(NOTE: I realize that you're going to be distracted by the video above of Shaun King paying off a bet with Anwar Richardson by dressing in a cheerleader outfit during their picks segment. Go ahead, check it out. We'll wait. And, don't forget he's @realshaunking on Twitter.)
I apologize for previously insinuating before that the 2013 Jacksonville Jaguars are irrelevant. Actually, they're captivating.
This isn't your garden variety bad NFL team. We may be witnessing something pretty historic. They're 0-4 overall. They have the worst DVOA rating that Football Outsiders has ever tracked through four games, and by a wide margin. And, the Jaguars are 0-4 against the spread.
Even bad teams cover the spread. The 2008 Lions, the only 0-16 team in NFL history, went 7-9 against the spread according to Covers.com archives. Last season, only three NFL teams had more than 10 losses against the spread (Eagles 12, Chargers 11 and Raiders 11).
The 11.5-point spread being put on Jacksonville's game against St. Louis is a statement. The same thing happened with the aforementioned Lions, who were also 0-4 against the spread after four games. Here's their game-by-game results against the spread through four games:
Week 1: 3.5-point favorites (!!!) at Atlanta, didn't cover
Week 2: 3-point underdogs vs. Green Bay, didn't cover
Week 3: 5-point underdogs at San Francisco, didn't cover
Week 4: bye
Week 5: 3.5-point underdogs vs. Chicago, didn't cover
Week 6: 13-point underdogs at Minnesota, covered
Week 7: 11-point underdogs at Houston, covered
So you see what happened. After four games, Las Vegas decided enough was enough on the 2008 Detroit Lions and made people pay a hefty price to bet against them. And the putrid Lions covered those double-digit spreads in their fifth and sixth games (Detroit covered seven of its last 12 games).
The oddsmakers have already hung some large numbers on the Jaguars, to no avail. They couldn't cover 19.5 points two weeks ago or 9.5 points at home last week. And now they're 11.5-point underdogs against one of the five worst teams in the NFL. Wow.
Long story short: If the Jaguars don't cover this week, we might be entering bad-team territory that we've never seen before. I'm not going to go against history, so I say the Jaguars cover at St. Louis. But their march towards history is enough to hold my interest on Sunday.
Here are the rest of the picks:
Bills (+3.5) over Browns (picked Thursday): Once Jeff Tuel got in the game, this was sunk. Buffalo and Tuel could have been given 12 more quarters against that Browns defense and not scored.
Bengals (-1) over Patriots: This is a tough schedule spot for the Patriots, who just won in Atlanta last week. On a more important note, in our quarter-season All-Pro team and awards, the one thing I pushed hard for (and got outvoted on) was Bill Belichick as coach of the year. Sean Payton has done a great job too, but Belichick is the best NFL coach since Bill Walsh and is having one of his best seasons. I hate how coach of the year awards are decided, and it'll be terrible when the best coach is passed over this season.
Lions (+7) over Packers: Green Bay is coming off a bye week and fully understands this is as must-win as it gets for a Week 5 game. But that's too many points. It'll be a Packers win, but a close one.
Titans (+2.5) over Chiefs: Yep, even with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for the Titans. Tennessee can still run the ball, has a nasty defense, and is at home. The Titans are a good team. Not sure if you've noticed that.
Colts (+2.5) over Seahawks: Another tough scheduling spot. It will be difficult for Seattle to get up again after winning an overtime road game at Houston last week. So don't flood my inbox when I don't move them down in the power rankings.
Dolphins (-3) over Ravens: What have we seen from the Ravens' offense this year to make anyone think they can cover against a good team on the road? (And Miami is still good; getting blasted at the Superdome will happen to a few teams.)
Panthers (-2) over Cardinals: If Carolina loses this game at Arizona, we'll know they're headed towards a tidy 6-10 or 5-11 season. (Back to more pressing matters ... THE GIANTS POTENTIALLY COULD BE A GAME OUT OF FIRST PLACE BY SUNDAY NIGHT!)
Cowboys (+7.5) over Broncos: Denver can't just roll every team by 20, right?
Texans (+6.5) over 49ers: The last time San Francisco played on this field, the 49ers were dominated by an AFC South team.
Chargers (-4.5) over Raiders: If you're up past midnight watching this game because you have a wager on either side, you need an intervention.
Falcons (-10) over Jets: Atlanta will be angry after last week, and Geno Smith on the road is still a frightening proposition.
Last week: 8-7
Season record: 26-35-2
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