nfl picks: sorry mike nolan, we currently have no openings...

Scott Feschuk
Last week: 9-5
Season: 51-47-3

Scott Reid
Last week: 5-9
Season: 45-53-3

SR: Top 5 Things Mike Nolan could have done to avoid being fired as 49ers’ coach:

  • Start Joe Montana at quarterback.
  • “Lucky” houndstooth suit.
  • Karoke Wednesdays.
  • Invent time machine. Use time machine to return to 1981. Steal Bill Walsh’s brain. Fire up time machine and visit distant future where brain transplants are medically routine. Return to September 2007. Use Bill Walsh’s brain to coach team to the playoffs.  Build on successful foundation in 2008 to win Super Bowl in unlikely come from behind win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Kick Mike Martz in the nuts (technically, wouldn’t have saved his job but would make him popular – which is even better).

SF: Mmmm… nuts. Anyhoo, this half of Couch Boys spent last Sunday in and around Ralph Wilson Stadium, personally witnessing a) the Bills’ authoritative 23-14 win over San Diego, and b) the fire department responding to Parking Lot 3 to douse a blaze that started when several inebriated gentlemen attempted to deep-fry a turkey. Here is the action shot, as captured by Jonathon Gatehouse:

And here, a short time later, the remains:

A number of Maclean’s personalities and Couch Dad – as fine and cholesterol-ravaged a group of men as you’ll ever meet – took in all the hallmarks of the Ralph Wilson Stadium tailgating experience: public drunkenness, public urination, public eating too much, public guy dressed up like this for some reason…

… all enhanced by the fellow parked next to us who played Thunderstruck approximately 2.96 million times. There was breakfast (eggwiches) and there was lunch (sausages) and there was chest pain (angina) and there was beer. One letdown: Porn Guy was nowhere to be found.

Usually, as reliably as clockwork outside Ralph Wilson, a gentleman will approach your party carrying a black bag. Inside the bag: DVDs of porn. Or as he always called it: “Triple-X porn.” Last year, in what we all agreed was a savvy marketing initiative, Porn Guy began describing his product as “Quadruple-X porn,” leaving us to wonder whether this was mere salesmanship or if the material contained therein genuinely warranted the additional X. But last weekend: no Porn Guy.

The question must be asked: what has become of Porn Guy? Has the Internet proved too potent a competitive force for him? In these trying economic times, is there insufficient profit margin in a $5 porn-based transaction? Or is Porn Guy simply locked away, putting in the R&D time required to try to crack the heretofore unreachable Quintuple-X rating?

One final note: as one Maclean’s wag quipped as we walked to the stadium, if you’re wondering why we don’t have a super-efficient electric car in full production around the world, it’s because thousands of engineers have devoted the last 20 years of their lives to creating this, the World’s Most Awesomest Beer Bong:

Now let’s move on to the futility…

Oakland (plus 7) at Baltimore
Quick, if your name is Tom Cable hurl yourself in front of an oncoming bread truck. Because after winning your first game as Raiders interim coach, life can only go downhill. Saddled with a weak team and an undead owner, Cable’s future looks grisly (get some garlic man!).  Still, Baltimore continues to have no offense and its D has lost a lotta steps. Gotta go with the Cable Guy. Pick: Oakland.
Ah, yes, Flacco vs. Russell: a duel for the ages!! Specifically, ages 90 and over, who remember what football was like when played by men who were terrified by the very idea of the forward pass. Pick: Baltimore.

New York Giants (plus 3) at Pittsburgh
I foresee the Giants performing well on the road here. Then again, I also foresee an inexplicably bikinied Angelina Jolie getting a flat tire in front of my house, and that never seems to happen. I’m starting to run out of glass shards. Pick: New York.
I think this is the game of the season for Pitt. They’re a good team. Could pull it together and go all the way. Could drift into ok-ism. Win this weekend and watch out. Lose and it’s sign that the Steelers ain’t ready for the big time. I expect them to win and win big. Pick: Pitt.

San Diego (minus 3) at New Orleans
Here’s a prediction for you. If I hear one more lame sportscaster utter the phrase “London Calling” I’m going to choke somebody with a pound of pickled herring. Norv Turner arrives in Britain determined to remind the English that they’re right to look down their nose at us North Americans.  If he finds a way to blow this game late in the 4th quarter, it’s safe to assume that AJ Smith will drop his coach’s passport into the North Sea. New Orleans lost bad last week to Carolina. Maybe some Vera Lynn and Benny Hill is just the thing to fix them right up.  Pick: New Orleans.
After another disappointing start to another doomed season, Norv Turner’s ineptitude is now officially as well-documented as Travis Henry’s heterosexuality. Pick: New Orleans.

