Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Road Trip...

I’ve got less than a day and a half left at work this week. This is significant for two reasons. (1) I’ll be leaving early Friday afternoon to travel up to Gainesville for my first trip to The Swamp this season in order to attend the Auburn-Florida game airing at 8 pm on ESPN. To say I’m pumped about this would be a huge understatement. (2) After I return home from Gainesville on Sunday afternoon with a vicious hangover and much lighter in the wallet than when I left, I’ll be walking into a week’s worth of vacation from work. Not just any week of vacation either, this is a free week of vacation. You read that right. I’ll be off work all week without using a single vacation day. How is this possible? Well, my office is undergoing a major expansion and renovation project that is going to leave our building powerless for the better part of next week. As a result of this, I’ll be at home all week with little to no work to do. Even our company’s email server will be down so I won’t even have to correspond with anyone who could possibly ask me to do actual “work”. Sure, something could come up where I might have to exert my self for, oh, 30 or 40 minutes but the chances of this actually happening are extremely slim. Originally, I was slated to travel to Baton Rouge next weekend to see the Gators take on LSU but that has recently fallen through. As much as I’d love to attend one of the premier venues in college football for a CBS night game that promises an (cliché alert) electric atmosphere it’s probably just as well considering the way the young Gator defense looked on Saturday in Oxford.

Anywho, this will be my first weekend in Gainesville as an adult. By that I mean that this is the first time that I’ll be going to Gainesville and not crashing with any friends of mine. I guess it had to happen sooner or later. Personally, I feel like 12 years is a pretty nice run to have in terms of having a place to crash for college football weekends. As it now stands, my old roommate Vitas, our friend Roman, his old roommate Chris (both Auburn alums) and I are renting an RV (with shitter and shower…huzzah) and setting up shop on UFs campus, just a few drunken stumbles from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The last time I attended a game with either Roman or Chris was the now legendary “Ronnie Brown Game”. If you’re familiar with this game, it was another ESPN 8 pm game between Florida and Auburn during the first year of the Ron Zook era. During the second quarter of this game, with Florida in control, Cadillac Williams broke his leg, making the way for an unknown redshirt sophomore named Ronnie Brown. Brown wouldn’t stay unknown for long, as he seemingly turned into Walter Payton before our eyes and hauled Auburn back into the game with the help of a young and inexperienced Jason Campbell. In what would become an all too common occurrence during the Zook era, the Gators lost control of the game as Auburn surged in the second half behind what seemed like 30 broken tackles by Brown. If not for an amazing blocked FG by Bobby McCray and an equally amazing third down Rex Grossman TD pass to Taylor Jacobs in OT, the Gators could’ve possibly ended up the year below .500, as the weight of a historic blowout at the hands of LSU (just a week earlier) and the collapse against Auburn may have doomed an already pathetic Gator season to historic lows. Fortunately, this was not the case. Later, on Auburn’s first possession of OT, former Bear Ian Scott scooped up an Auburn fumble to secure the victory. What followed the end of this memorable game ended up being one of the better nights of my life, as Roman, Vitas, Chris, my roommates Federico and Gomez and I all retired to the Salty Dog Saloon (my favorite dive of all time…I’m coming Salty Dog and I pissed off. Well, not really. I can’t stay mad at you.) where we proceeded to drink copious amounts of liquor and harass everybody who came within a five foot radius of us (which is basically anybody who had to walk to the Salty Dog bathroom). I won’t bore you with the details of our night at the Salty Dog other than to say I received a thank you email from Roman upon his return to Atlanta for, as he put it, “the best night after an Auburn loss…ever.” Personally, there was never a higher compliment issued to me in my many times playing host to friends whilst in college.

This weekend promises to be interesting to say the least. Roman no longer lives in Atlanta or with Chris. He’s married, Chris is engaged and I live with my girlfriend. However, I’m starting to get the feeling that this may mean the weekend is going to end up being even wilder than our last time together. We’ve got a number of other friends coming up on Saturday for the all day tailgate (Good God 8 PM games are amazing.) that will include an 11 foot HDTV screen, two other TVs, truckloads of liquor, a few well timed papal elections and, of course, more young Florida & Auburn coeds than you can shake the proverbial stick at. I plan on taking some pictures so that I have something to post with my description of the weekend’s events and to give you, my faithful readers (reader?) a frame of reference. Hopefully this weekend will end up with a convincing Florida win and maybe some celebratory shots and harassment at the Salty Dog. If not, there’s always the chance that I might hunt down Todd Blackledge and kick his Joe Pa loving ass all over University Ave. I mean, I have all of next week off. What’s a few days in jail, right?

