2021 PIGSKIN PICKS OF PROFUNDITY…WEEK 2

For those who may be new to these picks we normally choose five games each week. However, since we didn’t do this at all last year, and since the college schedule was abnormally stacked with awesome season openers last week, and since the NFL is back this week…well, y’all get what I call bonus picks. To be honest that’s a tad bit dangerous since neither of us got out of the gate too well. Zach nailed Fresno covering the points against Oregon, while I correctly predicted Georgia upsetting Clemson. Unfortunately though, we both finished 4-5. Let’s see if we can do better this week.

My Season: 4-5

Zach’s Season: 4-5

Oregon at Ohio State (-14)

I usually don’t like picking games involving teams we dealt with just a week ago, but this one is just too tempting. The Buckeyes had a tougher time with Minnesota in their opener than most anticipated but still managed to win by two TDs. Oregon also had a close call but emerged victorious. Both teams are preseason playoff participants for me, but I don’t think the Ducks will go to Columbus and win. Can they keep it close?? Probably not. I think the home team wins by 15-20 points. Zach isn’t impressed by either team, opining that Ohio St. needs to take pressure off their young QB by running the ball. He thinks this will be a boring game but the home team will win by enough.

My Pick: Ohio State

Z’s Pick: Ohio State 

Iowa at Iowa State (-3.5)

I think this could end up being the most fun game of the weekend. The Hawkeyes surprised some people a week ago by handling the Indiana Hoosiers by 3+ touchdowns, but not me. Meanwhile, the Cyclones handled their business against in-state 1-AA foe Northern Iowa. Who knew there were so many colleges in the state of Iowa?? Anyway, I think this might be a really close one…like field goal close, which is why I’m taking the visitors. Zach notes that he’d pick the Hawkeyes easily if the game were on their home turf, but thinks it’ll be a little tougher winning on the road. Like me he won’t go so far as to pick the underdogs to score the upset, but believes they will keep it close. 

My Pick: Iowa

Z’s Pick: Iowa

Utah (-6.5) at BYU

Conference realignment has really messed with some of the traditional charm of college football, including long-standing rivalries, so it’s nice to see intrastate games that are all too rare nowadays. The Cougars, whose invitation to join the Big 12 might already be in the mail, beat Arizona in their opener, while the Utes hardly broke a sweat beating some pissant irrelevant team that atleast got a nice payday. Utah is a rare road favorite because everyone is impressed by the big bad PAC 12, but I’m picking the upset. Zach concurs, stating that once again he isn’t all that impressed with either team. 

My Pick: BYU

Z’s Pick: BYU

LA Chargers (-1.5) at Washington

Since I predicted that the San Diego…excuse me…Los Angeles Chargers will narrowly upend the highly touted Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West crown I suppose I need to get behind them early. I’m a little concerned about RB Austin Ekeler’s hamstring injury, but even if he misses the game I think QB Justin Herbert is good enough to get the job done, and I like LA’s defense to stop the Redskins’ (yes, I still call them that…deal with it) lineup of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Antonio Gibson, & WR Terry McLaurin. I think Chargers’ pass rusher Joey Bosa will have a huge game. Conversely, Zach has more faith in FitzMagic than Herbert and believes the ‘Skins get the win. 

My Pick: LA Chargers

Z’s Pick: Washington 

Cleveland at Kansas City (-6)

All the talking is done for the Browns. It’s time to prove that they’re worthy of the hype, but I don’t think they can. The crowd at Arrowhead Stadium provides one of the biggest home field advantages in sports, and that’s not going to change now. I’ll be disappointed if the Chiefs don’t win by double digits. Zach is all in on the Cleveland hype and thinks the home team will start slow and find themselves in a nail biter. 

My Pick: Kansas City 

Z’s Pick: Cleveland 

Arizona at Tennessee (-3)

I expect big things from both teams this season, so the loser of this game shouldn’t be affected too terribly. The Titans get the requisite home field bump, and I think they’ll win by atleast that much. Look for RB Derrick Henry to wear down the opposing defense and allow his team to take control in the fourth quarter. Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray can’t hurt you if he’s on the bench, right?? Zach thinks Arizona has a bright future, but believes Tennessee is a team built to win now. 

My Pick: Tennessee 

Z’s Pick: Tennessee 

Green Bay (-3) vs. New Orleans

It should be noted that this game is being played in Jacksonville, FL due to Hurricane Ida. Drew Brees ain’t walking thru that door for the Saints, so they have to hope that former Heisman Trophy winning QB Jameis Winston can finally fulfill all the potential so many have always seen in him. The offseason hasn’t been any easier on The Pack, as quarterback Aaron Rogers creates more drama than the writing team of Days of Our Lives. Will all that off the field turmoil cause issues on the field?? I think it just might, especially in the first half of the season. But fear not Packer fans, because I think they’ll eventually figure things out. That being said, I am picking the upset in this one. While Zach agrees with me that Green Bay is a Super Bowl caliber team in the long run he also believes they’ll get out of the gate fast. He thinks Winston is garbage and New Orleans will get destroyed in this game. 

My Pick: New Orleans 

Z’s Pick: Green Bay 

2019 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 17

Well folks, we’ve reached the end of the road…kind of. The NFL still has the playoffs & there are a few more college bowl games remaining (including the national championship), but the final week of the NFL regular season means the last round of picks for us. Last week was a really good one for me (5-0), although Zach (4-1) did pretty darn well too. He’s not going to catch me for the season, but it looks like he’ll finish well above .500, which is atleast 14 games better than a season ago. I finished 2018 five games below .500 and will be solidly above this year, so perhaps we are finally getting the hang of this. Or not. Who knows?? Who cares?? We have fun doing it which is all that really matters. There was no Thursday night game and will be no Monday nighter, meaning all the action takes place on Sunday. So grab a beverage, fix yourself a plate full of whatever Christmas goodies remain, & settle in for a fun day with RedZone.

