Scott Feschuk Last week: 10-5-1 Season: 93-75-8
Scott Reid Last week: 7-8-1 Season: 81-87-8
Houston (plus 7.5) at Philadelphia, Thursday night
Feschuk: The league’s ruling on Andre Johnson warrants a revisiting of what occurred on the field. Responding to the trash talk and rough play of Cortland Finnegan – the only NFL player whose name sounds like an Irish hotel chain – the Texans’ receiver ripped off Finnegan’s helmet and punched him repeatedly in the head and face.
Johnson’s punishment? The exact same fine that Chad Ochocinco had to pay for tweeting too close to game time. It raises the question: what do you have to do to get suspended by the NFL? Do you have to actually murder a linebacker? Defile the corpse of a Hall of Famer? Fail to gently lower Tom Brady to the ground and tenderly kiss him on the forehead while sacking him? Pick: Philadelphia.
Reid: Am I the only one who thinks Andre Johnson deserves a bonus, not a fine? That yapping little Irish poodle got what was coming to him. I wish they’d taken an extra couple minutes to break them up. Might have knocked his Mull of Kintyre clean off. I might just do it myself.
Cleveland (plus 4.5) at Miami
Reid: Miami at home is a tricky call. They’re 1-4 this year in SoBe but 4-1 when visiting. Like a horny door-to-door salesman, this team does its best work on the road. (Rim shot – take my wife, please!) Cleveland, on the other hand, can’t win on the road, the river or the bicycle path. Sure the Browns are coming off a stirring win against Carolina but keep in mind that Jake Delhomme is playing quarterback again. That’s like letting George W. Bush return to running America’s foreign policy. Even against the Panthers, Jake managed to toss two picks (bringing his lifetime total to a polynominal too vast to express using the Earth alphabet). Pick: Miami.
Feschuk: If ever there were a WikiLeaks-style dump of secret information about the National Football League, don’t you think most of the emails within the Browns organization would involve the coaching staff trying to brainstorm a way to make Jake Delhomme “accidentally” fall down an elevator shaft? Pick: Miami.
Buffalo (plus 6.5) at Minnesota
Feschuk: So Buffalo’s Steve Johnson butterfingered a game-winning pass against the Steelers and, naturally, rushed to Twitter to blame it all on God.
Good for Johnson. It’s about time someone had the courage to call out God for the terrible season He’s having. Dude is the Randy Moss of deities – totally going through the motions. Come on, God: we’ve seen you torment the Bills and Lions for the last eon. TRY SOMETHING NEW. And what were you thinking when you let Satan get away with working his evil magic so that both Matt Millen and Joe Theismann are calling the Thursday night games? Not cool, God. Not cool at all. Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: You mean God isn’t a Buffalo fan? This IS news!
Jacksonville (plus 3) at Tennessee
Reid: Because we were together on Sunday (just like Tom and Katie), we were able to watch some of the Jags-Giants game. And we came to the same conclusion simultaneously: The Jags ain’t half bad. This is a conclusion my brain resists like imagining Susan Boyle naked (yet I’m doing it right now). But they’ve beaten the Colts, Houston and Dallas. They nearly beat the Giants. They’re not half bad. Meanwhile, Rusty Smith took to the field and did his best Don Knotts impression. In sheer desperation, Jeff Fisher has called in a faith healer to work on Kerry Collins. Evil spirits and slow-footedness, COME OUT!! Pick: Jacksonville.
Feschuk: Hey, Reid, I meant to tell you something when we got together: we’re starting to get emails from people who claim they’re making big money by taking your picks… and then reversing them. One guy, for instance, just bought an awesome new HDTV with the money he made reversing your picks. Well played, Mr. S. Feschuk of Ottawa, Ontario! Pick: Jacksonville.
Denver (plus 8) at K.C.
Feschuk: I wonder what it’s like to be Broncos coach Josh McDaniels.
Hated by his players. Reviled by the people of Denver. Constantly mistaken for a cast member of Glee. And now the subject of the most tepid “vote of confidence” ever uttered by an owner. First, Pat Bowlen was quoted as saying he’s “not interested in making a coaching change.” Not exactly a bulletproof endorsement, right? But then Bowlen swiftly issued a statement where he clarified his remarks, saying: “Josh McDaniels is the head coach of the Broncos, and you always strive for stability at that position. However, we will continue to monitor the progress of the team and evaluate what’s in the best interest of this franchise.” Translation:
Reid: That rocks! You know that old saying about peeing on people? (Of course you do). Well, this game is sorta interesting. Cause if Josh McDaniels was on fire not only would the people of Denver not stop to piss on him, neither would the people of K.C. (That’s a lot of people withholding their pee in spiteful protest). In addition to running the Broncs into the ground, he’s the dude who coaxed Matt Cassell into the over-hyped, inconsistent lump he is today. There’s literally no where to hide, McDaniels. You’re loved like crotchrot. Pick: K.C.
Washington (plus 7) at New York Giants
Reid: Mike Shanahan develops an ingenious machine to guarantee the Skins make the playoffs.
It starts up when McNabb comes through the door. Pick: Washington.
