Oct 27, 2010
Helmet to Helmet, the Undead, Joan Rivers, Rookie Nookie, Yo Gabba Gabba, a Busey-Trump Lovechild, Crunch Bars, Reese Cups, and Wonder WoMan
So I’m looking at my calendar and amongst all of the meetings, calls and reminders, two things are jumping out at me: 1) Winona Ryder’s birthday is Friday, and 2) this Sunday is Halloween. When you write an NFL-centric weekly blog, post, column, or whatever the heck this is, and the upcoming slate of games takes place on Halloween, you may feel compelled to write something that capitalizes on this occurrence. Well, consider me compelled. Honestly, I find it perfectly fitting at this point in the season since most NFL teams have thus far been masquerading as something completely different than what most of us had suspected. The Cowboys look like the Lions, the Vikings look like the Rams, the Rams look like the Cardinals, the Cards look like the Buccaneers, the Bucs look like the Chargers, the Chargers are looking more like the Raiders, etc, etc, etc. Trying to pick the games this season has been like trying to pick Joan Rivers out of a lineup consisting of herself, a bunch of was mannequins of herself, and a few mostly hairless starving poodles. Just shield your eyes, point and hope for the best.
Modern-day Halloween is all about costumes, candy, parties, and uncomfortable dress-up days at the office but it’s important to know that Halloween wasn’t always the sugar-fueled, dress-like-a-skank day that we have all come to know and love. Much like the United States of America and Heidi Montag, today Halloween looks very different from what was originally intended. Created as a combination of Celtic and Catholic holidays (Samhain, All Saints’ Day, All Souls Day) and a Roman festival (Feralia), it was originally billed as a day when the dead could return to earth and ancient Celts (like Red Auerbach) would light bonfires (and cigars) and wear scary costumes in hopes of warding off these rotting unwelcomed guests. Over time, and with the absence of any actual appearances of the undead, it became pretty boring and eventually morphed into “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!” This is not a bad thing, I mean I’d rather have my kids dressing up like a mouse and a pumpkin and bringing home pillowcases full of candy that I can pilfer through rather than having them walking around with soul cakes and trying to lure the ghost of old man Withers to the house. In this case and in this way, change is good. (Yes, a mouse and a pumpkin, I know. We originally had other ideas but, well, whatever.)
The NFL is ever-changing as well, mostly for the good but most recently maybe not. The recent edict from the commissioner’s office regarding helmet-to-helmet hits carries with it a very real possibility of being a game changer. The edict states that any helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless players can and will be met with fines and suspensions, even for first time offenders. Helmet-to-helmet contact has always been an unwritten no-no in boy/girl/boy adult films but only recently has the NFL become so concerned about it. I don’t necessarily disagree with the rule or the enforcement and accompanying consequences for the guilty parties but I do believe that it’s going to create a whole lot of gray area where subjectivity and attempts to prove intent will cause some headaches (pun intended).
Something certainly needed to be done before the recent rash of concussions was dwarfed by a hematoma and death on the field, and short of an all-new super protective helmet made of space age polymers and a sprinkling of fairy dust, that something had to be a measure to reduce the number of violent skull-jarring collisions in the game. But the problem with the stepped-up enforcement and penalties is going to cause problems. Mainly, which helmet-to-helmet collisions are okay and which ones aren’t? Is it okay on running plays but not on passing plays? Is it okay for an offensive player to pull a Hines Ward on Keith Rivers cheap shot but not the other way around? Is it okay for a fullback to coco-butt a linebacker in the hole? Is it okay for two defensive linemen to meet at the quarterback, have him in their grasp and another defender to come in, hit the quarterback helmet-to-helmet and have the whole pile go down in a heap? The answer to that one is “apparently so” because it happened to Carson Palmer in Atlanta last Sunday and didn’t draw a flag, a fine, or a suspension. And what happens when there’s another Sunday like we had in Week 6 with three big hits resulting in concussions, only this time the victims are not defenseless wide receivers but instead maybe a safety hit by a fullback, a cornerback crumpled by a tight end, and a linebacker clocked by a pulling guard? And what if, God forbid, one of them doesn’t get up? Is that the day when the game changes, really changes, and is never the same? Is that the day the road is paved to a land where football player’s headgear gets so big that they all look like they’re dressed up like Dark Helmet, sans the cape, or when the NFL becomes the NFFL (the first “F” is for Flag)?
Player safety has to be the top priority and the NFL has the difficult job of having to find a way to ensure that safety without compromising the speed, power and violent fury which make up a great deal of the attraction to this bright, shiny cavalcade of chaos. I hope they’re successful because I’d hate to open my door one Halloween night to find a kid in an NFL player costume consisting of a jersey, pants, cleats, a huge inflatable helmet and flags hanging off of his hips. If I see that kid, he’s definitely not getting one of the full-size Crunch bars.
Bring on the matchups!....
