Hey, it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know. How about that Week 1 action, folks? Now I’m a humble man—not one of faith but a humble man nevertheless—and I’m willing to admit I was a little nervous after five of my picks lost in the early slot on Sunday. But I went undefeated in all the remaining games on Sunday as well as on Monday night, rattling off six straight correct picks by yours truly to bring the Week 1 total to 11-5. And if you read the column, you know I’m not out here just picking the favorites and that some of Mo’s Underdogs (copyright pending) came through in Week 1.

However, I can’t rest on my laurels or my hardys. Some other columnists might just walk away after one week, but not Moneyline Mo. I’m not afraid of failure. I know that I’m not always going to go 11-5. In fact, I know some of you want me to fail and think that, despite my proclamations and sense of myself, that maybe I’m not humble enough. I don’t know what I ever did to you to have you so quickly turn on me, but if we’re enemies, then so be it. Let’s get to the Week 2 picks.

THURSDAY

WASHINGTON OVER NEW YORK (N)
I want to watch this game, but it’s only available on the league’s network and I don’t have that on my television. It sure seems like they’ve muddied up the Thursday Night Football product with it bouncing around on different stations and streamers, but then also a stretch of games only available on the league’s network. So here I am, unable to watch two divisional rivals go up against each other on short rest with one of them starting their second-string quarterback. If you didn’t find Taylor Heinecke endearing last year when he clearly gave it his all against Tampa Bay in the playoffs, then I question your taste. But I currently don’t have a convenient way to watch this and that’s a shame. A low down, dirty shame.

SUNDAY

CINCINNATI OVER CHICAGO
As promised, I listened to a lot of 670 after Chicago lost on Sunday night and continued to listen to it throughout the day on Monday. To summarize what I heard from the callers and some of the hosts, Chicago is intentionally not playing Justin Fields because the general manager and head coach are trying to buy time for themselves to still have jobs next season. If they were to play him now and he doesn’t succeed, they’d be fired. Yet if they play poorly but only let Fields have limited action on the field, the idea is that he’s soaking up the playbook and will be ready to play NEXT year…and you wouldn’t want to screw up his development by firing the guys that he’s worked so closely with in his rookie year. It seems like a con job…not on the level of The Sting or The Spanish Prisoner, but still one that I can respect. If it means more enjoyable misery on the radio, then I support the plan wholeheartedly.

LOS ANGELES (N) OVER INDIANAPOLIS
Sunday night’s game was pretty much a commercial for the new stadium in Los Angeles and you know what? It got me good. Yeah, I saw the building in action last year, but something about it with a full house made it seem extra cool. The same goes for the new stadium in Las Vegas. I’ve never attended a football game at an indoor stadium, but if you’re going to go to a game that seems like the ideal way to do it.

On the other hand, there are few things in life more appealing than watching a bad weather football game while sitting in comfort at home. So those are the things I wrestle with in my mind, that contradiction that I’d rather go to an indoor stadium, but I prefer to watch games that take place outdoors. Maybe I shouldn’t say RATHER, because I’ve never done such a thing, but I’m interested in it. The glimpse we got of Los Angeles on Sunday night confirmed my feelings that they are likely a top-tier team this year, and I think they’ll build that momentum with another win indoors against Indianapolis.

BUFFALO OVER MIAMI
Okay folks, if I didn’t lose you earlier, this is where you might turn on me…I want to come clean and share that I haven’t sampled the Picasso’s Pizza that I ordered from Buffalo. I know I spent a good chunk of last week’s column letting you know that I was going to try it and have both a review and exclusive photo this week. Instead, I don’t have any of these things. I’m not going to make up some story like the shipment was delayed. No, I got the pizzas, the ones that I’ve been looking forward to and interested in trying for months now, and then when the window of time arrived, at that moment I just didn’t feel like it. I knew that I’d hyped up these pizzas and so many of you were counting on me, but my own laziness got in the way.

