Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
After another week in which I’ve solidly performed above .500, I’ve decided to stick with my strategy of choosing mostly underdogs, except when the underdog seems so bad that I could not in good conscience choose them, likely because someone important got injured in last week’s bloodbath (this goes for most teams, honestly). On to the picks and puns, because your life depends on it.
(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.)
Last Week’s Record: 9-6
My Record So Far: 51-53-3
Thursday Night Game (10/24 8:30PM ET)
Carolina Panthers -6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This week’s Thursday Night showcase for bumbling, stumbling and fumbling gives us one of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE’s remaining two un-undefeated teams, playing their lead-footed quarterback against one of the best defensive fronts in the league in the Carolina Panthers. Tampa will inexplicably continue to use Darrelle Revis in zone instead of having him lock down Steve Smith, so the Panthers will easily win this one on the road.
My Pick: Panthers -6
Sunday Early Games (10/27 1PM ET)
Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints -12
Double-digit spreads seem to be happening more and more often this year, and though it’s hard to pick against the Saints when they’re playing at home, especially coming off of a bye, the Bills aren’t nearly as bad as a twelve-point dog should be. I’ll take them to cover, even with a back-back-backup quarterback in.
My Pick: Bills +12
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs -7.5
The Chiefs, the only remaining undefeated team, have to lose sometime, because they’re not nearly as good as their record, though they’re not as bad as the pundits who always say “they’re not nearly as good as their record” think. The Browns can keep up with the Chiefs defensively, Alex Smith hasn’t had a total bummer of a game yet, and this one isn’t particularly an important matchup for the Chiefs, so I think the men from Browntown can keep it close.
My Pick: Browns +7.5
Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions -3
For some reason, I have this feeling that the Cowboys are actually good and the Lions aren’t, really, beyond their defensive line and passing attack. I don’t know if I’d pick “America’s Team” to win outright in Detroit, but I think they’ll keep it close enough that they’re the right side with the points.
My Pick: Cowboys +3
San Francisco 49ers -16.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars
Yes, the Jaguars are terrible, and after a few early struggles, the 49ers are good. But the 49ers don’t score an insane amount of points, and though Jacksonville doesn’t have much of a home field advantage at this point—hell, there may be more 49ers fans in the stands than Jags fans on Sunday—I can’t in good conscience take a road team favored by more than two touchdowns against anyone. Even the Jaguars.
My Pick: Jaguars +16.5
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots -6.5
Yes, the Dolphins have not looked as good in the past few games as they did to start the season. Yes, the Patriots have a better record and are playing at home. But no, the Patriots aren’t as good as they once were, lost to the Jets once and could have lost to them a second time very easily, and took a miracle of bad coaching to beat the Saints at home in front of a half-empty stadium.
My Pick: Dolphins +6.5
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles -6
Either because I am obsessed and must watch any NFL game that is on TV, or because I am a masochist, or because I wasn’t feeling well and just wanted to lay on the couch and watch something I didn’t have to pay much attention to, I actually watched the Giants-Vikings Monday Night Game last week from beginning to end. It was one of the worst games I’ve ever watched. But the Giants finally got their first win, and I think they can make it two in a row after the combined performance of Nick Foles and Matt Barkley last Sunday. Remember when Matt Barkley could have come out and probably been drafted in the top ten, but stayed to have a terrible season with Lane Kiffin? I do.
My Pick: Giants +6
Sunday Late Games (10/20 4:05/4:25PM ET)
New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals -6.5
The Jets beat the Patriots last week on an overtime field goal following an obscure penalty that gave them a second chance to win it. The Bengals’ last win was an overtime field goal against the Bills. It feels like these teams are pretty evenly matched, so for the Bengals to be favored by six-and-a-half seems too much. The Jets are the smart side in this matchup.
My Pick: Jets +6.5
Pittsburgh Steelers -3 at Oakland Raiders
A matchup of classic rivals that’s also a matchup of bad teams, this Steelers-Raiders matchup will likely be the game that most people on the West Coast are forced to watch due to locality. I hope they enjoy seeing both quarterbacks getting sacked a lot and a score with neither team getting above the teens.
My Pick: Raiders +3
Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos -13
Another double-digit spread, another reluctant bet on the underdog. I think the Broncos will come out firing, especially after garnering their first loss last week, but it’s really hard to pick a team to win by two touchdowns with how they looked against the Colts. All that, and RG3 is starting to look like himself again. I have no doubt the Broncos will win, but I don’t think it’ll be a blowout.
My Pick: Redskins +13
Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals -2.5
Remember last year when the Falcons were a couple of plays away from the Super Bowl, Tony Gonzalez decided not to retire in order to get one last chance at a ring, and they were favorites to easily walk away with their division again? That was fun. Now we have them underdogs to the Arizona Cardinals, who lost to the St. Louis Rams. Still, I think the Falcons will win this one, even as Tony Gonzalez sort of hopes they don’t so he can get traded to a contender at the deadline.
My Pick: Falcons +2.5
Sunday Night Game (10/27 8:25PM ET)
Green Bay Packers -9.5 at Minnesota Vikings
Did you see the Vikings play last week? And that was against a BAD team.
My Pick: Packers -9.5
Monday Night Football (10/28 8:30PM ET)
Seattle Seahawks -10.5 at St. Louis Rams
Did you see the Rams play last week? Probably not. But just know that Kellen Clemons makes Sam Bradford look like Joe Montana.
My Pick: Seahawks -10.5
See you next time.