Before I begin, can I just say that the new Taco Bell crispy chicken quesadilla is a bit of a disappointment? You’d think that adding the chicken finger element to a quesadilla would be a hole in one but Taco Bell just didn’t execute. Taco Bell’s great – a marquee destination in American fast food – but sometimes they try to get too far ahead of themselves and the end result isn’t what they intend. Me? I’m a classic taco guy. The crunch wrap is great and the quesarito should be a staple in any self respecting man’s Taco Bell excursion (sober or otherwise), but as someone who has always been more of a traditionalist, I always roll with the fiery Doritos Locos Tacos. I get 3 for good measure every time I go. There’s nothing like it. When The Bell calls, I answer.
Side note: Let’s hear it for Rutgers getting their first conference win since 2015. Is Rutgers back? I THINK RUTGERS IS BACK!
Droop’s picks – Week 6
Miami (2-2) at Atlanta (3-1) – Falcons (-13)
How crazy is it that we’ve already moved past the Dolphins o-line coach bumping coke off a table before a team meeting? 5-10 years ago, a coach doing cocaine on camera would’ve been the talk of the league for an entire month. What a world. Anyway, Julio Jones has been limited in practice this week but reportedly will be ‘ready to go’ against the Dolphins. Atlanta are clear cut favorites in this matchup, but need to take better care of the football since turnovers were their undoing in Buffalo. Luckily for them, Miami hasn’t forced a turnover on defense yet this season. Atlanta needs to stay committed to the run in spite of Miami’s rush defense, ranked #4 in the league. If Atlanta takes care of the rock they’ll come out on top.
Droop’s pick: Falcons
Chicago (1-4) at Baltimore (3-2) – Ravens (-6.5)
Mitch Trubisky heads to Baltimore for his career road start and is looking to build upon his 12-25 128 yard 1 TD / 1 pick performance in a contested game that the Bears dropped to Minnesota 20-17 last week. The Ravens are a beat up team, but Dean Pees’s defense will provide plenty of diverse looks to give the rookie fits. The Bears have a defense that’s way ahead of their offense, but I don’t see Chicago coming away with this one.
Droop’s pick: Ravens
Cleveland (0-5) at Houston (2-3) – Texans (-9)
The jersey in this picture hasn’t been updated in a while, but you can add DeShone Kizer’s name to the list, since he’s been benched for Kevin Hogan (who?). The Browns haven’t had a winning season since 2007, and at 0-5 it’s unlikely that this year will be any different. Houston will feel the loss of JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus the rest of the way this year, but have found their quarterback in Deshaun Watson, who will make enough plays to lead the way for the Texans past the Browns.
Droop’s pick: Texans
Green Bay (4-1) at Minnesota (3-2) – Packers (-3)
I think everyone in America knew as soon as Aaron Rodgers got the ball with a little over a minute left in Dallas that Aaron Rodgers was going to go straight down the field, rip out the Cowboys’ collective hearts, and stomp on them for good measure. He’s the best quarterback in football right now. Speaking of another team that Rodgers effortlessly beats, there’s the Vikings. AR12 has won two thirds of his career games against Minnesota, throwing 39 TDs to only 6 picks and completing almost 70% of his passes. Green Bay over Minnesota is easy money.
Droop’s pick: Packers
Detroit (3-2) at New Orleans (2-2) – Lions (+4)
The last time the Lions and Saints met, Brees was picked three times. The Lions have only given up 17 points on the road this season (2 games), and have also won the last three meetings against New Orleans. Drew Brees is still one of the top quarterbacks in football, but I anticipate Detroit’s defense giving him some trouble and the Lions coming away with the W. The Saints are a tough out at home, but Detroit’s the better team. Don’t overthink this one – I’d avoid it if I could.
Droop’s pick: Lions
Patriots (3-2) at Jets (3-2) – Patriots (-9.5)
The Patriots and Jets playing for first place in the AFC East at this point in the season is something nobody saw coming. Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe are OUT for the Patriots, leaving only 3 healthy cornerbacks on a defense that is on pace to be historically bad. (No, really – they’re playing worse than the 2011 Patriots defense). The loss of Quincy Enunwa really hurts the Jets in this game – if they had any talent at wide receiver they could turn this game into a shoot out. Jets fans will get their first look at rookie safety Jamal Adams battling Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots offensive line is a mess, and Tom Brady is nursing an injury to his non throwing shoulder as a result of being sacked 16 times this year already. Throw out last year’s Thanksgiving game and the Pats and Jets have played each other very close – I don’t assume this will be any different. The Pats will go as far as Tom Brady takes them, and I can’t in good conscience pick Josh McCown over him.
