I’ve been writing this pretty much all season, but this has been a fairly terrible NFL season thus far. I’m not sure what there is to really get excited about it. Early on we had the high-octane Denver offense but since they’ve tailed off there isn’t really anything outstanding happening the league. No player is having a seminal season. There are huge injuries to key players every week. I feel like everyone is afraid to say anything because we all love the NFL so much, but this is flat out just a crappy football season.
My picks record took a big hit last week and we fell to -11 on the season after slowly climbing to within shouting range of .500. However, with only four weeks left it’ll take a miracle to get there. Seems like everywhere you look though, where there are people picking games there are people getting them mostly wrong. The lesson as always: don’t gamble.
For the Browns it can’t get much worse than losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. I was back in Ohio for that wonderful performance (though it was a pretty entertaining game) and just couldn’t muster the energy to write about it all week. At this point with the Browns there just isn’t much to get excited about, especially now that Jason Campbell is back starting at quarterback.
I’ve been well on record as not caring about seeing Campbell play QB for the Browns. If they were still really alive in the playoff hunt then maybe I could understand it. But at this point don’t you have to start planning for the future? Where are you going with Campbell? Is he a “championship level QB” as Banner and Lombardi keep talking about? I certainly think he’s proven otherwise.
Coming into this season I wanted to see Weeden get the whole 16 games to see what he could develop into. Of the guys on the roster coming in he had the best physical ability out of anyone. He needed to play to get the rest of his game where it needed to be so that he could be a contributing member of the team. That obviously didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. He got knocked out with an injury and then when the team showed that it was capable of competing for the playoffs a move needed to be made. Weeden never got a full chance here in here Cleveland, which is partly on him because he didn’t do enough with the time he was given to show that he deserved more of a chance. Now he’s done.
At this point I don’t understand what the point is of rolling Campbell back out there, as I’ve already stated. The only thing that might happen is that he might actually play well and they might win a couple games, pushing themselves further away from drafting a franchise QB. I’ve never been a fan of tanking. Generally speaking I hate it. What I fully endorse though in the NFL is doing everything you can to find out if you have a QB who can win you a Super Bowl. And if you don’t have one then getting one needs to be your singular focus. Unless you’re still one of those delusional Brian Hoyer fan boys, the Browns have fairly well established that they don’t have that guy on the roster. In any regard, it certainly isn’t Jason Freaking Campbell.
So why not give Alex Tanney a shot? Chances are that he’s no good either and that he’ll never amount to more in his career than his trick shot video. But as a franchise don’t you owe it your fans and yourself to find out? He’s the only guy left on the roster who hasn’t gotten a shot in the NFL. You have four games left, what exactly is there to lose? There is no downside to playing Alex Tanney. If he sucks, guess what? You lose all four games and you’re at the top of the draft in prime position to draft a guy you really believe in. And if he plays well and the Browns pull out a couple wins then you feel good about maybe actually having something that you can give a shot. You can bring back Hoyer and let him and Tanney duke it out in camp. Then you can draft a more developmental QB since you won’t be at the top of the draft to get one of the sure-fire guys and let him sit and develop while Hoyer and Tanney try to prove themselves. Again…there’s no downside!!!
But never fear, because what do I know? I’m sure that Joe Banner in his ultimate wisdom is doing the right thing here. Right?
Still waiting for them to look as smart as they claimed they would.
Alas, on to pick some more games…
(Home team in CAPS. Lines are from SportsBook.com. If you gamble you’re probably stupid, especially if you’re using my picks.)
Browns (+12.5) over PATRIOTS
I’ve been terrible at picking Browns games this season. They haven’t been great against the spread, sitting at 5-7, and I managed to pick against them three times this season. However, this week I feel like Campbell will competently enough to at least cover that big spread. I really don’t have much else to say. I don’t think the Browns will win, and I’m not sure that I could be less excited about this contest.
Chiefs (-3.5) over REDSKINS
It has become fairly apparent that the Chiefs aren’t as good as their 9-0 record to start the season made them look. They’ve played good QBs the past three weeks and have subsequently lost all three weeks. Fortunately for them, you can’t really include Robert Griffin III in the “good QBs” category this season. He’s just not the same and without him being his formerly dynamic self that Redskins team is pretty stinking bad. Going back to talking about records against the spread: the Skins are at the bottom of the league at 3-9 with only the Texans at 3-10 being worse because they already got their loss out of the way this week. Not sure why you’d want to bet on the Skins at this point if they’re playing a good defensive team like Kansas City.
RAVENS (-7) over Vikings
Guess what? The Ravens are 5-1 ATS this season at home and only 1-4-1 on the road. They’re at home this week so I’m taking them. [That’s how some of the logic on these picks is going to go. I’ve tried to make smart, well-researched, informed decisions and that hasn’t panned out…so we’re trying this instead.]
Raiders (+2.5) over JETS
Who exactly is betting on the Jets right now?
BENGALS (-6.5) over Colts
And who would bet on the Colts either with as putrid as they’ve been playing too? Also the Bengals are undefeated at home ATS. So there’s that too.
EAGLES (-3) over Lions
Now this is a game worth excited for!!! The weather is supposed to be terrible which is a bit of a bummer. You’d like to see these two offenses go at each other un-inhibited by the weather. All the same, I feel better about the Eagles ability to run the ball and control the game. The Lions just aren’t the same team when they’re away from their dome and they’ve had some head-scratchingly bad losses this season.
STEELERS (-3.5) over Dolphins
I want no part of picking a team from sunny Miami coming north to play in the cold, wind, and sleet.
BUCCANEERS (-3) over Bills
Is it possible that Mike Glennon is actually not a bad quarterback? The Bills on the other hand are a mess, and have a 1-4 record ATS on the road this season.
PACKERS (-3.5) over Falcons
Even without Aaron Rodgers I still like Green Bay at home against the dumpster fire that is the Atlanta Falcons. This is just such a terrible game and because I live in Wisconsin I’m forced to watch it instead of Philly/Detroit. Again, this is a bad NFL season.
Titans (+13) over BRONCOS
Have you heard? Peyton Manning isn’t Peyton Manning in the cold.
CARDINALS (-6) over Rams
Arizona might actually be not bad. #analysis (8-4 ATS this season)
CHARGERS (-3.5) over Giants
This line feels WAY too small. Who exactly is betting on the Giants in this game?
49ERS (-2.5) over Seahawks
I don’t know about this one. The Niners seem to me like the only team that can really give the Seahawks trouble. And as good as Russell Wilson’s band is, they’re not the same away from Seattle. Both of these teams are about equally as good ATS this season so that way of picking games doesn’t help here. The bottom line for me is that as good as the Hawks are, I think they’re due for a loss. And the Niners, being a division rival, are well qualified to give them that loss.
SAINTS (-3) over Panthers
Another good game. This one for me just comes down to the fact that the Saints are nearly unbeatable at home. The Panthers with that defense are good and have been playing really well, but it’s tough to win in New Orleans no matter who you are.
Cowboys (-1) over BEARS
Shocking that Dallas is on another prime time game. I don’t think they’ll suck this time though because the Bears just aren’t very good. Again, this is a bad NFL season.
LAST WEEK: 4-11-1
BROWNS PICKS: 2-10
 And given the growing number of guys like Marcus Mariota and Bryce Petty who are electing to stay in school, the crop of elite QB talent is shrinking. All the more reason to get yourself to the top of the draft.