Hey it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know, and we are officially halfway through the season! And what a fucked up week to get to that point. Week 9 felt like a TV show that is running out of steam, so they shake everything up just to keep it interesting. Just when you thought you knew where things were headed this year, it’s a jumble again.

Did you see that if you had bet a $100 moneyline parlay on Jacksonville-Atlanta-Denver, you could have won $15,000? How long until we get a local sportsbook? With seven underdogs winning, I don’t even feel bad about having another losing week. Heck, I’m happy that I came as close as I did to a .500 week. Every year there’s at least one week that’s a total anomaly and it sure felt like that was the case with Week 9 this season. Let’s hope there’s a course correction with Week 10.

THURSDAY

BALTIMORE OVER MIAMI
The current forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms on Thursday night in Miami! I say bring back the baseball diamond and really slop the field up! I’m not up on the rules of field maintenance and regulations, but I’m going to operate with the assumption that Miami is grandfathered in since they used to have professional baseball games at the stadium. Come on, Miami, don’t let me down! I once saw Derrick Turnbow take an at-bat in your stadium, so I deserve your respect!

SUNDAY

DALLAS OVER ATLANTA
It sure feels like we got our first glimpse of the inevitable playoff exit for Mike McCarthy and Dallas this year. Earlier this season, I conceded the fact that they were the best team in the division with the caveat that they would end up losing in some excruciating way. One of the few pleasures this world has offered over the past 25 years is Jerry Jones being mad that Dallas hasn’t won a championship, so don’t let us down, Mike McCarthy!

TENNESSEE OVER NEW ORLEANS
Sunday night was really a joyless affair for me. Tennessee played the type of football against a top contender that I thought qualified them as a championship team this year, but Adrian Peterson being a part of it just ruins all the fun. Why the rush to sign him? Todd Gurley is almost the exact same size and nearly a whole decade younger. I don’t get it and I especially hate when someone continues to get their reputation laundered by the media (*cough* Cris Collinsworth *cough*).

As for their opponent this week, what’s the deal with New Orleans? They can pound Tampa Bay but can’t beat Atlanta at home? The defense that shut down Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers couldn’t stop Matt Ryan? Week-to-week, who knows what you’re getting with this team.

INDIANAPOLIS OVER JACKSONVILLE
While I haven’t had a great run lately, my prediction that Indianapolis would claw back into the mix is on track and with a win this week, they’d be at .500 with seven games to go on the schedule. All along, I’ve said that they were going to have a roller coaster, but after the wacky Week 9, I might need to reevaluate what I had penciled in as future losses. Could Indianapolis make it in as a wild card team? More important, will the Jim Irsay Collection find a permanent home before the end of the season?!

BUFFALO OVER NEW YORK (A)
We might have a Josh Johnson start for New York! Now to clarify, I’m talking about the quarterback Josh Johnson who plays in New York, not the filmmaker Josh Johnson who lives in New York. If you haven’t seen Rewind This!, you’re missing out. It’s a great documentary about the history of VHS tapes. He was also on my favorite episode of “The Fogelnest Files.” Bottom line, just like I was with Mike White, I’m excited that a guy who has the same name as another guy is playing quarterback for New York!

NEW ENGLAND OVER CLEVELAND
It’s 2021 and people are still making fun of Bill Belichick for his sartorial choices, but I think it’s the coolest thing about the man. He’s so successful that he gets to wear whatever he finds comfortable and there’s nothing you can do about it. I think the mocking and the criticism is a cover for jealousy. I don’t see why “they prefer to be comfortable” isn’t a valid excuse for anyone to not have to dress up for work or formal occasions. Let me show up to your wedding/funeral in shorts and a T-shirt! In this showdown between two of the five AFC teams that are 5-4, I’m going with the team coached by the man who is comfortable in his attire.

PITTSBURGH OVER DETROIT
When I hear Pittsburgh and Detroit, I immediately think of Jerome Bettis winning the championship in his hometown and retiring after the game. That championship game was the first time I heard trick plays referred to as “gadget plays.” My belief is that someone took offense to “trick play” sounding too much like a novelty, while “gadget” makes it sound sophisticated and well-designed. To me, cancel culture’s first victim was “trick play” because it doesn’t sound fancy enough! Who’s with me to pry “trick play” out of it’s cancel culture coffin like the beginning of Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives? Do me a favor: When the day comes and a team runs a fake kneel, call it a trick play. Think of all I’ve done for you. This is one thing you can do for me.

