Husky Basketball Heads Into Conference Play In Great Shape

Look, maybe not the BEST shape, but still pretty good shape.

The Huskies went 10-3 in non-conference play, and outside from an annoying loss to Houston in the Diamond Head Classic finals on Christmas Day, things went about as well as can be expected. We beat a top-10 team in Baylor on a neutral site, we narrowly lost to the #1 team in the nation, Gonzaga, and we lost to a very good Tennessee team that should make the NCAA Tournament when all is said and done. And, assuming Houston can get their shit together, there very well shouldn’t be a bad loss in the bunch.

As I write this, Washington has fallen out of the Top 25 for the second time this season, but we’re right there. We’re pretty well-regarded, and more importantly, we’re in a conference that’s pretty well-regarded (especially compared to the last few years). Oregon sits at #4, Arizona is #25, Colorado is #26, and even Stanford is in the “others receiving votes” with all of 1 vote. So, we’re all feeling good about what’s going on here.

In conference play, we get the Arizona schools twice, the Bay Area schools twice, the L.A. schools twice, and the Cougs twice. That means we play the Oregon schools just once (in Seattle, in mid-January) and the mountain schools on the road the following week. Ideally, you’d like to get a couple cracks at taking down Oregon, but you play the games you get. If we can find a way to beat them on our home court, all we have to do is not totally fall apart and I think that’s good enough to get us in the Tourney. Otherwise, we’ll want to hover around the top 3 or 4 teams in the conference and make a good showing in the Pac-12 Tourney. But, that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

I think it’s safe to say that Washington is a program still trying to find itself. Isaiah Stewart was billed as one of the very best players in the nation coming out of high school, and I think he’s very much lived up to the hype. It’s been an absolute joy to watch him hit the ground running, averaging 19/9 with 61% shooting percentage and a very respectable (for a college big man) 73% free throw percentage.

After Stewart, it’s been very up & down for the rest of our crew. Jaden McDaniels is the consensus Biggest Upside prospect, but he’s been probably the biggest wild card of the bunch. He can do it all – shoot, dribble-drive, dish, rebound, block shots, get steals – but he still makes a lot of mistakes (3.5 turnovers per game to lead the team) and in general some of his decision making & shot selection has been a little suspect. If he finds a way to put it all together, this team has no limit to how far it can go. My biggest fear is that he doesn’t put it all together until he gets to the pros, and this will most definitely be his only season in a Husky uniform.

Naz Carter continues to improve with every passing season, averaging 13 points and 6 boards, while being probably our best outside shooter and a capable shot-maker in the paint. He also falls into the trap of poor decision-making and goes a little too much to the Hero Ball type of game for my liking. But, he’s clutch; he’s already nailed some huge outside shots late in the game, and there isn’t anyone else I’d rather have shooting that shot in crunch time.

Hameir Wright also continues to improve, but he shoots almost exclusively from the outside, and at 27.5%, is going to need to keep getting better as the season goes on. I love his length, I love his defensive presence, I love pretty much everything about his game … except for the fact that he bricks WAY too many threes. Fix that, and he’s this team’s X-factor.

Quade Green, after a rough start, has really picked up his game of late. He’s the only solid point guard type on the roster, but his shooting has picked up a great deal, sitting at 46% from long range, which is best on the team. He’s averaging 11 points, 5 assists, and has reduced his turnovers to just a tick over 2 per game, which is excellent. Honestly, no notes! Keep up the great work!

The Huskies have mainly focused on a 6-man rotation (the 7th man being Sam Timmins, who mostly spells Stewart for 8 minutes a game, which is really all you want him in there for) with Jamal Bey being the first man off the bench. Bey is only in his second season, and he’s giving you pretty much what you’d expect a second-year player to give you (particularly one who played sparingly as a Freshman). I love everything about Bey’s game from a defensive standpoint, as I feel he gives us 80-85% of Matisse Thybulle on that side of the ball. I just need him to hit a higher percentage of outside shots (he’s currently at 32% from long range) and he’d be perfect. Considering that was also Thybulle’s biggest weakness as a college player, and you could say he’s 80-85% of Thybulle from every aspect; as such, I look forward to great things in the next two years. Ideally, though, for the 2019/2020 Huskies to make a deep Tourney run, they’ll need to see a bump in production from someone like Bey in conference play.

I’d say the lack of bench production could hurt this team, particularly if we can’t find someone off the bench to hit a respectable number of ourside shots. I’m disappointed -as I think we all are – that RaeQuan Battle isn’t getting more of an opportunity. With his size, I can’t imagine he’d be a liability on defense; and we have enough guys who can bring the ball up court. Seems to me we should be able to find a way to carve out 10 minutes per game to get the sharp-shooter in there on a regular basis to boost this team’s scoring.

As anticipated, the Huskies’ size is giving teams fits down low. But, our lack of rebounding ability is starting to become a problem (it’s the sole reason why we lost that Houston game). Maybe that was just an off night, but if we don’t bring the effort in that area, then what good is having all that length? Especially when we don’t have enough outside shooting to compensate for opposing teams doubling us in second-chance points.

I’m still pretty high on the Huskies. I believe we’ve made a lot of progress from the start of the season to today, and I believe there’s still room for this team to grow in the weeks ahead. The goal all along has been to get back to the NCAA Tournament, and I think we’ve done enough to get in (assuming, of course, that we don’t completely fall apart from here on out). Now, our goal needs to be to get a Top 5 or Top 6 seed. That’s not unreasonable! Good enough to avoid the really BIG heavies until the Sweet 16 or so. Get to the Sweet 16, and let the chips fall where they may from there.

I think we can do it! Gotta keep building up that resume.

These Seahawks Are Hard To Watch

You can call them exciting – the 2019 Seahawks as a whole – but as you can see from last night’s 26-21 defeat, when you have to rely on winning nothing but close games, so much of the outcome is predicated on luck. Jacob Hollister was mere inches away from scoring the game-winning touchdown. The refs – both in the stadium and those watching from New York – totally botched what should’ve been a pass interference penalty in the endzone. The Seahawks were so discombobulated – and so out of time outs – that they were unable to properly get a play called with the ball at the one yard line, resulting in a delay of game. To even get to that point, the Seahawks had to prevent the 49ers from converting a 3rd & 17 and came within one yard of even botching THAT modest task!