Bills at Chiefs-
Quick, tell me which team is ranked #1 in the NFL in passing right now? Nope. Try again. …. No. It’s neither of these two. But the Chiefs do have the #1 running game in the league. That Jamaal Charles is phenomenal. He’s like trying to catch a mongoose that just knocked back few cans of Red Bull. This is bad news for the Bills who have the 2nd-worst run defense in the league and are allowing over 33 points per game. Also bad news for the Bills; when they get on the plane to come back home after this one, they’ll land in Buffalo.
Pick: Chiefs, 33-20
Jaguars at Cowboys-
Being 1-5 and having Jon Kitna as their starting quarterback was not exactly the plan Dallas had when they broke training camp a couple months ago. Combine Kitna’s arm strength with the brain power of Wade Phillips and you couldn’t harness enough energy to ring a doorbell. What’s that? Oh, someone’s knocking at the door. Hello? Oh…. Hey Jerry, a couple of guys are out here with the Draft Clock. They want to know if you’d like to get on it yet.
Pick: Jaguars, 20-16
Panthers at Rams-
A little rookie nookie in the Lou this Sunday! Rookie QBs Jimmy Claussen and Sam Bradford will both try not to lose to a rookie quarterback.
Pick: Rams, 20-10
Packers at Jets-
The Jets are 5-1, rested after being on leave last week, have a healthy Darrelle Revis coming back, and are welcoming in a banged up Packers team which is coming down off the emotional high of defeating their former king. Definitely good times for Tater Salad and the boys. Although they may want to keep an eye on wideout Santonio Holmes. It’s been reported that Holmes spent the off week at his home in Atlanta and went to see a live performance of Yo Gabba Gabba with his daughter. I don’t know if you’ve got young children and have ever seen this show but take it from me; it’s a complete acid trip. If Holmes has the same reaction I did, he’ll have nothing but “There’s a party in my tummy… So yummy, So yummy!” running through his head all week.
Pick: Jets, 21-13
Dolphins at Bengals-
To all those who have been clamoring for Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski to be fired, here’s something for you to chew on…. The Bengals are currently ranked 8th in the league in total offense and 6th overall in passing offense. The defense, however, is ranked 20th, are allowing 4.5 yards per carry and are tied for second-last in the league with just six sacks. I believe the defense has it in them to turn it around but so far they’ve been easier to abuse than that house on the street that leaves out a bowl of Reese Cups on Halloween night with a note that reads “PLEASE TAKE ONE PER PERSON”.
Pick: Dolphins, 28-23
Redskins at Lions-
Matthew Stafford is back for Detroit and just in time to feast on the league’s 2nd-worst defense. Oh and uh, does anyone remember who the Lions beat to snap their 19-game losing streak last season? Here’s a hint: It starts with an “R” and ends with an “edskins”. No, not the Buccaneers. I said, it starts wi… No, not the Bills. Listen, it starts with an “R” and ends wi… No, not the Orioles. Wait. Orioles? What are you talking about? …. There’s a party in your tummy? Hurry, we need a pot of black decaf and two large seashells, stat!
Pick: Lions, 26-23
Broncos vs Niners (in London)-
Damn the Niners, damn them straight to jolly old England!
By the way, it appears as if London’s mayor is the love child of Gary Busey and Donald Trump.
Pick: Broncos, 24-16
Titans at Chargers-
Every week I talk about it and every week it gets more and more ridiculous. The Chargers are now #1 in the league in total offense and #1 in the league in total defense but somehow they keep losing. How on earth can a team have the #1 offense, the #1 defense and be 2-5? Four words: Turnovers and Norv Turner. Not good times in The Whales Vagina and it gets even tougher this Sunday (see: Burgundy, Ron). Not only is the Titans defense leading the league in interceptions but they’ve also allowed only one rushing touchdown against them this season. Oh, and if you’re looking for something else to watch for in this one, how about sacks? The Titans and Chargers are tied with one another for the league lead in getting to opposing quarterbacks with 25 sacks each so far this season. Whew, that was a lot of stats. I feel drained, dirty and more than a bit nerdy.
Pick: Titans, 20-16
Buccaneers at Cardinals-
Wow, are the Bucs for real? Yes, they are as real as their cheerleaders’ breasts.
It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!
Pick: Bucs, 24-10
Vikings at Patriots-
This game is big for two reasons- 1) Brett Favre may miss his first game since 1936 due to a fractured ankle, and 2) It’s the return of Randy Moss to Foxboro. If you ever doubted how much of a badass Bill Belichick is, the fact that he dealt Moss away knowing he’d be coming back to seek revenge just three weeks later should have you convinced. The dude is fearless. Oh, and you know that somewhere in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area this week, a doctor holding a set of ankle x-rays in an envelope must’ve cracked a joke about receiving a picture of one of Brett Favre’s body parts, right?
Pick: Patriots, 27-20
Seahawks at Raiders-
I don’t necessarily believe in all that dead returning to the earth stuff but if I were the Seahawks, I’d wear costumes and light a bonfire just in case.
