Rob’s NFL Confidence Pool: Week 3, 2021 Season

Wild Overreactions, baby! Let’s take a look at how much better I did once I set my mind free!

What’s that? One more correct pick and only two more points than my disastrous Week 1? I spent my entire Week 2 column in service of a stupid, self-indulgent rhetorical gimmick that I only I thought was funny, and I only got 67 piss-ant points out of it!? And I missed on my first 15-point pick of the season, and it’s only Week 2!? I’ve missed on more than half of my total picks for the season, and I have less than 50% of the available points to date!?

There is simply no way to spin what a disaster this season has been so far. Clearly, everything I thought I knew going into the season turned out to be wrong, and my frantic, desperate, and partially sarcastic attempt at overcorrection turned out to be just as misguided. There really weren’t as many wild overreactions (baby) in my Week 2 picks as I made it seem, though. The bad news is that the actual wild overreactions (baby) that I did end up acting on mostly proved to be terrible ideas.

Any analysis of what went wrong last week must, of course, begin with a look at my 15-point Chiefs whiff. It’s a good thing the game itself was a banger, otherwise I might be upset! Obviously, putting 15 points against the Ravens at home was borderline disrespectful, even without the benefit of hindsight, but one of my guiding principles is that it’s always better to put more points on a better team, even against a tough opponent, and the Chiefs have earned my trust time and time again. Was I overreacting to the Ravens’ goofy overtime loss in Vegas? Yes, probably a little bit. But even without adopting gross irresponsibility as a gimmick for the week, I probably would’ve made this pick and assignment anyway. The same goes for my Seahawks and Saints picks. They didn’t work out, but that’s because I’m dumb and I suck at this under normal circumstances, not because of wild overreactions. Uh, baby.

For the first real lesson on the dangers of wild overreactions, look no further than my 13-point Steelers whiff. Again, I almost certainly would’ve picked the Steelers regardless, but 13 points? That’s the overreaction, here, and it’s all because they barely beat the Bills as the direct result of a blocked punt touchdown. A sensible person would note that a win like that the Steelers are going to be a tough out, and that the Bills might not be exactly as good as my most optimistic predictions. Had I kept my head screwed on properly, I would’ve recognized two things. First, I would’ve acknowledged that the Raiders are respectable. Second, I would’ve recognized that the Steelers’ narrow Week 1 win does not conclusively prove they’re better than I though going into the year; I think I gave them a Max Points of 8 or so in my season preview. Had I stuck to my guns, I might not have gotten points out of this game, but I certainly would’ve mitigated the disaster.

Speaking of wild overreactions (fine, goddammit…*resigned sigh*…baby) and the Bills, my sole source of comfort in going against them against a Dolphins team that might be in deep shit all of a sudden is that I only lost 4 points on it. And, of course, picking the Lions was little more than a stupid prank that came at the expense of myself and anyone dumb enough to follow my failure-damaged counsel to the letter. 1 point is only 1 point, but it’s also 1 point, you know?

So, faced with a season on the brink and secure in the knowledge that I have no idea what the hell is going on this season, I am now confronted with a slate of games that I cannot make a lick of sense of, whatsoever. All I see here is matchups between bad teams, matchups between confusing teams, and a token handful of divisional matchups to supplement a minuscule amount of legitimate mismatches. What a great opportunity to rebound and save my season totals as my self-confidence completely crumbles to dust. I’ll be lucky to escape with another 50 points to my name. To make matters worse (or better, if you’re looking for an excuse to do something else with your Sunday), almost none of these games look like they’ll be all that fun to watch. Buccaneers/Rams and Packers/49ers are intriguing and might be a good time, but that’s about it. This weekend is gonna suck. I can’t wait.

Week 2 Correct Picks: 8/16

Season Total Correct Picks: 15/32

Week 2 Points: 67/136

Season Total Points: 132/272

16 Points: Ravens over Lions

See, this is what this week has already reduced me to.This was an easy pick, and in the hands of someone who even sort of feels like they know what they’re doing, it should be an easy point assignment, too. So what’s the problem? What’s my problem? Frnakly, my problem is that this has the makings of a classic trap game. A well-regarded Ravens team coming off of an incredible, emotionally charged victory is heading on the road to take on a Lions team that isn’t good per se, but is probably at least somewhat better than their reputation implies. On top of that, the Lions are playing for everything while the Ravens as little at stake as you’ll ever see in this sport. Lose and what, they’re down a game in the division temporarily? Big whoop.