When every single little thing has to go your way for you to win a football game, it’s easy to see why – over the long haul – these 1-score games tend to even out over time. The fact of the matter is: the Seahawks peaked with that Monday Night victory over the Vikings. We’ve gone on to lose three out of our last four games. I would argue we were really only competitive in 4 quarters out of those 4 total games, and 3 of those quarters took place in Carolina, before everyone got injured and everything went to shit for this team.

Heading into the game last night, it was firmly decided that the Seahawks would have to play on Wild Card weekend. Had we won, we would’ve been the 3-seed and hosted the Vikings. I know I’m probably in the minority here, but that’s the game I’d rather have, 100%. Going on the road for three straight games – even for a great team, even in a flawed conference – is as hard as it gets in professional sports. But, the Seahawks are NOT a great team. And the NFC isn’t very flawed at the top. The 49ers are elite, the Saints are right up there, and say what you want about the Packers, but they’re – at the very least – hosting a game in January after their BYE week. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, that’s never an easy task (also, not for nothing, but the 2019 Packers have to be the most under-the-radar playoff BYE team in the last decade, which is exactly the position I was hoping the Seahawks would be in).

But, that’s what you get for losing at home to the Cardinals the week before. You lose any right to a first round BYE. The Seahawks don’t deserve it; they probably never did.

A lot of the frustrations we’ve seen in recent weeks boil down to injuries. You just can’t overcome so many high-profile injuries and hope to compete at the same level as the 49ers or Saints. Duane Brown is a huge loss. Carson, Penny, and Prosise are all huge losses. Quandre Diggs might be the biggest loss of them all. Our entire linebacker corps seems to be banged up and a step slow. Clowney seems to be a shell of the guy who wreaked havoc in the first 49ers game. Ansah never really got going; he was a good idea that never panned out. Al Woods obviously hampers our depth. Tyler Lockett is going through some stuff. Losing Gordon and Malik Turner (and then Jaron Brown) severely weakens our passing game. The drop-off from losing Dissly, Willson, and Ed Dickson (not to mention needing to start Fant on the O-Line, losing his specialness at the tackle-eligible position) has just completely transformed what potential this offense once had. Shaquill Griffin isn’t 100%. I could go on and on, I’m sure.

It’s just gotten to the point where I’m waiting for the season to finally die. Everyone seems to be happier to play the Eagles on the road, but not me. Sure, they’re just as banged up, but are they really that much worse? Given our +7 point differential (vs. their +31), and considering how they came back from the dead to win their last four games and win the NFC East when no one thought they had a chance in Hell, are we really taking that much stock in 2 extra close wins by the Seahawks? Especially when we barely beat them in Philly the last time we played them?

Even if we do get a bunch of our key guys back and somehow prevail, what does that get us? Almost certainly a date in Santa Clara against a rested, healthy, and more importantly BETTER THAN US 49ers team. That’s why this trip to Philly is a death sentence. I don’t care that we went 7-1 on the road this year; that’s an anomaly. That means nothing in the playoffs when you lose and you’re done.

We needed the 49ers to be the 5-seed. We needed them to go on the road. We needed them to almost certainly beat the Eagles and then take out one of the top two seeds, to get one of those teams out of our hair. Hosting the Vikings – who are going nowhere fast – is the obvious better option and it’s asinine that more Seahawks fans don’t realize this.

I would say we’d be better off losing on Sunday, but I don’t know if I could handle the sheer embarrassment of losing to a team as bad as Philly, knowing what I just wrote about how bad the Seahawks have been of late. There’s a way to squint and see the Seahawks get some guys back, gut out a close victory over the Eagles, then go back into Santa Clara to beat the 49ers again. We know them well enough. We’ve beaten them before (we ALMOST beat them twice), we can beat them again. From there, it’s a date with either the Saints or Packers in the NFC Championship Game. At that point, it’s a total toss-up.

As it is every year, the hardest game to win is in the Divisional Round, against superior teams coming off of BYE weeks. Usually – I’d say around 75% of the time – the home teams win in that round, and they win pretty soundly most of the time. Having to go on the road, against the best team in the NFC – who also gave Baltimore everything they could handle – is just not the position you want to be in.

And, that’s why this sucks. Because we’re going to spend the rest of this week – and all of next week, assuming we get over this hurdle – trying to squint our way to an appearance in the Super Bowl, when quite frankly it ain’t gonna happen. We’d almost be better off not making the playoffs at all than being a fucking Wild Card team. This isn’t hockey. This isn’t baseball. This is the NFL, where the Haves beat the Have Nots 9 out of 10 times.

And these Seahawks just don’t have the kind of magic to be one of those 1 out of 10 teams.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Thank God It’s Fucking Over

I lost the Consolation Bracket Championship Game, because of course I did. NEWSFLASH: Guy Loses To Guy Who Has Lamar Jackson; WEIRD!

I’m happy for one thing and one thing only: Danny Dimes scored me 48.80 points this week. That’s four weeks out of a possible 11 games where he scored 39+ points, which for a rookie is something to build upon.

So, all I’ve got to do now is figure out who my four keepers are going to be. Dimes is one of them, no question. Zeke Elliott and Josh Jacobs are also back, no question. Well, maybe some question. It depends on how injured Jacobs is, and what the Raiders do in the offseason. But, if they’re ready to hand him the keys to that backfield (and don’t do something stupid like draft another running back in an early round in 2020), then I think he’s a no brainer.

That leaves me with my fourth keeper. I have to keep in mind that I’ll be drafting second in next year’s fantasy draft. My opponent – the guy drafting first overall – will definitely be keeping Lamar Jackson. His other possible QB keepers are Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold; you can’t be really happy with either of those options, so it wouldn’t shock me to see him get Joe Burrow, or whoever ends up being the best-looking rookie quarterback prospect.

The point is, I can settle for the second-best rookie quarterback next year and try to build some sort of juggernaut around a couple of young, exciting quarterbacks. So, I don’t HAVE to keep someone like Carson Wentz, even though he’ll likely be around a Top 10 scoring QB for our league this year.

Behind him, I don’t have a receiver I love (Cooper Kupp is the closest thing, but I dunno). Le’Veon Bell is a longshot, again, unless his situation drastically improves. I don’t think either Scary Terry or Darius Slayton are ready to be keepers; I could definitely draft both of those guys fairly late in next year’s draft.

So, in that sense, Carson Wentz probably HAS to be the keeper play here. Also, that doesn’t prevent me from also using my #2 pick on a third quarterback. Draft whoever the best rookie quarterback is on the board, stash him on my bench, and then start working on my wide receivers in the second round and beyond.