Washington (minus 7.5) at Detroit
Dear Detroit Lions: I’m delighted to inform you that after reviewing your six very impressive audition tapes, we are thrilled to invite you to join us on Fox TV as contestants on the can’t-miss new reality series, So You Think You’re The Worst Group of Untalented Spazzes Ever! (Your dressing room is just down the hall from the ’62 Mets, the ’75 Capitals and Limp Bizkit). Pick: Washington.
For Pete’s sake, world, wake up!  Everything we know and understand about life on Earth is going to shit.  If a Daniel Snyder team actually succeeds – not through glitz and garbage but through quiet, consistent play – then we may as well get the Devil ice skates for Christmas. I know the Skins will crush Detroit. I know Dan Orlovsky is as bad at his job as you are at getting your hair to lay down and go nicely all in one direction. But. Someone. Must. Stop. This. Unholy. Blight. If Snyder succeeds, then Frank D’Angelo can’t be far behind. Please. No.  Pick: Washington.

Kansas City (plus 13) at New York Jets
Tyler Thigpen will probably play at quarterback for KC because Brodie Croyle, Damon Huard and Lucy Maud Montgomery are unavailable to start. In the absence of a Biblical flood, New York will win this game. Whether they’ll win by thirteen comes down to two questions: how many picks will Brett Favre throw and how prepared has Herm Edwards got his team? Oh. Yeah. What the hell was I thinking?  Pick: NYJ
For the fourth time in five years, Chiefs RB Larry Johnson has been accused of assaulting a woman. Just one more on his punch card and he’ll be an honorary Bengal. So Larry is suspended this week, and K.C.’s top two quarterbacks have been put on the IR, and Herm Edwards has got to be thinking to himself, “There’s no way I’ve got more than a week or two left before I get fired – I’d better say something at this week’s news conference that can be hilariously incorporated into one of those Coors Light ‘coach’ commercials.” Pick: NYJ

Cincinnati (plus 9.5) at Houston
I’m tired of devoting precious mental energy to trying to figure out games that don’t matter featuring teams that aren’t any good – I’m therefore going to punt this one from the deductive reasoning portion of my brain to the part that controls motor functions. I might get my pick wrong, but the fact that my leg keeps kicking me in my own ass will be a real conversation starter. Pick: Cincinnati (oww!)
You’re right! Your precious mental energies should be dedicated to causes better suited to a man of your distinction. Like teaching our nation’s young how to make a fart sound with their armpit. The Cincinnati Bengals are like Spencer from the Hills – no redeeming virtues of any kind.  I realize its tempting to say that no team will go 0-16, that this is the kind of game that even a lousy team like Cincy should steal. But I think they’re that bad. They’re pee-with-the-seat-down-bad. At this point, only two words could make the Bengals an even bigger group of losers: Green Shift. Pick: Houston

Buffalo (minus 1) at Miami
Ok. I’m starting to become a believer.  Buffalo faced off against San Diego last week in a game I thought they would find devastating. Instead, Buffalo took Norv Turner to school (they found one for him where they’re teaching chimpanzees to communicate using flashcards).  Miami seems to think they’re the cock of the walk all of a sudden. But they’re only half right. Pick: Buffalo.
Miami is cock of nothing! I’m not saying the Dolphins are still a shambles on offence but Ricky Williams spent most of Monday afternoon locked in his bedroom braiding the hair of each of the 16 yards he gained against the Ravens: “Yard six, now let’s do your bangs!” Pick: Buffalo.

Cleveland (plus 7) at Jacksonville
This game won’t even be close. The Jags are going to kill them. In fact, it’s going to be so lopsided that the NFL may need to implement its rare Emergency Parity Rules to avoid blowouts and keep ratings up. This would oblige the Jags to follow these five guidelines:
– One third of all offensive plays must involve juggling.
– Four places on offence filled at all times by volunteers from audience.
– After each completed pass, David Garrard must do a shot of gin.
– At random intervals during Jaguar possessions, football replaced with lit stick of dynamite.
– Once each quarter, eleven men go into the huddle – only ten come out alive!
Pick: Jacksonville.
I think you’re missing the big picture here: blowouts are fun. They rock. The only thing better than a see-saw nailbiter is when one team utterly wallpapers the stadium with the other. A good old 56-0 can be a hoot to watch.  People drop the ball. They thrash around like bats in the sunlight. They frequently stop running as the other team goes by them. It’s funny!  It’s cool.  And it’s a little like the way I outpace you in every aspect of life (but for choosing the NFC representative in the Super Bowl). Pick: Jacksonville.

