Friday, November 18, 2011

The Week 11 NFL Picks

"Let's see, I've got a starfish, a donkey, a guy
with four arms lying down...I know, a coyote!"
When I decided to go with the crutch of picking NFL games as a way to fill space in golf's off season, I figured I'd found 13 to 16 ready made topics every week and the thing would basically write itself.  I remember feeling similarly about an open book calculus exam I took in high school.  Suffice it to say I failed it despite being good enough at math that I majored in it in college until I failed an open book exam on multivariable calculus at which point I headed straight for the English department.  (How does that saying go?  Fail me once, shame on you.  Fail me twice, fuck this I'm majoring in something where there is no "right" answer).  Turns out there are only so many ways you can say the Browns suck.

I was 8-8 last week but, in my defense, the NFC West went 4-0 including big upsets by the Seahawks and Cardinals over the Ravens and Eagles (note that in nature, the Eagles would have been big favorites over the Cardinals while Ravens v. Seahawks (ospreys) probably would have been a pickem.  Maybe I should stop wasting so much time on the preamble and get on with the picks especially if it means finding a way out of this seemingly endless parenthetical):      

Atlanta by 6 over Tennessee:  The Pick - Falcons

"Yeah . . . that's the spot."
The Titans are Natasha Henstridge in Species.  One week they look really hot and lure you in and the next thing you know you're getting a back rub from an alien in a hot tub and they're losing to the Texans 41-7.  Then they're a hot model again crushing the Panthers and you're thinking "I know I shouldn't because she's really an alien but jeez...."  I'm not taking the bait this week.            

Miami by 2 over Buffalo:  The Pick - Bills

Look, I'm fine with the Bills reverting back to their losing ways as long as they stay focused on the one thing that is still achievable this season - getting Fred Jackson to the Pro Bowl (says the guy who lucked into Freejack on two fantasy teams and spent way too much time in Week 6 waffling between "sell high" or "hold" before deciding on the latter).

Baltimore by 7 over Cincinnati:  The Pick - Bengals

I'm beginning to think that if Cam Cameron's name was Lou Cameron, he'd be coaching special teams in the CFL by now.  He was the head coach at Indiana University where he went 18-37 and then built his reputation as an offensive coordinator coaching teams with Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers at quarterback, Ladanian Tomlinson, Michael Turner, Lorenzo Neal and Darren Sproles at running back and a healthy Antonio Gates.  (You better make a good sauce with ingredients that fresh).  He then went 1-15 as the head coach of the Dolphins and now he's an offensive guru who had Ray Rice run the ball 5 times (at 5.2 yards per carry) and Joe Flacco throw it 52 times in a game the Ravens lost by 5 against an inferior team.    

This week Cameron was quoted as saying, "hey I feel you guys.  I feel everybody when it comes to Ray (what in the hell does that mean?), continually keeping him involved.  I don't know how he stacks up across the league.  We don't really care how he stacks up across the league."  That comment is asinine and may explain part of the problem.  There are about eight teams in the NFL that have a running back in the same class as Rice.  Those backs have carried the ball between 163 and 191 times this year.  Rice has carried it 138.  And don't talk to me about  throwing it to him out of the backfield because, though Rice has caught a few more passes than the other backs, he and Flacco have also failed to connect on a bunch and, last time I checked, those incompletions get you zero yards.  Hand Ray the damn ball!  There endeth the Ravens rant for the week.          

Cleveland PK with Jacksonville:  The Pick - Jaguars

Happy holidays Browns fans, you get the Jags and then close your home schedule with the Ravens and the Steelers though you might get lucky if Cam Cameron inadvertently shoots Ray Rice with a tranquilizer dart before the Ravens game.  (OK, I'll let it go).  

Detroit by 7 over Carolina:  The Pick - Lions

Someone needs to investigate what bad teams do during their bye week.  The Panthers were competitive in every game they played, took a week off and then went to Tennessee and lost 30-3.  The Lions have lost 3 of their last 4 and are looking literally and figuratively gimpy.  Something's got to give and I think the Lions get it together before losing 4 of their last 6 and miss the playoffs by a game as Ndamukong Suh continues to maul quarterbacks like a PMSing grizzly bear.  (Didn't know "PMSing" was actually a word. . . in the Urban Dictionary.  Love that thing).    