The thing is, part of me doesn’t want to give up on Wentz. I went to a lot of trouble in hanging onto him since his rookie season, essentially building my team around HIM the last time I did one of these step-backs or rebuilds or whatever. I’ve also done this before, where I’ve let go of quality QBs after disappointing seasons, and they’ve immediately bounced back in big ways (most infamous was me giving up on Matt Ryan the year before he was the league’s MVP). So, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see Wentz put up major production in 2020.

With injuries and all the rest, it never hurts to have a third quarterback.

Plus, I mean, our league this year has been won by the only guy who auto-drafted his entire team (minus last year’s keepers). On top of that, his four keepers included THREE quarterbacks (Cam Newton, Deshaun Watson, and Drew Brees) and a team defense (Rams).

Fantasy football is literally the stupidest thing invented by man, and I’m including the Chia Pet.

The Once-Mighty Seahawks Are Going Out With A Whimper In 2019

Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals was one of the most poorly-coached affairs I’ve seen since Pete Carroll came to Seattle.

Things were looking pretty good one drive in; the Seahawks marched 89 yards in 9 plays for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Then, it immediately fell to shit. On the very next play, Kenyan Drake rumbled 80 yards down the right sideline to tie it up. The Seahawks drove it right back down to the Arizona 33 yard line when, on 4th & 1, Pete Carroll opted to NOT go for the first down. He, instead, sent out the field goal unit, but something happened and instead of kicking an insane 50+ yard field goal (with a terrible kicker, who just BARELY made his extra point on our touchdown earlier in the game), we took a 5-yard delay of game penalty before punting.

The fact that the punt was downed at the 1-yard line isn’t the issue. The issue is this Fraidy-Cat mentality by Pete Carroll costing us points. Another in a long line of bullshit moves. WHAT HAPPENED TO BIG BALLS PETE??? I could use a few more “hormonal” decisions and a lot less of these snivelling duds.

I can’t get into all the terrible decisions because I bailed on this game just after halftime. Here are the results of the first 10 possessions for the Seahawks:

  1. Touchdown
  2. Punt
  3. Punt
  4. Punt
  5. Punt
  6. Punt
  7. End of Half
  8. Fumble
  9. Punt
  10. Punt

Won’t win too many games doing that! Before the Seahawks could manage to score again, it was 20-7. The Seahawks then blocked a field goal and returned it to the Arizona 16 yard line, but could do nothing with the gift they received, having to settle for three. We forced a punt and once again drove into Arizona territory, but once again the drive stalled and we had to settle for a field goal. At 20-13, if we could just get one MORE stop, we might’ve had something going, but Brett Hundley – in for an injured Kyler Murray – was able to manufacture a game-clinching touchdown drive to put it out of reach. With just over 4 minutes left, the Seahawks got the ball back, but turned it over on downs on our own half of the field.

The game didn’t mean a whole lot, but it also kind of did. The Saints beat the Titans, the 49ers beat the Rams, and the Packers beat the Vikings. That puts the 49ers & Packers in the top two seeds at the moment, with the Seahawks all the way down to fifth.

Here are the new scenarios:

  • If we beat the 49ers, we would need both the Saints to lose to the Panthers (not gonna happen) and the Packers to lose to the Lions (not gonna happen) to reclaim the #1 seed.
  • If we beat the 49ers, the Saints lose, and the Packers win, that keeps us down to the 3-seed, hosting the Vikings in the Wild Card Round.
  • If we beat the 49ers, the Packers lose, and the Saints win, then we would jump up to the 2-seed.
  • And, of course, if we lose, nothing matters because we’ll be the 5-seed, going on the road to play either the Eagles or Cowboys.

So, yeah, that loss meant quite a bit, thanks to the Vikings blowing it last night.

Honestly, I know we’re all stoked about Marshawn Lynch and (to a lesser extent) Robert Turbin coming back for the stretch run, but neither guy has played a single snap this year! How much can you reasonably expect from either of them? Lynch has been working out for, what, two weeks? That’s going to get him back into game shape?

That’s not getting into the fact that Duane Brown is out, our offensive line is pretty banged up across the board, Quandre Diggs probably won’t be back, Shaquill Griffin is still a huge maybe. Clowney should be in there, but how much of an effect can he have with his injury issues? Everyone seems to be breaking down or getting busted for taking illegal (and/or performance-enhancing) drugs at the absolute worst possible time.

The 49ers, on the other hand, are getting as healthy as they’ve been in a month, they have an extra day to prepare since they played last Saturday, and as we’ve clearly seen, “home field advantage” isn’t a thing that exists in Seattle anymore.

The 49ers are just plain better than the Seahawks, and that’s all there is to it. The 49ers will win this game. The Seahawks will be going on the road in the playoffs and if things keep trending the way they’ve been going, we’ll almost certainly lose again in the first round.

What a shit-end to a once-promising season. Merry Fucking Christmas.

A New Era Of Husky Football

This spot is where I would normally have my Seahawks diatribe, but the Huskies had their bowl game, it was Chris Petersen’s final game, and we’ve got even MORE great news that came out yesterday. Why dwell on the Seahawks (when they’re going to lose to the 49ers, then lose to the Eagles or Cowboys in the first round anyway) when we can focus on happier, more hopeful things?

First and foremost, the Huskies throttled the Boise State Broncos, 38-7. We got off to our usual hot start – jumping out to a 24-0 lead early in the second half – and pretty much coasted from there. The defense continued its impressive finish to the season after back-to-back home losses to Oregon and Utah. In our final four games, we gave up a total of 47 points (11.75 per game) and more or less looked like the Husky defenses of the last few years. It was nice to see as we head into 2020 under new leadership.

Jacob Eason had a pretty good game, showing better touch out of a couple of his deep balls than I’d seen since the non-conference slate. He finished with 210 yards and a touchdown on 22/32 passing.

The game got a little frustrating in the second half, as we came out passing WAY more than we probably should have. When you’re up 24-0 (it turned into 24-7 on the very next Broncos drive, but it took them 11 plays and five and a half minutes to do it), you should be pounding the rock and draining as much clock as possible. Instead, I dunno, there were a couple of frustrating drives where the offense couldn’t do anything and it looked like Boise State might make a comeback. But, things settled down towards the end and we were finally able to get back on track and run out the clock.

I really liked what I saw out of Richard Newton, who had a nice 69 yards on the ground, one rushing touchdown, and another passing touchdown on a nifty trick play in the fourth quarter. I also thought Salvon Ahmed had a gutty performance, playing through some injury stuff, scoring twice. I could’ve even used more Kamari Pleasant, who looked explosive on his two carries for 14 yards.