Update: Our Buddy Schmitt is now coming up tomorrow night after he gets off work so it looks like we're gonna have the 11 ft. screen and all the other good stuff (including a BBQ and a tailgate tent starting out on Friday evening. This weekend just keeps getting better.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ella, ella, ella, ella...

I've got a post coming tomorrow discussing my upcoming trip to Gainesville this weekend (Auburn in the Swamp at 8 pm. Fuck. Yeah.) and the completely awesome and free vacation that I have coming my way next week but I couldn't resist posting this video from some Cubs fan who's probably making a song about Rex Grossman as I type this. Hopefully, you'll excuse the short into here, I had to make sure I got this up before TJ.

Friday, September 21, 2007

About a third of people interviewed said they wished they'd waited...and thats probably a low number

I know that I just posted the weekly picks column but this video is really to good for me to wait nay longer to post. Watch this clip and tell me you don't want to practice abstinence, or make out with this guys' beard. It's tough for me to decide right now.

I think my girlfriend and I need to have a little talk this evening. About...Abstinence, Abstinence. C'mon sing along!

Week 3: Crystal Balls Full of Bong Water

Hello America. Can I interest you in a Tab or a Fresca? No? How about something to munch on? Maybe some Funyons or Cheez-Its? Did I ever tell you that Jerry’s family buys Cheez-Its but that they are exclusively and aggressively reserved for his dad to eat during Giants games? One time Jerry’s sister ate them (prior to that week’s Giants game) and Jerry’s dad made her sleep under the back deck for a month. While down there, all she found was a bunch of dirt, and more roaches than you could possibly imagine…and I’m not talking about the kind the Orkin man handles. True story.

In other news, we went 0-2 in out First Tier Confidence Picks and decided to mix it up a little and went 0-2 and in our Second Tier Picks as well. This week? Well, there aren't any "Picks We Like So Much We Wanna Take 'Em Out Behind the Middle School and Get Them Pregnant" this week. We just couldn't generate consensus around any one game ATS. Our second tier games would be the Cowboys getting 3 and a hook against the Bears (except Jerry disagrees), the Seahawks only laying a few at home versus the Bengals and Denver over Jax...but only three of us agree on any one of those.

Overall, this group has gone a pitiful 15-16-4 ATS so far. Awful--with me, and to an only slightly lesser extent Mark to blame. The individual breakouts will appear prior to each person’s picks. Here’s a hint—go with TJ…and Whit for all Falcons games.

Geoff (1-4-1 ATS)

Moving on… I believe it was last year that Jerry first offered his theory of “teams regress to their appropriate record” at certain points throughout the season. The theory makes a lot of sense to me and also is an effective crutch to lean on when trying to explain the inexplicable outcomes commonplace in the NFL regular season. It also conveniently applies to each of the games I’m picking this week, which all feature surprise 2-0 teams versus unqualified disappointments. One problem: I can’t seem to force myself to abide by this theory…which brings me to my next point…

I’d like to once again direct your attention to my 1-4-1 record ATS record so far this season. As many people will tell you, it’s been quite an odd and unpredictable year through two weeks, but that excuse really doesn’t apply to me. I was picking this poorly for most of last season too. So, consider this your warning (or, opportunity?) that you should not trust these picks at all (or just go directly against them). Throwing darts at a board, asking advice from that girl you go out with regularly who’s is NOT your girlfriend or just picking the team with the least Methodists (legendarily the pussies of Protestantism) on their roster are all preferable to taking my advice. And with that…on to the picks…

San Diego (-5) @ Green Bay – Doesn’t it feel like these teams have never ever played before? Yes, yes it does. In actuality, they last played in 2003 (a 38-21 win by the Pack at Lambeau) and have played eight times in the franchises storied histories with Green Bay prevailing in no less than seven of those encounters. It is now abundantly clear, for the fourth time, that Norv Turner is to head coaching what Ike Turner is to Mother’s Day. If you’ve never had Norville skipper your particular catamaran, you really can’t conceive of how discomforting it is. Remember when you were 4 years old (or 23 if you’re Swint or Mayhugh) and you couldn’t sleep, so your mom made you some warm milk, read you a story, calmed you down and everything was fine? Well, if Norv Turner was your mom he would just stare blankly at you, tell you to get back in bed and then pace back and forth around your room nervously pleading with you to try harder to sleep. And then at 4 am after a sleepless night, he’d tell you it was all his fault and he’d bring in a freckled-faced African American interim mother to scare the shit out of you until sunrise. Yep, that made no sense. I hate Norv Turner. PACKERS.

