HOW’S IT GOING EVERYBODY and welcome to everybody’s favourite poorly-named Canadian NFL picks column, the Fleetwood/Matt picks.
It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend (or Action de grâce if ya nasty) which means that we are only a few short hours away from feasting on various traditional foods in order to celebrate the categorical rape and murder of an entire race of human beings.
Onto the football games!
Matt – 8-7 last week, 48-31-1 overall after the Thursday nighter.
Fleet – 5-10 last week, 43-36-1 overall, Avid Browns fan who inches ever closer to becoming an ex-fan of the Browns and NFL with every week. If you thought the number of games I watched last week (one game) was an experimental procedure for a man picking NFL games, get this – I will try to watch zero games this week.
Anyways, here are some picks.
SUNDAY, 9:30am (LONDON GAME)
Carolina Panthers (3-2, 11th in NFC) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3, 12th in NFC)
Matt – They played already this year in a Thursday nighter, and Tampa stole one from a banged up Panthers squad. That was the last time we’ve seen Cam Newton this year, in fact. Those factors cause me to lean Carolina in this one.
I’m not saying Kyle Allen is better than Cam (although I’m sure a lot of people in Carolina are loudly yelling it. both online and in real life directly into people’s faces) but I am saying Kyle Allen is better than the version of Cam that we saw vs Tampa a few Thursdays ago.
Matt’s Pick – Carolina Panthers
Fleet – In the great book of NFL games I don’t care about, London games usually get their own chapter.
Fleet’s Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Washington (0-5, 16th in NFC) @ Miami Dolphins (0-4, 14th in AFC)
Fleet – Shocking Miami win. Insert joke about the Great Book of NFL games I don’t care for increasing in length.
Fleet’s Pick – Miami Dolphins
Matt – Take this one with an entire block of salt, as I am a Dolphins fan. I would like to say this will be the last time I write Miami down, but I’m sure I’ll find another excuse to do it if they lose this week.
Miami is one of my favourite picks of the week. Especially on the spread (WSH favoured by 3.5). I’m surprised I haven’t seen more people talk about the very obvious angle in this game: Washington fired their coach last week. Miami was on bye last week, and has had two weeks to prepare for a team that changed their head coach like 72 hours ago.
While neither team is *good*, one team is in flux and trying to patch things together, while the other actually finally had it’s first change to relax, prepare and take a good run at this. Two relatively even teams, but the home team has had two weeks to prepare, are playing for their coach and their home fans, and are still somehow a sizeable underdog against one of the few teams who have looked as pathetic as they have. Case Keenum is extremely effective in the Redzone (117.3 QBR within 20 yards of the endzone, good for 2nd in the NFL which gives me pause admittedly) but the Fish have had two weeks to prepare for Case and the rattling corpse of Adrian Peterson.
I might have the blinders on, but Miami +3 is honestly one of my favourite picks of the week.
Matt’s Pick – Miami Dolphins
New Orleans Saints (4-1, 2nd in NFC) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3, 10th in AFC)
Matt – Over the last few weeks, I’ve hopped on and off the Jacksonville bandwagon. Wellp, consider this cowpoke (are cowboys related to Thanksgiving? I don’t think that’s topical) officially back off the Minshew train.
Let’s truly be honest with ourselves. Cards on the table, nuts on the mirror, et cetera. If Gardner Minshew was named John Walker, and if the hair on his head and face was arranged in a different way, you probably wouldn’t be reading all of these “GARDNER MINSHEW IS FOR REAL” takes. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s a thing I truly believe inside of my heart, and also, I’m not even 1% wrong here. Not saying Minshew is “bad” or even that he won’t one day be a great QB. He might be something special. But he isn’t yet. He is visibly and obviously overrated at the moment, and it remains silly that a 6th round rookie QB has a 10000% approval rating from the entirety of Western media because he looks like both Hall and Oates.