It was a nice final game for Andre Baccellia, who caught 3 for 34 and a touchdown. I think a lot of us expected more out of his Husky career, but it was cool to at least get him a score on his way out. Terrell Bynum really led the way in receiving, catching 5 balls for 67 yards and a TD. Not really much else to get into from the receivers.

Defensively, Elijah Molden led the way in tackles, and REALLY came on late in the season. I hope he returns for his Senior year, because we could really showcase a guy with his talents. There was a good amount of pressure up front, but while it didn’t necessarily translate into a high sack number, we were able to force their quarterbacks into plenty of mistakes. Molden and Myles Bryant each had interceptions on the first two plays Boise State had in Husky territory (cool to see Bryant get one more – giving him 4 picks of his career (I thought he had more for some reason) – as he heads to the NFL next year).

Chris Petersen ends his Husky career with a record of 55-26; his .679 winning percentage is good for seventh all time (if you count Marques Tuiasosopo’s 1-0 record as interim head coach for the one bowl game he coached). If you count only the Huskies who coached 20+ games, Petersen is fourth all time (interestingly enough, just one spot ahead of Rick Neuheisel.

Coach Pete’s teams won two Pac-12 championships in six years, and played in three major bowl games (including one College Football Playoff game). Three straight years in major bowls is nothing to sneeze at; unfortunately we went 0-3 in those games, and only went 2-4 total in bowl games. These were GOOD Husky teams under Coach Pete, but they could never quite get over the hump on a national stage. Close, but of course, no cigar.

That’s unfortunately the legacy for him right now. Things could change, assuming all the talking points are correct: that Coach Pete laid the foundation for greater things to come and all that. If Jimmy Lake can keep it up with his recruiting, if he can develop those players, if he can turn them into wins on the field, championships in the conference, and wins in major bowl games, then I think we can paint Coach Pete’s tenure a little more rosy than we do right now. I won’t say he was a disappointment, but I will say that I kinda hoped for more.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask. It’s bigtime college football, if your goal isn’t conference titles, Rose Bowls, and National Championships, then what’s the point? Why should we continue to settle for less than the SEC and Big-10 and all the other conferences out there who have success? We should hold our revered head coaches to the same standard any other bigtime fanbase would hold theirs. You think Alabama fans are happy to be playing Michigan this year? You think they’re settling for a “good” season? No, they’re probably pissed off and hungrier than ever for next year!

That’s where we need to be, and I’m hopeful that Jimmy Lake is the guy to take us there. He already made me a fan for life by firing Bush Hamdan yesterday. I honestly have no idea why Hamdan was ever hired in the first place, other than he was a “Chris Petersen Guy”. I mean, he was a low-level assistant for Washington early in his tenure, then he was Quarterbacks Coach for the Atlanta Falcons, and that makes him qualified to call plays and design an offense for a major college program?

Washington’s offense was TOTAL SHIT under Hamdan, who was in over his head from Day 1, and I’m fucking glad he’s gone. He’s been the bane of my existence for the last two years, and I’m so happy that Lake’s first change was to rid this program of that bum. This gives Washington the entire rest of the bowl season to look for his replacement – as well as, interestingly enough, Jimmy Lake’s own replacement as the defensive coordinator. Do we make Pete Kwiatkowski the regular, full-time defensive coordinator again? That was his job before Jimmy Lake assumed control as co-coordinator and head defensive playcaller. If you want to talk about continuity within the program, that’s probably the best way to go. Offensively, on the other hand, I think we have to bring in someone from the outside. Preferably a more veteran coordinator who won’t be an immediate head coaching candidate for every other school in the conference.

I’ll admit, though, Saturday’s game was a little emotional. More than anything, I’m happy the Huskies could send Coach Pete off as a winner. There weren’t a ton of people expecting a Husky victory over a previously 12-1 Boise State team, but they hadn’t played anyone all year, and this just felt like the perfect opportunity to show why Chris Petersen made the change in the first place.

He could’ve stayed at Boise State his whole career; hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d still be chugging along for the next decade or longer if he’d just stayed where the conference is small and the expectations are relatively low (a la Mark Few at Gonzaga). Unlike the Zags, however, you REALLY need to be in one of the Big 5 conferences to compete for a championship. Mid-majors in basketball go to the Final Four all the time; unless the NCAA Football side of things expands to an 8-team playoff, I just don’t see a mid-major football program cracking through. Indeed, even if it does go to an 8-team playoff system, and you find the occasional Boise State or TCU or Baylor or whatever in there, 8 teams means 3 games you have to win to win the National Championship; that’s going to weed out pretty much every single mid-major program who’s lucky enough to sneak in there.

Petersen knew that, and that’s why he came to Washington. Unfortunately, with all the good that comes with college football at this level (access to better recruits, better facilities, better stadia, etc.), there’s also tons of bad. All the recruiting games and bullshit, dealing with other schools poaching your players, all the nonsense with Pac-12 scheduling and our inept commissioner, and of course, the NCAA itself and the inherent bias towards programs east of the Rockies. Then, there’s all the media obligations, the ass-kissing of the high-level donors, the non-stop, 24/7/365 nature of the game and the news cycle and social media … I mean, it’s a SHIT-TON of bullshit to wade through, when all you really want to do is coach your players and play the game of football.

I can see why he wanted to at least take a break, if not retire for good. If he gets the itch again, I’m sure there’s a small school he can go to where the limelight won’t be quite so insane.

It was a pleasure having Coach Pete here. There were a lot of highlights in such a brief span of seasons. And, the University of Washington is definitely better having had him here.

Now, it’s time to look ahead to a new and exciting brand of football.

It’s Literally Impossible To (Not) Get It Up For This Week’s Seahawks Game

Look, man, we’ve been talking about this Week 17 matchup since the 49ers improbably became the last undefeated team of 2019 and the Seahawks – in defiance of all that is holy – started the season by winning an unsustainable number of close games. We’ve CERTAINLY been talking about the Week 17 game since the Seahawks went into Santa Clara and knocked off the 49ers, giving them their first loss of the season and putting us ever-so-briefly in the driver’s seat for the NFC West. And, that fervor has only intensified as the Seahawks have scrambled into the inside track for the NFC’s #1 seed, while the 49ers have (somewhat) come down to Earth.

