Week 11 picks: Discerning the Correct Message

Jim Vallet and Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

In my lifetime, I have incorrectly heard the words, and therefore the messages, of many popular and iconic songs. Instead of, “…His truth is marching on…”, from the “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, I somehow heard, “…His truth is Mardi Gras”. When the Bee Gees sang, “More than a woman”, my less than stellar ears heard, “Bald headed woman”. The AC/DC song, “Dirty deeds and they’re done dirt cheap” became, “Dirty deeds and the dunder heep”, (whatever that is). Although Jimi Hendrix sang, “Scuse me, while I guess the sky”, I was sure it was, “Scuse me, while I kiss this guy”. When the Beatles sang, “I can’t hide…”, in “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, I was sure they were singing, “I can’t have…”. Until very recently, I thought ELO’s “Don’t bring me down, groose” was, “Don’t bring me down, Bruce”. You really can’t blame me for this one since groose isn’t even a real word. There are many more, not even including songs where I had no idea what the lyrics were, like the Kingmen’s 60’s hit, “Louie Louie”. (Although, I assumed the lyrics were dirty until recently when I looked them up online)

It is easy to misinterpret elections, and many politicians have lost their careers doing that. If one of my teams was outscored by nine runs, I would be ecstatic to go 1-1, as a former president has done by losing the popular vote in two elections by nearly nine million votes. In the recent midterm elections, Democrats should be very cautious to claim too much since, as of this writing, they have received nearly five million less votes than Republicans in House elections. And, think if you were a candidate that received less votes than the “None of these” choice. It might make me reconsider that Walmart job offer.

Similarly, interpreting NFL data to make predictions about the future can be very costly to you. The Bears beat the Patriots pretty handily. The Patriots easily walloped the Lions. So of course, it makes perfect sense that the Lions beat the Bears. The Colts fired a well respected NFL head coach in favor of a high school coach, went back to a benched veteran QB, and beat the Raiders in Las Vegas. The mighty Cowboys came off a bye week and promptly lost to the Packers, who were on a five game losing streak and were said to be soft against the run. The Raiders acquired arguably the best receiver in the NFL and a great pass rusher, dumped an interim head coach in favor of a well respected offensive “genius”, and instead of fighting for the playoffs now sit at 2-7. Last year the Steelers had a much criticized quarterback and they made the playoffs. This year, that quarterback is retired but the Steelers are 3-6. Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos should be a match made in heaven, right? The Seahawks are losing a great QB and replacing him with a journeyman. That can’t work, right? The 1972 Miami Dolphins can celebrate as the only undefeated team in the NFL this year lost to the 11½ point underdog Washington Red…ahh, Footba….ahh, Commanders at home Monday night. And they won with a backup quarterback. 


But to make an already tough to read book even harder, some things may not be changing. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady both led their respective teams to big wins over the weekend, proving that reports of their demises may be premature. The Chargers continue to have only bad luck and lots of injuries. The Chiefs continue to win. DeAndre Hopkins and Justin Jeferson continue to make catch after catch. Sometimes the home team wins, sometimes they don’t. And some referees believe that 80,000 people paid $100.00 or more a ticket to watch them make holding calls.

So, I think I’ve finally figured it all out. The more information I know, the worse I do at predicting the outcomes of NFL games. Like not discerning a single word from “Louie Louie” was a lot better than turning the meaning of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” into a farce with his truth Mardi Grasing, not knowing anything about this season’s NFL would have been a lot better for me than the knowledge I have. I guess the real message is don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.

I guess it’s easy to discern that I had a bad week last week. I’ll try to do better this week. Here are my picks against the spread. Lines are from on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Tennessee Titans (+3) at Green Bay Packers: The Titans can run the ball and the Packers can’t stop the run.

Detroit Lions (+3) at NY Giants: Go Lions!

Houston Texans (+3) vs Washington Commanders: Coming off a big Monday Night win, this is a classic sandwich game for Washington

NY Jets (+3) at New England Patriots: I think the Jets outplayed the Pats a couple of weeks ago, but their QB gave the game away. I think Zach Wilson will not pull a Sam Darnold and learn from that game.

New Orleans Saints (-4) vs. LA Rams: The Rams just lost 30-40% of their terrible offense when they lost Cooper Kupp. The Saints have been offensively inept, but the Rams seem worse. This game could end up 6-0.

Philadelphia Eagles (-6 ½) at Indianapolis Colts I said all I want to about the Colts last week.

SF 49ers (-8) at Arizona Cardinals The Chargers, somehow, kept it close. The Cardinals won’t.

Last week 2-5

Season 30-27

Robert’s picks

Connecticut (+10) over Army: I don’t know what Jim Mora Jr.’s motivation was in taking the head coaching job at UConn, but he’s done a terrific job there. This was a team that just a couple of years ago was right with UMass as one of the two worst in the country, and now they’re already eligible for a bowl. Now they get 10 points from an Army team that’s 3-6 and hasn’t even scored 10 in either of its last two games.

Kansas (+9) over Texas: At 6-4, this Texas season hasn’t been a disaster, but it also hasn’t been the revival season all the Texas exes expected. But the Longhorns are still being priced as if it is. Too many points

Iowa (+2 ½) at Minnesota: I understand exactly why the oddsmakers have to make Minnesota the favorite in this game, but Iowa is playing much better down the stretch than the Gophers. Amazingly, despite their offense being the laughingstock of the college football media for the first six or seven weeks of the season, Iowa has the most clear path out of the Big Ten West to make the conference championship game. I think this team is surging, and it’s a team not many people want to bet on because of their early offensive struggles.

UCLA (+2 ½) over USC: This would have been a much bigger game if UCLA hadn’t gotten caught looking ahead last week. USC has been getting the attention all year, but I think UCLA is better, and is certainly been tested more this season.

Mississippi (-2 ½) at Arkansas: The Razorbacks got the money for me last week against LSU, but they didn’t deserve it. They were thoroughly outplayed despite not getting anything near LSU’s ‘A’ game. Now for the second straight week Arkansas faces a team coming off playing Alabama, but Ole Miss is coming off a loss, and has two good running backs to send time and time again at that soft Arkansas run defense.

Cowboys (-1 ½) over Vikings: The Cowboys lost a game to Green Bay last Sunday they had no business losing, and the Vikings not only had no business winning in Buffalo, but considering how it happened, it was one of the most unlikely wins I’ve ever seen. Vikings games always seem to come down to the final drive, but I think they used up a few weeks’ worth of luck last Sunday.

Chiefs (-5) at Chargers: Laying points in divisional road games is tough, but where the 49ers were content to run the ball, knowing Justin Herbert doesn’t’ have the weapons right now to hurt them, the Chiefs have a different mindset offensively, and they’ll attack early, and if they build a lead, the Chargers’ lack of weapons will prevent a comeback.

Last week

College 3-0

NFL 1-1


College 15-25-1

NFL 10-14

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