hole in the middle of the Buckeyes D, and ND’s offense is as good as any that they’ve faced this season, probably by far. Most of the Buckeyes starters are on their way out, and with this season having been a failure for them on all counts, it wouldn’t be surprising if they’ve checked out in this last month. It’s hard to see them getting up for such a tough matchup with such low stakes.

      4) Florida
      5) West Virginia
      6) And might as well end with the Brown frowns.

      Thanks for another great season, Mike and everyone. While my picks have been horrible, it’s been an extremely stressful year with work and family stuff (Note: Alzheimer’s is the worst), so it’s not so unexpected or inexplicable, and it goes to show how clear-headed one has to be to do well in this contest, and also how this contest can be such a good way for one to evaluate one’s own clear-headedness. It has still been a blast as always and the essays get better every year. I especially enjoyed HitTheHorns’s dramatic and profitable run of essays picking against the Browns.

      Anyhoo, happy 2016 and best of luck to all the playoff contenders. See ya next fall.

  45. zarathustra says:

    Wisconsin was 9 games this year. They were Miami (Oh), Troy, Hawaii, Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, and Minnesota. Both Nebraska and Minnesota were decent enough, but neither finished the year with a winning record even after their respective bowl wins. The remainder of the Badger wins were against a truly remarkable assortment of godawful teams. I followed Paul Chryst at Pitt and though I tried was never impressed. The drop off from Anderson last year to Chryst is dramatic. This program is on its way to a downward spiral in my opinion.
    USC underachieved per usual, but they are far more talented and faced a far more difficult schedule.

  46. mmmmsnouts says:

    Mississippi State for a point. Two really overrated teams, but man, NC State didn’t beat ANYONE this year. Who’s their best win, Syracuse? They didn’t stay within double digits of UNC, Clemson, or FSU. The Seminoles gave them 5 turnovers and still won by 17. Their pass defense isn’t very good (especially when you factor in their wack schedule) and it’s a great matchup for Dak Prescott. This is exactly the kind of team Dan Mullen lights up and gets way too much credit for beating.

  47. jdoepke says:

    Nevada +3.5
    Texas Tech +7

    One cheddar point a piece please

    • jdoepke says:

      Happy New Year Cheddars. I need a repeat performance to push over that red line so here we go with 1-1 under my belt.

      Stanford -6
      Texans -6
      Okie St +7

      Tennessee -8.5

      You tell me if an unranked team laying 8.5 to the #12 ranked team in the country makes sense? I hate betting favorites but this makes no sense to me. I’ve never seen (several) contrarian favorite games and this is one. Everyone is on NW and while I may regret backing Butch Jones in a big spot I have to side with the numbers here. Nearly 70% of tickets on NW as a dog. This seems like the biggest sucker bet there is with every dope saying #12 getting 8.5 points, give me them. I will go the other way. Tennessee 24 – NW 23

      PS – I REALLY wanted to take Bama here but backed off last minute, which probably makes it good. How does the line go up 1.5 points but nearly 70% bets on Sparty. I don’t see Saban letting the same thing happen as last year. Seriously, I’ve never seen so many games where majority of public is with the underdog.

  48. ChuckKoz says:

    Panthers -10.5 (Buccaneers)
    USC -3.5 (Wisconsin)
    Mich St +10 (Bama)
    Michigan -4 (Florida)
    Oklahoma -3.5 (Clemson)
    ***ESSAY/POTY: Colorado State -3.5 (Nevada)

    Why not? My year has sucked, despite a late push. I suppose if I win out, playoffs are in reach and I want to know the answer now so we are all in. Colorado State has looked nice all year and had only close losses to half way decent teams early on (well, and i will just ignore the SDSU loss). Nevada just a tier below from my review, coming in off 2 losses versus a hotter CSU team. Either way, cheddar proved its merit, that even as I was floundering in the bottom of the pack, I had 5 win week that got me some money back and kept me interested. Its been a good year guys, best luck to the playoff contenders.

    NOTE: I got the essay pick in well before on the time stamp form, but the essay is just about 25 minutes before kick. Hope that works. Let me know if there is an issue.
    And I understand some of these lines are not locked and will stand by the picks.

  49. Dan Whalen says:

    $$$ UNC -4 $$$

    I want to lay it on the line and go out with a bang if I’m going to miss the playoffs by a hair. But here’s the deal, I’ve watched UNC week in and week out. I’ve bet heavily on them all season to cover spreads, including double-digit ones that are usually “tough” conference games. Tonight should be no different. Playing an utterly decimated Baylor team, that is one play away from bringing in a WR to play QB. Their stud all-world WR is not playing, their starting RB is not playing, and they’ve been trending down for the better part of 60 days. UNC can score quickly, abundantly, and in my opinion, the ACC gives you a better run for your money week in and week out than the BIG 12 does, so I’m rolling on it.

  50. CLEVTA says:

    1. Nevada +3.5 Essay- this is simply a matchup play for me. Nevada only does one thing well, run the ball, as a top 30 run team in the country and they are going against a Colorado St tm that ranks in the bottom 25 in run D. Public has been inexplicably pounding CSU in a battle of two bad teams. Ill take the points where

  51. Mike B. says:

    jdoepke and mmmsnouts split last week’s weekly.

  52. HitTheHorns says:

    1) Nevada +3.5

  53. thatsfine says:


  54. zarathustra says:

    I will start off the week with Cal and UNC. Might be back later to make the Heels my essay.

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