Punt, Pass and Pick: NFL predictions with a former Editor-in-Chief

COPE: What’s this? Another Towerlight alumnus who wants to get beat by me in Punt Pass and Pick?

The last time we had a Towerlight alumnus try to take me on, it was none other than Matt Hamilton, former sports editor and one of my best friends.

I downed poor Matt like a cup of coffee in the morning.

This week we have Jonathan Munshaw, former editor-in-chief of The Towerlight and another great friend of mine.

Unfortunately, I am 2-0 in my Punt Pass and Pick career and don’t ever plan on losing. Sorry Munch, but I’m going to have to take you down too!

MUNCH: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.

For I have Cleveland Browns takes!

Yes, my byline has been out of The Towerlight for a year and a half now, but you can’t get rid of me that easily.

I’m at the Baltimore Business Journal now as the digital editor and I have to bottle up all of my football opinions, mainly because the Baltimore area doesn’t care about them.

But, thankfully, my good friend Jordan was nice enough to invite me back so I could drop some hot knowledge bombs. Without further adieu…

Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland

MUNCH: The Browns are going 0-16.

As I sat in M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night and saw Josh McCown come into the game for Cody Kessler, I stared into the winless void, and it stared back at me.

I have been a fan of this team since they returned to Cleveland, and I truthfully can’t say I’ve ever been more disheartened by a football team. The Browns suck.

Steelers 42, Browns 10

COPE: I remember Munch being a huge Browns fan, so I had to throw this game into the pool.

Munch is right, the Browns are not a very good football team. To make things worse, the Steelers just lost a heartbreaker to the Cowboys, so they will have extra motivation to win this week.

I see Pittsburgh coming out of the gates early and never looking back in this game. As much as I want to see the Browns win for Munch, I am going to have to go with the Steelers.

Steelers 34, Browns 0

Arizona vs. Minnesota

MUNCH: At the beginning of the season, this would have been a preview of the NFC Championship game.

Ten weeks later, the Vikings have been passed by the Lions in the NFC North standings, and the Cardinals are struggling to stay at .500.

The main reason why Minnesota has been so bad lately is that it has no capacity to run the football. That falls on its offensive line more than its running backs (though why Matt Asiata gets anything more than five carries a game astounds me). Either way, the weak ground game will catch up to them in this one, too.

The Vikings have the second worst rushing offense in the league, while the Cardinals are one of only 10 teams in the league to allow fewer than four yards per carry. Arizona will control the clock and win this one.

Cardinals 20, Vikings 10

COPE: For the past two weeks, I have been picking Minnesota to bounce back and win a football game. However, they just can’t seem to get out of the rut they’ve been stuck in.

The Cardinals on the other hand, man… What happened to this football team? Like Munch said, they could have been in the NFC Championship game this season, but instead they are struggling to stay at .500.

This is a tough game to pick, but I am going to say (yet again) that Minnesota is going to figure it out this week and get out of the abyss. Minnesota in a close one.

Vikings 20, Cardinals 13

Philadelphia vs. Seattle

MUNCH: As a Browns fan, the one comfort this awful season has been watching Carson Wentz’s stock rise — and then drop dramatically. It at least makes me feel slightly better that the Browns held off on drafting him (though no matter who the Browns draft at quarterback, I’m convinced they’d fail).

Yes, Wentz has done a good job of managing the offense and not making dumb mistakes. But his passes hardly go more than four yards down the field.

Seriously, watch the Eagles offense in action. I’m not convinced Doug Peterson’s offensive playbook consists of anything more than screen and swing passes.

And what do the Seahawks excel at? Containing receivers and allowing quarterbacks to dump it off. Seahawks cruise in this one.

Seahawks 28, Eagles 13

COPE: Earlier in the year, this would have looked like one hell of a matchup, but as Munch pointed out, Carson Wentz has been struggling down the stretch.

The only thing that Philadelphia has going for it is that Seattle was in New England last week and will have to fly back to Seattle.

However, that reason alone is not enough for the Eagles to win this football game. Give me Seattle in a blowout.

Seahawks 28, Eagles 10

Ravens @ Cowboys

MUNCH: Those of you familiar with my work (which I doubt there are more than two people who are reading this who recognize my name) know I’m not the biggest Ravens fan.

But let me assure you, this is a completely unbiased pick: The Cowboys win, but it’ll be closer than people think.

The Ravens defense has been on fire recently, especially the front seven. It’ll be tough for Ezekiel Elliott and Dallas’ offensive line to create a ton of holes. But it’ll be the Ravens offense that holds them back.

I saw the first half of Thursday night’s game. I saw Joe Flacco throw an interception to some guy named Briean Boddy-Calhoun and one to Joe Haden in the back of the end zone. I saw them average only 3.5 yards per carry against a Browns defense that would probably give up 100 yards to me.

Baltimore still has problems that firing Marc Trestman didn’t fix.

Cowboys 20, Ravens 17

COPE: Get ready to hate me, everybody. But the Ravens are not a very good football team!

I am a huge Joe Flacco fan, but he has looked terrible this year, just terrible. The team can’t stay healthy, Suggs is past his prime and Terrance West is not a number one running back.

This is the first game that I am going to completely disagree with Munch on. I think Dallas will run all over Baltimore this week. Dallas in a blowout.

Cowboys 38, Ravens 14

Titans @ Colts

MUNCH: Ah yes, the weekly AFC South nap time special.

The Texans are somehow poised to win this division, but don’t count out the Titans just yet. I like what the team is doing with second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota (even though he makes a lot of mistakes, it’s good to let him off the leash).

It can be easy to look at this matchup on paper and think, “Oh, Andrew Luck in a divisional game, that’s easy.” But the offense just hasn’t been that good this season.

Luck is only ninth in the league in passing yards per game, has completed fewer than 64 percent of his passes, and has been sacked 33 times — the most of any quarterback in the league this season.

The Titans are by no means great, but I think the Colts will just have too many hurdles to overcome in this one.

Titans 36, Colts 28

COPE: Oh, the AFC South. It’s just getting sad at this point (as it seems to be more years than not).

Could Tennessee really emerge as the champions of this division? That is just sad to say.

Two division rivals will be going at it this week, but I just don’t see the Colts winning this football game.

Titans 21, Colts 7

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