FIWK the NFL: Week 7 Picks

This week I've got a goal:  at least one joke for every game.  This is going to be a comedy bloodbath.

Week 7 picks here we go!
Tampa Bay at ATLANTA +7.0
I despise this game and have no intentions of watching it.  On paper I feel like Atlanta is the better team, but then I looked at their active roster and its closest analogue is The Walking Dead.  Literally the only person who I'd be comfortable throwing the ball to is Tony "Father Time" Gonzalez.  So that's not ideal.  DVOA backs up this intuition.... TB and Atl are ranked very closely in DVOA (-6.7% and -3.6% respectively).  So I'll take the points.

DETROIT vs. Cincinnati -2.5
I have no idea what to make of this game.  Also I hate the spelling of Cincinnati.  For some reason I have a brain block that always makes me want to spell it Cincinatti.  Which is embarrassing because I was an English major who generally considers writing his only useful life skill.  Well that and a discerning palate for beer.  What's that?  Not a useful skill?  Damn you Aaron.  [can't think of a transition] .... So!  DVOA has these two teams relatively close (9% for Det vs. 14% for Cin) so I'll take the less-than-FG for the home team.

Buffalo at MIAMI +8.0
Holy demasiados puntos!!  Eight points!  I am imagining this line is a reflection of the Bills using the immortal Thad Lewis as their starting QB, but wasn't he decent last week?  You'd need Blaine "1.8 Total QBR" Gabbert starting for Buffalo for me to take Miami here, holy crap.  For what it's worth Buffalo is also rated way higher in DVOA (+4%) than Miami (-12%).  Thank you points!

New England at NYJ -3.5
I don't totally get this line?  New England's DVOA (8.8%) is actually not that much higher than the Jet's (-2.7%), and I think this line is factoring in injuries to Amendola, et al for the Pats.  But isn't Gronk expected to return this week?  Isn't he worth, like, two Amendolas?  After the incredible comeback win by New England last week I am not prepared to go against them with this few points.  And speaking of Amendola - can we just make his name the term for any 'injury prone' athlete who immediately gets injured upon moving to a new team?  For instance, Greg Oden has immediately and predictably gone Amendola on the Heat shortly after joining them.

Dallas at PHILADELPHIA +3.0
Call me crazy, but this Dallas team is showing some juvenation (copyright term: Bill Simmons).  I think the absolutely crap nature of their division is actually helping to motivate them.... the Boys have not played great, but they know they only need to string together a few good weeks to be settled into the playoffs.  As for the Eagles, I fear the Ewing Theory factor with Vick going out again (he Amendola'd them yet again), but their DVOA (0.7%) just doesn't scare me off of taking Dallas (11.9%).  One of these days we need to figure out who is a more frustrating QB, Romo or Rivers, but not today....

Chicago at WASHINGTON [pick 'em]
My mind was just blown after looking at the DVOA disparity for these two teams.  Chicago is at +17.4% (6th best in the league) while Wash is at -26.9% (30th in the league).  Woah!!  That's like expecting to find some leftover pasta in your fridge and discovering there's half a box of Sprinkles cupcakes too.  Is there some reason I don't know about for Washington being so close in the spread?  Maybe the assumption that they're turning it around after an abysmal start?

CAROLINA vs. St Louis -6.0
I'm adding Cam Newton to the list of frustrating QBs who we need to figure out how good they actually are.  He seems really good?  But then other times he seems not so good.  Like there's no question you'd rather have Russell Wilson as your starting QB, but at the same time Cam Newton is probably better on your fantasy team.  I don't know what that means.  I'm avoiding watching St Louis anymore of I can help it.... I've had more fun trips to the dentist than I have had watching the Rams play this season.  And yet this team is 3-3, which is odd.  As for the pick, DVOA has Carolina (+16%) as being way better than the Rams (-15%).

San Diego at JACKSONVILLE -7.5
I'm pretty surprised by this line.  I jumped on it before the Chargers even beat the Colts, and yet after beating Indy the line didn't move at all in their favor?  That seems odd to me.  Anyway this is a pick strongly against the Jaguars and their pathetic, last-place DVOA (-66%) - which is 30% worse than the next-closest team, by the way - more than it is for the average chargers (DVOA right at 0.3%).  The Jags should have lower than a double digit spread against any decent opponent.  That said.... I'm pretty nervous about this game.  It's really no-win for the Chargers.  It's like when a really short guy guards you in basketball - the best you can do is score on him and rebound repeatedly, and then you kind of look like a jerk for picking on him, and the downside is he scores on you or gets some sneaky rebounds and you look like a tall idiot who sucks at basketball.  So let's just say I'm hoping for the Chargers to look like jerks picking on some scrawny freshman, over the other thing.

San Francisco at TENNESSEE -4.0
The Niners DVOA: not as good as I thought (+12%).  The Titans DVOA: not as good as I thought (-6%).  So maybe this game isn't as good as I thought?  Maybe I'm just bad at judging NFL teams?  (Note: significantly more likely.)  I have to say, for a team with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their QB I'm surprised the Titans are only +4 at home.  I'm expecting the Niners to eat him alive.  I think we're in a full-fledged Niners revival this season, that their DVOA undersells them, and that this is going to be a blowout.

GREEN BAY vs. Cleveland -10.0
Poor Cleveland.  For one brief, shining moment it seemed like they had a little special something going on there, and then the wheels came off.  Their season has that Gramatica-celebrating-hamstring injury vibe to it.  Poor Cleveland.  There's a big DVOA disparity here so I'm comfortable taking GB despite the many punkte they're laying.  As for the Packers.... how much of a playoff favorite do you consider them?  I'm having a hard time judging any top competitors except for the Seahawks and Broncos at this point.  Then again in 6 more weeks we'll have a lot more data.

