Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Week 10 NFL Picks

"First I lose my pistol in the river
and now writer's block...great."
Having a bit of a struggle with the picks this week.  I wasted ten minutes just trying to think of words besides "elite" that you can't spell without "Eli" ("eliminate", "relief", "deliverance") before I finally gave up and went to happy hour looking for some inspiration.  Then I came home and watched a good chunk of The Blues Brothers.  Still nothing.  I felt as hopeless as Christian Bale halfway through Rescue Dawn (you see what I'm up against?  I'm referencing movies no one's even seen).

Then this morning I opened the Baltimore Sun to the picks for the Ravens' game made by the writers and came across this effort by Kevin Cowherd:

"To avoid a slow start, the Ravens will replace their Gatorade with Starbucks espresso machiatto."

Do you see what Kevin did there?  He started with the premise that the Ravens would replace their Gatorade with coffee to avoid the slow starts they are know for on the road and let's face it, most writers would have looked at that joke and said "my work here is done."  But not Kevin.  Recognizing that the game is in Seattle, he took it a step further, made the Starbucks connection, bypassed the basic espresso, the cafe latte and even the cinnamon dolce latte and went right for the fucking jugular with the espresso machiatto and . . . BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!!!

"This blog post is not dying in this
God forsaken jungle....not today!"
When I read that lowbrow effort, I knew that I owed my seventeen regular readers something better.  So I steeled myself like Christian Bale at the end of Rescue Dawn, fashioned myself a new pair of sandals out of some bamboo and pressed on (this may still suck but it won't be for lack of effort).  

Pittsburgh by 3 over Cincinnati:  The Pick - Steelers

This game has me conflicted.  Kind of like the thought of smashing my 1990 Division III Lacrosse National Championship Runner-Up trophy over Ben Roethlisberger's head.  (My athletic career in a nutshell - make it to the national championship game as a role player, lose 18-6 and in the process set the record for largest margin of defeat in lacrosse national championship game history.  Just another brick in the wall of bitterness).  I'd love to see the Bengals lose giving the Ravens a shot at sole possession of first place in the AFC but I really want to see the Steelers dead.  Roethlisberger dead!  Polamalu dead!  Harrison....dead!  This situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.  Unfortunately, I don't think the Bengals are just the guys to do it.   

Kansas City by 3 over Denver:  The Pick - Broncos

"Yes I have a detailed plan for
cutting down on the interceptions."
I can see Broncos' coach John Fox throwing his hands-up in a meeting with Tim Tebow and his offensive coordinator and saying "if you want to run him 20 times and get him killed out there go ahead but don't come crying to me when we're ALL kneeling on the field."  On the other side, you have Matt Cassell who is quietly establishing himself as one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL as he plays out the 3rd (and probably last) year of his six year $63M deal.  In light of coach Todd Haley's recent look, Cassell might be wise to have a bomb sniffing dog with him when he opens his locker.      

Jacksonville by 3 over Indianapolis:  The Pick - Jaguars

One of three games with an over/under of 37.5 or less as six of the lowest eight scoring teams in the league are all playing each other this week (and I'd take the under in all of them).  The Colts are averaging 14.2 points per game down from 27.2 last year so if you want a simple way to quantify the value of Peyton Manning, there you go.  Meanwhile, in a concerted effort to get the people of Jacksonville to throw them out so they can move to Los Angeles, the Jags are worse at 12.3 points per game.  Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein drew the short straw for announcing this gem putting them one step away from hosting American Gladiators.        

Dallas by 5.5 over Buffalo:  The Pick - Bills

"You suck Theisman!"
I'm going against the Cowboys until they show-up at least two weeks in a row.  They've only beaten one good team and that was the 49ers back in week 2 before they knew they were good.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was a Cowboys fan until the Browns moved to Baltimore.  I tell people it's because I grew-up in Annapolis and loved Roger Staubach but it's really because my entire extended family are Redskins fans and one Thanksgiving when I was five the Cowboys beat them thanks to a comeback led by a backup QB named Clint Longley and everyone was completely bummed for dinner so I decided to go the other way by announcing, "I was rooting for the Cowboys."  Little did I know that when you take a prickish stand like that, you have to own it for a long time.  Fortunately for me, the Cowboys started having cocaine air dropped directly to their practice facility right about the time the Ravens came to Baltimore, so the transition was an easy one.  

Houston by 3 over Tampa Bay:  The Pick - Texans

The AFC South has done everything but leave its hotel room key on the bar for the Texans.  They've looked like the best team outside of the North and East over the last three weeks by pounding the Titans, Jags and Browns and they've got plenty more tomato cans (boxing term) on the schedule down the stretch so the 9-7 they'll need should not be a problem.  Tampa Bay is headed in the other direction and taking every fantasy owner who banked on Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams with them.  

