Bill Simmons, Roger Goodell & Your Week 4 NFL Picks

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Updated: September 28, 2014
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“It’s been a long time, since I left you, without a dope READ to step to…”

Ladies and gentlemen, your boy is back and with a vengeance. It took a three-week suspension of my literary hero, Bill Simmons, by ESPN to get the pen out and the dust off the notebook but alas, it’s time to get to work. The movie “Tombstone” is an all-time classic with stellar quotes that still resonate to this day twenty years later. A personal favorite of mine happens to correlate with a theme of this article. After Wyatt Earp’s brother, Morgan, is murdered he goes on a vicious killing spree seeking retribution for his fallen kin. At one point, one of his ally’s question what Wyatt’s motives really are in which Doc Holiday fervently replies, “It’s not revenge he’s after, it’s the reckoning!”

Bill Simmons was suspended by ESPN for his verbal attack on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in which he called him a “liar” amongst other things as well as questioning his competence as the leader of America’s most popular sport. The podcast has since been pulled by ESPN but not before I heard it on Tuesday. Let me just say, it was music to my ears and I couldn’t agree more with Simmons assessment. Besides teaching at a continuation high school, my main gig is working at a bar/restaurant (special shout out to Rick Reed. Told you I wouldn’t forget about you.) where sports and their current events are always a hot topic so you can only imagine how heated the discussions have become with all the NFL’s recent conundrums.


I have listened to varying arguments and views from lawyers to construction workers, males and females, young and old. I wish I could tell you that I came up with a consensus but that would be a lie. There were just too many dissenting opinions from all walks of life. What really irked me was that there SHOULD have been an agreement on one thing no matter your political or social views on domestic/child abuse: Roger Goodell is a &*$%ing LIAR!!! I couldn’t find somebody who felt as strongly as I did about this until Simmons came out circa Barry Bonds in 2001 and pummeled the issue with his 35 ounce bat about 562 feet into McCovey Cove.

Yeah folks, I got that much of a thrill out of it. The following is the brief transcript of what got Simmons the suspension from ESPN, “Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying. If you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. For all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such f——- bulls—. It really is. It’s such f——- bulls—. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted. I really was.”

I may not have a voice that extends to millions of viewers around the country but Bill Simmons sure as hell does, and for the people who think Simmons “sold out” by becoming the face of ESPN and leader of the powerhouse otherwise known as GRANTLAND.COM, maybe you should reassess. The last time I checked, a sellout wouldn’t backhand the mouth that feeds him (ESPN) with this haymaker, “I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast … Please, call me, and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.”

(yup, those are crickets you are hearing).

In honor of my suspended comrade, I’m doing the Week 4 NFL picks against the spread. Remember, sports betting is not legal in 49 states so this is strictly for fun. Sports betting on the NFL is a MULTI BILLION dollar a year industry that is going un-taxed because of why again? I know, let’s ask Roger Dodger. On second thought let’s not. After all, this is the same guy who implied, “ignorance is not a defense.” Enough with this clown, on to my picks.


Week 4 NFL Picks

REDSKINS (-3.5) over Giants

You have to love the disillusioned Giants fans who thought last week’s blowout win against the Texans was a glimmer of hope. As a die- hard G-MEN aficionado (which I am), I can sum up in two words why the Giants were victorious. Ryan Fitzpatrick. I am not sure if his beard got in the way (insert pic) or he was up all night Saturday working on his dissertation for his Masters at Harvard but either way, that was an atrocity for the ages.

I am pretty sure Kirk Cousins will not be throwing three interceptions and having the Giants start their offensive possessions on the opponents 25 yard line every time. Sorry fellow Giant fans, we are going 6-10 at best this year (Authors note: this column was written Thursday before the G-MEN dismantled the Kirk Cousin and the Redskins. I am a man of my word so l left this segment without revision….although I thought about doing so as I watched Eli Manning run the West Coast offense like he was Joe Montana).

Packers (-1.5) over BEARS

It is always disheartening to find out your Fantasy QB started dating a beautiful actress (Olivia Munn) right before Peter King picked his team to get to the Super Bowl. I am not sure if I am picking the Packers because I think Aaron Rodgers is fixing to go off for a 350 yard, 3 TD’s stat line or because I think Jay Cutler is due for a “Ryan Fitzpatrick” (this would entail 3 INT’s and a pick six). Either way, I cannot see the Packers going 1-3 against a divisional foe.