Pick: Raiders, 26-24
Steelers at Saints-
If there’s a place that knows about costumes and spirits, it’s New Orleans. It should be worth tuning in just to see the shots of all the crazy costumes in the Superdome stands Sunday night. Proving that you can indeed bet on anything, here are some of the Vegas odds for this one:
Odds on the Saints scoring at least one rushing touchdown… 2:1
Over/Under on total points scored… 38
Odds on the Saints scoring on a kick return… 12:1
Over/Under on the number of interceptions Drew Brees will throw… 2
Odds on someone in the stands being dressed as Alf… 150:1
Odds on there being a woman wearing in the stands wearing nothing but gold body paint… 3:1
Odds on someone being dressed as Nancy Pelosi with a cleaver in her skull… 10:1
Over/Under on the number of fans dressed as a current or former President… 75
Odd on a man being in the stands dressed like Wonder Woman… 5:1
Odds on Ben ROFLsberger making lewd advances to a woman in the stands wearing nothing but gold body paint… 3:2
Odds on Ben ROFLsberger making lewd advances to a man in the stands dressed like Wonder Woman… EVEN
Pick: Steelers, 24-19
Texans at Colts-
Manning and the Colts are seeking to avenge their Week 1 loss in Houston but they’ll have to do it without tight end Dallas Clark who’s out after undergoing season-ending wrist surgery. They'll also have to get past something that's been known for centuries to become dizzy and powerless.... Cheerleaders with a cauldron full of beer!
Pick: Texans, 30-28
Oct 20, 2010
A Little Italian, The Beasties, The Lady Tickler Bowl, Bahama Brees, Midget Wrestling, Marisa Miller, the Kardashi, and a Surprise Shot to the Groin
So there’s this old Italian saying that goes, “Si sveglia tardi per scuola uomo, non hai vuole andare. Voi chiedete al vostro mom voglia ma lei dice ancora no.” Translated it means that although you cannot go back and make a brand new start, you can start from now and make a brand new ending. Week 7 of the NFL season is precisely the time when coaches of teams with poor records start giving speeches about putting the first six weeks behind them and the coaches of teams atop their divisions start making speeches about not getting complacent. It’s also about the time when enough game tape has been amassed and enough injuries have started to mount that the deeper teams with the more astute coaching staffs begin to make a move while the pretenders start to stumble. In other words, it’s when la crema starts to rise and the goombas are left behind.
We see the same ebb & flow and change of current almost everywhere we care to look. Our professions, our projects, our relationships are all started and restarted with the best of intentions but the ones which are successful, that sustain, are the ones we’re still working at diligently long after the thrill of it being new and exciting has faded away. It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s easy to get yourself to the gym on Jan. 2 and then again a couple weeks before you head out on that summer beach vacation. It’s easy to wake up on your honeymoon and make breakfast in bed for your sweetheart and then again ten years later on your anniversary with the kids spending the night at Grandma’s. What’s not easy is the in-between. Week 7 is the in-between. It’s the beginning of the grind that comes after the new car smell of the season has faded away, sitting still weeks away from the bright lights and attention of a final stretch drive to the playoffs. It’s the time when resolutions are broken, promotions are lost, romances are ended and NFL seasons slip away.
So who slips, who slides, and who starts to rise this weekend? I have my suspicions which I’m about to share with you in a moment but I have to warn you; I’m the guy who picked the Bengals and Cowboys to win their divisions this season and I’m also the guy who typed the Italian translation of the opening line from The Beastie Boys’ Fight for Your Right in the opening paragraph and passed it off as an old Italian proverb, so why would you ever want to trust me?
Now, on with the matchups….
Bengals at Falcons-
My mom used to tell me that if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. My uncle used to say, “If you’ve got any girly pictures, let me see ‘em.” Okay then. It’s a little early in the matchups but what the heck….
It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!
Pick: Falcons, 27-20
Jaguars at Chiefs-
Better-than-expected starts by both of these teams were sobered with cold buckets of reality water being dumped on them last Sunday. But at least the Chiefs were competitive. The Jags, on the other hand, just rolled over to the Titans. It was pathetic and almost a bit disturbing to watch, especially when Trent Edwards came in and started doing his best Jake Delhomme impression. But one good thing did come out of it…. That’s right, wake up the roadies and gas up the buses, The Jack Del Rio Farewell Tour is back on and headed to Kansas City!
Pick: Chiefs, 24-16
Redskins at Bears-
According to statistics on the nfl.com website, Jay Cutler has been sacked 27 times already this season and he’s been hit another 45 times. Honestly, if he were a deer, there would be a patrolman standing over him on the side of the road with his standard issue, ready to humanely end his suffering. And yes, the rules state that the person who knocks him out for the season is permitted to tie him to their bumper and take him home. Or put him over your shoulder while riding your bike, whatever.
