There was a question in the headline a few days ago -- 'Should you raise your children to be Lions fans?' -- with a link in the article to a read by Tommy Beer at The Cauldron. It was a good read, because I too have children (well, one right now, but a son is on the way), and I too would like to have sports experiences with them like those I have shared with my father. It was also a timely read, because after last week's Lions loss I had a few friends ask me if I planned to raise my son as a Lions fan. Before I could even respond they added that it would be bad parenting to do so. I think they were serious, too.
My response to that question is with a question like that in this headline.
The answer to both questions can honestly be the same, even if you'd obviously prefer one over the other (little gamblers, because it's easier than being a Lions fan...just kidding!) The question is kind of silly is my point.
I don't remember my Dad suffocating me with Detroit sports stuff growing up. He was a die-hard fan and we were in Michigan. It was easy for me to decide on my own. I don't think my Dad infiltrated my thoughts and planted it into my subconscious. I don't think so anyway. My little brother was somehow a Packers and 76ers fan growing up, so either he failed miserably with him or ... okay, I think my whole point is ruined.
No, but seriously, my children are going to get way more Detroit sports in their lives than any other sports as long as I'm around, but I'm not necessarily going to actively push them one way or the other. Is Daddy a Lions fan? Yes, duh. Does Daddy gamble? That's none of your damn business and I'd appreciate it if you stayed out of my personal affairs. If my children follow my lead as a Detroit sports fan, great, I can't wait to share in the ups and downs with them. If they want to take down the Detroit sports paraphernalia from their walls when they're old enough to realize they're there and pick up their hometown teams (Atlanta) or their heart desires other teams, fine, but we'll still have fun with sports!
Caveat and overriding point: I'm not saying this is how you should raise your children, because there are so many good ways, and I don't really want to be told how I should raise mine.
But let me tell you how to gamble:
Vikings (+7.5) over CARDINALS
The spread got as ugly as +11, which would've been nice to have when the Cardinals were up 10 in the fourth quarter, but I knew the Vikings would put up a valiant fight after getting embarrassed the week before. I picked against the Vikings last week because I didn't think they were the best team in the NFC North, but I also don't think they're the kind of NFL team that gets stomped in consecutive weeks. Feel me?
BEARS (-3.5) over Redskins
Feeling with zero reference to fact: The Bears can't win this season by more than a field goal.
Fact: The Bears have two wins by more than a field goal this season. Their average margin of victory in their five wins is actually 6.8, but that's skewed on the high side because they beat the Rams by 24. Take out that Rams game and it is 2.5.
So why did I take -3.5 here? Because I don't know, man; I just like the Bears here.
Steelers (+3) over BENGALS
The Bengals snapped a three-game rivalry skid against the Steelers with a 16-10 win at the beginning of last month. Ben Roethlisberger threw three interceptions in that game. The Steelers responded by winning three of their next four while averaging almost 36 points per game. The Bengals are putting up 33 points per game in their last three games. If you're thinking about that 16-10 game and betting big money on the under 50 here, you might want to rethink. This is going to be a shootout and I think the Steelers are going to win.
BROWNS (-1.5) over 49ers
Oh, Johnny Manziel is starting? Cool! When the No. 1 thing to watch is the return of the kicker and Shaun Draughn to Cleveland, you know for sure this is the Week 14 Puke Game of the Week.
CHIEFS (-10) over Chargers
After the Chargers won four straight games in this series from 2012-2013, the Chiefs have taken the last three, and the last two have not been particularly close (21 average margin of victory). The Chiefs are on fire, winning six straight, while the Chargers have lost seven of their last eight. This spread isn't even right, as it has ballooned to 12 in some books, so... of course I'm taking the Chargers to cover here. Just kidding. This will not be like the Vikings-Cardinals game, because one of these teams actually sucks.
Lions (+1) over RAMS
Stop me if you have read or heard this already this week: It will be interesting to see how the Lions respond to last week's heartbreaking loss to the Packers. You were probably screaming STOP! before you got to the second 'to' and/or you've already clicked out of this article and/or why am I still typing if you have done that? But seriously, if you're still here, I don't even know how I am going to respond to that game this weekend, so there's no telling which Lions team shows up in St. Louis. I wouldn't be surprised if they lose, but I predicted a one-point victory and the Lions are now three-point favorites, so I'll stick with them until I die of a coronary.
Titans (+7) over JETS
This will be low scoring and I actually like the Titans as an upset here.
Bills (-1.5) over EAGLES
Sam Bradford hasn't turned the ball over in three games. The only thing that concerns me in this game is that Rob Ryan was seen in Buffalo this past week wearing all Bills gear. I still think Bradford's luck of turnover-less games will run out and the Bills will win.
Saints (+3.5) over BUCCANEERS
The Saints lost to the Bucs in September, as well as their seven-game win streak against Tampa Bay, but I think they start a new one on Sunday. Yes, Saints cover AND win.
PANTHERS (-7) over Falcons
Wins seem to become a little harder for undefeated teams the longer they go undefeated, so I almost went Falcons in this I-85 rivalry, but I just couldn't bring myself to... The Falcons have been so damn miserable since starting 5-0, losing six of their last seven, and they really don't have any great wins on their schedule. They will need a miracle in this one.
Colts (pick) over JAGUARS
This is contingent on Matt Hasselbeck playing, but I think the Colts will beat the Jags for the seventh straight time.
Seahawks (-6) over RAVENS
Welp, the Seahawks are back. They have won three straight while averaging 35 points and the Ravens-Dolphins game last week didn't even add up to that total. This spread has more than doubled in some books, so this should be the easiest cover of the week.
Raiders (+7.5) over BRONCOS
I think the Broncos will win, which will be their ninth straight against the Raiders, but I'm taking this because of the half point. The spread hasn't moved a whole lot and the Raiders absolutely need this game if they want to keep any hopes of the playoffs alive, so I expect them to keep this game within a touchdown.
PACKERS (-7.5) over Cowboys
I fully expect the Packers to ride their Week 13 Hail Mary to a resounding win in this musty 'Game of the Week.' An early Christmas miracle with DeSean Jackson making a cameo dressed up as Santa Claus would be needed for the Cowboys to win this game.
Patriots (-3.5) over TEXANS
Tom Brady after a down week looking to rebound on prime time only getting 3.5 points? Sign me up.
DOLPHINS (+1.5) over Giants
This from the Times was interesting:
If each Giants game this season had ended with 75 seconds remaining in regulation on the scoreboard clock, the team's record would be 9-3.
If they didn't have four Super Bowls, and two in the last eight years, I'd actually feel for them, I really would. The Lions would be 5-7 if plays couldn't happen with 0.0 seconds on the clock and maybe 6-6 if a flag were thrown in Seattle. They would be 8-4 if the second halves in Week 1 and Week 7 didn't count and 8-3* if games in London didn't count. I feel ya, Giants!
Dolphins win this one with more than 76 seconds remaining on the clock.
LAST WEEK: 9-7
Scriggl with another strong week last week, 10-6, pushing him to what I believe is now a 96-93 record.