Each Saturday Convenient Weekend Morning during the NFL season, we’ll wake up early, take a hearty cut at predicting the unpredictable league, wince at how it went the week before and ponder the definition of insanity.

Donald’s right. The system’s rigged.

Last week, I picked the Lions not to cover the 6 1/2 vs. Jacksonville. They won by 7.

I picked the Patriots to cover the 13 1/2 vs. the 49ers. They won by 13.

I picked the Bills not to cover the 3 1/2 vs. the Bengals. They won by 4.

When you can’t even trust the Patriots to cover whatever spread is thrown their way, well, I think Congress should get involved.

This came to mind as I was checking last week’s picks versus the spread and got to 0-10 before my utter lack of faith in the Packers’ defense and receivers was rewarded by Green Bay’s 18-point loss at Washington.

I’m sticking with whoever plays the Packers for now since reading a tweet from Paul Domowitch, the excellent long-time NFL reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. As Domo noted ahead of today’s Eagles-Packers game, Green Bay’s pass defense has been a tad lacking of late. Green Bay’s last four opponents have combined for a 127.3 passer rating with a 9.6 yards-per-attempt average and 12 touchdowns.

I clocked in at 3-10 versus the spread and 7-6 straight up. My analytics department had warned me of the dangers of taking less than 1.45687623 seconds to make each pick. Now my general manager is distancing himself from me. Next, the owner will be praising me for a job well done as he points me and my 56-68 record toward our one-way flight.

Of the 13 games today and Monday, five have teams favored by more than a touchdown and a PAT, which is that kick that sometimes goes between those two gold posts at the back of the end zone. Once upon a time, the NFL had its kickers stand closer to those posts for the PATs. Kickers stayed happily employed, coaches weren’t as grouchy and American football fans could get a head start toward the restroom.

Five road teams are favored. And in a small victory for victory-free Cleveland, the Browns aren’t the biggest home underdog today. Baby steps, Cleveland. Baby steps.

The Jets are 8 1/2-point underdogs at home against the Patriots. The Browns are 7 1/2-point mutts at home against the Giants.

And, yes, we’re picking the Browns to win. Locked in a 39-39 overtime tie, Urban Meyer will call a deep ball  that Corey Kluber delivers perfectly to LeBron James for the game-winner.



No one up the Star Tribune food chain asked for a prediction before the Vikings played at Detroit. Riding a six-game losing streak on picking this plummeting team, I stayed slumped in my chair, eyes down, hoping no one would call on me because I hadn’t a clue as to what the correct answer was. Hey, it got me through middle school. The Vikings lost, which may or may not have been my answer We’ll never know.

LAST WEEK: Cardinals minus-1/2 at Vikings: The pick: Cardinals 28, Vikings 19. The result: Vikings 30, Cardinals 24. Record: 4-6.


Giants minus-7 1/2 at Browns: The pick: Browns 45, Giants 39 OT

Why?: I told you, I’m not coming off this ledge until the Browns triumphantly avoid the second 0-16 season in league history. Well, I did have to step inside off the ledge last week because the Browns weren’t available to me as a weekend pick. They were busy and still tired from three days earlier when they reminded the NFL and the world how really bad an idea it is to have every team play a prime-time Thursday night game. Anyhoo, there will come a day when Clevelanders unite to march through the streets while declaring, “We’re not No. 32 in every single useless NFL Power Rankings!” Bank on it! Actually, come to think of it, you probably shouldn’t don’t bank on it.

LAST WEEK: Steelers minus-7 at Browns: The Pick: Cleveland 28, Steelers 27. The result: Steelers 24, Browns 9. Record: 3-7.

Other picks:

49ers plus-7 1/2 at Dolphins: Dolphins by 4

Jaguars plus-7 1/2 at Bills: Bills by 10

Rams plus-7 1/2 at Saints: Rams by 3

Bengals plus-4 1/2 at Ravens: Ravens by 7

Cardinals plus-4 1/2 at Falcons: Falcons by 7

Titans minus-3 1/2 at Bears: Titans by 6

Chargers plus-1/2 at Texans: Texans by 3

Seahawks minus-5 1/2 at Buccaneers: Buccaneers by 1

Panthers plus-3 1/2 at Raiders: Raiders by 7

Patriots minus-8 1/2 at Jets: Patriots by 8

Chiefs plus-3 1/2 at Broncos: Broncos by 5

Packers plus-3 1/2 at Eagles: Eagles by 9

Record Last week/season: 7-6 / 70-52-2

Vs. spread Last week/season: 3-10 / 56-68

CRAIG’S LIST: NFL Power Rankings

1, Seahawks (7-2-1)

2, Cowboys (10-1)

3, Patriots (8-2)

4, Raiders (8-2)

5, Broncos (7-3)

6, Giants (7-3)

7, Lions (7-4)

8, Falcons (6-4)

9, Dolphins (6-4)

10, Bills (5-5)

11, Buccaneers (5-5)

12, Chiefs (7-3)

13, Eagles (5-5)

14, Ravens (5-5)

15, Redskins (6-4-1)

16, Steelers (6-5)

17, Vikings (6-5)

18, Texans (6-4)

19, Colts (5-6)

20, Panthers (4-6)

21, Saints (4-6)

22, Titans (5-6)

23, Cardinals (4-5-1)

24, Packers (4-6)

25, Rams (4-6)

26, Chargers (4-6)

27, Bengals (3-6-1)

28, Jets (3-7)

29, Bears (2-8)

30, Jaguars (2-8)

31, 49ers (1-9)

32, Browns (0-11)

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