November 22, 2013

Will you be watching the Grey Cup? + NFL Week 12 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

In case you haven’t been reading our paper or website this week, the Grey Cup will be played on Sunday. By rough estimate, the Toronto Sun will have published 100 pages of content leading up to the game.

Believe me; I know how passionate fans of Canadian football are. The most-viewed post I’ve ever written was about why I think the CFL isn’t good.

I even have a few Twitter followers who simply follow me to tweet about how well the league is doing in TV ratings.

To that I say: Just because something gets good ratings, doesn’t mean that it is good and vice versa. After all, the CFL gets strong ratings on TSN, but the Kardashians keep making money and NCIS is one of the top shows on TV. That will probably be the only time that in history that the Kardashians and the CFL will be in the same sentence.

This year, the Roughriders – the only team with that name left in the CFL, for those who don’t follow – will be playing at home in front of some of the most rabid fans in all sports. I have to hand it to Saskatchewan supporters; Rider Nation is one of the best fan bases I have ever seen. I’m sure the tweets and comments will flow in about every negative thing I write in this post.

And kudos to them, they deserve this game. In all honesty, they should be hosting this game far more often than the Argos do.

Most people in Toronto simply don’t care about Canadian football. It was fairly obvious when the Argos could barely move tickets for the East final until the opponent was known. Why? Because the other half of the stadium was filled with Tiger-Cats fans who had to wait for them to beat the Alouettes to book their tickets.

This week I was asked to go on the radio to debate if the CFL will work Ottawa. I turned it down, saying that I’m no expert on the Canadian game and have no opinion on the subject. What I should have done was turn the question around and ask: Is it working in Toronto?

It’s hard to say yes. I don’t know more than four people that legitimately like the Canadian version of the game. There’s just something that feels all too amateurish about the rules and the size of the field.

Will I be watching the Grey Cup? Yes, but only between the Cowboys-Giants game and the epic Sunday night tilt of Brady-Manning XIV.

The Grey Cup will always be huge in Canada, but just not in the nation’s largest city. There’s something about the game that just doesn’t permeate Toronto.

I really can’t wait until next year, when we have nine teams and likely one of the weirdest schedules that a football league has ever used. Here’s my quick solution: Fold the Argos. I’m not sure how many people will notice.

Pick: Saskatchewan -5 over Hamilton.

The lines are from BOVADA and the home teams are in CAPS

Tampa Bay +10 over DETROIT

The Bucs have some good pieces and their defence can cause some havoc. The Lions are capable of running up the score, but ultimately make some poor decisions, like last week’s fake field goal attempt.

HOUSTON -10 over Jacksonville

I can’t believe it, but somehow a two-win team is actually favoured by double-digits. The thing is, the Texans actually have some hope and some decent players. There’s no way they should be playing this poorly and beating the Jags shouldn’t be too tough.

GREEN BAY -5 over Minnesota

Scott Tolzein isn’t of NFL starter quality, but he’s not terrible. The Vikings QB situation, on the other hand, is. Even Adrian Peterson is playing up to his normal superhuman standards. The Packers desperately need this win to stay in the race until Aaron Rodgers returns.

KANSAS CITY -5 over San Diego

This has trap game written all over it being sandwiched between two Broncos tilts, but I think the Chiefs have something to prove. The Chargers defence is among the league’s worst, which could add up to a nice comeback game for K.C.

Carolina -4 over MIAMI

You have to roll with the hot hand and there’s none hotter than the Panthers. While San Diego couldn’t take advantage last week of the Dolphins makeshift line, Carolina should get to Ryan Tannehill on almost every passing down.

Pittsburgh +1 over CLEVELAND

This game is always a close one and a rough one. The Steelers have reeled off two in a row and have inserted themselves in the playoff race. Not bad for a team that didn’t win until Week 6.

Chicago +1 over ST. LOUIS

While I do expect Zac Stacy to have a big game against the ailing Bears defence, you can’t help but be impressed with Josh McCown so far. He has clearly claimed atop the McCown brothers power rankings.

BALTIMORE -4 over New York Jets

This is the week the Jets’ up-and-down streak ends. I mean, they can’t go the entire season win-loss-win-loss, right? The Ravens running game finally came around last week, just in time for Ray Rice to save you in the fantasy playoffs.

Tennessee (pk) over OAKLAND

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Matt McGloin! Are you excited? This game should be a grind, but I’m not expecting the undrafted rookie to lead the Raiders to another win.

ARIZONA -1 over Indianapolis

Believe it or not, but Carson Palmer has been looking pretty good recently. If he’s playing well and the Cardinals defence plays up to their under-ratedly high standard, the Colts may not be able to mount their weekly comeback.

NEW YORK GIANTS -3 over Dallas

There’s no point of betting against the Giants any more, this team is bound for the Super Bowl. And Dallas is certainly not the team to try to stop them.

Denver -1 over NEW ENGLAND

As we learned last week, you just can’t bet against Peyton Manning at night. The Patriots are getting stronger as they get healthier on offence, but the Broncos are just too strong.

San Francisco -5 over WASHINGTON

I’m sure that ESPN thought this would be a dream matchup coming into the season with RG3 and Kaepernick becoming even bigger stars. Instead, they’re both struggling to varying degrees. At least the rest of the 49ers aren’t too shabby, while Washington’s squad is average at best.

This week: 0-1
Last week: 4-9-2
This season: 73-83-6

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