In between that MONUMENTAL showdown and today is a home game against the Arizona Cardinals, a 4-9-1 team in rebuild mode, working in a rookie phenom at quarterback, just trying to make it through the season without any further injuries while maybe playing a little spoiler along the way. This game could not mean any less.

And yet, if you believe the Seahawks have a chance to compete for the Super Bowl, it still obviously means a great deal.

As I outlined earlier in the week, if the Seahawks, Saints, and Packers all win out, the Seahawks get the #1 seed by virtue of a 3-way tiebreaker. The iffiest team in that group is probably the Packers, who have to go to Minnesota this week, while the Vikings still harbor delusions of winning the NFC North. The strongest team in that group is probably the Saints, who go on the road twice, but face a couple of very beatable teams in the Titans and Panthers. Stuck in the middle (with you) are the Seahawks, where it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they go 2-0, 1-1, or even 0-2 the next two weeks. Hell, throw any number of ties into that list of possible outcomes and I wouldn’t be VERY shocked!

The Seahawks NEED this game! But, how do you blame them not looking ahead to the game that REALLY matters? The game that decides hosting at least one – if not two – playoff games, vs. being a 5-seed and going on the road throughout the post-season. I mean, THAT’S your season right there. I know the Seahawks are 7-1 on the road this year, and that will DEFINITELY be the main talking point heading into the playoffs when the Seahawks have to go to Dallas before probably facing the 49ers in a rubber-match down in Santa Clara again; but do you really want to roll those dice? The playoffs are already stressful enough; wouldn’t you feel at least a little more at ease with a first round BYE followed by back-to-back home games?

Winning this game is vital. And, frankly, the Seahawks SHOULD win this game easily. The Cards – before beating the up-and-down Browns last week – were on a 6-game losing streak where they only sometimes looked competitive.

But, the Seahawks are banged up, especially on defense. Quandre Diggs – the guy who is certainly the most important mid-season addition anyone in the NFL has made this year – won’t play, leaving us with one of the scrubs we were trying our damnedest to forget about (at least Tedric Thompson is out for the year, so the lure of starting him won’t doom our season). On top of that, Shaquill Griffin has a hamstring and could probably use another week to rest; even if he plays, he’ll be at less than 100%, and could risk re-aggravating it. Then, there’s Bobby Wagner – the heart & soul of the defense – who is apparently going to play with a sprained ankle; the chances of him either sucking or making the injury worse far outweigh him actually playing to his usual abilities. On top of all that, whither Clowney and Ansah? If our pass coverage is this weakened, we better figure out some sort of pass rush!

Offensively, the hammer fell a little earlier than we expected with Josh Gordon. He wasn’t a HUGE part of our offense, but you could point to pretty much every game where he made at least one big play. A third down conversion here; one of the best diving, fingertip catches of the season there. The drop-off is Jaron Brown or Malik Turner or David Moore; enough said. Getting Luke Willson back this week is a fairly big deal, but come on.

Look, I’m having a hard-enough time believing that all of this is REALLY for real. Gun to my head: I don’t think we beat the 49ers next week. I think we’re definitely going on the road for the playoffs, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cowboys or Eagles found a way to take us out in the Wild Card round. I keep coming back to the point differential (+26, equal to the Rams, who just murdered us btw), but also just the eye test. We’re BARELY beating these teams. The 49ers and Saints CLEARLY look like the class of the NFC and we’re these pretenders who have the best quarterback and that’s about it. Sometimes, teams like the Seahawks can come from nowhere and delight the world, but most of the time water finds its level.

The Seahawks are hanging on by a THREAD with all of these injuries. The depth just isn’t there at the most important posititons. If you asked me before the Carolina game where we could LEAST afford to downgrade, I would’ve said the safety position. Not far behind that: middle linebacker (I say this, of course knowing that quarterback is the most important position, so let’s just take that for granted and move the fuck on with our lives). Downgrading at probably both spots, with all the questions around our defensive line, brings our odds down to zero that we’re actually going to make an impact this post-season.

I hope I’m wrong! But, at this point I want to continue with the illusion as long as possible. Just having these conversations, and dreaming about scenarios where the Seahawks could shock the world and earn a first round BYE is truly giving me joy this holiday season. Beating the Cardinals – by any means necessary, even if it’s the ugliest game we’ve ever seen – will at least afford us the opportunity to keep this wild ride going another week.

Losing, on the other hand, will only serve to bring REALITY crashing down on top of our heads. This close to Christmas? Let’s not be a Grinch this Sunday, Seahawks. Grow that heart three sizes and let’s enjoy some roast beast!

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2019: Consolation Bracket Championship Game

Well, through all my Vegas losses, I also lost in the playoffs in the two other leagues I’m involved in; it was almost the perfect storm of shittiness. BUT, I did somehow manage to prevail in the first round of my Consolation Bracket Playoffs in this league. Remember: the winner of the Consolation Bracket gets the #1 pick in next year’s draft, so there are considerable stakes at hand.

I whupped up on Korky Butchek 199.40 to 164.04; if I’d made it to the regular playoffs, I would’ve outscored everyone involved this week. But, alas.

This was the type of performance I was hoping for from my team all year. Wentz and Zeke and the Bills defense and Scary Terry and Waller and Brady and Kupp all had great to solid games.

With my victory last week, I’m guaranteed to draft in the top 2. Last time I was in this position, I lost to the same guy I’m set to play this week: TheGangUnderperforms. True to the name of his team, he had enough points to make it into the regular playoffs, but one blunder in the final week of the regular season – leaving Julio Jones in his lineup on Thanksgiving, when he was inactive – cost him an opportunity. And, in doing so, probably cost me a shot at the #1 seed next year. That having been said, the last time he picked 1 and I picked 2, he took Marcus Mariota and I ended up with Dak Prescott, so if something like that happens again, I think I’d be okay with it.

***

I made 3 waiver plays this week. #1 was Dwayne Haskins of all people. I’ve been killing him on here, but he finally looks like he’s getting the hang of things. He put up 25 points last week against the Eagles and gets a juicy matchup against the Giants this week. #2 was Breshad Perriman, who I should’ve picked up LAST week instead of his understudy, Justin Watson, who did nothing against the Lions after breaking out the week prior. Watson, FYI, is the guy I’m dropping in all three of these moves. The #3 waiver pick is Will Grier. I don’t love the thought of starting a rookie making his first career start on the road against the Colts, but I might have no choice.

