Well I suppose that’s what I get for going the cute route and trying to include a little pop culture into last week’s NFL Six Picks segment. My 1-5 ledger will be a hard body shot to recover from on my year-to-date scoreboard, but at least it leaves a lot of room for improvement.
And don’t worry, this isn’t some sorry New York Football Giants 1-win, 5-loss kind of ledger I’m recovering from this weekend. There will be no underneath routes thrown four yards down the field on third and 19. No sir, we are going deep, starting with two reminders of who could be taking snaps for Big Blue right now, if the New York brain trust hadn’t chosen to go running back with the second pick of this year’s draft (even if that particular RB is the only reason to keep watching if you are a Giants fan).
And we aren’t even banging the Sam the Man drum (although, did you see how good he looked against Denver last Sunday??), nor can we throw Baker Mayfield in the Giants’ face either, since he was off the board and not an option for GM Dave Gettleman when their turn came up back in April.
Nope, we are talking about the other two rookie QB’s who led their respective teams to victory last weekend — the Josh’s — Rosen and Allen. While the Giants may be the league’s only 1-5 team this morning, and it is hard to imagine there could be worse NFL teams after what we witnessed from Big Blue in getting destroyed AT HOME on NATIONAL TV by the Eagles the other night, most of us would have to include the Cardinals (Rosen) and the Bills (Allen) in the conversation around “league’s worst” when handicapping the NFL.
However, there is “league’s worst” featuring a 37-year-old QB who seems shakier than Barney Fife in a shootout, and there’s “league’s worst” with the arrow tentatively pointing up due to a guy named Josh under center. Are “the Josh’s” for real? Time will tell, but it does make for interesting speculation, when there’s little else entertaining about the Giants, Cardinals or Bills (or the Colts, or the Raiders, or the 49ers, or…or…or…) this Saturday morning.
So before we go to this week’s Six Picks, a couple of hypotheticals to throw out to all you NFL fans (answers at the bottom):
- If Dave Gettleman could be offered a “do over” right now on taking Saquon Barkley with the #2 pick and could have either of the Josh’s instead, would he?
- If Odell Beckham Jr. was offered that same “do over” option as Gettleman, would he give up Saquon for the chance to run under some long bombs from one of the Josh’s?
- Should Tom Coughlin look to make a deal with Gettleman and rescue Eli from that porous New York O-line, providing insurance for his Jags and Blake Bortles down the stretch?
Luckily for Gettleman, regardless of how bad Manning looks right now, it’s hard to dispute the Barkley pick. The Josh’s? We probably won’t know the real story on these two baby-faced signal callers for a couple more years, but this weekend they lead their respective bottom-feeders into battle staring down double-digit point spreads on the road.
And that’s where we will begin the NFL Six Picks this week (home team in ALL CAPS):
Buffalo (+11) over HOUSTON — I’d say one of the early big stories of this NFL season is the fact that Buffalo has somehow amassed two wins before the end of October. I don’t see number three coming this Sunday, but giving the equally meh, 2-3 Texans, this kind of spread, coming off a close win over a bad Cowboys team, seems excessive to me. Not to mention that apparently Josh Allen takes double-digit point spreads personally, and will surprise everyone by out-rushing the Texans’ Deshaun Watson, even if it is partly to save his own life from J.J. Watt and that Houston D-line. Buffalo’s Josh keeps it close enough to cover. (Houston 21-13)
Cardinals (+11.5) over MINNESOTA — Just as surely as Josh Allen hates double-digit spreads, the Vikings also seem prone to struggling against the dregs of the league. Especially when playing said dregs at home, particularly with a double-digit point spread. Call this one a pick against the Vikings, who I still haven’t forgiven for that early-season no-show against Buffalo (and their fans shouldn’t forgive them either, by the way). Josh Rosen was considered the most pro-ready QB in the draft, and while Baker Mayfield may make some question the accuracy of that statement today, Arizona Josh does appear to possess the goods. Again, enough to cover and keep the ever-anxious Vikes fans uncomfortable until a final late score ices it. (Vikings 30-20)
BRONCOS (+7) over the Rams — The Rams have been killing me all year, and probably will again with this pick. They look strong on both sides of the ball, and the Broncos looked SO bad against the Jets last week that no one in their right mind would pick them to be the ones to knock the Rams from their unbeaten pedestal. So of course that’s why we are going with the Broncos as our upset special this week. Points from the Denver defense early gets the crowd going, and Case Keenum does just enough to hang on in a close one. (Denver 24-23)
