Punt, Pass and Pick: Week Eleven
Jonathan Munshaw, News Editor: Last week, I played against Andrew Constant, the former Sports Editor. This time, I’m going against former Editor-in-Chief Lauren Slavin.
In terms of football knowledge, I’ll take Andrew over Lauren. But that evens the playing field this week, since I lost against Andrew for picking the Lions to beat the Vikings. If nothing else, Lauren will have much more entertaining picks than me.
Lauren Slavin, Towson Alumna: I’ve missed seeing my name in The Towerlight.
I spent my senior year at Towson University as Editor-in-Chief of this fine student publication, and the three years prior in various other positions in the newsroom.
But if there was one thing I hated, it was editing sports stories.
It’s not them, it’s me. We have great writers at The Towerlight. I just don’t understand phrases like “hat trick” and those weird gestures refs make when a team does something bad. Or is it good?
So victory is all the sweeter when I crush an actual football fan with my obscene predictions. But I’m excited to watch Jon’s career at The Towerlight flourish, so I won’t try to dampen his spirits too much.
Chicago Bears +5 at San Francisco 49ers
Jon: Although the Bears came in 7-1 last week against the Texans, they left with more than a loss, with quarterback Jay Cutler out with a concussion.
The 49ers didn’t make a much better showing, though, tying against the Rams, and losing their quarterback (Alex Smith) as well, to a concussion. If neither quarterback ends up playing, I will take Bears’ backup Jason Campbell, who at least has more experience than the 49ers’ Colin Capernick.
If the 49ers are forced to rely on their running game, the Bears will stop them dead in their tracks, allowing only 92.3 yards per game.
Bears 24, 49ers 10
Lauren: Both the Bears AND the 49ers’ quarterbacks had to be removed from play last week due to concussions. Did you know the average life expectancy of a football player is almost 20 years less than the average person, and a recent study discovered that professional football players are three times more likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s?
Correlation doesn’t equal causation, but I don’t smack my head into enormous human beings or on the ground while watching YouTube videos of kittens (which I do consider a sport, and I’m damn good at it).
Pixar’s “Brave” was released on DVD this week, and if you’re a fan of feisty princesses, I definitely recommend it. “Brave” features a few bears, so let’s go with Chicago.
Bears 21, 49ers 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1.5 at Carolina Panthers
Jon: I was about to write that this was a meaningless game, until I realized that the Bucs are 5-4. Sure, the Falcons look like they’re going to run away with the NFC South, but the Bucs have a decent shot to make the Wild Card spot if they keep playing the way they are.
Tampa is currently on a three-game win streak and has won four out of its last five games, albeit against the Chiefs, Vikings, Raiders and Chargers.
The Bucs could continue their streak against bad teams this week at Carolina, who has been struggling along with second-year quarterback Cam Newton, who has only thrown eight touchdown passes with 10 interceptions.
But as Newton goes down, Tampa Bay’s rookie running back Doug Martin is on the rise, rushing for 862 yards so far this year and seven touchdowns. Martin and the Buccaneers will take this one.
Buccaneers 30, Panthers 10
Lauren: “Special teams” is one of those ambiguous sports phrases I mentioned earlier. What makes these players so “special?” I feel like they should be the players that come out at halftime and put on a musical, but I’m probably wrong.
Oh, wow, I’m really wrong. Special teams are the players who only do, like, one thing, but they’re supposed to do it super awesomely. And apparently the Panthers really aren’t special, since their special teams coordinator just got sacked mid-season. Sorry, bro.
Bucs 28, Panthers 12
Baltimore Ravens +3.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jon: If you refer back to the first game, this was not a good week for quarterbacks, especially Ben Roethlisberger, who left with a sprained right shoulder during Monday night’s game.
Assuming the injury is as bad as everyone says it is, the Steelers will go into their game against their division rivals with Byron Leftwitch at quarterback. What’s just as bad is the Ravens got a huge confidence boost last week, blowing out the Raiders 55-20.
Keep in mind that the Steelers’ leading rusher is Jonathan Dwyer with 355 rushing yards. Compare that to Ray Rice’s 657 yards and seven touchdowns and the winner of this game becomes pretty clear.
Ravens 28, Steelers 14
Lauren: Oh, it’s gonna get rowdy in Towson Sunday night.
After the Orioles had their first good season in, I don’t know, forever, Bawl’more fans should’ve been all the more stoked to drink a whole lot of Natty Bohs and watch some football.
Then Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were injured and fans still had a whole lot of Natty Bohs, but they were sad.
But apparently the football gods like purple as much as I do, because in the Steelers’ last game, Ben Roethlisberger screwed up his arm and may not play in the rivalry match-up. Their back-up guy isn’t in Papa John’s commercials, so he must suck.
Ravens 21, Steelers 14
Cleveland Browns +7.5 at Dallas Cowboys
Jon: Yeah, this game is a stretch, but there wasn’t much else to choose from this week. Plus, I haven’t picked too many Browns games this year.
The Brownies are getting desperate for wins, as is their head coach Pat Shurmur, who is coaching for his job at this point especially with Browns’ President Mike Holmgren on the way out and a new owner on the way in.
I don’t think they stand a chance against the Cowboys this week, but I do think they’ll cover the spread, as rookie RB Trent Richardson continues to develop as a legit NFL player, rushing for 105 yards against the Ravens two weeks ago.
Brandon Weeden, not so much, though, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns against the Ravens. Yeah, he’s pretty bad.
Cowboys 27, Browns 21
Lauren: The last time I was featured in “Punt, Pass & Pick,” I almost nailed a game to the exact score.
In the Oct. 30 Eagles vs. Cowboys game, I guessed that Dallas would end the game with a big fat zero, and until the fourth quarter, it really looked like I was going to be right! But the Cowboys managed one stupid touchdown in the fourth. Whatever, I’m not bitter.
I like Jon, so I guess the Browns are OK (but orange and brown? Seriously? I’m all for fall colors, but ew). And Dallas creamed the Eagles last week, which made my family pissy.
Browns 14, Cowboys 7
Green Bay Packers -3.5 at Detroit Lions
Jon: I purposely picked Andrew to pick against me last week so that he couldn’t pick the Packers game, and they’re making a comeback.
There won’t be any comebacks necessary in this game, though since they are taking on the 4-5 Lions, who have yet to find a decent running game.
Calvin Johnson continues to be a beast, catching 60 balls for 974 yards and two touchdowns.
Detroit’s defense has no shot against Aaron Rodgers, who has thrown for 2,383 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Pack will want to make up ground on the Jay Cutler-less Bears.
Packers 34, Lions 21
Lauren: I’ve changed a lot in the past decade. I’ve graduated college, moved across the country and gained the ability to legally purchase alcohol.
Actually, that’s just this past year.
But if one thing about me hasn’t changed, it’s that on a Sunday afternoon, you’re far more likely to find me reading a book than watching a football game.
Unlike some football trophy wives who’d rather make headlines with their modeling careers than the positive impact their money could make on society (Lookin’ at you, Kendra Wilkinson). Packers’ wide receiver Donald Driver’s wife, Betina, is in the news for chairing a campaign to collect books to distribute to low-income families.
Wanna know why the Lions are in the news? Gender discrimination.
Kimberly Doverspike, who had worked for the Lions for 20 years, was passed over for a promotion to the director of community affairs, which she had filled in interim for a year. They gave it to a young white guy then told her she wasn’t really fitting in at the company. I metaphorically stomp on your misogyny with my cleats.
Packers 28, Lions relegated back to 1900 and forced to fight for women’s suffrage instead of forming a football team