Green Bay by 14 over Tampa Bay:  The Pick - Packers

After O.J. Simpson, James Brolin and Sam Waterston escape from the bad guys (the U.S. Government) in Capricorn One, they shrewdly decide to split-up to make capturing all three of them more difficult and each takes a flare to alert the others if he has been captured and presumably killed.  The Buccaneers effectively shot their flare on November 9th when they claimed Albert Haynesworth off of waivers.

Oakland by 1 over Minnesota: The Pick - Raiders

Another casualty of the bye week as the Vikings played on Monday night like they spent their time off having houseboat orgys on Lake Minnetonka.  Prior to their bye week, they actually looked respectable with a win over the Panthers and a 6 point loss to the Packers.  If you take the Raiders, it means you're beginning to nervously sip the Carson Palmer Kool Aid like someone just handed it to you in a small paper cup while talking about how great things are going to be in the next life.  If that's not a ringing endorsement for picking the Raiders, I don't know what is.           

Dallas by 7.5 over Washington:  The Pick - Cowboys

"I'm not even dead yet Goddammit!"
This is how bad it's gotten for the Redskins.  I grew up despising them and work in a building primarily occupied by their fans and it is no longer fun basking in their misery.  You know you've hit rock bottom when your haters stop harassing you. I don't know when it stopped being fun.  Probably around the time Mike Shanahan was simultaneously benching Donovan McNabb and signing him to a new contract.  Is it possible Shanahan's body is being intermittently occupied by the ghost of Rich Kotite?    

San Francisco by 9.5 over Arizona:  The Pick - Cardinals

I can see Jim Harbaugh in the film room watching Larry Fitzgerald singlehandedly shredding the Eagles last week smugly saying to himself (just loud enough for everyone in the room to hear) "these coaches can't be that stupid!"  The Niners will get to 9-1 but they don't have the offensive firepower to blow anyone out and the  Cardinals have won two in a row (and it should have been three because they had the Ravens on the ropes) so I'll take John Skelton, the points and a shot of Wild Turkey.  

St. Louis by 2 over Seattle:  The Pick - Seahawks

"No I'm not.  Do I look like I
actually give a crap?" 
Is it just me or are there more God awful games every week this year than most others.  Everyone keeps blaming Sam Bradford's lousy season on bad receivers but now that he has Brandon Loyd, do we really expect him to be any better?  He had Loyd the last two weeks and the Rams scored 13 points in both games against the Cardinals and the Browns but that's not even the sad part.  The sad part is that they lost one of those games in overtime and won the other one.  Ray Malavasi is rolling over in his grave.      

Chicago by 3.5 over San Diego:  The Pick - Bears

Considering Norv Turner's full name is Norval Eugene Turner, he should be proud of the fact that he survived high school and overcame the inexplicable cruelty of his own parents.  Unfortunately, his football team is coming unraveled and now has to play the biggest bullies on the block (see how I tied that together . . . I was an English major).

Giants by 4 over Philadelphia:  The Pick - Giants

The information I'm getting is that Michael Vick is unlikely to play meaning Vince Young will start which  makes this line seem very low.  It has to be one of three things: (a) the oddsmakers don't have access to the same information, (b) Michael Vick has been so bad lately that his absence is considered a plus (as the shoulders of everyone who picked him in the first round sag) or (c) Vince Young is ready to prove himself worthy of the 3rd overall pick in the draft.  I'm not buying any of it and I'm starting to believe that Andy Reid is trying to get fired so he can hold a press conference and finally tell the Philly fans what he really thinks of them.  

New England by 15 over Kansas City:  The Pick - Patriots

Tyler Palko is (a) the 2009 seventh place finisher on American Idol, (b) the United States' best hope for figure skating gold in Sochi, or (c) the Chiefs starting quarterback on Monday night.  If you answered (c), you are probably a Chiefs fan and . . . I'm sorry.

Last week: 8-8 . . . Season: 35-32-2

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