Red Fridays (on Thursday) at the Retirement Home
Your weekly NFL picks brought to you by our staff retired gambler, LaCharles himself
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Can it just be Sunday already? For just the fifth time this season the Chiefs are going to be on in the noon (central) slot on Sunday, and that means two things : the amount of anxiety I experience on Sunday is limited to the hours of ~7 AM to ~3 PM (from the time I wake up until the time the game is over), and I can be somewhat productive during the back half of the day on Sunday as long as the Chiefs don’t drive me to consume too many dad soda’s during the game. Both beneficial to my mental health. But before we get to that, and the rest of the Sunday games, we have to trudge through another Thursday Night matchup that lacks real intrigue for us here in the Kingdom. Next week will be different as the Chiefs head to Tinseltown to take on the Chargers, but for now we get to watch the corpse of Big Ben take on the football equivalent of a mechanical pencil with no lead in the Minnesota Vikings.
I’m going to dig deep to try and give you some compelling facts about this matchup, and ultimately it does matter in the grand scheme of things with Pittsburgh lurking on the outside of the AFC playoff picture with the ability to make some pretty big impacts in the playoff picture with Baltimore, Tennessee, and the Chiefs still left on their schedule in the last 4 weeks of the season. But let’s take a second to admire the grandeur that was last week’s picks real quick.
|Straight Up||Against The Spread|
|Week 9||9||4||69.23%||Week 9||6||7||46.15%|
|Week 10||7||6||53.85%||Week 10||6||7||46.15%|
|Week 11||9||5||64.29%||Week 11||8||6||57.14%|
|Week 12||6||9||40.00%||Week 12||9||6||60.00%|
|Week 13||11||3||78.57%||Week 13||9||5||64.29%|
|Week 14||Week 14|
|Week 15||Week 15|
|Week 16||Week 16|
|Week 17||Week 17|
|Week 18||Week 18|
Florence and the Machine once said “It’s always darkest before the dawn”, and that much is true with your boy’s picks from two weeks ago compared to last week. Started out strong with the snoozer last Thursday, stayed strong through the noon games (5-2), and finished strong nailing both the Sunday night Chiefs win and cover and the Monday night Pats win and cover. I am obviously brilliant and this can in no way come crashing down on me. All in a weekend’s work, and a great way to pump my confidence up before I inevitably burn it back down to the ground this weekend by going like 4-10 on both columns. Even though the success was there last week, still slamming the disclaimer button that you should never, under any circumstances, use my picks to place your own bets. You will end up sad, broke, and eventually (inevitably) retired from gambling like me.
On to the game. Tonight’s matchup brings us the only two Detroit Lions opponents who have not populated tallies in the loss column for said Lions this year. Minnesota suffered arguably the most embarrassing loss by any team in the league this year (second place Buffalo losing 9-6 to Jacksonville) by losing to the previously winless Lions on a walkoff touchdown pass from Jared Goff that the Vikings decided to just not defend. The Steelers, without Big Ben, tied the Lions back in week 10, but are coming off of a gutsy win against division rival Baltimore. While both teams have had somewhat disappointing campaigns so far compared to expectation coming into the season, both are still right in the thick of things in the AFC and NFC playoff hunts, so this game is actually very meaningful for each team. Let’s take a look at the matchup.
Steelers (6-5-1) @ Vikings (5-7) : Minnesota -3; O/U 43.5
Statistically, it makes no sense that the Minnesota Vikings are 5-7. Kirk Cousins has 3,353 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions this season. Justin Jefferson has 78 catches for 1,209 yards and 7 touchdowns. Minnesota is in the top half of the league in rushing with 1,359 yards, 113.3 per game. Sure, their defense is a little suspect – and when I say suspect I mean they’re 25th in the league in points allowed, but they’re 6th in the league in points scored. Averaging 28 points per game on offense, and 25.4 points per game allowed on defense – and therein lies the problem. Minnesota has had 7 of their 12 games so far decided by 4 points or fewer, and in those games they are 2-5. The ball has not bounced their way in close games all season. Reports this morning are that RB Dalvin Cook is “trending towards” playing tonight, but you’d have to imagine it would be in a limited role against a Steelers defense that looked great against Baltimore last week.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, ranks 22nd in the league in passing offense, 29th in the league in rushing despite having a stud in the stable in Najee Harris, and 22nd in scoring. Not great numbers, but when you have Big Ben’s remains playing QB and a completely reconstructed offensive line you kind of take what you can get. Defensively, though? Well, for the season they actually haven’t looked that great, but they got a huge boost last week with Minkah Fitzpatrick and TJ Watt both returning to the lineup and having huge games against Baltimore. Everyone has read about this in excess this week, but TJ Watt now leads the NFL in sacks with 16 after his 3.5 against Lamar Jackson and Baltimore last week – and he’s missed 2 games due to injury. I don’t know that he’s locked up DPOY as many on the worldwide leader in sports have been clamoring this week, but he’s having a hell of a year and is one of the biggest defensive difference makers in the league without a doubt.
This game is going to be a tight one, and the total on it gives you an idea of where Vegas thinks the points are going to end up tonight. Typically tight games don’t go in favor of the Vikings. To add insult to injury for the Vikings, Kirk Cousins is an abysmal 8-17 in primetime games in his career. With the way the Steelers defense has been playing combind with the flow that Big Ben seems to have found with Diontae Johnson and the law of averages (one of my favorites) pointing me towards Chase Claypool at some point having a big game, I’m going to take the Steelers in this one behind defense and general Vikings incompetence.
Steelers 23, Vikings 20 (Pittsburgh +3; Under 43.5)
Probably going to get off to an 0-1 start this week, but there’s 13 more games for me to make it back. Great mindset for a retired gambler, because I’m not betting actual money on these. Just my reputation.
We’ll be back tomorrow for the Red Friday weekend preview.