Pick: Redskins, 17-16
Rams at Buccaneers-
Raise your hand if you saw the Rams coming…… Liar!
Not only is Sam Bradford extending his lead over Nicholas and Tommy as the most famous Bradsord in history but he’s doing it by winning games with one of the most unimpressive corps of wideouts in the last decade. I’m stunned, I’m in awe, and I still say that a show titled Eight is Enough starring a guy named Dick Van Patten sounds more like a porno than a 70’s family comedy.
Pick: Buccaneers, 21-17
Eagles at Titans-
Philly’s most dangerous impact players are out this week due to, well, impacts. Mike Vick as a result of being sandwiched on an end zone dive a couple weeks ago and DeSean Jackson as a result of being pulverized by Dunta Robinson last Sunday. The Titans meanwhile are mainly healthy with Vince Young a bit gimpy but likely to start. As interesting and as relevant as all that might be, this game is going to be about one thing and one thing only…. MUSTACHES!
It’s Andy Reid’s high-flying Eagles in Tennessee to battle Jeff Fisher’s Titans….. It’s the Lady Tickler Bowl this Sunday on FOX!
Dignitaries expected to be on hand include Tom Selleck, Robert Goulet, Rollie Fingers, Mike Ditka, Geraldo Rivera, Ned Flanders, Jeff Foxworthy, John Oates, Borat, Richard Petty, and my sixth grade homeroom teacher Mrs. Grant. Oh, and this guy….
Pick: Titans, 23-20
Niners at Panthers-
Hey look kids, it’s the Don Criqui Game of the Week!
Pick: Niners, 21-13
Browns at Saints-
Drew Brees and his wife celebrated the birth of their second child this past week. It’s their second boy and his name has yet to be announced. Apparently Drew took to Twitter to get input on names with the only qualification being that it begins with the letter “B”. Here were just a few of my submissions….
and of course…. Boilermaker
Pick: Saints, 28-14
Steelers at Dolphins-
Big Ben in South Beach! It’s really a shame that the Jersey Shore kids aren’t still down there in Miami. After all, they had room for Big Ben since Angelina left early. I’d have given it six hours before he wound up in the smoosh room with Snooki. And what a missed opportunity for The Situation. I know they would’ve been fast friends with Sitch showing Ben the benefits of juicing, how to avoid grenades, and introducing him to the wonderfully douche world of Ed Hardy while in return Ben teaching Sitch valuable life lessons such as how to utilize (allegedly) a captivating combination of fame, force, coercion and a team of bodyguards to nail a coed who is not exactly DTF.
Pick: Steelers, 24-16
Bills at Ravens-
Could you imagine being a Bills fan right now? It must feel a little like this….
Pick: Ravens, 27-10
Cardinals at Seahawks-
All of a sudden this has become a big game the battle for the top spot in the NFC West which makes it kinda like watching midget wrestling (or porn). Not that it’s not entertaining because Lord knows it is, but in the end it’s basically nothing more than a meaningless diversion that leaves you strangely unsatisfied and hating yourself a little for having watched.
Pick: Seahawks, 20-17
Patriots at Chargers-
Is this finally the year where the Chargers get off to a slow start and don’t suddenly get on a roll and blow past the rest of the division? Maybe. And it wouldn’t be surprising, even if they arguably have the most talented roster in the league. Because let’s be honest, no coach has managed to do less with more as consistently as Norv Turner. He’s like the Bizarro Belichick.
Pick: Patriots, 26-24
Raiders at Broncos-
With Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski both ailing, Kyle Boller could get the start at quarterback for Oakland. Kyle vs Kyle (Boller vs Orton). If I’m the scoreboard operator at Invesco Field, I’m scouring the internet for as many G-Dammit Kyle! sound bites as I can find.
Pick: Broncos, 21-13
Vikings at Packers-
Word has it that Brett Favre met with NFL officials in New York earlier this week to discuss accusations that he exhibited unprofessional conduct and made lewd advances to a NY Jets employee while Favre was a member of the team in 2008. Fine, but please tell me they didn’t let him get anywhere near the NFL’s newest spokesperson, Marisa Miller, while he was up there. On a scale of one to Holy Mother of Hotcakes!, she’s a Holy Mother of Hotcakes!. If anyone’s going to make lewd advances to her, it’s gonna be me. Or my buddy Scotty Ballz. He’s probably stuffing photos into an envelope and spraying it with Axe cologne as I type. Oh yeah, and Favre is returning to Lambeau again. Is it okay to not be excited about that anymore? Great, thanks.