Philadelphia (-6.5) vs. Detroit – Much like Mayhugh’s drapes scream at us “We were stolen from the “All in the Family” set,” what does this line scream at us other than “PLEASE bet on the Lions”? The Eagles backs are against the wall and their shirttails are on fire. But here’s my struggle: Donovan McNabb looked so bad on Monday night, I’m not sure I can pick the Eagles. And don’t get me started on Andy Reid’s boneheaded coaching. Everyone’s focusing on the time out call that preceded the Cooley TD, but check out these more damning coaching misfires. The Eagles averaged 5.9 yards per carry against the Redskins on Monday night…but they only ran the ball 15 times the entire game. That is idiotic in and of itself, but even more confusing is that Reid only ran the ball to the right side one time all game even though Phillip Daniels was out with an injured foot and was being replaced by Demetric Evans…who plays the run about as well as my sister. I don’t get it. Also, I’ve got news for the Eagles—Kevin Curtis sucks. He was shut down by Carlos Rogers like nothing I’ve seen. He simply could not get open…because he’s too slow and too goofy and white. I think the Eagles could scrape together a win in their gay powder blue unis, but I’m not remotely convinced of it, so I’m taking the six and a hook. LIONS

Washington (-4) vs. NYGiants - There’s something about this game that makes me uneasy. As Jerry’s regression theory goes, the Redskins just don’t seem good enough to be 3-0 and the Giants just don’t seem quite bad enough to go 0-3. We also discussed last week that the Giants are a bad matchup for the Redskins in that they have an explosive high scoring offense. If the Giants get the ball enough times, they are going to score some touchdowns on you, and the Redskins still struggle to put up points or to get well out in front of anyone. There are three key matchups that will determine the winner in this one.
Redskins Pass Rush versus the Giants Offensive Line: The Redskins defense has five sacks through two games—on pace for 40 this season…which is just a hair better than the 19 sacks they put up all of last year. What’s the difference? Andre Carter stopped playing like an interior designer and Marcus Washington is playing DE on almost half the Skins third downs (44% to this point in the season). Oh, and Laron Landry blitzed 12 times versus Philly. Greggggggg Williams again has confidence in his secondary and they are finding ways to get pressure. If they can pressure Eli as much as they did Donovan, good things can happen.
Michael Strahan/Barry Cofield versus Todd Wade/Jason Fabini – I don’t think I need to explain this one too much here. So far both of these guys (Fabini and Wade) have been fine in protection (though Strahan should be a new and interesting challenge for Wade) but have looked less than stellar on running plays. On Monday night the Skins only ran to their side on five out of 27 running plays, and I fear that the Skins could struggle to run the ball this Sunday. Minus Jason Campbell’s 40 yards rushing, they Skins were only able to rush the ball for 91 yards against Philly (on 27 carries), but they still found a way to move the ball…which leads me to…
Moss/ARE/Cooley versus R.W. McQuarters, Corey Webster and the Giants LBs – If weeks one and two are any indicator, the Redskins should be able to bebop and scat all over the Giants LBs and secondary. The problem is, they’re not really into that sorta thing. The Redskins have in recent years displayed a distinct inability to capitalize on their opponents defensive shortcomings. If they do that again this weekend, I fear bad things.

So, enough hemming and hawing…after going back and forth on this one for a while, it comes down to the fact that I think the Redskins are just playing better football than the Giants right now and that’s why I’m taking them. REDSKINS

Ah yes, one final point—the Skins will be wearing these getups on Sunday as part of the 75th Anniversary celebration. These are throwbacks to the unis when Vince Lombardi was coaching the Skins, and it doesn’t take Pierre Cardin to tell you that Vince changed them up to look like his old Packers uniforms. I like ‘em…but let’s be honest, this is all just about selling merchandise…predominantly to rappers.