My Season:     59-40

Zach’s Season:       52-47

 

 

 

 

 

Cleveland (-3)              at                Cincinnati

It’s the Battle of Ohio!! The Bungles have wrapped up the #1 overall pick in next spring’s draft and are preparing to make Heisman Trophy winning QB Joe Burrow’s life miserable (but atleast he’ll be rich). Meanwhile, the Browns came into this season full of piss & vinegar. There were people that actually thought they’d win the AFC North. Alas, the Factory of Sadness is alive & well. QB Baker Mayfield has looked good at times, but something just isn’t clicking. Enigmatic receiver Odell Beckham Jr. apparently wants out of Cleveland already, which has to be some sort of record. Head coach Freddie Kitchens is in way over his head. On paper this looks like a mismatch; Cleveland is talented but underachieving, while Cincy is just a big ol’ mess. Having said that, The Vibes are telling me the home team will defend their turf and put an hilarious exclamation point on yet another pathetic Browns season. Conversely, Zach likes the Browns ground game to lead them to a double digit win.

My Pick:     Cincinnati

Z’s Pick:     Cleveland

 

 

 

Oakland                       at                Denver (-3.5)

The Raiders still have an outside shot to make the playoffs. I’m not going to bother explaining it a) because I don’t even understand it myself & b) it’s not going to happen. Still, kudos to them for continued improvement. Next season the Las Vegas Raiders will make their debut, and that’s when the fun will really begin. The Broncos are going thru some growing pains as well and seem to be treading water. The Joe Flacco Era seems to be over, and going forward Denver will need to decide if Drew Lock is the long term answer at quarterback. This has been a great divisional rivalry over the years and I don’t think it’ll matter that both teams are going to be watching the post-season on TV. I’m picking the home favorites for no real reason, and Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Denver

Z’s Pick:     Denver

 

 

 

Chicago                       at                Minnesota (-1)

Which Trubisky will show up for the Bears?? Who are the Vikings going to grab off the street to play running back?? These will be the burning questions of the day. Minnesota has already locked up a playoff berth, while Chicago just wants to finish a very disappointing season at .500. I don’t foresee a high scoring game, and in a defensive battle in which field position, turnovers, & time of possession will be key factors I think I still trust the Bears defense a little more. Zach thinks Vikings’ QB Kirk Cousins will have a big day and lead his team to victory.

My Pick:     Chicago

Z’s Pick:     Minnesota

 

 

 

Tennessee (-3.5)                  at                Houston

This is a huge game…especially for us Steelers fans. Yeah yeah…we know, Pittsburgh has to beat Baltimore, which will be no easy task even if they are resting most of their starters. But the Texans MUST defeat Tennessee!! The problem is that Houston is locked into their playoff spot and may very well rest most of their starters just like the Ravens. I’m not even going to try to be objective. My hope is that…even with a team of backups…the Texans find a way to make us all remember why the Dolphins gave up on QB Ryan Tannehill and why he entered this season as a second stringer in Tennessee. Would I be willing to put money on that happening?? Ehhh…let’s not get crazy. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Houston

 

 

 

San Francisco (-3.5)           at                Seattle

Who will be the top seed in the NFC?? San Francisco, Green Bay, New Orleans, & Seattle are all still jockeying for position. The loser of this game will be knocked down a peg, while the winner will almost certainly earn a first round bye. It feels to me like the 49ers may have already peaked, while the Seahawks are just now hitting their stride. ‘Frisco will win a Super Bowl with Jimmy G under center someday, but it’s not going to be this season. The Seattle home field is just too much and I think they’ll handle business rather comfortably. Zach thinks it’ll be close but believes the suddenly unretired Marshawn Lynch could make the difference for the home team.

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

Winning & Musing…Volume 4.19

Apologies non-sports fans!! As has become my custom I have attempted to minimize sports related content in the midst of autumn since we do our weekly football picks and that feels like enough. Having said that, there are occasions when it becomes necessary to break the rules and address some stories that need attention. Fear not…I have plans to introduce a couple of new projects in this space during the new year, and I suppose there’ll be some Christmas related content in the very near future in the course of the holiday season, so if you’re not into football, basketball , etc. just stick with me.  Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

 

 

I suppose congratulations are in order to the Washington Nationals for winning the World Series. To be honest I didn’t have a dog in the fight…I’m just glad it wasn’t a Yankees/Dodgers Series. At first I was cheering for the Nationals, but then President Trump showed up to a game and the crowd was…well, let’s just soft sell it and say they were quite disrespectful. In that moment I realized that the fanbase of the Nationals are what some of us refer to as The Swamp…out of touch government types that take a lot more from than they contribute to society. So then I decided to pull for the Astros, but it was too late. I’m not upset at all though. We got a really entertaining seven game series without the big market “usual suspects” involved, and that’s cool in my book. Yes yes yes…I’m aware that Houston, TX is the fourth largest city in the United States and the Astros have been rather successful lately, winning the World Series in 2017 and appearing in the last three ALCS. However, before that they’d only appeared in one Series, losing to the Chicago White Sox in 2005. During my youth in the 70’s & 80’s the Astros were a prosaic team with only an occasional above average season, so right now I’m not tired of their success just yet.

