By Justin Boylan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Confession time: I was worried about my pick last week. For those who missed it, I had the Chargers on the road in Jacksonville. At the time, I was concerned about the Chargers’ inconsistent play (they hadn’t won back-to-back games), their short week combined with a trip across the country and a puzzling seven-point spread.
Did Vegas know something I didn’t? How could the Jaguars, whose closest game was a 10-point loss in Oakland, only be a touchdown underdog? I ignored my confusion, locked it in and hoped my gut feeling would prevail.
It did, and turns out you don’t even need a gut to pick against Jacksonville. As I jumped to the RedZone during commercial breaks of Eagles-Cowboys, the game was never in jeopardy.
The Jags didn’t score a touchdown and the Chargers won easily, which leaves suiciders with a question worth asking. Can you make it through the 94WIP Suicide Pool simply by picking against the Jacksonville Jaguars? There are probably a handful of people out there who have taken the Jags’ opponent every single week and are nodding vigorously.
Obviously, with the bye week and division games it’s not possible to survive entirely off their misery. However, they end the season with curtain calls against the Titans and Colts, and their second match-up with the Texans isn’t until week 14. So you could potentially make it to early December, roadblock games not included, picking against those beautiful two-tone helmets.
Since it’s only ever happened once, the odds of Jacksonville going 0-16 aren’t great, but going 0-12 before their rematch with Houston seems like a safe bet. They get the Cardinals at home (week 11) and play the Browns in Cleveland (week 13), which are their best non-divisional chances of getting a win. Both of those terrible teams still average close to 10 more points per game than the Jags.
If you do go with this anti-Jaguars approach, be aware of their week 9 bye. When that day comes you could go with (checking the schedule…) the Seahawks at home against the winless, Doug Martin-less, Mike Glennon-led Buccaneers. Wait, are the Bucs worse than the Jags? Maybe we can tackle that next week. Let’s make some picks.
My Selection – Saints vs. Bills
I trust the Saints at home coming off the bye against almost any team in the league. I stayed away from taking Miami last week (also home and off the bye) because I’d rather ride with Thad Lewis than Ryan Tannehill. This week I’m riding with Drew Brees because advanced stats tell us he is not Ryan Tannehill.
The Bills run the ball very well, but have the third-worst passing game. You can’t keep up with the Bayou Boys in the Dome by handing the ball off to Fred Jackson (Spiller fantasy owners shake their heads in disgust).
Looking at the Saints schedule, it’s the perfect time to use them as a life jacket. Three of their next five games are on the road, and the two at home are against the Cowboys and 49ers.
Best Bet for Survival – 49ers at Jaguars
The anti-Jaguars approach! This game isn’t actually in Jacksonville. It’s in London. Are Jags fans upset they only get seven home games or are they happy this one is happening 4,000 miles away? Good luck finding one to ask.
Cheating Death – Steelers at Raiders
Not an upset, but when the Steelers were a messy 0-4 did you ever think they’d be usable in the pool? Pittsburgh’s defense has improved since their week 5 bye, winning two straight against the I-don’t-know-if-they’re-good Jets and the I’m-pretty-sure-they’re-bad Ravens.
Oakland was off last week, but hasn’t been a team that benefits from the bye. They haven’t turned time off into a win since 2002, the year they won the AFC with Rich Gannon. I like the Steelers to get to 3-4 and somehow work their way into the Wildcard race.
Keep picking against the Jags. Together we can beat the system.
Justin Boylan is a producer at 94WIP and graduate of Temple University. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @justintboylan.