Carolina by 3.5 over Tennessee:  The Pick - Panthers

The Titans looked like they had the formula for a winning season after starting 3-1 and not allowing more than 16 points in a game.   Then the Steelers and the Texans hung 38 and 41 on them respectively and now they're struggling to get back to the flight deck because Matt Hassleback's saying "I was hired to hand it to Chris Johnson and throw it to Kenny Britt and, um, well..."  You know you're in trouble when the guy you just signed to a $56M deal runs for 64 yards and everyone starts getting excited.

Miami by 3.5 over Washington:  The Pick - Dolphins
"We suck, we suck, we suck! Oowww!"

Putrid game of the week no. 2 as the Redskins roll into Miami with John Beck at quarterback to play a team that didn't even want him as a back-up.  The Redskins were 3-2 with Rex Grossman at quarterback and are 0-3.  Mike Shanahan was so pissed leaving the field on Sunday that he refused medical treatment for his gall stone and decided to pass it without breaking stride on his way to the locker room.      

New Orleans pick 'em at Atlanta:  The Pick - Saints

Finally a game Scott Hanson can send us to on Redzone without a guilty conscience.  The Falcons seem to have gotten their act together with three wins in a row (if you count the one over the Colts).  The Falcons might be the most boring team in the league and are appropriately coached by a guy named Mike Smith who looks like a 1950's police detective so let's move on.               

Chicago by 2.5 over Detroit:  The Pick - Bears

"I didn't tell them nuthin', I swear." 
One of these two teams is probably going to be the odd man out for a wild card spot and if I had to pick which one now, I'd go with the Lions.  They've got six losable games on the rest of the schedule, no running game and a fragile quarterback who is already living on borrowed time like Adriana after she becomes a mole for the feds.  (If that spoils anything for you, it's your fault for being too late to the party).                

Cleveland by 2.5 over St. Louis:  The Pick - Rams

Putrid game of the week no. 3.  The Browns are 0-2 since I called them the worst 3-3 team in the history of the league and the Rams lost last week by (1) having a field goal blocked at the end of regulation, (2) winning the coin flip in overtime, and (3) allowing a 99 yard punt return for a touchdown.  At least they're creative in their sucking.    

Philadelphia by 14 over Arizona:  The Pick - Eagles

It's a lot of points to give but when you figure the Eagles are going to score at least 28, that means the Cardinals have to find 14 with John Skelton at quarterback and everyone from Herman Edwards to Vince Papale chasing Larry Fitzgerald around the secondary.      

Baltimore by 6.5 over Seattle:  The Pick - Ravens

"Suck on that . . . Cheater!"
Joe Flacco played a great game and threw what may have been the most clutch pass in the NFL since Roethlisberger hit Holmes in Super Bowl XLIII (Roethlisberger!!!), but the Ravens are more prone to letdowns than a little league soccer team that just scored the first goal of the game (nothing is more inevitable than a kids' soccer game being tied 1-1 within one minute of it being 1-0).  This game may mean more to John Harbaugh than the Thanksgiving night match-up against his brother because losing to his brother would be respectable but, if he loses to Pete Carroll, everyone in his family is going to tell him he sucks, even his mom, because (a) they hate Carroll and (b) that's how the Harbaughs roll.      

San Francisco by 3.5 over the Giants:  The Pick - Giants

OK, coming off another break and just legitimately lost to my 4 year old daughter in Sorry again which makes me 0 for as many times as I've played her and now I'm genuinely chaffed.  (It's actually gotten to the point where cheating has crossed my mind).  Let's grind out the rest of this thing.  The 49ers are 8-1 and have screwed-up the natural selection process of the NFL by taking away seven wins that other teams were supposed to have at this point.  Eli Manning just out dueled Tom Brady and after the game Tom Coughlin was caught on camera smiling and laughing with his players.  It's starting to feel like the bridge of the Enterprise right before Khan blasted it from the Reliant.  Something ain't right.                

Jets by 1.5 over New England:  The Pick - Jets

Speaking of Brady, he don't look so good and now he's got to go to New York where all of Giselle's artsy fartsy friends are going to be asking him what's wrong.  There was a great sideline scene on Inside the NFL this week when Ochocinco came over to Brady to explain why he ran the wrong route again and Brady looked at him and said, "keep playing hard, that's all I want you to do, keep playing hard."  Translation - "stop bothering me while I'm trying to talk to Welker."  I love it....every minute of it.        

Green Bay by 13.5 over Minnesota:  The Pick - Vikings

How bad looking could his
upper lip possibly be?
A rookie quarterback starting on the road against the best team in football.  This should be a blowout but the Packers are way past due for the game where a tipped Rodgers pass goes the other way for six.  Has anyone ever been fired at a more opportune time than Brad Childress?  He led the Vikings to two division titles and was one win away from the Super Bowl in 2009 and then they canned him 10 games into last season.  Now the Vikings are wasting Adrian Peterson's prime with a rookie quarterback, are a distant fourth in the best division in the NFC and Chilly has all the time he needs to meticulously groom one of the worst mustaches in the history of mankind.  

Last week:  10-4 . . . . Season: 27-24-2

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