Hey, it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know. I am beyond thrilled to be providing the official unsolicited weekly professional football picks for Milwaukee Record this season FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. If this goes well, look for me to parlay this into a hotline or becoming a personal betting consultant like the guy on that short-lived CNBC show, Money Talks. In the meantime, you get to benefit from the greatest indicator of who will win or lose a game…my gut. Spreads are for offenses and breads. I’m only going to be talking money lines, in case you couldn’t put that together from my name, hot shot.

Okay, that should suffice for an introduction, right? I’ll be picking games every week of the season, including playoffs. If you’re reading a picks column, you’re probably just for the picks right? Oh you wanted some commentary to go along with the picks? I don’t just get to write who I think will win, but I have to expand on it for maybe a few more sentences to justify this being published? Fine, well here are the picks along with supplemental sentences:

Thursday

TAMPA BAY over Dallas
What a miserable game to start the season with. Just two very unlikable teams and a seemingly lopsided matchup. If Dallas somehow wins this game, I’ll force myself to binge this entire season of Hard Knocks. And that’s a Moneyline Mo Promise (trademark pending)!

Sunday

ATLANTA over Philadelphia
Did you know that Atlanta’s new coach is one of the sons of the founder of FedEx? Now listen, I’m more of a Flying Tigers man myself, but the Wikipedia page for his papa has some big claims in it. Anyone who supposedly uses gambling winnings to keep their business afloat on its way to becoming a global leader in shipping, delivery, and supply chain management ultimately earns my respect. And what are the odds that this guy’s son will make his head coaching debut against a team that once had a player nicknamed FredEx? The stars have truly aligned for this game. We may be in the midst of the increasingly rapid decline of Western Civilization, but at least we got this game out of it.

BUFFALO over Pittsburgh
We could’ve had a Buffalo and Green Bay championship game last year. That would have been fun. Instead, we got a matchup and a game that wasn’t fun. And Buffalo has a wide receiver that’s extremely dumb about COVID, so that makes a team that was always fun to root for less fun too. You know what is fun though? I ordered some Picasso’s Pizza for Week 1 of the season. My sister gave me a gift card for a food delivery website, so I got some Buffalo Style Pepperoni Pizzas. Look for my review and maybe an exclusive photo next week!

CINCINNATI over Minnesota
I’m always going to spell Cincinnati wrong. It feels like it should have a double T instead of the double N and I’m always going to feel this way. It was fun watching Minnesota have a terrible start last year, make a little run mid-season to get back to .500, and then follow that up with a terrible finish. I personally find Mike Zimmer very likeable, but beyond him, it’s very easy to dislike this Minnesota team. Here’s hoping for another miserable (or should I say “misera-SKOL”) season for our neighbors.

DETROIT over San Francisco
There’s always a surprise win in the first week of the season and I think Detroit is due for a surprise win. I feel like, for the sake of the franchise, Dan Campbell needs to pan out as head coach because everyone including their own state government wanted Robert Saleh for the role. Now I’d prefer you didn’t look up Moneyline Mo’s campaign contributions over the past few election cycles and I don’t want to get political, but in this day and age, it’s rare that anything gets bipartisan support so it’s still strange to me that everyone wanted Saleh to the Lions…except for the Lions. Some real LeVar Burton/Jeopardy! vibes there.

NEW YORK (A) over Carolina
And speaking of Mr. Saleh, I think he opens his head coaching career with a win. I also think it’s pretty fun to have Sam Darnold square off against his old team in Week 1 , but this also feels like it could have been one of the Thursday night matchups for the run of games that can only be seen on the league’s own network

TENNESSEE over Arizona
Remember earlier this year when everyone was clamoring for J.J. Watt to come play for Green Bay and then he ended up signing with Arizona, which is seemingly a parallel situation to what he had in Houston for years of the team being good but never good enough? It’s been a long year! Tennessee feels like they’ve flown under the radar when this could absolutely be their year and I feel very confident they’ll beat Arizona.

SEATTLE over Indianapolis
Also, do you remember earlier this year when it seemed like Russell Wilson was on the outs in Seattle and the hot rumor was that he was going to be traded to Chicago? That was a fun story for a while…until Packers fans experienced the same thing a couple months later with Aaron Rodgers and Denver. And then both stories just kind of fizzled out. Anyhow, Seattle will win this game, but I just wanted to check your memory Husker Du style. Do you remember? Do you recall?

LOS ANGELES (A) over Washington
I like Washington to win their division this season, but I think this is a tough matchup for them to kickoff the year. For the Bolts, even though I know they’re a Los Angeles team, I still think that they are actually based in San Diego. And it still feels like Anthony Lynn should be their coach and Phillip Rivers their quarterback. And it also feels like Ladanian Tomlinson is their lead running back. And it also feels like Craig Whelihan could have developed into a decent quarterback if he’d really been given the chance. And it feels like just yesterday they were losing the big game to the 49ers with a halftime show featuring Indiana Jones. Time marches on.