Mark (2-4-0 ATS)

Did anybody else think they were watching a Coors Light commercial when they first saw the footage of Mike Ditka testifying before Congress? No? Well, I bet none of you dicks picked the score of last week’s Broncos-Raiders game within a point either. Who’s awesome? This guy. (both thumbs pointing toward chest) Anyway, on to this week’s picks.

St. Louis @ Tampa Bay (-3.5): So Tampa is giving 3.5 at home this week, huh? I’m guessing that has something to do with the offensive explosion the Bucs had at the hands of the suddenly hapless Saints last week. To say I was surprised by that output would be a gross understatement. I was surprised that Florida dropped 59 on Tennessee last Saturday. I was surprised that Darko Milicic threatened to rape the daughters of various officials at the European Championships a few weeks back. Sunday, well, what’s the word for it? says it’s “thunderstruck”. Is that correct? Not sure. Does it sound cool? You bet your ass it does. So, to summarize, Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway left me thunderstruck last Sunday. Man, that couldn’t have sounder gayer if I had said it while wearing spandex shorts and rollerblading down A1A. Alright, that would’ve been a little bit more gay. Anyway, have you heard the rumor that Torry Holt is gay? No? Well that’s because I just started it, right here. Viva La Internet!!! Since God hates the gays, its clear that the Rams abysmal O-line won’t be able to open holes for Steven Jackson or provide enough time for Marc Bulger against the Bucs’ underrated LB corps this Sunday. Bucs win. Tampa 24-17

Arizona @ Baltimore (-7.5): People are legitimately questioning whether it’s better to start Kyle Boller over Steve McNair this weekend. If anything should convince Air McNair (God, how long has it been since that nickname was apropos in any way?) that it’s time to hang them up, this should be it. No matter who goes for Baltimore, I think Arizona’s got enough on offense to at least keep this close for most of the day. Until, of course, Matt Leinart gently lollipops a throw into the waiting arms of Ed Reed at some point in the second half and Baltimore manages to squeeze out yet another in their seemingly unending string of low scoring, mind numbingly boring field goal fests. I’d ask why people even attend Ravens games but that would be a dumb question, wouldn’t it? I mean, what else are you gonna do in that shithole? Well, besides sell drugs, contract syphilis and murder people. Actually, that’s a pretty nice little Sunday right there. I don’t think there’s gonna be anytime to make it to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Ravens win, don’t cover. Ravens 16-10

Jacksonville @ Denver (-3.5): I don’t think either of these teams are very good. Denver’s gotten two wins by a desperation FG and a desperation timeout to prevent a FG against a couple of mediocre football teams in Buffalo and Oakland. An awful lot of people seemed to think that the Broncos offense would be a juggernaut this year b/c it was Jay Cutler’s second year and they picked up Travis Henry in the off-season while completely ignoring the fact that their WR corps is completely devoid of a proven NFL receiver outside of Javon Walker. Shanahan might be able to spin RBs out of straw but it ain’t that easy to cut-block your way to success in the passing game. Cutler’s still inexperienced and extremely erratic and guys like Brandon Marshall, Domenik Hixon (?) and Brian Clark aren’t exactly the Three Amigos. This Denver offense is going to struggle all year long and the sooner bettors realize it, the better. As for the Jaguars, well, their offense is even worse. Unless David Garrard’s running the ball, he’s not scaring anyone other than his own teammates and possibly the fans in the first few rows of Mile High Stadium. I’d tell you to take the under here but that’s not what I’m being paid for. What do I get paid for? That’s none of your business. No, those are not track marks on my eyelids. Jesus, what is this the Spanish Inquisition? Broncos win. Broncos 23-13

Rob (2-2-1 ATS)

Indianapolis (-6) @ Houston - The Texans didn’t make the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, but they’ve fallen victim to an even more insidious hex – the Curse of the Wounded Wideout. Stud receiver Andre Johnson (for my money, the league’s most underrated skill position player) gorked his knee in last week’s win against Carolina and is out for this big one against the Colts (and, additionally, my intra-division fantasy matchup with the notorious Corcoran brothers). Johnson tallied 58% of the Texans’ 452 passing yards in their two season-opening wins and all of their receiving touchdowns. The list of pass catchers in line to face the Colts includes Owen Daniels, Vonta Leach, Jacoby Jones, Kevin Walter, and Jeb Putzier. I’m a bit slow on the uptake from time to time, but I’m fairly certain that this can’t be a good thing for the Texans. (If you care, I’ll be replacing Johnson with Deion Branch in my lineup this week – that’s a bit less of a dropoff than Matt Schaub’s facing.) Indianapolis covers handily.

