• Wagers & Lagers 2015 Week 17

    PS: So long to one of the game's true greats.

    Jets (-3) at Bills
    1:00 (ET), Buffalo, N.Y.—CBS

    RG: I have nothing against the Jets, but I will be rooting for the Bills. It feels like Rex Ryan is usually able to muster up a good coaching job in big moments. However, I think there is a big difference between the culture around the teams right now. It seems that the biggest thing that Rex Ryan brought with him to Buffalo is drama. Todd Bowles' team is the antithesis of that. Pick: Jets

    PS: The Jesters have been a running joke around here for about five years. I have a feeling the laughter is about to fade. PICK: Jets

    MK: I thought Buffalo made a considerable amount of sense as a playoff dark horse heading into this season, but I think even people who were bullish about the Bills were at least a little surprised about the way they were winning games early this season. Buffalo has both scored and given up thirty points five times each this season—though not necessarily in the same games—and that isn't exactly what I was expecting from a team starting Tyrod Taylor at quarterback and inheriting the fourth-ranked scoring defense in the NFL. As much as I'm sure that Rex wants to play spoiler and knock his former employer out of the playoffs, I just can't see it without LeSean McCoy. PICK: Jets

    Ravens at Bengals (-9)
    1:00 (ET), Cincinnati, Ohio—FOX

    RG: The Ravens have much less to play for here. They won't be at home and also do not have the talent Cincy does. Pick: Bengals

    PS: That is a big number against a proud team. Show us something, Baltimore. I mean, I just finished the finale of The Wire. Don't underwhelm me again. PICK: Ravens

    MK: The Ravens have gotten to five wins this season, and are 4-2-0 ATS since their debacle against Jacksonville a few weeks ago, and only have one of those ATS wins with Joe Flacco at the helm. This is a large number and, considering the way the Ravens have played for Harbaugh since the Flacco injury, I don't see any reason to risk nine points here. PICK: Ravens

    Jaguars at Texans (-6), o/u 45.5
    1:00 (ET), Houston, Tx.—CBS

    RG: Blake Bortles is just one touchdown pass off the league lead. Seriously, look it up. However, the Jaguars have had tons of trouble stopping anyone on the defensive side of the ball. Apparently, it doesn't matter who plays quarterback for the Texans as long as they have Bill O'Brien and DeAndre Hopkins. So, I am fairly certain about the over even if I think J.J. Watt is going to get to fifteen sacks and could possibly even get to 17 by the end of the day. Pick: Texans, Over

    PS: The public is going hard after the OVER, here, because the Jags have been - wait for it - a scoring machine of late. Have I ever mentioned just how badly I wanted the Lions to draft JJ Watt? At around 2:00 PM tomorrow, I suspect Blake Bortles will be feeling the same way because that would mean Watt would be playing the Bears instead of stomping on Bortles' raisins. PICK: Texans, Under

    MK: The Texans are 4-1-0 SU and ATS against their own division, which is precisely how this team is going to make the playoffs, and that divisional loss marked the end of the Ryan Mallett Experience in Houston. This team is beating AFC South opponents with Brandon Weeden at quarterback and they get a much more competent Brian Hoyer back this week. PICK: Texans, Over

    Seahawks at Cardinals (-6.5), o/u 47
    4:25 (ET), Glendale, Ariz.—FOX

    RG: The Cardinals can create pressure with their front four and have something to play for this weekend. The Seahawks are in and probably don't want to show much of their hand in case there is a rematch in a couple of weeks. The Cardinals don't need to change what they are doing in order to be successful, but Seattle does. Pick: Cardinals, Over

    PS: In the last five meetings between these two NFC West powerhouses, the road team sports a 4-1 edge both ATS and SU. Last week saw Russel Wilson crash back to earth as he was forced to run for his life against a Rams defense intent on doing harm. And what were the Cardinals doing last Sunday? They were just busy racking up a whopping NINE sacks against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. PICK: Cardinals, Over

    MK: Arizona owned about fifty five minutes of the last meeting between these two teams, but Seattle was explosive for the five minutes in which they played well that they covered up how completely the Cardinals controlled this game. I agree with Rich that Seattle, without much to gain in a win—the right to ensure that they host Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game, provided the Packers lose to Minnesota and become the #6 seed in the NFC—that the Seahawks won't show much. I think a low-scoring game favors Seattle, so I'm flipping things there. PICK: Cardinals, Over

    Raiders at Chiefs (-6.5)
    4:25 (ET), Kansas City, Mo.—FOX

    RG: The Chiefs will get that weird record and the game will play out similarly to the last game between these two. Pick: Chiefs

    PS: During their nine game win streak, the Chiefs are 7-2 ATS. History, however, is not on Kansas City's side as they are 1-7 ATS as favorites in the month of January. Screw history. PICK: Chiefs

    MK: I'm torn here. The Raiders played on Christmas Eve and must have benefited from a quasi-bye, but the Chiefs are still alive in the AFC West race and Oakland must have expended considerable emotional energy in what may have been their final game in the Black Hole. PICK: Chiefs

    Vikings at Packers (-3)
    8:30 (ET), Green Bay, Wisc.—NBC

    RG: I want the Vikings to host a playoff game. I think I have been pretty clear on this all week. Let it snow and let it be cold. Pick: Vikings

    PS: The Packers have been getting torched by opponents' running attacks the last three weeks. Jerick McKinnon has been having a nice go of late. Oh, and that Peterson guy? He's pretty good, too. PICK: Vikings

    MK: I'm sorry, guys. There's no reason to believe the Vikings are any better than the last time these two teams played. I'm grateful to have a chance to go against the grain here. PICK: Packers


    MK: I made a pretty simple Buffalo Chicken Dip this week, so let's make that our snack this week.

