NFL Preview: Week 6
Ignore the man behind the curtain
Week 5 record: 7-9
Overall record: 35-44-1
La Cerradura De El Padre: 4-1
The big news for the last week has been the NFL emails leak (apparently perpetuated by the person who you would think would LEAST want to expose his organization’s ties to racism, Daniel Snyder). Jon Gruden (and my La Cerradura De El Padre) paid the price for the leaks, and Adam Schefter caught a stray when he was revealed as the NFL ownership schill he is. Of course, all this obfuscation actually ended up bringing more attention to the sleaze going on in the WFT during the Dan Snyder era, so the team responded… by deciding to announce the jersey retirement of one of their most beloved players, Sean Taylor, who was killed in his home in a tragic botched burglary at the height of his playing career. Using Sean Taylor’s legacy to cover up for endless piles of scandals is either incredibly mistimed and stupid, or just outright gross. Of course, tons of people will fall for this distraction, just like I am hoping the WFT’s grossness will distract you from how terrible my picks were again (see, being a complete tool is easy)
Best Call: The Buffalo Bills +3. Man I wish I could legally bet in NY. I would have made so much money on the Bills as an UNDERDOG last week. That is the last time we will see the Bills be an underdog this season. I ALMOST made them La Cerradura De El Padre, until a last second switch to the Raiders which was incredibly dumb. The Bills absolutely manhandled the Chiefs, just like they have manhandled everyone else in the NFL since week 1.
Worst Call: Las Vegas Raiders -5.5. In my defense, the Jon Gruden scandal didn’t really gather steam till the weekend, so I really had no idea what was coming. That is the unfortunate part of submitting picks on a Friday. Still, it was a shitty pick. The Raiders found a truly unique way to ruin their momentum and head straight back to mediocrity, a coaching scandal that engulfs the entire organization and alienates half the players (at least).
Bad Beat: The Browns +2. My suspicion that the Browns running attack was the perfect antidote for the Chargers defense proved correct, as the Browns ran up the score on a unit that is mostly designed to stifle the pass. However, I did not bank on the Chargers offense racking up a huge total based on going 3-3 on fourth downs. These weren’t ordinary third down pick-ups. Two were 4th and 8 or more and the other was a 4th and 2 from their own 24. If any of those fails, I cover. Alas, no such luck. As I have said, you can make your own luck, and the Chargers did to win and cover.
On to week 6. Until I have a winning week picking games, I am going to continue to punish myself and reward you by not allowing any direct analysis of the upcoming games. Instead, this week we are going to go through each NFL team and I will assign them a restaurant to be their avatar for the upcoming franchise wars.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles +6.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Chick-Fil-A
Look, everyone hates a winner, and a whole lot of people hate Tom Brady. Chick-Fil-A has an awful lot of haters too. The owner’s ongoing support of conservative organizations has turned a lot of people off (even as Chick-Fil-A itself has tried to distance itself from political affiliation). Meanwhile, the Bucs were quick to yank Jon Gruden off of their wall of fame, but extremely slow to realize they currently employ someone far worse on their own team by choice in Antonio Brown. Yet, when all is said and done, the food is incredible, and so are the Bucs. Eat your (Chicken) heart out haters.
Philadelphia Eagles: Charley’s Cheesesteaks
Charley’s Cheesesteaks are a regional chain of Cheesesteak eateries in… Upstate NY. Nothing is more disappointing than getting a regional item like a cheesesteak in the wrong region. Like getting pizza in Ohio, sushi at a gas station, or getting Mexican food made by an Irishman (all personal experiences), the Philadelphia Eagles are a team that is a fake out. This team won the whole damn thing a few years ago, and while these guys still have some of the same players and elements, it is NOT the same experience.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5 (I lost this cover, because the Eagles went for 2 for no real reason with five minutes left and converted it. I can’t think of a better way to sum up how this season has gone with covers).
Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars +3 (Neutral Field)
Miami Dolphins: Long John Silvers
I know they don’t serve mammal at Long John Silvers, but they sure do serve up a lot of crap. So do the Dolphins. That is not to say there aren’t some things you can grab there. Like the Dolphins have some good things. Xavien Howard is like the hush puppies at LJS, it’s a special thing you can experience if you want to put up with the rest of menu, and it’s hard to find anywhere else, so maybe you try it this weekend for a little bit.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jack In The Box
Look, Jack in the Box is probably fine now, but their e coli outbreak killed a bunch of people in 1993, and I am pretty sure this team is going to kill Urban Meyer if he doesn’t kill the team first.
Miami Dolphins -3
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears +4
Green Bay Packers: McDonald’s
McDonald’s has a couple things on the menu you can always count on. A Big Mac and Fries are pretty much standard fare that is sure to be good. Of course, once you get past those two very specific things, there is a very stark downhill trajectory. It’s pretty much the Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams show in Green Bay this season, and the rest of the supporting cast is disappearing rather quickly. If you drafted Davante Adams for your fantasy team, you’re lovin’ it, but otherwise, it’s really just a franchise run by a clown.
Chicago Bears: Taco Bell
They may have won the Franchise Wars in Demolition Man, but Taco Bell is just like the Bears offense. All it can give you is the runs. While I am being quasi-facetious, don’t get it twisted. They will try anything: a Chicken Taco, pretending they wanted Justin Fields to start after pretending they didn’t, breakfast food no one asked for, an exchange of Kyle Fuller for Andy Dalton, a Cheetos Burrito, and trying to roster 10 tight ends at once. Ultimately though, it will never look like the picture you had in your head and it will wind up at either a .500 season you regret or a $5 meal you regret.
Green Bay Packers -4
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Detroit Lions +3.5
Cincinnati Bengals: Dominos
The Bengals have been very putrid for a long time. Growing up, Dominos pizza was the absolute worst pizza you could possibly get, even worse than frozen. Then, famously, they realized how terrible their food/football was and they made some changes. Now, very quietly, it’s not that bad. Is it super high quality? No. Is it good for you in large amounts? No. But a little bit here an there is ok, and hell, that “pizza” might even sneak into the playoffs if everything breaks right.
Detroit Lions: Subway
Subway has always sucked, it still sucks, and it will suck pretty much no matter what they do. The one thing they claim, that their food is healthy at least, is a total lie. Subway is a disappointment pretty much no matter what you order. If you are going to eat crappy food, at least make it fun food. If you are going to watch crappy football, don’t watch crappy football.
Cincinnati Bengals -3.5
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts -10
Houston Texans: Papa John’s
Papa Johns was once the best of the cheap pizzas. Then, they just stopped trying. They traded their quality ingredients for shitty ones, they started introducing stupid gimmick ideas instead of being good at just making pizza. They were late to realize where the league was headed and didn’t get into online ordering or analytics in time. And, most importantly, they didn’t realize the most important person in their franchise was actually awful.
Indianapolis Colts: Olive Garden
Olive Garden is fine. It’s medium grade “Italian” food at medium grade prices. If I end up going there, I am never happy or mad. I just am. The Colts aren’t going to be terrible. They are ok. They will win some and lose some. They might even sneak into the playoffs which is the football equivalent of when they give you some extra breadsticks to take home before you get crushed in a first round matchup on Saturday afternoon that has the lowest ratings of the weekend.
Houston Texans +10
Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants +10
Los Angeles Rams: Starbucks
Look, the roster/menu is ridiculously expensive for what you get, but it is super trendy if you are anywhere but where the franchise is actually from. I love a good Starbucks drink, and we just added pumpkin spice to the mix, which is sort of like adding Matt Stafford to an already good lineup. Do I think it is the BEST place I could go? Not really, but it is pretty damn good, a lot of people like it, and I rarely regret what I am left with, even if I had to give up all my draft picks or cash to get there.