Tampa Bay (plus 2) at Dallas
The oddsmakers are drunk.  Tampa has a better record, plays harder, and enjoys the benefit of a starting quarterback – a pro-bowl starting quarterback as a matter of fact.  Dallas is coming off a loss to St. Louis that even Carrot Top would find humiliating. Plus, no Romo. Plus, a sucky TO. Plus, Wade Phillips has been thinking the following thought all week long in practice: ‘Little donuts just seem to taste better than big donuts, I wonder why.”  Pick: Tampa Bay
Yeah, Romo is out ’til mid-November because he’s having trouble “throwing for distance or accuracy.” To which I say: Man up, Tony – Chad Pennington has played an entire career like that. Anyhoo, the 40-year-old Brad Johnson will play at quarterback instead. The Cowboys started the year as my Super Bowl pick but because of their chronic dysfunction and penchant for angst I’m downgrading them to my favourite Gossip Girl character. Pick: Dallas.

Indy (plus 4) at Tennessee
There are some things I just refuse to accept. I refuse to accept that I’m going to have to watch the charisma-free Shia LeBoeuf star in every action movie made for the next 20 years. (The man has no shoulders! Movie stars need shoulders!) I refuse to accept that Scarlett Johansson married Ryan Reynolds when I specifically asked her not to by phone, email, telegram, carrier pigeon and shouting really loudly from the top of the Hollywood Tour of Stars’ Homes bus. Most of all, I refuse to accept that any team that starts Kerry Collins at quarterback can be the best team in football. Pick: Indy.
SR’s pick: Tennessee.

Atlanta (plus 9) at Philadephia
Matt Ryan is Troy Aikman – that rare breed of young quarterback happy to play all year long content in the knowledge that he’s only going to get better. Philly is a good-looking team this year. But this is a trap game.  Atlanta is believing in itself and its young quarterback.  In much the same way Scott Feschuk believes that pork consumption can reverse a receding hairline. Pick: Atlanta
You’re saying Matt Ryan is Troy Aikman?? After four wins – two of which were against the Lions and Chiefs? This reminds me: we’re starting to get email from people who claim they’re making big money by taking your picks and reversing them. One guy, for instance, just bought an awesome new TV with the money he made reversing your picks. Well played, Mr. S. Feschuk of Ottawa! Pick: Philly.

Seattle (plus 5) at San Francisco
Wow. What a matchup of gridiron titans. In his last season as Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren finds himself with a 1-5 record and an injured quarterback, leaving him to decide whether to start Seneca Wallace or Charlie Frye. This is like heading out to a singles bar and deciding whether to wear the “I Have Herpes” T-shirt or the “I Had Herpes But It Went Away and Now My Main Concern is the Painful Gonorrhea” T-shirt. Pick: Seattle.
You’re forgetting JT “Involuntary Discharge” O’Sullivan. It’s a good analogy though, since the 49ers ownership and front office has turned into the singles equivalent of a cruising loser. The guy who thinks the way to win over women is with jokes like the one where you substitute the word ‘pubic’ for the word ‘public’. Hot chicks can’t get enough of that! Please please please come back Edward DeBartolo. That little public corruption conviction is all forgiven. Still, Seneca Wallace?  Pick: San Francisco

St. Louis (plus 7) at New England
Many observers believe that New England turned an important corner this past week as it finally learned to win convincingly with Matt Cassel at the controls. Many observers also believe that Stephane Dion was wise to remain as interim leader of the Liberal Party.  Many Observers is actually a short fat guy from Picton, Ont., who deserves to get beat up.  St. Louis is looking better under Haslett and New England’s defense looks a little older than Vatican City. It’s going to be an ugly day in Foxboro.  Pick: St. Louis
Not unless Bill Belichick takes off his shirt. Pick: New England.

Arizona (plus 4) at Carolina
This game leaves me indifferent. I have no strong feelings one way or another about either of these teams. So let’s make better use of this time by coming up with some ideas for how Mattel can reverse the declining sales of Barbie:
– Make her cry real tears when the Sheriff forecloses on the Barbie Dream Mansion.
– Special limited edition “DUI Barbie” features smeared mascara and matted hairdo for mug shot.
– Old friends: Nikki and Teresa. New friend: Sally the Naked Bisexual. Pick: Carolina.
SR: Did you know that Barbie dumped Ken? Honest to God. Dude is out there, beautiful, made of molded plastic and alone in the world. Sort of like Matt Leinart. Carolina crushed New Orleans last week. Is it possible that Arizona will really put up more of a fight?  No, it’s not.  You can bet your “Puts Out Barbie” on it. Pick: Carolina