I'm doing this from a plane (and not just any plane, which if you know me, you know how cool I think flying on this plane is), which last week, did not yield very good results.
Nor did last week's football guesses.
I'm headed to Destin for two basketball games on Friday and Saturday, filling the exceptionally large shoes of the great Dan Hoard.
But I do have football on the brain.
The two main things for me this week when it comes to the Bengals are the juxtaposition of them vs. teams like the Rams, Chiefs, and Saints as well as what Marvin said, but didn't say, about Auden Tate.
The other things looming as a must-win against the Browns approaches are AJ Green's health and Hue Jackson working on the opposite sideline of the team he used to coach.
The latter won't be a factor. There are few secrets in the NFL, and whatever secrets about the Browns Hue can let his new coworkers in on won't be anything revealing enough to change the game's outcome.
The former, though, is a factor. The Bengals are simply a different team with AJ Green then they are without him. I don't trust this Bengals team, as poorly-equipped as it is defensively, to beat anyone without their best player.
I barely trust them to win on Sunday if they do have him.
If Lamar Jackson worried me, Baker Mayfield scares me. To be honest, pretty much anyone would scare me with this group of linebackers.
It's time for the Bengals to start investing in that position, doing more than just adding the Preston Brown/Kevin Minter/AJ Hawk/Karlos Dansby types.
But back to AJ. If he's active, the Bengals win. If not, they don't.
And if the Bengals don't win on Sunday, the season is effectively over.
No hurry, AJ. No Hurry.
If Green goes: Bengals 24 Browns 20
If Green is a no-go: Browns 20 Bengals 17
If the Bengals win these next two, they're playoff-bound.
If they lose on Sunday, forget it.
Pretty scientific stuff you're getting here, huh?
For entertainment purposes, take the points. Cleveland (+3) over Cincinnati
There are other games.....
Detroit (+4) over Chicago. The Bears played at 8:20 Sunday night. They're kicking off at 12:30 Sunday afternoon. The NFL cares about both player safety and the quality of its product.
Dallas (-7) over Washington. Adrian Peterson is a terrible person.
Atlanta (+12) over New Orleans. Saints win. Falcons cover.
Jacksonville (-4) over Buffalo. The playoff game these two teams played last year will be a masterpiece compared to their regular season tilt.
Baltimore (-11) over Oakland. Money will not be invested in this one.
Tampa Bay (-3) over San Francisco. Woof.
Giants (+6) over Philadelphia. If we love Thanksgiving dinner staples so much, then why don't we enjoy them the other 364 days of the year? Does anyone ever sit down to eat turkey in April? Have you ever ordered a side of stuffing in August? I like Thanksgiving, and I enjoy Thanksgiving food, but if what we eat on Thanksgiving is so good, then why do I never have cravings for Thanksgiving fare?
New England (-9) over the Jets. Remember the first Monday nighter, back in early September when we thought that the Jets might actually be decent? Yeah. Me too.
Carolina (-3) over Seattle. The winner of this game gets to be taken semi-seriously, but only semi-seriously?
Miami (+8) over Indianapolis. This line has been all over the place. Ten points. Seven points. Now, eight. I just figured I'd point that out.
Arizona (+11) over the Chargers. Is anyone actually reading this?
Denver (+3) over Pittsburgh. The Steelers have one of those Tomlin-era mystifying losses to a bad team still in them. I'm convinced of this.
Minnesota (-3.5) over Green Bay. Kirk Cousins is Andy Dalton with fully guaranteed money.
Houston (-5.5) over Tennessee. There's Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and New England. Then there's everyone else except Houston. The Texans are in a tier of their own. There was a day and age when I could've compared them to a kind of coworker in your office, but that day and age has passed. It's sad, really.
Last week: 6-7
This season: 85-705
Last week: 1-5
Cincinnati v. East Carolina
Interesting game for the Bearcats. I'm fearful of a letdown, worried about the physical toll they took in last week's loss, and hopeful that a deserving group of seniors get to play their final home game in front of a decent crowd.
Luke Fickell referred to last year's loss to ECU as the low point of the season. UC was pummeled by 28 points in Greenville by a lousy team that was on the verge of a coaching change.
I agree with his assessment.
12 months later, his team has a chance for a tenth win. From a pure sports standpoint, there hasn't been much to be thankful for in 2018. Luke Fickell being the coach of the college football program I root for is an exception to that statement.
Bearcats 28 Pirates 17 (East Carolina +19)
There are other games....
Ohio State (+4.5) over Michigan. Urban Meyer is a fantastic football coach, maybe among the top five of all-time. He might leave OSU, he might not. There's a lot of conjecture about his future, and it will be interesting to see what happens at the end of a bizarre season in Columbus. But you hear some OSU fans talk about Urban, and you'd think he and he alone is the reason why the Buckeyes are relevant. I seem to remember Ohio State football being quite good before Meyer became head coach. I have a feeling that the program won't turn into Rutgers if he leaves. I also don't know how a 12-1 Ohio State team doesn't make the playoffs.
Kentucky (-17) over Louisville.
Mississippi State/Ole Miss over 62
Oklahoma (-2.5) over West Virginia
Maryland (+13) over Penn State
Tiger (-200) over Phil.
This season: 40-34-1
Be thankful. I know I am.