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Need an edge picking NFL games? Pittsburgh City Paper has a system for you

“Non-bird animals beat birds and anything that’s not a bird.”

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to pick weekly NFL games. I did it in high school and college, and I love doing it in Las Vegas once a year. And you don’t have to play for money. A lot of restaurants and retailers have contests, and you can win free food or other prizes.

When I pick games, I study match-up data: player stats, historical records, home win-loss vs. road win-loss records and a whole bunch of stuff that I usually chuck out the window in favor of a hunch. That’s why I’ve always admired people who have a system, regardless of how insane that system might appear. One of those people is my Aunt Gretchen. She is truly an amazing individual, albeit a touch, well, let’s say eccentric. I knew she liked to pick football games, so one day I asked her for the “secret.” She complied, and has given me permission to share it with the world.

As an experiment, I will explain the system and then pick this week’s NFL games using it. We’ll check back next week and see how the system worked. (Disclaimer: We are not responsible if you decide to use this system to wager actual money and lose your house.)

The system:

  1. Take the Steelers in all contests.

  2. Non-bird animals beat birds and anything that’s not a bird, except the Steelers. (For example: Take the Bears over the Seahawks and the Patriots.)

  3. Birds beat all non-animals that aren’t the Steelers. (For example: Take the Falcons over the 49ers.)

  4. If the matchup is animal vs. animal or bird vs. bird, choose the one that would be most likely to win a real-world battle. (For example: Take the Jaguars over the Rams and take the Eagles over the Ravens. When a land animal like a Colt takes on a Dolphin, you’ll need to use your best judgment.)

  5. In the case of teams not named after birds or animals, the distance rule must be applied. Choose the team that is the closest geographically to Pittsburgh as the winner. (For example: Take the New York Giants over the Dallas Cowboys.)

So using the system, here are the picks for this week: Atlanta Falcons over Tampa Bay Buccaners; Detroit Lions over Minnesota Vikings; Philadelphia Eagles over New York Giants; Miami Dolphins over New York Jets; Jacksonville Jaguars over Kansas City Chiefs; Cleveland Browns over Dallas Cowboys; Pittsburgh Steelers over the Baltimore Ravens; New Orleans Saints over San Francisco 49ers; Carolina Panthers over Los Angeles Rams; Indianapolis Colts over the Green Bay Packers; Tennessee Titans over San Diego Chargers; Denver Broncos over Oakland Raiders; and Seattle Seahawks over the Buffalo Bills (the team is named after Buffalo Bill Cody).


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