All-Purpose Playbook: NFL Week 9 picks, survivor pool analysis and more

Welcome to the All-Purpose Playbook, a Buzzer column that is either (a) a guide to many things NFL related, or (b) a road map to hell. Check back here on Friday afternoons for survivor pool analysis, football picks, a smattering of GIFs and some nonsense. Follow me @brettsmiley and email me with any questions or comments at basmiley [at] gmail [dot] com.

The silver lining from last week’s failed reverse-psychology attempt to extend the four-week streak without a loss is that the eulogy is already written. APP said last week that "This Is The End" — and it sure was as we stumbled to a 1-3 mark.  

The streak-breaking loss came bright and early on Sunday morning as the London Lions (+4.5) failed in spectacular fashion, managing to get weirdly decimated 45-10 by the Kansas City Chiefs thanks to opposing QB Alex Smith’s 145 passing yards (death by screen passes) and 78 rushing yards (on five carries). The Lions allowed 206 rushing yards total and a rushing touchdown to every single Chiefs ballcarrier — including Priest Holmes, who retired in 2007. (Well, not quite, but Smith got one, so did running backs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware, and also WR end-around/gadget specialist De’Anthony Thomas).

Almost everything that could go wrong for the Lions this season has gone wrong, so until further notice they’ll be known as the Detroit Murphy’s Law-ons (1-7). But shame on APP for overlooking their poor offensive-line play and under-duress-decision-making by Matthew Stafford, and for assuming that new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter (replacing the fired Joe Lombardi) could cure the ills in a week.

What else went wrong in Week 8? The Chicago Bears (+1) allowed a 65-yard punt-return touchdown and then blew a 20-13 lead late in the fourth quarter in a 23-20 loss. Elsewhere, the Cleveland Browns (+4.5) squandered a 20-7 lead, allowing the Arizona Cardinals to score 27 unanswered points in a 34-20 rout.

wore every available Packers pass catcher like a Snuggie, limiting Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards . . . total.

Good one, coach. If the Panthers hold Rodgers to triple that figure on Sunday — 231 yards, they’ll have done a pretty decent job.

as noted by Rich Hribar. According to Pro Football Focus, only the New York Giants have a pass rush rated lower and not by a whole lot. In terms of ferocity, the Giants’ pass rush is roughly equivalent to puppies cuddling before a nap. Not good company for the Bills.

Without a doubt the Bills have superior defensive personnel (to the Giants, D-line especially), but the injury bug has bitten hard.

"Kyle Williams, who is expected to miss two more games with a knee injury, is the glue of the defensive line, providing crucial instruction and guidance for fellow tackle Marcell Dareus and ends Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes. Aaron Williams, who is out for most of the second half of the season with an injured neck, keeps the secondary together. Without them, the defense looks even more ordinary than it did when they were healthy."

Football Outsiders’ metrics, the special teams and dance-happy Blair Walsh serving one of the bright spots.

APP will grab a couple points on the Rams while they’re still out there. This game will be a rushing and defensive fiesta, and the Rams have the better defense (much) and a running back who’s burst into the league as ferociously as a younger Adrian Peterson once did (1341 rushing yards, 5.6 yards per carry and 12 TDs his rookie year in 2007).

Chicago Bears +4 at San Diego Chargers

"I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude." — Colin Powell

Despite getting burned by Chicago last week, APP is BUYING the new-and-improved Jay Cutler, who’s playing pretty darn well if you haven’t noticed, despite a reshuffled offensive line and the loss of key receivers for portions of the season. And he seems to be outwardly showing some leadership people have always wanted out of him.

Q&A: Todd Gurley on rookie life, running fast, playing against legends and more

Well, that sounds pretty good and leader-y!

Meanwhile, San Diego is just a straight-up M.A.S.H. unit at this point. It’s ridiculous. The Chargers are going to need to blow a hole in the trainer’s room and build an expansion. The current report lists left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Orlando Franklin, tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, defensive end Corey Liuget, linebacker Manti Te’o, pretty much the entire starting secondary (importantly, Eric Weddle and Jason Verrett) and so on. It’s just been a rough year for this defense.

Let’s do some fuzzy math and call the losses of Bears RB Matt Forte (possibly out two weeks with MCL sprain) and Chargers WR Keenan Allen (out for season) a wash, carry the trip out West, cross-multiply and divide both teams’ really poor special teams play — and that feels like we’ve got a covered spread!

Season record: 14-8-2.


There’s maybe like 531 people total still alive in survivor pools and if 0.001 percent of those people check out this column, that’s about one-half a person reading this here.

You probably should have taken the Bengals last night. If not, the popular and obvious play will be the New Orleans Saints, which is reasonable in light of the matchups (Titans), but kind of risky considering the Saints gave up (still counting) 49 POINTS last week. Granted, the Giants have a good offense, but still. It’s Week 9 now and you’ve taken the Patriots, so maybe you need to look to the New York Jets hosting the Jaguars and pray that if Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injured thumb fails him he can hand the ball off with his beard, because you do NOT want to see Geno Smith taking snaps with your pool on the line. Safest bet is to build a time machine and go back to Thursday evening.

here if you need an explanation on how teaser bets work.

brettsmiley, send e-mail to basmiley at and follow The Buzzer on Facebook