ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 6: Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets looks on from the sideline during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
It's Week 14, and we've got picks and lines for all this weekend's games, plus a look at Ben Roethlisberger, the shady side of the NFL, the hopeless side of the Washington Redskins, and lots more. All coming to you live from China!
Week 14 in the NFL is here, and this week we're coming to you live from Shanghai, China, where I'm currently visiting a friend on vacation. We'll get to China impressions later on, but for now let's get onto the picks! We went 10-5 last week, so we're off to a good start in December, and looking to keep it going. As usual, winners in BOLD.
Houston at Cincinnati (-1.5) ... Got a good feeling about Houston, even if they got insanely lucky when a T.J. Yates pick-six got called back against the Falcons last week, allowing Houston to keep driving and eventually score a TD. That's a 14-point swing thanks to a Dunta Robinson holding call that had nothing to do with the pick six. And you know what? Stuff like that is why I've got a good feeling about Houston. (And stuff like that NEVER happens to the Bengals.)
New England at Washington (+9.5) ... The best part about this Redskins season is that they can't fire Mike Shanahan, Mike Shanahan won't fire Kyle Shanahan. As usual for Washington, there's little hope in sight.
Indianapolis at Baltimore (-17.5) ... I went to an Australian sports bar to watch the Browns and Steelers over breakfast this morning. And man oh man, what an awful game to watch. Almost entirely because Big Ben did that thing where he gets hurt and hobbles off the field, then comes back and announcers praise his "courage" and "toughness" for the next 90 minutes. This pretty much ruins the game for any fan listening to commentary. At one point I swear to God I heard Brad Nessler say, "Superman's back... Where's his cape?!" And you wonder why China's kicking the crap out of us. This has nothing to do with the Colts vs. Ravens because what is there to say?
Atlanta at Carolina (+2.5) ... Cam, man. #Science
New Orleans at Tennessee (+3.5) ... Remember Joe Horn? How much fun he always was? Just jokin' around with everybody, dancin' in the endzone, talkin' trash to whoever would listen? Well yeah, now he's headlining a lawsuit that, more than anything else, provides an pretty emphatic reminder of just how unbelievably shady the NFL is. Via Deadspin:
In some instances, Plaintiffs received the Toradol shots without reporting any injury prior to the Toradol use, with large groups of other players who also received the shots. Plaintiffs have described the situation as one of being in a pre-game locker room with players lining up to receive injections of Toradol in a "cattle call" with no warnings of any sort being given, no distinguishing between different medical conditions of the players, and regardless of whether the player had an injury of any kind.
Plaintiffs were thus medicated without proper warnings, without proper consent, and without knowledge of the risks posed by the use of Toradol.
And this: "The case references a 2002 study into Toradol use in the NFL, which found that the drug's blood-thinning effect put football players—who might not recognize acute pain after taking a dosage of the drug—at a greater risk." Yeah, so... Playmakers and Any Given Sunday may have seemed a little sensational at the time, but now? Closer and closer to looking like straight documentaries.
Kansas City at New York Jets (-12) ... Can't wait to have Rex and an overmatched Jets team sneak into the playoffs, only to pull off two upsets and lose in the AFC title game. It's always fun.
Philadelphia at Miami (-2.5) ... This Andy Reid Meltdown ... Even if you hate the Eagles you gotta admit, this s**t is just getting sad.
Tampa Bay at Jacksonville (+1) ... In a post on the complacent NFL's omnipotence, Deadspin's Barry Petchesky said the tagline for this game was, "Because We Can't Just Not Play It". Which, when you think about it, encapsulates most every the Jaguars have ever played.
Minnesota at Detroit (-12) ... Seriously: What the the hell is going on with Ndamukong Suh?
Chicago at Denver (-3.5) ... Sometimes I like to think that Tim Tebow has an alter-ego named "Tom". Kinda like Charlie and Hank in Me, Myself, & Irene. Where one second he's Tim, the All-American hero that always thanks God first, and the next he's Tom, drunkenly crashing his car into the side of a strip club where he was supposed to meet his GHB dealer. Tim Tebow's a role model, yeah... But just wait till the world finds out about Tom.
Buffalo at San Diego (-9) ... When in doubt, remember which team is coached by Norv Turner, and then pick against that team.
Oakland at Green Bay (-12.5) ... It would've been a lot easier to pick the Raiders this week if they hadn't looked so awful against Miami last week. But maybe it was all part of Hue Jackson's plan???
New York Giants at Dallas (-3) ... I'm waking up early Monday morning to watch this game in China.
St. Louis at Seattle (OFF) ... But definitely not waking up for this one!
OVERALL RECORD: 97-88-3