September 27, 2012

NFL Week 4 Point Spread Breakdown

By ROBB WITMER FULL    
"BLOWING UP THE VICTORY FORMATION" IS QUIETLY BECOMING ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PLAYS IN FOOTBALL.


Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you. Refereemageddon was fun for a while, but when a winning week gets snatched clean from my hands, then things have gone too far. That’s the time for everyone to get together and hash this out, since we’ve all figured out what’s really important.


Which is exactly what happened last night. The NFL banged around some numbers and somehow found a little extra scratch in their pile of billion-dollar bills. I imagine that at some point in the last few weeks there was a conversation much like the corporate parable that Edward Norton tells that lady on the airplane in Fight Club: A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the shame we have to live through, we don't bring the real refs back.

It wasn’t until Monday night that B (the probable rate of failure) exploded in value, changing the situation entirely. But now that our new American heroes are returning to the field, does this mean we will be be entering an age of gambling normalcy? Don’t bet on it.


LAST WEEK: 7-8-0 | SEASON: 7-8-0, 46.7%

Browns v. Ravens (-12)
The NFL is giving us some real winners with these Thursday games. The latest features the team America loves to forget, the Cleveland Browns. Doesn’t seem like this should be close, but sometimes what seems and what is are two different things. Pick: Browns (+12)

Patriots (-4) v. Bills
The Bills have been an emotional roller coaster for me. After initially thinking they would challenge for the division, it looked like the dream might be dead after getting absolutely hammered by the Jets in week 1. Once I was safely off the bandwagon, they rolled in their next two games, albeit against suspect opponents. It the Patriots lose this game, it would be the beginning of the end of the Belichick-Brady era, and they know it. And I doubt Buffalo’s injury problems at running back will be significantly helped by Fred Jackson’s positive visualizations. Pick: Patriots (-4)

Vikings v. Lions (-5)
Sometimes things don’t go a certain team’s way despite lofty expectations. It’s the way of the world, and the Lions might just have to get used to it this year. Plus, don’t you think that the Vikes looked like an honest-to-god, real football team last week? Pick: Vikings (+5)

Panthers v. Falcons (-7)
The Panthers look awful right now. The Falcons look great right now. This game could very well end up in the Panthers’ favor, but to take them here would be a stupid pick. Sometimes you win stupid picks, but if you can train yourself to avoid taking them at all, then you will come out ahead in the end. Pick: Falcons (-7)

49ers (-4) v. Jets
The Niners probably aren’t the piping-hot shit they looked like for the first two weeks, but with a season-ending injury to Darrelle Revis, this seems like a great time for the Jets to begin their descent into flaming chaos. Pick: 49ers (-4)

Chargers v. Chiefs (-1)
I’m going to go ahead and make a pick here, but I wouldn’t put real money on either of these teams, even if it belonged to Donald Trump. Pick: Chiefs (-1)

Titans v. Texans (-12)
I like what the Titans are doing, but they won last week thanks to some trick plays, luck, and flat-out fuck-uppery. The Texans are for real. Pick: Texans (-12)

Seahawks (-2.5) v. Rams
The ghost of ‘011 Tim Tebow seems to be hanging around the Seahawks, but I don’t buy them as a team that will win consistently on the road, even against teams they probably should beat. Pick: Rams (+2.5)

Dolphins v. Cardinals (-5.5)
I’ve been hoodwinked by the Cardinals so far this year. Is it possible they could be a quality team? In the NFL, anything is possible. Pick: Cardinals (-5.5)

Raiders v. Broncos (-6.5)
To see Payton Manning go out with one or two of totally mediocre seasons with the Broncos would validate decades of my football fandom. Pick: Raiders (+6.5)

Bengals (-2) v. Jaguars
Wow. What a perfect spread. I would pick a push here if there was any strategic benefit to it. Pick: Bengals (-2)

Saints v. Packers (-7.5)
Remember that stink I talked about last week that’s lingering around the Packers? Not only is it more distinct after aging in a cask of rage since Monday night, it perfectly compliments the swamp-corpse aroma currently following the Saints around. Pick: Saints (+7.5)

Redskins v. Buccaneers (-2.5)
When Greg Schiano was initially announced as the Buccaneers’ head coach, I was sure the whole experiment would be a disaster. That might be what is happening, but he’s also slowly becoming one of my favorite coaches in the league. Pick: Buccaneers (-2.5)

Giants v. Eagles (-2)
The Eagles can’t do anything right, so naturally they are favored against the rolling Giants. This is what point spreads are all about. Pick: Giants (+2)

Bears v. Cowboys (-3.5)
Sometimes you eat the Bears, and sometimes the Bears eat you. Let’s see which way that goes for me this week. Pick: Bears (+3.5)


Robb Witmer Full (@robbwitmer) has been doing this for years and doesn’t seem to be getting any better at it. The only reasonable explanation is that the linesmakers are using some sort of Gypsy magic.