New York Giants: Pizza Hut
This used to be a very proud franchise. When I was a kid, I lived for trips to Pizza Hut to cash in my Book It coupons. Hell, my family celebrated pretty much every major achievement at Pizza Hut. A lot of the menu wasn’t great, but that pan pizza was really good for chain pizza, and they even won a few Super Bowls. Then they started getting rid of all the quality parts, switched to shitty leadership, and tried a bunch of crazy gimmicks, trades, draft picks, signings, and P’zones that were all garbage. Now they suck. Hey Pizza Hut, stop trying to trick me into going to your store and just make better pan pizza (this just got personal).
Los Angeles Rams -10
Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Football Team +6.5
Kansas City Chiefs: Chipotle
For a while there, Chipotle was the hot shit of chain restaurants. Everyone was going there, standing in line, and getting “healthy” burritos made with “organic” foods. Then, out of nowhere, a couple problems hit. First, a bunch of people got sick from that organic food. It turns out it is hard to monitor quality control in a bunch of small organic vendors. Second, the pandemic happened and no one wants to stand in a 30 person line. What was once a booming business is suddenly in a little trouble. So are the Chiefs. Think of their defense as “getting sick from being at a restaurant”.
Washington Football Team: Bob Evans
I mean, at least old white men love being there.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers +1.5
Minnesota Vikings: Denny’s
I actually liked Denny’s growing up, even though I knew it wasn’t that good. I just like breakfast places. I also kinda like the Vikings too, and I feel for the endless cycle of abuse their fans endure. The real reason this is here is that both of these things are a lot better to experience drunk than sober.
Carolina Panthers: Applebee’s
I don’t really want anything that Applebee’s has. And I don’t really want to watch the Panthers play football. And yet, a lot of people love Applebee’s and the Panthers and go there all the time for mediocrity. I just don’t get it. If I want to see turnovers, I can make them at home.
Carolina Panthers +1.5
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens -2.5
Los Angeles Chargers: In and Out Burger
Just a staple of the West coast, In and Out Burger is fresh, it’s delightful and I am never ever disappointed. The Chargers have a fresh young coach, a fresh young QB, and watching them play is just a delight. Even their uniforms are beautiful, as is the old school aesthetic in an In and Out. I don’t know what more you could want.
Baltimore Ravens: Texas De Brazil
The food is absolutely incredible to experience and so are the Ravens. Are you going to get indigestion if enjoy it too much? Definitely. Are you going to eat too much? No way around it. You may even get meat poisoning. Is it worth it? HELL YEAH! Not much in life more enjoyable than watching Lamar Jackson while eating carne asada off of a stick. Just let go and let Lamar.
Los Angeles Chargers +2.5
Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns -3
Arizona Cardinals: Auntie Annie’s
Just pure, high octane carbs. Watching the Cardinals move quickly down the field while Kyler Murray jukes this way and that is a lotta empty football calories, especially given the limitations of their defense. But with that said, empty calories are dope as hell, and so is a fuckin’ soft pretzel. I love the pretzel bites with some butter and salt and… I’ll be right back.
…45 minute interlude…
Cleveland Browns: Buffalo Wild Wings
Just pure meat on the bone. That’s the Browns. They come right at you. Hot and spicy, meaty and crispy. BWW doesn’t have the best wings in the world, but if you live anywhere other than Western NY, it absolutely works. There is a fun side to the Browns too with Baker Mayfield, the “sitting around strangers and watching a football game on a 400-inch drop down projector screen” of quarterbacks.
Arizona Cardinals +3
Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos -3.5
Las Vegas Raiders: Arby’s
Arby’s is always mediocre, and so are the Raiders. The overlap point is that both have the meat(head)s. Every time you think that Arby’s or the Raiders is gonna figure it out and put it all together to be great, it just falls apart, and you are stuck at your desk pretending Arby’s sauce isn’t just brown sugary ketchup and Derek Carr isn’t just another guy.
Denver Broncos: Outback Steakhouse
Man, Outback steakhouse sounds like a good idea, but you know what isn’t really good there? The steak. Which would seem like a problem. In the same way, the Broncos seem like a really good idea, but you know what they don’t have? A quarterback. Steaks are really important for steakhouses and quarterbacks are really important for football teams.