Bills (+3) over TEXANS

There is a reason articulate people did not draft Sammy Watkins in their fantasy drafts. This kid was an absolute stud at Clemson and has all the makings of a superstar. What is the problem you ask? I’ll answer a question with a question. Have you ever seen E.J. Manuel throw a football? If you ever want to laugh uncontrollably on a Sunday, pour yourself a cocktail and tune into a Bills game. I promise Manuel will overthrow at least five passes in a fashion so unspectacular that the “WTF look” on the wide receiver’s face is priceless. It is truly a joy to watch. Why am I taking the three points and the Bills you ask? You set yourself up for the two notorious words…RYAN FITZPATRICK!!!!!!

Titans (+7.5) over COLTS

I’ll be honest when I say I do not have one positive thing to say about the Titans. I really do not. When your QB’s (Jake Locker) best attribute is described as “he’s a really good athlete”, that is usually a bad sign. The flip side is Andrew Luck is the hottest QB in the NFL right now. He has been mesmerizing the first three games but unfortunately for Colts fans I see that slowing down this week. The Colts get the victory but not the cover. Colts 24 Titans 17 (Side note: if you have never heard Bill Simmons impersonation of “Andrew the Giant”, put it on your to-do list and listen to his podcasts with Cousin Sal. I cannot believe I am going to be deprived of that for three more weeks. #FreeSimmons)

RAVENS (-3) over Panthers

I am officially labeling this the “Steve Smith Sr. over/under” game. Are you ready? Lets play.

Over/Under 96 receiving yards: Under

Over/Under 4 F-bombs caught on camera by the emotional wide receiver: Over

Over/Under .5 TD receptions: Over

Over/Under 6 total punches thrown by Steve “Lights Out” Smith Sr. Have you heard the stories about this guy beating people up?! It is going to take way less than 6 punches: Under

I am taking the Ravens and the always volatile yet entertaining Steve Smith Sr.

Lions (-2) over JETS

Let me introduce my readers to a phrase called “The Las Vegas Trap Game”. We saw Detroit absolutely man-handle an extremely talented team in the Packers last week by only giving up seven points. Their front four was a terror as usual but the secondary surprised a lot of people by shutting down both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Meanwhile the Jets and Geno Smith (who nobody can convince me that he didn’t go the same QB clinic as E.J. Manuel in which they teach you to habitually overthrow your wide receivers) made a blunder of errors in the red zone against Chicago that cost them the game.

Now after evaluating those two performances you are thinking the Lions should roll the Jets right? Wrong. Enter “The Las Vegas Trap Game”. There is at LEAST one a week and I am labeling this game as the number one contender. Having said that I am still going with the Lions because I love watching Calvin Johnson play football and also because I am an idiot.

STEELERS (-7.5) over Bucs

Did the Bucs ruin anybody else’s last Thursday night or just mine? (awkward? Rephrase?) Talk about a no show against the Falcons. Don’t get me wrong, nobody enjoys watching Devin Hester returning a punt 62 yards then honoring his mentor “Prime Time” with a hand behind the head 20 yard high step to the end zone. That never gets old. The sad part is CBS still killed everybody in the ratings even though the game was over after the first quarter. Todd Haley and Big Ben are finally on the same page and with the “Doobie Brothers” (Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount) running like they have a Scooby snack in front of them leads me to believe taking the Steelers and giving the 7.5 points is the way to go.

Dolphins (-3.5) over RAIDERS (via London, England)

Let me tell you why I could not be happier that the NFL is sending this poo-poo platter of a game across the pond. The UK only cares about one sport named football and I got news for you Mr. Goodell, it is not the one that involves a pigskin and bunch of dudes hopped up on HGH with a league that has more problems right now then a fat kid in a bakery with no money. Need more proof? How about this phone call I had with my buddy Ollie who lives in England.

Me: You guys getting ready for the big game this weekend?

Ollie: What big game?

Me: The NFL game in London between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders.

Ollie: What’s the NFL?

Me: Geez Ollie, you are killing me!!!

