The Sports Guy’s Thursday NFL Pick

Skunk of the WeekA reader named Mike in St. Louis sent me the following e-mail this week:

“Simmons, football fans in St. Louis have suffered enough, compiling the worst 5 year stretch in NFL history (15-65). Please give us a chance in our lone nationally televised game and don’t pick us. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T PICK US!!!!!!!!”

Mike wasn’t alone. Fans of the Cardinals and Rams spent the past 72 hours jockeying for my anti-approval in tonight’s clash in St. Louis. In less than a month, Thursday’s Skunk of the Week quickly evolved into one of football’s most frightening forces, taking its rightful place alongside Bernard Karmell Pollard, concussions, replacement referees, Detroit’s kick-return coverage and every time a CBS producer says the words, “Let’s have Shannon Sharpe do this highlight.” I’m not just 0-4 picking midweek winners against the spread … I’m a LOUD 0-4.

Tonight’s pick looks fairly easy: A frisky home team going against a banged-up defense that just gave up 400+ yards to Ryan Tannehill (???) and has to travel 1,500 miles on short rest … and I’m getting a point and a half? Sign me up! Four things to remember …

1. At some point, Kevin Kolb needs to unleash one of those four-pick shitshows that reminds everyone, “Oh yeah, he’s Kevin Kolb.” What better spot than Thursday night on the NFL Network? We’ve already seen Jay Cutler and Cam Newton melt down on Thursday night — it’s becoming something of a BQBL tradition, right?

2. Last Sunday, I watched my Seahawks pick go down in flames because of a goofy fake field goal TD, because the Russell Wilson Bandwagon might have a severe termite problem and because Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein is filming his own sports movie and nobody realizes it yet. Dubbed “Legatron” by my St. Louis reader Ben Goldberg, Zuerlein went for $6 in my West Coast fantasy league’s free-agent auction this week. Six bucks for a kicker? And I was mad that I didn’t go to $7! Pick against the Rams and you’re picking against Legatron. The Rams go into every game thinking, “We only need to score one touchdown, then we need to get to their 40 five other times and we’ll win.” Power of Legatron. He’s terrifying. I want him on my side for a week.

3. The Cardinals host Buffalo at home in Week 6, so a road win tonight would essentially lock up a 6-0 start for them. Six wins, zero losses? With Kevin Kolb? That’s happening?

4. As I mentioned earlier, I thought the Rams looked positively frisky in Sunday’s pseudo-upset over Seattle — meanwhile, their local newspaper has deemed them to be “feisty.” We have decades of hard-core evidence that proves the “feisty/frisky” combination works best with college girlfriends, rebel armies and home dogs in the NFL. In that order, actually.

There’s no way I’m going against a feisty/frisky home dog on Thursday night. The pick: St. Louis 19, Arizona 17. St. Louis, you’ve been sprayed.

Wednesday/Thursday Nights: 0-4
Last Week: 7-8
Season: 31-31-2

Filed Under: Arizona Cardinals, NFL, St. Louis Rams

Bill Simmons is the founding editor of Grantland and the author of the New York Times no. 1 best seller The Book of Basketball. For every Simmons column and podcast, click here.

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