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots -3.5
Dallas Cowboys: Panera Bread
Man, Panera Bread is really popular. Like really, really popular. But… it isn’t that good right? Like I get food there and it is ok. But it isn’t like world beating (especially at the price). Meanwhile, the Cowboys have been popular as hell for 40 years, but only really good that one time with Jimmy Johnson. And their tickets are expensive as hell. So would I go there right now? Actually, probably yes. The Cowboys are good, and who can say no to a salad and soup combo. I guess I am the sucker.
New England Patriots: Krispy Kreme
Remember when Krispy Kreme’s were popping up everywhere, and they became incredibly popular and their donuts were suddenly in every gas station and people would drive hours to get them and so on and so forth. Well, eventually everyone realized that if you don’t get them like the exact second they come off the line, they actually are pretty bland and boring, no matter what you do. What I’m saying is you haven’t really experienced the Patriots unless it’s the fresh off the line Tom Brady Patriots. These gas station Patriots aren’t it.
Dallas Cowboys -3.5
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5
Seattle Seahawks: Dunkin’
Seattle is all about coffee. Strong, powerful coffee that kicks you in the ass and drives you like a Maserati for 2 hours before leaving you in a ditch covered in shame and a complete nervous system breakdown. Dunkin’ coffee is weak, soft coffee that does nothing to no one. Kind of like Seattle without any defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Chili’s
Pittsburgh has had Ben Roethlisberger and defense forever. Chili’s has ribs, don’t you know. And yet, neither had added anything else, and we are bored of Chili’s ribs and Ben Roethlisberger is done. Plus, I would bet you just about anything that three years after retirement we get a picture of Ben Roethlisberger covered in rib sauce at a Chili’s.
Seattle Seahawks +5.5
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans +5.5
Buffalo Bills: Hooters
Everyone likes to say “you go there for the wings”. Of course, that’s just a con, you really go there to stare at… Josh Allen. Look, I have been to Buffalo, as well as the surrounding area, and the wing competition is fierce. No chain would ever have a chance. Hooters wings don’t hold a candle to what is up there. Of course, it was never really about the wings, and you will have to forgive Western NY if they have forgotten all about wings, too, staring in the glory of a 4-1 start with the best team in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans: Wendy’s
The Titans were all fired up this offseason, talking about how unstoppable their offense was going to be, and how they re-tooled the defense after a rough season. Everything will be great! We are winning the division! This is a Super Bowl Contender! I am forced to point out, though, that “Sir, this is a Wendy’s”.
Buffalo Bills -5.5 This is La Cerradura De El Padre
Bye Weeks: Jets, Falcons, Saints, 49ers (you didn’t think I would spare them did you?)
New York Jets: Little Caesars
I can’t think of a better metaphor for the Jets than a small tyrant with a Napoleon complex stuck in the perpetual shadow of their Giant brother in a city where the lights are always on. The Jets haven’t really even come close to delivering (and neither has Little Caesars for most of my lifetime). But best of all is that Little Caesars makes Sbarro look like John’s Pizzeria in Greenwich Village.
Atlanta Falcons: Waffle House
This is exactly like the Vikings with Denny’s. To enjoy it at all you need to be drunk, except that it’s hotter, and there are more fights.
New Orleans Saints: Burger King
A legacy chain for sure, but one that has slowly gone downhill since it was at the peak of it’s popularity. It’s never been the best chain, but it has had it’s moment. The flame grilled burgers are better than the actual McDonald’s burger, but that is pretty much it. The Saints had that one Super Bowl, but since then, they have plateaued, and now it feels like they are sliding down the slope of mediocrity. On the plus side, Burger King doesn’t sell crab legs.
San Francisco 49ers: Panda Express
The idea of something being an express implies that it will get there quickly, but I am not aware of Panda Express being especially fast or serving panda, so I am not sure what they are doing there. In the same way, I keep believing the 49ers are good, but, besides that one season where they went to the Super Bowl, where is that proof exactly? If we subtract that one miraculous season, the most wins they have had in the last 6 years is… 6. So which of these things is the outlier?