Breaking bad in this business is breaking even, and it’s a king bitch buzzkill on days when a few precious points come too far between and the wins and dollars or whatever just won’t add up. It’s a lame lay, like fucking the dog for 48 hours straight (Jesus! Not literally of course). We are not, after all, perverts living life in the fast lane; we are professionals who “go long, get weird and kick ass,” but we are getting dangerously close to The Edge, and your friends might stop calling once you officially go down over the line and get marked as a loser. That’s not a very fine thing to be in this business, and not even a leech-sucking lawyer would come creeping around to pick the bones clean once you fall below .500. Sage gambling advice suggests you need to win two out of three bets you make or get while the getting’s still good; rubes who routinely get suckered into laying 14 points on the Patriots at home against Arizona wind up ruined like roadkill rotting on the side of the interstate, splayed open like the dumb dead dogs they are.
Yeesh. We are getting ugly, but there is a lot of wreckage in the fast lane these days; “the highway is jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.” Mmm. That is fine music on my radio at dawn. It was just about this time last week when I got a call from a beautiful stranger claiming to have the inside edge on the ’Skins game, claiming that she and she alone knew the Rams would not only cover but win against the good ole boys from Capitol City.
“…By maybe three or even four points.”
“Nonsense!” I shouted. “Washington runs like a well-oiled machine these days. They’re chock-full of clean-cut All-Americans, down-home boys who drink nothing but domestic beer and still sleep naked at night with their high school sweethearts. They’re full-fledged American heroes and you’re a scum-sucking little weasel calling complete strangers in the middle of the night!”
“Goddammit!” she shrieked, “You will listen,” and with that the line went dead. I put last week’s column to bed but couldn’t shake the ugly memory of this frantic and for all I know absolutely unhinged vision calling me through the dark, through the early morning airwaves of a fine September dawn, and by the time the piece went live later that day I had changed my pick from Washington to roll to the Rams at an uncomfortable +3.
But by God, they covered. They fucking won! And the Patriots lost, as did the Lions and the Saints, the Ravens and all the other choice champion teams we had tabbed for wins using blind logic alone. Even the Bears and Jets, who looked like they had it all figured out, fell, and the Cowboys got flogged on National Television by a three-point underdog from Seattle. Peyton Manning looked like he may never see straight again, throwing three picks in a single quarter, and the rude bastards in Oakland got choked out for the second straight week.
But the Rams won...and that seems like a good enough reason to take them again. Sometimes this business isn’t about stacking the numbers in a clinical and cutthroat manner. Sometimes it’s just about playing a hot hand, rolling the dice on the word of a beautiful stranger.
This Week’s Picks:
Detroit (-3.5) over Tennessee
The Titans haven’t managed multiple scores in eight quarters’ worth of football, and Johnson and Britt are still AWOL. This week, an already banged up rookie, Jake Locker, gets a pass rush that would make an unruly horde of Visigoths blush so they won’t do much better.
Cincinnati (+3) over Washington
The debate is on as to whether Cincinnati’s supposed top ten defense is playing dead or the walking dead. They’ve given up 78 points to the Ravens and…the Browns? We’ll see how they handle the rookie RGIII and make our pronouncement next week.
Houston (-2) over Denver
You can pretty much keep taking Houston at any spread until we tell you to stop.
Atlanta (+3) over San Diego
We’ll see whether Philip Rivers’ INT problem has gone the way of the dodo when he’s matched up against an Atlanta team that forced Peyton Manning to throw three picks inside 15 minutes.
Philadelphia (-3.5) over Arizona
[Insert profuse sweating here.]
New England (+3) over Baltimore
Did anyone see what Michael Vick and Brent Celek did to the Ravens last week? Now imagine Michael Vick was Tom Brady and Brent Celek was Rob Gronkowski.
St. Louis (+7.5) over Chicago
How can you not like the Rams here? A 27-23 loss to Detroit, a 31-28 win over Washington. Chicago might be better than both, but no Forte and 7.5 points seems okay, right? Right!?
Green Bay (-3) over Seattle
Seattle has done well to cover what targets they’ve had to; Green Bay has a lot of targets.
New York (-2.5) over Miami
Miami couldn’t figure out Tony Sparano’s offense when he was their coach; why would they figure it out now?
Pittsburgh (-4) over Oakland
It has become painfully clear that Carson Palmer does not trust anyone in Oakland to catch an open ball midfield, so the check downs to Darren McFadden will continue and those meager yards will be negated by the rash of penalties Oakland incurs improperly trying to do otherwise mundane and basic football-like things.
New Orleans (-9) over Kansas City, Jacksonville (+3) over Indianapolis, Tampa Bay (+8) over Dallas, Buffalo (-3) over Cleveland, San Francisco (-6.5) over Minnesota.
Last Week: 7-7-1
Catch up on past PlayBook's here.