    What you'll need:

    —Chicken thighs (boneless and skinless, let us say, 20-24 oz.)
    —Frank's Red Hot Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce, 1 cup)
    —Cream cheese (16 oz.)
    —Ranch Dressing (1 cup)
    —Cheddar Cheese (1 cup)
    —Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
    —Paprika (.5 tsp)
    —Cayenne pepper (.5 tsp)
    —Garlic Powder (.5 tsp)
    —Onion Powder (.5 tsp)
    —Olive oil (a drizzle)

    What you do:

    Pre-heat your oven to approximately 425 degrees. Take those chicken thighs, and place them in a bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top, and add salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Place them on a tray and cook them for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until done.

    Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow them to cool. Cut into small pieces, thin strips, shred in a food processor, whatever you'd like.

    Take your chicken bits and add them to a dutch oven, and add enough of your hot sauce to coat the chicken, and any other seasonings you'd like to add to your buffalo sauce. (I like hot garlic on my wings, so I typically go a little heavy on my hot sauce and also add some garlic I've made into a paste.) Cook for one minute, and then add the remainder of the hot sauce and your cream cheese. Once the cream cheese has melted, add your ranch (or, bleu cheese dressing, if you prefer, even though that stuff is disgusting) and then your cheddar cheese, stirring constantly to avoid clumping.

    Serve with crostini, celery, carrots, or whatever you'd like.


    RG: My little tour of interesting IPAs and such brings us to a brewery petty famous for their Halloween beer. Southern Tier is not just the place where you get the most popular pumpkin beer in the country. It has plenty of great beer like this week's selection, their Unearthly IPA.


    RG: 2-5-0, 62-63-2
    PS: 1-6-0, 60-65-2
    MK: 3-4-0, 60-65-2

    Rich Gapinski, Patrick Sullivan, and Matt Kocsan are staff writers at FootballPros. Each week, they pick the most difficult games of the week based on the Tuesday morning lines and produce this column for their—and hopefully your—amusement. You can follow them on twitter @PolishedSports (Rich), @GoBigOrGoHome2 (Patrick), and @kocsan (Matt).

    Comments 17 Comments
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      At what number would the Saints Falcons game over under needed to have been to not take it? I think my number is 65.5.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Say what you want about Jay Cutler. Dude can straight spin it. Wow.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Josh Bellamy for life. Seriously, though, great throw and catch. If would be hilarious if Bears won this game without Royal, Miller and Jeffrey.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      All hail Megatron.

      Just, just, all hail.

      It's gonna hurt to lose this guy.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      So, Biggie, Megatron ONLY has his great games against the Bears. What the hell did we do to him? Seriously, he only two 100 yard games of the year will be against Chicago. WTH?
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Not much tread left on them tires, Rich. The Lions have been riding Calvin hard for a few years. It's still gonna hurt to see him in a Patriots' jersey.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      Not much tread left on them tires, Rich. The Lions have been riding Calvin hard for a few years. It's still gonna hurt to see him in a Patriots' jersey.
      I know, but receivers are supposed to have more tread on the tires than this. However, it is true that the only viable knock on him is that he always seems to have a nagging injury. Give him tons a credit for mostly playing every week, but it does seem like there could have been even more from him. That simple idea of that is an insane thought that is somehow true.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      This game could be called The Two Towers of Wasted Talent.

      Put Megatron and Forte on the same squad for a year or two. Jesus. That would be terrifying.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Rich Gapinski View Post
      At what number would the Saints Falcons game over under needed to have been to not take it? I think my number is 65.5.
      And, as usual, I am an idiot.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Sullivan View Post
      This game could be called The Two Towers of Wasted Talent.

      Put Megatron and Forte on the same squad for a year or two. Jesus. That would be terrifying.
      Well, we got within one game with Forte, but this idea you say is terrifying. It also could be two additions for the Pats next season. Now.... That is terrifying. Forte has been audible in the idea that he doesn't care about money anymore and if Megatron buys into the Patriot Way with Tom's discount..... Uh, it becomes a lot less crazy of an idea. What did Darth Hoodie do the last time the offense angered him? He got Randy Moss. You don't think he wants Shane Vereen that can run with another Moss to give Tom a proper dominating send-off (along with maybe his own)?
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      After the early games, where I got reamed by the late Ravens score:

      PS, MK: 3-1
      RG: 1-3

      This means, as of right now, after 16.571 weeks, we are all tied. It's truly great.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      I find this instance of my stupidity to be interesting. Why would Arizona be the team that didn't want to show anything? Is it because they didn't want to show the defensive differences? Look, Seattle is good, but are they a few touchdowns better than Zona? No way.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Browns are re-loading again. Oh. there's a different term for this.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      I find it amusing that after all the whining and complaining about needing to fix the NFL playoff system to prevent a below .500 team from making the playoffs, there will be no team in the playoffs with fewer than 9 wins.
    1. Brian Williams's Avatar
      For the 5th consecutive year (4 in StL), Jeff Fisher falls just short of .500.

      Sign that man to an extension!!!
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      It turns out my hatred for the Jets is keys than my hatred for the Steelers. I am a bit bummed that the one us in at the expense of the other.
    1. Patrick Sullivan's Avatar
      Heading into the postseason:

      RG: 2-6-0, 64-69-2
      PS: 4-4-0, 64-69-2
      MK: 2-6-0, 62-71-2