 

 

 

As a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan I feel obligated to weigh in on the recent Thursday Night Football kerfuffle with the Cleveland Browns, which was one of the more odious things I’ve seen in sports during my 47 years on the planet. A few thoughts:

  • Myles Garrett is a piece of garbage who should never play another down in the NFL. Right now his suspension is “indefinite”, and I’m guessing that means he won’t play again this season but will be allowed to return in 2020. I don’t think that’s enough, but I don’t make those decisions.
  • To all the people who are saying that Steelers’ QB Mason Rudolph should’ve been suspended a game or two because “he started it”…just shut your ignorant piehole. Your response is tone deaf and moronic. The NFL should fine Rudolph $1. That’s it. Nothing more, He was the victim!! The man almost had his head bashed in with his own helmet and people think HE should be suspended?!?!?? That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. Anyone expressing that opinion not only should lose their jobs immediately, but they should also be sterilized because that kind of stupidity shouldn’t be passed on to a new generation.
  • Steelers’ center Maurkice Pouncey is appealing his three game suspension and I hope it atleast gets knocked down to one game. He does not deserve harsh punishment for his actions…he deserves a bonus & a damn medal. He was sticking up for his quarterback and very well may have saved his life. Pouncey is a hero in my book.
  • While Pouncey received a three game suspension Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi only got one game for blindsiding Rudolph in the midst of the fight. In my opinion those suspensions should be reversed. Referees don’t hesitate to call stupid penalties nowadays on “blindside blocks” & “defenseless players”, and Ogunjobi laying out Rudolph from behind seems like it fits the definition. Garrett won’t be around when the two teams meet again in a few weeks, but Ogunjobi will. Stay tuned…just sayin’. He might want to watch his back.
  • I hadn’t had much exposure to Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens before all of this, but my God…what a clueless redneck twatwaffle that guy is. Undisciplined teams are a direct reflection of a piss poor head coach. Browns’ ownership should fire Kitchens immediately. He was a terrible choice in the first place and has done nothing to change that perception.
  • I would be remiss not to acknowledge that the Browns did indeed win the game. Pittsburgh played terribly in all three phases and Rudolph didn’t exactly make Steeler Nation feel confident about Life After Ben. To be fair it must also be pointed out that injuries have hit the Steelers hard all season long and they were playing with a skeleton crew. No excuses though…they should have won the game.

 

 

 

I’m not a fan of style over substance. It may be unfair to chime in since I’ve never been there, but my perception is that Hollywood specifically and California in general is a lot like The Capitol in The Hunger Games…self-absorbed, hedonistic heathens whose wealth far outweighs their common sense. That’s why I chuckled a bit when it was announced that this year’s National League MVP was Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Cody Bellinger and the American League MVP is California/L.A./Anaheim (I’ve lost track) Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. The Dodgers did atleast make the playoffs before being ousted by the Nationals, while the Angels finished 35 games behind the Astros in their division. Individual honors are nice, especially for those players, but team sports are…well…about the team, and I am always amused when I see small market teams like the Minnesota Twins, Oakland A’s, Cleveland Indians, & Milwaukee Brewers achieve some level of success while teams like the Angels spend a ton of money and it does them absolutely no good. Even funnier is the case of Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, who signed with Philly last winter for $330 million over 13 years. The Phillies finished with a .500 record in 2019, 16 games out of first place in their division. Harper’s former team?? The Washington Nationals. Sure, $330 million is nothing to sneeze at, but almost any professional sports player whose career lasts more than a few years is going to retire a very wealthy person these days, and I’m guessing most of them would trade half their money & individual accolades for a championship that many will never see.

 

 

 

In 1975 Boston Celtics’ center Bill Russell was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. However, at the time he was the first black player to receive the honor and refused to attend the ceremony. Russell didn’t feel right about being the first and thought others should be inducted before him. Recently Russell finally received his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony. Obviously there have been a lot of black NBA legends inducted into the Hall of Fame in the past four decades, but the mystery as to why it took so long for Russell to finally accept his ring can apparently be solved with one name: Chuck Cooper. Cooper was an All-American for Duquesne in the late 1940’s and was the 14th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in 1950. He didn’t have a statistically notable pro career, but was the first black player drafted into the NBA. Perhaps one could think of him as the Jackie Robinson of basketball. Cooper was finally inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame a few months ago (35 years after his death), which is what likely persuaded Russell to accept his honor. There’s a lot to unpack here. We’ve got virtue signaling all over the place, which y’all know drives me nuts. I suppose there’s no big issue with Cooper being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but on the other hand it’s worth pointing out that his numbers on the court didn’t seem to justify it for more than a half century. It wasn’t until the “woke” 21st century when simply being a certain race, religion, gender, orientation, etc. is deemed worthy of accolades that someone somewhere thought Cooper’s standing as an NBA trailblazer makes him a Hall-of-Famer. Jackie Robinson…besides being a more famous trailblazer himself…actually had a Hall of Fame career: Rookie of the Year, six time All Star, World Series champion, National League MVP, National League batting champion. Nevertheless, I suppose putting Cooper into the Hall of Fame is a nice thing to do. But Russell refusing his induction for 40+ years is just weird. I’m reminded of actor Marlon Brando refusing the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1973 for his role as Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather because he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans. What good does any of that do?? Bill Russell was one of the greatest basketball players of all time and he delayed his Hall of Fame induction for what?? Craziness!!

 

 

 

Well, they finally did it. The Pittsburgh Pirates cleaned house. They got rid of manager Clint Hurdle as well as pretty much the entire front office. Hurdle seems like a nice man, but in the past couple of years it felt as though he’d given up, knowing that he could never have a team that would flourish with the current Pirates ownership. He’s not wrong, but for the sake of the team I think it’s important to have a manager with enough idealism & passion to atleast believably feign faith in his club’s potential instead of a tired old man so worn down by life that his boredom is palpable. Energy & enthusiasm aren’t going to be enough to turn the tide in Pittsburgh, but it’s a good start. The new front office is taking shape and I expect Hurdle’s replacement to be named before Thanksgiving. Years…decades…of futility have taught me not to get excited at all about the Pirates, but after one of the most demoralizing seasons in team history it’s nice to know that steps are being taken and something new is being tried.