Having said that, I am ready to once again be proven foolish to by the Human Meme, the Mississippi Mustache, Gardner Minshew 14:59. But as of now, give me the 2nd best team in the NFC with the great defense.
Matt’s Pick – New Orleans Saints
Fleet – Counterpoint: I believe in Minshew II more than most believe in magic.
(Drew believes in magic)
Fleet’s Pick – Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals (0-5, 16th in AFC) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2, 4th in AFC)
Fleet – Dre Kirkpatrick made a good point on the Bengals’ team falling apart after an AJ Green trade,
“I feel like it’s going to fall apart,” he said. “You can’t do it. You can’t do it, man. That’s our best player on the team. He’s not even out there. So, we don’t even know what we got, how the team really looks.”https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2019/10/07/dre-kirkpatrick-bengals-better-not-trade-a-j-green/
But c’mon man, we know how your team really looks.
Fleet’s Pick – Baltimore Ravens
Matt – Has there ever been a Robot Chicken sketch where they violently murder old cereal mascots? I’m 100% sure there has, but if not, picture Noted Humorist Seth Green giggling his 45-year old ass off while writing a clay-mation sketch wherein Tony the Tiger gets pecked apart by like 10,000 Ravens.
This will be unpleasant and unfunny, a spectacle that nobody wants to watch, and something so predictable that even small children know each and every beat of before it happens. But enough about Robot Chicken!
Unnecessary dunking on Seth Green aside, Baltimore will crush Cincy here.
Matt’s Pick – Baltimore Ravens
Seattle Seahawks (4-1, 5th in NFC) @ Cleveland Browns (2-3, 8th in AFC)
Matt – Feels like a loseable game for Seattle here, but I can’t bring myself to pick Freddie Kitchens over possible MVP Russ Wilson.
Matt’s Pick – Russell Wilson
Fleet – Why do I do this to myself? Well…
Fleet’s Pick – Cleveland Browns
Philadelphia Eagles (3-2, 10th in NFC) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-2, 9th in NFC)
Just try to mess with the 84 million dollar man Philly.
Fleet’s Pick – Minnesota Vikings
Matt – Somehow this is a game with some potential major playoff implications already. The loser of this one goes to 3-3 and will have no less than 4 teams ahead of them for the final playoff spot in the crowded NFC.
Close game, but the Eagles have a strong front 7 and a fairly weak secondary. That is a perfect matchup for Minnesota, who have an amazing running back and “Human Pumpkin Spice” Kirk Cousins at QB (was good in 2014, now needs to stop forever and shut the fuck up and go away).
Matt’s Pick – Philadelphia Eagles
Houston Texans (3-2, 3rd in AFC) @ Kansas City Chiefs (4-1, 2nd in AFC)
Matt – Feeling the upset here. Houston plays well against teams that can’t rush the QB, and Kansas City’s defense is so porous that it’s used as the “after” shot in face-scrub commercials.
Deshaun Watson has a huge game, and inserts his name into the MVP conversation.
Matt’s Pick – Houston Texans
Fleet – If I could only watch one game this week, it would be this one. However, I do have bad luck in terms of watching exciting games. They usually turn out to be clunkers. Maybe that’s just the Browns 🙁
Fleet’s Pick – Houston Texans
SUNDAY LATE SLATE
Atlanta Falcons (1-4, 15th in NFC) @ Arizona Cardinals (1-3-1, 14th in NFC)
Fleet – Ahh yes, a battle of who wants it least. Atlanta has been a complete and utter mess this year.
Fleet’s Pick – Arizona Cardinals
Matt – How is it even possible that the Cardinals are ahead of the Falcons so far? Taking Atlanta here, but it’s entirely possible they once again shit themselves in a winnable game, and Dan Quinn gets fired before he leaves the parking lot.
Matt’s Pick – Atlanta Falcons
San Francisco 49ers (4-0, 1st in NFC) @ LA Rams (3-2, 8th in NFC)
Matt – I feel like I’ve been saying some variation of “Huge game here for the 9ers and Jimmy G” all season. This one feels like his final test, though.
