Pigskin Pick'Em: Intoducing the Fabulous 5

The Sultan of Sides found a bit of a rhythm last week posting an 11-5 mark against the spread. The result improves our record to 28-19-1 through three weeks, an aesthetic 59.5% clip. In response to Clarion faithful, we’re going to introduce a new feature to the column this week. At the bottom of the article I will list my “Fabulous Five”. These will be the five picks each week that I have the most confidence in, listed in no particular order.

 

Obviously, I’m not entirely confident picking every game of the weekend, but I’m contractually obligated to do so for the entertainment of the reader. Hopefully, the Fabulous Five will give Clarion faithful, many of whom are reliant upon this column for their retirement, a better idea of which games to risk their 401k on.


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Baltimore Ravens @
PITTSBURGH STEELERS +3

Take the injury riddled home side plus a field goal. The Steelers will be without Ben Roethlisberger, a major blow to the team over an extended stretch, but Pittsburgh has enough to get by this week against a wildly bad Baltimore Ravens defense. The Ravens, at 0-3, have to win this game to have any shot at making the playoffs, but the same could be said a week ago, and we’ all know how their matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals turned out. Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and a salty home crowd gives the Steelers the edge. Steelers win 26-19

NEW YORK JETS @
Miami Dolphins +1

Miami is the nominal home side for this matchup up in London, England. The Dolphins, a trendy pick to finally unseat the Patriots in the AFC East, have been surprisingly terrible to start the year. On the heels of getting stampeded at home by the Buffalo Bills, the Floundering Fish have to swim all the way across the Atlantic to face a rested New York Jets side that will have a much easier time at 30,000 feet. J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! Jets win 24-20

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ Indianapolis Colts -10

With Andrew Luck’s status for Sunday’s game very much up in the air the Prince of Prognostication has no choice but to side with the Jungle-Kittens. Tom Brady single-handedly domesticated the Jaguars last week 157-6. Professional football teams usually bounce back with strong performances following embarrassing defeats. Although, admittedly Jacksonville doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. The Colts have struggled to a 1-2 start and don’t look anything like a team that’s good at football. The home team wins but fails to cover. Colts win 30-23

NEW YORK GIANTS @
Buffalo Bills -5.5

The New York Blueberries finally got a much needed win a week ago, and now head across state to face the upstart Toronto Suburb Bills. Buffalo is coming off an emphatic canning of the tuna last Sunday, creating an ideal letdown spot for the home side. Without Sammy Watkins and LeSean McCoy where will the Bills turn for explosive plays? Buffalo’s blitzing defense will give the Giants fits, but also allow a few big play opportunities for Odell Beckham. The Giants will do enough to cover before blowing a late advantage in classic Eli Manning fashion. Bills win 20-17

Carolina Panthers @
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS +3

Every schmuck in Vegas will be on the undefeated Carolina Panthers laying only a field goal against the seemingly hapless Tampa Bay Bucs, and those schmucks may very well be right! Still, Carolina’s team has been decimated by injuries and victories over Jacksonville, Houston, and New Orleans are expected. The play here is that the Panthers are overvalued at 3-0 because of the weak competition. Tampa Bay is at home, has a number of weapons offensively, and well, Carolina isn’t going to go 16-0. When you know the suits in Vegas are going to be on a side, that’s not a bad side to be on. Bucs win 23-17

Philadelphia Eagles @
WASHINGTON REDSKINS +3

I’m not sold that Chip Kelly’s Eagles are flying on all cylinders after their unimpressive week three victory over the Jets. Sam Bradford looks like a shell of himself, which is a really bad sign, since he was already terrible. The Native Americans are not a good football team, but they’ve been better now that they’ve moved on from Robert Griffin experiment. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones have paired to give the Skins a strong rushing attack. Redskins win 28-21

