by Chris Corbellini
Overshare warning: I didn’t exactly wow an NFL team during a recent chat, I bitched to Medium Happy EIC John Walters via text about working for free*, my accounting course could be going better, and I’m currently dealing with a slight hangover due to a wedding rehearsal dinner that got all Malbec-y. That’s the cloudy-sky version of things.
The sunny side: I did pick up a sweet consulting gig, an NFL team actually wanted to talk to me, I’m actually studying at Columbia, John actually allows me to write here, and one of my favorite family members is getting married, and seeing her smile last night I must admit it’s hard to be a misanthrope. I’m running towards life this weekend. Good things lay ahead. Even with these picks. “Things *do* turn around, Steve,” Cameron Crowe once wrote. And I believe it.
So anyway, yeah, that’s a long way of writing that on a professional note … I didn’t get these picks in until Saturday around noon. Home team in CAPS. William Hill odds.
* (Editor’s Note: I, too, have bitched to John Walters about writing for free…)
MIAMI (+3) over Detroit
When in doubt, go with the home dog. Last week I was certain the Bears D was going to pound and grind the Dolphins into a tuna melt, but Brock Osweiler made things interesting. By comparison, the Lions linebackers are poorly rated on Pro Football Focus, and field a corner who, according to the grading system, is one of the worst in the league. So, throw more than few dump-offs to Kenyan Drake, put in Frank Gore at the goal-line, and get Danny Amendola involved, and the Dolphins get to a single eyebrow raising 5-2. I see the Dolphins winning this by a field goal, with cries of “Why not us?” before Brady throws for seven touchdowns against them in mid-December, and Amendola refuses to hug it out with Tom after the game.
INDIANAPOLIS (-7.5) over Buffalo
I really wanted to write that the Bills will cover here. They showed me enough at Houston last week to second-guess this. But Buffalo’s new QB, Derek Anderson, is being force-fed the offense in a few days, and his last start was in 2016 (and only to punish Cam Newton). I think Anderson will make some good throws on muscle memory alone, and the Bills defense will play nasty at times (especially on the defensive line), and this week it won’t be enough.
Dallas (+1.5) over WASHINGTON
I have this working theory that coaches who’ve failed miserably as NFL HC’s make terrific assistants. Something about having a second chance reinvigorates them, and while they understand the big picture the way a head coach would, they don’t have all that responsibility anymore and can focus on a specific area. Example: Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. He washed out in St. Louis, and now doing great things with Dallas QB Dak Prescott. And defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli? Suffered through a winless season with the Lions in 2008, and is now putting together a top defense without any established stars in Big D. Dallas is one receiver away from contending, but still, these Cowboys do look dominant at times.
KANSAS CITY (-6) over Cincinnati
At Arrowhead? Nah, not this week Cincy. For starters, the Bengals don’t have the speed to keep up with Tyreek Hill. Plus, I keep reading about the dirty play of Cincinnati LB Vontaze Burfict, and it’s clear all the frustrated quotes from opponents are feeding into his self-worth as a player. He thinks he’s doing the right thing. Well, the football gods are getting angry, Vontaze. There will be a reckoning when you hit people late over and over just to hit people late.
Opponents see that … so not only will they target Burfict whenever they can, there is a possibility Bengals QB Andy Dalton absorbs a few late shots himself. You know, just enough of an elbow that’ll make Dalton feel it and the refs won’t be able to see. I predict Hill will score a long one, TE Travis Kelce will score underneath, and perhaps Burfict has a meltdown to remember. “Instant karma’s gonna get you. Yeah, you.”
Last week: 1-3
My head still hurts a little