***

See, I’ve got Tom Brady’s rotting corpse at home against the awesome Bills defense. I don’t like playing a quarterback against my own defense as a principle, and I especially don’t like playing Brady against my own defense!

My alternate would be the two quarterbacks involved in the Giants at Washington game. I’d probably prefer Danny Dimes in this case, but how healthy is he really? The Giants have the inferior defense of the two, but Haskins (who I got in my waiver claim) is also the worse quarterback of the two, so at the moment I’m leaning toward Dimes, but my mind could change fifty times between now and this weekend.

To pair with Dimes, I’m leaning towards Darius Slayton and hoping the pair blows up the way they tend to do sometimes. Also, I guess I’m Ride Or Die with Cooper Kupp, but I’m far from thrilled with him going up against an angry 49ers defense that’s getting healthier by the minute. My alternative here would be Scary Terry, but what are the odds BOTH of my receivers in this Giants/Redskins game go off? I gotta pick a side, and I’m sticking with the guy who pairs with the quarterback I start.

I guess I’m also Ride Or Die with Le’Veon Bell? God, now I’m starting to understand why I sucked so hard this year. Many things would need to change for him to be even a glimmer of a possibility as one of my keepers next year. He gets paired with Zeke, who’s having a fairly strong finish to the season. With Jacobs out, I’m rolling with the return of T.Y. Hilton in my FLEX. He made it through last week unscathed, he’s got a peach of a matchup, and the Colts are absolutely DESPERATE for a win. If they can’t find a way to get Hilton a few TDs, then I just don’t know anymore.

Waller, Tucker, and the Bills round out my team.

***

TheGangUnderperforms is really too good for the Consolation Bracket, and I’m kind of irritated that I have to face him (especially after he just knocked my team out of another league’s playoffs last week). He has Lamar Jackson in both leagues; I don’t know how anyone with Lamar Jackson doesn’t make the playoffs, but this feels like another conspiracy against me somehow.

On top of Lamar, he’s got Baker and Darnold, so not a great second option (just like me). Unlike myself, Lamar is good enough by himself to score the points of two quarterbacks (whereas Wentz is lucky when he doesn’t shit the bed, considering his utter lack of receiver options).

Then, he’s looking at a fully healthy Julio Jones and Stefon Diggs at receiver; Fournette and Ekeler at running back; and Tyler “Big Balls” Higbee at tight end. For his flex, he’s got Kenyan Drake, who just got 4 TDs last week. He’s also got Dede Westbrook and Mark Andrews on his bench. For good measure, he’s got the Saints’ kicker and Indy’s defense going up against that rookie Grier and those terrible Panthers.

#2 draft pick next year, here I come!

Seattle Sports Hell’s Vegas Debacle

Suffice it to say, things did NOT go according to plans, in any respect.

For starters, I should probably never bet on football ever again. Only college basketball and pro hockey from here on out! Two sports I probably have the least knowledge about and the least confidence in my own abilities. Go figure.

My first bet of the weekend was $100 on the Army/Navy game. I teased it with the under; moving Army to +18 and the total line to, I dunno, 48 or so? The under was never in doubt. Army had the cover in the bag – down 17 points – but they called a meaningless time out with Navy driving down to score. If they let Navy sit on it, they likely run out the clock right there without attempting a field goal. Instead, Army called a stupid time out, Navy ran it in for a touchdown on the very next play, and I needed Army’s crap offense to try to get a touchdown in a little over 90 seconds. I could’ve ripped up my ticket then and there.

My second bet of the weekend probably should’ve been my last. I should’ve put all my money on Gonzaga to win in Arizona and called it a trip. When I bought the ticket, the Wildcats were favored by 2 points, and the line MOVED to 2.5 by tipoff! Gonzaga going into a Pac-12 school’s arena is the easiest money of all time; even if the game ended up being close at the end, I was never worried. I won $300 on that one to end my first day right around even (minus some losses on UFC and at the black jack tables).

I couldn’t possibly tell you what happened with my Saturday night after the fights. We watched in a bar, I know that much. I had considerable alcohols and probably little-to-no food. I don’t know if I snapped anything, but if you’re friends of my friends on Snapchat I think you got quite a show!

I had set my alarm for Sunday morning at 8am or so. When 8am came around, I immediately set my alarm for 9am. Approximately 30 seconds later, it was 9am and I had to haul my ass out of bed, drag my ass through a shower, and meander my ass down to the sportsbook. From there, all my careful planning went out the window. I had about $1,500 to play with. I put $100 on that shitty 8-team parlay that had no chance in hell of winning (though if it had, I’d be about $14,000 richer). Then, instead of doing all of my Green Bay teasers like I had intended, I made two $700 teasers that both managed to backfire. I had Green Bay and Miami in the morning (WHAT? THE? FUCK??? I just needed the Dolphins to lose by less than 10!), and the Raiders and 49ers in the afternoon (both needed to win – the 49ers by only 4 points – but instead both lost). I mean, it was just a fucking disaster of a shitshow on every fucking level.

I ended up bringing $3,000 with me on the trip. I left $1,000 in reserve in my room, hoping to leave the trip with at least $1,000. But, when all my football bets went FUBAR, I snatched that $1,000 and put it all on the Las Vegas Golden Knights to just win their game that evening. They were favored by 1-2 goals, and had I just bet the spread I would’ve doubled up and had a pretty okay trip. But, I chickened out and as a result I only left Vegas with $1,500. So, better than the $1,000 I had in mind going in, but obviously far short of my hopes and dreams.

Also, I apparently blacked out and failed to make it to the hockey game at all?! Yet, I wasn’t in my room – my friends checked and snapped the proof – so I don’t know where I was for those three hours. My friends did end up finding me somewhere and forced more water down my gullet before I went to bed again around 11pm or so. That 5am wake-up call on Monday morning did not settle well with me.

From there, it was a harrowing flight home, followed by a large Godfather’s pizza to sober up, and a lot of laying around the rest of the day until going to sleep around 5pm that evening. I should be fully recovered by 2021 or so.

On the plus side, I have a couple of long-distance missiles I launched on my way out of town. Three futures bets that I made prior to losing all my money on Sunday.

The first: I put $300 on the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl at 8 to 1 ($100 apiece for me, my dad, and my brother). Win that, and I get pretty much back to even for the trip (plus I get to enjoy a Seahawks Super Bowl Championship).

The second: I put $100 on the Boston Bruins to win the Stanley Cup at 6 to 1.

The third: I put $100 on the Winnipeg Jets at 50 to 1.

