nfl picks: all the optimism of obama, all the futility of mccain

Scott Feschuk
Last week: 6-8
Season: 65-60-4

Scott Reid
Last week: 5-9
Season: 54-71-4

Reid: If a black man can be elected President of the United States, is it too much to believe I could actually pick a couple goddamned football games correctly? I think not! And so, inspired by Barack Obama’s historic achievement, I too will reach toward the hopeful grasp of change. And like the President-elect, I will ignite my new winning momentum with a short but stirring oration. It will go something like this:

The summit we seek to conquer is high. For weeks, we have wandered in the low regions of failed football choices. Wearing the garments of the ridiculously wrong. Bearing the brunt of those who followed our mistaken instinct. We have been taunted by emails, teased by Feschuk, threatened by strangers – and by family also. In our darkest of moments we have even drawn comparison to that talisman of defeat, Norv Turner.

And yet, a new dawn is rising.

A new hope has spread across our morning sky. It calls to us in a low whisper but with the high cry of promise. It is a phrase passed in the sweaty basements and lonely bars of our football nation. An idea handed with hesitation and hope from the USA’s Sports Weekly to an impenetrable and unthinking brain. It points the way – past the sucker bets of large St Louis spreads and the disguise of Dallas’ true collapse. It is a small sentence with a large message.

Yes I Can.

[Pause for sustained and adoring applause.]

Yes I Can.

Yes, I can stop telling people Seattle will cover – when they never shall!

Yes, I can see that Wade Phillips is concussed and slightly inebriated!

Yes, I now know that Mark Bulger is old and partially disabled!

Yes I Can. Yes I Can.

It is an anthem sung by those sobering up after a long night of drink.

It is a lifting hymn issued from those who have too long hummed for the 49ers.

It is a pledge to all who read and wager their pay on my imbecilic advice.

Yes I Can. Yes I Can.

So join me in this new journey. Take with me this first step toward week 10. Believe in me – and trust that change can do more than sweep together a divided America.

It can transform the predictive skills of a fat, stupid fan of the NFL. A man whom fortune has granted little but whom hope is set to resurrect.

Join me. Win with me. And combined in mutual aspiration, we can accomplish a goal worthy of history: We can beat senseless that smug bastard Scott Feschuk.

Feschuk: In the fine tradition of American politics, a speech that profound and moving warrants but one specific form of response: an attack ad.

[Sinister music. Picture of Scott Reid photoshopped into a portrait of Joseph Stalin, Darth Vader and whoever greenlighted Norbit.]

V/O: Scott Reid. He claimed the fundamentals of his prognostications were strong.

But look at the reality: Bankrupt gamblers. Families torn apart. Plus Heroes just keeps getting stupider.

Last year he picked St. Louis to go to the Super Bowl.

This year he picked Seattle to go to the Super Bowl.


Why would he do that to these defenceless hungry orphans?

[Show picture of defenceless hungry orphans.]

Scott Reid. Too radical to trust. Too risky to believe in. Too smelling of Hot Rods and cheap light beer to get a hug from my Grandma.

I’m Scott Feschuk and I not only approve this message, I dressed up as one of the orphans.

Now, on to some exciting Week 10 futility…

Denver (plus 3) at Cleveland (Thursday night)
Brady Quinn gets the start for the Browns. The problem is that it’s a short week, meaning coach Romeo Crennel won’t have time to fully recover from last Sunday’s short jog in off the field. His pre-game pep talk to Quinn will consist of him bending over and holding up a finger, saying, “Gimme [deep, desperate breath] a minute here buddy.” Pick: Denver.
Speaking on behalf of unhandsome, unrich and untalented men everywhere, it would be nice to see Brady Quinn fail. The former Fighting Irish star has waited a long time for his moment of glory. But not as long as all us unhandsome, unrich and untalented bastards. After a steadily declining stretch of play by the Broncos, most experts are picking Cleveland. I think we’ve firmly established that I’m not ‘most experts.’ Denver will get its running game going again and win this by 10 points. Quinn will fail. In Losertown, we’ll hold a parade. Pick: Denver.

St. Louis (plus 8.5) at New York Jets
WWOD (what would Obama do)? Well, he sure as hell wouldn’t take the Rams again. Or would he? Let’s see – he just whaled on an old man. Brett Favre is an old man. On the other hand, he is a winner. And the Rams…aren’t. Ah hell! Trying to be Obama is so hard. Maybe I’ll play basketball til the answer just comes to me. Pick: NYJ.
The mental image of you actually trying to play basketball may be the funniest thing you’ve ever produced on this blog. And double so if you end up being skins. Pick: St. Louis.

