This isn’t really football pick related, but felt like I had to mention it, because once every three years or so I like to point out how awful GQ is at covering sports. Whatever they do is always in the form of a list and is filled with the kind of information you get in the first two lines of a Wikipedia entry. The newest installment is their 20 Worst Sports Franchises of All-Time. There are several problems with the list (Clippers not #1, Random treatment of expansion Teams, Lumping all of Cleveland together), but I’m bringing this up because the Phillies have attained the #16 ranking. I’ve heard some people get quite upset with this number. Recent history, or more accurately 2002-2011 would have the Phillies nowhere near this list, but the Phillies have lost an awful lot of games. They went about 100 years before winning a World Series, then went another 25 before the next one. Playoff appearances have been limited. The Phillies might be one of the worst franchises, big picture, of all-time. But, since GQ can’t put together a list, and has them behind the Raptors and the frickin’ football Cardinals the ranking loses all credibility and everyone gets pissed. To cool off, I suggest a beer…
Week Four Beer: Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
When I’m picking out random beers I tend to drift to west coast offerings, beers from Vermont–other mountainous regions. I never drink southern beer. Do they have craft breweries in the south? Or is everyone distilling whiskey and arguing about BBQ? I don’t hit up the Midwest too much, either, but I stumbled upon Bell’s Brewery a few years back and now I’m a huge fan. The 1st beer I had from Bell’s was their Two Hearted Ale, which may be my 2nd favorite beer, and packs a serious punch. I’d only seen Two Hearted and Bell’s in draft form at places with a good selection before this past year when the six-packs started popping up here and there. This is very good news. The Midwestern Pale Ale is a strong offering, though not as distinct or tasty as the Two Hearted.
Am I sorry I didn’t get the Sierra: No. Not a home run, but with what I’ve had so far, I’m willing to try pretty much anything Bell’s has to offer.
Rankings so far:
- Shed IPA
- Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
- Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
- Deschutes Brewery IPA
Let’s get on with the picks. The Eagles have an interesting game this week. They’re in Denver and are huge underdogs. It’s a game that every Eagles fan had as a loss all along, but this week there are a lot of people talking themselves into, “Well, if it looks too easy,” and “If everyone is going one way…” I think this is wishful thinking from Eagles’ fans and they are even in danger of jinxing the upset. We’ll see if anyone goes there this week.
Big Dub, Record: 11-4
Minnesota (+2.5) over Pittsburgh. Oh, the Steelers are laying points? I’ll glady take them.
Houston (+3) over Seattle. I’m not sold on Houston, but doesn’t this feel like a good let down spot for the Seahawks on the road against a team that does have some talent roaming around out there. As long as Schaub doesn’t turn into Kaepernick the Texans should be able to hang in there.
Jacksonville (+8.5) over Indianapolis. Mark this down as the pick of the week. Indy just came off a huge win against the 49ers and they have the Seahawks in deck. Perfect trap game. Plus, they did lose to Jacksonville at home last year, so why not expect a dud on the road?
Arizona (+2.5) over Tampa Bay. Is this the week Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano get fired? I don’t get that organization. Didn’t the players hate Gruden because he wasn’t a “player’s coach?” Why the hell bring in the same kind of guy with zero clout.
New Orleans (-6.5) over Miami. The Dolphins were incredibly lucky to win and cover last week. Matt Bryant missed a 35-yard field goal last week, which would have put the Falcons up six. Instead he missed the chip shot and the Dolphins marched down the field. Blowout.
DC, Record: 5-9-1
New Orleans (-6.5) over Miami. My theory of this game is that beating Atlanta at home is not as impressive of a win as it might have seemed. Miami walks out into a big spot on the road this week and gets hammered. NO takes a 24-3 lead at halftime and cruises to some generic 31-20 win or something like that.
Houston (+3) over Seattle. Every season I start betting against undefeated teams on the premise that they are not going to go 16-0 and there’s value in trying to identify that first loss. Of course I usually get it wrong for three or four weeks before finally getting it right. So here the reasoning is, what, is Seattle going to go 16-0? And is Houston really going to let a road favorite come into their house and beat them? It’s an interesting game: it’s going to tell us a lot about whether Houston has some contending in them this year. DeAndre Hopkins breaks one early and Ben Tate (sigh) breaks one late for a 23-20 Houston win.
San Diego (+2) over Dallas. Dallas is a road favorite now because they whomped St. Louis? Get out of here.
New England (+2) over Atlanta. Who is more flawed? I say it’s Atlanta: can’t run the ball and the passing game didn’t exactly look very sharp in that Miami game. If I wrote an internet football column I would probably pretend to have broken down the game tape and calculated the percentage of passes that Matty Ryan threw off his back foot last week and then make some coach-ey pronouncement about his footwork. I don’t know. All I’m saying is that Miami beating Atlanta wasn’t as impressive as it sounds.
Kansas City (-4.5) over New York Giants. Kansas City is probably ripe for a horrible letdown at some point but my god are the Giants terrible, and especially the offensive line. I don’t actually remember the names of any of the Chiefs defensive front other than Dontari Allen Poe but I think they will be well acquainted with Eli by the end of the game.
Grossy, Record: 9-5-1
Cincinnati (-4.5) over Cleveland. Tough spot? Divisional road game? DON’T CARE. I actually think the Bengals are a good team. And, I still think that the Browns have mostly given up on the season. Beating the Vikings was an accident, and the Vikings are atrocious–Matt Cassel era! This is just a monumental mismatch. Joe Haden is the only thing keeping the Browns from losing by 20.
Jacksonville (+8.5) over Indianapolis. Letdown. Monster letdown. Also, the Jags are giving away two free beers with the purchase of a ticket, so I’m expecting the 21,000 faithful to be EXTRA ROWDY. Chad Henne is about to put something together. I can feel it. But this really just feels like a combination of a sloppy Colts effort and a possible backdoor. Garbage time has been renamed Cecil Shorts the Third Time.
Arizona (+2.5) over Tampa Bay. Mike Glennon? Let’s do the face test:
I thought you had to at least be a good college QB to get drafted, but apparently that is no longer the case. Not only can you make and NFL roster, but you can get promoted to the starting lineup in week four. Greg Schiano is like the Wizard of Oz. He’s got the stare down. He knows the act. But, when he steps out from behind the curtain, the bottom line is I wouldn’t trust him to diagram a flag football play on the back of a cocktail napkin.
Washington (-3) over Oakland. I do not think the Redskins are going to go 0-16. This feels like maybe a chance for them to put things together. I don’t think Terrelle Pryor is going to play, so instead of him running around on broken plays against the Redskins’ terrible defense, it’ll just be noodle-armed Matt Flynn being mediocre all day. The ‘Skins score enough to get that 1st win and put the Kirk Cousins chants to sleep.
New Orleans (-6.5) over Miami. Spite. For some reason I hate the Dolphins. I hate Tannehill. I hate their RB situation. I don’t like their uniforms, Don Shula, or the city. Feels right.
Nichols, Record: 7-8
- Pittsburgh FC (-2.5) over Minnesota United
- Indianapolis (-8.5) over Jacksonville
- Chicago (+3) over Detroit
- San Diego (+2) over Dallas
- Atlanta (-2) over New England
Kraft, Record: 9-5-1
- Kansas City (-4.5) over NYG. Put a fork in the G-Men.
- Washington (-3) over Oakland
- Atlanta (-2) over New England
- Minnesota (+2.5) over Pittsburgh
- Chicago (+3) over Detroit