I asked my brother to text me the two teams he thought had the best chance of winning it all this season. Literally every time I’ve asked my brother for NHL bets, they’ve come up losers, but I like his rationale for both here. The Bruins are legit; I want to say they started the season at something like 15 to 1, so that might actually have a chance of paying out. The Jets were preseason darlings, but have dropped some close games to bad teams to drastically lower their chances. Nevertheless, if they can regain their preseason charm, that’s a lot of money. I promised my brother I’d split the winnings with him, so I hope his good mojo comes into play here. It would be a VERY successful trip for me if the Jets end up winning it all.

I will say this much: as soon as it was decided we’d be going during Week 15 of the NFL season, this was about two months ago or thereabouts. I looked at the schedule that very day and I could tell this wouldn’t be an easy weekend. That proved to be painfully true. I should’ve trusted my original instincts and stayed away from the NFL. There were plenty of college basketball games on Saturday had I gotten there early enough, but by the time I found the sportsbook, a bunch of early-morning games had already started. If I could’ve just built up a big enough bankroll, I would’ve funded all my losing bets and come out better than I did. There was no way I was leaving in the black, but a little less red would’ve been preferable.

At least I was smart enough to stay away from the roulette tables. A little something to put my mind at ease when I go to Reno in March.

The Seahawks Are Back In The Driver’s Seat With Two Weeks To Go

It figures, the weekend I go to Vegas to gamble on football is one of the weirdest fucking weekends of the season. The Seahawks game was no exception. We started off uncharacteristically strong – albeit somewhat expectedly, considering how terrible the Panthers have been lately – and it looked like it was gonna be one of the few easy, walkover type victories.

Instead, our defenders started dropping like flies, and the game ended up being A LOT closer than it had any right to be. It actually started before the game, with word that Shaquill Griffin was inactive with a hamstring. That followed up news that Clowney wouldn’t make the trip thanks to the flu bug that was going around. Ziggy Ansah was also dealing with his shoulder issue and had to sit out. Then, we lost both Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs during the game to separate ankle injuries.

So, if you were wondering, that’s how a game goes from 30-10 with less than 8 minutes to go in the game, to 30-24 and needing to convert a couple of first downs to salt the game away in the closing minutes. Fail there, and we’re talking about the difference between a region of suicidal Seahawks fans vs. this warm and cozy feeling we’re having right now, in a 4-way tie for first in the NFC at 11-3.

We have the Atlanta Falcons of all teams to thank for that! They somehow came across the country and beat a banged up 49ers team going through a rash of defensive injuries of their own.

I’ll be honest, this weekend was a blur, so I don’t really have much insight into the games. I just know it’s setting up to be a fantastic finish these final two weeks!

Here are the schedules for the relevant teams:

  • Seattle: vs. Cards, vs. 49ers
  • San Francisco: vs. Rams, @ Seahawks
  • New Orleans: @ Titans, @ Panthers
  • Green Bay: @ Vikings, @ Lions

The Saints and Packers have nice, soft landings in Week 17, and their toughest remaining tests this weekend. While they’re no pushovers, I’d say the Saints should dispatch the Titans easily enough. The Packers have it the hardest this week, as they go on the road and they’re playing a hungry Vikings team on Monday night with their own divisional battle on the line. That’s a toss-up if I’ve ever seen one. I think the Vikings have the superior roster from top to bottom, but if this ends up being a game of Rodgers vs. Cousins, you know who wins that battle 99 times out of 100.

The 49ers have a sneaky-tough game against the Rams on Saturday, as even though the Rams gagged one away in Dallas last week, they still have a marginal chance to make the playoffs (they need to win out, while the Vikings lose out). My gut says the 49ers take care of business, which sets us up for the showdown of all showdowns in the final week.

If the Seahawks don’t beat the Cardinals, I don’t know if there’s a path to a first round BYE (maybe if the Packers and Saints both lose once as well, but that seems like a longshot), but regardless I’d settle for a division title; I just don’t want to have to go on the road in the first round like last year. Compared to Week 17, there isn’t a ton of meaning for this Cards game, but I’d still like to win it to keep our chances of getting a first round BYE intact.

At that point, we should be looking at a Sunday Night game at home, with Seahawks fans whipped up into the biggest lather we’ve seen since probably the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That’s an environment with just enough juice to push our chances over the top. We’ll still have to win a hard-fought battle, but it beats playing it in the afternoon. Let’s just hope rain stays out of the forecast.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want the Seahawks to get the #1 seed, then root for the Seahawks, Saints, and Packers to all win out. That puts all three teams in a tie and based on tie-breakers, that makes the Saints of all teams the 3-seed. That would see them go to Green Bay in the Divisional Round, while we’d almost certainly see the 49ers for a third time this season.

If you want the Seahawks to get the #2 seed – and likely avoid the 49ers entirely – then root for the Seahawks and Saints to win out and the Packers to lose once. That has the 49ers going to New Orleans, with Green Bay likely coming to Seattle. The downside of this scenario is the fact that in the 3 vs. 6 game, the Vikings could hypothetically go into Green Bay and beat them, which would send the Vikings to New Orleans and the 49ers to Seattle. That’s some worst-case scenario bullshit, because there’s no way the Vikings are going into New Orleans and winning, meaning we’d have to go on the road in the NFC Championship Game.

So, scratch that. No one wants the 2-seed. Seahawks win out, Saints win out, Packers win out, bingo, bango, bongo.

Seattle Sports Hell’s Gambling Corner: Vegas This Weekend

In chronicling my progress at fake sports gambling, I feel like I’m at the very least starting to think a little smarter about the games I pick and my rationale behind all of it. Last week, I actually did better than expected! There’s a lot of quality wins in this group, so let’s dig into it before I start looking at what REAL bets I want to make this weekend.

My primary strategy was a cluster of 2-team teases featuring Baltimore as my rock. All I needed was for the Ravens to beat the Bills, and they came through (though it was a little scary at the end).

I paired the Ravens with seven other teams, going 5-2 in the process. I needed the Packers to win by a touchdown and they allowed the Redskins to backdoor cover it at the end. My other defeat saw the Jags get absolutely ROUTED at home by a struggling Chargers team. There were some nice wins though: Cincy kept it close, the Falcons blew out the Panthers, the Jets won on a last-second field goal, Indy kept it close, and the Vikings did their jobs.

I also hit on the Tampa OVER, but my parlay with the Indy victory fell through. That also blew up my underdog parlay of Indy and Kansas City, though the Chiefs did their job in my solo fake wager on them.

