nfl picks: as bad as the bengals, but less indicted

Scott Feschuk
Last week: 7-4-2
Season: 36-34-3

Scott Reid
Last week: 4-7-2
Season: 33-37-3

SR: I am finally ready for some football. If you notice that we’re a bit late posting our picks this week, I have to take the blame. I was busy at the courthouse changing my legal name to Samantha Ronson.

SF: No problem. I’ve been spending my morning just sitting here waiting, passing the time by dwelling on the simple pleasures of life, such as how much better I am at this than you are. In fact, I’m going to add this to the list of things I’m better than you at – a list that is currently made up of four things, one of which you shouldn’t do naked (bowling – although kudos to you for giving it a shot).

Let’s get to the unreliability…

Chicago (minus 2.5) at Atlanta
You know what would make football even better? Attack ads. I’ve never understood why players spend the week trying to avoid giving the opposing team the fabled “bulletin board” material. This is America! They should be cramming local TV with low-quality ads of dubious factual accuracy and ignoble repute:

Ominous music

Voiceover: The Bears are from Chicago. Chicago, Illinois. You know what else they have in Chicago?

Dramatic pause.

Voiceover: University libraries with books.

Dramaticer pause.

Voiceover: Books by Hitler.

Sounds of shattering glass and crying babies.

Voiceover: The Chicago Bears. The exact same as Hitler.

I’m Matt Ryan and I approve this message! Pick: Chicago.

SR: No. No. No. The secret to effective negative advertising is relevance. Is the attack current to the experience that voters/football fans are currently confronted with? Hitler is pure evil. But he’s old pure evil. Better to link the Chicago Bears with current fears and immediate anxieties. I see bumper stickers that say “Hester took my mortgage” or “Freddie Mac Is Also A Bear.”  Things like that, only funny. With respect to the game, let me just say this: I’m totally crushing on Matt Ryan.  Pick: Atlanta

St. Louis (plus 13.5) at Washington
SR: Suddenly Washington looks like the best team in the NFC East and the NFC East looks the best division in the NFL. And the NFL looks like the best league in the universe. And the universe looks like it’s expanding so rapidly that gravity may soon be torn asunder. In other words, Jason Campbell is now the best hope of humanity and aliens alike. That’s got to be good enough to get the Skins over this spread.  Pick: Washington.
I wonder if there’s a Nobel prize for numbnuttery? Listen, I’m not saying this is a trap game, but sometime in the first quarter the Redskins are going to be lured toward a half-finished Death Star when all of a sudden – boom! – there are, like, 8,000 star destroyers waiting there for them. Your move, Coach Ackbar. Pick: St. Louis.

Baltimore (plus 4) at Indy
What a weird moment this week – Ravens coach John Harbaugh announcing that Joe Flacco would be Baltimore’s starting quarterback “for the rest of the season.” Dude, your backups are Todd Bouman and Alex Smith. That’s kind of like Ryan Reynolds announcing he’s going to be having sex with Scarlett Johansson for the rest of his life instead of with Bea Arthur or that broken beer bottle over there. Not really necessary. Pick: Indy.
If readers track your Bea Arthur references carefully (and I have plotted them on a chart beginning in 2002), you swing wildly between expressing lust and revulsion. I have talked this over with your Dad, wife, brother, sister and pharmacist. We think you’re in some kind of pain. Some kind of conflict. And we want to help you work it through.  For the sake of those who love you Scott, tell the world what you really feel about Big Bea. Come clean with yourself and with others. It will make you feel much stronger.  Pick: Indy

Jacksonville (plus 3.5) at Denver
SR: This is a big game. Not ‘holy flaming monkeybutt my RRSPs are worth nine dollars’ big. But pretty big. It will tell us a lot about the higher reaches of the AFC and if membership there is falling beyond the reach of the Jaguars (Scott Feschuk’s Super Bowl pick, in case you had forgotten).  The spread is fair but still too narrow in my view.  Denver has played like a better all round team and they’re at home.  Pick: Denver
Isn’t this about the time of the season that the Broncos start frittering away a solid start with a series of half-arsed performances that prompt Mike Shanahan to make that expression where if his facial muscles were tensed any tighter they’d explode through his skin and strangle Jay Cutler? Answer: Yes it is. Pick: Jacksonville.

Cincinnati (plus 6) at New York Jets
SF: Sure, the Bengals are 0-5, but that doesn’t mean they’re bummed about it. They’ve got hope! In fact, after coming close to almost getting to the point where they might potentially have nearly beat the Cowboys, they’ve got the best sort of hope: they’ve got false hope – the kind of hope that cannot be diminished by evidence, reality or chronic failure. That said, as someone who’s voting Liberal, I believe in the power of false hope. Pick: Cinci.
Funny you should mention the election. I just completed a graven image that I’m about to worship. I’m calling it Liberal Majority. Marvin Lewis is on the phone asking if I can dash off another quickly called ‘playoffs’. No prob, Marv. But I’m sending it to Mike Nolan. Pick: NYJ

Green Bay (plus 2) at Seattle
SR: Hasselbeck may not play.  Fans may not care.  Seattle is looking like as scared as a little girl these days. On the other hand, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers is also hurting. So we’ll be treated to two teams coming off bad losses with injured quarterbacks. When in doubt, pick the better team. Green Bay wins.  Pick: Green Bay
Last year you picked the Rams to go to the Super Bowl and they went 3-13. This year you picked the Seahawks and they’re 1-3 and looking awful. I’m not saying you’re the reverse King Midas, but if you value your sex life you’d better wear gloves when going to the bathroom. Pick: Seattle.

