Hey it’s Moneyline Mo, the man in the know, coming off a third winning week in a row! In Week 3, I went 11-5 to keep the Moneyline Mo-mentum going strong. And that was on top of a great weekend for local sports: a dramatic Green Bay victory on Sunday, Uecker and Braun getting honored, Milwaukee clinching the central division, my 5-year-old hitting some absolute rockets left-handed off his tee-ball stand, and an international golf tournament in Sheboygan that was enjoyable for a know-nothing casual viewer like myself!

This weekend was the most golf I’ve watched in over 20 since my brief career as a caddy, when I was a teenager. I don’t really remember how it happened because I never wanted to do it in the first place, but a friend of mine was really into golf, and I ended up getting my first job with him as part of a pool of caddies at a country club in Waukesha County. I didn’t like the sport, didn’t like being out in the sun (still don’t!), didn’t have the strength to carry the golf bag, and didn’t have the organizational skills to put the clubs back in the bag correctly. I’d have the woods and the irons completely mixed up, all barely remaining in the bag as I struggled through 18 holes.

I think I went out on the course maybe three times total, including on my 14th birthday because I was convinced that some sap would give me a big tip for working on my birthday. That didn’t happen and to this day, I refuse to ever work on my birthday again. I was better at hustling other caddies with the lottery system they had. If I drew a low number that meant I was guaranteed to get paired with a golfer that day. So, my approach was to keep trading down for a few bucks with caddies that were willing and wanted to go out. I didn’t want to be there, so there was no loss on my end if I just picked a bad number from the start, otherwise I had an asset to trade until I acquired a number that had no shot of being assigned that day. Either way, after a month of “bad luck” not getting out on the course, I was able to weasel out of being a caddy.

Now that I think back on it though, the whole concept is very strange. I don’t golf, but if I did and had a window of time to spend with three of my friends out on a golf course, why would I want to ruin that and have some random teenagers join us for three or four hours? You’re telling me the choice is to either carry my own bag or pay a kid that I don’t know to do it for me? And not only that, but this teenager will always be around me and my friends during a session on the course? Who wants that?

So now as a non-golfer, I use golf as an excuse for frivolous purchases like tickets, books, and DVDs. It’s a very healthy mentality of “I’m not out spending money on golf clubs, course fees, and caddies, so think of all the money I’m actually saving!” It’s like a reverse sunk cost fallacy. Enough about golf! Let’s get to this week’s picks!

THURSDAY

CINCINNATI OVER JACKSONVILLE
I’m sure I’m going to jinx it by pointing this out, but so far this year, I am undefeated with my Thursday night picks. I’m feeling good about that streak continuing as Cincinnati is coming off a big win over Pittsburgh, while Jacksonville fell apart in the second half against Arizona. Jacksonville also just traded away a starting cornerback, so their secondary will be realigned on short notice. I do love that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will have to cover this one and try to sell it like this isn’t a real dud of a match-up to start Week 4.

SUNDAY

DETROIT OVER CHICAGO
We’re three weeks into this season and Matt Nagy is facing pundits projecting that he intentionally sabotaged Justin Fields with his play calling to justify Nagy sticking with Andy Dalton to start the season. And now as I write this, it’s still unknown if Fields, Dalton, or Nick Foles will be the starter for this game. What a mess! On the flip side, last week I admonished myself for picking Detroit in the first two games of the season. I finally picked against them, and they came so close to pulling off the upset against Baltimore. Temptation has returned and I’m not strong enough to resist it. So now here we are…cue up The Godfather 3 clip.

BUFFALO OVER HOUSTON
Houston hung in longer than I thought they would on Thursday night against Carolina, but I feel like this is a game where midway through the second quarter, Buffalo will have a two-possession lead and at that point there just won’t be any way for Houston to get back in this thing. It’s almost been a year, but I’m still thinking about that Sports Illustrated article about Jack Easterby from December. Compelling stuff! I think in a few years we’re going to get a limited series from HBO heavily influenced by the story but with no official team names or logos and, instead, replacement names like John Westernear. If somebody isn’t already writing this, I’ll be happy to team up with anyone as your writing partner on this project! Or if HBO just wants to cut a development deal with me directly, I wouldn’t stop them.

WASHINGTON OVER ATLANTA
We’re three weeks away from the federal government shutting down. It’s healthy that this happens like every 18-24 months now, right? Well, speaking of Washington shutdowns, I think that’s what their professional football team will do to Atlanta’s professional football team. *Milwaukee Record, save this portion for the Pulitzer submission*

DALLAS OVER CAROLINA
Carolina is off to a 3-0 start, but I think they just screwed up by trading Dan Arnold this week. Sam Darnold to Dan Arnold was a fun connection for the three weeks that we were treated to it, but I guess some things are just too pure for this world. It just feels like we never really tapped the well of mix-ups and hijinks that could stem from a tight end whose full name sounded like the last name of his quarterback

INDIANAPOLIS OVER MIAMI
Just when I thought I was done talking about Hard Knocks, it was announced that there will be an in-season version of the show later this year following Indianapolis. How does Moneyline Mo feel about this? I’ll tell you how I feel!