Feschuk: I was reading this week that the Redskins had the league’s oldest opening-day roster, the oldest starting lineup and largest number of starters who are 30 or older. I’ll say this much: I wouldn’t want to be the Giants… in the race to change into street clothes and get to Perkins in time for the early-bird dinner special. Pick: New York.
New Orleans (minus 7) at Cincinnati
Feschuk: Drew Brees is the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of Year because he’s a great humanitarian and also because basically every other man in professional sports is known to be cheating with growth hormones, dating a Kardashian or spamming hot chicks with photos of his Chubby Checker. Good job, Drew. Pick: New Orleans.
Reid: My own vote for Sportsman of the Year? Faith Hill.
Let’s face it. I’m not that into football. Certainly, I’ve not come to understand the game very well yet. But I am very interested in gorgeous women who wear boots that reach all the way up to their Holy Hannah. In this respect, I think I’m much like 5/4s of all men. (Even the gay ones love boots). You want to understand the prime time appeal of football among men aged 14 to 106? Faith and the boots. Pick: New Orleans.
Chicago (minus 3.5) at Detroit
Reid: I’ve got a confession to make: I think Grey’s Anatomy may be having its finest season yet. McDreamy is soooo complex! Having firmly established that I’m a girl from the belly button down, let me make this further admission: I like watching Chicago. I know that just last week I lamented the terrifying consequences of a successful Mike Martz (mainly involving hairspray and the dangerous thinning of our atmosphere). But I can’t help myself. That tough-as-teeth linebacking corps. Hester’s returns. And best of all, watching Jay Cutler throw the ball into anything: his receivers’ hands, the opposing teams’ hands, triple coverage, nuns eating supper. He doesn’t seem to care where, as long as he gets to rifle the sumbitch in there. It’s just like McSteamy and his penis. Pick: Chicago.
Feschuk: Just a quick logistical question: in order to watch Grey’s Anatomy, do you actually have to FedEx your balls to ABC or do they send a guy around to collect them? In actual news, it looks like Lions QB Shaun Hill may be out for the season because of a broken finger, so that puts the Detroit offence under the control of Drew Stanton, who was pretty decent in his one outing this year if you don’t count the three turnovers and all the girlish squealing. Pick: Chicago.
Atlanta (minus 3) at Tampa Bay
Feschuk: Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib is quickly becoming the Kanye West of the NFL, taking umbrage at real and imagined slights and hunting down his enemies with the kind of single-minded focus that makes Michael Corleone look as though he lacks commitment. After last Sunday’s game, Talib had to be restrained from attacking an official who’d nailed Tampa with a pass interference penalty. Instead, Talib settled for a “profanity-laced exchange” – which is, in my opinion, one of the best kinds of “laced” exchanges, easily topping the “poetry-laced exchange” and ranking only slightly behind the “laced-corset exchange.” So far in his short career, Talib has punched a cab driver, gotten in a fist fight at the NFL rookie symposium, been arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol and nailed a teammate in the face while swinging his helmet wildly at a different teammate. Even as we speak, the 2006 Cincinnati Bengals are traveling through time to claim him as their own. Pick: Atlanta.
Reid: If Matt Ryan’s life gets any better he’s going to have to start selling shares in himself. I’d want to get in on the initial IPO of course. Some preferential shares that offer maximum dividends and voting privileges. Plus photos of the women he turns away (I couldn’t bear to look upon the ones he actually shags – my eyes lack the training. They’d just seize up and explode from over-stimulation). With a little help from Blackrock, he could rise faster than the price of gold. Or Brett Favre holding an Instamatic. Pick: Atlanta.
San Francisco (plus 9.5) at Green Bay
Reid: The Niners laid it to Arizona last week and Troy Smith still managed to look freakin’ dreadful. Did you see that missed touchdown throw late in the game? He blows like the wind – the wind around Paris Hilton at an Axe Bodyspray afterparty. Now Gore is lost to injury. So wave goodbye to 150 per cent of your offence and 200 per cent of your toughness. Lotta points though. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: Listen: I don’t have any football expertise or any general manager experience or anything on underneath this kimono, but if the Packers hope to make it into the playoffs and advance to the Super Bowl, shouldn’t they think about getting, you know, a running back? Against Atlanta, Aaron Rodgers was once again the team’s leading rusher, gaining twice as many yards as RB Brandon Jackson. That’s some good managin’! You definitely want to take your franchise quarterback and give him few enough weapons that he feels compelled to expose himself to an increased risk of painful injury and horrible, horrible tundra burn. What could possibly go wrong? Luckily, the Packers are this week going up against Mike Singletary, who has been quite consistent and effective in enforcing the controversial tackling moratorium he implemented in Week 3. Pick: Green Bay.
Oakland (plus 13) at San Diego
Feschuk: After that weird and disturbing winning streak, it’s so comforting to have the old Oakland Raiders back. You know the Raiders I’m talking about: the ones that play with all the passion of Ben Stein’s voice. The ones that can barely half-fill their own stadium. The ones that couldn’t complete a forward pass with months of planning, a GPS and a defensive secondary that consists of three sacks of flour and a cardboard cutout of Boba Fett. QB Bruce Gradkowski is injured and out. QB Jason Campbell, who’s been benched three times this year, is hopeless and in. Pick: San Diego.
