SportsGrid’s NFL Picks, Week 6: Redefining The Lateral
The SportsGrid Bacchanal is a weekly NFL picks column that will drain your bank account with a smile. Floyd Mayweather approves this message.
Random Life Anecdote: Every time I go to Chipotle, I ask for a cup for water because water is delicious and free. But when I go to the soda machine to capitalize on my SAVVY ECONOMICS, there is ample opportunity to violate Chipotle's gracious trust and steal some soda. I never do this because I am a great citizen. Subway, on the other hand, recently changed its policy and does not give out cups for water. So now I have to go back to the office and remain mostly unrefreshed by hardly cold water. THIEVES RUIN EVERYTHING.
Anyway, picks. Off we go. Home team starred.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) over Tennessee Titans*
Ben Roethlisberger was credited with a passing touchdown in the game Sunday against the Eagles by the Elias Sports Bureau for a play that was initially ruled a 13-yard rushing touchdown for Rashard Mendenhall. On the play in question, Roethlisberger throws a swing pass to Mendenhall, which he subsequently takes into the end zone, but on-field officials ruled it a rush because the pass was technically a lateral. Further review of the play indicated that the ball went forward, so it was a pass and therefore a passing and receiving touchdown for Roethlisberger and Mendenhall, respectively.
This is the dumbest thing ever. Big Ben threw the ball. His arm cocked back, the ball flew some five yards in the air and Mendenhall caught it. Yes, I know - a pass, by definition, must go forward. But all the other parts of a pass play were in place here. No semi-conscious NFL fan would call this a lateral. The rule should instead focus on how the QB throws the ball - any non-over-the-top throw is a handoff. A shovel pass should not be an incomplete pass, period. Would this be a logistical nightmare for NFL refs? Yes. But there's nothing like CHALLENGE FLAG CHAOS.
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) over Cleveland Browns*
A.J. Green deserves to be shanked in the liver with a prison-fashioned toothbrush-knife. He is the bane of BenJarvus Green-Ellis' existence. You know what, we might as well throw Calvin Johnson in that category too, along with Mikel LeShoure. Though Green's slightly worse, because Andy Dalton LOVES throwing 187-yard bombs to Green - to the fantasy delight of A.J. Green owners - only to have him tackled at the 1-yard line. This has happened at least 14 times this season. But then the Bengals call for the fade instead of the run, and A.J. Green catches it every time for the one-yard TD. That is not supposed to happen. Green owners are supposed to stew in their own filth-misery over their piss poor luck, except the Bengals bail them out every time. That is not how football works.
Also: How depressed must an offensive line feel when an offensive coordinator thinks to himself, "Let's throw a jump ball into the corner of the end zone with two sidelines and a defender ready to disrupt the play instead of running the ball one yard forward!" VERY DEPRESSED.
Indianapolis Colts (+3.5) over New York Jets*
84% of bets are taking the Colts at +3.5, because the only person that trusts Mark Sanchez is Rex Ryan. And by trust we mean, "refuses to admit he screwed up his signature draft pick." Though any time Jeff Cumberland is your number one offensive target, you have serious offensive problems.
Shonne Green has 217 yards on 76 carries this season. That's 2.9 yards per carry, yet nobody is talking about this. Maybe that speaks towards the level of ineptitude Mark Sanchez has reached, but Shonne Green is literally the worst running back in the NFL. Running back is the one position which is mostly a product of another position - that's why NFL teams routinely throw undrafted free agents and late round picks in there, only to find "gems." Mike Shanahan has been doing this for years, though he's managed to sabotage every single player through his famed running back carousel.
In other news: was there any question that the Colts were going to win last week? Never bet against the "team rallies around devastating thing happening to someone on team" factor. Chuck Pagano getting leukemia was the best thing to ever happen to the Colts. Fine, fine, we hope he gets better.
Not gambling related, still important (via Last Angry Fan):
Oakland Raiders (+9) over Atlanta Falcons*
Atlanta has to lose eventually, right? Are we really jumping aboard the Matt Ryan train? Bro, we totally are bro. Look at him CRUSH those Natty Ices, bro.
According to Wikipedia, Matt Ryan's other nickname, besides "Matty Ice," is the "Mattural." That is one godawful nickname. Rich Eisen apparently dubbed him that last week, and now I feel bad for Matt Ryan. You don't want brand-protecting media personalities assigning you a nickname on a national aired program, only to watch it catch on as you look on in horror. It's a good thing Chris Berman hasn't ever nicknamed an athlete, because then ESPN might explode. Hearing him say "Daylight come, and you gotta Delhomme" for eight years made me want to stab him in the neck with my TV remote.
Seattle Seahawks* (+3.5) over New England Patriots
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were lights out against each other, but dipshit role players nearly cost the Pats the game (Stevan Ridley), and did cost the Broncos the game (Willis McGahee). I'm pretty sure 3/4 of the football media would orgasm if the entire game had been Petyon Manning finding Eric Decker in soft spots in the Pats' zone defense and Wes Welker turning four-yard Brady passes into 13-yard gains. SO WHITE SO SMALL SO SLIPPERY SO SAVVY UNDERSTAND FOOTBALL OUTTHINK EVERYONE SCRAPPY SCRAPPY.
New York Giants (+6.5) over San Francisco 49ers*
Watching Alex Smith succeed in the NFL isn't the way the narrative goes:
1. No. 1 overall pick looks great in college, everyone is excited about his future.
2. Has crappy first few seasons, everyone remains optimistic.
3. Has a few more crappy seasons.
4. Gets cut.
Since Alex Smith joined SF in 2005, the following quarterbacks have started a game for the 49ers: Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett, Trent Dilfer, Shaun Hill, Chris Weinke, J.T. O'Sullivan, Troy Smith. Alex Smith is the luckiest player alive. His closest competition was Shaun Hill, who took over the job in '08, that is until Hill imploded and SF's thinking was "well, fuck," and stuck Smith right back in there. I mean, the franchise savior was relegated to backup duty - that's usually the kiss of death. Except San Francisco was so out of options that they went back to an already failed plan. Lucky, lucky lucky.
Houston Texans* (-3.5) over Green Bay Packers
It's baffling why low blocks are not completely outlawed in the NFL. Not because they're dangerous, since my sympathy for the health of an NFL player realistically ends at feigned moral outrage on the internet, but because it would continue Roger Goodell's facade of keeping the league safe. Then again, Goodell only cares about money-making players, which means quarterbacks, so there will continue to be absolutely no protection for players concussing themselves along the line of scrimmage.
A chop block, which is when a defensive player engaged in a block is hit low by a second offensive player, is only a 15-yard penalty. You only do this if you're actively trying to shred someone else's knee/ankle. Referee's might as well announce "Career-ending injury attempt, offense No. 75. 15-yard penalty, repeat 1st down." There's no way that a defensive lineman's pinky barely glancing the helmet of a QB should result in the same penalty.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (-4) over Kansas City Chiefs
Baltimore Ravens* (-3.5) over Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles* (-4) over Detroit Lions
Saint Louis Rams (+3.5) over Miami Dolphins*
Arizona Cardinals* (-4.5) over Buffalo Bills
Minnesota Vikings (+1.5) over Washington Redskins*
Denver Broncos (+3) over San Diego Chargers*
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