Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Week 10 NFL Picks - Part 1

The goal was to bang-out all of the picks before the Thursday night game to avoid having homework on the weekend but with that deadline looming, I've decided to go with quality over expediency (at least that's what I'm telling myself) and break it up. Let's get warmed-up with a few random thoughts, observations, reflections, musings (get on with it . . . ok) from the past couple of weeks. In no particular order:

1. NASCAR drivers have established themselves as the best actors among athletes, probably due to their relentless schedule of posing, preening and glad handing throughout race week. Of course the Hoffman and Streep of acting performances by athletes is still Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury in this ESPN the Magazine ad from almost 15 years ago - Tastefully Done.* (Honorable mention goes to Sam Adams in this 2007 United Way commercial for his convincing portrayal of a man afraid of drowning in 3 feet of water - Panic).

"You need to go to bed now so daddy
can watch the LSU-Alabama game . . .
alone . . . with no more talking."
2. Coaching two little league soccer games and attending a family reunion on the same day is way too much refined human interaction** for the FGR.

3. I just retired my Blackberry. I have to admit I was a little sentimental about it considering it replaced a flip phone I lost at the last bachelor party I attended . . . over six freakin' years ago.

4. Now that the election is over, can we finally start the World Series? . . . (it's what? . . . in how many games? . . . Verlander? . . . really?) . . . never mind.

5. If you are not already on board, you need to be watching Homeland as it recently raised its game from perennial all-star to potential hall of fame caliber. Three weeks ago I was debating whether it or Boss was the better show and then right on cue Homeland dropped the NBA Finals equivalent of a triple double on us with the Q&A episode. It's actually the perfect time to jump in as you can blow through season 1 on Netflix, then order Showtime and get caught-up on season 2. (Where else but the FGR are you going to get programming advice AND step by step viewing instructions. It all goes back to our motto, "if we don't take care of the customer, maybe they'll stop bothering us."***).

6. A note of caution to those approaching middle age. If you're not careful, you will look-up one morning and realize that you've eaten the exact same thing for breakfast 37 days in a row. And in a related and more disturbing development, you will then realize that, thanks to wrinkle free technology, you have worn the same three pairs of pants to work for the past year. (Between this and the bachelor party thing, it's getting way too depressing. Let's get on with the picks already).

Indianapolis by 3 over Jacksonville: The Pick - Colts

It's a match-up of the Colts' bandwagon versus the Jags' whatever you call a bandwagon headed in the wrong direction. I'm not sold on the Colts yet as they've squeezed by three mediocre to poor teams since getting throttled by the Jets but you can't bet on the Jags right now. You just can't.

New England by 11 over Buffalo: The Pick - Bills

We have a hunch that
this won't be Mrs. Welker's
last FGR appearance.
I am in full blown "blind squirrel" mode with the Bills and the Cowboys at this point because sooner or later they have to cover a spread. With that being said, we currently have a group of teams that appear hopelessly destined to win between 5-7 games for the next three years including the Bills, Cardinals, Raiders, Jets and Rams all of whom have either money, a high draft pick or both tied-up in their quarterback with no relief in sight. I'd rather be a Jags or Chiefs fan right now getting ready to take my chances on Matt Barkley, Gino Smith or some other rookie QB in 2013. Imagine ending 2012 with a 6-10 record knowing that Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be your starter next year. At least they have the Sabres . . . (now was that really necessary?).

Miami by 6 over Tennessee: The Pick - Dolphins

The record for most points allowed in a season is 533 by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. After holding Indy to 19 points two weeks ago, the Titans showed signs that they might be giving-up on their chase for immortality as they slipped to a pace that would only get them to 514. But fear not Titans' fans, after last week's 51 point drive-by at the hands of the Bears, they are back on pace for 548. If the mediocre Dolphins' offense puts up 30+ against them this week, then you will know they've made the commitment to bring that record home.

N.Y. Giants by 4 over Cincinnati: The Pick - Giants

Let's not discount the impact of Super Storm Sandy last week on the performance of the Giants who were already due for a letdown before their world was flooded and they lost to the Steelers. It has to be impossible to shut-out that kind of devastation and focus on a football game (unless you play for the Steelers and have no soul****).

Denver by 4 over Carolina: The Pick - Panthers

These road favorites are starting to stack-up so I'm going somewhat contrarian here. As we fire-up the love train for Peyton Manning, let's remember that the Broncos have not beaten a team with a winning record. The Panthers don't have one of those but they do have a good defense and I can see them rallying around Cam Newton because they are sick of him constantly bursting into tears.

Tampa Bay by 3 over San Diego: The Pick - Bucs

"Yes I paid for this shirt. What the
f-ck kind of question is that?!?"
The Bucs are starting to taste it and Greg Schiano is going to make sure they keep tasting it. (I'm talking about winning but I will admit that sounded a little lewd). The Chargers on the other hand appear headed towards that Bills, Cards, Rams netherworld as the window is closing on Phillip Rivers. If Norv Turner keeps his job after this season, then the debate as to whether he has compromising pictures of general manager A.J. Smith is over. The debate as to who would ever want to see those photos will, however, continue.

(To be continued).

Endnotes

* Every time I watch this I am amazed that David Stern has not made all record of it disappear.

** My definition of "refined human interaction" is those situations where unleashing a stream of f-bombs, either in anger or to emphasize a point, would be frowned upon.

*** Apathy

**** I'm joking of course. I revere Mike Tomlin who clearly has a soul. Then again, he doesn't "play" for the Steelers.