Friday, December 28

NFL Picks: Week 17

Final week!

It's time for the Browns to get that coveted season sweep of the steelers. Do you know the last time we won both our contests against those turkeys? It was 1988. That sucks. For perspective, there have been two seasons where the steelers beat the Browns THREE TIMES since then. I've had a running bet with my old grad school roommate from my Pittsburgh days, where if the Browns win the season series, I get a case of PBR and if the steelers sweep, he gets a case of PBR (no PBR changes hands in a tie). I have paid out seven cases thus far without one in receipt. Enough! That's going to be the sweetest Pabst ever.

Last Week
Nick: 11-4-1
Joe: 9-6-1
Figgs: 8-7-1

Season to Date
Joe: 113-118-7
Figgs: 106-125-7
Nick: 105-126-7
Figgs' $ Picks: 20-19-1
Nick's $ Picks: 10-9-1, +3

Sunday 1:00 kickoff
STEELERS (-11) vs Browns
Figgs: BROWNS. Let's get that sweep, gentlemen. Andy really needs a Pabst.
Joe:Browns; Seriously, do I really need to wait for the spread on this one? Game 1 of the Thad Lewis era: Get Some!

BENGALS (-1) vs Ravens
Figgs: Cinncy.
Joe: Bengals; Games like this are very hard, when both teams are in the playoffs, but can't improve their seed by winning. You never know who will show up. I'll go with the team that didn't steal our franchise.

COLTS (+7) vs Texans
Figgs: Indy.
Joe:Colts; This game is actually much bigger for Houston, because a loss could force them to not only lose home field throughout, but also lose a 1st round bye. That said, I can't bet against the Colts at home in Pagano's return. That place should be going crazy.
Nick: Colts

TITANS (-4) vs Jaguars
Figgs: Titans.
Joe:Jags; Every time I pick the Jags getting points, they get crushed. Last week against Tom Brady I gladly give the points, and they almost win the game. Who knows? Titans looked awful last week.

GIANTS (-7) vs Eagles
Figgs: Philly.
Joe:Eagles; Vick is playing and that should improve the offense somewhat. He needs an audition for next year, so he should play inspired, which is something the Giants haven't done all year. They seem to have held on to the "We're defending champs" thing for way to long. If you don't get in the playoffs, then you can't defend your title.

BUFFALOES (-3.5) vs Jets
Figgs: Jills.
Joe: Bills; I have no confidence in the Bills, but the Jets are such a trainwreck that I can't justify picking them. (Good call on signing Braylon Edwards by the way. He should have been able to fix all of your problems. What a leader he is.)

LIONS (+3) vs Bears
Figgs: Bears.
Joe: Bears; Huge game for their playoff chances, since the Vikes have such a tough game. If the Bears don't win here, then people are gonna get fired. 7-1 to missing the playoffs: Ouch.

FALCONS (-5) vs Buccaneers
Figgs: ATL.
Joe: Atl; The Bucs have been horrible since they were eliminated from playoff contention, so I don't see anything changing here going against the NFC's top seed.

SAINTS (-5) vs Panthers
Figgs: Saints.
Joe: Panthers; The way these two have played lately, this should be one of the more exciting games of the day that has absolutely no playoff implications. Cam has played great lately, but he'll have to take it a step up next year and make a playoff push if he wants to be taken seriously. I'll take him becauseI always take his team, and because they're getting over a FG.

4:25 kickoff
BRONCOS (-16) vs Chieves
Figgs: KC.
Joe: Chiefs; I love Denver as mySB favorite in the AFC, but I am simply playing the %'s with a 2TD+ spread here.

CHARGERS (-10) vs Raiders
Figgs: Raiders.
Joe: Bolts; The Raiders are flat out terrible, Carson is out, and the Bolts always play well in December to somehow save Norv Turners' job.

49ERS (-16.5) vs Cardinals
Figgs: Cards.
Joe: Cards; I am simply playing the %'s with a 2TD+ spread here.

PATRIOTS (-10) vs Dolphins
Figgs: Pats.
Joe: Dolphins; I don't know, just when I think the Pats are invincible, they put up a couple of poor performances in a row. I can't put my finger on what the problem is, but their is something there that is gonna keep them from the Super Bowl.

SEAHAWKS (-10.5) vs Rams
Figgs: Hawks.
Joe: Seahawks; They look like the best team in football to me right now. Back to back 50+ pt games didn't have people believing because it wasn't against good teams. So, let's follow it up with a 42-13 beatdown of the 49ers. They are for real, and even though it will be on the road, no one will want to play them in January.