New England (-16.5) vs. Buffalo - As New England proved last week, nobody puts baby in a corner. And baby’s angry again. Tom Brady’s fuming over implications that the Pats’ coaching staff provided him in-game defensive adjustments against the Jets, and he’s simply not going to stand for it. Woe be unto the Bills’ defensive backfield. Meanwhile, the Bills roll into Gillette with the league’s 30th-ranked scoring offense and the 31st-best total yardage total – and the Pats are tops in the league in yards against. Resistable force, meet immovable object. I know 16 and a hook is a big number, but I think I like it this week. Patriots cover.

Washington (-4) @ NYG - The Skins will be wearing their spiffy canary yellow throwback threads this week. According to Tiki Barber, Eli Manning is yellow. Ipso facto, the Skins should coast, or something. But I’m 0-1-1 in games involving my putative favorite NFL squadron, so perhaps a bit more diligence is required. And while the results of the first two weeks would seem to indicate teams headed in different directions, my fan’s psyche has been battered by the Snyder administration’s ineptitude and I’m just not ready to believe. I’m driving the anti-bandwagon – it’s a late-model Prius with a bumper sticker featuring a peace sign and a Visualize World Peace bumper sticker.

Buges has spent the whole week cackling about the odd names on the Giants’ roster. He’s been telling anyone that’ll listen how Osi reminds him of a Filipino hooker he used to know. Talented girl. Talented girl. Giants beat the number.

Whit (3-2-1 ATS)

Carolina (-3.5) @ Atlanta - Good thing I have long arms -- it's tough to toot your own horn and pat yourself on the back simultaneously, but I can manage it. Week 1 I said Vikings 23, Falcons 3. (It was 24-3). Last week I said Jaguars 13, Falcons 7. (And it was so.) If you have half a brain in your body, bet the diametric opposite of what I say in this space this week. Don't think I'm kidding. Anyway, the Panthers won big in a road dome and crapped out at home; this week they're in the Georgia Dome. After this game, the Falcons will have doubled their season point total . . . which ain't saying much. Atlanta's home opener could be a bloodbath, but it's more likely to be a slightly closer affair -- just not nearly close enough for this line. Panthers 24, Falcons 10.

Tennessee (+4.5) @ New Orleans - Tennessee versus New Orleans. Country music versus Zydeco. Baptist ministers versus voodoo priestesses. Barbecue versus jambalaya, cornbread versus beignets. The Firm versus The Pelican Brief. Beale Street versus Bourbon Street. Graceland versus Igors. Tornadoes versus hurricanes. Moonshine versus Hurricanes. Rampant incestry versus Hurricane Katrina. "Memphis Blues" versus "Going Back to New Orleans." "When the Saints Go Marching In" versus . . . okay, there are no songs about Titans. Saints 24, Titans 17.

NY Giants (+4) @ Washington - 17 years ago Rob and I traveled up to the DC area from Williamsburg, VA for fall break, a few days that culminated in our attendance of the Giants vs. Redskins game at RFK. One of our fraternity brothers' stepfather was the GM for RFK at the time, and despite our friend's black sheep status in his family, we were able to score four tickets, gratis. Correction: four all-access field passes. While Rob and our buddy bird's-eyed it from the press box down the row from Madden & Summerall, our other friend Cliff and I ventured down to the sideline. We watched the Skins warm up and marveled at the size of the players -- how large the lineman were, but also how tiny the receivers and D-backs were. Later, NYG QB Jeff Hostetler was tackled out of bounds at our feet and had the wind knocked out of him as we peered down at his gasping face. The Skins scored right as we were at the corner of the end zone. It was the coolest vantage point I've ever had for a sporting event, bar none . . . And then the Redskins dropped back to receive a punt with a late lead, needing only to salt it away with a modest drive. And then the ball bounced and inexplicably caromed off Johnny Thomas's leg and into the arms of a Giant special teamer. And then the Giants scored. And then the Redskins lost. And it was sad. It couldn't take away from the experience, but it really rather sucked. It's kind of like when you're in the throes of it with the most beautiful woman you've ever had, and she inadvertently racks you with a vigorous elbow to the point where you nearly pass out from the pain. You know, like that. So I was invited to come up for this Sunday's game. Don't think I can swing it, though, and that may make all the difference. Redskins 26, Giants 24.

