There’s a nip in the air

Steve Brownlee

“Aaah, look ma! The Armchair Quarterback is taking the Packers this week! Time to bet on whoever they’re playing!”

I think I hear that in my sleep with all the “wonderful” picking I’m doing this season.

Here’s hoping that this new nip in the air gets me into the spirit of Halloween, football, bowling … but probably not pumpkin spice.

I don’t mind pumpkin pie, but to me the real tastes of October are definitely apple cider, and though I’ve hardly had any over the last two decades, caramel apples.

That’s OK, though, I’d like to think I’m helping keep down the price of pumpkin spice (or keeping it from rising as high) by not adding to the demand for it.

Changing gears, it might be a downer for Packer fans this week that Green Bay isn’t playing, but hey, that means no interrupted week off for the duration of the season.

By the way, the Lions aren’t off until the first weekend of November, but don’t panic if you don’t see the Honolulu blue and silver on your TV at 1 p.m. this Sunday.

From what I’m reading, the NFL wanted to “take advantage of the new popularity” of the Lions and has moved their game at Tampa Bay this weekend to 4:25 p.m.

What a surreal world were living in!

So onto the picks:


Today, 8:15 p.m.

Denver at Kansas City — Speaking of surreal, there’s probably some world where it would make sense to really study this game in trying to pick the winner. Not one I live in. Chiefs, 40-22.


Sunday, 9:30 a.m.

Baltimore vs. Tennessee, at London — All right, now I know something is wrong. Where’s the home team here? — Jacksonville, of course, is the team I’m talking about. They just finished consecutive weeks in the capital of Britain, also winning back-to-back there.

Now to look at the teams that are actually playing overseas this weekend — both seem to be having middling success against middling teams. Like this past weekend, the Ravens lost to Pittsburgh and the Titans lost to Indianapolis, each on the road and by seven points. I don’t remember too many of these games in London being shootouts, so I’ll take the team that plays it more often close to the vest. Titans, 19-17.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

Washington at Atlanta — These teams seem to be evenly enough matched that I’ll employ “reverse momentum.” Doesn’t that sound like if I applied “reverse momentum” to my car when I got stuck in the ditch, that would be what convinces me to just try and push the car further into that ditch? Aah, there’s an analogy for the way I pick these games.

Anyway, since the Falcons pulled out a barnburner over Houston on Sunday and Washington was embarrassed on national TV by losing — actually getting blown out by — the Bears last Thursday, I have to take the Commanders, 24-18.


Minnesota at Chicago — This is “reverse mo” that makes real sense. Chicago must feel like a weight was lifted as 0-17 is no longer in play. The Vikings, I’m sure, are getting real tired of being reminded that their 11-0 record in one-score games of last year has turned into 0-4 this year. So even without Justin Jefferson, who was placed on injured reserve a few days ago, I’ll take the Vikings, 33-24.


Seattle at Cincinnati — The one time I saw Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow running for yardage on Sunday, he didn’t look to be limping anymore. But that could be a very temporary condition if he keeps trying to do that. And I’ve a sneaking suspicion Seattle is going to try and make him do that, since they piled up 11 sacks on the Giants the last time they played. Seahawks, 27-17.


San Francisco at Cleveland — I was looking at this game as a letdown for San Fran after their smackdown of Dallas on Sunday night. Then I see Browns QB Deshaun Watson is still listed as “out” from Monday practice. Uh-uh, not going there. 49ers, 34-22.


New Orleans at Houston — Two of the somewhat feel-good stories of this season. I’ll take the one both at home and coming off a loss, rather than the one on the road and working off a win. Texans, 23-20.


Indianapolis at Jacksonville — Now what are the Jaguars going to do as they don’t have any more home games this season? They’re stuck playing a bunch of contests in Jacksonville, some little town in north Florida. I’ll take my chances with Colts QB Anthony Richardson likely out. Jaguars, 26-24.


Carolina at Miami — If it wasn’t winless Carolina and if it wasn’t a home game, I’d like to pick against Miami. Yeah, that’s what they all say. Dolphins, 34-29.


Sunday, 4 p.m.

Detroit at Tampa Bay — Hmmmm … Looking up a couple facts, I see that over the last five years, Tampa has only gone 1-4 following its bye (they were off last week). Then, looking more closely, that win started the Buccaneers on a streak where they never lost again that season before winning the Super Bowl in 2021 … OK … and the score was 47-7 … Sure, that makes sense … And it was against the Detroit Lions.


But there’s an upside — that was Matt Patricia’s last year as head coach in Detroit and some guy named Tom Brady was Tampa’s QB. Considering there’s no Super Bowl on the Bucs’ horizon and the guy playing QB is not Tom Brady, I’ll pick Detroit to do at least a 41-point turnaround. Lions, 30-29.


New England at Las Vegas — My, how the mighty have fallen. Beware the team coming off the short week. But be a lot more beware of the team that hasn’t scored a touchdown the past two weeks. Vegas was at home Monday and is at home here, so I don’t see the short week as such a problem. Famous last words … Raiders, 23-6.


Arizona at Los Angeles Rams — I’m hearing that the Cardinals are having injury issues. That seems a real problem for a team that doesn’t value talent as much as draft picks. Rams, 35-17.


Philadelphia at New York Jets — Sure, the Jets are looking better lately, and sure, the Eagles have been not been impressive very often this year even while going 5-0. But I venture that the Jets are just the tonic that this Philly team needs. Eagles, 24-15.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

New York Giants at Buffalo — Speaking of tonics made out of New York football teams, the Buffalo defense should look a whole lot more whole on this night. Bills, 31-14.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Dallas at Los Angeles Chargers — It’s hard to pick against a team at home coming off the bye, but the Chargers seem to be a “league leader in pulling defeats out of the jaws of victory” (say that with a Charlton Heston voice). And their pass defense is so atrocious that Dallas QB Dak Prescott can look like a world beater on national TV. Cowboys, 29-24.


Last week — 7-7, 50 percent. Season — 46-32, 59 percent.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 552. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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