VIKINGS (+3.5) vs Packers
Figgs: Pack.
Joe: Packers; The Vikes had an improbable win last week with their season on the line. They could do it again here, but the Pack needs a win to secure a bye, so they won't be resting anyone. Tough call, but I'll go with GB, all though the extra half point makes me want to change my mind.

8:20 kickoff
REDSKINS (-3.5) vs Cowboys
Figgs: Skins.
Joe: Skins; Everything on the line here. Everyone will say this will make or break Romo's legacy, (and it could if he throws a huge pick late). But I see him having a nice game with Dez against the Skins secondary. However, the Skins are simply a more balanced team. They have a much better running game, and I think Griffin will make 1 or 2 game changing plays that get it done for Washington.

Friday, December 21

NFL Picks: Week 16

Happy Festivus from all of us at FCF!

I'd also like to pass along that one of the ads on, where I looked up the lines for this week, was "Make Him Addicted to You," as if women frequent sports betting sites.

Last Week
Figgs: 10-6
Joe: 7-9
Nick: 6-10 (even counting picking "Dons" in the Denver-Baltimore game as a W)
Figgs' $ Picks: 2-1
Joe's $ Picks: 1-2

Season to Date
Joe: 104-112-6
Figgs: 98-118-6
Nick: 94-122-6
Figgs' $ Picks: 20-19-1
Nick's $ Picks: 10-9-1, +3

Saturday Night Football, 8:30
LIONS (+3.5) vs Falcons
Figgs: ATL.
Joe: ATL; Last week was a big F You to everyone that doubted the Birds.  And Detroit, well, they are terrible and have quit.  Not a good combination. 
Nick: Falcons. I'm going to keep riding against Detroit hard.

Sunday 1:00 kickoff
COWBOYS (-3) vs Saints
Figgs: Saints.
Joe: Saints; This one goes against the thought of picking the team with something to play for.  The Saints have nothing to play for, but I just feel they are a better team than Dallas.  So if I can pick them, and get points, I'll take it. 
Nick: Cowboys. They need this game, and they should be able to score on the New Orleans D, right?

PACKERS (-12.5) vs Titans
Figgs: Pack.
Joe: Titans; Only because it is so many points.  The Packers haven't consistently blown out bad teams this year, so I could see them winning by a comfortable 10 point margin, which would still not cover the spread. 
Nick: Titans. Too many points, and the Packers haven't been putting up crazy point totals as frequently as last year.

CHIEVES (+7) vs Colts
Figgs: Indy.
Joe: Colts; I wanted to go the other way because of what I just said about the Pack, but I can't pick KC again, ever.  They lost by double digits last the Raiders...without even allowing a TD.  Nuff said. 
Nick: Colts. Like Joe, I really wanted to pull the trigger on KC at home, but they just can't move the football. Who's taking the Chiefs in this game?

DOLPHINS (-4.5) vs Buffaloes
Figgs: Jills.
Joe: Bills; Just like the Jets on Monday Night, the Dolphins are still alive for the playoffs playing a team that is not.  And just like the Jets, they will show they don't belong in playoff discussions. 
Nick: Dolphins. I like the Dolphins' team a lot. If Tannehill can make a jump next year, they're a strong playoff contender in the AFC.

JETS (-2.5) vs Chargers
Figgs: Bolts.
Joe: Bolts; The only reason the Jets might cover this is because they won't have Sanchez throwing the ball to the other team all day.  But I can't say I have too much confidence in the Greg McElroy era either.  I have no confidence in the Bolts, but I would obviously take Rivers over any QB on the Jets roster, so therefore I will pick them in this game. 
Nick: Chargers. Just not taking Sanchez. Period.

EAGLES (+6.5) vs Redskins
Figgs: Skins.
Joe: Skins; Their 1st matchup started the Skins 5 game winning streak.  No reason why this one will end it.  And with RG3 back, I am confident they will win by at least a TD. 
Nick: Redskins. It's a lot of points, but they've become remarkably consistent. The Shanahans really outcoached Pat Shurmur last week. Shocking.

