Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Week 13 NFL Picks

How is it that we can watch porn on our phones but the NFL can't figure out a way not to have four teams with a combined record of 15-29 playing in the two prime time games?  Now that the NBA lockout is over, I'm really starting to wonder about the long term sustainability of this league.  On to the picks.  Enjoy them while they last.         

Philadelphia by 3 over Seattle:  The Pick - Seahawks

"I hope your firings
go really well." 
Andy Reid has pretty much checked-out at this point.  I can see him in a meeting with owner Jeff Lurie . . . "the thing is Jeff, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care."  Benching Desean Jackson for the second time in two weeks was Reid gutting a fish on his desk. 

Buffalo by 1.5 over Tennessee:  The Pick - Titans

If you're the Titans, didn't you become more optimistic about your playoff chances when you heard that the Texans signed Jake Delhomme?  In his last 16 games with Cleveland and Carolina, Delhomme threw for 10 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.  Was it between signing Delhomme and hitting Arian Foster in the kneecap with a crowbar?   

One more question.  If you're Ryan Fitzpatrick, and you find yourself on the 3rd floor of a burning building holding a baby and the only way to save him is to drop him out the window and into the waiting hands of Steve Johnson, wouldn't you just jump and hope that the baby lands softly in your beard? 

Chicago by 8 over Kansas City:  The Pick - Chiefs

"Looks like a good time to
call an audible partner."
First of all, I can't give the 8 points as a matter of principal.  I don't want to live in a world where there is an NFL team 8 points worse than a team quarterbacked by Caleb Hanie unless it's the 1985 Bears and they're playing the 2011 Colts.  (I'm really starting to enjoy this Colts season).  Secondly, the play here has to be teasing the 8 up to 14 and the over/under up to 42.5 right?  I'm not sure Palko and Hanie could produce six touchdowns playing eleven on nine but I do think they could carry a modern version of Chips.  "Where are Palko and Hanie? . . . .Getting their assess chewed out by the chief again? . . . Won't those two ever learn to do it by the book?"

Baltimore by 6.5 over Cleveland:  The Pick - Ravens

For Ravens fans, playing the Browns on the road after two huge home wins is as nerve racking as the first fart after a chili cook off.  The fact that the Ravens are only favored by 6.5 over a team that they should beat by three touchdowns says it all.  On an unrelated note, the NFL Network did a one hour miked-up show on the Ravens-49ers game which made two things abundantly clear:  (1) anyone who thinks Patrick Willis is going to be the next Ray Lewis has not heard Willis speak and (2) referees are dorks.            
Miami by 3 over Oakland:  The Pick - Dolphins

"We're here to install the
stereo in the limo."
Only in the NFL would you be almost three quarters of the way through the season and have a team with a .273 winning percentage favored over a team with a .636 winning percentage.  This line is Vegas' way of telling the Raiders that they haven't had a quality win since they beat the Texans in Week 5 right after Al Davis died.  That is probably not information the current owner of the team wants Raider fans to have.  

Green Bay by 7 over the N.Y. Giants: The Pick - Packers

Can we settle down on the campaign to elevate Eli Manning? This will only be his second season with a passer rating of 90+ (if he keeps it going) and he's only thrown for 30 or more touchdowns once. To put that into perspective, his brother had a 90+ passer rating ten times and threw for 30 or more touchdowns six times. Eli Manning may hold the unique honor of being both the most unfairly criticized and unjustifiably praised quarterback in NFL history. If he played anywhere but New York and his name was Eli Rasmussen, he'd be just another Matt Ryan (and his nickname would be either the "Swedish Cannon" or "Spanky"). 
Pittsburgh by 7 over Cincinnati:  The Pick - Bengals

I think I've strayed
a bit off topic. 
In 2009 the Steelers were the defending Super Bowl champions and appeared to be making another run when they inexplicably lost five in a row to mostly mediocre teams because they couldn't closeout games.  It was a glorious time.  This Steeler team has the same feel.  They couldn't close against the Ravens, barely beat the Bengals and just let the Chiefs hang around for 60 minutes.  Now the Bengals get another crack at them and this time I think the Red Rifle sticks it to them (which would be a great name for a western porno.  Turns out there are western pornos.  In my extensive research on the subject, I found this quote on a message board, "If you are looking for porno-westerns I can recommend Sweet Savage directed by Ann Perry.  I liked it a bit more than A Dirty Western."  So there you go).

N.Y. Jets by 3 over Washington:  The Pick - Jets

I could see the Jets losing this game because Mike Shanahan has finally accepted that Rex Grossman is his starting quarterback and Rex, despite his many shortcomings, actually knows how to win football games unlike John Beck who kept telling us that he "just needed to keep improving."  (No John, you've never won an NFL game as a starter which means you need to start improving).

Tampa Bay by 3 over Carolina:  The Pick - Bucs

The Bucs have lost five in a row and the Panthers are still at least a year away so let's take this opportunity to shoehorn in some golf talk.  Matt Kuchar continued to carry the flag as he paired with Gary Woodland to take home the World Cup of Golf in China.  I normally don't tune in for these off-season schedule fillers but this one grabbed my attention for a couple of reasons:

(1) The powerhouse Irish team of McIlroy and McDowell were leading going into the final round and I wanted to see if they would gag it away which they did by shooting the highest score of any team in the top 10.  I'm getting the feeling that McIlroy has already frittered away most of the fans who liked him for his boyish charm.  He missed several short putts on Sunday that cost them the title and I found myself rooting against he and McDowell more than guys like Kaymer, Poulter and Rose.  Maybe it's the pouty face, the petulant tweets or the perm but I see some cracks in the well-crafted nice Irish kid facade.  Remember, Sergio started out as a happy go lucky Spanish kid who scissor kicked his way into our hearts before he started bitching about the weather and spitting into the cup.