Pick: Vikings, 24-21
Giants at Cowboys-
I don’t know why the rest of the Cowboys are struggling but it’s not hard to figure out the problem for Miles Austin. If you hadn’t heard, and why would you have, he’s dating Kim Kardashian. Jesus, those sisters go through athletes like Don Draper goes through secretaries. And now he’s marrying one. Really Don? I liked him better when he was passing out drunk and getting slapped around by a call girl. Maybe Draper should hook up with one of the sisters. Not the tall one with the manly jaw, maybe the little one who’s married to the douchey alcoholic rich kid. What’s her name? Kourtney, Khloe, Kimberly? If he acts quickly (and has a time machine, and was a real person) maybe they could double date with Kim & Austin. I’m sure Austin could get them awesome seats for The Wade Phillips Farewell Tour.
Pick: Cowboys, 24-21
Oct 14, 2010
On Leave with Chris Hanson, a Very Special Bears Fan, the Magical Hoodie, Nostradamus T. Funkington, Wrangler Shorts and not Hannah Montana's Boobs
So it’s a bye week for the hometown underachieving jungle cats, a perfect time for me to give the gift of brevity with regards to this week’s post. That’s probably for the best since I find myself in the middle of a week where I’m completely obsessing over the residue of the penultimate episode of Mad Men and jonesing for the season finale, anxious to get out and see Jackass 3D and Due Date, falling in love all over again with Jimmy John’s sub sandwiches, and wondering where in the world Marisa Miller has been all of my life. More on those topics and a whole lot more next week. Yes, that’s a threat and a promise.
But first, before we get to the Week 6 matchups, I feel inclined to answer an email which I received from a reader the other day who goes by the name of Matty O. Matty writes, “Dude, I like when you post pictures of hot chicks. I also like the pictures of food. Especially when I’m hungry. I see ‘em and I’m like, whoa, I’ve gotta get me something to eat and a girlfriend. Cause like, I’m hungry and all pent up & stuff. I also like it when you’re funny. But I didn’t like it when you made fun of Keanu Reeves. Neo was the man! Anyway, I see that the Bengals have a bye week next week. I was wondering, where did that come from? That word- bye. Why is it a “bye week”? If you know, please tell me. I’m including my phone number in case you want to call and tell me or if you maybe want to go shoot pool sometime. Thanks, Matty O.”
Well, why is it called a “bye week”? Is it derived from the word “goodbye”, as in “Goodbye, see you on the field next week” ? Well, a quick search brought me to this slightly less than rock solid explanation… Bye- In sporting use, a variant of by (prep). Originally in cricket, “a run scored on a ball that is missed by the wicket-keeper”; later, in other sports, “position of one who is left without a competitor when the rest have drawn pairs.” Cricket? Really? Now do we really want for our tough, rugged, skeleton-rattling American Football to keep using a term which is derived from a sport where grown men are encouraged to dress like this?
Plus, the definition above doesn’t even fit. I mean, there aren’t an odd number of teams in the NFL so no one team is really left without a potential competitor each week. If they wanted to, they could find a matchup for every team, every week, no problem. So by definition, it’s not really so much of a bye week as it is a recovery week, a rest week, a week off, a week to regroup, a week to relax, a week to reflect, a little bit of “us time”, if you will. It’s a short break, a breather, a hiatus, a sabbatical, a time-out. Actually, to use yet another military term in this sport, why don’t we just say that they’re “on leave”? There’s already “aerial assaults”, “battles in the trenches”, “marching down the field” and all the parallels ingeniously pointed out by George Carlin (God rest his hilariously pessimistic soul) years ago, so why not one more. The Bengals, Panthers, Cardinals and Bills aren’t all on a bye this week. Nope, they’re on leave. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to meet Matty O. for some PBRs and a few games of 9-ball. Feel free to keep reading about the teams that are not on leave this week.
Now, on with the matchups….
Falcons at Eagles-
It sure would be nice if Mike Vick was healthy enough this week to take on the team he once led way back in his dog torturing days. Instead, it looks as if Kevin Kolb will get the start since apparently Vick is still experiencing pain from sustaining some cartilage damage in his ribs a couple weeks ago. Hmmm…. You know, if one of Vick’s dogs (assuming dogs could talk because they can) had told him back in the day that he couldn’t get in the pit because his ribs were sore, what do you think the reaction would’ve been? Zzzzzztttt!!!!
Pick: Falcons, 23-20
Chiefs at Texans-
That increasingly loud whistling sound you hear is the Chiefs free-falling back down to earth. And just to be safe, you may want to move a couple steps to your left. There ya go.
Pick: Texans, 31-20
Browns at Steelers-
Big Ben returns from his suspension to face a long-time division rival. You know, just a thought here but wouldn’t it be great if when his name is announced, he runs out of the tunnel and onto the field to nothing but silence and Chris Hanson waiting for him at midfield? “So, are you excited? It looks like you had a big afternoon planned, huh?”
Pick: Steelers, 20-10
Seahawks at Bears-
Neither one of these teams is allowing much against them on the ground. And neither is exactly setting the world on fire on offense. My advice: Take the Under, whatever it is. And if this guy invites you over to watch the game with him, politely refuse and back away slowly…
Pick: Bears, 16-10
Lions at Giants-
It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!