STEELERS (-3) vs Bengals
Figgs: Cinncy.
Joe: Bengals; They have absolutely nothing outside of AJ Green that impresses me.  But if the steelers don't make the playoffs, they have no one to blame but themselves (i.e. losses to Raiders/Titans/BROWNS/Chargers).  This is a classic pick against them out of spite game for me, even though I don't actually believe it myself.
Nick: Bengals. Hatred pick.

BUCS (-3) vs Rams
Figgs: Bucs.
Joe: Bucs; Two impressive seasons for teams not expected to do anything this year both came to an end last week.  I don't know how Tampa fell so flat last week in a 41-0 defeat, but I'm gonna pick them this week because I think they are a better team than that and also because the Rams aren't very good on the road. 
Nick: Rams. I'm ready for the Bucs to collapse like they did last season when they were eliminated, are you?

PANTHERS (-8.5) vs Raiders
Figgs: Raiders.
Joe: Panthers; Wow, I know Cam and Co. have finally been playing the way I thought they could lately, but 8.5 point favorites?  Oh yeah, they are playing the Raiders.  I'll bite. 
Nick: Panthers. It's a ton of points, but the Raiders are the only team that might be a helpless as the Chiefs.

JAGUARS (+14.5) vs Patriots
Figgs: Pats.
Joe: Patriots; They are the only team I always feel comfortable giving huge spreads with.  And after last week's loss, they will pour it on this week.  And Bellichek will be able to use their own comeback from last week as an excuse of why Brady is throwing for TD's when they are up 52-0. 
Nick: Pats. The Pats will score at least 35 in this one, so do we really think that the Jags can get to 21? I don't.

TEXANS (-7.5) vs Vikings
Figgs: Vikes.
Joe: Vikings; I'd like to see them get in the playoffs, but it will be really tough given their schedule.  They should definately put up a fight though, so there's no way I'm gonna give that many points. 
Nick: Vikings, but I don't feel good about it.

(4:05 kickoff)
BRONCOS (-13) vs Browns
Figgs: Browns
Joe: Browns; Well, that stint of us being favorites sure didn't last long.  Our whole season will be make or break next week.  If we sweep the steelers, this is the greatest season since our '99 return.  This game here, I honestly give us no chance.  Denver is the best team in football right now.  But who knows, maybe we keep it close. 
Nick: Broncos. Hate to say it, but this has slaughter potential. If I'm Pat Shurmur, I'm resting all the starters for Pittsburgh next week.

(4:25 kickoffs)
CARDINALS (+5.5) vs Bears
Figgs: Bears.
Joe:Bears; Reluctantly.  They have been on an unbelievably tailspin since their 7-1 start.  They only reason they still have a chance to get in the playoffs is because of their really easy last two opponents.  The Cards finally broke their 9 game losing streak, but I'm not backing something called Lindley to win back to back games. 
Nick: Bears. "Something called Lindley." Awesome.

RAVENS (+2.5) vs Giants
Figgs: NYG.
Joe: Giants; This is the battle of the headscratcher teams, at least nationally.  I still can't figure out when the Giants will show up.  But I'm not surprised at all on Baltimore.  I've been saying for weeks that they are not good.  This week, they will drop another game against an opponent that is simply better than them.  Giants should be able to turn it on now since they are in Must Win Mode. 
Nick: Giants. I just have a little more faith in the Giants to show up in a game that they desperately need.

Sunday Night Football, 8:20 kickoff
SEAHAWKS (+1) vs 49ers
Figgs: Niners.
Joe: Seahawks; San Fran ended all the doubts I had about them last week.  But I still think Seattle is slightly better than them.  Being at home here, there's no way I'm going against the red hot Hawks.  Honestly though, these might be the two best teams in the NFC.  Thank goodness for flex scheduling so we can watch it.
Nick: Seahawks. Seattle needs this game more, its at Qwest, and the Niners are coming off a big game in New England. RUSTY!

Tuesday, December 18

About Joshua Cribbs

During his eight seasons as a member of the Cleveland Browns, special teams ace Joshua Cribbs has established himself as one of the Browns' most popular players on and off the field. Even during some lean years for the club, Cribbs managed to make Browns games a little more watchable, accounting for many of the team's finest plays, and of course starring in the comically immortal Josh's Cribbs. His tenure was marred a little bit by post-2009 contract tension and the occasional frustrated outburst, but otherwise it's been fun.

Yet in recent years, his production seems to have tapered a bit, in part due to some nagging injuries, and fans have cooled on Cribbs a bit. On a day where Cribbs might be playing his final home game as a Brown, I'd like to look back a bit on his career and discuss the current persepective on Cribbs with respect to its accuracy and what it says about modern fandom.

