(Editor’s note:  Mixed into a rambling narrative about the current state of affairs in the NFL loaded with historical, music and pop culture references, Mr. Brutal makes his football picks. …

(Editor’s note:  Mixed into a rambling narrative about the current state of affairs in the NFL loaded with historical, music and pop culture references, Mr. Brutal makes his football picks.  Bob Gaughan makes his, too. It is called “The War of 1812 Football Prognostication” probably because he is Canadian, Bob is American and they have some huge unknown cross border stakes riding on their year-to-year competition. So get with the programme, honour the concept and enjoy the colourful Canadian flavour.)

…… Sunday, October 2, 2016 ……

……. 9:30 am Eastern Time ………..

Indianapolis @ JACKSONVILLE (-2.5) 49

( Wembley Stadium, London, UK )

Image result for Wembley stadium nfl images

The Jaguars are back in their second home. The home of overcooked food, inbred royals and true believers in an as yet undefined tyranny perpetrated by the European Union upon their magic kingdom.

The NFL made this British arrangement and the Jags have made a lot of money, signing on for more games into the future. Jacksonville so far, is 1-2 in these games, their lone win coming over Buffalo. They are 0-3 in the NFL this year and have been a dissapointment to many who thought they were ready to take a big step forward.

We made them one of our rotating “Teams of Destiny” this year which may have been their kiss of death. QB Blake Bortles has not played well or successfully targeted his very good wide receiver weapons often enough to win games.

Jacksonville lost in Florida by two points last week to a very tough Baltimore team & the Indianapolis Colts hung on at home to beat the inconsistent Chargers.

Bortles & the Jags need the win more, so they will “Brexit” the Colts from the United Kingdom and they will head home to Mid America with a loss.

Brutal: JAGUARS -2.5

Bob: Colts +2.5

…… 1:00 pm Eastern Time ……..
Tennessee @ HOUSTON (-6.5)

Houston is reeling from their shutout loss last Thursday to New England who were only using their fourth & fifth string quarterbacks. They also lost DE, infomercial celebrity and face of the franchise J.J. Watt, likely for the rest of the year. Also likely out, is second face of the franchise, MLB Brian Cushing who has practiced after missing two games, but even if plays, is much less than 60%.

Call it a hunch, but we like the Titans. Houston’s offense has been average & QB Brock Osweiler is showing signs of being a 2016 version of Scott Mitchell, Matt Cassell or Matt Flynn. He is not reading defenses well or consistently getting the ball to his open receivers. DC Dick LeBeau of Tennessee will shade, shadow & double team the Texans’ best weapon, WR DeAndre Hopkins. Despite being 1-2, the Nashville Greek Gods’ defense has been solid.

Tennessee will likely run the ball all day against that beat up Texans’ front seven, forcing the safeties up to the box, setting up Mariotta for big throws down the field. Tennessee will likely pull this off with QB Mariotta running it in on a fourth down scramble.

Call it a hunch.

Brutal: Titans +6.5

Bob: Titans +6.5

Cleveland @ WASHINGTON (-9)

The Browns almost beat Miami last week using third & fourth string quarterbacks Cody Kessler & utility all star Terrelle Pryor. Unfortunately, unlike New England who used the same formula last week to shut out the “Dead Cow Heads,” the Browns came up short in overtime.

To make things worse, every qualified, intelligent & legitimate columnist, journalist and television talking head has weighed in this week on the Browns’ ineptness in trading away their draft pick that could have landed them QB wunderkind Carson Wentz who is thriving in Philly.

ESPN’s Trent Dilfer has also probably given his opinion on this matter.

Things don’t all look bleak for Cleveland.

The Browns do have weapons. Wide receivers Corey Coleman & Pryor, Tight End Gary Barnidge & Running Back Isaiah Crowell all have played well. Crowell is currently number two in the NFL for total rushing yardage.

If his head is in the right space, WR Josh Gordon should really help as he is scheduled to return next week from his four game suspension for smoking pot regularly in a society that still to a great degree equates that habit with drowning puppies & kittens.

Stop the presses! Josh Gordon has just entered a rehab facility, so his imminent return has been delayed, probably till sometime in the next decade.

The big questions for this game are: Will the Browns be too tired and disappointed from that ultimately fruitless effort last week in Miami to pull off an upset in Washington?

…. and, ….

If Washington loses, will owner Little Danny Snyder go Wells Fargo and fire his entire lower management while accepting no blame himself?