TAMPA BAY OVER WASHINGTON
It’s a rematch of the wild card showdown from last year! It’s been 10 months, but I still think about that game. What if Washington had converted that two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter? What if Washington had tried an onside kick with five minutes left after they cut it to a 5-point game? What if Chris Godwin hadn’t picked up so much yardage on that third and long late in the game to put Tampa Bay in field goal range? Is this a good use of photographic memory?

LOS ANGELES (A) OVER MINNESOTA
I never thought that I would reevaluate Kirk Cousins as having more honor than Aaron Rodgers, but by offering to be in a plexiglass box, he at least seems to understand the importance of having empathy for others while making a “personal choice.” Now, with the gift of hindsight…I like that? I like THAT?

ARIZONA OVER CAROLINA
When I heard that Kyler Murray would not be playing against San Francisco, I thought my prediction of an upset would hold. What I didn’t realize is that Colt McCoy is the backup in Arizona. Had I done my research, I might not have made that pick because in my heart, I always feel that Colt McCoy is one game away from turning the corner and becoming a superstar in the league. I think he has that late bloomer, Rich Gannon potential. He’s already got a superstar name, just needs to back it up with elite quarterback play. That can’t be that hard, right? And Darn it, Darnold! Get that shoulder better, Sam!

DENVER OVER PHILADELPHIA
Was I too quick to write off my guy Slick Vic Fangio? Denver is right back in the mix for not only a playoff spot, but even the division! They just need to keep it going. You know the expression: a rolling kidney stone gathers no moss!

SEATTLE OVER GREEN BAY
It’s the matchup I hate the most, because I go full meatball for games against Seattle. The Fail Mary really shattered my love of football for a stretch. So of course, Russell Wilson would return in time for this game and the conference is goofy enough that Seattle is very much in position to make a run for the 7 seed and playoff meeting with Green Bay in the playoffs. Meanwhile, it’s time to address the elephant in the column.

One thing I’ve tried in my life to do is review my actions, look outside of myself, and evaluate if I’m the bad guy in the situation. As much as I hate it, sometimes I have been, and while it can be hard to accept that you were wrong or cruel, it helps serve as a lesson to hopefully prevent it in the future. This is pure projection on my part, but despite Green Bay’s star quarterback frequently talking on a grand scale or a higher plane, I don’t think he has that ability to look at himself with the consideration that he might have been wrong. Even in his return appearance with Pat McAfee, he seemed more astounded at the response versus the actual reason why people are rightfully disappointed in his misleading words and actions. And now to top things off, he’s likely to return in the matchup I panic about the most. I have a bad feeling about this one, folks. Not as bad as my post-Fail Mary reaction where I didn’t watch professional football for a month, but I’m scared to watch this one alone.

If you’re in the same boat, join Milwaukee Record at the Cactus Club this Sunday for the game and a halftime performance by Versio Curs. There’s no better “Tradition” than that!

LAS VEGAS OVER KANSAS CITY
I think we deserve back-to-back appearances from Michael Buffer during the Sunday night game. I’m always happy to see him, his routine still works after thirty years, his presence always elevates the moment, and he’s made so much money doing something so simple on paper. And when it comes to Michael Buffer, I associate him more with Las Vegas than Los Angeles, so I’m hoping we get a Buffer double dip this week.

MONDAY

LOS ANGELES (N) OVER SAN FRANCISCO
I noticed it on Sunday night and again on Monday night, but officiating in football has gotten so bad at that the rules experts utilized by the broadcast booths are starting to criticize calls by the officials. This is a huge shocker after years of them essentially serving a PR function of carrying the water for the officials while explaining the more nuanced rules of the game. It might be that it’s too difficult to cover up bad officiating when the games are in prime time and everyone’s watching. There’s no way to bury it like you could an afternoon game where the games are segmented throughout the country.

One final Moneyline Mo guarantee for the week is that increased enforcement of taunting will have the same shelf life as the ability to challenge pass interference calls. My hope is that the league already starts to lighten up on this. It’s bad enough to look for a flag any time there’s an incomplete pass, but to now have that fear any time a player makes a big catch or tackle just takes away from the enjoyment of the game. Do the right thing, Roger! Revise the taunting rules! And then resign and name me the new commissioner. It’s for the good of the game!!!

LAST WEEK: 6-8
SEASON TO DATE: 83-53

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