If the 49ers win this game to go to 5-0 — against LA no less, their division rival and defending NFC champ? San Fran is officially the toast of the NFC and become no less than a top 3-5 bet to win the Superbowl. Having said that, I like the Rams to solve the vaunted 49ers run game, and I don’t think the loss of a banged-up Todd Gurley hurts LA too badly, with their two very talented backups (Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson) waiting in the wings.
Matt’s Pick – LA Rams
Fleet – The 49ers will probably win this, or something, because yeah.
“But you picked the Rams F-dawg. Also, that does not seem like a substantial reason as to why they’ll win. We expect answers, F-Dawg“. All things that YOU the reader may be wondering.
Oh, but I know why the 49ers will not win.
“But why will they not win, F-dawg Johnston?” Which is the appropriate follow up thought you may be thinking aloud right now. Well buckle them seatbelts, we got our ex-Browns coaching battle of the week.
We’ve got ex-Browns offensive co-ordinator Kyle “You can get with this or you can get with that” Shannahan (current 49ers head coach, //2014 Browns offensive co-ordinator )VS Andy “We found love in a hopeless place” Dickerson (current Rams assistant offensive line coach and former Browns defensive quality control (2009) and assistant offensive line coach (2010)).
The more obscure of the two always win so chalk it up, big W for “Finding love in a hopeless place.”
Fleet’s Pick – LA Rams
Tennessee Titans (2-3, 11th in AFC) @ Denver Broncos (1-4, 12th in AFC)
Fleet – Just because you’re a horse-based team Denver doesn’t mean you aren’t terrible. But I guess they’re better than the horse-based team I trusted last week. More on me picking the Chargers to win again below.
Fleet’s Pick – Tennessee Titans
Matt – Not even a traditional Sportsfap series of jokes about John Elway’s terrifying plastic visage could make me care about this one.
Tough game to call or give 0.1 of a shit about, although there is one solid gambling angle – the O/U on this game is 41 points. Definitely take the under there.
Matt’s Pick – Tennessee Titans
Dallas Cowboys (3-2, 4th in NFC) @ New York Jets (0-4, 15th in AFC)
Matt – A classic “Get Right” game for Dallas. A slump-buster, as they say.
Matt’s Pick – Dallas Cowboys
Fleet – Luke Falk released! I guess he was called up from the practice squad and is probably going back, but boy was he done dirty. Jets have bad karma this week. Also, a bad football team.
Fleet’s Pick – Dallas Cowboys
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4, 13th in AFC) @ Los Angeles Chargers (2-3, 9th in AFC)
Fleet – I wish I could pick a different team after the Chargers lost to Joe Flacco last week. But even Flacco is better than Devlin Hodges. So Charge me up horse-based team and throw away any and all batteries in sight. This matchup is everything I ever wanted.
Fleet’s Pick – LA Chargers
Matt – See previous game. This is the ol San Fernando Slump buster.
Incidentally, after trading their 2020 1st round pick to the fish for Minkah Fitzpatrick, every Pittsburgh loss is a Miami win! Miami could end up with two of the top 5 picks in the draft next year, if Steelers QBs keep dropping.
Matt’s Pick – Los Angeles Chargers
Detroit Lions (2-1-1, 6th in NFC) @ Green Bay Packers (4-1, 3rd in NFC)
Fleet – Isn’t Lambeau Field supposed to be a tough place to play? Packers figure this thing out vs Pencil Ear Matt Patricia
Fleet’s Pick – Green Bay Packers
Matt – As Fleet alluded to, the Lions have won 4 straight vs the Packers dating back to 2017.
The term “regression” and especially “positive regression” gets thrown around a lot these days, generally by people who think they’re being super smart, but are actually just spouting cliches. Like me! Expect some positive regression for Green Bay on that trend.
Matt’s Pick – Green Bay Packers