Going 9-7 in a week of picks is sort of like going 9-7 over the course of an NFL season. It’s good but not great, and there’s quite a bit of room for improvement, and when a team makes the jump from 4-11-1 to 9-7, it seems to point to even more improvement ahead. Does it usually end up that way? Nah. I had a slightly above average week following a terrible one, much like the 2009 Bengals had an above average season following a terrible 2008, when they went, hey, 4-11-1. They even had the tie. But in 2009, the Bengals went 10-6. So, basically, I am not as good as the Cincinnati Bengals.
What does all of this mean? It means that I am destined to go 4-12 this week (disregarding for the moment that this is the first bye week, so going 4-12 would be impossible, and I’m already stretching this lame Travis as Bengals metaphor as far as it can go), and anything better than that will be a victory. Aim high, that’s what I always say. Go big, or go home.
This week’s slate of games is particularly uninspiring, so here’s a cute panda cub sneezing and scaring its mom:
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Week 4 Record: 9-7
My Record So Far: 29-32-3
Sunday Early Games (10/9 1PM ET)
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills (+3)
If, four games into the season, someone had asked which of these teams would be 3-1 and which would be 1-3, I’m guessing 100% of people would have had the wrong answers. Still, the Eagles are favored, playing at Buffalo, so the disbelief in the Bills still exists, and the Eagles have to turn it around at some point, don’t they? We all know what the Eagles can and can’t do at this point—they can score some points in the passing game as long as they don’t end up in the Red Zone. They cannot score from first and goal. In choosing this game, it comes down to whether that will be good enough to beat a Bills team that came a little bit back to the pack, losing to the Bengals in Week 3. I’m really stumped, but I’ll go with the Bills since they’re given points at home.
My Pick: Bills (+3)
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts (-2)
One of the top contenders for this week’s “making fart noises while home alone is more entertaining than this” game. The Chiefs have won a game, and the Colts have not, and I refuse to take the Colts until Peyton Manning comes running out of the tunnel with a cybernetic neck on some Willis Reed mixed with Robocop shit.
My Pick: Chiefs (+2)
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
Another fart noise game of the week contender right here. These teams are both awful and I feel sorry for anyone who will be watching this because they have Adrian Peterson or Larry Fitzgerald on a fantasy team. Wait, no I don’t, because fantasy football is like Magic: The Gathering for corporate middle-managers.
My Pick: Cardinals (+2.5)
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants (-9.5)
This week’s matchups are terrible. If the Giants are actually halfway-decent (which it seems like they might be; noncommittal enough for ya? I might as well be Peter King) they should stomp the yard with the Seahawks, who don’t even have the benefit of their admittedly awesome home crowd.
My Pick: Giants (-9.5)
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-8)
Hey! The Titans are good, sort of! The Steelers sort of aren’t! Did we catch the oddsmakers sleeping with this line? I’ll take it.
My Pick: Titans (+8)
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (+6)
The Saints could be undefeated at this point if not for being stuffed at the goal line at the end of the awesome shootout with the Packers that opened the season. Cam Newton has proven to be a good NFL quarterback so far, but the rest of his team is still bad, like they were last year when they ended up with the number one pick. Newton can throw for 400 yards and the Saints will still win by a touchdown or more.
My Pick: Saints (-6)
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)
The Jaguars are not good. The Bengals are less not good. I must admit this one is also sort of a coin flip for me, but I’m leaning toward the Bengals because it’ll probably be a while before Blaine Gabbert figures out what’s going on in the NFL game. Also, he’s from Mizzou, and what has that really done for NFL football players ever?
My Pick: Bengals (+2.5)
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-6)
Letdown game! The Texans eked out a big emotional victory for themselves and their franchise over the Steelers last week, so they probably won’t be nearly as amped to play the Raiders. Also, at the time of this pick, Andre Johnson would “miss time.” When a team’s best player won’t be on the field, it’s hard to take that team.
My Pick: Raiders (+6)
Sunday Late Games (10/9 4:05/4:15PM ET)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers (-1.5)
If the Bucs’ coach fueled his team with self-pity instead of fiery competitive spirit, would his name be Raheem Morrissey?
My Pick: Bucs (+1.5)
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (+4)
Last week I didn’t have to watch the Chargers’ crappy game because they didn’t sell out their stadium in Sandy Eggo! Sadly, I won’t get the same luxury of not having to watch this crappy game because they’re on the road. If you’re gonna make them the “home team” throughout Southern California, make them move to LA.
My Pick: Chargers (-4)
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-9.5)
While I fully back all of Rex Ryan’s antics, and I think the Jets will be back right as rain by the time the season comes to a close, I don’t think they’re going to be able to even have a sniff of taking victory from the jaws of de-feet this week. Tom Brady’s UGGs were made for walkin’ all over the Jets at home.
My Pick: Patriots (-9.5)
Sunday Night Game (10/9 8:25PM ET)
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons (+5.5)
The Packers will probably lose eventually. Until that time, they seem like the surest bet out there, especially because the Falcons don’t seem as good as they were last year, when they also lost to the Pack on a big stage.
My Pick: Packers (-5.5)
Monday Night Football (10/10 8:35PM ET)
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (-6)
Jay Cutler sadface will be Jay Cutler concussionface.
My Pick: Lions (-6)
Other than the final three games listed in this week’s picks, Week 4 is bound to be kind of a drag. Which game seems like it will be the most lame? Which game that seems lame will turn out to be awesome like Week 2’s Bills-Raiders shootout? How many times will the Fox NFL Sunday robot inexplicably destroy a guitar in a move that has absolutely nothing to do with football? How many commercials for The Big Bang Theory or Whitney will it take before I suicide myself? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.