It was a relatively depressing sports weekend overall. While the Tigers have been patiently waiting for their World Series to start and the Wolverines beat the Spartans in a surprisingly defensive game, the Lions looked like poo against the Bears and the Cardinals lost three in a row to the Giants to strip me of a can’t-lose World Series (I’m not enough of a baseball fan to have a strong opinion about my hometown against my adopted hometown, although now I can go all-out Tigers with a clear conscience). The NFL picks didn’t help me feel any better. Let’s get through this.
The over/under, as usual, was underwhelming if not outright disastrous. Luigi was only 2-11, Yoshi 1 7-6, and Yoshi 2 3-10. That brings their season records to 32-53-3, 39-46-3, and 35-50-3.
Picking outright winners went a bit better. Luigi was 9-4, Yoshi 1 8-5, and Yoshi 2 8-5. That brings their season records to 47-41, 51-37, and 48-40. It looks like the oddness from the beginning of the season is starting to subside. However, the moneyline picks were terrible. Luigi was 2-11, Yoshi 1 1-12, and Yoshi 2 2-11. That puts their season records at 22-59, 31-51, and 28-54.
For what it’s worth, some of the upset picks were close ones. When the nicest thing you can say about your offense/special teams is a toss-up between “at least they weren’t shut out” and “hey, they only lost half their 6 fumbles”, you’d expect a beatdown was delivered. But the Lions were an onside kick away from another Hail Mary attempt to beat the Bears. Going in I didn’t really expect them to win, but it was a disappointing game to watch. The defense did a great job; they held the Bears to field goals and even blocked one, and in the third quarter it looked like Cutler was physically incapable of throwing the ball more than 10 yards due to the beating he was taking. But the offense never took advantage, and instead turned it over three times in the red zone and muffed a punt for good measure. As the game played out, the Lions definitely had a chance to win.
Another close call was Jets-Patriots, which went to overtime. I didn’t see the whole game, so I can’t comment on it too much, but I will touch on one of Bill Barnwell’s observations from the game. First of all, let’s say that if your headline is that a 4-3 team is flawed you might want to come up with something catchier (not that I’m one to talk). But more to the point, the final play of the game was not a Patriots penalty. Here’s the play. As you can see especially clearly in the second go-through, Cunningham (I’m assuming, that’s the name with #96 on the ESPN roster) dives at Sanchez’ feet and reaches out and trips him. Barnwell says that should have been a Brady rule penalty. However, the Brady rule says that a downed player has to get up and lunge at the quarterback. Compare the Jets play to the original Brady play and note how Pollard is down but throws himself straight at Brady’s knee. That’s the kind of the thing the rule is supposed to stop, not players grabbing a quarterback’s ankle. In any event, the Jets certainly had a decent shot at winning that game and giving the models a W.
Ok, so now that I’ve distracted you a bit, let’s go to the spreads. We had two pushes, 49ers-Seahawks (thanks to Jim Harbaugh) and Vikings-Cardinals. In all games, Luigi was 3-8-2, Yoshi 1 was 5-6-2, and Yoshi 2 was 3-8-2. Pretty awful. That puts their season records at 36-47-5, 46-37-5, and 38-45-5. In pickable games, Luigi was 2-7-2, Yoshi 1 5-6-2 (he had a pick for every game), and Yoshi 2 3-5-2. Their season records are 31-33-5, 38-27-5, and 31-32-5.
As you can imagine, the consensus picks didn’t do very well. They were 2-5-2 against the spread for a season total of 23-18-2. Not bad but not great. The Hilton SuperContest picks also failed to impress. Luigi was 1-4, so was Yoshi 2 with the same picks, and Yoshi 1 was 1-4 with a different set of games. Their season records are 13-15-2, 14-15-1, and 13-15-2.
Finally we’ll wrap up with Bill Simmons. With his lines, only the 49ers-Seahawks game was a push. Bill went 6-6-1, Luigi a tragicomic 1-11-1, Yoshi 1 4-6-1, and Yoshi 2 2-10-1. That puts the season records at Bill 48-37-3, Luigi 37-48-3, Yoshi 1 45-38-3, and Yoshi 2 36-49-3.
Alright, so a disappointing week is in the books. Looking forward to next week, I can only tell you two things: the Bears and Packers should win. Maybe in the meantime the Lions will figure out how to get themselves back in the playoff race.