Last week: 8-8
Last week: 7-9
Reid: Wide Right WAYD-rayht noun: a severe medical condition of perpetual losiness peculiar to fans of Western New York State football club, the Buffalo Bills. Symptoms strike in the dying seconds of close football games and are closely linked to crushing incompetence and failure. Effects linger for decades and are only partially offset by alcohol and transfat. Only documented successful treatment involves permanent relocation to Foxboro, Massachusetts. Origin: Scott Norwood’s right foot. Synonym: blow, suck, bite, fail, Ray Finkle, new hometown of Toronto. Antonym: New England Patriots, Jason Elam, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
Feschuk: Wound, meet salt. Thanks a lot, partner. Alas, it’s true: Monday night’s game was painful – painful – for Bills’ fans. We’re still a little sensitive when it comes to games that end with a 47-yard field goal attempt going wide right. But the blame falls not on the kicker – it falls on the coaching staff. There was plenty of time left in the game, the Bills drove easily to the Browns’ 32 yard-line – and then they stopped. They just stopped! They lamely ran three balls up the middle for no reason and no gain, instead of going play-action and trying to move the freaking sticks. It’s madness, I tell you – madness!! I do not claim the power to see the future (for proof of this, you need only consult my prognostic record for this season, or note that – contrary to my instinct as a young man – Loni Anderson never did technically marry me) but even as the pissing away of the Cleveland game was happening I was lamenting what was about to happen. The football gods do not look kindly upon the meek and chicken-shitted.
Having discussed Buffalo’s futility, let’s move on to our own…
Cincinnati (plus 10.5) at Pittsburgh (Thursday night)
Feschuk: I always wish I was in Vegas, but I especially wish I’d been there for the conclusion of the Chargers-Steelers game, when the officiating crew managed to bring an almost “year 2000 hanging chad” level of professionalism and certainty to the outcome. Steelers win by seven. No, they win by eight. Hang on, now Pat Buchanan is in the lead. Imagine the dismay, then the elation, then the double dismay (with a side of rage) of having bet heavily on the Steelers to cover the spread – only to have the officials reverse the correct call to the incorrect call on review, then moments later admit their own mistake to reporters. I imagine the scene at the sports book at Caesar’s was a lot like the “trying to get on the ferry” sequence in War of the Worlds, but with slightly more profanity and gunplay. Pick: Cincinnati.
Reid: Maybe Al Gore won the game. Pick: Pittsburgh
Carolina (plus 1) at Atlanta
Reid: Matt Ryan has poise. He also has a jillion dollars, a dimpled chin and Hillary Clinton is close to agreeing to serve as his Secretary of State. What he doesn’t have is a Roddy White capable of catching a 50-yard game-winning pass that hits him smack in the hands. Pick: Carolina.
Feschuk: God, you switch crushes quicker than a teenage girl. I, on the other hand, see Matt Ryan for what he truly is: a decent and potentially good quarterback who actually hasn’t defeated a single top-notch team so far this season. And also a vampire. Pick: Carolina.
Philadelphia (plus 1.5) at Baltimore
Feschuk: Call me old school, but while I don’t expect players to know every single subsection to every single rule, I do expect millionaire star quarterbacks to be up on some of more pertinent aspects of the game, such as when it ends. Donovan McNabb’s Sarah Palin moment – A game can end in a tie?? Gosh! – was only made worse by comments he made afterward in the locker room, when he said: “I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs.” (Dude, in the post-season you play til someone wins. Also, that oblong thing in your hand – you’re supposed to throw it to someone on your own team. You seemed pretty fuzzy on that rule too last Sunday.) On the bright side, McNabb’s confusion sheds new light on his dismal Super Bowl performance, when he failed to hurry his team despite trailing late in the game. Perhaps he was unclear on the rules and believed the game’s time to be infinite. Pick: Baltimore.
Reid: This confirms what we had all feared – that Chunky Soup gravy is stupid sauce. I knew it. Every time I dig into a bowl of Steak and Potatoes I start to laugh at Two and a Half Men. It’s insidious. Since Mama McNabb treats the stuff as three out of four food groups, it’s no wonder the Eagles quarterback gets easily confused. And poor Andy Reid – all he does is eat. Pick: Baltimore.
Indianapolis (plus 3) at San Diego
Reid: Norv Turner, you’re the Houdini of football failure. Last week’s loss was a particularly magical affair right down to a disappearing touchdown on the final play (thank you Vegas gods). If Turner loses this week (and he will) surely he gets fired! Surely! Pick: Indy.
