Hey it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know, coming off another winning week here at the start of the season. It was not quite as good as my Week 1 performance, but 10-6 in Week 2 is nothing to sneeze at, even though I whiffed on both the Sunday night game and the Monday night game. It’s still a winning record. I can’t beat myself up about it, right?

When I was in fifth grade, I was playing floor hockey during gym class. As the team’s goalie, I gave up a late goal, but we still won 3-2. When I lined up to leave, one of my best friends was fuming. I said “Carl, what’s the matter? We won the game.” He responded by declaring “But it could have been a greater win!” while raising his fist towards the sky. More than 25 years later, I still think about that all the time. So yeah, last week could have been a greater win, but it’s still a winning week for your pal Moneyline Mo. Let’s get to the picks for Week 3!

THURSDAY

CAROLINA OVER HOUSTON
Carolina is one of the early surprises of the season. With that in mind, I want to point out that there’s a crazy schedule anomaly in that Carolina doesn’t play Tampa Bay until Week 16, and then have another game with them in Week 18. As a baseline rule, I don’t think you should ever be done with a divisional series until you’ve played at least one game against each of your divisional opponents. (I don’t even think there should be divisions in the league but that’s a story for another time.) It’s absurd to have your first game against a divisional opponent in Week 16 of the year and then turn around and play them two weeks later to finish the season.

The only reasonable excuse for this is the schedule maker started with Tampa Bay since they were the defending champions and in the process of building their schedule, they totally forgot about the existence of Carolina. So, it wasn’t until they got towards the end of putting it together it dawned on them that Tampa Bay still had a whole divisional series they needed to play. Instead of going back and making tweaks, they just rolled with the bizarre end of the season with two games in three weeks. I don’t know who the schedule maker is, but I’m onto them…and I want their job.

SUNDAY

BUFFALO OVER WASHINGTON
I made a vow to you that I wouldn’t string you along. On Monday night, I invited a couple of friends over to watch the Monday night game projected on the side of my garage and to enjoy some Picasso’s Pizza. That’s right, SOUND THE ALARM, I had Picasso’s Pizza and buckle up because here’s my review: It was fine.

So there you have it, I have officially sampled a flash frozen Picasso’s Pizza shipped over 600 miles to my door and reheated in my oven and it was a fine experience. If I’m ever in Buffalo, I’m going to visit the Pierce-Arrow Museum and then head over to the nearest Picasso’s Pizza to try to real thing on its home turf. If that day comes, I’ll follow up with you. That’s a Moneyline Mo Promise (trademark pending).

KANSAS CITY OVER LOS ANGELES (A)
Last year’s Kansas City-Los Angeles matchup was the big professional debut of Justin Herbert. I remember it well because I had picked Kansas City and had to sweat that thing out! That’s right, Moneyline Mo used to make picks before there was even a column! We all have pasts, right? Some we’re still trying to run away from, but no matter what you do, there are some things you can’t shake.

CLEVELAND OVER CHICAGO
Always a disappointing start to the week when there isn’t a day of mourning on 670 following a Chicago loss. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some gems on the radio since it was a weird win over Cincinnati. My favorite was the guy who called in to say that their best course of action now is to wait until the trade deadline and flip Andy Dalton for some late picks. I’m not about to go through the history of all trade deadline deals, but I only remember two quarterbacks being flipped in the past decade. One was Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco and the other was Carson Palmer to the Raiders. And the reason for the latter? Because Cincinnati was set at quarterback with ANDY DALTON. I’m not about to pull a Werner Herzog and eat my shoe if I’m wrong, but I just don’t see an Andy Dalton trade happening this season.

BALTIMORE OVER DETROIT
Detroit embarrassed me on Monday night. At halftime, when they were up 17-14, the broadcast made a point of saying that no one could have predicted it. I smugly read aloud my prediction from last week’s column that projected them pulling off the upset against Green Bay. I was feeling proud of myself…and then they completely fell apart in the second half. As a result, I’m done being generous and giving them more credit than others. Sorry, Detroit, you had your chance.

You know what, I take that apology back! Detroit should be saying sorry to me! I actually know a guy who works there but haven’t talked to him in eight years. Maybe I’ll message him and let him know how Sheila Ford Hamp can reach me with a formal apology. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that as our first contact with each other in almost a decade.

TENNESSEE OVER INDIANAPOLIS
It cost me a victory last week, but I think I can officially declare that Tennessee is back on track, and everyone is welcome to join my championship bandwagon for them. Heck, we can give it a fun nickname like “Titanic.” Wait, that’s not a good name at all…just ignore that I said that. No bad vibes allowed on this bandwagon, folks.

NEW ORLEANS OVER NEW ENGLAND
I try to project confidence as best as I can, not just in my picks but in life in general. Anything to cover the constant fear of people being mad at me or that I’m a disappointment. I mean, I feel those things regardless, but you do the best you can to cover it with a sheen of confidence. This game, though, I’m willing to let my guard down ever so briefly to say this one is a real tossup. I’m having a hard time making sense of what these teams are and where they’re at, so we have the first official Moneyline Mo Coinflip Game (sponsorship opportunities available for any cryptocurrencies that want to have their “…”-coin integrated into the name). New Orleans had heads, New England tails and as you can see, heads was the winner this time around.

NEW YORK (N) OVER ATLANTA
Have you seen the movie Big Fan with Patton Oswalt? It received a lot of praise when it came out and I think it’s a good performance by him, but it was obvious to me that no one involved in the production was a true football fan. This was apparent because the big climactic showdown was a Monday night game in the final week of the season. But in the final week of the year, there isn’t a Monday night game. They could have just said it was a Sunday night game, but no, they didn’t do their research and now we’re 12 years into me getting mad about this goof.