15 Points: Bills over Football Team

Last week, I promised wild overreactions to the wild overreactions, so here you go. Washington could make things interesting, I suppose, but I’m not counting on it and neither should you.

14 Points: Cardinals over Jaguars

Already I’m struggling to find a game that’s worthy of this many points. Even when I see clear favorites, I also see multiple cogent reasons to regard those favorites with suspicion and distrust. My choices boil down to trusting promising but not necessarily top-tier teams against weak opposition, trusting my gut in one of the marquee matchups, or trusting Kansas City in a division rivalry game (that loss to the Raiders from last year will haunt my nightmares for years). As you can see, I’m choosing the first option. The Jaguars are hot garbage and the Cardinals might actually be taking the leap that was promised last year, making this the most appealing of the pseudo-mismatches.

13 Points: Browns over Bears

12 Points: Chiefs over Chargers

I told y’all to pump the brakes on the Chargers hype, but did I listen to my own advice? Of course not. I only saw the parts of their game against the Cowboys that RedZone saw fit for consumption, so I’m sure there were some subtleties that I didn’t pick up on, but what I did see played into my pre-existing opinion of them. Herbert is the truth, but as a whole the team is young and, like most young teams that believe themselves to be on the rise, may be prone to playing sloppy and nervous in big games. Last week further showed that the Chargers are always playing on the road, even when they’re at home, which doesn’t matter for this week but remains hilarious.

11 Points: Seahawks over Vikings

At least I’ve reached the acceptance stage with the Vikings, so I can pick against them with impunity. Christ.

10 Points: 49ers over Packers

9 Points: Broncos over Jets

This feels awfully high for a mostly untested Broncos team, but who in their right mind views these Jets as a test?

8 Points: Rams over Buccaneers

In picking the Rams, I’m going out on a limb with this one. I have a couple reasons for doing this. For starters, I’ve learned the hard way that when you ride a team too hard, you will pay the price eventually. The Bucs’ have brought me 32 points, and have thus earned a week on the bench. I also think the Rams are, at worst, the third best team in the conference. I also think that, unless a bunch of Masshole expats who kept their Brady allegiance flood the stands, the Rams will have a significant home field advantage. Bucs fans don’t travel, because they mostly don’t exist. And finally, while the Bucs are 2-0 and remain the team to beat in the NFC, they do look mortal. They barely squeaked past the Cowboys and they almost let the Falcons back in. They will lose eventually, and on the road against a fellow contender?

7 Points: Cowboys over Eagles

6 Points: Titans over Colts

5 Points: Raiders over Dolphins

I don’t feel great about giving the Raiders any points – I seem to recall that last year, they suckered me in to picking them right around the time they started to collapse – but the Dolphins are coming off of the sort of loss that can set a team back years. They got shut out and had their shit completely wrecked, at home, against their primary division rival. Even the worst teams can be expected to at least show up under such circumstances; a team coming into the season with playoff aspirations failing to rub the sleep out of their eyes before taking the field in any game that important, to say nothing of a home game that important, is a disgrace.

4 Points: Patriots over Saints

It’s probably a bit foolish to pick the offense-deficient Patriots, but I can explain! Again, I didn’t see a ton of the Saints last week, but I do recall seeing Jameis Winston huck up a duck while being dragged down to the turf. As it left is hand, I said “Famous Jameis” out loud, in the comfort and privacy of my own home, and with no one else in the same room to hear me. As soon as I was done saying it, the ball went directly into the arms of a Panthers’ defender, as was ordained the very millisecond that ball got in the air. Dude still blows, is my point.

3 Points: Steelers over Bengals

2 Points: Panthers over Texans

If the Panthers keep this up, I might have to start giving them some respect pretty soon, here. Heck, with Tyrod Taylor likely out for this game, perhaps I could start doing so as early as this week. But my opinion of the Panthers was low enough going into this year that I need to see more evidence before I give them significant points. It’s important that I make teams such as the Panthers earn my trust before I get burned for giving them, like, 8 points.

1 Point: Falcons over Giants

With the possible exception of certain Pop Warner tilts, this is the worst game of gridiron being played on U.S. soil in this calendar year. Anyone stuck watching any part of it because of the dreary realities of geography have my sympathy. Anyone watching it of their own volition presents a clear and present danger to themselves and all others in their vicinity, and will be regarded as such.

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