First, the highlights. On his way to being named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000's (the only Brown so honored), Cribbs tied the NFL's all-time record for kick returns for TD with eight (along with Leon Washington), and set basically every return record for the Browns:

Most career Kickoff return yards (8,837)
Most career combined Kickoff and Punt return yards (10,534)
Most career All-purpose yards (12,343)
Most kickoff return yards in a single season: 1,809 (2007)
Most kickoff return touchdowns in a single season: 3 (2009)
Most All-purpose yards in a single season: 2,510 (2009)
Most career combined Kickoff and Punt return touchdowns (11)

Cribbs was and is a force on the flipside of the return game as well - there were a couple of seasons where it seemed like he made every single special-teams tackle for Cleveland, and still does a fine job on kick coverage. Offensively, he never really developed into a starting-caliber wideout, but between his work as a receiver and running the ball on Wildcat and reverse plays, Cribbs has still amassed nearly 2000 yards from scrimmage and 9 touchdowns as an offensive player. Cribbs also saved some of his best moments for games against the hated rival steelers, including two 90+ yard returns in one game against the evildoers from Pittsburgh and some huge plays in the frigid home win in the winter of 2009.

He's also the reigning Mr. Cleveland, despite an impressive audition thus far from Mr. Joe Haden. Cribbs is everywhere, at Cavs games, United Way billboards, television shows, concerts - embracing the city and serving as the public face for a team that has been remarkably faceless in the 14 seasons since returning to the NFL. A little bit of that goes a long way.

Still, I can't help but feel like a lot of fans have soured on him, particularly on the Twitter and in some of the notoriously pessimistic local sportsosphere. Admittedly, Cribbs is less of a home run threat than he used to be - he hasn't taken a kick to the house since 2009, and has only one punt return for TD in the past three years (2010). He's been mostly phased out of the offense this season, as well.

A look at the numbers, however, shows that reports of Cribbs' demise are premature. Last season was his most productive as a WR, with 518 yards receiving and four TD's (both easily career highs), though his days as a Wildcat back have diminshed substantially since 2009 (notwithstanding a solid run in today's contest setting up the Browns' 2nd TD). This season, despite not having taken a kick all the way, Cribbs still ranks 7th in the NFL yards per kick return and 5th in yards per punt return. That's not so bad, eh?

Nevertheless, Cribbs has been called on the carpet by some fans, probably because of his diminished value as an offensive player, the occasional fumble, and the ongoing drought in kick return touchdowns. That I can understand without necessarily agreeing with, but what I don't care for is fans criticizing other fans for supporting Cribbs. Why do fans do that? Why would a fans criticize fellow fans of their favorite team for liking a player who plays on their team? It's strange. I still really enjoy Cribbs' playing, kick return touchdowns or no, and want him to do well, as I do every player on the team.

Someone recently twittered something to the effect of "it's sad how much this town still supports Cribbs," and frankly I don't see why this is worth criticizing a fan for. I mean, it's not like my support for #16 hurts the team in any way. I know we all root for laundry, and that the Cleveland Browns as a team and a franchise is the focal point, but isn't it OK to still have favorite players? I like having characters to root for in addition to jerseys, and it doesn't hurt when the character in question has been one of the Browns' most exciting players over the past decade. Even if Cribbs isn't as likely to break one long as he used to, I still plan to sport my #16 jersey as long as he's on the team, and hope that just maybe he'll pop one more for us.

Thursday, December 13

NFL Picks: Week 15

Last Week
Joe: 7-7-2
Figgs: 5-9-2
Nick: 5-9-2
AFF: 5-9-2 :(
Figgs' $ Picks: 1-1

Season to Date
Joe: 97-103-6
Nick: 88-112-6
Figgs: 88-112-6
Figgs' $ Picks: 18-18-1
Nick's $ Picks: 10-9-1, +3

Thursday Night Football, 8:20
EAGLES (+5) vs Bengals
Figgs: Philly. This team hasn't been playing too bad lately, and they're getting over a FG at home against a shaky Bungle team. Yes, please. ($)
Joe: Eagles; When the stars like Vick and Jackson were playing, it definately looked like the team had quit.  But with the kids like Foles and Brown, they are playing as if their jobs are on the line and are auditioning for next year.  So, I'll take them. It doesn't matter though, because I'm pretty sure I am 0-13 in picking Bengal games this year, so I'm sure I'll be wrong on this one too.
Nick: Eagles