Brutal: Browns +9

Seattle (-2.5) @ NEW YORK J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS! 40

QB Russell Wilson of the Seahawks says he will go in Gotham, but it looks like he will be playing the entire year banged up like a demolition derby wreck.

True, the Seahawks found their focus last week and dispatched the Forty Niners easily. However, they are the Forty Niners, and they are led by a quarterback in the personage of Blaine Gabbert who more and more is looking like the below average, overrated, system quarterback that came out of Missouri and made the Jacksonville Jaguars wish they had drafted just about anyone else.

The J-e-t-s, Jets! Jets! Jets! did lose last week in Kansas City, but their defence held up. We expect mega interception games occasionally from Ryan Fitzpatrick, although last week’s six was bad by any standard. Some of them were tipped or deflected and along with two other turnovers, the Jets literally gave that game away.

One good game by Seattle and one eight turnover loss by the Jets should not make the Seahawks a favourite on the road, especially with all the questions surrounding the Seahawk personnel, offensive inconsistency & their overall mental state.

Brutal: JETS +2.5

Bob: JETS +2.5

Buffalo @ NEW ENGLAND +6

It has been a long time since the Buffalo Bills won in Foxboro. Not counting their meaningless 17-9 win in 2014 when the Patriots had clinched their playoff spot, Buffalo last won 16-13 in OT in 2000.

Rex Ryan with the Jets & Bills is 1-9 in his last ten against Belichick and the chronic cheaters. …. Overall he is 0-7 in New England. Coming off a win last week over the Cardinals, an optimist would say that the Bills have mini momentum.

Well, we are nothing if not eternal optimists. All streaks, trends, teenage crushes, economic empires & football dynasties eventually end.

The question marks about who will start at quarterback for the Patriots won’t matter.

The QB situation has led to varying lines. In some places, the Patriots are favored by as little as 4.5 as seen at this web site.

It won’t matter because the one man who can derail the surging Buffalo Bills is nude sunbathing on the Italian Riviera for one more week.

Brutal: Bills +6

Bob: Bills +6

Carolina (-3.5) @ ATLANTA 50.5

A very interesting game after the Falcons put back to back road wins together in Oakland and New Orleans. The Panthers gave everybody pause after their complete offensive shutdown against the marauding Vikings last week in Charlotte. Fans also took pause. They were as mortified by Cam Newton’s post-game press conference fashion statement as they were by his distracted performance during the game.

After the game, standing in front of that microphone, Cam looked like a member of a James Bond villain’s entourage where colour blindness & bad taste were equal qualifiers to be a member.

Some of the concern surrounding him occurs because Newton has been unsure where to position himself amidst the civil unrest in Charlotte and the ongoing National Anthem protests by Colin Kaepernick & other athletes in the NFL and the greater sports world.

His bad body language and seemingly indifferent attitude exhibited during parts of the game against Minnesota were also troublesome.

This can partly be attributed to the fact that long-time sleaze bag Republican operative & pollster Frank Luntz has been hired by the Panthers to work with Newton to craft his image, give him talking points and manage his public relations.

That last fact is very odd, even surreal in a Jean Cocteau/Joan Miro manner, …. and completely true.

It shows what we always suspected. Cam Newton is incapable of being himself, getting comfortable in his own skin or standing for any natural principle without calculating what it will do to the image of his evolving personal brand or how it will affect his endorsement potential.

Image result for frank luntz images

Sometimes you just have to stand for what you think is right, damn the personal material considerations.

It feels like it will take at least another week for Newton to settle down and grasp that concept, …. if ever.

Three in a row for Matty Ice and the potent Falcons who welcome their first home game in three weeks.

Brutal: FALCONS +3.5

Bob: Falcons +3.5

Oakland @ BALTIMORE (-3.5) 46.5

The Raiders won last week in Nashville, flew back to the Bay area, checked out real estate prices in Las Vegas, practiced and flew back to the Eastern United States for the third time in four weeks.

As much as we hate watching the human ATM, Joe Flacco helm a row boat as much as we do a football team, he will likely thrive against this Raider defense that has really taken a step back from last year.

The long, accumulated travel miles give Baltimore a big edge, even with the hook. We are obliged to begrudgingly take the worst 3-0 team in the NFL.

Brutal: RAVENS -3.5

Bob: Raiders +3.5

Detroit (-2.5) @ CHICAGO

Former Jaguars’ & Bears’ Offensive Lineman Eben Britten recently admitted that he played in NFL games high on cannabis on at least three separate occasions. He suffered from pain due to sciatica and chronic shoulder problems, so he took it as an alternative treatment. He claimed it worked much better and was far safer than the addictive opioids & their organ damaging side effects that the team doctors pushed on him & his teammates on a regular basis.

