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Ghastly and Ghoulish

Written By Bo McBrayer@Bo_McBigTime

​It is All Hallow’s Eve, which calls upon all spirits to come alive and visit us in our realm. My family also celebrates the Day of the Dead on November 1, so that we may celebrate the memory of the loved ones who have passed by throwing a party in their honor. We make their favorite foods and drinks, play their favorite tunes, and set them a place at the table and tell stories about them that they surely would tell better themselves. We even set out a pack of Marlboro Lights for Aunt Pat and a case of Diet Pepsi for Grandmas Jessie and Ida. Their souls are alive and well in the brisk Autumn night air, so I will try and channel Grandpa Willie and his disdain for boring football games for this week’s PICANTakes.

​In Week 7, I very nearly started a winning streak. Two of the PICANTakes were all but wins until they weren’t. The ones that completely missed were Latavius Murray outpacing Alvin Kamara and Ronald Jones exploding and ending up as RB1 on the week. Murray was not as big a part of the game plan, as Sean Payton instead opted to take the blinders off Drew Brees and feature a diverse passing attack without Michael Thomas. RoJowas a victim of a negative game script early on with the Raiders surprisingly fast start, then gave way to “nickel back” Leonard Fournette later in the game when the Bucs had put the game away.

My near hits were the three highest expected totals in Week 7 ALL going under the number. The first two were right on the money. Detroit and Atlanta played to a 45 total in a grinding game that I completely nailed. I seem to have the Falcons game flow pegged, because I also won money in DFS on Thursday when they faced the Panthers. The 45 was well under the implied 56 across multiple sports books. The other game was closer, with the Packers and Texans playing to a 55 total, just getting me under the implied 57. In the end, this bet was a loser, because I had predicted the Cardinals-Seahawks game to be under the 55.5 total, and the over hit in the fourth quarter and went even further over by the end of the game in overtime. I honestly think Chris Carson’s injury is what did me in. I felt like the Seahawks ultimately lost the game because they weren’t able to kill the clock with the grinding running game with Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer, and DeeJay Dallas.

The second near hit was the two-fer I predicted with the Washington Football Team beating my Dallas Cowboys by 10 or more (check!) AND forcing at least three turnovers. They won handily, but surprisingly only forced one turnover. The Cowboys did fumble twice in the game, but recovered both of them to avoid my subdued victory lap because it would have been at the expense of my favorite team. It’s still a loss, but I was sad to see the first half of the take as an easy win. The Cowboys have been an outright failure this season, so they deserve all the jokes and hate thrown their way.

This week, my PICANTakes will be spooky and spicy like a Ghost Pepper. I will again base them on plausible sequences of events, but not ones that are likely to happen in an expected game flow narrative. Hit me up on Twitter with your own hot takes. It sure is a lot of fun to watch the games and see everything unfold through the unique lens of my own convoluted imagination.

Steelers and Ravens Will Combine for Fewer Than 35 Points

The betting line on this one is currently 46.5. Each offense is more than capable of dropping 35 points on an opponent in their own right, but I am expecting a true AFC North trench war. The weather on the east coast is shaping up to be pretty nasty, and these defenses have shown a resemblance to one another in that they can shut down opposing running games completely and force turnovers in the passing game. I see the scoring coming at a premium, with special teams the ultimate deciding factor in field position and field goal kicking. This one will go well under the implied Vegas total.

The Packers Will Beat the Vikings by 17+ Points

For how evenly matched these two teams appeared to be in the preseason, they could not have begun the season on more opposite trajectories. Green Bay is 5-1 and, despite playing without their star running back Aaron Jones and wide receiver Allen Lazard, have only struggled in the one game on the offensive side of the ball. Aaron Rodgers has looked like a man possessed except for his terrible showing against Tampa Bay and his main target Davante Adams has been completely unguardable. Their defense has also played well, behind a strong pass rush and solid play in the secondary. Minnesota also has been without their star running back Dalvin Cook lately, but they have looked terrible all season. Kirk Cousins has been expectedly mediocre, despite strong showings by receivers Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson. The running game has only been effective with Cook on the field. Their main issue is their secondary. It has been shredded in every game this season. With how hot Rodgers and Adams have been, combined with how poorly the Vikings have defended, the Vikings’ only chance of avoiding a blowout is to establish an effective run game early with Cook back in the mix. Otherwise, I see a no-mercy approach from Green Bay, where Rodgers and Co will run up the score on their rivals and completely embarrass them. That is exactly what I picture happening in this game.

Melvin Gordon III and Le’Veon Bell Will Both Score 15+ PPR Points

Sweet REVENGE! I do not subscribe to the idea that any player going against a former team constitutes as a revenge game. These two are actually facing the team that spurned them recently. The Chargers outright refused to reward Gordon with a contract extension that he felt he deserved. The Jets just outright released Bell after paying him a lucrative signing bonus last season. Neither player will be shouldering the workload alone: Gordon is likely to yield touches to Phillip Lindsay, who is expected to pass concussion protocol today, and Bell is the third down back behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire going against the Jets. I expect the Broncos to feature Gordon and ease Lindsay back in with him not allowed to practice all week. The Chargers also recently were ripped apart by undrafted rookie James Robinson and the Jaguars. Bell will be a game script play, where nobody in their right mind expects a close game between the defending champs and the worst NFL team I have ever watched. That paves the way for Bell to see a good deal of second half work, with a mission to give Adam Gase another reason for his eyes to bulge like the hapless moron he is.

The Raiders and Browns Will Combine for 1,000 Total Yards and 70+ Total Points

This was already a spicy prediction…before the weather forecast showed strong winds and rain in the cards for Northeast Ohio. Now, we are seeing all sorts of people fading this game and its players in fantasy. This weather is not a reason to upgrade these equally terrible defenses. On top of that, both offenses have really been clicking and scoring points on better defenses than they will face Sunday. I still envision Kareem Hunt and Josh Jacobs busting multiple long runs and the play action for each team will result in more big scoring plays. Wind and rain only slow down the deep passing game, but it still won’t be impossible to make big plays. I decided not to pivot from this final PICANTake because it’s Halloween 2020, and crazier things have already happened.

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