Well, that was miserable.
For the second time this season, I’ve failed utterly, putting up a truly pathetic 64 points out of a possible 105, with only 8 of 14 picks landing. And, for the second time this season, my thought process turns towards justifying my terrible whiffs even with the benefit of hindsight, rather than dealing with any of that pesky inward-turning self-reflection business.
It’s not that I was wrong to pick the Titans, per se (although it demonstrably was), it’s that I was wrong to put 12 points on them, because really I was right all along in classifying the Titans as frauds and I need to do a better job sticking to my guns. No one saw the Dolphins coming, either, so even though they put me out another 9 points I can rest assured that the rest of the confidence pool intellgentsia (excepting those individuals who make picks solely to troll the other participants, which is really not all that bad a strategy if you think about it, albeit one I’m too chickenshit to go for myself) is also out however many points they put on it. The 49ers, Patriots, and Panthers were also bad picks, but I already knew that, so that’s why I didn’t put ans few points as I could on them.
Last week was also an object lesson on why you should never pick against your own team. The shitty Vikings cost me another 11, although once again, everybody and their cat went with Green Bay, so the relative loss is mitigated. (Also, and this is a secret, one that should be kept between you and me – I’m happier the Vikings won than I am pissed I whiffed on the big pick. Again, this is super top secret, and you must keep this to yourself.)
To focus too much on the doom and gloom of my misses last week would also do a disservice to some of my hits. I deserve no points for picking the Chiefs, but I’ll take all 14 anyway since they were a generous gift from the schedule gods. I went with the Steelers in a week where I assure you not everyone else did; somewhere out there, there’s someone in a pool who put 12 or more on the Ravens, and if you know such a person please check on them because they stand to drown in their own tears.
This is yet another tough week, save for a couple of games. With the Patriots Officially Dogshit, it is unfortunately and improbably unwise to go big against the Jets yet again. The Jaguars and Texans play each other, and there’s an inter-divisional NFC East game as well, creating real competition for the 1 Point slot. Almost the entire rest of the slate is given over to various mid-to-upper-mid tier teams going head to head, which makes picking tough and assigning points tougher. Stay sharp out there.
This week’s column is gonna be on the shorter side – I’m writing on Election Day, and while I’m dedicated to putting on a show it feels deeply wrong to pretend this column is even sort of important, and as such, my heart isn’t really in this one. I’m too busy mentally preparing to take to the streets if that’s what it’s gonna take to get that fascist cheesy puff outta here.
Week 7 Correct Picks: 8/14
Season Total Correct Picks (Starting Week 2): 68/103
Week 7 Points: 64/105
Season Total Points (Starting Week 2): 604/811
14 Points: STEELERS over Cowboys
13 Points: CHIEFS over Panthers
This isn’t a total mismatch in the same way that Steelers/Cowboys is, but it’s enough of a mismatch that it’s more than worth 13 in an otherwise tough week.
12 Points: PACKERS over 49ers
Remember last year, when the 49ers obliterated the Packers in a nationally televised game, not once, but twice? Those were the good times, ones I took for granted by virtue of watching both games from the comfort and privacy of my own home instead of at the local alcohol and grease concern, back when that was a thing that was done by responsible-ish citizens. On a related note, I could really go for some cheese fries, if you have any on hand.
Oh right, the game. Not only has everything gone even further to hell in the time since, the 49ers have fallen completely apart due to injury, and are screwed both in this game and for the rest of the year. I’m not going to say that this collapse is Kyle Shanahan’s fault – it obviously and manifestly isn’t, unless he moonlights as the groundskeeper at the Meadowlands – but I will say that I’m starting to be flummoxed at how much respect the guy still gets. Kyle Shanahan took his team to the Super Bowl the one time everything went right; his teams have floundered in all the other years.
At first that was due to a lack of talent that cannot go ignored, but since his first year, really, it’s been due to injury. Remember 2018, when the 49ers were just about everybody’s ‘dark horse’ playoff pick going into the year, only for the wheels to come completely off once Handsome Jimmy G went down? This year look like it will end similarly, and yet no one in their right mind thinks Shanahan is on the hot seat.
3 losing seasons in 4 years would land pretty much every other coach in the league in deep, deep shit, regardless of the circumstances surrounding them. Shanahan only succeeds when everything goes right, which is a real problem seeing as football is not a sport where everything goes right on the regular. Yet Shanahan has somehow become insulated from the criticism every other coach of his record recieves, both by his employers and the punditry at large. I don’t get it.
11 Points: SEAHAWKS over Bills
10 Points: RAIDERS over Chargers
9 Points: SAINTS over Buccaneers
Just to give you an idea of how dire this week is, picks-wise, I’m putting this all the way up at 9 points despite the fact that I don’t trust either team. Both teams are coming off games of struggle against inferior (and, in the Bucs’ case, vastly inferior) opposition. Both teams have looked great at times and horrible at others. And, to make it all worse, it’s a divisional game. It’s impossible to pick, but since I still can’t shake the idea that both teams are good, I’m still compelled to put points on it.
8 Points: COLTS over Ravens
This is yet another ‘gut feeling pick; the Colts’ defense is alarmingly pesky, and I see Lamar Jackson struggling all too easily. I think Jackson will be fine long term, and in that light this pick feels not only recency-bias driven, but borderline disrespectful. But I can’t shake my gut here.
7 Points: BEARS over Titans
This is a sneaky tough matchup for the Titans, who will have to face a defense that looks unlikely to put up with any of their power running and play action shenanigans, and who are also unable to exploit the Bears’ terrible O-Line and quarterback situations.
6 Points: DOLPHINS over Cardinals
5 Points: PATRIOTS over Jets
4 Points: BRONCOS over Falcons
3 Points: VIKINGS over Lions
2 Points: TEXANS over Jaguars
1 Point: FOOTBALL TEAM over Giants