KANSAS CITY vs. Houston -6.0
Holy unzureichend punkte Batman!  You're telling me the Chiefs, 3rd-best DVOA in the league, are at home against Houston, 26th DVOA in the league, starting a QB in his first ever career start, laying only six points?!?  Sign me up!  I haven't been this excited since I saw that Simmons and Lowe had a two-part NBA watchability rankings column up on Grantland.  This line just made my weekend.  

Baltimore at PITTSBURGH +1.5
These teams stink.  I'm just taking the points and moving on.  I'm not even going to try to make a joke here.

Denver at INDIANAPOLIS -6.5
No question, this is the game of the week.  Indy's NFL-leading DVOA (46.6%) has me picking them over Indy's 5th-best DVOA (19.5%), but truthfully I wouldn't bet on this game and I don't care about the points.  I just want to watch it and see what happens.  Serious question - is Andrew Luck going to be a better QB than Peyton Manning?  He makes great throws.  But is Peyton's cerebral approach and playcalling something we'll never totally see again?  Anyway I expect Peyton to go full-Heisenberg on Indianapolis this week... not exactly out of spite, but more of just a statement about how awesome he is.  That said I'm not sure their defense can stop Indy - they gave up 19 points to the putrid Jags, which leads me to think that Aaron, Scott, myself, and the ghost of MP could run out there and score at least 6 points on them.  So I'm gonna say that's a problem.

Minnesota at NYG +3.5
In a truly comical turn of events, the winless (and 31st-ranked DVOA at -37%) Giants are favored by more than a field goal at home.  I get it, the Vikings aren't good either (DVOA of -15%), but my God.  Have some respect for yourself, bookmakers.  At least try to create a competitive line instead of pandering to the legions of Giants fans and their abject sadness.  This pick for me might as well read Adrian Peterson at NYG +3.5, cause that's what I'm really counting on here.  God forbid the Vikings have to throw.  Side question: is there a more frustrating fantasy situation than the Giants' WRs?  Somehow there's always somebody having a big week, but Eli throws to so many viable options - and they all get nicked up so often - that you never know if it'll be Cruz, Hixon, Nicks, Randle, or some random guy off the street.  I don't like it.

Enter your picks losers!


  1. $55 on Dallas +3 and Minnesota +3.5.

    $44 on Chicago +0, Baltimore +1.5, San Diego -7.5

    $33 on Kansas City -6.5, Tennessee +4, Cleveland +10

    $11 on Indianapolis +6.5

  2. And you stole my 'spelling Cincinnati' joke from 2011.

  3. My 'spelling Cincinnati' joke from 2011, in link form.

    But I guess since you were an English major, that does make it a little funnier.

  4. So many comments to make. Here's to hoping I'm in jubilant spirits after tomorrow's UCLA-Stanford game so that ill be able to make them.

  5. I'll get you to add a comment while your tailgating... actually, there's only a 3% chance I remember to say something.

  6. For now, the picks: $55 on Chicago, $33 on SF, and $22 on Detroit. I really wanted to take Buffalo (and still may), but the Dolphins bye week scared me.

  7. Aaron do you have any explanation for some of these crazy lines? I'm perplexed.

    PS - I'm super proud of the photo for this week. That is cool.

  8. Dallas, Minnesota, Chicago, Baltimore, San Diego, and Cleveland are all on the road. I'm sure there's something there. Remember how the Chargers were at home facing the 4-1 Colts?

    The KC line does perplex me a little, maybe there is less faith in the Chiefs ability to blow out a talented team? Actually it looks like the strength of both of these teams is their defense, the over/under is 39.5, so it's going to be hard to win by a touchdown when it's tied at 17 in the fourth quarter.

  9. I have $100 on SD -7.5. I take this line personally and I'm offended we are laying fewer than 10. If SD doesn't beat the spread I'll be despondent.

    Also $30 on Buffalo +3, $30 on NE -3.5, $30 on SF -4, $50 on Chicago (pick), $70 on Kansas City -6, and $70 on Minnesota +3.5.

  10. Aaron - you had KC at -6.5 and I have them at -6.0. Which line are we using?

  11. I made zero comments yesterday.

    I love that Royce is betting with emotion. Sure fire way to beat Vegas right there...

  12. It's not JUST emotion... or so I tell myself. Their DVOA is not only last, it's 30% lower than the next-worst team. So that's not so good.

  13. Dammit KC Chefs. What the hell. Also, I wish I had got the Bears v Washingtonians on TV, that game looked fun as hell based on the highlights.

    I won the SD pick, the Buffalo pick, and the SF pick, lost the NE, Chicago, and KC picks. Minn plays tonight.

  14. I want to instinctively bet on tonight's game to turn my negative week into a positive. But, I'll try to show some restraint and not throw bad $$ after good (yes, I know that's not the correct use of that phrase).

  15. I went a perfect 0-4 in the afternoon games. If the Vikings cover tonight, I still can't turn this into a positive week.

  16. Dammit Vikings! Bad week for me. By the way - Jash Freeman looked terrrrrrrrrible tonight. Jeez.

  17. I was chuckling at you two fools this entire game.

  18. Just out of curiosity, were you emotionally rooting for the Broncos over the Jaguars because I chose the Jaguars? I do find myself going against your picks sometimes.

  19. Hell Yes. That one more so cause you were sooooooo convinced.

  20. You're welcome. You can't tell me you weren't rooting for the Broncos to destroy the Jags.