I don’t judge a book by its cover but I do judge a movie by who’s in it.
Seeing the words “starring Paul Walker” is going to send me running. Watching a movie with B-list actors in lead roles isn’t worth the gamble. Sure, I’m probably missing out on a few gems with this prejudice point of view, but it’ll save me from seeing American Pie: Band Camp
Unfortunately, I can’t apply the same discipline to betting in the NFL right now. I’m an underdog bettor so that means I’m forced to occasionally bet a Daniel Baldwin instead of Alec.
And there are plenty of teams who’ve been forced to throw B-list quarterbacks under center. Just look around the league right now. It’s like an All-Star cast of understudies getting the call to the lead role: Rex Grossman, John Skelton, Caleb Hanie, Tyler Palko and, one of my favorites, Dan “Out of Bounds” Orlovsky.
No wonder retreads like Carson Palmer and Kerry Collins keep sneaking their way back onto NFL rosters. The level of quarterback play is so shitty right now that past-their-prime passers are still getting phone calls every other week from NFL teams.
And it’s not like these clubs really want anything to do with these has-been hacks. But when the alternative is pinning your playoff hopes on a rookie fifth-round quarterback who - until recently - had as many pro completions as Anna Kournikova has career WTA titles, you’ve got to have a backup plan.
So that’s why the Houston Texans brought in two veterans when their first string and backup quarterbacks went down with season-ending injuries.
I can just imagine how that conversation went between Texans GM Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak when they learned Matt Leinart had a broken collarbone and T.J. Yates was at the top of their QB depth chart. “We’ve got to find someone else,” Kubiak tells Smith, “because, with our luck, T.J. Yates is going to get bite by a badger on the way to practice this week.”
“I hear Daunte Culpepper is still in game shape,” Smith says.
“How about you name me a guy who my 9-year-old niece can’t beat in a footrace?”
“I guess we could call up Jake Delhomme. His agent’s been sending me texts all week.”
“Fine,” Kubiak says in a disgusted tone. “But tell that walking, five-dollar haircut that we’re not paying for his plane ticket to get to Houston.”
The sad state of signal callers in Houston isn’t going to stop the Texans from playing and it’s not going to stop us from picking NFL puppies either. Carolina Panthers (+3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Two of the league’s worse defenses take the field in a battle for third place in the NFC South. Fox Network really should hire me to write the game promos for them.
The Bucs have the home field but the Panthers have an offense that can move the ball. Pick:
Panthers +3 New York Jets at Washington Redskins (+3)
What’s the over/under for INTs in this game? I’d say 5.5 and I lean to the over.
Washington’s offense is in a much better place since Rex Grossman regained the starting spot under center (what does that say about John Beck?). Santana Moss is back and Mike Shanahan is finally giving rookie Roy Helu the majority of carries at tailback.
P.S. Mark Sanchez still stinks. Pick:
Redskins +3 Oakland Raiders (+3) at Miami Dolphins
Turns out my fantasy squad needed Darren McFadden more than his actual team did. The Raiders are 3-1 straight up and against the spread since Run DMC went down. Michael Bush is averaging over 100 yards rushing over his last five games and Carson Palmer is completing 65 percent of his passes over the last three weeks.
And don’t forget, the Raiders are 6-1 ATS as underdogs this season. Pick:
Raiders +3 Last week: 2-2
Season record: 20-16-3
--Looking for another way to bash Ashton’s picks? Follow him on Twitter @AshtonGrewal.