OAKLAND RAIDERS @
Chicago Bears +3

Love the Raiders! Those are three words I never thought I’d say. Derek Carr is good. Amari Cooper is better. The Raiders haven’t had a pass and catch combination this good since “The Snake” Kenny Stabler was lofting balls to the sticky fingered Fred Belitnikoff. Chicago is fresh off a ten possession, ten punt performance against the Seattle Seahawks. Da Bears will find things a little easier against a polite Raiders defense, but without Jay Cutler under center the Bears don’t have the firepower to match Oakland on the scoreboard. Raiders win 27-17

HOUSTON TEXANS @
Atlanta Falcons -7

The 3-0 Atlanta Falcons are off to a soaring start to the 2015 season after a dismal effort a year ago, and next up is a Houston Texans team that does little to inspire. The Falcons have trailed in the second half of all three contests before staging late rallies. I expect this contest to unfold in similar fashion. Atlanta will overlook a reasonably competent Texans side before pulling away with a victory in the 4th quarter. What’s the over/under on Julio Jones touchdowns? Two? I might take the over. Falcons win 30-24

Kansas City Chiefs @
CINCINNATI BENGALS -4

Who dey? Who dey? Who dey think they gonna beat dem Bengals! The Kansas City Chiefs certainly don’t. A late rally in Green Bay made the final score appear competitive, but don’t be fooled, the Chiefs had too much of the piece pipe before that debacle. Of course, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is not Aaron Rodgers, that’s not news, but the Red Rocket has been flaming hot through three games. Bengals win 30-17

Cleveland Browns @
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS -9

Ask the legendary Ron Burgandy what San Diego means in English. It definitely doesn’t mean “good defense”. The Chargers have been shredded by not so elite NFL offenses in Minnesota, Cincinnati, and Detroit. Fortunately for Lightning Bolt fans, the Cleveland Browns are the only known cure for poor tackling. The circus in Cleveland continues a week after the Browns benched Johnny Manziel, following their lone victory, in favor of a veteran passer, Josh McCown, who has had nearly a decade to showcase how allergic he is to winning. I’m not on the Manziel bandwagon, but playing an old quarterback that’s bad at throwing only makes sense in Cleveland. Chargers win 30-14

GREEN BAY PACKERS @
San Francisco 49ers +9.5

Have you watched Aaron Rodgers play football? Have you watched Colin Kaepernick? Packers win 45-17

ST. LOUIS RAMS @
Arizona Cardinals -7.5

This is the kind of spot the Rams excel in. St. Louis is a terrible favorite, but when they play division rivals that are supposed to beat them? The Rams morph into vicious grazing beasts! Look back to week one for a prime example. St. Louis followed a rousing victory over the Seattle Seahawks with back-to-back duds against Washington and Pittsburgh. The Cardinals can’t beat every team on their schedule by forty can they? Cardinals win 21-14

MINNESOTA VIKINGS @
Denver Broncos -7

The Vikings bring a formidable defense into Denver to face a quarterback who still seems unable to throw the football to the outer thirds of the field. Denver did do its elderly passer a favor by moving him out from center though, and the Broncos defense has looked fantastic behind strong corner play and a fierce pass rush. The play here says the Vikings will have success running the football with Adrian Peterson keeping Manning on the bench, where he’ll suffer a stiff neck from a time consuming Minnesota possession. Broncos win 23-20

Dallas Cowboys @
New Orleans Saints

As of this writing ESPN has not posted a line on the Cowboys-Saints game. I checked Bovada and a line has not been posted at that site yet either. The absence of a line is due to the murky details surrounding Saints quarterback Drew Brees injured shoulder, and his availability this weekend. I’m guessing with Brees in the lineup the Saints would be a 3-3.5 point favorite. If that was the line I would probably side with the road team and take the points. We’ll mark this game as “no action”.

Detroit Lions @
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS -10.5

I’m heading to Seattle this morning for 36 holes of golf Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I’ll wrap that up by hanging out at Touchdown City and tailgating all day Monday before watching my Seahawks dismantle this rag-tag bunch of feral house cats from Detroit. The Lions are toast! So are my vocal cords! Seahawks win 31-13

** The Sultan’s Fabulous Five of the Week! Green Bay, Oakland, Cincinnati, San Diego, Seattle.

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