Sunday 1:00 kickoff
BROWNS (+2.5) vs Redskins
Figgs: Browns. I'm with ya, Joe. Next year - playoffs.
Joe: Browns; I don't give a shit who plays QB for them.  We should not be underdogs at home against anyone!  This is  the most optimism I've had for a Browns team in a long time.  I'm thinking playoffs in 2013, no joke.  I think we win our home finale this week, then probably lose close to Denver, and follow that up with the ultimate high of knocking the steelers out of the playoffs in week 17. 
Nick: Browns

BEARS (+3) vs Packers
Figgs: Pack. Chicago just kind of fell apart on me there.
Joe: Pack; I have no idea who is the SB frontrunner in the NFC.  The Pack shows alot of good, mixed with some big time flaws.  I think if they get Matthews and Woodson back healthy though, they can make a serious run at it.  The Bears have completely fallen apart since their 7-1 start.
Nick: Packers

FALCONS (-1) vs Giants
Figgs: NYG. A total toss up with two very talented but very imperfect teams. If they both play to their potential, I give the edge to the Giants.
Joe: Giants; The G-MEN look like they should be the aforementioned SB favorites, but they are so inconsistent and seem to only show up when they feel like it.  The Falcons have been winning games very unimpressively, and last week they got the beatdown that everyone has seen coming all year.  Also, the last time these two met, it was the playoffs last year, with the Giants winning, 24-2.  They should take care of business again this week.
Nick: Giants

SAINTS (-3.5) vs Bucs
Figgs: Saints. NO at home always seems to be a good bet.
Joe: Saints; These two teams are talented and should make playoff year.  Tampa just misses this year because they are young and on the way up.  NO because of the Bounty nightmare.  In this game, give me Drew Brees at home.
Nick: Bucs

RAMS (-1) vs Vikings
Figgs: Vikes. Peterson is definitely my MVP. Doing this after tearing his ACL less than a year ago is unthinkable. I really like this line, btw. ($)
Joe: Vikings; Elimination game.  I don't think the Vikes will end up getting in, but they are better than the Rams, and Peterson might get 2000 yards and probably should win MVP (at least if I had a vote).  Take him off this team, and they probably go 3-13.  Outside of the always injured Harvin, they have a Jets like offense.  AD has carried them this far, and the Rams nice little run will end this week.
Nick: Vikings

DOLPHINS (-7) vs Jaguars
Figgs: Miami. The chad henne Bowl! I'll take whichever team does not currently have him.
Joe: Jags; I feel like I pick them way too much.  But I just can't justify giving a full TD with pedestrian teams such as Miami. 
Nick: Jags

RAVENS (+3) vs Broncos
Figgs: Donks. Because of everything Joe said.
Joe: Broncos; If I bet games, I would jump all over this one.  Denver is on a collision  course to meet NE in the AFC championship game in another epic Peyton/Brady playoff matchup.  And as I have been saying, the Rats are on a collision course to getting bounced at home in round 1 of the playoffs.  ($) 
Nick: Dons

TEXANS (-9.5) vs Colts
Figgs: Houston. This line seems a point or two too high, but this seems to me like a bounce-back game for the Texans. At home, coming off an embarrassing loss, I could see them coming out and just murdering a decent yet still inferior Colts team.
Joe: Colts; Consider me officially off the Texans bandwagon.  GB put them in their place early in the year, but then they rattled off 6 straight wins, so I was believing in them again.  But Mr. Brady showed us on MNF that Houston is no where near the Pats level.  I figure they'll bounce back enough to win, since the Colts are still alive in the division race and Houston wants to put that to rest this week.  But I'm definately not giving this many points.
Nick: Colts

(4:05 kickoff)
CARDINALS (+6) vs Lions
Figgs: Lions. Really like this line as well, my only worry is that this Lions team seems like one that could just totally give up and pack it in these last few games after what they went through the past few weeks. ($)
Joe: Lions; Another game I would absolutely lay some cash on if I bet games.  Detroit is a "Good" bad team.  Arizona is not.  They STILL haven't won since September, and last week looked like a D-1AA team vs. Alabama in their 58-0 beatdown defeat.  The Lions, on the other hand, have suffered 3 straight crushing defeats against playoff teams, so I figure they'll come out so pissed off and hungry for a win.  ($)
Nick: Lions