Tennessee (minus 3) at Chicago
What the hell? Rex Grossman comes in last Sunday and actually saves the day for the Bears?? I thought he was the inadvertent comic relief in this movie, not the action hero. This game is the epitome of what makes NFL prognostication so tough: the Titans are vastly superior, but they’ve played two consecutive close and physical games, and they got to play a desperate Jacksonville team next week. Do they fall into the trap here? And if so is it one of those Chinese finger traps, because let me tell you it’s damn hard to type when you slip your fingers into it and AO{:”RIV;/KMC Xn;dfjnvdzn’. Pick: Tennessee.
If you believe as I do that with Obama as President, anything is possible, then you’ll be unsurprised to learn that I’m predicting Rex Grossman to lead the Bears to victory over the undefeated Titans this week. (Also – Grossman will be sent forward in time to defeat a generation of robot masters that threaten to invade our timeline and enslave us all). There’s something about this game. The Bears are at home, feeling confident, basking in Obama’s transformational glow. Titans have struggled to win close ones recently. Tennessee isn’t going to run the board with Kerry Collins. They’re just not. The music city train is going to skip the tracks in the Windy City. Pick: Chicago.

Carolina (minus 9) at Oakland
After that game against Atlanta, one might say that Oakland will be playing for pride this weekend. One might also say, ‘I think winter would be a good time to wage a land war on Russia’. In all honesty, we are now seeing what these Raiders are made of without the small compensation of Lane Kiffin’s character. He represented the last ounce of respectability and honour left in Raider Nation. And when Al Davis figured that out he promptly fired his ass. This spread could stretch as far as the square root of pi and I’d still bet on the Panthers. Pick: Carolina.
What’s happening in Oakland makes the McCain campaign look organized. And it’s not just the Kiffin thing. Two months ago, the Raiders traded a couple draft picks to get cornerback DeAngelo Hall, then inked him to a seven-year, $72-million contract including a $7-million signing bonus. This week, after eight games, they cut him. They cut him! And now Al Davis wants to let more guys go so he can clear the decks for next year. By the end of this season, their offence is going to consist of Jim Plunkett, Al Davis’s secretary and five strategically positioned bags of yard waste. Pick: Carolina.

Buffalo (plus 4) at New England
That was a statement game for the Bills last week against the Jets. Unfortunately, the statement they made was, “Apparently we’re not that good after all.” I’m not saying the Buffalo defence treated New York with kid gloves, but I’m pretty sure the first half of the game qualified as Brett Favre’s latest touch-football commercial for Wrangler jeans. Pick: New England.
Buffalo’s offense is in deep trouble. Trent Edwards is not right. He’s not been right since his head was monster-mashed by Adrian Wilson. That said, time will heal that ailment and this game is a cracker. It’s Buffalo’s last and best chance to re-seize control of its destiny. I’m not saying New England’s defence is looking a little old but it’s sleeping in a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed and yukking it up with Gordie Tapp. Pick: Buffalo.

Indianapolis (no line yet on account of Roethlisberger being iffy) at Pittsburgh
Trap. Game! Byron Leftwich is not great. He’s solid. He has a gun for an arm. But if he was half as Zac Efron as everyone suddenly claims, he’d have a starting job. (And a hair cut that screams “so yummy”). Indy isn’t going to keep losing each week. They’re done. But Peyton Manning is still back there and him versus Leftwich equals him. Pick: Indy.
Leftwich. Roethlisberger. Some dark-art, abomination-unto-God-and-nature combination of the two called Roethliswich. It makes no difference. Pittsburgh will run the ball. The Colts won’t be able to stop them. The outcome is as preordained as Joe the Plumber’s swift return to obscurity. Pick: Pittsburgh.

Jacksonville (minus 6.5) at Detroit
They’re 3-5. They can’t run the ball. They can’t pass the ball. They’ve scored fewer points than Miami, Baltimore and even San Francisco. Their offence is ranked 23rd in the league. Their defence is ranked 23rd in the league. And on Sunday they actually lost to the team that parity (and competence) forgot, the 0-7 Cincinnati Bengals. Ladies and gentlemen, my AFC Super Bowl pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars! Pick: Jacksonville. (Yes, I am that dumb/loyal.)
Reid: Maybe you haven’t heard: Daunte Culpepper is back in the NFL – having finally found a team dumb enough to give him the two-year contract he was looking for (oh Detroit, Matt Millen is gone, but only sorta). However, he’s not back yet. Lions will be led by Drew Stanton, who is thinking of officially changing his name to General Custer. Pick: Jacksonville.