Reid: This is exactly the kind of game that, traditionally, Norv Turner loves to find a way to scotch. Preferably with a last second coaching error and a long sullen look that masks what he’s really thinking, “Is it true you make green by mixing blue and yellow? How can that possibly be?” He’s facing off against a weak division rival led by an untalented quarterback and an ungroomed coach. This year, they’ve convinced us it will be different. Somehow I doubt it. Pick: Oakland.
Dallas (plus 5.5) at Indianapolis
Reid: Was good to see Dallas get back to their losing ways last week. The team is adamant however that Kitna has rallied the confidence of the locker room and they believe in him. A brief list of other things the Cowboys also believe in:
- Sarah Palin’s sanity
- Miley Cyrus’ virtue
- Jerry Jones’s face is real
- Wade Phillips is cheering them on
Feschuk: Check this out – after years of fruitless searching, I finally discovered a photo of Colts coach Jim Caldwell that appears to prove what some wild conspiracy theorists have long claimed: that he’s an animate object capable of movement and thought.
I’m telling you: this is even more exciting than finding definitive evidence of something long thought to be mythological, like Bigfoot or Eli Manning’s charisma. Pick: Dallas.
Carolina (plus 6) at Seattle
Feschuk: Two seasons ago, the Panthers went 12-4, won their division and went to the playoffs – after which we can only assume that John Fox tried to strangle to death an old gypsy woman, earning a curse that has manifested in a 1-10 record, a roster that includes the two worst-rated quarterbacks in the entire league and that very unfortunate “Clausen Forever” heart tattoo upon his derriere. According to Google, the only way to break a gypsy curse is to gut a newly born lamb under a full moon, capture its entrails in a bowl made of oak, spread them under your bed sheets and leave them there for a month. (Coincidentally, this exact same procedure has been used by Tony Romo to try to lure back Jessica Simpson. ) Pick: Seattle.
Reid: Seattle could finish with a losing record and still win the NFC West. That’s the football equivalent of Jerry Ferrara nailing Jamie-Lynn Sigler. (I know it’s over but the fact it ever happened obsesses me). I can’t imagine a single roster move Carolina could make that would worsen their team.
St. Louis (minus 2.5) at Arizona
Reid: Derek Anderson went a little Christian Bale on the media after he was accused of grinning on the sidelines while losing against the Niners on Monday night.
The Cardinals QB insisted angrily that he works his ass off out there! Tellingly, his ass could be seen shuffling its feet and looking at the ground uncomfortably while Anderson spoke. It has since refused all media requests and issued a statement saying, “Although on right now, I am often very nearly off and certainly get worked to that point frequently during heated athletic contests by Derek.” Pick: St Louis.
Feschuk: Hey, thanks for the free plug, buddy! I actually wrote that statement – Derek Anderson’s ass is a client of mine. I signed it back in Cleveland in 2009 when I struck up a conversation with the ass while it was getting handed to Anderson by the Baltimore Ravens. Be sure to check your local listings as I’ve booked Derek Anderson’s ass on Regis and Kelly and got it a cameo on the final season of Entourage. It’ll be playing Stephen Baldwin. Pick: St. Louis.
Pittsburgh (plus 3) at Baltimore, Sunday night
Feschuk: Ben Roethlisberger underwent tests on his injured foot this week and they came back positive for third-degree douchebaggery. So we know it’s spread through his entire body. Ladies and gentlemen, the only weapon left to us now is prayer. But Ben’s a competitor and there’s no one you’d rather call on when you’re team is facing a big game or there’s a stacked girl who’s too drunk to fend off efforts to nail her in the bathroom. Meanwhile, with his sack last week of Ryan Fitzpatrick, James Harrison became the first Steeler to record 10 or more sacks in three consecutive seasons. Upon hearing the news, the NFL fined Harrison $75,000 for his gratuitous display of ability. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Reid: At what point will they just make James Harrison play in a haz-mat suit? What’s the poor bastard to do? Gently rocky Ryan Fitzpatrick to sleep. This game should be a humdinger. Of course, Harrison will have to be careful not to brush up against any of the Ravens. Pick: Baltimore.
New York Jets (plus 3.5) at New England, Monday night
Reid: What Mark Sanchez really thinks about Tom Brady: “I’d tap that.”
What Tom Brady really things about Mark Sanchez: “I’d still tap Gisele, thanks very much.”
Pick: New England.
Feschuk: In the leadup to the seventh Most Anticipated Game of the Decade we’ve had in the past five weeks, Rex Ryan has uncharacteristically been saying all the right things – stuff like “Belichick is a great coach” and “Brady is a terrific quarterback” and “OK, fine, I’ll refrain from publicly eating this entire pig while it’s still alive.” That kind of thing. And Brady has responded in kind by saying that he respects and admires Ryan. Man, the sexual tension between Ryan and Brady is so palpable that it reminds me of the second season of Moonlighting or the third installment of an even more famous production:
Pick: New York.