It’s funny how what you’re watching on TV or reading seeps into your unconscious, isn’t it? Right now my television is doing a sexy little three-man weave between Deadwood, Game of Thrones, and the 197 Simpsons episodes captured on the DVR. Meaning every third sentence I’m calling somebody a cock-diddly-ock sucker while taking a slug out my flagon of wine. It’s a rich scene.
It’s funny, I’m not a fan of the NFL. By that I mean that I wouldn’t sell my soul to the devil for an opportunity to watch the Raiders play the Jets in Week 1. I like the league well enough, but that kind of fanaticism is saved for UNC basketball.
My relationship with the NFL is a little more complicated. It’s more indebted gratitude.
During my first year of graduate school I knew nobody. My program consisted mainly of working professionals, and Johns Hopkins’ undergrad scene was markedly different to what I experienced at UF. I paid $400/month in rent to look out my bay window over the sprawling ghetto of Baltimore.
It was a lonely time. I drank a lot.
Thank God for the NFL. Because of its scheduling I could snuff one miserable day of the week and distract myself from crippling loneliness. I would stay up until 3 a.m. on Saturdays watching Pac-12 football, drink myself to sleep, wake up at noon for the pregame shows, groggily walk to the bar, and then kill the next 10 hours gorging on fried foods, Old Bay and Natty Boh.
Again, not a routine I would recommend long-term, but it certainly helped pad the walls and prevent a solitary descent into madness.
Which brings us back to TV and the impetus of this column. If you’re reading a picks column, you know football. You like football. You follow football. And, perhaps, you gamble on football. You don’t need some random joe with an 800 number to give you betting advice. If you’ve made it this far, you know everything you need to know.
Sometimes too much information can be blinding.
“Peyton Manning is playing at home, with all his receivers healthy. But the Cardinals’ third stringer looked mighty good in relief last week, and Manning is only 2-15 coming off weeks where he’s thrown for 4 TDs and 400 yards. Hmm …”
At this point it’s just too much. At this point, when your insides are all tangled and you feel as though your bookie has you in the rack, is when you flip a coin.
Each week I’ll be using this spot to flesh out some thoughts and flip a coin to pick against the spread. Heads for home; tails for away. Will the coin come out victorious? Only the Faith of the Seven knows. My suspicion: it can’t be any worse than every tenth asshole on the boob tube with a stone cold, lead pipe, vaulted, vaunted, exalted, 1,000% guaranteed lock of the week.
Green Bay @ Seattle (-5.5)
New England @ Miami (+4.5)
Pick: New England
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (-6.5)
New Orleans @ Atlanta (+2.5)
Pick: New Orleans
Tennessee @ Kansas City (-4.5)
Pick: Kansas City
Cincinnati @ Baltimore (-2.5)
Oakland @ NY Jets (-4.5)
Minnesota @ St. Louis (-6.5)
Pick: St. Louis
Jacksonville @ Philadelphia (-10.5)
Buffalo @ Chicago (-6.5)
Washington @ Houston (-2.5)
Carolina @ Tampa Bay (-1.5)
San Francisco @ Dallas (+5.5)
Pick: San Francisco
Indianapolis @ Denver (-7.5)
NY Giants @ Detroit (-4.5)
Pick: New York
San Diego @ Arizona (-3.5)