Pick: Giants, 21-14
Ravens at Patriots-
Strength vs Strength. The Pats have scored the most points in the league thus far and are facing off in Foxboro against the Ravens and their #3-ranked defense. Normally I would take defense over offense but up in New England the weather’s starting to get nipply enough to break out the wicked awesome hoodies. And I’m telling you, there’s something magical about Billy B’s hoodie. I don’t know what he’s hiding in that hood and pouch but I’m pretty sure that at the very least it includes rosemary, thyme, some seaweed extract, a jar of frog warts, and a vial or two of marrow from the bones of various black cats. And some peanut M&M’s. Don’t forget the peanut M&Ms.
Pick: Patriots, 19-17
Chargers at Rams-
The Bolts have the league’s #1-ranked offense and the #2-ranked defense. Their record is 2-3.
The Rams have the league’s 20th-ranked offense and the 20th-ranked defense. Their record is 2-3.
Oh, and in case you were wondering about strength of schedule, they have played three common opponents already (Arizona, Oakland, Seattle). The only difference is that the Chargers have played Kansas City and Jacksonville while the Rams instead faced the Redskins and the Lions. So, have the Chargers been underachieving (again) or have the Rams been overachieving? Um, yes. So will this trend reverse itself this Sunday or will it continue? I don’t know, who am I, Nostradamus? You must be confusing me with my former protégé, Nostradamus T. Funkington. He’s currently the lead bass in a Funk-Ska fusion band playing around the greater Topeka area.
Pick: Chargers, 28-16
Dolphins at Packers-
What do you get when you get fish and cheese together? That’s right, FISH LOGS!!!!
And you also get two teams trying not to let their season get flushed down the toilet. Ooh, that reminds me of what happens about an hour after you get fish and cheese together.
Pick: Packers, 24-17
Saints at Buccaneers-
You know how in teen movies there’s sometimes that one dorky guy who’s tricked into believing that one of the school cheerleaders is interested in him? And just as he’s feeling pretty darn good about himself, some of the cheerleader’s jock guy pals sneak up on him and hit him with eggs, slushies, feces, and/or a trash can full of all of the above? Yeah, well the Buccaneers are that guy. And this is that girl….
Pick: Saints, 27-17
Jets at Broncos-
sniff….sniff…. Hey, uh, what’s that smell? It smells like either a half-eaten turkey & cheese sandwich that my daughter hid under the couch or it’s an upset baking in the oven. The Jets had a Monday night fight in the middle of a monsoon and are now facing a short week with a trip across country to play in high altitudes, and they very well may be without Darrelle Revis as they go up against one of the top passing teams in the league, a team who just so happens to be coming off of an impressive road win. You set the table, I’ll check the oven.
Pick: Broncos, 19-14
Raiders at Niners-
When people in the Bay area look back upon this season, and they will, they’ll get a faraway look in their eyes and start to well-up. And make no mistake; these will not be happy tears. They will be sad tears, very sad tears because these two teams are horsecrap. As a matter of fact just to save Bay area football fans some grief, I propose that the losers of this game get onboard a trolley car, take it off the rails (is that even possible? Oh sure, why not) and over to the streets of Oakland while donning the colors of a rival gang and alternating singing show tunes from Rogers & Hammerstein and classics from Kenny Roger’s The Gambler.
Pick: Niners, 24-13
Cowboys at Vikings-
At 1-3 and 1-4 respectively, one of these teams is about to be buried deeper than a crew of Chilean miners. Too soon? Come on, they got out, right?
Okay well, the only thing buried deeper than the loser’s long-term future is the long-term future of the Favre’s marriage. What?! Also too soon? Come on, the man sent that chick pictures of his wiener. From inside his Wranglers.
Pick: Cowboys, 24-17
Colts at Redskins-
Mr. Manning and his Colts to Washington trying to find their first road win of the season. If they can't it will be the first time that Indy was at .500 or worse this deep into a season in a long time. Exactly how long? I don't know, I'm not going to look it up because frankly it's not going to happen. Manning and the Colts with three straight road losses and a 3-3 record would be like Don Draper cutting back on his drinking and quitting tobacco. Oh, that's right. Hmmm.
Pick: Redskins, 31-27
Titans at Jaguars-
The Jags get a Monday Night game? That’s like making Hannah Montana the headliner of a two-day, outdoor, fourteen band, summer rock show. The Jags were borderline terrible last season with no reason to believe they’d be any better this season, they have horrible fan support, and other than MJD they have no marquee players. It’s ridiculous. What’s that? Who? Who’s Miley? Oh, Hannah Montana. She got a what job? Is that even legal to think about? Okay, never mind.
Not Hannah Montana. And you’re welcome.
