|"Please tell me that someone has a |
column idea that is not about how
the Orioles need a clean-up hitter."
I am the sports editor for a decaying newspaper and a big believer in staying the course to get through tough times which is why I refuse to bring in any new blood and will instead continue to rely on the same three or four columnists who make the scouts in Moneyball look like the guys who invented Twitter.* How do you see this working out?
- Lou Grant, Minneapolis, Minnesota
FGR: I see you going the way of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans which is now only published three days a week. It's a shame really because then I would have to find a new source for two-day old NBA box scores.
|"Hey, watch the Hawaiian shirt."|
- - Mel Sharples, Phoenix, Arizona
FGR: I think you're safe for now Mel so keep yelling but if you're going to do it, could you at least get a little creative? A few suggestions: (1) follow Adam Scott all day and every time he hits a shot shout, "YOU'RE THE MAN STEVIE!" (2) give us a "HEY SMAILS . . . WHILE WE'RE YOUNG" when Ben Crane is addressing the ball, and (3) the next time Tiger wears his white nursing shoes and misreads a putt, yell "HOT LIPS YOU INCREDIBLE NINCOMPOOP THAT PUTT BREAKS LEFT."**
|Coach Reeves and Norman Dale|
taught me everything I know.
If you could teach one thing to the children of the world, what would it be?
- - Ken Reeves, South Central Los Angeles
FGR: It would be that if you make a pass in basketball, lacrosse or soccer and two seconds later you're still standing in the same spot, you might as well be playing for the other team . . . Good God man MOVE!!! (Sorry . . . tough loss in 9 year old soccer yesterday).
I handle all of the programming for the Sirius stations devoted to classic rock and I was thinking about playing more George Thorogood and Steve Miller Band . . . especially during drive time. What do you think?
- - Andy Travis, Cincinnati, Ohio
FGR: Listen Andy, I like Steve Miller and George Thorogood just as much as the next 17 year old kid sitting on a beach drinking wine coolers in 1985 but I think you might be doing that at the expense of a lot of good classic rock that doesn't rely on gimmicks like going "hoot, hoot" or stuttering the word "bbbbbad."*** And while you're at it, when you play Van Halen and Rush, no one is going to complain if you weight it a little more towards Fair Warning and Moving Pictures. (If you came of age in the 80's and the opening of this doesn't make you want to jump off of something and do a split, you might want to hold a mirror under your nose to and check for fog - Unchained).
|"Better start hydrating."|
I'm the guy who invented speed and traffic light cameras. Have I solidified my place in hell or is there still hope for me?
- - Michael Woodman, Brooklyn, New York
FGR: Unless you've figured out a way to grow corn in a desert, I don't like your chances.
On to the picks. The trend line keeps inching upward with a .500 effort last week. We can build on this:
Cincinnati by 2.5 over Cleveland: The Pick - Bengals
This is the only NFL match-up where the total viewers of one state outnumber those from the rest of the entire country. George Carlin used to do a bit about people who sound really interesting for the first few minutes before it dawns on you that, "wait a minute, this guy's an asshole." That's how a I feel about the Bengals. They made the playoffs last year, have a respectable quarterback and one of the league's most dangerous players in A.J. Green but, after a few games, you say, "wait a minute, this team sucks." With that being said, they're still at least a field goal better than the Browns.
N.Y. Jets by 3.5 over Indianapolis: The Pick - Jets
Two teams traveling on different escalators. Don't you get the feeling that the Jets are headed for 6-10 and then about three years of nuclear winter while they try to rebuild this mess they've created? With that being said, they're still good enough to win this game at home. (And with THAT being said, I will stop saying "with that being said").
Atlanta by 9.5 over Oakland: The Pick - Raiders
|It could be an otherwise|
ugly afternoon in the
Tampa Bay by 4 over Kansas City: The Pick - Bucs
I couldn't agree more with everything Eric Winston said in his tirade after some members of the home crowd cheered when Matt Cassel left the game with an injury last week. Unfortunately, we witnessed the same thing here in Baltimore a few years ago when Kyle Boller went down under similar circumstances. With that being said, when your quarterback is playing so badly that your fans cheer when he gets hurt, isn't that a sign that maybe you left him in a little too long? Just sayin'.
