Week 8 HOT NFL PICKS (we tryna get on First Take)Posted: October 30, 2015
We are not gamblers. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Some of these choices have actual thought put into them. More of these choices were made with gut, intuition, and a little thing called grit.
Employ these recommendations at your own peril. Gambling is ungentlemanly.
[Home team in caps. All lines per VegasInsider.com consensus. Bye: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Washington]
Kansas City (-4) vs. Detroit (in London)
Derek: Another prime London matchup! I think it’s a little weird that the Lions hired a new offensive coordinator during a regular week, especially with their bye coming up after this game. Seems like it would hurt more than it would help, but I’m not going to question promoting a guy named Jim Bob Cooter. I’m just going to pick the Chiefs since they don’t seem quite as dysfunctional.
[Note: I had already finished my picks when I learned that ESPN is shutting Grantland down. First Take still lives. In light of this, Hot Take Derek will be making picks this week as well.]
Will: So the Lions are 1-6, and they’re also 1-6 against the spread, and they’ve given up at least 24 points in all but one game. The Chiefs are 2-5 straight up and against the spread. I see the London fans supporting lions more than native Americans, and I think that pseudo-homefield advantage will be the difference. Lions cover.
Hot Take Derek: I don’t know why we should allow the greatest sport in the world to be played in a country that we had to bail out of two world wars. Nazis win.
CHICAGO (-1) vs. Minnesota
Derek: The Bears have a few things going for them, such as a seven game home win streak against the Vikings. But the Vikings are the better team, so I’ll take them.
Will: So there was a little issue with Chicago defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff recently. Here’s a taste from the Chicago Tribune:
A redacted version of the police report indicated that during a prolonged argument with team officials, Ratliff indicated “he felt like killing everyone in the building.” At one point, he also reportedly said “I am the devil” while indicating he “wished staff members’ children would die.”
That’s the sort of thing your team can rally around. Bears at home.
Hot Take Derek: You’re all so quick to forgive. Adrian Peterson should be in the electric chair, and he’s only marginally better than Trent Richardson. And maybe you were content to cover your eyes and ears and block out Charles Comiskey’s actions during the 1919 World Series like a good little monkey, but I remember it clear as day. Boycott this game.
ATLANTA (-7) vs. Tampa Bay
Derek: It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Falcons play well. The Bucs have to be pretty demoralized after the way they lost last week, though. I like Atlanta.
Will: So the Bucs suck, and they are tied for 31st in points allowed per game. Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman are healthy. Still, the Falcons have not impressed against Washington, New Orleans, and Tennessee the past three weeks, and Tampa has scored a respectable 23.3 points per game, 12th in the league. I’m tempted to take the underdog, but I can’t shake the feeling that I would feel very stupid when Jameis’ second pick is being taken to the house. Falcons at home.
Hot Take Derek: Everybody lay off Jameis Winston. What, you never made a mistake? Bucs prevail, along with justice.
NEW ORLEANS (-3) vs. New York Giants
Derek: The Saints have covered in their last two home games, but both of those were in primetime. One never knows what we’ll get with either of these teams, as they both have some big wins and some hideous losses. I’m just going to take the points.
Will: Yeah, I’d stay away from this one. I like the Giants this year, but I don’t particularly trust them. They’re like all of our aspiring presidential candidates in that way, except for the like part. I’ll join you in taking the points.
Hot Take Derek: Is Eli Manning secretly two chimpanzees in a trench coat? #wakeup #giants
ST. LOUIS (-8) vs. San Francisco
Derek: The 49ers only chance is if the Rams do that thing where they inexplicably lose to an inferior team for no reason. It’s not out of the question. But Kaepernick should struggle mightily against this defense, and Todd Gurley is good to the point of being unfair. Everything points to the Rams winning big.
Will: It’s hardly an original thought at this point, but I’m all the way in on this whole season being about Todd Gurley destroying the whole goddamn league. The line has moved to 9.5 in some places. Good enough for me. Rams ram it down their throats.
Hot Take Derek: Jim Tomsula and Vince Lombardi are both Italian. #justsaying #49ers
Arizona (-6) vs. CLEVELAND
Derek: As I’ve continuously mentioned, the Cardinals have only looked good against the NFL’s bottom-dwellers. Cleveland is an interesting case, because they’re right on the line between decent and bad. They sure looked awful last week, but they covered three straight before that. The Cardinals are also playing on a short week, and the “west coast team playing at 10 a.m. PT” thing is even worse this week due to Daylight Saving Time. I like the Browns to cover at home.
Will: Oh hell, you know I’m picking the Browns. I have no idea how they can keep it close, but I’ll naively believe yet again.
Hot Take Derek: I’m tired of hearing about Johnny Goofball. What’s Eric Crouch doing? He’s more proven than that habitual crystal meth user from College Station. Browns sign Crouch and take the league by storm.
PITTSBURGH (-1.5) vs. Cincinnati
Derek: Ben Roethlisberger is coming back this week, meaning we may finally get to watch the best offense in football. Not once have Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Martavis Bryant been on the field at the same time this year. Roethlisberger’s injury is worrisome, but the Steelers are usually much better at home and they’ll want to make a statement against the undefeated Bengals. Steelers cover.
Will: Okay, THIS is the week where the Bengals finally shit the bed. Steelers.