CHARGERS (-3) vs Panthers
Figgs: Bolts. My least confident game of the week. I suppose you could never really feel comfortable picking a Norv Turner team, no matter the line.
Joe: Panthers; Too bad Cam can't play against the Falcons every week.  For some reason, they play great against them.  The Bolts are coming off and out of nowhere awesome performance last week (thanks again for that one boys!).  I don't see a Norv Turner team doing that in back to back weeks, though.
Nick: Panthers

BILLS (+5.5) vs Seahawks
Figgs: Hawks. Seattle's defense is good. ($)
Joe: Seahawks; Rolling on all cylinders and still have a shot at not only the playoffs, but winning the division.  Buffalo is decent against bad teams, but is pretty bad against playoff caliber teams.  And, the game is in Toronto, so it's not "technically" a road game for Seattle.
Nick: Seahawks

(4:25 kickoffs)
COWBOYS (+1) vs steelers
Figgs: Boys. Obvy.
Joe:Cowboys; I never feel comfortable picking Dallas in December, and I think if Dez doesn't play, they are screwed.  But I'm picking them for 2 reasons:  pittsburgh just isn't that good (ie getting blown out by the woeful Chargers), and because F*CK pittsburgh!
Nick: Pittsburgh

RAIDERS (-3) vs Chiefs
Figgs: Raiders? Almost tempted to take another loss here, but I would really like to beat Nick.
Joe:Chiefs; My reasoning for this pick is take whoever is the underdog.  Because I refuse to give points with either of these godawful teams.
Nick: Chiefs

Sunday Night Football, 8:20 kickoff
PATRIOTS (-5) vs 49ers
Figgs: Pats. Yeah, they're still really good.
Joe: Patriots; This would be my 3rd money game of the week.  Brady vs Kapernick?  And it's in New England?  And it's less than a TD?  People might be waiting all day for Sunday night because this looks like a SB preview, but trust me, this will be over before halftime.  ($)
Nick: Niners

Monday Night Football, 8:30 kickoff
TITANS (-1) vs Jets
Figgs: Titans. Seriously, MNF? Falcons/Giants, Bears/Packers and Broncos/Ravens all on opposite the Browns game, and I'm forced to watch this shit game in primetime. Good grief.
Joe: Jets; Thanks Monday Night.  You've been almost as bad to us as Thursday night this year. 
Nick: Jets

Thursday, December 6

NFL Picks: Week 14's nickname week.

Last Week
Joe: 8-8
Figgs: 6-10
Nick: 5-11
Figgs' $ Picks: 2-2
Nick's $ Picks: 2-1, 0 SB

Season to Date
Joe: 90-96-4
Nick: 83-103-4
Figgs: 83-103-4
Figgs' $ Picks: 17-17-1
Nick's $ Picks: 10-9-1, +3 Schrute Bucks

Thursday Night Football, 8:20
JUST WIN, BABY (+10.5) vs Donks
Figgs: Denver. Peyton seems to be on cruise control while the Raiders ...well, not so much.
Joe: Donks; Really big spread for a road team. But Oakland is REALLY awful. I'll take Peyton and give those points without hesitation.
AFF: The Raiders kept it close against the Browns, and I'm going to maintain steadfast to my belief that the Browns are actually a quality team.
Editor's note: How about this brilliant 5-10-2 start Andy is off to? The magic is gone, friends.

Sunday 1:00 kickoff
Figgs: Browns. KC got their emotional victory last week, now they can go back to sucking.
Joe:Browns; Finally, back to being favorites. Romeo and Brady have always been class acts as human beings, and I always liked both of them as human beings. However, their coaching/playing abilities leave much to be desired. Oh, and fuck Peyton Hillis. Let's stay on a roll, Brownies.
Nick: Browns
AFF: Joe, what do you mean by "back"? We've been favored in games before? Not surprisingly, I love the Browns in this, in part because I love the Browns. Fun fact: Weeden's Passer Rating (72) is lower than McCoy's was in 2011 (75) even though Weeden hasn't played the traditionally tough for QB's games in December.