HOUSTON over Jacksonville
You know the league scheduled this as a Week 1 matchup so one of these teams can claim to have a winning record at some point in 2021. Houston is old and bad, while Jacksonville is young and bad. I think the experience will help Houston take this opening week matchup.

KANSAS CITY over Cleveland
One of my best friends is a Cleveland fan and I was texting with him last year while watching the divisional round game between Kansas City and Cleveland. When Cleveland had the ball late in the game, I told him they had to put it all on the line that drive. Instead, they punted and never got the ball back. The fact that Moneyline Mo knew that was going to happen, but Kevin Stefanski didn’t makes me think we’re going to see a huge regression from Cleveland this season and that their success last year was a fluke. And that regression begins with a repeat loss to Kansas City.

NEW ORLEANS over Green Bay
This is a weird one because if the game was in New Orleans or even Dallas, I would have picked Green Bay. But something about it being in Florida makes it swing to New Orleans. I feel like I’ve seen too many games of the Packers struggling with heat and humidity that it’s hard to have confidence for this one. Hey, I hope I’m wrong, but it feels like a big win for New Orleans with Alvin Kamara carrying the team. Watch this one at the Cactus Club with a halftime performance by Nile, and if Green Bay wins, feel free to let out a “Fuck Moneyline Mo” chant. I can take it, I’m an adult.

MIAMI over New England
One time I went on a cruise with my family that left out of Miami, so we spent a day around Miami Beach before we left. There was a guy with a big snake around his neck just standing on the street looking for attention…as people who publicly display exotic animals do. With this guy’s encouragement, my teenager-at-the-time sister (but not the one that got me the previously mentioned gift card, a guy can have two sisters!) touched the snake for a split second as we walked by, and my mom flipped out about it. I’m a parent myself now and while I don’t have a teenager yet, I’m doing all I can to prevent history from repeating itself and having my child touch a large snake. Maybe it was a python? I don’t know much about snakes. But when I see the city of Miami mentioned, all I can think about is that guy with a snake. Maybe he’ll be at the game this weekend. Oh wait, it’s a home game for New England? Well then, maybe he’ll travel to the game. And maybe he’ll bring his snake along for the trip. If I get to watch the game, I’ll look for him, okay? That’s a Moneyline Mo Promise (trademark pending).

DENVER over New York (N)
Not to get too personal, but your pal Moneyline Mo has had several kidney stones throughout the years. A few years ago, I remember Vic Fangio coaching a preseason game while in the midst of having a kidney stone. If he’s that dedicated to the job for the preseason, he deserves to have success during the regular season. That’s right, I think anyone who powers through a kidney stone DESERVES good things. Where does this limit end? If I find out someone who commits a terrible crime was doing it while under the duress of a kidney stone, do I still think they deserve good things? Or do I at least come at viewing their crime(s) from a place of understanding? If I’m serving jury duty, do I have to disclose this at any point? The doctors say I should drink more water and limit my salt intake, by the way.

Anyhow, I think Denver could make some noise this year and earn a playoff berth, and it will all start Week 1 with a gigantic win.

LOS ANGELES (N) over Chicago
The first Sunday of the year wraps up with this showdown between Los Angeles and Chicago, and even though the former is a trendy team this year, we all know the real reason this is getting the marquee spotlight is so that the league can showcase L.A.’s $6 billion stadium with a full crowd for the first time. What I don’t understand is why the league didn’t use this opportunity to have it be the home game between Los Angeles and Detroit with Stafford and Goff facing off against their previous teams. In fact, that game currently is slated for October 24 at 3:05 p.m., which means it likely will only play in the Detroit and Los Angeles markets. Sure seems like a missed opportunity to me, but that’s the league for you!

It appears Chicago is a mess again this year, so this one should be a fun watch. As soon as the game is over, I’ll be tuning into 670 and then listening to it for 18 hours consecutively. There’s no better entertainment in this world and I say that having seen a bunch of shows in Sin City. And THAT sentence serves as a perfect segue to the final game of the week, located right below THIS sentence.

Monday

LAS VEGAS over Baltimore
It just won’t be the same without the doubleheader on Monday night this year. One of the great joys as a football fan was watching the first week of the season end with a 9 p.m. start featuring a broadcast crew that never had called a football game together before. This is the greatest loss of the season expanding to 18 weeks. These are two teams I don’t know what to make of yet, so I got to roll with my favorite city in the world…the place where the founder of FedEx apparently kept the company alive by playing blackjack. Viva Las Vegas!

Okay, so that wraps up my picks this week. In future week,s look for a running tally summarizing how well I’m doing in this portion of the column.

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