2019 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…Week 3

As happy as I am to have football back I have to say that last weekend wasn’t so great in The Manoverse. Both my West Virginia Mountaineers & Pittsburgh Steelers got mauled in their games, and the ol’ alma mater’s Thundering Herd looked like they had a shot to upset Boise St. until their offense decided to stay in the locker room after halftime. As far as our picks go, both Zach & myself were 5-3, which I guess isn’t terrible. The NCAA schedule is a bit prosaic this week, but I think we’ve cobbled together a slate of college & pro games that will be fun to keep an eye on.

My Season:        7-6

Zach’s Season:  6-7

 

 

 

 

 

Pitt                       at                Penn State (-17)

It’s a damn shame that so many intrastate and other geographic rivalries have gone by the wayside in recent years in the wake of conference realignment, but occasionally they do throw us a bone. I’m not sure one could call this particular rivalry all that competitive, as the Nittany Lions have won 9 out of the last 11 meetings and have clearly been the superior program dating back to atleast the 1970’s. The Panthers were beaten handily by the Virginia Cavaliers a week ago, while Penn St. is 2-0 and averaging 62 points per game, although that is against really weak competition. I don’t think the outcome is in much doubt; the only question is whether or not Pitt can muster enough pride to cover the points. My answer?? I don’t think so, and Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Penn St.

Z’s Pick:     Penn St.

 

 

 

Iowa (-2)              at                Iowa State

Here we have another intrastate rivalry featuring two teams in different conferences (because the NCAA is stupid). The Hawkeyes are 2-0 and haven’t broken a sweat, while the Cyclones took three OTs to get by a 1-AA team two weeks ago. Anyone who’s been with me on these picks over the years will recall that I don’t abandon ship on a team that I’ve predicted good things for, and I had State ranked 11th in my pre-season poll. I opined that they’ll beat either Oklahoma or Texas this season, and I’m not ready to move away from that. I understand why the oddsmakers are a bit trepidatious and have the visitors listed as favorites, but I believe the home team will defend their house. Conversely, Zach likes the Hawkeyes’ tight ends even though they’ve been virtually invisible thru the first couple of games, and he’s predicting a double digit victory for the visitors.

My Pick:     Iowa St.

Z’s Pick:     Iowa

 

 

 

Arizona               at                Baltimore (-13)

The sports media is still singing the praises of Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury & rookie QB Kyler Murray, even after a riveting tie last weekend. I remain steadfast in my opinion that Kingsbury will be a college coach & Murray will be playing baseball a few years from now. The Ravens beat down the Miami Dolphins in the season opener, but a lot of teams will do that in the next few months. Having said that, it does seem like Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson is doing his best to quiet the doubters and prove he is a legit NFL quarterback. I’d be surprised if the Cards won the game, but it feels like keeping things competitive before ultimately falling short (pun unavoidable) might become Murray’s thing, so I think they’ll cover the points. Zach likes the Ravens’ defense to give the rookie a tough day and lead the way to an easy win.

My Pick:     Arizona

Z’s Pick:     Baltimore

 

 

 

New Orleans               at                LA Rams (-2)

If I were feeling a bit peppy I’d do some research and see who the officiating crew is for this one, but I’m not so I won’t. Bottom line: this is a revenge game for the Saints, and they’ll be motivated to put on a show. Sure they struggled to get by Houston last weekend, but the Texans are a really good team. The Rams went into Carolina and barely got by the Panthers, which I find considerably more alarming. Could the Super Bowl Curse be a real thing?? Are the Rams in for a tough season?? I don’t know about all of that, but I’m pretty sure New Orleans will win this game rather easily. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     New Orleans

Z’s Pick:     New Orleans

 

 

 

Cleveland (-2)              at                NY Jets

A year ago I wouldn’t have had any interest in watching a Browns-Jets game, but both teams are allegedly on the rise, so it theoretically should be fun. However, with Jets QB Sam Darnold on the shelf due to mono and Cleveland suffering an embarrassing loss in the opener after so much offseason hype the matchup is far less attractive than it could have been. The Monday Night Football folks can’t be very happy. Trevor Siemian will be behind center for the Jets, and I think it’d be absolutely hilarious if he hands the Browns their second loss. Zach doesn’t believe either team is any good, but likes Cleveland to score a close victory.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Cleveland

2018 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 18

Well sports fans, we’ve reached the end of the road. Another season of picks will soon be in the books. I know the non-sports types out in The Manoverse will be happy about that, and rest assured that there is plenty of content on the drawing table for 2019, provided that I can stay motivated and not give in to my more apathetic tendencies. For those of us that love football there are still a few college bowl games and the NFL playoffs on the horizon. Zach (4-1) smoked me (1-4) last week, which means that it is still mathematically possible (though not likely) for him to win the season crown, while I’ve got some work to do to finish the year above water. I briefly pondered doing a big season ending blowout where we would pick every game on the schedule, but decided against it, though you’re still getting bonus picks. There are no Thursday or Monday night games, meaning that everything is happening on Sunday afternoon except the Sunday night game on NBC. So RedZone will be even more fun to watch than usual. The playoff situation in both conferences is mostly settled, though there are a couple of berths to decide as well as some seeding to resolve. Happy New Year friends. Thanks for reading what we have to say here, and as always don’t ever hesitate to leave comments. I look forward to more fun in 2019.