Carolina (plus 1.5) at Tampa Bay
The way Jon Gruden handles his quarterbacks – bringing 389 of them into camp, keeping 47 on the roster, using 11 in each game – doesn’t it make you think that if you dropped by his house one day you’d find Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper, Kordell Stewart and dozens more tied up in his backyard? And every morning on the way to work he throws them a steak and tries to avoid stepping in Chris Chandler’s droppings? Anyway, for those scoring at home it’s back to Jeff Garcia this week – at least until the second quarter when Gruden spots Jim Plunkett in the stands. Pick: Carolina.
I bet the darkest, deepest corner of that backyard is reserved for a snarling, feral Frank Reich. I look at it this way: Jeff Garcia is better. Way better. So, play him. Unless you happen to have Joe Montana back there… Pick: Tampa Bay

New England (plus 5.5) at San Diego
SR: San Diego will win this game and New England will be forced to go get a real quarterback. That’s all that needs to be said about this match up. I’m a man of few words. Like Steve McQueen. Or Venus Williams. Pick: San Diego.
Everyone’s directing all their crappy-coach remarks at Rod Marinelli, Marv Lewis and Herm Edwards – I think Norv Turner’s feeling a little neglected. But don’t count him out – if anyone can step down his game to the point of attracting the criticism he so richly deserves, Norv is up to being down to the job. Pick: New England.

Detroit (plus 13) at Minnesota
SF: Every Sunday has at least one WTF score – the second-quarter score you see on the ticker and go… WTF?! How could the Bengals be beating the Patriots 27-0? (This particular example is actually more of a HDIGTTTFPU score – How Did I Get Transported to This Frightening Parallel Universe?… but you get the idea.) I hereby predict that even if Jon Kitna does not play, even if Drew Stanton or Dan Orlovsky is in at quarterback, the Lions will throw up a WTF score early in this game and hold on to cover the spread. I also predict that it’s splittsville for J. Lo and Marc Anthony. Madame Fortuna has spoken! Pick: Detroit.
You have a dreadful condition know as post-Millen Deliriusium. It seems to affect many middle-aged men who hail from either Detroit or Loserville (and I don’t see a Michigan drivers license in your wallet).  The reality is that Detroit will be peeled like a grape by a steadily re-steady Minny squad who showed grit in beating a better team on Monday night.  Pick: Minnesota

Oakland (plus 7.5) at New Orleans
SF: Who exactly is this Tom Cable dude that’s coaching the Raiders? Are we sure it’s not Al Davis in a John Goodman costume? The Raiders are woeful. But what’s the deal with the Saints?  They’re making so many mistakes and looking so clueless that they risk being drafted as John McCain’s running mate. Pick: Oakland.
Al Davis has made it clear that the Raiders are his team and he’s going to run things as he sees fit. He’s also made it clear that his skin is itchy and he wants it all replaced by the sweet-smelling epidermal layer of a 16-year-old virgin. Cable has been busy trying to get that arranged so forgive him if the team seems a bit unprepared for this week’s game.  New Orleans is finding inventive ways to choke. But they can’t find a way to lose to this Muppet movie on the Bay.  Pick: New Orleans

Philadelphia (minus 5) San Francisco
SR: Ok. Here’s the way I see it. Philly feels it needs to win this game to get itself back in traffic in the NFC playoff picture. On the other hand, the Niners have been playing well, even when they lose (they must also be Liberals).  This feels to me like a trap game for Philly. They’re flying across the country. They’re a little uptight and the probably assume they’re far better than SF. Watch for the Niners to jump to an early lead. Their D will need to hang onto it for them. Pick: SF
Did you read Donovan McNabb’s blog this week? He said on his blog that he was “embarrassed” by his team’s recent performance. Also, that he and Brian Westbrook were totally going to go to the mall but then Jon Runyan came over and by the time they’d finished braiding each other’s hair DeSean Jackson had showed up to work on their science project. Pick: Philadelphia.

Miami (plus 3) at Houston
SF: Wow, that was quite a choke job by the Texans last week, giving up a 74-point lead against the Colts in the final 90 seconds of the game (all figures approximate). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is what you get when you offend the football gods by playing a man actually named Sage. Sage! I mean, sage is either an aromatic herb or a person of transcendent wisdom – and I think we all know that neither has any place in the NFL. That said, the football gods don’t look too kindly on potheads either. Pick: Houston.
SR’s pick: Houston.

Dallas (minus 5) at Arizona
SR: Suddenly, Arizona looks like a dangerous team. Really dangerous. And between a whiny TO, a smirky Romo and an arrestedy Pacman, the Boys are looking a little uncertain. Hard to figure out how this team could have locker room troubles with that iron-fisted man-with-the-plan Wade Phillips at the helm. The reality is that Dallas is a very talented team facing a spot of adversity. It’s the kind of game that reminds you who’s a winner and who’s not.  Dallas should win.  And Dallas had better win.  Pick: Dallas
Wrong and wrong. The Cardinals ain’t worth spit once they cross state lines, but they are a quite a force in the desert. Much like Peter O’Toole and Snoopy’s cousin Spike. Pick: Arizona.

New York Giants (minus 7.5) at Cleveland
Remember when people used to say that Cleveland was poised for a breakthrough season? Or that Lakota would cure your impotence – err, arthritis. Well, not so much. The Giants have turned out to be the real deal. Cleveland is a talented squad without chemistry or grit. This spread could be twice as large and it would still be worth a tumble. Pick: New York.
Wow, the Browns are on Monday Night Football. Or as it’s known in my house: I wonder if there’s a new Entourage on. Pick: New York.