(2) The Americans won with one guy who came straight from playing five tough matches at the Presidents Cup (where he tied for fewest points on the team) and another guy who wasn't even on the team.  With the emergence of players like Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Nick Watney, Bill Haas, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley to go along with steady guys in their primes like Kuchar and Hunter Mahan and solid veterans like Tiger, Phil, Furyk and Toms, you have to like their chances at the Ryder Cup next year.  (Man that read like something out of an Airtran in flight magazine.  My apologies.  It won't happen again).
Atlanta by 2.5 over Houston:  The Pick - Falcons

"Look you stupid bastard, you've
got no quarterbacks left!"
You've got to give the Texans credit.  Despite starting the season without Arian Foster and then losing Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub and Matt Leinert (you know you're in trouble when losing Matt Leinert is the thing that dooms your season), they just keep coming at you like Monty Python's Black Knight.  The Falcons have to be watching film thinking, "what are they going to do, bleed on us?"

San Francisco by 13.5 over St. Louis: The Pick - 49ers

I would argue that the Ravens game added to Jim Harbaugh's coach of the year resume because it showed what a truly mediocre quarterback Alex Smith is. He's athletic but can't sense where the pressure is coming from and he has a decent arm but can't find open receivers. I can still remember when the 49ers picked him first overall in the same draft where Aaron Rodgers slipped to the Packers (as every 49ers' fan mutters mutherfu.....). They kept talking about how he was a winner and how smart he was like they were drafting a captain for their debating team. I'm just thankful the Ravens weren't one of the teams that passed on Rodgers. (What's that? They picked Mark Clayton two spots ahead of Rodgers because they had picked Kyle Boller in the first round two years earlier and still thought he was their quarterback of the future? Excuse me while I go to my happy place . . . and shoot myself).

New Orleans by 8.5 over Detroit:  The Pick - Saints

"Very strange day out
here at Ford Field."
Every season at least one team comes completely unraveled down the stretch like Richie Tenenbaum at Wimbledon.  This year we have the Detroit Lions and it all started when Jim Schwartz snapped after the Harbaugh handshake incident and has now been accelerated by the Ndamukong Suh stomp and ensuing suspension.  Suh is about six months from Tony Dungy taking him under his wing.        

Minnesota pick 'em with Denver:  The Pick  - Broncos

I would pick less than half the league to beat the Broncos right now and the Vikings are in the wrong half.  My only concern is that Tebow is playing a team quarterbacked by a guy named Christian Ponder.  What happens if God gets distracted during the 4th quarter of this game, gets confused about the quarterbacks and accidentally makes the wrong team win?
Dallas by 4.5 over Arizona:  The Pick - Cowboys

I'm going to lift a quote I found on a mock draft which projects the Cardinals to pick 7th that pretty much sums up how banking on the wrong quarterback screws-up a team for years:  "This is a tough spot for the Cardinals because none of the top players available fit their needs. They're not going to draft Robert Griffin (a quarterback)  because Ken Whisenhunt is on the hot seat and needs to win now.  Riley Reiff is next on the list. He'd address a colossal need, as tackles Levi Brown and Brandon Keith are struggling again. The Cardinals need to protect their $65 million investment in Kolb."  

So the Cardinals are not going to draft a quarterback even though there is a good one there for the taking because (a) their coach needs to win now, and (b) they need a tackle to protect what appears to be their bad investment in Kevin Kolb.  Why not take a quarterback anyway?  Don't you want some depth at the most important position especially when there are strong indications that your current quarterback stinks?  Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub and (ironically) Kevin Kolb were all drafted by teams with established starting quarterbacks and all three paid big dividends by either becoming the starter or being traded for picks and players.  Good Lord even Brady Quinn was traded to the Broncos for a 6th round pick and Peyton Hillis which proved that someone will always buy your first round busts thinking they can fix them as long as owners keep giving guys like Josh McDaniels the keys to their franchises.  I wish McDaniels had been around in 2005 to bail out the Ravens and no, I can't and won't let it go because I can't stop picturing Aaron Rodgers wearing a Ravens jersey standing next to Ray Lewis.  Thanks a lot Billick!                     

New England by 21 over Indianapolis:  The Pick - Patriots

"Baby, why it's
 so cold in here?"
The largest point spread in NFL history was in 1976 when the defending champion Steelers were favored by 24 over the expansion Bucs.  The Steelers won 42-0.  In 2007, the Patriots were 23.5 point favorites over the Eagles who got 345 yards and three touchdown passes out of A.J. Feeley and only lost 31-28.  Unfortunately for the Colts, they don't have a quarterback half as good as A.J. Feeley but you can't say they didn't try.  They did sign 52 year old Kerry Collins.  Who knew he wouldn't make it through the season?     

San Diego by 2.5 over Jacksonville:  The Pick - Chargers

The next time a player (Arian Foster) complains that fans have become more interested in fantasy stats than the outcomes of the actual games, remind them that no one would watch crap like this unless they needed MoJo Drew, Phillip Rivers or Nick Novak to help them secure a playoff spot.  The sad part is that I have none of those players and will be sitting in a restaurant in the Bahamas with my wife when this game kicks-off and, if it's on a TV over her shoulder, I won't hear a word she says.   
 Last week: 10-6 . . . . Season:  51-43-2

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