New York Giants (plus 3) at Philadelphia
Damn you Las Vegas. With your narrow betting lines and ready alcohol and girls who act like they dig pudgy sad men but who turn out to be dirty goddamn liars!! (Ahem – image of me smoothing my XXL poncho and regaining my composure). This is a tough game to figure. A hard-bitten divisional rivalry that should be close. But as I like to say whenever I’m in the tub, quit thinking so much and go with what works. The Giants have met every significant test this season. They’ll win. Pick: NYG.
I don’t know, buddy. Donovan McNabb says he was so inspired by the Obama win that he cried. ESPN is reporting that dozens of Eagles were shouting “Yes We Can!” in the locker room on Wednesday. With the Eagles’ D pumped up, I suspect that by the end of the third quarter it’ll be Eli Manning who can’t lift his arms over his head. Pick: Philly.

New Orleans (even) at Atlanta
This New Orleans team reminds me of a young Brad Pitt – focused, versatile, physically fit, frequently shirtless, a glistening Adonis of fat-free beefcake staring out at me from the TV screen, beckoning me, kindling within me strange but wonderful thoughts of… uhh, I’m going to need a minute here to pull myself together. [Think about Andy Reid naked, think about Andy Reid naked…] Pick: New Orleans.
Remember that time I showed up at your house without calling. And I found you in the back yard while you (to borrow your explanation) ‘paid homage’ to the fly fishing scene from a River Runs Through It. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the image of you with a Canadian Tire-issue Dora the Explorer fishing pole hoisted above your head shuffling laterally across the interlocking brick walkway that served as a substitute set of rapids, shirt unbuttoned, channeling the rugged purity of young Paul Maclean as he landed a lovely brook trout. It was then that I knew you were the partner for me. Pick: New Orleans.

Baltimore (minus 1) at Houston
Houston QB Matt Schaub was saying that his team’s 3-5 record doesn’t show how good they are “in reality.” So that explains it! The Jets have been playing their 2008 season in a parallel fictional universe – a topsy-turvy place where up is down and hot young starlets can plausibly want to suck face with Woody Allen. On the bright side, maybe the Texans can coax a terrifying fictional creature like Alien or Predator or Oprah to play linebacker this weekend. Pick: Houston.
Technically, I think Steadman would tell you that Oprah and Predator are one in the same. (That makes Gayle the Alien). The cool thing about life when you start to construct a reality that is objectively different than our own is that you can give yourself powers. Like the Matrix where Neo could download Karate and skydiving abilities. The peculiar thing about Matt Schaub’s ‘reality’ is that he doesn’t think to bother. For example, in his reality shouldn’t he possess the fantastical ability to complete a pass? To shake off a sore knee? To laserize his opponents with burning heat vision? Maybe this week. Pick: Baltimore.

Green Bay (plus 2) at Minnesota
In true professional athlete form, Aaron Rodgers celebrated the signing of a long-term contract by leading his team to a heartbreaking defeat. Go Cheeseheads! With an increasingly unbalanced offense and facing a Minnesota squad that looked Ferott-icious, this game has upset written all over it. Pick: Minnesota.
I guess you’d know about such things, given that your heart has “Property of John Mayer” written all over it. Pick: Minnesota.

Seattle (plus 9) at Miami
What are we supposed to like about this Seahawks team? They’re 2-6 and last week at home against Philly there was almost no time at which their offence looked like a threat to score. Seriously, it was like watching an old person trying to use one of those self-serve checkout scanners at the grocery store. Seneca Wallace was just standing there with a pineapple and a bag of cat litter and absolutely no idea how to make the big machine go beep. Pick: Miami.
Tough one here. I want to turn over a new leaf. But that means no more betting on Seattle or against Miami. But oh, how I loathe Seattle. And, bad as they are, will they really lose by ten points to the Dolphins? Answer: Yes. Yes they will. Pick: Miami.

Kansas City (minus 14.5) at San Diego
Norv Turner makes John McCain look can’t miss – but surely, coming off a bye week against one of the worst teams in the league, playing at home and with a really upbeat horoscope, the Chargers will win this handily? Not for my money. Until Turner wins a game and covers a spread, I am forced to assume the Chargers will never succeed again. I feel the same way about the Wachowski Brothers. Pick: K.C.
The thing about Herm Edwards is that he keeps finding exciting new ways to suck as a coach. It’s the same philosophy that Oasis has been using on its last four albums. And mark my words: if anyone can do it, then it’s going to be Herm Edwards who finally cracks the code and figures out how to lose 15 yards on the coin flip. Pick: San Diego.

San Francisco (plus 9.5) at Arizona
I’m going out on limb here and I’m going to say that Mike Singletary has it in for Vernon Davis. And you know what? I like it. I like it when people in positions of authority call out smug, self-satisfied, lazy slobs who don’t do their part, point the finger at everyone else and expect the world to just fall at their feet. Ummm. Wait a minute. That’s bullshit. I actually hate it when that happens. Still, I want to believe Singletary will make a difference. I NEED to believe he will make a difference. Pick: San Francisco.
Wow, what a Monday nighter – an epic clash between stoppable force and moveable object. Mark my words: this one’s going to attract tens of viewers. Pick: Arizona.

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