My Season:     51-56

Z’s Season:     47-61

 

 

 

 

Chicago              at                Minnesota (-5)

If the Bears beat the Vikings and the Rams lose to the 49ers, Chicago would be the NFC #2 seed based on their victory over Los Angeles a few weeks ago. However, if the Rams win (or tie) the Bears are the #3 seed regardless of the outcome of this game. With a win the Vikings could be the #5 seed if the Seattle Seahawks lose or the #6 seed if Seattle wins. Minnesota could even make the playoffs if they lose this game…if the Philadelphia Eagles also lose (or tie). I feel like Chicago has been the more consistent team this season, but with their backs against the wall & the home field I’m riding with the Vikings this week. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Minnesota

Z’s Pick:     Minnesota

 

 

 

LA Chargers (-6.5)               at                Denver

Will the Chargers be the AFC West champs and the #1 seed…or a wildcard #5 seed?? To win the division they need the KC Chiefs to lose (or tie). The Broncos are 6-9, and head coach Vance Joseph might get fired this week regardless of the outcome, although I have to assume an upset victory could help his cause. Denver has the home field, and they did beat the Chargers back in November…but I just don’t think that’s going to happen again. Zach thinks the Broncos are clearly a better team at home, and he’s a little uncomfortable with the points.

My Pick:     LA Chargers

Z’s Pick:     Denver

 

 

Philadelphia (-6.5)                at                Washington

The media has to be pulling for Philly because let’s face it…another improbable playoff run with Nick Foles under center would be a cool story. However, the Eagles have to win and hope Chicago beats Minnesota. I suppose that’s not too far-fetched, and I’d like to see it happen. Can the Redskins play spoiler?? It’s possible, but I’m going to say no. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Philadelphia

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

Jacksonville                at                Houston (-7)

The Texans could be the #1 seed in the AFC if they win this game and the Chiefs, Chargers, & Patriots all lose, but the odds are against all of that happening. If only New England loses (or ties) then Houston could be the #2 seed. They might end up as the #3 seed with a loss and a tie in the Indianapolis-Tennessee game…an unlikely scenario…or if they win and all of that other stuff doesn’t happen (much more probable). If Houston loses and Colts/Titans doesn’t end in a tie they’ll fall to the #6 seed. Meanwhile, the 5-10 Jags are left to wonder where it all went so wrong this season and can begin the process of evaluating free agent quarterbacks and who they might be able to snag with their first round draft pick. We both feel like Houston should win by a comfortable margin.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Houston

 

 

Oakland                       at                Kansas City (-13.5)

The Chiefs can win the AFC West and secure the #1 seed with a victory or if they tie and the Chargers lose (or tie). I think there are some other possibilities, but it probably doesn’t matter because if KC can’t beat the 4-11 Raiders at Arrowhead they’re in big trouble anyway. Zach doesn’t like the points at all and believes Andy Reid tends to choke in big games.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Oakland

 

 

 

Cleveland                              at                Baltimore (-6)

There will be no bigger Browns fans on Sunday than Zach & myself. What it boils down to is this: if the Ravens win they are the AFC North champs and depending on what happens with a couple of other teams could be the #2, #3, or #4 seed, eliminating my Steelers in the process. If Cleveland wins Baltimore is eliminated from the playoffs and the Steelers are in. A year ago I would have already been in a mood of quiet resignation, but I think there’s a chance that the Browns could actually pull this off. Zach believes in Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield to do just enough to lead his team to victory in a low scoring defensive struggle.

My Pick:     Cleveland

Z’s Pick:     Cleveland

 

 

 

Indianapolis (-2)                  at      Tennessee

This is the Sunday night game on NBC, and it should be really fun. Atleast these two teams will have the advantage of knowing exactly where they stand before kickoff. The Colts have to win to get into the playoffs, and they’d either be the #3, #4, or #6 seed, depending on other outcomes. It’s a must-win for the Titans as well, and they could land anywhere from the #2 to the #6 seed in the AFC. After a rough start Indy has won 8 out of their last 9, and I have heard a couple of talking heads state that they’re the team no one wants to face in the playoffs. Tennessee is riding a four game winning streak but QB Marcus Mariota has been battling injuries. Regardless of Mariota’s status I trust Colts’ QB Andrew Luck much more, and I think he’ll find a way to lead his team to a hard fought victory. Zach foresees a high scoring affair, with Indy coming out on top.

My Pick:     Indianapolis

Z’s Pick:     Indianapolis

 

2018 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 17

Time flies when you’re having fun. Isn’t that the common expression?? I can hardly believe that we’re near the end of another football season. It seems like just yesterday the warm summer breeze of August was blowing as we began this journey, and now the cold winds of the holidays are making cozy blankets & hot mugs of cocoa the accessories of choice as we watch another year come to a close. I am pondering a slam bang finish to our entertaining little project next week, but for now we move forward after a week in which Zach (3-2) bested me (1-4) and point spreads were a key difference. He probably doesn’t have much of a chance to catch me for the season crown, but a strong finish is always nice, and I’m just trying to get back above .500.

My Season:        50-52

Z’s Season:        43-60

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cincinnati                    at      Cleveland (-8.5)

In my season preview I predicted that for the Browns “winning more games than they’ve won in total over the past couple of seasons would be cause for optimism. If that actually happens then it could mean a last place finish for the Bengals”. As we near the conclusion of the season Cleveland has already won the six games I said they would and they’re currently a half game above Cincinnati in the standings. So basically my prediction comes down to this game, and it just so happens to be in Cleveland. Zach likes the way the Browns have been playing and believes they will win the game…but he isn’t comfortable with the points and doesn’t think they’ll cover.

My Pick:     Cleveland

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnati

 

 

 

 

Green Bay (-3.5)                   at      NY Jets

In that same season preview I gave the Packers eight wins, and said they “are leaning on their reputation but in reality aren’t that good”. As it turns out they’re even worse than I thought. The Jets have also been even worse than I imagined they would be since I predicted they’d get to seven wins. Neither team seems to have any momentum and both seem to be limping to the finish line, so I’m not sure where to go with this one. New York has the home field, so I’ll lean in that direction. Zach thinks both teams are bad but still believes the Jets are worse.

