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Week 8 NFL Picks

The culture of fear engulfing NFL offenses has got to stop. I’m crotchety this week. Read at your own peril. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Last Week: 11 – 4 – 0
Season:    62 – 44 – 0

Thursday Recap

Dolphins 0 at Ravens 40
The Dolphins were deathly afraid to throw the ball beyond 5 yards for most of the game. They lost 40-0. I mean, if you’re going to play check down chess all night long and lose 40-0, why not chuck it downfield and lose 40-17? That was unwatchable. I get the thought process behind the approach, but it’s not at all fan-friendly. Also, it rarely works. Grow a pair and throw the football down the field. I need Brett Favre back in the league.

Early, Early Game (9:30AM ET)

Vikings at Browns
I love football, so I’ll absolutely get up and watch any game, but yeesh… Case Keenum and whatever QB the Browns roulette table lands on this week is not all that enticing. (Note: this week Cleveland is back to DeShone Kizer.) VIKINGS If I were Charles Barkley; Browns +10

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Raiders at Bills
I’m sorry I’ve been so lazy this season. My family and I just moved across the country two weeks before the season started and I have yet to find my bearings. Regardless, I promise to no longer let my four loyal readers down and will henceforth be posting at a greater frequency for the remainder of the season. Also, I missed most of the Chiefs/Raiders thriller last week because my DVR malfunctioned. I did catch the final 8 minutes, however. I thought the refs did a nice job of not imposing themselves on the game. BILLS If I were Charles Barkley; -3

Colts at Bengals
We need to address the atmosphere around sports. It’s not fun. We over analyze everything. Could you imagine Brett Favre in today’s NFL? That dude was a legend when I was growing up. A fearless gunslinger unafraid of squeezing the ball in the tiniest of holes, consequences be damned. Today, Favre would be ridiculed and asked to take a sack or check down to the back for three yards. It’s garbage. I won’t even mention his name but there’s an “analyst” employed by ESPN who thinks Carson Wentz is fine but is mostly the product of a great line and a dominant defense. He consistently ranks Wentz below quarterbacks that don’t find the end zone or throw for less than 200 yards in his weekly review. It’s asinine. Numbers are great and all, but they shouldn’t be the end all for evaluation. If I had a young quarterback, I’d tell him I want his average completion around 10 yards and I don’t care what your completion percentage is as long as it’s close to 50%. What’s the point of a completion percentage above 65% if you find yourself in 3rd and 3 80% of the time? Coaches coach scared and quarterbacks quarterback scared. It’s a plague and I’d be willing to fire coaches on the spot if I were the owner of a team for simply boring me to death. That’s why I love Doug Pederson. Sure, he’s no Belichick, but he lets it fly, goes for two, doesn’t like punting and doesn’t give two sh*** what we’re going to say about him. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -10.5

Chargers at Patriots
Philip Rivers is a hero and we need more Philip Rivers in the league. He’s our modern day Brett Favre. Unfortunately, we see him through a different lens than we did Favre so he’s often criticized for his gunslinger mentality. I say who cares. You do what you do Rivers. Don’t let those crotchety analytical monsters take your sparkle. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Chargers +7.5

Bears at Saints
If this rant I’m on is annoying, I apologize, but I’m not done yet. The Bears won a football game last week after their quarterback threw the football 7 times and the offense accounted for 3 points and less than 200 total yards. There were no weather events and as far as I know, no issues of blindness to report. Screw anthem protests and oversaturation. Ratings are down because quarterbacks (and coaches) are pansies. From this point to the end of the season, my rooting rankings are as follows:
1. Eagles
2. Any outcome that helps the Eagles
3. Whichever team has the quarterback/coach with a pair of balls. SAINTS If I were Charles Barkley; Saints -9

Falcons at Jets
The Falcons don’t qualify as a team with balls. They’re cowards. The Jets and Josh McCown are in fact a more explosive team than the DEFENDING NFC CHAMPION ATLANTA FALCONS. I’m so mad at the NFL right now. How Atlanta continues to struggle offensively is the dumbest thing. Let me be the offensive coordinator. There’s way too much talent on that offense. Steve Sarkisian is a joke. Stop calling plays. Let Matt Ryan do it from the line. Here, I’ll help. Give Devonta Freeman 20 carries and 5 targets. Throw the football to Julio Jones at least 12-15 times. Give another 7-12 carries to Tevin Coleman and make sure he gets half a dozen targets, too. Then spread out the remainder of the touches to the rest of the offense. Structure your play calling around those parameters and you’ll do fine. Stop with this nonsense of being balanced. Balance is great but when your quest for balance undercuts the effectiveness of the offense you’re just being stupid. Need proof:

Matt Ryan: 1,590 yards, 7.83 avg., 7 TD, 6 INT
Josh McCown: 1,583, 7.16, 10 TD, 5 INT

Yes, the Jets have played one more game, but Ryan’s numbers are on pace for his lowest output since 2011. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; -6