LET ME BE CLEAR: I’m not trying to string you along and make you read this column week-to-week hoping that one day I will talk about my experience with Picasso’s Pizza. My intent is to get the job done this week, okay? Hey, do you think Buffalo lost last week because I didn’t try the pizza? Is that a power that I have? Is there any way of monetizing it? Venture capitalists, LET ME KNOW!

CLEVELAND OVER HOUSTON
On Sunday, I was flipping back between Green Bay/New Orleans and the far more compelling Cleveland/Kansas City matchup. As I mentioned last week, I thought Kevin Stefanski really botched the divisional round playoff game last year, and for a moment on Sunday, it looked like history was going to repeat itself. But like the Split Enz single, history never repeats and when Cleveland punted the ball late in the game, their defense was able to get a stop to get the ball back. They still managed to lose in excruciating fashion, but at least they got a stop on defense this time around. While Houston was one of Mo’s Underdogs (copyright pending) that came through last week, I don’t know if they’re going to win another game for a while. So uhhh, savor that one for now Houston fan(s).

NEW ENGLAND OVER NEW YORK (A)
I thought Robert Saleh would get a win in his head coaching debut and I was wrong. Bill Belichick also lost last week and if you’re telling me one of these teams is going to start off 0-2, I just can’t see New England being the one in that spot.

SAN FRANCISCO OVER PHILADELPHIA
Boy, I was so close to having my Detroit over San Francisco pick turn out to be right. I just had assumed I’d blown it after I saw the score was at halftime, but then saw I had a glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter which was ultimately short-lived. But isn’t that the case with all glimmers? Do we have a way of classifying what counts as a glimmer? Is there a way to measure glimmers? Is that someone’s job? Wait, is that what the movie The Glimmer Man is about? Even though Week 1 was too close for comfort, I think that San Francisco will start the season 2-0.

LAS VEGAS OVER PITTSBURGH
That Monday night game was really bizarre! It reminded me a lot of last year’s Thursday night game between Las Vegas and Los Angeles that also went to overtime and kept yoyo-ing as to who was favored to win the game. Maybe that’s just the signature element now that the team is based in Las Vegas, that their games have wild swings in probability. [Chris Berman voice] “Da probability swingerrssssssss.”

NEW ORLEANS OVER CAROLINA
If you’ve watched television over the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen a commercial for a national chain restaurant featuring a jingle incorporating the name of specific menu items and accompanied by shots of people dancing on TikTok. What I wasn’t aware of until my wife pointed it out on Sunday is that this is actually a popular country song and NONE OF THE LYRICS HAVE BEEN CHANGED. So, when you hear it on the radio or streaming (or however you’re listening to music these days, am I right!?!), that version is the same as what you hear on the commercial with the specific menu items being rattled off.

Something about this synergy really bothers me. I know we’re in late-stage capitalism and it’s wrong of me to expect anything more, but the combination of a country song, a bland chain restaurant and a rising social network hit a nerve. The saddest thing is, in an effort to prove that this wasn’t an organic development, I spent some time in the lab and came up with other versions of this verse of the song but incorporating other chain restaurants and their menu items. It feels like no matter what, this song was destined to be a part of an advertising campaign and there were backdoor bidding wars between the biggest chain restaurants in the country to get that placement. I can’t prove any of this, but I know it in my gut. One of the menu items in the song/commercial includes the name of a famous street in New Orleans, so that’s how it ties in okay?

DENVER OVER JACKSONVILLE
I’m really proud of my fellow kidney stone sufferer Vic Fangio on picking up a solid win to start the season. Let’s keep it rolling with a win in Week 2, buddy! I’m assuming he has an alert for “Vic Fangio” + “kidney stone” and he’s reading this right now. Thanks for your support, Vic, but you know it’s a two-way street and I’ve got your back as well, pal.

ARIZONA OVER MINNESOTA
One thing to know about Moneyline Mo is that I’m not afraid to eat crow. Arizona looked very impressive last week against Tennessee, and I absolutely was not expecting that. I didn’t put a Moneyline Mo Promise (trademark pending) on that game, but that was an oversight on my part because I was confident that Arizona was going to lose. Maybe J.J. Watt was onto something, and they are due for a playoff run. Whatever the case, I’m righting my wrong this week like Dr. Sam Beckett has leaped into me for the sole purpose of making this pick. Oh boy!

TAMPA BAY OVER ATLANTA
Wait, Tampa Bay gets another home game after the big celebration last week? That doesn’t seem totally fair. I’m all about fairness, so if you played at home Week 1, then you should play on the road Week 2. Literally every road team from the first week of the season should have a home game in Week 2. That’s only fair. I just looked it up and Tampa Bay’s Week 1 opponent (Dallas) has another road game in Week 2, as well as San Francisco, Denver, and Minnesota. How bad do you screw up a schedule that I’m now feeling sympathy for Dallas?!? Just start Moneyline Mo out as your schedule maker and I’ll work my way up to Commissioner. I’m not bluffing! Bring me in as a consultant! My DMs are open!

SEATTLE OVER TENNESSEE
I have Tennessee as my championship pick, but they seem out of sorts right now and Seattle is a perennial thorn in the side. I can’t stand them, and I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t let my feelings get in the way of the pick, so I must go with Seattle. I sure hope Tennessee turns it around because I had high hopes for them. I think one of their saving graces is the division they play in where realistically they only have one opponent also vying for the division title. Just a matter of winning enough to get in. Hey, look at that, I was able to cheer myself back up about their chances! Just not for this week, though.

LOS ANGELES (A) OVER DALLAS
The biggest relief of Week 1 is that Dallas didn’t pull off the upset over Tampa Bay, which would have forced me to watch all of the latest season of Hard Knocks thanks to the Moneyline Mo Promise (trademark pending). I actually have enjoyed Hard Knocks off and on over the years, but I have a really hard time accepting that Liev Schreiber is the narrator. I like the voice, but it just doesn’t sound like him to me. I need a behind-the-scenes video of him in the recording booth so my brain can finally recognize that it’s him.

KANSAS CITY OVER BALTIMORE
And this brings us to a battle of two former Hard Knocks-featured teams, Kansas City in 2007 and Baltimore with the inaugural season of the show in 2001. You wanted more Hard Knocks talk right? If you’re forcing Moneyline Mo to pick this game based on the enjoyment between the franchise’s seasons on Hard Knocks, that’s a tough call. Why would you force me to do this? What’s the motive? And what’s at stake for me? Okay, fine, I’ll pick…just give me a second to think.

So that 2001 Baltimore season has a lot of entertainment provided by Shannon Sharpe and Tony Siragusa, but that’s not enough for Moneyline Mo. I prefer the Paul Rudd narrated season of the show with the 2007 Kansas City team starring Herm Edwards, Tank Tyler, and Turk McBride. Wait, why did you force me to choose a winner with the Hard Knocks criteria when you already knew that I was picking Kansas City over Baltimore because it’s the line that kicks off this portion of the column…

MONDAY

DETROIT OVER GREEN BAY
Last week, I felt very confident that New Orleans was going to beat Green Bay. I sure as heck didn’t anticipate Green Bay looking completely listless on offense and defense throughout the game. And I think it’s weird for anyone to assume that the game against Detroit will be a slam dunk to get the team back on track. While Green Bay has won four in a row against Detroit, two of those were close games and prior to that, Detroit had won four in a row against Green Bay. I don’t know what the psychology is, but it feels like the team and fans always take Detroit too lightly and that’s a recipe for disaster.

See if I’m right by watching the game this Monday at the Cooperage with a halftime performance by The Hallelujah Ward. That’s right, it’s a one-off at the Cooperage. Write it down and remind yourself throughout the week that it’s not at Cactus Club. Put it on your fridge and in your phone. And when you make it to the right venue for the game, I don’t need to hear it said aloud but, in your heart, give a little thanks to Moneyline Mo.

Well look at that, it’s the end of the column and, as I promised last week, here’s the running tally of how I’m doing. These numbers are the same this week, but they never will be again the rest of the way, so cherish the repetition while it’s here.

LAST WEEK: 11-5
SEASON TO DATE: 11-5

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