Pick: Titans, 21-13
Oct 6, 2010
Fall vs Autumn, The Great Pumpkin, Tom Green, Breakfast Calzones, a Groin In-Jur-Y, the Griswolds, Happy Days and a Medicine Ball Knockout
So I noticed that we’ve gone from three months of mostly a 90+ degree Midwestern desert directly to “you’d better take a jacket with you” weather. I guess it’s fall now. I mean autumn. No, I mean fall. Does anyone use the word ”autumn” anymore? The only time I hear it used nowadays is with a capital “A” and as the first name of a woman who makes a living wearing little or no clothes. Either way, it, not she, is here. Summer’s a classic bad girl name, too. Only Summer doesn’t have a viable alternative. For some reason, “heat”, “shine” or “bake” never took hold like fall did. I think I’d like it if we started using nicknames for all of the season. Instead of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall (“all you’ve got to do is call…”), we could go with Chill, Grow, Bake and Fall. We’d sound like a bunch of stoners!....”Dude, next Chill, I’m gonna start saving some green so that by the end of Grow, I’ll have enough saved up to go to Bake Fest and then take a trip to Nantucket in the Fall.” Okay, maybe not.
You can fall in love, fall from grace, fall asleep, fall flat on your face, fall about the place….Or if you’re the Cincinnati Bengals or the ‘80’s metal hair band Cinderella, you can fall apart at the seams. For the Bengals, that seam seems to run (like everything and everyone else) right through their offensive line. Unarguably the most important position on the football field is the quarterback. But the most important position group is the offensive line. Without an effective O-Line, your quarterback may not have time to deliver the ball accurately to the receivers, your running backs won't have lanes to run through, and the entire backfield is in danger of losing their lives. In the Bengals case, although Palmer has only been sacked seven times in the first four games, he's been hit 25 times (4th-most in the league) and hurried more often than not. If he gets knocked out, it's Hellooo Jordan Palmer and they're one step away from 6th round rookie Dan LeFevour who was cut by the Bears last month.
"So," you may ask, "why is the line play so poor when it's such an important piece to the puzzle? Certainly Mike Brown knows the value of a stout offensive line, right? He's a smart man, he's gotta know that without a strong off.." Stop it! Stop it! You just made milk (okay beer) come out of my nose. Oh Lord, ah-how-ow, my side hurts...ohhh... Hehhh...Whoo! No, please, Mike Brown is a poorly programmed android with a decaying skin suit and a tweed jacket. He's "stocked" the line this season with a capable yet aging right guard, a former undrafted free agent center, a former undrafted free agent left guard, a former undrafted free agent right tackle who's playing because Mikey spent a high first round pick last year on a kid who's too fat to get on the field, and the only standout player on the line is a left guard who's playing left tackle because Mikey has still never tried to replace Levi Jones. It seems more and more obvious that Mikey's plan is to camp out with Linus & Sally in the pumpkin patch, hoping for a visit from the Great Pumpkin that will bring him a new guard or tackle. That may work but just in case, I'd like to suggest that he send the entire scouting department (both of them) out with specific orders to spend the bulk of their time scouting offensive linemen.
In the meantime, we can look forward to a wonderful Fall and Chill watching Carson Palmer run for his life and Ced Benson run into defenders in the backfield. And now I'm tired of talking about it. I'm gonna go watch Autumn dance while you check out what you came here for.
Now, on with the matchups….
Jaguars at Bills-
This game has all the ingredients of being a very powerful sedative. Honestly, it should not be viewable without a prescription. Here’s another thing that shouldn’t be taken without a prescription?...
Pick: Bills, 16-13
Broncos at Ravens-
Could somebody please tell me where Kyle Orton gets his hair cut? I ask because I want to dress up like Tome Green and go stalk Drew Barrymore. Seriously, is he trying to look like Tom Green’s doppelganger? He does know that Tom Green’s fifteen minutes ended years ago, right? Wait, maybe Kyle Orton is Tom Green! Has anyone in the Denver area seen him drinking milk straight from a cow?
Pick: Ravens, 24-13
Falcons at Browns-
Like folding sausage, ham and bacon up into your pancake and making an impromptu breakfast calzone, getting on the Falcons bandwagon just feels right. Matty Ice is in year three and and supremely confident, Roddy White’s back and looking better than ever, they’re winning games late, their coach is a crazy ball of energy, Tony G looks resurrected…. I’m all in. And while we’re at it, give me Week 8 in the “what week that Eric Mangini finally anoints Seneca Wallace as his number one starting quarterback?” pool.
Pick: Falcons, 26-17
Chiefs at Colts-
Talk about a chance to prove everyone wrong, here it is. Seemingly everyone is dismissing the Chiefs 3-0 start as nothing more than just a stretch of good fortune which will eventually take a turn for the worse. Well, go into the Something-Something Oil Dome and knock of Payton Manning & people will start whistling a different tune. They’ll also likely start reading very loudly from Bibles and keeping an eye out for a plague of locusts, fire and brimstone falling from the sky, and Kirk Cameron riding in on a white stallion.