Pic taken by Whit at aforementioned game.

TJ (4-1-1 ATS)

NY JETS -3 vs. Miami - We'll get the pick out of the way now. I'm taking the Jets. Shocking I know. The pick has nothing to do with how awful the Dolphins offense is...though that's reason enough to bet on the Jets. The real reason: "Fireman Ed" Anzalone, the Jets most famous fan, had knee surgery recently and is reportedly out for the season (though Mangini keeps listing him as Probable on the injury report). He most definitely will not be at the Meadowlands for this game. TJ, you're saying, doesn't that mean the Jets are more likely to lose without his enthusiastic support and nonstop "J-E-T-S...JETS...JETS...JETS" chants? Nope, not when Dolphins DE Vonnie Holiday opens his big mouth and blasphemes Ed. Vonnie (nice name pal), upon realizing a TV report about Jets' "injuries" was actually referring to Fireman Ed, said ''Then, I look up and it's this guy. You have got to be kidding me. Now, I want to know who's going to lead that charge? Who's going to lead the 'J-E-T-S'?'' The whole fucking stadium, you moron, that's who. And all those boos Vonnie, they're for your sorry ass.

Gambling stat that m
akes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue: You get two here, because the stat for the Raiders/Browns game doesn't jive with who I'm picking. The Dolphins are 6-22 ATS in their last 28 games vs. the AFC East. Not convinced? The Dolphins are also 4-18-1 ATS in their last 23 meetings against the Gang Green.

PITT -9 vs. SF -
Yes, I think Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin is doing a terrific job in his first two weeks as the head man. And yes, Pittsburgh has looked mighty good in Weeks 1 and 2, but the Browns and Bills are trifling. SF might not be much to write home about on offense (yet), but they have an above average defensive unit and 9 points sure seems like a lot, even at Ketchup Only Field. Of even more importance to Steelers fans - 49ers TE Vernon Davis, he of the intimidating "Click Clack" ads, is pissed off about his involvement, or lack thereof, in the offense, and I have a strange feeling he's out to prove something this week. Davis has only 4 catches for 27 yards through the first two games of the season, and met Wednesday with head coach Mike Nolan to "personally register his concerns over his lack of involvement in the offense." In other words, Alex Smith is looking his way all day long, and Davis is running over Troy Polamalu at least once for a TD. I say Hines Ward keeps the Pittsburgh faithful happy by becoming only the second player in franchise history to accumulate 60 TDs by catching one this week (John Stallworth had 63), but the 49ers are this guy's choice.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:
The Steelers are 2-7 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. And will you look at that, the 49ers are 2-0. Shazam.

SEATTLE -3 vs. Cincy - Last week the Cincinnati Bengals allowed the Cleveland Browns to score 51 points. Jamal Lewis' cadaver (I'm sick of the "corpse" over usage) rushed for 216 yards against the Bengals. Derek Anderson threw for 328 yards and 5 TDs. The Seattle Seahawks RB and QB are, to say the least, slightly better than Lewis and Anderson. Maybe Seattle doesn't score 52 this week, but they sure as hell will score enough to win by 3. Frankly, I don't ever want to hear "Marvin Lewis" and "defensive genius" in the same sentence again, unless of course you are talking about Marvin's well-known brilliance at the game of Risk. I mean, once that guy gets a foothold in Australia (and the bonus armies start rolling in), forget it, game over man. Game...over.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:
The Seahawks are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 home games.

OAK -3 vs. Cleveland -
Whooohooo, my picking prowess in Weeks 1 and 2 mean I get a 4th game this week. Wait, what?? That game is Browns at Raiders? F U pal. I know, Cleveland scored 51 this week and won. We've been over this. I'm sick of talking about it, you're sick of reading about it. The Browns suck. They do. I'm sorry Cleveland, but be happy if they scrap and claw their way to 3-13. This Raiders defense is good. They get pressure on the QB and force turnovers. Sound familiar? