With much better luck this season handicapping college football, Marco and I have now resorted to pretending it's already Bowl Season in the NFL. For those of you who think we've stopped trying, please know that finding fourteen appropriate adjectives that end in -able is almost as hard as going 2-11 ATS. Seriously, I challenge anyone out there to sit down with these week's schedule and pick 11 or 12 losers - just don't bet on them.
Here are our Week 10 NFL/College Bowl Game predictions. As always, winners are bold and HOME TEAMS are in CAPs.
Thursday Night Football
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (+2.5) over Washington Redskins: This week Thursday Night Football plays host to the annual Unpredicta Bowl, one of a few lowly anticipated show(no first)downs this week between the 3-5 Washington Redskins and the 1-7 Minnesota Vikings. The line currently sits with the home dog Vikings getting just under a field goal. Although there's not a lot to cheer for with this Minnesota team, the fact that they've gone 4-1 SU/ATS in the past two seasons as a home dog and Washington has gone all over the map in general the past few weeks, we're going to take the points here and watch Adrian Peterson break his own NFL rushing record in a Vikings SU OVER victory.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+13.5) over TENNESSEE TITANS: Unlike the other Bowl Games, the Expecta Bowl is a travelling Bowl Game played weekly by the Jacksonville Jaguars in which the oddsmakers go to great lengths to find a double digit number attractive enough to back the Jaguars depending on the opposition. This week, they nailed it. By giving the Jags almost two touchdowns, they have the public down to 56% on the favorite Tennessee Titans. Although there are rumors that Richie Incognito has threatened to throw the Jags "mother f--king asses" out of the AFC South, this is still a division rivalry, and the Jags are still 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams. Never mind that the one loss came at the end of last year in a 38-20 beat down in Tennessee, the Titans have been a pedestrian 5-5 SU/4-5-1 ATS at home the past two seasons with the largest line being -6. We'll take the points and the UNDER 41.
Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) over GREEN BAY PACKERS: Lambeau Field plays host to the surprise Replace-a-Bowl this week as both the Eagles and the Packers are both down to their back-up quarterbacks. When this line opened prior to Monday Night Football, the Packers were favored by 10, and when Seneca Wallace found out he was only a touchdown worse than Aaron Rodgers he said, "Dude, that's awesome." We also think that's awesome because the truth is Rodgers is about 35 wins better than Wallace because that's how many he's notched as a starter since Wallace earned his last victory in 2010. Although Green Bay hasn't lost back-to-back home games since 2008, Wallace's record as a starter in the past three seasons is 1-8. Meanwhile, had it not been for all the crazy shit that went down in Week 9 - safety ending OT, Tampa Bay's near upset, coaches dropping like flies - people other than fantasy owners might have noticed a little thing called an NFL record for touchdown passes in a game achieved by Eagles back-up QB Nick Foles. We'll take the points and the UNDER 53.5 as the Packer D will keep things close - maybe even close enough for the one-point victory.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-3.5) over Buffalo Bills: The Inconceiva Bowl this year takes place between two teams who have been NFL surprises for very different reasons. The 3-6 Buffalo Bills have played competitive football all year, and although they've been depleted by injuries and have played more quarterbacks than Jessica Simpson, they've been competitive and have earned the respect of both fans and bettors. The 2-6 Pittsburgh Steelers, however, might be one of the biggest disappointments since Speed 2: Cruise Control, with a defense that inspires envy from cheese manufacturers in Switzerland and an offense that makes this painting look two-dimensional.
Nonetheless, we're taking the home team as the ghosts of Christmas past sometimes lurk in the dark recesses of legendary clubhouses. The ghosts of UNDERs past also lurk to the tune of 4-1 in the Steelers last 5 home games.
Oakland Raiders (+7.5) over NEW YORK GIANTS: The Regurgitata Bowl in New York pits the 2-6 New York Giants coming in off a two-game winning streak and a bye against the 3-5 Oakland Raiders coming in off a two-game splitting streak in which they looked defensively solid against the Pittsburgh Steelers one week and then like a high school football defense in giving up seven passing touchdowns to the Eagles the next. Both of these teams are like that kid in middle school who gets ushered into the next year with a D+ because they "have potential" or the teachers just don't want to see their ugly faces again. Take the points on the road in what will likely be a sloppy, turnover-riddled 23-17 Giants OVER 43.5 (8-2 in the Giants last 10 home favorite situations) win.
St. Louis Rams (+10) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: In what many are calling the Unenvia Bowl, the St. Louis Rams have to travel to Indianapolis to play the AFC South first place Colts who are coming in off a division win against the Houston Texans in which they proved they could win any type of game thrown at them, including the Lost-our-number-one-wide-out-and-playing-a-team-coming-off-a-bye-with-a-stellar-college-phenom-quarterback-and-a-coach-with-a-mysterious-heart-condition type of game. The Rams, on the other hand, are coming off yet another moral victory and we all know where you can shove those in the NFL. Make room secret, dark, storage facility, here comes another "strong showing" loss by the Rams, sneaking UNDER the total set at 44.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-6) over Atlanta Falcons: The My Team's Completely Forgeta Bowl this year is hosted by the Atlanta Falcons in what looked like a playoff preview when the schedule came out. Now the 8-1 Seahawks are rolling into town to face the lotto-bound 2-6 Atlanta Falcons in what should be another Seattle victory. The 'Hawks have shown us they can win on the road, now they are going to show us they can do it convincingly. No word on whether Percy Harvin will play on Sunday, but if he does we all know how he feels about artificial turf. Atlanta will play tough for a while, but there's not enough left to play for to keep them motivated for two halves. We're giving up the six and leaning towards the OVER 44.5.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (+1.5) over Cincinnati Bengals: The Equita Bowl is an annual meeting of two teams that play completely different football on the road than they do at home. This year, we have the defending Super Bowl champs getting points at home where they have gone 3-1 SU/ATS in their last 4 (any farther back and I can't make this argument) against this year's AFC North leading Cincinnati Bengals who have gone 1-3 ATS on the road in their last 4 with all three losses coming as road favorites. No brainer to us - we'll take the points in a low-scoring UNDER 44 (4-1 in the Ravens last 5 home dog spots).
Detroit Lions (-2.5) over CHICAGO BEARS: This week the Detroit Lions travel to the You're See-Through-a-Bowl to face division rival Chicago in what promises to be an entertaining game. After the Bears broke the curse of Lambeau on Monday thanks to a timely fractured collarbone by Aaron Rodgers, oddsmakers expected much more support for the offensively crafty Marc Trestman team. However, much like 80% of the public, we believe this Detroit teams is legit. They are coming off a bye, are in a three-way tie for first place, plus they have a better quarterback, more diverse offensive weapons, and are just plain healthier. Give up the points and enjoy a blowout.
Carolina Panthers (+6) over SAN FRANCISCO FORTY NINERS: In what Carolina fans are calling the Super Mandi-Bowl, Cam Newton's jaw, the rest of him, and the Panther defense are coming out west to San Francisco to face Colin Kaepernick in what Niner fans have dubbed the Flexi-Bowl.
Although I've never cared for either of these QB's end zone celebrations, I am pleasantly surprised to see Cam do his Superman in victory this year rather than during a garbage time touchdown in a 38-7 loss on national television. That's just embarrassing. As for the Colin, he needs to spot tone his head because the rest of him makes it look really small which probably hasn't helped the "I'm not sure he's smart enough for this job" talk. Both of these teams have looked great lately, but the Panthers have looked great against pretty bad teams, which worries me enough not to believe they will win this game. I do, however, have enough belief in their defense to take the points and the UNDER.
Houston Texans (+3) over ARIZONA CARDINALS: And what Bowl season would be complete without the annual I Took a Shit in a Bowl? This year it's the Texans and the Cardinals battling it out to see who can get their fans hopes up the highest before pulling the rug out from under them. If it is at all possible, both Houston and Arizona will jump out to seemingly insurmountable leads before they both collapse in a heap, end up in a tie, and both lose in a hockey shootout by 1 lousy goal. Take the points - you'll need them in a lean towards the OVER 41.
Denver Broncos (-7) over SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Well, well, well, although the Norwegien band Ylvis thought they had us all stumped with their quixotic YouTube sensational query, it turns out that the answer to What Does the Fox Say, is "Ow, my heart." With Denver Broncos head coach John Fox sidelined for several weeks post heart surgery, the onus of team management falls upon Jack Del Rio which according to laws written during his tenure at Jacksonville automatically dubs this game the Brush-a-Bowl in honor of Jack's hair. Okay, it's getting really late and some might argue I ran out of clever adjectives before I even started writing. The Broncos are better than the Chargers, they're coming out of a bye week, and they'll have all that extra oxygen at sea level. This is a no brainer to me. Give up the TD, take the OVER, and look forward to the showdown against the Chiefs next week.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-7) over Dallas Cowboys: The Unstoppa Bowl this week in New Orleans features a this year's Saints defense (AKA the Cowboys) against this year's Saints offense (AKA awesome at home). The Dallas Cowboys defense has already broken an NFL season record for number of 400 yard passing games yielded. I repeat "An NFL Season Record," and we're in Week 10. Last year the Saints broke the defensive record for most yards given up and this year the Cowboys are on pace to shatter it. You bet Rob Ryan is going to do his part in keeping his former team down while the Saints offense kicks them in the gut repeatedly. Give up the points and watch the Saints hang 50 on the 'Boys.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+3) over Miami Dolphins: Oh man, another Monday Night Unwatcha Bowl in which the winless Tampa Bay Bucs host the highly uninteresting Miami Dolphins. Marco tells me that he read an article about Greg Schiano, and that his football persona belies what a good-natured human being he is. To me, that's worth at least three points. C'mon karma - do your job. Take the home dog and the UNDER.
Good luck, everyone.
Vinny and Marco
Here are our Expert Team Picks which might have more value than ours