“When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide and I turn and I go for a ride.” After a strong regular season last year, I really hope I’ve made it to the bottom of the slide with five consecutive losing weeks to open the season. Sometimes when things aren’t going your way you’ve just gotta make some changes. Usually the weekly tiers are grouped based on how likely I feel the bet is to be good, but it turns out I haven’t been very good at predicting that. This week we will group teams based on how good the bet feels. Much like music, these will be a little more subjective and a little more based on whether or not hitting “submit” on these bets will give me a nice tingly sensation in my belly or whether I’ll have to pinch my nose and choke back vomit. Given this, and the Beatles lyric to open, this week’s tiers will also be my list, in order, of favorite Beatles. Hopefully this isn’t more of me just coming down fast, but if it is don’t let me break you (or your bank account).
Special shoutout to my good friend Chris Kratzer (a.k.a. the best musician I know). I hope my swerving out of lane for some music takes doesn’t reflect poorly on your tutelage of music appreciation over two-plus decades.
Tier 1: George Harrison (Season Record: 7-7-1)
Chiefs +2.5 over Bills
Browns -2.5 over Patriots
Chargers -4.5 over Broncos
Paul and John are generally regarded as the two “greatest” Beatles, but we need to give George some more love. He was not as gifted a songwriter as the others, but he’s the best guitarist in the group and he brought a “folksiness” to the Beatles that definitely added to their overall sound. Plus, the slide guitar he lays down on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is the most instrumentally impressive piece of music the Beatles recorded. George may not be the “greatest” Beatle, but he’s my favorite.
Let’s admit it. We’ve been dying to bet against Bill Belichick and the Patriots for years. Now that Tom is out of town and Mac Jones is still on the mend, we have a prime opportunity. New England may have dismantled the Lions last week, while Cleveland lost at home to a strong Chargers team. But, I expect Nick Chubb to continue laying waste to NFL defenses and Cleveland to protect the ball better than Detroit did. Speaking of the Chargers, betting on them at home against this stinky Broncos team feels euphoric. Watching the Chiefs-Bills rematch should also be a few hours of football euphoria. This line makes little sense to me considering that a) the game is in Arrowhead and b) Buffalo’s secondary still has more injuries than the “Operation” man.
Tier 2: Paul McCartney (Season Record: 3-12)
Bengals -1.5 over Saints
Bears -1 over Commanders
49ers -5.5 over Falcons
This tier has been the bane of my existence this year. Just like Paul and John (and Paul and George for that matter) had their love-hate relationship over the years. This tier has been filled with lines I really liked and, in turn, they have made me hate them. Paul gets my vote for “best” Beatle. His technical prowess as a bass player alone would make him one of the top musicians in history, and he’s an even better singer and songwriter than he is bass player. Generally, I prefer his songs to John’s (and, speaking as someone who will never meet either, he seems like the more bearable personality).
Betting against this terrible Commanders team feels wonderful, even if it is a weird Thursday night game against the Bears. The Bengals and 49ers seem like they have both figured some things out and betting against the non-Bucs NFC South is generally a good play.
Tier 3: Ringo Starr (Season Record: 7-12)
Jaguars +1.5 over Colts
Giants +6 over Ravens
Ringo seems like the happiest Beatle. He always got dumped on as kind of the “least talented” of the group, which may or may not be true, but he never seemed resentful about being considered the “fourth wheel” by a percentage of the public. On the contrary, he was only really pissed off about not getting to play with those guys anymore. He went on to have a strong solo career too and seems like an all-around decent guy.
Jacksonville really let me down last week, but I like Trevor Lawrence playing indoors against a Colts team that still isn’t very good. Brian Daboll pulled off an upset across the pond on Sunday and he has this Giants team punching above its weight class. Baltimore has played lots of close games already this year and laying six points on the road feels high.
Tier 4: John Lennon (Season Record: 8-7)
Vikings -3.5 over Dolphins
Seahawks +3 over Cardinals
Cowboys +6 over Eagles
John’s impact as a “personality” is unassailable. He’s the most recognizable individual of all the Beatles and he elevated the Beatles from a pop cultural sensation to the most famous rock band in history. He was instrumental in helping the Beatles transcend the zeitgeist and produce a sound and lyrics that would register for fifty-plus years. The only problem with John was that he knew exactly what he was doing and acted like he knew it. Some of his public persona came across as arrogant and superior, and it makes it difficult to like him even if you can’t help recognize his greatness.
The Dolphins are a mess at quarterback right now and betting against them until that has been settled is the right move, even if that means backing Kirk Cousins on the road. Seattle isn’t a good football team, but neither is Arizona. The Seahawks laying points at home is the play. Dallas seemed like they were going to be a mess on the opening Sunday night of the season, but Cooper Rush has been passable and the Cowboys defense is legitimately good. Philadelphia should win this game, but Dallas’s defense will keep them in it until the end.
Tier 5: Pete Best (Season Record: 9-5-1)
Panthers +10 over Rams
Jets +7 over Packers
Steelers +8.5 over Bucs
Pete Best > Stu Sutcliffe. That’s pretty much all I got. Sorry Stuey. It’s also sad that this tier has the best season record. The Panthers, Jets and Steelers are all bad football teams. The Jets have actually made some strides with Zach Wilson back and their young defenders look like they will evolve into playmakers. The larger reason for these plays though is that the Rams, Packers and Bucs have not earned these lines against anybody. Matt Rhule was just dumped by Carolina, but that will probably be addition by subtraction. Pittsburgh just got the hammer dropped on it by Buffalo, but with more game reps Kenny Pickett should improve and Tampa Bay’s offense still can’t be trusted to blow anyone out.
Season Record: 34-44-2
Cover Photo Courtesy of ultimateclassicrock.com