Yes, that title and picture are a reference to the short-lived Growing Pains spin-off focusing on Mike Seaver’s crotchety gym teacher, Coach Lubbock, as he moves his entire family, including four hot daughters who don’t even appear the same nationality, much less related, to a small town, where only wacky hijinks can possibly ensue. You see, the NFL is just like Just the Ten of Us, because it’s the sport where wacky hijinks ensue. Or, I just couldn’t think of another joke for Week Ten.
So hey, welcome to a Thursday edition of NFL Picks by Trav!
Week Nine was a slightly-above-average one for the picks from FR’s West Coast Headquarters, two games over .500 to put us at nine games over .500 overall. We’re so slightly above average, we could hold a job coaching the St. Louis Blues for at least three years. What am I talking about, you ask? Never mind, ESPN told us that hockey doesn’t exist. But the MLS sure does! Couldn’t have anything to do with ESPN having MLS games on its schedule, but no hockey, could it? Nah, ESPN would never be that transparent.
Anyhoo, on with this week’s picks (for the record, nine-year-old me thought the redhead daughter was hottest).
The other joke I thought of for the headline.
(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 9 Record: 8-6
My Record So Far: 67-58-5
Thursday Night Game (11/10 8:25PM ET)
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-7)
The Raiders lost by two touchdowns to the Broncos, though it was not Tim Tebow who carried the Broncos to the win. Instead, it was the resurrected carcass of Willis McGahee, who rushed for 163 yards and two TDs. The Chargers lost in a ridiculous shootout to the Green Bay Packers, and though Philip Rivers threw some picks that we wouldn’t have expected from him in years past, he seems to be picking his game back up. Because of that, and because it’s in Sandy Eggo, and because the Raiders seem to have gone back on all of their early season promise, let’s go with the Chorchers.
My Pick: Chargers (-7)
Sunday Early Games (11/13 1PM ET)
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (+1)
The Saints beat the Buccaneers last week at home. The Falcons demolished the Colts on the road. The Saints sit atop the division, but they have yet to have their bye week, and the Falcons have the same amount of losses, meaning if Atlanta wins at home, they’ll take over the lead in the NFC South. They will do just that.
My Pick: Falcons (+1)
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (-1)
Could we finally have seen the end of Jay Cutler sadface? First his ex-maybe-current fiancee told him he has the best butt in football, then he was not sacked once in the Bears’ Monday Night defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles. They showed him on the sidelines a bunch, and he didn’t even look nearly as dopey as he used to. Has he finally grown up and into that cannon of an arm he has? I guess this week, facing the terrifying Lions defense, will be where we find out. I think the Bears will be much more prepared for the Lions this go-round.
My Pick: Bears (-1)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (+3)
You know who’s ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the standings right now? The Cincinnati Bengals. You know who will still be ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the standings next week? My lucky charms, the Red Rocket and his tiger-striped band of nobodies, the Cincinnati Bengals. God Save the Queen City.
My Pick: Bengals (+3)
St. Louis Rams at Cleveland Browns (-2.5)
Sam Bradford’s back, and Peyton Hillis is a douchebag.
My Pick: Rams (+2.5)
Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)
I’m thinking the whole Bills thing is over with. Go back to Hahvahd, and take your fat contract extension witcha!
My Pick: Cowboys (-5.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (+3)
The Colts are the only remaining winless team since the Dolphins defeated the Chiefs last week. If there were any game to think the Colts might eke out a win without Peyton Hap, this might be it, but I can’t in good conscience pick the Colts. But this is the least confident I’ve felt yet in betting against them.
My Pick: Jaguars (-3)
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-3)
I don’t understand the AFC West, other than that it appears to be terrible. The Chiefs lose big to begin the season, then fight back to take the lead in the division, then lose to the Dolphins. The Broncos defeat the Raiders with Willis McGahee rising from the dead to do so (handing Carson Palmer a loss along the way—still confused as to him being back). Out of pure confusion and the coin-flip nature of this matchup, I’ll go with the Tribal Leaders to beat the Horsies.
My Pick: Chiefs (-3)
Washington Redskins at Miami Dolphins (-3.5)
The Dolphins, who this time last week were winless, are now favored in a game at home, where they’re even worse than they are on the road. Could the Redskins have fallen this far this fast? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I don’t think they right the ship, necessarily—it’s more that I think the Dolphins will right their own ship, and set it back where it belongs, on the losing path towards Andrew Luck.
My Pick: Redskins (+3.5)
Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-14)
The Eagles didn’t look bad, per se, in their loss to the Bears on Monday night. It was more that the Bears looked good. I couldn’t tell you whether or not the Cardinals looked good in their win over the Rams, because the only highlight I’ve seen from that game is the dope overtime return touchdown scored by Patrick Peterson. One would have to assume the Cardinals will lose this one, but by more than two touchdowns? I’ll probably regret it, but I’m saying yes.
My Pick: Eagles (-14)
Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3)
I find both of these teams confusing and have no idea what to think about either one. They are both not only mediocre, but boring. Andre Johnson is back, though, so I guess I’ll go with the Texans.
My Pick: Texans (-3)
Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers (-3)
I think Cam Newton, coming off the bye, is going to have what cliched sports commentators like to call a STATEMENT GAME, and that the thoroughly average Titans are going to be the victims of Killa Cam’s coming out party. He’s gonna write his name all over them just like they’re a stolen laptop.
My Pick: Panthers (-3)
Sunday Late Games (11/13 4:05/4:15PM ET)
Baltimore Ravens at Seattle Seahawks (+7)
Even with the emotional letdown coming off a comeback win in the final seconds against the Steelers in last week’s primetime spot, the Ravens should deliver a massive spanking to the Seahawks, who I continually forget exist until I’m going to make my picks.
My Pick: Ravens (-7)
New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)
The Eli Hap to Mario Hapham connection brought the Giants another victory against the Patriots in their first meeting since their Super Bowl showdown. The 49ers “gutted out” a win against the Redskins, with “gutted out” being sports cliche for “not winning by as much as you’re supposed to but looking like you’re trying hard instead of looking like you’re playing below your ability, even though you are.” If they try to gut out against the Giants, they’ll lose, which I hope happens, both because I’m picking the Giants and because I prefer Tom Coughlin’s “Oh man Coughlin’s not gonna like that” face to Jim Harbaugh’s “Come at me bro let’s do this while it’s still fresh” face.
My Pick: Giants (+3.5)
Sunday Night Game (11/13 8:25PM ET)
New England Patriots at New York Jets (-1.5)
The Patriots looked pretty darn mortal against the Giants last week, and the Jets did what the Pats could not earlier in the year—beating the Bills in their house. The Patriot defense, indeed, can’t stop a nosebleed. And that rhymed.
My Pick: Jets (-1.5)
Monday Night Football (11/14 8:35PM ET)
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-13.5)
The Packers have to lose sometime, and after last week, when their defense also could not stop a nosebleed, this seems like the week to pick against them. Not that they’ll lose, but I’m guessing they won’t win by two touchdowns.
My Pick: Vikings (+13.5)
When I was looking for that Just the Ten of Us picture to stick at the top of the article, my Googling told me that one of the girls, the redhead, ended up in a softcore movie called Tryst. Ah, the internet. See you next week!