BUFFALOES (-3) vs Lambs
Figgs: Jills. You can't get much more of a mediocre game than this. Both teams have some talent and are a step above the teams at the bottom of the league, but are certainly still a ways away from contention. Buffalo gets the standard home 3, and I have no idea which way to lean.
Joe: Buffaloes; The Lambs are an undefeated 4-0-1 vs teams in their division. Their problem is a 1-6 record vs everyone else. I would take them if they were in the dome, but on the road, I'll go with the Buffaloes.
Nick: Bills
AFF: Seriously, why would you name all of your sports teams and logos after an animal because your city is called that? I'm going all groupthink here and taking the Buffalo Football Buffaloes anyway because the Rams basically made their season with last week's upset and are due for a letdown in the chilly Ruff Buff.

BUNGLES (-3) vs 'Pokes
Figgs: Cinncy. I'd put the Bengals just slightly above Buffalo/St. Louis and the average teams, while I'd put Dallas slightly below. I took the Bills with the same spread - ergo, Cinncy.
Joe: Bungles; I keep going against them, and they keep covering. I'm done with that, so they'll probably bungle this game up. But Tony Romo is known as Mr. November for a reason. When December rolls around, he struggles big time.
Nick: Bengals.
AFF:When Joe writes "Mr November" I thought of the Kids in the Hall's bizarre cult classic comedy Brain Candy where the closeted Dad is watching some beefcake movie and the voiceover says "Mr...NoVEMber." I guess you had to be there. I'm taking the Cincitucky Bunglers largely as a vote of no confidence in the 'Pokes.

HORSESHOES (-6) vs Titties
Figgs: Indy. I heard a similar discussion as Andy and thought the same thing - RGIII has to be your Rookie of the Year. But Luck is still really good. Tennessee doesn't do much for me.
Joe: Shoes; I agree with RG3 being ROY, but I'm not gonna worry too much about Luck's passer rating. They are asking him to do way more than Griffin with a lot less talent around him. He has Zero running game and has to throw it 50+ times every game. Yes, he makes some mistakes, but he makes a lot of brilliant throws as well.
Nick: Titans.
AFF: Remember what I said about Weeden's Passer Rating vis a vis McCoy's from a year ago? Would you believe that Andrew Luck's is all of...76? I saw an ESPN story floating Luck and fellow rookie QB's Russell Wilson and Bob Griffin as MVP candidates. Bleacher Report had a story asking who's been the best rookie QB this season. Seriously, guys? I know the Colts are resurgent, and Luck has done some impressive things and is clearly on the path to success, but he's TWENTY-NINTH in Passer Rating (trailing luminaries like Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker) and has thrown more interceptions than any other QB. Meanwhile, Griffin has a Passer Rating of 104.4, has 17 TD's to only 4 INT's, has rushed for over 700 yards, and is generally fucking awesome. I guess after all that I kind of need to pick the Tittiess, no?

PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS (+3) vs Monsters of the Midway
Figgs: Bears. These guys have been doing their best as of late to make me eat my words early in the season, but I'm not going to abandon them now. Maybe next week if they lose again.. ($)
Joe: PPEaters; I'm gonna take them getting points at home. The Bears haven't seemed to be the SB contender I thought they were, lately. I like Peterson to get a lot of yards on the ground this week and squeak out a W.
Nick: Bears.
AFF: When I was younger, my sister had a Vikings t-shirt. Hey, none of us are above .500 - this logic is every bit as valid as any.

FLORIDA PIRATES (-9) vs Iggles
Figgs: Bucs. Don't like giving that many points, and Foles showed some signs of life last week, but Tampa is just in a much better situation right now.
Joe: Iggles; Not confident, but this is just too many points. Bryce Brown has looked as good or better than Shady the last 2 weeks. His kryptonite, however, is an insane amount of fumbles. He needs to work on that big time and he can be a great back in this league. Foles is all right, and these two have been able to help Philly put up pts, so I like them to at least keep this close.
Nick: Tampa.
AFF:If I'm reading this correctly, Joe chose the Iggles on the basis of something called "Foles," which sounds like a lawyer or a dietary supplement. I believe I'll be taking the Florida Pirates this week down in the swamp. Is it a swamp? I've never been.

GRIFFSKINS (-3) vs ratbirds
Figgs: ratbirds. The way these two teams have been playing, the Skins absolutely deserve to be the favorite, but I'm still a little surprised that Vegas actually did it. I'm still not sure how consistent Washington can be, and this seems like a perfect opportunity to fall flat.
Joe: Griffskins; (That's the nickname I would have used). I like the skins alot. They look like much more of a SB contender than the Rats lately. They can run the ball, they have a QB that doesn't turn the ball over and makes explosive plays with his feet, and they have a good defense. Baltimore looks like a team that will be bounced at home in Rd 1 of the playoffs.
Nick: Skins.
AFF:Joe's name was better than mine, so I changed it. And no way in hell do I take the rats against RG3 and the Griffskins. That guy's a baller.