Ollie: The next time you are drinking mate you need to remember that we are eight hours ahead and my sleep is too valuable for you to be bothering me with this rubbish (CLICK, dial tone…)

…and there you have it. Quit lobbying for a team in London when they clearly don’t give a crap.

CHARGERS (-13) over Jaguars

Welcome to the Blake Bortles era. Jacksonville needs to fix that offensive line or it could be goodbye to the Blake Bortles era in the blink of an eye. Phillip Rivers must have found an Au Pair he trusts to watch over his 19 children because he is playing like the Pro Bowl Rivers of old. No Danny Woodhead, no problem this week. Chargers 31 Jaguars 14

Falcons (-3) over VIKINGS

I learned two valuable lessons watching Hard Knocks on HBO this year. First, Brian Cox loves Adam Sandler movies. Secondly, Mike Smith may be the least motivating head coach I have ever seen in my life. Luckily for the Falcons Julio Jones is so good that he will single-handed win this team five games by himself without the “rah-rah” speeches. I do like Teddy Bridgewater and also think if the Vikings were smart they would start utilizing Cordarrelle Patterson out of the back field more because that guy has breakaway potential anywhere on the field. Unfortunately for the Vikings I think it may take a few more weeks to recover from the Adrian Peterson debacle.

Eagles (+4.5) over 49ERS

Courtesy of

Is there any other head coach in the league who has as wide array of demonstrative faces then Jim Harbaugh (insert 3 different pics). Whether it be an errant throw by Kaepernick or a stupid encroachment penalty by the defense you can be sure that the cameraman will soon pan in on Harbaugh’s face and he never disappoints. Having said that the reeling 49ers cannot go 1-3 if they want any shot at the playoffs with Seattle and Arizona playing so well. Nobody blows out Chip Kelly’s Eagles with that potent offense so I am taking the Eagles with the points but picking the 49ers to win the game.

Saints (-3) over COWBOYS

Gamblers all over the world are salivating over this game. Dallas is an overachieving 2-1 who at one point in last week’s game was down 21-0 to the Rams. Some saw resiliency in the Cowboys comeback. I saw a ginger coach who still cannot figure out how the heck they won but to each is own I guess. What I do know is that a pissed off Sean Payton and Drew Brees are going to win this game by double digits and the city of Dallas can thank Roger Goodell for the beating they are about to receive.

Patriots (-3) over CHIEFS

Will the real Tom Brady please stand up? Actually, let’s everybody lay off the Stetson wearing playboy. If you were throwing to Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Gronk’s corpse your numbers wouldn’t be MVP worthy either. The Pats defense is the best it has been in years and I am predicting another special teams TD for New England. Need another reason to take the Pats and lay the points? Google image the phrase “game manager”…I am pretty sure a collage of Alex Smith will come up.

Enjoy your weekend everybody and please feel free to voice your opinion in the comment feedback section. If you the reader enjoys the content I will try my best to oblige with another segment next week.

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  1. [email protected]

    September 30, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Great stuff James! Perfect blend of sports knowledge, humor and insanity….nxt time i see a fat kid crying at Somecrest i’ll know why!

  2. Conor

    September 30, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Great article! Look forward to week 5 picks!

    • James Alba

      September 30, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      Thanks Conor. I appreciate all of the O’Brien’s support. Thanks for spreading the word!

  3. Conor

    September 30, 2014 at 4:57 PM

    Great article! Look forward to week 5 picks!

  4. ann ronan

    September 28, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    Love it James! Miss the conversations at the bar. Keep the weekly picks coming. Just watch what you say about Tom Brady

    • James Alba

      September 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      Tom wasn’t too terrific last night Ann but I still say you can’t blame him with that horrific offensive line & nobody to throw to. We miss you too ; )

  5. Smash83

    September 28, 2014 at 1:58 PM

    Great article. Weekly picks would be great to more often, the call to the UK was a nice touch!

    • James Alba

      September 30, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      Working on Week 5 picks as we speak Smash83!

  6. NM gmoya

    September 28, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    Great read! Queue up Shaq Diesel’s immortal “(I know I got) skillz” for the author.

    • James Alba

      September 30, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      “I dribble rhymes like basketball ems, people call me ET..what’s that Shaq daddy? Extra tall ems!”

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