Feschuk: What I enjoy most about watching the 4-6 Chargers play and lose is the inevitable cutaway to Norv Turner bitching on the sideline about some penalty or some botched play by his team. The man seems utterly unaware that he is the coach of the San Diego Chargers and therefore responsible for many of this team’s most boneheaded decisions. I’m 90% sure Norv thinks he’s just a fan with sufficient connections to score a sideline pass. That would also explain why his headset is tuned to XM Radio’s 1950s channel. Pick: Indianapolis.
Tampa Bay (minus 8.5) at Detroit
Feschuk: Americans just can’t catch a break. First, the economy tanks, putting their jobs at risk. Second, Nickelback goes and releases a new record. And next week their Thanksgiving afternoon will feature a game involving the Detroit Lions, a team so unwatchable that football fans may have no choice but to spend the three hours actually talking to their families. Well, on the bright side, at least the awful Dean Cain is forever banished from television, never again to appear on the small screen in any way, shape or – what? Oh, you have got to be kidding me. Pick: Tampa.
Reid: Dean Cain – worst Superman ever. Daunte Culpepper – the Dean Cain of quarterbacks. Pick: Tampa
Washington (minus 3.5) at Seattle
Reid: Matt Hasslebeck apologized publicly to the Cardinals for saying that they were laying dirty hits on him. What. A. Pussy! First he whines about having his ass handed to him. Then he whines about whining. Does he grant me an apology for ruining my season after I picked Seattle to make the Super Bowl? Does he send me a bundt cake or a sweater signed by some player he knows whose autograph I’d actually appreciate? Hell no. Pick: Washington.
Feschuk: My favourite NFL story on the web this week was the one quoting Mike Holmgren as saying there might be changes for the Seahawks going forward. Really? You’re saying a 2-8 team ought not to defend the status quo? Shocking. Next you’ll be trying to tell me that Terry Bradshaw has a family of hamsters living in the space the rest of us use for a brain. Again, completely shocking. Pick: Washington.
Buffalo (minus 3) at K.C.
Feschuk: Can the Bills beat the Chiefs, a team that has lost 19 of its last 20 games? On one hand, you’d have to think “no,” what with Trent Edwards’ last four games resulting in eight interceptions, two fumbles and a dozen facial expressions that suggest an almost Art Shell degree of confusion. On the other hand, you’d have to think “yes,” what with Herm Edwards’ press conferences increasingly resembling the scene from 12 Monkeys where a frantic and crazed Bruce Willis runs around finding monkey symbols everywhere and yelling “12 monkeys!! Here! Here, you see??? TWELVE MONKEYS!!!” Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: If there were a bar where interceptions could go to kick back, down a couple pints and just laugh about how they came to be, Trent Edwards picture would surely hang in a place of respect. Maybe there would be a little plaque beneath it that would read “Father” or even “Mother.” Maybe the interception who pours the draft beer will reminisce about the day that Edwards came into the bar and signed autographs all afternoon long. Sure, some day a new guy will come along. But for the 2008 season, that place belongs to Trent. Pick: Kansas City
New York Giants (minus 3.5) at Arizona
Reid: Don’t fool yourself. Arizona looks good only when it stands next to Seattle. And St Louis. And the rest of that sad NFC West (including my newly reborn Niners). Even a sore Jacobs will beat the Cards D-line like a drum. Pick: New York.
Feschuk: But you’re forgetting Kurt Warner! Can you believe this guy is the leading candidate for the league’s MVP award? What were the odds on that going into the season – about the same as Kirstie Alley actually finding the finger she jammed into her belly button in 2005? Pick: Arizona.
San Francisco (plus 11.5) at Dallas
Feschuk: So we’re saying that Dallas is back to being awesome and that whole “playing like crap” phase is gone and forgotten? Is that what we’re doing with this spread? Because as far as I can see, the 49ers have been performing pretty well lately – so much so that, inspired by Mike Singletary, Wade Phillips is going to give his pre-game speech with his pants around his ankles. Although to be fair, Phillips will be doing so less as a motivational tool and more as a “simply forgot” kind of thing. Pick: San Francisco.
Reid: Welcome to the light, sister! Of course, the Cowboys will be inspired by their Romo-led win last week and the reinstatement of Adam Pacman Jones. Does the NFL have no shame? Does a bear shit in the woods? Is Wade Phillips a bear? Are those woods or just the Cowboys’ post-season hopes? Pick: San Francisco
Oakland (plus 9.5) at Denver
Reid: Jim Fassel has reportedly written a letter to Al Davis begging to be chosen as the Raiders’ next head coach. In a related matter, Tom Cable has reportedly written a letter to Al Davis begging him to choose Fassel the Raiders’ next head coach. Pick: Denver.