PITTSBURGH OVER CINCINNATI
You know who my favorite Pittsburgh guy is? Dave Wannstedt. He’s like a Steel City Dennis Farina. And speaking of Dennis Farina, one thing you should know about me is I constantly quote the first line of dialogue from the Big Trouble trailer:

“So, this is Miami, huh? They can keep it.”

I’ve only seen the movie once and barely remember it. Dennis Farina’s in it, though, as a hitman and he was always good. Anyway, it’s a real shame that Pittsburgh doesn’t play Miami this season so these dots would be connected, but I couldn’t keep this to myself any longer.

ARIZONA OVER JACKSONVILLE
It’s a good sign that we’re already talking about how long Urban Meyer will last at Jacksonville when we’re two weeks into the season. I’m not ready to say that Jacksonville is for sure going to get the number one pick again, but it’s hard to see them picking outside of the top five at the next draft.

DENVER OVER NEW YORK (A)
My man Slick Vic Fangio aka “The Kidney Stone King” is off to a 2-0 start to the season! That’s also my record against official “on the books” kidney stones backed up by CT scans. Oh, there have been other kidney stones, but I didn’t have the medical imagery to confirm their existence and get added to my health records. It’s like a boxer fighting in a non-sanctioned fight. I’ve had exhibitions against other kidney stones but don’t get the credit for those. Where’s my parade for passing a kidney stone in the bathroom of the Pabst during Emmy Blotnick’s set when she opened for Nick Kroll? And boy am I sorry if either of them just got a Google Alert that led them to seeing this.

LAS VEGAS OVER MIAMI
I’m two-for-two picking Las Vegas this season, so I’m going to let it ride and go for three in a row! Trying to strain for some commentary about how these are two cities known for their nightlife. Something about beaches and deserts…I originally had a typo right there originally and wrote “desserts” the first time around. Let’s just keep that our little secret, okay? What happens in the column, stays in the column.

SEATTLE OVER MINNESOTA
The two teams I hate the most will square off on Sunday. Did you see that ridiculous call that bailed Russell Wilson out of a game-ending safety against Tennessee! Thanks goodness Seattle still lost that game. And speaking of endings, did you see the way Minnesota lost to Arizona? How could Paul Allen botch that radio call of the end of Minnesota’s game last week?! This isn’t Detroit, man!

There you have it, a few sentences on things that happened in last week’s games for these opponents, add it up and you got a paragraph. And now a little commentary on that paragraph, just acknowledging what it was and how it was written. Forget Stephen King’s On Writing, my columns are all you need to develop your voice, style, and word count as a writer.

TAMPA BAY OVER LOS ANGELES (N)
This feels like a preview of the conference championship, so it’s a little odd to me that we’re getting it so early in the season and that it isn’t the Sunday night game with no other competition. I did just check our local listings and apparently, we will get this game, because I was fearful that it’d be one of those arbitrary calls like “I think people in Milwaukee would rather see Minnesota/Seattle.” Who gets to make those calls as to what game plays in what market? Is it a person or is it some algorithm we’re talking about? Do the individual stations get to select the game they think their audience wants? I’M JUST ASKING QUESTIONS, PEOPLE!!!

SAN FRANCISCO OVER GREEN BAY
I swear this isn’t an ongoing bit to pick against Green Bay every week. I want them to succeed, and I want to root for them with my picks, but even after turning it around and pulling away in the second half against Detroit, I’m still not sold yet. I’m also haunted by the 2019 season when Green Bay was crushed on the road against San Francisco in both the regular season and the playoffs. Last year’s victory there doesn’t feel like a great barometer for this one since San Francisco had Nick Mullens starting at QB for that game.

This Sunday night, head over to the Cactus Club to enjoy the game and a halftime performance from Toadskin. Let’s hope it goes better than the 2019 Sunday night game when Green Bay finally scored in the third quarter and I said, “hey maybe they’re not out of it yet” and then less than a minute later George Kittle scored a 60-yard touchdown to kill all hopes.

MONDAY

DALLAS OVER PHILADELPHIA
On Sunday afternoon, I was driving around listening to sports radio as I often do, and one station was bouncing around and providing updates for the various games that were underway. When they got the Dallas game, they said that the end of the 1st quarter Dallas was running away with the game and then said they had a 14-3 lead. I spent the rest of the drive wondering how they could reasonably use “running away” to describe an 11-point lead so early in the contest. That’s just two possessions and there was plenty of time for the Chargers to come back in the game. In fact, they did come back to tie it and lost it on a field goal at the end of the game. So sure, Los Angeles lost, but they were never out of the game.

If the guy who said that on the radio is reading this now, I’m taking you to task, buddy. You ruined Moneyline Mo’s Sunday Afternoon Drive, which hopefully will also be the name of my radio program that replaces your sloppy work. That’s right, in addition to my career goals of my own hotline and network of clientele as a personal betting consultant, I’m putting Sunday afternoon radio host on that list, too. And this one is just to spite a guy who’s name I didn’t catch. In this country, sometimes all it takes is not agreeing with the way a stranger worded something even if they might not have understood how odd it sounded. And I’m proud to be an American. Before I run off to do the Pledge of Allegiance, here is an updated look at my record for the season.

LAST WEEK: 10-6
SEASON TO DATE: 21-11

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