NEWTONS (+4) vs Dirty Birds
Figgs: ATL. 4? Don't you mean 8? ($ -3.5)
Joe: Newtons; I'm gonna quote Lee Corso on this small spread. "Somebody know something that the rest of us don't know. So I'm going to go with the Somebody."
Nick: Panthers.
AFF:I don't know the Something to which Joe is referring, but I do know that the Panthers lost to the Chieves last week, so I'm taking the Dirty Birds

JAGOFFS (+3) vs J! E! T! S!
Figgs: I would rather watch a UMass/Northern Iowa women's javelin contest in which all participants are overweight and total uggos than this game. I'm going to take a stand and not even pick this game and just take the loss.
Joe: Jagoffs; HA! Automatic loss. That's priceless! (I have no insight on my pick, but I'm still gonna make one to try and add to my lead in the standings.)
Nick: Jagoffs.
AFF:In the words of my buddy BK: woof. I'll take the Jets, because frankly, it's been an off year for the NIU Lady Tracksters.

SQUEALERS (-7) vs Bolts
Figgs: Chargers. I'm fully on record that SD sucks total ass, but like I'm going to take a Charlie Batch-led shitsburgh team giving a full touchdown.
<>Joe: Bolts; </>Yeah, they suck. But of course I'm going against that freakin team.
Nick: Pittsburgh.
AFF:I hate when Pittsburgh is favored, in part because it means they have a good chance to win, and also because if you take them, you run the risk of having to watch them win and simultaneously not cover, which is infuriating. What I'm saying here, is Bolts.

(4:05 kickoff)
SAN FIASCO (-10) vs Fish
Figgs: Cisco. I never have any idea with this team. They should cover this by halftime, but there's a decent chance they just go out and lose altogether.
Joe: Fish; Just because of the inconsistency in SF and the fact that the spread is so big.
Nick: Dolphins.
AFF: I'll take the Fish here in anticipation of some inevitable quibble by Nick that the line isn't -9.5 instead.

(4:25 kickoffs)
SHEHAWKS (-10) vs Free Larry!
Figgs: 'Hawks. Hate taking another double-digit favorite that I don't have a lot of confidence in. Then again, it's the Cardinals.
Joe: Shehawks; 12th man and Beast Mode vs this abortion of a franchise and some guy called Lindley? You can take your 10 points.
Nick: Hawks.
AFF: Lindley and Foles: Attorneys at Law. I think the Cardinals will lose close as Larry Fitz auditions for a decent team.

G-MEN (-5) vs 'Aints
Figgs: Saints. Same goes for NYG as SF. The only difference is the Giants are playing a good team this week.
Joe: 'Aints; Their playoff dreams are all but over, but they should still come to play just in case of a miracle. The GMen are an enigma. I'll go with bad GMen this week.
Nick: Saints.
AFF: Brees can't be that bad two weeks in a row, right? And the Giants know if they win too many they'll have to play a home playoff game, and that's not how
they roll, so I'm going 'Aints

Sunday Night Football, 8:20 kickoff
PACK (-7) vs Megatrons
Figgs: Lions. Should be a shootout, I'll take Detroit making a game of it.
Joe: Pack; Not sure about giving a full TD, but the Trons have got to be so deflated after back to back Browns-esque heartbreaking losses.
Nick: Packers.
AFF: Let's go with the Pack here, because otherwise I'd have to back a football team from the state of michigan, the entirety of about which I do not care.

Monday Night Football, 8:30 kickoff
PATSIES (-3) vs Cows
Figgs: Tex. Now we're talking MNF, two great weeks in a row. There's a very good chance this is an AFC Championship preview, and a Houston win here will guarantee it's played in Texas. I wish for that to happen.
Joe: Cows; This goes against my better judgement of to always pick Brady, but I just think Houston does everthing well. Solid QB, great running game, playmaking wideouts, and solid defense. They are the prototypical SB championship team.
Nick: Pats.
AFF:I'm taking the Cows as well - there's something papery about this Patriots team, explosive as their offense is, that I can see being exposed in this contest.

Figgs $ teaser: Cleveland (-1)/Indianapolis (SU)/Seattle (-4)