This is just another sign that these fat cat executives don’t even know the appeal of their product. People watch Hard Knocks because it helps make the preseason a little more interesting. Football fans that watch the show are looking to whet their appetite in anticipation for the season. Now that we’re in the thick of it, the regular season games are the meal. And with multiple entrees throughout the week, you don’t need any appetizers. You have professional football on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Plus, there’s already the weekly showcase on Tuesday nights on Showtime, so even though I had dismissed the notion, there already is an appetizer amongst the meals. Is the plan to have the in-season Hard Knocks on Wednesdays? They know even the most die-hard fan needs to take a break from football during the week, right?

Circling back, it’s always weird to see whet used in a sentence, right? It always looks like someone wrote wet or wheat wrong.

CLEVELAND OVER MINNESOTA
Okay, city of Cleveland, I’m picking your team…but I also want to pick a bone with your Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Why hasn’t “Weird Al” Yankovic been inducted yet? We know the hall showcases genres beyond the titular Rock and Roll, so why not showcase a Grammy-winning comedy icon who has parodied many of the hall’s inductees. In fact, a portion of my argument is that Weird Al is part of the connective tissue between musicians and artists across decades and genres. One of the signs that artists had made it was that their hits were parodied by Yankovic. And if you aren’t going to put him in for his parody work, then do it for his original songs like “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.”

NEW ORLEANS OVER NEW YORK (N)
This is the first home game in New Orleans since Hurricane Ida and there is just no way they are losing this game. That’s the full extent of my commentary on this one. That stadium is going to be amped up and I can’t imagine New Orleans losing.

TENNESSEE OVER NEW YORK (A)
I’m feeling much better about my pick of Tennessee as this season’s eventual champion and a win in the Big Apple would officially have them back in the New York Groove, Ace Frehley style. I’ll be real with you; I always get Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley mixed up. I don’t really know KISS, okay? I’ve played the pinball game, I enjoyed their appearance in the Paul Lynde Halloween Special from 1976, Detroit Rock City has my second-favorite Edward Furlong performance…but I just don’t know them well enough to keep the non-Gene Simmons members straight. If any Hollywood studios are reading this though, I don’t know who makes the final call, but “New York Groove” would make one heck of a song for a trailer. I can see it used in MULTIPLE genres: teen comedy, gritty gang drama, a neon-drenched werewolf movie…the list goes on and on. Close your eyes and use your imagination, what type of movie do you picture when you hear this?

 

KANSAS CITY OVER PHILADELPHIA
What a stunner that Kansas City currently has a losing record at 1-2. I think after back-to-back championship appearances, they might just be bored, and I get it. In high school, I was a back-to-back state champion (not that impressive since there were like 200-300 state champions) in forensics. When it came time to go for the threepeat, I found that I wasn’t really motivated. What’s the fun in just trying to do something I’d already done? So, I just didn’t do it my final year of high school and let a bunch of people down that I didn’t even try to go for another championship. I’m not saying that Kansas City is bored to the point of the entire team retiring from professional football, but that would be one heck of a story, right? Something to keep our eye on for the rest of the season.

LOS ANGELES (N) OVER ARIZONA
Hey, look what we have here, a battle between two 3-0 teams! There are only five undefeated teams left and two of them are squaring off against each other! And wouldn’t you know it, there is no national broadcast for this game. When does flex scheduling start? Can we get this bumped to prime time instead of Tampa Bay vs. New England?

SAN FRANCISCO OVER SEATTLE
This is a huge game for Seattle since they are already at 1-2 on the season. If Seattle loses and goes to 1-3, they will be in a three-game hole in their highly competitive division since either Los Angeles or Arizona will be 4-0 after their match up. And no, I’m not going to get into the hypothetical of ties…but maybe that’s a whole new angle for an entrepreneur. There should be someone out there who doesn’t call winners or losers and just predicts when there might be a tie. “Tony The Tie-ger.” Look at that, I’ve created a whole persona that a Tom Ripley could slide right into. Good luck navigating the legal system with Kellogg’s lawyers.

Anyhow, this is a big one for Seattle, but I think San Francisco is currently the better team and will put Pete Carroll’s squad in a tough spot. That would be refreshing if we didn’t have to watch Seattle in the playoffs this year. They’ve made the postseason eight out of the last nine years. Give it a rest, fellas!