My Pick:     NY Jets

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

 

 

 

 

Houston             at      Philadelphia (-2)

Could history be repeating itself?? Will backup QB Nick Foles spell an injured Carson Wentz, get his team on a run, & lead them back to The Super Bowl?? Ehhh…probably not. I suppose they could still get into the playoffs, but this game is probably a must win, and the Texans have won 10 out of their last 11 games. I am somewhat surprised that Philly…even with the home field…is favored. That seems more than a little disrespectful to Houston, and I’m not buying it. Zach is all in on Foles and is predicting another Philly upset.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

Kansas City (-2.5)      at      Seattle

I was way off in my assessment of the Seahawks. I opined that “Seattle’s Legion of Boom has been relegated to the dust bin of history and their once imposing defense looks totally decimated” before predicting that they’d win only five games. They are currently 8-6 and could clinch a wildcard with a home victory against the celebrated Chiefs, who need to keep winning to secure a division title or else they’ll be one of the best wildcard teams in recent memory. Both teams have plenty of motivation and something to play for…I just think KC is the better team. Zach thinks the home field for Seattle is an advantage that the Chiefs won’t overcome.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

 

Denver (-2.5)      at      Oakland

There have already been rumors that Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is about to lose his job. They are 6-8, which is atleast better than the 2-14 I penciled in for them a few months ago, but I suppose when combined with a 5-11 finish a year ago one can understand a lack of patience from the front office. The Raiders are a few games worse than their opponents, but we all know that Gruden will get a pass for a couple of years before the powers-that-be start to get restless. Once this season is finished their focus will quickly turn to the team’s impending move to Las Vegas as well as the three first round draft picks they’ll have this spring. So, while both teams are suffering thru an horrendous season I think it’s fair to say that they are on opposite ends of the hope spectrum. The stark contrast in future outlook might be enough to make a difference. Conversely, Zach foresees Denver scoring an easy victory.

My Pick:     Oakland

Z’s Pick:     Denver

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 18

football5Greetings friends. I hope you had a Merry Christmas and will be ringing in the New Year in a most pleasant way. I’ll actually be working on New Year’s Eve, but that’s okay. I have access to a TV and should be able to watch the ball drop, which is exactly what I’d be doing at home anyway. Atleast now I’ll be getting paid for it. This is our final week of picks. I went 3-2 last week, which means I’ve got to make some solid choices to finish the year above the .500 mark. There is no getting around the fact that Zach has had an abysmal season. He went 2-3 last week, and though it won’t really affect the final tally one way or another I know he’d love to finish strong. The NFL playoff picture is mostly clear, but there are a few final dominoes that will fall into place during this last weekend of the season. Those games that matter…in one way or another…will be our focus. Stay safe out there Saturday night, or better yet, there is nothing wrong with staying home & remaining sober. God bless.

My Season:  50-48

Z’s Season:   35-63

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle (-9.5)          at        San Francisco

The Cleveland Browns are probably going to have the #1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, IF Cleveland beats my Steelers this weekend (stranger things seattle-seahawks1have happened) and the Niners beat Seattle the two would be tied for the worst record in the league. I believe the Browns would still get the top draft choice based on tiebreakers, but I could be wrong. There’s also the matter of the Jacksonville Jaguars & Chicago Bears, who could both tie ‘Frisco if they lose and the Niners win. In that scenario I’m not sure how the draft order would shake out and I am far too lazy to research it. Conversely, the Seahawks have already clinched their division title but are playing for a possible first round bye in the playoffs. Seattle has something to play for, which makes them dangerous. San Francisco would be better off to lose. Aside from all that though I think it’s clear which team is far superior. Zach concurs.

My Pick:        Seattle

Z’s Pick:         Seattle

 

 

 

Oakland                    at        Denver (-2)

denverA couple of things are at play here. The Raiders are already in the playoffs, but a win would secure a division crown. A win coupled with a loss by raidersthe New England Patriots to the Miami Dolphins (not out of the realm of possibility) would get Oakland the #1 seed and home field thru the playoffs. Of course the elephant in the room is the fact that talented QB Derek Carr has been lost to a broken leg, so the Raiders’ hopes rest on the shoulders of fourth year signal caller Matt McGloin, who was an undrafted free agent back in 2012. The Broncos have certainly fallen off this season, but I don’t think they are a terrible team at all. Their defense remains stout, and I think an offseason dedicated to focusing on developing the quarterback of their choice…Trevor Siemien, Paxton Lynch, or possibly trading for Tony Romo…could have them back in the playoff hunt in 2017. Unfortunately for Oakland I think such a tremendous loss at this point in the season is too much to overcome. Zach doesn’t think the quarterback change will be an issue for the Raiders, atleast not in this game.

My Pick:        Denver

Z’s Pick:         Oakland

 

 

 

Kansas City (-5.5)              at        San Diego

It’s pretty simple for the Chiefs…win & pray for an Oakland loss (more than possible) and the AFC West is theirs. If Oakland wins or KC loses then the Chiefs are a kc-chiefs-logowildcard team. That’s a pretty significant difference. There’s nothing they can do about the Raiders, although confidence in a loss there has to be pretty high considering the quarterback situation. But the Chiefs can control the outcome of this game, and considering the awful season the Chargers have had the outcome shouldn’t be in question. Zach agrees.

