Rob’s NFL Confidence Pool: Week 4, 2021 Season

Oh hey, dare I say that Week 3 was something of a rebound? 11 correct picks and 96 points, and I’m above .500 both in terms of correct picks and total points for the first time all season? I’ll take it! Every loss that I did take was foreseeable, and hedged with lower point assignments. Thus, I didn’t lose more than 12 points on any single game. I also displayed great wisdom in going against the Buccaneers, even though they only brought me happiness in the first two weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I lost all three of my 12, 11, and 10-point games, which is a pretty rough stretch to lose out on. Had I been slightly more sagacious with my assignments, these losses would have been prevented.

Therefore, I’ve decided that now, a whole 17.647% into the new season, it’s time to re-evaluate which teams can be trusted with top point assignments. Last week could have been a lot worse, but there’s still room for improvement, and I needed the actual longest field goal in the history of the league to bail me out. If that ball had bounced off the cross bar in the other direction, or uh…if the refs had called the actually pretty goddamn blatant delay of game on the previous play, I would be out 16 points and losing my entire mind. With the way this season has gone so far, losing a 16-pointer would leave me a sobbing wreck of a human being. There would be no actual recovery; I’d spend the rest of the season making absurdist anti-picks and launching into bizarre, quasi-cogent tirades about whatever’s chapping my ass at any particular moment. Actually, that sounds pretty rad to me but I doubt any of my six or seven faithful readers would agree.

So instead of that, I’m going to try and salvage this season, and that starts with figuring out who I can still trust with big points. First, I’m going to run through the teams I trusted with the highest point assignments going into the season:

  • Chiefs: Any discussion of broken trust in confidence pooling necessarily begins with the Chiefs. I lost 15 on them in Week 2 and 12 on them in Week 3. As of this writing, Andy Reid is sick (get well soon!). The Chiefs cannot be trusted.
  • Ravens: Again, if not for a neglected delay of game followed by a record breaking miracle kick, my already paltry season points total would include 16 fewer points. They also cost me 11 in Week 1. The Ravens cannot be trusted.
  • Bills: If the Bills had handled business against a not very good Steelers team in Week 1, I would trust them. But they didn’t, so I don’t. The Bills cannot be trusted.
  • Buccaneers: Hell yeah! I picked the exact right week to go against the Bucs. Feels good. That’s not actually relevant, here, I just wanted to pat myself on the back some more. Anyway, the team is mortal and their division looks tougher than anticipated, Atlanta notwithstanding. The Bucs cannot be trusted.
  • Rams: I don’t think it’s a wild overreaction (baby) to say that the Rams might be the best team in the NFC. The problem is that might not be as high a bar to clear as it sounds, and they almost beefed it against the Colts. The Rams cannot be trusted.
  • Packers: It’s quite possible that, in a few short weeks, we’ll regard their pantsing against the Saints as a fluke. But that’s at least a few short weeks away. In the meantime, what in the actual fuck was up with that Week 1 game!? Clearly, the Packers cannot be trusted.

Naturally, I’m in a bit of a bind if I can’t trust any team with big points. But these are the teams I came into the season with high hopes for, and as we all know, preseason predictions are fucking worthless. Perhaps a new team has proven itself worthy, one I didn’t see coming! Let’s take a look at the early season success stories from around the league:

  • Broncos: The Broncos have three wins against the three worst teams in the league. Pairing a nuclear defense with competent game management (I love you Teddy!) might be good for a Wild Card, but top points? Get real. The Broncos cannot be trusted.
  • Chargers: The Chargers just made a huge play, and have won my trust! No, wait, it was called back for holding. The Chargers cannot be trusted.
  • Raiders: Again, last year I started to trust the Raiders just in time for the start of their collapse. The Raiders cannot be trusted.
  • Bengals(!?): lol fuck off. The Bengals cannot be trusted.
  • Browns: My trust is transitive. The Browns lost to the Chiefs, who themselves cannot be trusted, therefore, the Browns cannot be trusted.
  • Panthers: If there’s a recurring theme, here, it’s that wins against the Jets really shouldn’t count. The Panthers cannot be trusted.
  • Saints: I consider it a colossal embarrassment that I even need to point this out, but anyone who invests their top point assignments in the quarterbacking skills of either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill is broken and utterly beyond redemption. The Saints cannot be trusted.
  • Cardinals: Remember, they started out hot last year, too. The Cardinals cannot be trusted.
  • 49ers: Yeah, I know they got Rodgers’d, but I just lost 10 points on these guys. Like hell I’d even consider giving them 16. The 49ers cannot be trusted.
  • Cowboys: Oh sure, throw in with Mike McCarthy, that’ll fix everything. The Cowboys cannot be trusted.

Gee, that got real grim, real quickly. I am drawn inexorably to the conclusion that the only teams who can be trusted in any capacity are the Jets, Jaguars, and Giants, because they’re trash. Just put your top points on their opponents and watch the points roll in. Unless, of course, those opponents cannot be trusted, in which case it’s back to the drawing board. Good luck!

Week 3 Correct Picks: 11/16

Season Total Correct Picks: 26/48

Week 3 Points: 96/136

Season Total Points: 228/408

16 Points: Bills over Texans

Once again, I went long on the self-indulgent assholery portion of this week’s column, which means I have yet to talk about picking these week’s slate. Picking these games sucks out loud. It’s all divisional matchups and games between more or less evenly matched teams. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I wouldn’t wish this task upon my worst enemy, but I would only do so if I got to watch. The Bills cannot be trusted, but they seem like they might be getting their shit together, and in a week with this few mismatches that’s enough.

15 Points: Packers over Steelers

14 Points: Buccaneers over Patriots

So uhm, why the fuck is this the Sunday Night game? This is a rhetorical question, of course, but surely we can all agree that the actual game in question is going to be a turd, yes? I could choose to be mad that this 1 PM-ass game is on in prime time, but instead, I choose to be grateful for the chance to get to bed at a decent hour.

13 Points: Chiefs over Eagles

12 Points: Saints over Giants

11 Points: Titans over Jets

I don’t have much to say about this game, but if you sense that giving the Titans a mere 11 points here is a sign of disrespect, please know that it absolutely is.

10 Points: Rams over Cardinals

9 Points: Cowboys over Panthers

This is a vibe check game for the Panthers. If they manage to pull out the victory here, or if they keep things close or otherwise look impressive in defeat, I will start giving them some measure of respect. If that happens, I can rest assured knowing that the Panthers will begin their collapse as soon as I start giving them mid-level points, because football hates my guts.

8 Points: Ravens over Broncos

I’m really starting to think the Broncos can harness the power of ass-ugly football to snag 9 or 10 wins. As you can see, that doesn’t mean I think they can overcome their first real test of the season, but my point is I actually had to think about this.

7 Points: Vikings over Browns

Skol Vikings motherfuckers! This is our year! 15-2 incoming! We’re winning the Super Bowl! God, I’m pathetic. The Browns are currently ranked second in overall DVOA; those of you with the gift of common sense have my blessing to pick the Browns, not that you need it.

6 Points: Bengals over Jaguars

5 Points: Raiders over Chargers

4 Points: Dolphins over Colts

3 Points: Seahawks over 49ers

This is your annual reminder that Seahawks/49ers games are always the epitome of division rivalry game chaos. Both of these teams are good enough that, in other weeks, I would find a way to give both of them more than 3 points. But, picking this game is a fool’s errand, and I’ve assigned points accordingly. Going with the Seahawks, here, because they’re absolutely fucking doomed if they lose and they know it, probably.

2 Points: Football Team over Falcons

1 Point: Lions over Bears

We now head to Halas Hall for an exclusive look inside the Bears’ team facility!

Fascinating!

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