Mediocrity, thy name is Brandon Alisoglu.
But you didn't actually expect I wouldn't come back for more punishment, did you? I'm a Detroit Lions fan. I can handle it.
Besides, I didn't lose you any money last week. Well, except for the vig. But that's more like the price of admission or an entertainment fee.
And you can't put a price on entertainment.
You can? That's why movies are $10?
In that case, I was just sandbagging my Week 16 NFL picks against the spread. Because nothing worth having in life is free.
I'll stop now.
Last Week's Record: 8-8
Season Record: 106-116-2
All lines provided by footballlocks.com.
Alright ATLiens. You win.
The Atlanta Falcons have more than earned the right to be trusted with such a modest spread.
Which leads me to my next point. How in the heck is this spread only four points?
The Detroit Lions looked horrible. Their "famed" defensive line managed one meaningful sack, and only two overall, against the Arizona Cardinals.
Plus, Matthew Stafford is still in the making-too-many-stupid-decisions stage of his career. Apparently.
So many agonizing decisions this week, but this one is certainly the most surprising.
We always knew Tony Romo was inconsistent. And don't argue that his recent run erases those thoughts. He still has 16 interceptions this season.
But Drew Brees has taken us for a roller coaster ride as well. He followed up a five-interception performance by throwing two more, but then rebounded with four touchdowns.
Fortunately, his defense has followed suit. I'll ride last week's defensive performance and Brees' ability to make any secondary look ridiculous.
That, and I still don't trust Romo.
I wasn't sure of which way to lean.
Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are gearing up like it's 2010, but 13 is a whole mess of points.
Then I watched the Tennessee Titans do everything possible to lose to the New York Jets.
If Green Bay can keep Matt Forte and Michael Bush in check, they can corral Chris Johnson.
Plus, using the latest in advanced metrics, one Mark Sanchez touchdown pass is roughly equal to six from Rodgers.
I've written before that the Indianapolis Colts are not a blow-you-out team. I still stand by that statement.
This pick is a testament to how little regard I have for Brady Quinn. I trusted him and Jamaal Charles to get a few points last week versus the Oakland Raiders.
They managed zero.
I refuse to give them the satisfaction of backing into my good graces for less than a touchdown.
It's called self-respect.
As I timidly talked myself into the Miami Dolphins and laying 4.5 points, I tried to forget about Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks.
But I couldn't.
The dejected look on Ryan Fitzpatrick's face. The slumping shoulders due to the 33-point reminder of another lost Buffalo Bills season.
Quite frankly, I have no faith in any Bill except Spiller, and Miami's front seven should handle that problem.
Can we flex this game to next year? Or we can just cancel it if everyone is cool with that.
Outside of these two fanbases, is anyone trying to watch this game?
Actually, are they even watching?
Regardless, the Jets are solid in the secondary, and everything about the Chargers says "I hope the Mayans were right."
Greg McElroy! For the win!
Merry Christmas indeed.
This line is so tantalizing that I looked around before snatching up the Washington Redskins and scampering away.
It's mine. All mine!
Seriously, I don't understand this at all, which probably means it's a trap.
The Skins are humming on offense, regardless of who is under center.
The Eagles? They're bumming around regardless of who is lined up anywhere.
So here is your four points and home-field advantage. I shan't be needing them.
The original 4.5-point spread scared me. Now that it has fallen to four, I'm much more comfortable.
Just work with me.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a veteran team that gave away a game in Dallas last week. We know it. They know it.
Plus, they're like the Giants. A we've-been-there-before squad that isn't going to get nervous.
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals? Not so much.
Dalton has been struggling, and the Pittsburgh defense won't be accommodating to the visiting youngster. He hasn't thrown for more than 230 yards in six weeks, and he was held to 105 in his last outing against the Steelers.
Two of my favorite 2013 teams face off for essentially nothing but draft position.
That's okay though. These franchises have laid the foundation for a solid future.
As for this particular game, Josh Freeman is not going to throw four more interceptions. Greg Schiano will have these boys ready to play.
Jeff Fisher's troops will be in the same mindset. However, the rushing game will be running into a brick wall, which will stall out the offense.
Kudos to the Oakland Raiders.
They made my newly minted never-lay-points-with-a-team-on-a-nine-game-losing-streak rule and shoved it in my face.
Or Sebastian Janikowski kicked it to the curb. Whatever.
But failing to score a single touchdown against Kansas City isn't a confidence booster. Neither is containing the unstoppable Brady Quinn.
Although an 8.5-point spread is a lot for a 5-9 team, Cam Newton looks like Rookie of the Year Cam Newton. I'll take my chances with the team that can actually produce touchdowns.
How many points would it take to shy away from the New England Patriots here? At least 20?
There will be no shortage of energy in the New England camp as the San Francisco loss sinks in. They're more than aware that their stranglehold on that coveted first-round bye has slipped.
Conversely, the Chad Henne explosion seems to have run its course. Two weeks ago.
The team has sulked back to irrelevancy, and only draft-day luck is going to raise them from the depths.
I went back and forth for quite awhile.
The Houston Texans reestablished themselves with a never-really-in-doubt win over the Colts. But all fear of this team was erased on that Monday night a couple weeks ago.
No, the Minnesota Vikings are not the Patriots. Christian Ponder isn't Tom Brady circa 1999, much less 2012.
However, how am I supposed to continue to deny Adrian Peterson? He's too much for opposing defenses and too much for me to ignore.
The extra half-point tacked onto the touchdown doesn't hurt either.
One of these days, Peyton Manning might be able to step out from Kirk Cousins' shadow.
First, Cousins led the Skins to a dramatic late-game win over the Baltimore Ravens. Manning bested the Ravens by 14 the following week.
Now, Cousins has torched the Cleveland Browns secondary for over 300 yards and two scores. Here's betting Manning can match that feat.
Lastly, Brandon Weeden on the road against Von Miller, Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter. That is all.
By picking the Chicago Bears, I'm making two statements. One makes me uneasy, while the other is less tricky.
1. Jay Cutler will not follow Stafford's lead and throw two pick-sixes.
2. Beanie Wells is not a superstar.
Can you guess which is which?
Other than that, I'm willing to take the Bears offense (defense) to outscore the Arizona Cardinals offense (defense).
I looked for reasons to buck the public trend.
Ray Rice? Interesting.
Ed Reed? Even more so.
Joe Flacco? Forget it.
That's not enough points.
Right now, Flacco lands somewhere between political ads and puppies roaming free while you're at work on the reliability scale.
I don't need that kind of stress.
Everything the Seattle Seahawks can do, the San Francisco 49ers can do better.
Although both defenses only allow 15.6 points per contest, the Seahawks give up slightly more years. Like 10 more.
And even with the two recent 50-spot outings, the Seahawks are still scoring a half-point less per game.
Not to mention, I just watched the Niners pound the Pats, then summon the resolve to finish the game after New England stormed back. While the Seahawks have violated their last two opponents, those teams are a combined 10-18.
Quality counts over quantity. At least that's what I keep telling myself.