Suddenly, we've got a contest on our hands again. Upon earning a one-game edge in Week 13, senior fantasy writer Dave Richard has now posted three consecutive weeks of gains on pro wrestling legend Jake "The Snake" Roberts in their season-long wager to see who can pick NFL games against the spread with the greatest accuracy.
By the end of Week 10, Jake had a seemingly-insurmountable 11-game lead on Dave. Three weeks later, Dave has cut that lead nearly in half, only trailing by six games with four weeks left in the contest.
This is not a WWE ring. This is pro football analysis, with the added twist of picking against a spread. This is Dave's turf, not Jake's. In theory, this should have been a blowout in favor of the NFL writer all along.
Instead, a topsy-turvy NFL season in which very few "experts" are picking consistently well on any website has leveled off everyone's record, giving Jake not only a fair shot at beating Dave, but also giving him -- in more than one week this season -- the distinction of being the best CBSSports.com NFL expert picker vs. the spread. How did it happen? Well, on top of Jake being surprisingly good at this: A little bit of parity here, a major injury there, some surprise studs and some unfortunate busts all played a role in getting us to this point.
We now have a couple of guys with frayed nerves -- one who is trying to avoid spending a day working for our humble establishment, and one who is trying to keep himself out of a pair of unflattering yoga pants.
Nice. Hope @daverichard is stressing as much as me.— JakeSnakeDDT (@JakeSnakeDDT) November 29, 2013
There are some key NFL matchups in Week 14, as the playoff picture begins to take shape. Let's see whether it's Jake or Dave that has a better grasp of the NFL landscape as we head toward the finish line.
|Jake vs. Dave: Tale of the Tape|
|Stone Mountain, Ga.||Hometown||Chicago, Ill.|
|"The Snake"||Nickname||"Downtown Dave"|
|def. Andre the Giant, WrestleMania V||Biggest Win||One-time Wheel of Fortune winner|
|Randy "Macho Man" Savage||Biggest Rival||Weight loss professionals|
|"Trust me."||Catch Phrase||"Yeahhhhh!"|
What's a prediction contest without a little something on the line? Here is what Jake and Dave risk if they lose the contest.
IF JAKE WINS: Dave travels to Atlanta and visits Diamond Dallas Page's Accountability Crib for an intense DDP YOGA workout and gets a lesson in gluten- and dairy-free living.
IF DAVE WINS: Jake visits the CBSSports.com office and must work with Dave for a day.
We'll find out who prevails after Week 17. In the meantime, here are Jake's Week 14 picks against the spread (the same spreads used in our CBSSports.com NFL expert picks):
|NFL Week 14 Picks: Jake the Snake vs. Downtown Dave|
|Game and Spread||Jake's Pick||Dave's Pick|
|Texans (-3.5) at Jaguars|
|Vikings at Ravens (-7.5)|
|Chiefs (-3.5) at Redskins|
|Bills at Buccaneers (-2.5)|
|Dolphins at Steelers (-3.5)|
|Lions at Eagles (-2.5)|
|Raiders at Jets (-2.5)|
|Colts at Bengals (-6.5)|
|Browns at Patriots (-11.5)|
|Falcons at Packers (-1.5)|
|Titans at Broncos (-12.5)|
|Rams at Cardinals (-6.5)|
|Seahawks at 49ers (-2.5)|
|Giants at Chargers (-3.5)|
|Panthers at Saints (-3.5)|
|Cowboys at Bears (-1.5)|
|CURRENT RECORDS (AFTER WEEK 13)||95-97||89-103|
If you want to talk smack about these picks or simply cheer Jake Roberts on, you can follow him on Twitter at JakeSnakeDDT. Also be sure to check out his podcast on YouTube, Snake Radio (warning: explicit language).
Old school time: Here's Jake against one of his greatest rivals, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, at the WWF Tuesday in Texas PPV some 22 years ago.
Denny Burkholder is the producer/editor of CBSSports.com's NFL content. Follow him on Twitter: @DennyBurkholder