My Pick:        Kansas City

Z’s Pick:         Kansas City

 

 

 

Carolina                    at        Tampa Bay (-6)

Okay this is going to be confusing. To make the playoffs the Bucs have to win. Also, they need Green Bay & Washington to lose (well okay…actually a Redskins tie would carolina_panthers_logo-14336do the trick). If all three of those things occur that still only puts them in a tie with the Packers, with the tiebreaker being strength of schedule. The only way they win the tiebreaker is if Tennessee, Indianapolis, Dallas & San Francisco all win. Got all that?? It’s unlikely at best, but hey, atleast Tampa has some hope going into this weekend, which is more than many teams have. Unfortunately I don’t think any of that will matter. The Panthers have undoubtedly had a horrendous season after losing Super Bowl 50, but I believe they’ll be motivated to play spoiler. Zach is looking for a big game from Cam Newton and is also predicting the upset.

My Pick:        Carolina

Z’s Pick:         Carolina

 

 

Green Bay (-3.5)                at        Detroit

The folks at NBC have to be pleased with how things worked out. The NFC North title is on the line Sunday night, and the loser could be left out of the playoffsGreen_Bay_Packers_Helmet altogether. Let’s just say that if the Washington Redskins win earlier in the day this game becomes a whole new level of pressure cooker. The Packers have won five in a row, while the Lions are on a two game losing streak. These feel like two teams heading in opposite directions, with Green Bay peaking at the right time while Detroit may have played its best football in October & November. Zach has some concerns about Green Bay’s defense, but feels like Aaron Rodgers & the offense are more than good enough to carry the team to a big win.

My Pick:        Green Bay

Z’s Pick:         Green Bay

The Sammy Claus Wish List 2016

tree02Greetings friends, and a very Merry Christmas. Welcome to our SEVENTH Wish List. I cannot believe that we’ve been carrying on this tradition for that long!! After an unavoidable hiatus a year ago due to medical issues it has filled my heart with immeasurable joy to be able not only to delight in what the holiday season has to offer in my small corner of the world, but also to once again write about related subjects here at The Manofesto. Since it’s been awhile let me remind you how this works. Being Sammy Claus is a mostly ceremonial position that I have bestowed upon myself. I wield no actual power to see that the entities mentioned here receive the suggested gifts. However, I’d like to believe that The Jolly Old Elf himself occasionally peruses this site and may take my submissions to heart. I try my best not to be petty or meanspirited, but let’s face it…there are a lot of folks out there on The Naughty List, and it seems to be overflowing this year. There is cause for optimism though, especially at Christmastime. After all, if a mean old malcontent like Ebenezer Scrooge can see the error of his ways or a mischievous creature like The Grinch can have his heart grow three sizes when he realizes the true meaning of Christmas then there is hope for anybody, right??

 

 

 

 

 

The Trump Administration

best of luck in making America great again…I am cautiously optimistictrumppence

 

 

Colin Kaepernick

a recording of The Star Spangled Banner on an endless loop

 

 

Kim Kardashian

a long vacation in Paris

 

 

The American Flag

more respect from the masses…not for the cloth itself, but what it stands forhonoring-veterans

 

 

The Chicago Cubs

another World Series title…in 2124

 

 

The United Kingdom

best wishes enjoying your newfound freedom from Europeunionjack

 

 

David S. Pumpkins

a feature filmpumpkins

 

 

The Clothes Pin Brigade

Medication. Seriously, if you have a clothes pin as your profile photo on social media you are mentally ill. And I thought The Ribbon People were obnoxious.

 

 

Joy Behar & Whoopi Goldberg

lobotomiesidiots2

 

 

Late Night TV

less politics, more class

 

 

The Supreme Court

a new justice that respects The Constitutionwethepeople

 

Martin Sheen

Expulsion from the self-righteous moral high ground. Seriously dude…you raised Charlie Sheen. If you think America is screwed up look in the damn mirror first.

 

 

The Cleveland Browns

atleast one win in 2017 & a boatload of players & picks for the #1 overall draft choice that should absolutely be tradedfactory

 

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton

shatterproof glass & a big lump of coal

 

 

Driverless Automobile Technology

success…I am intrigued

 

 

Hamilton

curtains

 

 

Samsung Phone Users

a fireproof suitsamsung

 

 

North Carolina

exponential population growthnorth-carolina-no-lines

 

 

Super Bowl LI

a better halftime show than its predecessor

 

 

Melania Trump

new speechwritersmelania

 

 

College Students

less safe spaces, coddling, & leftist indoctrination, more practical education that’ll prepare productive citizens to function in the real world

 

 

Barack & Michelle Obama

hope & changebye

 

 

Bruce Jenner

counseling

 

 

NJ Governor Chris Christie

lip balm & knee padscc3

 

 

Tiger Woods

a successful comeback…it’s time to forgive & move forward

 

 

 

 

Per established custom I shall end with the traditional quote from the Rankin-Bass animated classic Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town:

 

santajesus“Lots of unhappiness? Maybe so. But doesn’t Santa take a little bit of that unhappiness away? Doesn’t a smile on Christmas morning scratch out a tear cried on a sadder day? Not much maybe. But what would happen if we all tried to be like Santa and learned to give as only he can give…of ourselves, our talents, our love and our hearts? Maybe we could all learn Santa’s beautiful lesson and maybe there would finally be peace on Earth and good will toward men.”

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 16

football2As I write this the Los Angeles Rams are predictably losing to the Seattle Seahawks. Also, it’s cold outside here in West Virginia. Really cold. I hate winter. The only good things about winter are Christmas & football. Speaking of which, we aren’t very good at predicting the outcomes of games. If Zach & I were trying to do this professionally we’d both be homeless within a month. Well, I’d be homeless. He sponges off of his mother so he’d be alright. Anyway, last week I was 0-5, while Zach was 1-4. That brings me back down to .500 for the season with only a few weeks to go. Let’s see if we can do better this go round.