Hot Take Derek: Are we sure the Steelers are better off with Big Ben? The Steelers won two games without him. Pittsburgh doesn’t need a convicted rapist. They need a true leader, like Mike Vick. Steelers cover, assuming Vick starts.
BALTIMORE (-3) vs. San Diego
Derek: I’m torn on this one. The Ravens are on a short week, but the Chargers have to deal with the same Daylight Saving Time problem as the Cardinals. I’m taking the points, since the Chargers can at least throw the ball well if they need to. I’m not sure the Ravens can do anything well outside of special teams.
Will: This is a sneaky-terrible game that could also be sneaky-exciting. These teams both suck and give up near 28 points a game and have professional quarterbacks. We could have a bottom dweller barnburner on our hands, folks. I’ll take the Chargers because Philip Rivers oughta be able to rack up the yardage with his 75 pass attempts.
Hot Take Derek: Johnny Unitas could still play today. You heard it here first. Chargers.
HOUSTON (-3.5) vs. Tennessee
Derek: The spread for this game is unclear at the moment since we’re not sure if Marcus Mariota is going to play. I’m tired and I have a headache, and I really don’t think researching this putrid game is going to make either of those things better. I’ll take the home team and hope I don’t accidentally end up watching any of this game.
Will: Oo this is a really bad game. I will not watch a moment of it. I’ll take the points.
Hot Take Derek: The Titans and Texans have won a combined ZERO Super Bowls since Steve McNair’s death. Not a coincidence. Rams barely hold on.
New York Jets (-3) vs. OAKLAND
Derek: Tough call. The Jets are the better team, but who knows how they’ll respond to coming oh-so-close to beating the Patriots last week. Oakland smashed the Chargers coming out of their bye, but they’ve been very inconsistent this year. The Jets are 5-1 against the spread, so I feel better backing New York’s green team.
Will: This game looks miles better now than I would have guessed a couple months ago. The Jets are banged up while the Raiders are completely healthy. Amari Cooper looks to be the real deal and Derek Carr might be too. But we’ve seen Oakland struggle against the few competent defense its played against (13 points against Cincinnati, 10 against the Broncos). I expect that to continue. Jets take it on the road.
Hot Take Derek: Quite frankly, I can’t believe the constant harassment Mark Davis receives for his haircut. It’s despicable. You do you, Mark. Let the neckbeards in their mother’s basements say whatever they want. #lovemyhaters #raiders
Seattle (-6) vs. DALLAS
Derek: This game may not be played, as Adam Schefter is reporting Greg Hardy and Joseph Randle have obtained a nuclear weapon. Though if it is, I like this spot for Seattle. Matt Cassel looks to be getting worse every year. He has faced Seattle three times for three different teams. He played well in the first two and not so well in the third. He’s also been one of the worst starting quarterbacks of the last few seasons. I’m scared of Dez Bryant’s return and I’m scared that Greg Hardy could occupy the entire Seahawks offensive line by himself, but I’m counting on Marshawn Lynch against a poor run defense and Cassel making one or two crippling errors.
Will: Except for the part where they haven’t won in a month, I think the Cowboys are doing pretty well without Tony Romo. They’ve 1-5 against the spread on the season, and have yet to cover at home. I see no reason to support them. Seahawks win at JerryWorld.
Hot Take Derek: You may not WANT to hear this but you NEED to hear it: Marshawn Lynch’s refusal to talk to the media is unconstitutional. He’s a borderline Redcoat. Cheer for that if you want, but I’m on America’s side.
Green Bay (-2.5) vs. DENVER
Derek: This is the game of the week, and I’m leaning toward Green Bay. The Bronco defense has been great, but against some poor quarterbacks. While the Packer offense has looked a little off recently, Green Bay is a more balanced team overall. The offense is good enough to punish the Broncos for their turnovers. Unless Peyton Manning drastically picks up his game, this could be the beginning of a tough road for Denver.
Will: Fun game, and it’d be more fun if Peyton Manning were still alive. I agree with your reasoning; Denver’s defense is good, but I expect Rodgers to be better. I like the Pack to keep rolling and improve to 6-1 against the spread this year.
Hot Take Derek: Manning will be airing it out ALL DAY. Best in the biz, folks. Running away with the MVP. Only Tebow better. Broncos win big.
CAROLINA (-7) vs. Indianapolis
Derek: This is one of the toughest picks of the week for me. Like Denver, the Carolina defense hasn’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of quarterbacks. Russell Wilson is the best of the bunch, and he really hasn’t played well this year. Luck should be a class above the Luke McCowns of the world. I say “should” because Luck has uncharacteristically looked horrible this year. I keep expecting him to turn it around and he keeps looking like a below average quarterback. I feel like he’s either going to eviscerate the Panthers with a Kirk Cousins “YOU LIKE THAT?” or he’s going to play terribly until the game is out of hand in the fourth quarter and he throws for 200 meaningless yards and two meaningless touchdowns. I’ll reluctantly pick Carolina because they’re at home and they’ve only failed to cover once this year.
Will: This one is tricky. It comes to whether or not I believe 1) the Panthers are for real and/or 2) the Colts are for real shitty. I lean more toward No. 2, but it isn’t seven points’ worth of leaning. I’ll take the Colts. I’m excited for them to go 7-9, win the AFC South, and get destroyed by the Pats in the first round.
Hot Take Derek: North AND South Carolina were part of the Confederacy. Colts.