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NFL Week 5 picks against the spread, totals: Meet my friend Graham

Graham would very much like to see your stamp collection.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Have you met Graham?

In 2016 an Australian road safety program conceived of the idea of a modified human capable of surviving a car crash. The result is what you see in the link above—a hideous multi-nippled abomination with a concave face and all sorts of horrifying details. In spite of its grotesque appearance, the science appears sound, and Graham seemed quite capable of survival.

Of course, the image quickly became a meme on Twitter. What doesn’t? You can still see it floating out there, conjured at times for amusement of small audiences. That’s where it resides now; I have no idea if Graham actually made roads safer in Australia.

But I think about Graham now and then when I think about football. In the breadth of this insanely dumb sport, we still cannot fathom just how unthinkable it is to put bodies through the rigors of American football. There are any number of Olympic sports that could have caught on at some point in ancient times to become a popular sport for America—hell we were doing it for a good while with baseball after all—and instead we’re left with near-murder every Sunday and a legacy of broken brains, broken bodies and really stupid people governing it all.

Anyway, in other notes on football being dumb, here’s a story about college football coach Mike Leach leaving a fake playsheet for the Texas Longhorns to find. I hate this story as much as I love it, for it confirms why football people have to be paranoid and delusional, but it’s also excellent because no sane, rational person should have fallen for such an obvious trap.

Let’s make some picks.

New York +1 vs. Denver

I don’t know why I keep putting my trust in the Jets to do much of anything. However, Denver is coming off a short rest after throwing everything at Patrick Mahomes and failing in every which way imaginable. If there’s ever going to be a chance for the Jets to get back on the page and remind people how good their defense is, this seems like a proper spot.

Los Angeles -5 vs. Oakland

I know I don’t like road favorites, and rest assured the Chargers are absolutely on the road here. The LA Galaxy stadium they’ve shacked up in is smack-dab in Carson and you better believe South LA is about the Raiders. What a dumb decision by the league. What a dumb, idiotic decision. But you know what? The Raiders still suck and their lone win of the season is an affront in the eyes of God. The Chargers may have struggled with a passionate 49ers squad, but they should be a touchdown favorite here. Take value.

Houston -3 vs. Dallas

The defining element of the Lions loss to the Cowboys was their inability to exploit the weaknesses of their opponents. Rest assured, there’s a lot of problems with Dallas right now, and Houston looks to have a better shot to match up well here. The Texans have their backs to the wall. Expect Deshaun Watson to keep looking like he’s been looking, but the Texans defense is more likely to clamp down on Zeke.

Atlanta +3 @ Pittsburgh

The time for Steelers dominance in betting lines is over; that a three-point home field advantage is all they’ll get against this injured Falcons squad is telling. Anyway, the total at 57 is not worth taking, although it would be tempting to take the over; I’m just going to put my trust in Pittsburgh’s defense to continue to look atrocious.

Arizona +4.5 @ San Francisco

I like the odds on the Cardinals here. They’re an awful team, but it’s hard to go winless in the NFL and the 49ers are vulnerable and without a proper quarterback. Let’s just see what happens. Might be a loss here, but I won’t fret it much. Not that I do the work of compiling my previous week records anyway; besides what good is that to you? Records are for chumps.

Cincinnati vs. Miami UNDER 49.5

I can’t believe Cincinnati is good. It took all these years, and still it feels like fool’s gold. I suppose there’s never been a better time to climb onto the extremely short Aggro Crag of the AFC North, which is why I’ll have a sensible chuckle when Baltimore takes it handily in December.

Kansas City -3 vs. Jacksonville


All the rest

Detroit vs. Green Bay UNDER 51
Carolina -7 vs. New York
Baltimore -3 @ Cleveland
Minnesota +1 @ Philadelphia
New Orleans -6.5 vs. Washington
Buffalo vs. Tennessee UNDER 39.5
New England vs. Indianapolis OVER 50.5
Seattle +7 vs. Los Angeles

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