49ers at Eagles
Speaking of Atlanta’s offensive problems… they miss Kyle Shanahan. Props to him for keeping the 49ers competitive (last week’s drubbing at the hands of the Cowboys aside). The 49ers aren’t good, but the Eagles can’t look past them, either. Have I mentioned I love the Eagles? Everything that is wrong with the NFL doesn’t apply to the Eagles. Our quarterback has the resolve of a NAVY SEAL. The defense is mean, relentless, and at times, reckless. Our coach doesn’t give a flying you know what about what he’s “supposed” to do at any point in time. He does what he wants, for better or worse, right or wrong. I love that. Did I mention the Eagles are atop the NFL standings? Here, see for yourself. EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles -1,428

Panthers at Buccaneers
If I wrote a weekly recap like I should have, I would have been the first one out with the “Panthers miss Tedd Ginn Jr.” take. The Panthers can’t stretch the field. Between drops of blood falling from my eyeballs while watching that atrocity Sunday, I noticed the Bears had all eleven defenders within 8 yards of the line scrimmage on at least ten occasions. The Panthers are not a good running team, so the Bears weren’t stacking the box to stop the run. They knew Carolina couldn’t beat them deep. Maybe drafting an undersized scat back with a top ten pick wasn’t the brightest idea. Without a stud offensive lineman in the 2017 draft, it’s hard to argue Carolina whiffed on the pick, but that O-line is a mess. Cam Newton is always under siege. Expert opinion: Newton doesn’t thrive under pressure. Anyway, keep on crushing Newton for all the Panthers problems. He’s part of them, but not all of them. They can’t run the ball, his receivers have been mostly disappointing despite their high draft status and he’s had THE D U M B E S T offensive coordinators throughout most of his career. So what if he’s a whiny child who doesn’t enjoy discussing losses and team struggles with the media. I’m on team Cam. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers +1.5

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Texans at Seahawks
I used to hate when there were only two late games, but in my old age I appreciate being able to watch both games at once without trying to keep up with a third or fourth. This is an exciting matchup. Deshaun Watson has been fun since taking over midway through Week 1. However, I think we need some perspective here. Watson has mostly torn up some pretty bad defenses over his four-week stretch of awesomeness. New England is last in the NFL in yards allowed. Kansas City is 30th. Of Houston’s last four opponents, only the Cleveland Browns had a defense ranked in the top half of the league in total defense. Seattle’s defense, meanwhile, is ranked in the top 10 in nearly every statistical category and they’re atop the NFL in points allowed (15.7). We’ll have a better idea how good Watson really is around 7:30PM ET Sunday. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -5.5

Cowboys at Redskins
As I mentioned earlier, I love the Eagles. I’m an absolute homer. With that said, I’m also a realist. I think the Eagles are already too banged up to win the NFC in January. I think the weakness of the conference will ultimately result in Seattle representing the NFC unless Aaron Rodgers is able to make a full recover in mid December. Dallas is also in the mix if their offense has indeed found its groove after its first great showing of the 2017 season last week. I know, I know, the defense is a mess and who knows what will happen with Ezekiel Elliott, but I’m operating under the assumption he’s going to play the whole season at this point. Dak Prescott is a monster on 3rd down, and if Dallas has indeed found its running game again, a subpar defense isn’t as big an issue. Dallas could easily control the clock and limit opponent’s opportunities. Dallas isn’t by any means the favorite, but when that offense is clicking they’re in the mix as a threat. With that said, I think the Redskins win this week because weird things happen in the NFC East. (I also think Washington is good, despite the drubbing the Eagles put on them.) REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +2

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Steelers at Lions
I forgot about my rant on lame quarterback play for a while there, but let’s get back to it. Matthew Stafford is another victim of scared coaching. He’s on pace for only 3,800 yards this season, which would be 450 yards less than his previous career low in 2014. If you’ve watched Detroit at all this season, you know their offense is at its best when they’re trailing in the 4th quarter. Yes, the defense may relax a bit and resort to safe coverages, but it’s also due to Stafford letting it rip. The guy has a world-class arm, let him use it. Restricting him to 5 yard dump-offs is a waste of talent and an insult to my viewing eyeballs. FREE MATTHEW STAFFORD! LIONS If I were Charles Barkley; Lions +3

Monday Night (8:30PM ET)

Broncos at Chiefs
In 2016 the Denver Broncos started 7-3 before closing the season 2-4 and missing the playoffs. After starting 3-1, it appears Denver has commenced its slide a bit earlier this season as they’ve dropped two straight. What’s worse, Denver has the NFL’s three best teams in consecutive weeks (KC, PHI, NE [sorry, Pittsburgh]). We could be writing off the Broncos before Thanksgiving if things don’t go well here. Also, what is Denver doing with the quarterback position? Is Paxton Lynch officially a bust without really every getting a chance to show he’s a bust? Lynch is buried behind Brock Osweiler on the depth chart and we’ve all seen what Osweiler looks like as a starter. This smells like a game an Andy Reid team would blow but they did that two weeks ago against the Steelers and then choked away a victory to a desperate Oakland team. Thus, I’m taking the Chiefs. Though I don’t feel great about it. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Chiefs -7.5

*****

If I were Charles Barkley;
Last Week: 5 – 8 – 2
Season:    49 – 54 – 3

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