BALTIMORE OVER DENVER
This breaks my kidney to do this to Slick Vic Fangio. I’m sorry to pick against you, man! I’m pulling for Denver this year and think they might make the playoffs as a six or seven seed, but their undefeated start is a little misleading. You can only play the schedule you have, but so far, they’ve played two of the worst teams in the league and a bottom 10 team, too. Baltimore is riding high after that absurd game winning field goal against Detroit, and I have a feeling they’ll end Denver’s hopes of a perfect season.

GREEN BAY OVER PITTSBURGH
See?! I told you I wasn’t going to be picking against Green Bay all year. Sunday night’s win helps me feel better about the rest of the season, but I was panicking as soon as Green Bay kicked the field goal to go up by six late in the game.

My mindset is that I’d rather play defense with a three-point lead than a six-point lead. On the offensive side, when you’re down six late, it’s touchdown or bust so the offense plays with nothing to lose. In a scenario when you’re down three, I think that can make offenses more conservative once they are in field goal range because while they want to get the touchdown to go ahead, they don’t want to be too reckless where they might turn the ball over or lose yardage and cost themselves a chance to tie the game. It all worked out in the end thanks to an unbelievable final drive by Aaron Rodgers, but I will always hate kicking a field goal and going up six late.

I even hated going up six with two minutes to go in the championship game against Pittsburgh a decade ago. That worked out too, but I still think it shouldn’t have. You know why I wouldn’t have done that? Because the season before, in 2009, Green Bay was up by six against Pittsburgh with two minutes to go and Pittsburgh scored a touchdown with a Ben Roethlisberger pass to Mike Wallace as time expired. And yeah, that one was different because Green Bay was down two and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to go up by six. Don’t underestimate Moneyline Mo’s memory of crushing Green Bay loses!

My bottom line: let’s not make a habit of going up by six late in the game! But you know what you SHOULD make a habit of? Enjoying the Green Bay game at the Cactus Club! This week’s Milwaukee Record Halftime Show will be Ladybird! They better play Zoomer!

TAMPA BAY OVER NEW ENGLAND
We’re constantly being sold something. It’s one of the givens of our day-to-day existence. And for the most part, you let it wash over you. The algorithm is getting so good that social media ads present you with products and services you never knew existed. They are so precisely catered to your tastes that even if you dodge several offerings, that only helps them refine and refine until you inevitably buy something from a targeted ad. We’re willing to put up with this since we know it is just part of life now. However, that acceptance breaks when you are oversold on something, and it lacks nuance. In those scenarios, you suddenly have the power of the They Live glasses and can see all the mechanisms trying to manipulate you into being a sucker.

I bring this up because that is exactly what this Sunday night game is. The overproduced ads for the game and the messaging from talking heads covering the league claiming that this is “the most anticipated game of the year” is hogwash. Moneyline Mo has read Noam Chomsky and the buildup for Sunday’s game is right out of the playbook of Manufacturing Consent.

This is a mildly interesting game, but there isn’t anything close to resembling the bad blood of when Brett Favre returned to Green Bay as a member of Minnesota after his Machiavellian plot to escape the contract he had with New York. There was a rivalry there and the teams were equal too, which made that a highly anticipated game. For Sunday night’s game, Tampa Bay is clearly the better team, so there isn’t any excitement for the actual game since the teams aren’t equal. This isn’t like that Monday night match up between Kansas City and Los Angeles in 2018 when everyone was amped up for that game and it truly delivered since they were so evenly matched.

This game really feels like it should have been attached to a holiday. This might have made for a very interesting Thanksgiving night game or a way to spice up the Christmas day game this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a sucker that’s going to watch the game, but you’ll never sell me on the idea that football fans across the country are EXCITED for this game. We’re just consuming it, don’t try to make it anything more than that.

MONDAY

LAS VEGAS OVER LOS ANGELES (A)
It’s only appropriate to breakout the Moneyline Mo Coinflip Game for the final game of Week 4. As you can see, lady luck was on the side on Sin City for this one.

You know what game they should have tournaments of in Vegas? Hearts. I love playing Hearts. I want a million-dollar Hearts tournament at the Rio. Maybe that’s the next venture for Moneyline Mo. If we can’t get big money backing to have them hosted on the casino floor, we’ll run them in backrooms and basements. Just raking in the dough with an underground Hearts empire. Riding high until I’m killed in a raid of my operation by the feds. That’s how I want to go.

And just like that, it’s time for you to go. This week’s column is over. Well, it’s almost over. Here’s the part where I update last week’s record and my current record for the season. I suppose you don’t HAVE to go though. Feel free to just keep this tab frozen to this page. Just let it linger on your browser indefinitely until you’re forced to restart your computer or device. Or close it out, it’s your choice.

LAST WEEK: 10-6
SEASON TO DATE: 31-17

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