Baltimore by 3 over Dallas: The Pick - Ravens
Ed Reed's three favorite movies of 2012 are reportedly Kung Fu Hustle, Looper and the film from the Cowboys-Bears Monday night game. I will admit that Romo scares me a little but two of the toughest places to play on the road are Baltimore and Seattle and the Cowboys already dropped a stinker in the Emerald City. Someone might want to tell Tony that they guy who nicknamed Baltimore "Charm City" was being sarcastic.
Philadelphia by 3.5 over Detroit: The Pick - Lions
A battle between two teams that no one believes in (and rightfully so). Michael Vick and Matthew Stafford have been turning the ball over like they spent the off-season reading Jake Dellhomme's Interceptions for Dummies. Either one of these teams could win by two touchdowns and I wouldn't be surprised so I'm taking the points. (In other words, if you're looking for some gambling insight on this game, this might not be the place).
Miami by 4.5 over St. Louis: The Pick - Dolphins
|So tell us how you really feel|
about the Rams' playoff chances.
New England by 3.5 over Seattle: The Pick - Patriots
For some reason Vegas is not showing a lot of love for the Patriots this year despite the fact that they've covered in 4 out of 5 games including three double digit wins. Meanwhile, the Seahawks have only scored more than 16 points once. Add the fact that Pete Carroll has to annoy the shit out of Bill Belichik and this looks like another double digit win for the Pats.
Arizona by 4 over Buffalo: The Pick - Bills
Betting on a game pitting Kevin Kolb against Ryan Fitzpatrick is like betting on two drunks in a tricycle race (both involved a lot of weaving and falling down). I'm going with the kid from Harvard who isn't getting sacked nine times per game because maybe he was smart enough to take one of those pills from Revenge of the Nerds that negates the effects of the alcohol.
Washington by 2 over Minnesota: The Pick - Vikings
From the first week of the season when we saw that the Redskins' game plan called for RG, III to be used as a crash test dummy on about 10% of the plays, David Aldridge has been going on the Tony Kornheiser Show and predicting that he wouldn't make it past week 5. He was pretty close as RG, III took a shot to the head last week that knocked him out in the third quarter. Very tempting to take the points here because this game is probably going to be decided by 4 or less but I'm going with the better team.
San Francisco by 6.5 over the N.Y. Giants: The Pick - 49ers
Part of me wants to go with the Giants here because the Niners have been making a name for themselves pounding tomato cans like the Jet and the Bills but don't underestimate the revenge factor from last year's NFC Championship game. Look for Jim Harbaugh to be in full "Jim Harbaugh Mode" for the national audience today just so we are all very clear about how hard he is coaching.
Houston by 3.5 over Green Bay: The Pick - Texans
|I'm guessing the irony of these ads|
is lost on Mike McCarthy this year.
San Diego by 1 over Denver: The Pick - Broncos
The Chargers defense has shut down three bad quarterbacks (Palmer, Locker and Cassel) and been worked by two good ones (Ryan and Brees). Despite all of the chatter about his lack of arm strength, Peyton Manning is still 4th in the league in touchdown passes and yards so he falls into that latter category. This has the feel of one of those Monday night shootouts that ultimately decides every fantasy game involving Manning, Rivers, D. Thomas, Decker, Floyd and Meacham. I sure hope so because I'm one more fantasy football loss from becoming the guy everyone starts looking forward to on the schedule and I've never been that guy before . . . and I don't like it.
Last week: 7-7 . . . Season: 34-41-2
* If you didn't know these were fake emails before, that just gave it away because no one at the newspaper I'm referring to would get that joke much less write it.
** One of the greatest lines from M*A*S*H (the movie not the T.V. show) which is one of the most under appreciated comedies of all time. All ten minutes of this clip are well worth watching but if you want to get to the Hot Lips line delivered by Col. Henry Blake in hilariously dismissive fashion, go to about the 7:50 mark. You won't be disappointed. (M*A*S*H Football Scene).
*** Listening to some of some the "classic" rock bands they play on Sirius makes you realize that Dirk Diggler might have been closer to a hit with The Touch than we realized and yes, I'm looking at you Triumph and April Wine (The Touch . . . "you think the base is taking away from the vocal?").