Droop’s pick: Patriots in a tight one
San Francisco (0-5) at Washington (2-2) – Redskins (-11)
The Redskins are coming off a bye week and the 49ers are playing their 3rd straight game on the road, including two back to back games that went to overtime. Combine that with the Redskin’s renewed commitment to running the football and it should be a big day for Washington. Jacoby Brissett had an excellent day passing against the 49ers last week, and it should be just as good a day to throw for Kirk Cousins as any. Washington will put up points but be warned – the 49ers have only lost one game by more than 4 points this season.
Droop’s pick: Redskins
Tampa Bay (2-2) at Cardinals (2-3) – Buccaneers (-1) !!!
Tampa Bay picked up a new kicker after Nick Folk single handedly lost them the game against New England last week. We get to see Adrian Peterson suit up for his first game with the Cardinals 10 years after they should have drafted him. Arizona’s offensive line is beat up and Peterson is 32 – I don’t see him performing any better than Chris Johnson or Kerwynn Williams did against the Bucs, whose defense ranks #8 against the run. Tampa Bay’s offense has underperformed of late and some sites have the Bucs at (-2) but this feels like a slam dunk.
Droop’s pick: Buccaneers
Los Angeles (3-2) at Jacksonville (3-2) – Jaguars (-2.5)
CATCH THE JAGS FEVER, BABY! New teams fighting for top spots in their divisions has been a welcome change to the NFL this season. Jacksonville’s pass defense through 5 games has been pretty damn good – via @NFLResearch on twitter, opposing quarterbacks have a rating of only 56.9 against their pass defense. For contextual purposes, the 2003 Patriots championship team allowed 56.2. Over the last 25 years (also via @NFLResearch) only 2 other teams (2002 Bucs and 1996 Packers) have allowed similar numbers. Those teams won the Super Bowl too. Am I saying we should cancel the season and declare the Jags champs? No, but if Jacksonville’s defense continues to play the way they have, it could make for some interesting games come playoff time (should they get there).
Droop’s pick: GIVE ME THE JAGS!
Pittsburgh (3-2) at Kansas City (5-0) – Steelers (+4)
Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t know if he has it anymore, and Alex Smith is playing at an unreal level. As I’ve addressed in my previous blogs on SC, Roethlisberger does not play as well on the road as he does in Pittsburgh. However, KC under Andy Reid is 1-3 against Pittsburgh, including an 0-2 record against Pitt last season (playoff loss included). I’m not ready to bury Ben Roethlisberger, AB, and LeVeon Bell yet – if there’s any team in a position to put the Chiefs on upset alert, it’s Mike Tomlin’s Steelers – especially with Justin Houston and Bennie Logan are both questionable to play as well.
Droop’s pick: Steelers
Los Angeles (1-4) at Oakland (2-3) – Raiders (-3.5)
The Raiders have lost 3 straight games. Their defense hasn’t been great, and the players are fighting their fans. The Raiders have removed Derek Carr from the injury report, in spite of the fracture of a bone in his back, which suggests he may play. It is a questionable decision for Oakland to say the least, who may be in a panic over their record. The Chargers are one of the best teams in the league at getting after the quarterback – whoever suits up for Oakland will be under constant pressure. Even if Carr plays, I don’t know how effective he will be.
Droop’s pick: Chargers
Giants (0-5) at Denver (3-1) – Broncos (-11.5)
I considered trying out for the Giants at wide receiver for half a second last week. Not really, but here’s the situation: The Giants are dead. They’re coming off a game where they lost all of their receivers.Eli Manning looks more confused than usual (at least someone on this team is excelling at something), and the entire team hates Ben McAdoo and his shitty haircut, who just suspended Dominique Rodgers Cromartie indefinitely for pretty much coming into work, realizing that he didn’t want to be at work, and leaving (Something we all wish we could do right?). Ben McAdoo’s haircut stinks, Ereck Flowers (how are you still employed?) stinks – the Giants stink.
Droop’s pick: Broncos by a trillion
Colts (2-3) at Titans (2-3) – Titans (-5.5)
The outcome of this game hinges entirely on whether or not Marcus Mariota (currently listed as Questionable) plays. I like Jacoby Brissett against the Titans defense, which is #24 against the pass and #18 against the run. Neither team has a great scoring defense – there will be points.
If Mariota plays: Titans
If Mariota doesn’t: Colts.