I did pretty well on overs, all things considered. Cincy & Cleveland went over, as did Carolina & Atlanta. But, the Steelers/Cards game was just short, as was the Rams/Seahawks (my lock of the group).

And, finally, it’s back-to-back weeks where I’ve devised a well-crafted 3-team tease only to have one of the three teams stab me in the back! It was, as expected, the Raiders completely falling apart. In fairness, the game was within range through three quarters. But, the Titans tacked on a couple more TDs to put it out of reach in the final frame.

I did nail the 49ers beating the Saints. But, I lost the UNDER 50 points before we even got to halfitme, so my separate tease was a bust.

All in all, a pretty solid week. This makes me DOUBLY nervous as we head to Vegas tomorrow, as I wait for the other shoe to drop.

***

I’ve waited until the last possible minute in the week to figure out what I’m doing on my Vegas trip. Now, obviously, there will be some ad libs, probably some live betting, but I’ve at least got my plan outlined and ready to go.

For starters, I wanted to do a big parlay (with point spreads) just as a stab in the dark. So, I’m going to put $50 to win $9,000 on the following 8-team parlay:

  • Tennessee -3 vs. HOU
  • Green Bay -4.5 vs. CHI
  • Philly -4.5 @ WAS
  • Detroit +3.5 vs. TB
  • Miami +3.5 @ NYG
  • Oakland -6.5 vs. JAX
  • San Francisco -10.5 vs. ATL
  • Cleveland -2.5 @ AZ

I’ve already swapped about four teams in and out of that lineup, and may continue to tinker with it up until tomorrow when I arrive in Vegas. But, for now, that’s what I’m looking at.

I’m also looking at an 8-team moneyline parlay, where the teams just need to win. I’m thinking somewhere around $150 (I don’t know what it’ll pay out, but probably around that amount). You’ll see some overlap in the first parlay, but obviously more heavy favorites are included here:

  • Philly @ WAS
  • Green Bay vs. CHI
  • LA Rams @ DAL
  • Seattle @ CAR
  • Kansas City vs. DEN
  • Oakland vs. JAX
  • San Francisco vs. ATL
  • Cleveland @ AZ

Now, in conjunction with my attempt last week at picking one sure thing to pair with multiple different teasers, I’ve got my sights set on Green Bay. I loved the Packers back on Monday when I first saw the line was -5, and I love them even more now that a certain amount of the public has money on the Bears to cover, forcing the line down to -4.5. Moving that 6 points gives me the Packers +1.5; I’ll take that all day and twice on Sunday. So, here are my teaser partners, all with Packers +1.5 (each of these will be $100):

  • Philly to +1.5 @ WAS
  • Tennessee to +3 vs. HOU
  • Seattle to -0.5 @ CAR
  • Miami to +9.5 @ NYG
  • Oakland to -0.5 vs. JAX
  • Arizona to +8.5 vs. CLE
  • LA Rams to +4.5 @ DAL
  • Buffalo to +8 @ PIT

As for my beloved over/unders, there’s only one that I REALLY like: Oakland vs. Jacksonville over 45.5. Those are a couple of mediocre defenses that should give up considerable points (the risk is the Jags on the road, across 3 time zones, just doing absolutely nothing with the fraud that is Gardner Minshew). We’ll keep that to a simple $110. Also, if I’m feeling frisky, I might put the same amount on Detroit vs. Tampa over 46 (though, I’m hoping that line goes down).

I want to do one really BIG teaser bet, and in an effort to not put all my eggs COMPLETELY in the Packers’ basket, I’m thinking of making Buffalo +8 my lock in this one. The three teams I’m considering are … the Packers +1.5 (but, again, I’m trying to avoid this), the Raiders -0.5 (which just FEELS like a can’t-lose situation that might be too good to be true) or one that just intrigued me as I wrote it out above: Miami +9.5. I mean, all they have to do is NOT lose to the Giants by 10 or more? That Giants defense is terrible, and Eli is still Eli the last time I checked! How do I lose that one?

Also, should I switch it, and go Dolphins +9.5 at NYG and Oakland -0.5 vs. JAX?

I’m putting about $1,100 on this one, so I better figure it out, because this could be my weekend.

Also, if I’m desperate, I have a Sunday Night Game Teaser that I’ve been working on. Take Buffalo, move them to +8, then take the over/under of 36 and move it to 42 and pound the UNDER, and just hope for a game filled with punts and field goals. My initial instinct was to move the line to 30 and take the OVER, but my initial instinct is usually wrong in these same-game teasers. This is really only if I’m chasing a day full of losers, trying to win some money back (in other words, PRAY it doesn’t come to this).

In my Irrational Homer Pick, the Rams game is an interesting one. Dallas, at home, was originally favored by 2 points. That line has since moved to the Rams being favored by 1.5 points. I still like the Rams (and apparently literally everyone else does too), and I like them even more in a tease that moves the line to +4.5. I’m hoping some money comes in on Dallas in the next couple days, because I could actually see myself pairing the Rams with the Bills, Dolphins, or Giants in that giant teaser bet I’m cooking up.

As for Steven’s Stay Aways, I want no part of Patriots -10 @ Cincy. Tom Brady is washed up, but the Pats’ defense is still elite, and Cincy is a total wild card, even at home. I could see Cincy keeping it close, I could even see them winning! Or, I could see the Pats pounding it down their throats, giving up nothing on defense, and winning an ugly game 27-3. I also want no part of KC -9.5 vs. Denver. I like Denver, they keep most of their games close and fight hard. But, this game’s in Kansas City, and I feel like most of the public is onto Denver as well. It wouldn’t shock me in the least to see KC win by 10 points, so no thank you. I’m also not super fond of Minnesota -2.5 at LA Chargers. Gun to my head, I think the Vikings win and probably easily. But, the last time I said that with a game in LA against the Chargers, it was when Green Bay went there and got their doors blown off. Kirk Cousins is still Kirk Cousins, and that Chargers defense is getting healthy at the right time (maybe not in time to make the playoffs, but to still wreak some havoc in the last few weeks).

Okay, so that’s it. My dilemma that I’m leaving up in the air is as follows: I need two of these five teams in a 6-point teaser:

  • Buffalo +8
  • Oakland -0.5
  • Miami +9.5
  • LA Rams +4.5
  • Green Bay +1.5

Who will I go with? Tune in next week for my Vegas recap. And, if you’ve got any recommendations, let me know.