My Season:        44-44

Z’s Season:        31-57

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleveland                     at      Buffalo (-10.5)

Personally I think it’d be hilarious if the Browns went 0-16, and I think it just might happen. The points concern me just a bit, but hey…go big or go home, right?? Zach Buffalo_Bills_Helmetthinks Buffalo’s backs are against the wall with head coach Rex Ryan on the hot seat. A victory here might not ultimately save his job, but I suppose it would delay his demise a little while longer.

My Pick:     Buffalo

Z’s Pick:     Buffalo

 

 

Tennessee        at      Kansas City (-5.5)

The Chiefs were one of my pre-season Super Bowl picks, and I’ll be darned if they aren’t making me look pretty smart (unlike my other Super Bowl team). I see no kc-chiefs-logoreason to expect any surprises in this one. Zach thinks the unpredictable Titans have a shot, but he’s picking KC to win a close one.

My Pick:     Kansas City

Z’s Pick:     Kansas City

 

 

Jacksonville      at      Houston (-6)

The Texans currently retain a tenuous grasp on the AFC South lead, though I expect that to change before all is said & done. I thought the Jags had been showing signs houston-texans-mobile-wallpaperof improvement coming into this season, but I was wrong. Zach likes Houston’s defense and thinks they’ll help their team to as much as a three TD victory.

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     Houston

 

 

San Francisco at      Atlanta (-14)

I don’t think anyone believes the Niners have a snowball’s chance in Aruba to win, but can the Falcons cover or will they take their foot off the gas just a bit?? With the falconsTampa Bay Bucs breathing down their neck for the NFC South lead I don’t think they’ll be going into cruise control anytime soon. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Atlanta

Z’s Pick:     Atlanta

 

 

Carolina    at      Washington (-6.5)

CarolinaPanthersThis is the Monday night game, and it might be closer than most anticipate. The Panthers are undeniably in the midst of a disappointing season,Washington_Redskins_logo but they have an opportunity to play the spoiler role in the last few weeks. The Redskins are in the thick of the race for the second NFL wildcard spot, and this might be a must win. I need big games from Carolina LB Luke Kuechly & tight end Greg Olsen for my dynasty league playoff game, so I’m rolling the dice on the underdogs. Conversely, Zach is sold on Washington QB Kirk Cousins.

My Pick:     Carolina

Z’s Pick:     Washington

2014 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 16

College football is over except for bowl games and of course the playoff. We’ll deal with that post-season in a few days, but as far as these picks go it’ll be three straight weeks of the NFL. Last week Zach went 3-4, while I went 5-2. That takes my season record to 47-39, while Zach stands at 44-42. These next few weeks will be really interesting though, as I have always found pro football to be much more unpredictable than their collegiate counterparts.

 

 

 

 

 

Miami at New England (-7.5)
The Patriots hold a commanding 3 game lead in the AFC East and would wrap up the division title with a victory. The Dolphins are in the midst of a logjam battling New_England_Patriots_Helmetfor a wildcard playoff spot. They are a skosh better than I thought they’d be, but the Belichick/Brady train just keeps on rolling, which is what I think will happen in this game. Zach concurs.

My Pick = New England
Z’s Pick = New England

 

 

Cincinnati at Cleveland (even)
Cincinnati_Bengals_HelmetThe buzz around this game is all about the debut of Johnny Football as an NFL starting quarterback. I am faced with a conundrum. It wouldCleveland_Browns_Helmet certainly help my Steelers for Cincinnati to lose, but a Cleveland victory would produce ceaseless fawning over Manziel as the second coming of Manning/Marino/Elway/Unitas, which would be intolerable. The last thing that dude needs is his ego stroked. The folks in Vegas obviously have very little respect for the Browns since the pick ‘em odds mean they are getting no home field advantage whatsoever. The Bengals could win this week and then lose their final two games to Denver and Pittsburgh, a plan that sounds peachy to me. Conversely, Zach has bought into the Manziel myth and is rooting for the Browns.

My Pick = Cincinnati
Z’s Pick = Cleveland

 

 

Denver (-4) at San Diego
The Broncos and Peyton Manning have looked a little more…human…this season but are still probably going to win the AFC West and atleast get close to the 13-3 denverrecord they posted in 2013. The Chargers are in the aforementioned wildcard gridlock, and a victory here would be huge. Once again the oddsmakers aren’t giving any love to the home team. I like San Diego, but I think Denver is actually a better team now than a year ago when they went to the Super Bowl. Manning has to know that the window for him to snag another ring won’t stay open much longer, and opposing defenses should look out from now thru January. Zach agrees.

My Pick = Denver
Z’s Pick = Denver

 

 

San Francisco at Seattle (-10)
Most “experts” seem to believe that 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is on his way out the door and I have no reason to doubt those reports. The defending champion San-Francisco-49ersSeahawks haven’t been as dominant this year as last and aren’t going to win their division. However, they are in a four way battle with Dallas, Philadelphia, & Detroit for two wildcard spots and a win against their archrivals would certainly boost those prospects. Having said that, I think San Francisco might have one last gasp of respectability remaining. I’m not sure they can pull off a victory, but a 10 point spread is just too much. Zach thinks the Seahawks will win but not cover the 10 points.

My Pick = San Francisco
Z’s Pick = San Francisco

 

 

Dallas at Philadelphia (-3)
These two teams are currently tied atop the NFC East. One team will win the division, but the other still has a decent opportunity to make the playoffs as a wildcard. eaglesThe Eagles get the nominal home field advantage and smoked the Cowboys by three TDs at the Palace in Dallas on Thanksgiving night. I see no reason to expect anything different this time. Zach concurs.

My Pick = Philadelphia
Z’s Pick = Philadelphia