Week 8 NFL Picks: Halloween Candy Edition

Sweet, sweet victory! After six weeks of being a loser, I finally eked out a winning record last week, and did it just in time for Halloween. In honor of Halloween (and my sweet victory), this week’s tiers will be ranked by the kinds of candy you might be in preparation for treating all the “Trick or Treaters” in your neck of the woods. Even if you want to fade my gambling advice, do your local tots a favor and don’t fade my candy suggestions!

Photo Courtesy of Norm Hall/Getty Images

Tier 1: Hershey’s Miniatures (Season Record: 10-10-1)

Vikings -3.5 over Cardinals

Titans -2.5 over Texans

Bills -10.5 over Packers

Many would probably steer you toward the “Hershey’s All-Time Greats” here, and this is where you separate the Halloween candy connoisseur wheat from the chaff. (Don’t worry the “All-Time Greats” will make an appearance shortly). This delicious bag of goodness contains four different miniatures: Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Krackel and Mr. Goodbar. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, all of these options are strong, and the miniature size of the bar means that your bag goes further than the larger pieces in the “All-Time Favorites” bag. Plus, the addition of the dark chocolate to this bag is the finishing move that puts this over the top as your best purchasing option.

Arizona is coming off a blowout win over the Saints on Thursday night football, and had a long week of preparation. If you watched that Thursday game, you will know that the Cardinals took advantage of two backbreaking pick sixes at the end of the first half and got to play with an unusually large lead in the second half mitigating their major weakness: situational coaching. Minnesota is coming off of a bye week and it’s not a “Prime Time” game, so don’t look for Kirk Cousins to hand out too many treats at home. This bet is like the Mr. Goodbar of the bag. Solid candy and underrated, but if you can’t stomach peanuts (a.k.a. the potential for a Kirk Cousins stinker) then you get a pass for staying away. Tennessee got publicly humiliated by the Bills on Monday Night Football early in the season, but have rebounded nicely since. Houston is scrappy, but they also might be the least talented team in the NFL. With the Titans only needing a field goal margin to cover, this is the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate: a safe option. Ooh boy this Bills-Packers Sunday night game looks like that Special Dark Chocolate. It’s everything I want: prime time, a good team vs a not-good team, and the good team is at home in an outdoor stadium. There are a few caveats though: Aaron Rodgers traditionally plays fine in weather, he might have enough professional pride to singlehandedly keep this close-ish, and it’s a big line. Regardless, roll with the Bills at home and you won’t be sorry.

(Apologies for not having a “Krackel” comparison. They are fine candies until you remember that they are just a “Crunch” bar with crappier marketing. Unquestionably, the weakest link of a still strong bag of diabeetus-inducing goodness).

Photo Courtesy of Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Tier 2: Mars Inc. Mixed Bag (Season Record: 4-17)

Ravens +1.5 over Bucs

Eagles -10.5 over Steelers

Lions +3.5 over Dolphins

Mars may be less heralded than Hershey’s, but its individual candies are arguably more popular. This beautiful bag includes Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers and M&Ms. This is another strong option and a great complement to the Hershey’s Miniatures, but here’s why it can’t be number one: where’s your dark chocolate? The Hershey’s miniatures bag is like a true ace who’s mixing fastballs and off-speed pitches with elegance. The Mars bag is basically a closer. You’re getting several variations of a fastball. This bag could elevate itself by replacing the traditional Milky Way with the edgier Milky Way Midnight.

Thursday night picks have been hit or miss, but I really like Baltimore as a slight underdog. The Ravens have been exasperating to bet on as favorites with their proclivity for blowing fourth quarter leads, but make them an underdog against this Tampa Bay team that apparently some segment of the public hasn’t realized stinks and they become tantalizing. The key for this will be Lamar being Lamar and getting out of the pocket, thereby getting the Buccaneers defense out of position. This is like the “M&Ms” bet. People love to rag on it as “boring”, but they keep going back to it. The “Battle for Pennsylvania” won’t be much of a game. Philadelphia’s running game won’t go hungry in this one, because just like a Snickers bar, this matchup is delicious. Tua looked a little shaky in his return for Miami this week, but the Dolphins offense should be able to score on this Detroit defense. But, with D’Andre Swift on track to return, Detroit will be able to score on Miami too and I think they keep it close at home. If you want to bet this and give a little bit of a hedge, then put some money down on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to combine for 200+ receiving yards at +175. There will be no shortage of yards and points in this game. This is the Twix, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers triumvirate. There will be plenty to go around.

Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) leaps over Chicago Bears safety Chris Prosinski (31) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tier 3: Hershey’s All-Time Greats (Season Record: 10-13)

Cowboys -9.5 over Bears

Patriots -2.5 over Jets

49ers -1.5 over Rams

At first glance, this looks like it should be the clear winner, but it’s just a decent bag of candy propped up by one great candy. In this bag you have: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate (again it’s in the miniatures bag in smaller form), Kit-Kat, Almond Joy, (sometimes) Heath Bar, and Reese’s. Look a Reese’s is fantastic. It’s a classic, simple combination that works. Here’s the thing, you are eating Reese’s in its various shapes year-round. You’ve got the trees at Christmas, the eggs at Easter and the pumpkins around now, plus just your classic Reese’s cups. Halloween is the opportunity to engorge on some of those sweets that are consumed less frequently throughout the year. Just to clarify the major argument around this master combination though, it’s definitely pronounced “Rees-es” not “Rees-EEs”. Some guy named “Reese” used to own the candy. It’s a possessive noun. You wouldn’t say Jake’s toy is “Jak-EE’s toy”. You would say it’s “Jake’s”. Now that’s settled and we can move on to football.

Chicago really embraced the season last week by treating its fans to a blowout win over the Patriots on Monday Night Football, only to turn around and give them a big ol’ trick when they traded Robert Quinn to the Eagles two days later, making Roquan Smith sad in the process. The Cowboys didn’t look spectacular against the Lions last week, but Micah Parsons was readymade to make life difficult for a quarterback like Justin Fields and Dak should continue to get better the further removed he is from his thumb injury. This is definitely the Reese’s of the tier. New England laid an egg on Monday night and may now have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Seems like the perfect time for Bill Belichick to pull a classic “scheme win” against the team he loves to do it against more than any other. The Jets also lost Breece Hall, an enormous part of their offense, last week. This is Hershey’s Milk Chocolate. Some things just don’t change. In a similar vein, Kyle Shanahan has always coached well against Sean McVay and, even with the Rams coming off a bye, I think the impact of Christian McCaffrey on this Niners offense will become more apparent this week.

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson scores against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Tier 4: Dum Dums (Season Record: 12-9)

Falcons -4.5 over Panthers

Saints +1.5 over Raiders

Giants +3 over Seahawks

The lollipop family candy that is truly the best this time of year is the Caramel Apple pop. These sweet treats have that scrumptious caramel layer on the outside with the apple candy center. They are just perfect…until you eat like five of them and realize that the inside of your mouth feels like it just had a run-in with Mr. Blonde. Dum dums are a classic choice though and they come in so many flavors that it’s hard to go wrong. There’s something for everyone.

Carolina may have ruined a ton of teases and eliminator pools last week, but they are still a bad football team who has a) already fired their coach and b) traded away their best player. Atlanta got blitzed by Cincinnati last weekend, but they can run the football and one of their young, talented receivers (Kyle Pitts or Drake London) are due for a breakout game. In fact, you can currently bet Kyle Pitts, Drake London OR D.J. Moore to go over 100 receiving yards at +175 and that might be a better bet than betting the game itself. New Orleans got embarrassed last week but with a long week to prepare I love them as a home underdog against a Las Vegas team that isn’t particularly good. Brian Daboll and the Giants just keep getting it done. Going east-to-west is easier than vice versa and I think Saquon will have a big day against this defense.

Tier 5: Child’s Play (Season Record: 12-8-1)

Broncos +2.5 over Jaguars

Commanders +3 over Colts

Browns +3.5 over Bengals

Any candy bag that subjects children to the abomination known as Dots should be the target of an eighth amendment rights violation class action lawsuit. Shame on you Tootsie, because the rest of this bag of candy isn’t bad. Dots are just so horrible that it can’t be salvaged. Now I have to make a confession. Last Halloween, Crystal and I seriously underestimated the volume of “Trick or Treaters” we would have and ran out of candy. I ran to the store but all they had was Child’s Play. I begrudgingly bought two bags and brought them home to hand out. This story may sound horrifying already, but that’s not even the worst part. Upon my return, I aggressively and intentionally made sure that every single child at our door got at least one box of Dots in their bag until they were all gone so that I wouldn’t have to be stuck with that horror in my home. Shame on me, but I would do it all over again because I would honestly rather live with shame and guilt than a box of Dots. That’s how truly awful they are.

Similarly, I would encourage you to avoid watching, gambling or participating in the consumption of all of these games. The Bengals-Browns tilt on Halloween night is reasonably palatable and Cincinnati seems like it is finally rounding into form. I think Cleveland can run the ball on the Bengals defense and make the game ugly and close. Honestly, just bet the under (39.5 points) of the London stinker between Denver and Jacksonville. Russell Wilson seems on track to play thanks to his insufferable airplane antics and the Denver pass rush will make life difficult for Trevor Lawrence. Taylor Heinicke vs. Sam Ehlinger. That’s all you need to know about Commanders vs. Colts. Also, when can we admit that Andrew Luck might have pulled a Voldemort and cursed the Colts quarterback position like the Defense Against the Dark Arts job?

Last Week’s Record: 8-6

Season Record: 48-48-2

Special Record: 1-3

Cover Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

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