Eben explained that a beneficial side effect, at least for him, was he was able to focus on his task at hand better for each individual play. His balance also seemed better and his spatial orientation improved remarkably. With many, the cementing of one’s physical surroundings is a side benefit from the use of mild psychotropics.

Eben said for him, it improved his performance and that wasn’t just his inner Tommy Chong talking. Those games were graded as three of his top five starts by the Jacksonville & Chicago coaching staffs during his six year NFL career. He is a vocal advocate for taking cannabis off the NFL banned substances list as a member of the “Gridiron Cannabis Coalition” group.

Looking at the state of their current offensive line, the winless Bears should consider doing just about anything that might improve their performance. Hiring Eben as an assistant coach, trainer & alternative medical therapy consultant might be a good first step.

The Bears have hired former Lions’ RB Joique Bell to help with their backfield situation. He could also let the Bears’ braintrust in on all those complex Detroit running formations & complex passing routes that Matt Stafford & company have been using for over half a decade.

That signing will make zero difference, unless we went into a time machine and it became 1985 again.

Brutal: Lions -2.5

Bob: Lions -2.5

……… 4:05 – 4:15 pm Eastern Standard Time …………..

Denver (-3) @ TAMPA BAY 43

Tampa Bay has really taken a step back in the last two weeks and their losses have not been pretty. QB Jameis Winston looks like he has hit a sophmore slump. The Buccaneers can’t blame faulty microphones, unfair questions, limited intelligence or lack of preparation for their recent performance like crybaby Donald Trump did after last week’s Presidential debate, but they can learn something from him.

Ignore the facts, double down on your arrogance, confidence & boldness, ….. forge ahead and pull off an upset.


Bob: BUCS +3

Los Angeles @ ARIZONA (-8.5) 43

The Rams cannot possibly match their turnover aided offensive output from last week. Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians cannot allow this game to unravel like last week’s trip to Buffalo which turned out to be as unhappy for them as it was for President William McKinley.

However, these are division rivals and that is too many points.

Brutal: Los Angeles +8.5


New Orleans @ SAN DIEGO (-3.5) 53.5

Two very disappointing teams thrown into a shoot-out. The Saints season is likely over all ready, but we’ll take the hook and hope this comes down to a game winning field goal.

Brutal: Saints +3.5

Bob: Saints +3.5

Dallas (-2.5) @ SAN FRANCISCO 45

Dez Bryant has not been happy that he is getting less attention this year, as the media are focusing on super rookie QB Zak Prescott. As a consequence, he has missed some meetings, skipped treatments and generally acted like a typical diva wide receiver. This got bad enough that owner Jerry Jones was finally forced to fine him.

Usually, Jones treats his prima donnas like a very rich, guilt ridden father who only sees his children on alternate weekends. So depending on how this latest mild admonishment affects Dez’s attitude, maybe this is progress, at least for Jones.

The call for Kaepernick to start is getting louder in San Fran as Blaine Gabbert continues to languish in the mediocrity that defined him since he was drafted. If the civil rights conscience of the NFL comes off the bench, we predict it’ll make all the difference, and it’ll lead the Niners to victory.

It looks like that could happen.

Brutal: FORTY NINERS +2.5

Bob: COWBOYS -2.5

…………… 8:30 pm Eastern Time …………

Kansas City @ PITTSBURGH (-5.5) 47

The Steelers got surprisingly skunked last week in the Battle for Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, with a rookie QB & Jim Schwartz’s versatile and aggressive defence made the Steelers look old, surprisingly slow and even more surprising, confused.

It seems crazy to think that the low scoring Chiefs could come into Western Pennsylvania with Alex Smith running things and win this game in prime time. Even if RB Jamal Charles is finally able to suit up, it won’t be enough.

The Steelers are not going to commit eight turnovers like the Jets did last week in Missouri. In that contest, the Chiefs still only accumulated twenty four points.

Let’s call last week’s loss in the City of Brotherly Love an aberration.

Brutal: STEELERS -5.5

Bob: STEELERS -5.5

………………. Monday, October 3, 2016 …………………

…………… 8:30 pm Eastern Time …………

New York Football Giants @ MINNESOTA (-4) 43

The Vikings won last week in Charlotte on the backs of their defence & a relatively mistake free, low yardage performance by their Adrian Petersonless offense. That’s great, but here is no way we trust any team led by Sam Bradford to cover more than a field goal.

Brutal: Giants +4

Bob: Giants +4

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