Steelers (pick ’em) over the BENGALS — I ask again, if you are a Bengals fan, do you trust this man? Nuff sed… The Bengals are 4-1, which means they are poised to come crashing back to the rest of the league starting right now. The Steelers looked like the Steelers we’ve come to expect while beating up on the Falcons last week, and now will take that momentum on the road where they will deliver a ferocious beatdown of their hated rivals in front of the Queen City fans. I see at least two picks from Andy Dalton (and that cute, ginger hairdo of his), one for a Pick Six. (Steelers 34-14)
NEW ENGLAND (-3) over the Chiefs — We will put this pick in the category of “say something long enough and eventually you are bound to be proven correct.” There are (still) two undefeated teams coming into this Sunday’s slate of games. By Sunday night there will be no more than one, and it will not be the Chiefs. It will be interesting to see how the sainted Patrick Mahomes does against a Belichick defense in hostile terrain. Perhaps more fascinating will be watching Tom Brady looking to make a statement about who the league’s best QB really (still) is. (Patriots 30-17)
PACKERS (-10.5) over the 49ers — Injuries are part of the game, and that’s why the 49ers find themselves in the conversation for worst of the NFC. It’s a shame, as it would have been nice to see that classic NFC West Niners-Rams rivalry get fresh legs this year, but instead it will be a steady diet of huge point spreads and empty seats out by the Bay. My doubles partner (a fine young fellow known for his booming forehand and so-so line calls) had two good seats for last week’s Niners-Cardinals game that he literally struggled to give away. That won’t be a problem this week, as you can expect to see a Cheesehead in every Lambeau seat as the Pack gets back on track. Aaron Rogers spends the afternoon padding his stats while Niners fans wax poetic over what might have been, all the while weeping in their chardonnay. (Green Bay 45-10)
Last Week’s Six Picks Ledger: 1-5 (11-12-1 on the year)
Which now brings us to what is fast becoming a favorite among the SportsAttic faithful — the LUCKY 7 guest prognosticator of the week!
We are badly in need of a turnaround pick after last week’s dreadful showing by Lubbock Reece, who had the audacity to come on SportsAttic and go against the almighty Gang Green.
So join me in welcoming this week’s LUCKY 7 guest prognosticator, all the way from Spain, via Santa Cruz, CA — Eliza the Trojan.
Eliza recently earned a certain amount of Bay Area notoriety for successfully navigating the 23-mile trip from Danville to Oakland, (top down, high speeds, wind whipping) — with nary a single lock of her perfectly blown out and meticulously coiffed hair falling out of place.
Much to SportsAttic’s surprise, it turns out that Eliza the Trojan is also an astute student of the gridiron, and a pillar of the Trojans Student Section, never missing a USC home game. Of course we all know that the game speeds up tremendously when one makes the jump from college to the pros, but Eliza the Trojan insists she’s up to the challenge. Here she is:
Jaguars (-3) over the COWBOYS — “Hi SportsAttic, this is Eliza. So, I’ll take Jacksonville over Dallas. The Jaguars have an incredible pass defense and pass rush, which will surely stifle Dallas’ poor passing attack. Sure, Zeke will have his moments, but he won’t be able to carry the team to victory. Jacksonville will be angry coming off last week’s loss, and will look to dominate Dallas the entire game. Go Jags!” (Jaguars 24-10)
SportsAttic take: I like Eliza the Trojan’s thinking here. I’m a little worried about the Jags offense with Leonard Fournette out again. And I’m still unconvinced that Blake Bortles is a QB who can win a game with his arm, but he may not need to this week. That J’ville defense is for real, and I see little reason to believe Dallas will get anything going offensively. (Jaguars 17-7)
And now the answers to this week’s three hypotheticals:
- Even if in his heart Gettleman knows he should have picked a QB (and yeah, he probably should have), he’d never back away from the Barkley pick. It all comes back to valuing a running back versus a quarterback. And the early returns say that Gettleman’s RB may turn out to be an all-time great, so he gets a pass on this one.
- The temptation is to ask who really gives a shit what OBJ thinks. I’m not sure I could be any more tired of the Giant wideout’s selfish, “look at me” antics. But that would be petty, so let’s just say, yeah, he’s likely already a bit uneasy as he watches the weekly star power and class his young teammate Barkley displays. My guess is that Beckham would gladly send Saquon packing, thus reclaiming the spotlight for himself, while also gaining a strapping, strong-armed QB he could scapegoat for the remainder of this lost season.
- It would be the right move for all parties. Eli is going to get hurt — badly — if things continue to spiral out of control deep in the swamps of New Jersey. Giving Manning a chance to close his career with his old coach’s organization, mentoring a Jacksonville team on the doorstep of winning big, seems like a well deserved conclusion to this borderline Hall of Famer’s career.
That’s it for this week, folks. Enjoy the games!