Pick: Colts, 31-17
Buccaneers at Bengals-
Here’s something that might surprise everyone who’s been trashing Carson Palmer this season; the Bengals have the #6 ranked passing offense in the NFL right now. That’s the good news. The bad news is that their running game is averaging just 92 yards per game. Some more food news is that the Bucs have been abysmal in trying to stop the run so far, allowing 4.8 yards per carry and over 141 yards per game. However, how bad can the Bucs be comparative to the Bengals when you consider that their only loss came two weeks ago at Pittsburgh, they beat the Panthers by the exact same score (20-7) as the Bengals, and they actually managed to beat the Browns, something that the Bengals weren’t able to accomplish. You know what? Too much analysis. Just hand the ball off to Benson a couple dozen times and let’s see what happens.
Pick: Bengals, 26-13
Packers at Redskins-
Green Bay’s running game has been almost non-existent since the season-ending injury to tailback Ryan Grant and word out of DC is that Clinton Portis will likely miss this Sunday with a groin injury. Man, I hate groin injuries. Although I must say that one of my favorite all-time songs is about a groin injury. Remember this classic from 198
Pick: Packers, 23-19
Eagles at Niners-
Mike Vick has to sit out this dance due to some kind of problem with his rib meat which means that Kevin KoLb (silent L, capital L) starts in his place. Speaking of quarterbacks and dancing, anyone catch Kurt Warner on Dancing with the Stars? He was horrible! And that suit he was wear.… Uh,I mean, me neither. I mean I heard about it but I’ve been too busy working on my car and using my power saw & stuff.
Pick: Niners, 20-17
Rams at Lions-
It’s Bradford v Stafford in the battle of the young guns, this Sunday only on FOX!
Maybe. Stafford’s right shoulder may be well enough for him to give it a go but maybe not. (How’s that for definitive reporting!) Detroit comes in winless but if there could ever be a “respectable” winless, this might be it. The Lions lost by five points in week one to the Bears after Calvin Johnson’s circus-style touchdown catch was reversed. Then they lost by three to the Eagles, by fourteen to the Vikings in Minnesota thanks to a couple of red zone turnovers, and were edged by just two points last Sunday in Green Bay. Meanwhile, the Rams (2-2) have gone through the murderers row of Arizona, Oakland, Washington and Seattle (loss, loss, win, win). The good news for the Lions, with or without Stafford, is that they’ve got this one at home. Good news because they’ve lost their last 23 road games. You could say they travel worse than the Griswolds.
Pick: Lions, 21-19
Bears at Panthers-
I was working on something (a toasted ham & cheese on wheat with a bottle of the High Life)while watching the Bears-Giants on Monday Night Football a couple nights ago so I’m not positive but is it correct that Jay Cutler was sacked nine times? In the first half? That’s right? Really? Holy crap. No wonder he left with a bruised sphincter. It was a concussion? Oh yeah, well that does make more sense actually. Cutler is understandably questionable for this Sunday at Carolina. Meanwhile, this guy is not impressed and/or quite possibly needs medical attention…
Pick: Tie, 5-5
Giants at Texans-
The Texans are #1 in the league running the ball and the Giants are a lowly #22 stopping the run. The Giants are pretty good throwing the ball (9th in the league) and the Texans are dead last in pass defense. So, who do you want- the team that’s likely to have an easy time running or the team who’s likely to have an easy time throwing? As this video will illustrate, I will always take the thrower instead of the runner…
Pick: Giants, 27-24
Titans at Cowboys-
It’s Cheerleader Posedown Time!
Pick: Titans, 38-24-36
Saints at Cardinals-
Last season, this matchup would’ve been billed as a shootout in the Wild West but Arizona loses Kurt Warner to Dancing with the Stars (or so I’ve heard) and Anquan Boldin to the Ravens and their passing attack falls a few levels from FEARED to PITIFUL. They’ve gone from averaging 251 yards peassing per game in ’09 to just 150 per game through the air this season to go along with a #30, third worst in the league. I think it’s safe to say that a group hasn’t missed two people this much since Richie and Ralph left the Milwaukee suburbs to go join the army.
Pick: Saints, 27-16
Chargers at Raiders-
San Diego has the NFL’s #1-ranked offense and the #1-ranked defense. The Raiders? Well, they’ve got this guy…
Pick: Chargers, 24-17
Vikings at Jets-
A rolling stone may gather no moss but apparently a squeaky quarterback does. With virtually no one to throw to, Brett Favre has been making worse decisions this season than Don Draper halfway into a bottle of Canadian Club, tossing six interceptions already in just 97 attempts. So to rectify the problem, the Vikes sent a 3rd round pick in next year’s draft to The Hoodie for Randy Moss just in time for him to suit up against the J-E-T-S who also added a receiver this week by getting Santonio Holmes back from suspension. The big winner in all of this? This guy who just went from a “loser who can’t afford to slap down a fifty at the team store for an updated jersey” to “smart S.O.B. who held onto his Moss jersey”…
Pick: Jets, 17-16