Feschuk: Ha! It’s funny cuz it’s true. Or at least completely plausible. What kind of masochist would you have to be to actually want to coach the Raiders? There are only two jobs more grim and thankless in the entire world: 1) Dom DeLuise’s butt flosser, and 2) coach of the Detroit Lions. Pick: Denver.
Houston (plus 3) at Cleveland
Feschuk: I’m liking this Brady Quinn kid, and you know what that means – it means I’m 40 years old and therefore officially entitled to refer to anyone younger than me as “kid,” just like all the sportscasters do, even when the guy they’re describing is, like, 26 and the father of five. Kellen Winslow, who hurt his shoulder Monday night, is unlikely to play so the pressure will be on Braylon Edwards to step up and drop twice as many passes as usual. Pick: Cleveland.
Reid: Why that Quinn kid reminds me of a young Douglas Fairbanks Sr. All swagger and sepia-toned. He’s downright nostalgic and he’s still happening. Unlike Sage Rosenfels. I haven’t seen anyone look that uninspired since Willis and Arnold realized that Mr. Drummond was getting remarried. Pick: Cleveland.
New York Jets (plus 6) at Tennessee
Feschuk: I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong – but I’m woman enough that I will only do so using interpretative dance. So please enjoy the following display of acrobatic leaps and enthusiastic arm-flapping that I’ve entitled Sorry I Said You’d Throw Three Interceptions Last Week, Brett Favre – What I Meant Is That You’ll Throw Them This Week. Pick: Tennessee.
Reid: You’re woman enough to see the man in yourself and walk across the room and say, ‘Hey, sailor, wanna show me your football picks?” I’m going to go out on a limb here – it happens to be the same limb I went out on last week. I think Tennessee will lose. Outright. Pick: New York
Chicago (minus 8.5) at St. Louis
Reid: Other than an undisclosed hostage-taking of Lovie Smith’s family members, is there a reason known to man why Kyle Orton was playing in the second half of last week’s game? With one leg and apparently no eyes, Orton led the team to disaster. Could Rex Grossman have done any worse? Well, ok. Yes, he could have. He has before. But he’s also played well when the pressure wasn’t on. And the pressure was definitely not on. Pick: Chicago.
Feschuk: I’m not exactly clear of the rules on this, but I’m pretty sure that after giving up 37 points last week against the Packers, the Bears and their defence are considered sufficiently distressed to qualify for a piece of the $700-billion U.S. government bailout. Add that to the foreclosure dough brought in by the fire sale of the subdivision built on tackle Anthony Adam’s left thigh, and they should have enough coin to buy Kyle Orton a shiny new leg. Pick: Chicago.
New England (plus 2) at Miami
Feschuk: It’s hard to get too excited about a Miami team that came within a fourth down of failing to dispatch the woeful Raiders. That’s like having a No. 1 rock album in the 1970s and struggling to sleep with Pamela Des Barres. Pick: New England.
Reid: Wow. Talk about rocker chick obscure. But you’re right when it comes to Miami. Their game is all illusion. In fact, I said the same thing to Anita Pallenberg and Patti Boyd just the other day after our three-way. Pick: New England
Minnesota (plus 2.5) at Jacksonville
Reid: Minnesota has won exactly one game on the road this season. It has Gus “have you seen the football around here” Frerotte at quarterback and they’ve hardly played up to stratospheric pre-season expectations. On the other hand, they have the league’s number one run defence and if you take away the run from Jacksonville, they’re in trouble. Pick: Minnesota.
Feschuk: Brad Childress has a lot of things going for him, such as the makings of a Lanny McDonald moustache and probably his own car keys, but I’m beginning to think he should be added to our list of Coaches Who Still Have Their Jobs How? In a tight game with Tampa, you know how many times Adrian Peterson touched the ball in the fourth quarter? Zero. As in: Zip. As in: What the Hell?? A thick, sexy ’stache will only get you so far, Brad Childress. Just ask Tom Selleck or Rosie O’Donnell. Pick: Jacksonville.
Green Bay (plus 2.5) at New Orleans
Reid: Three Saints players who tested positive for a substance commonly used to mask steroids claim that they’re innocent. Uh huh. It’s just a coincidence that you’ve grown twice as large and can move twice as fast as normal humans. As for their massive foreheads, if you’d care to ask, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation. Their mothers were Klingon. It happens. Pick: Green Bay
Feschuk: Given the deterioration of the Green Bay run defence, and the non-existence of the Saints’ anything defence, this one is likely to feature more scoring than John Madden’s recurring dream about a pantless Brett Favre. Pick: New Orleans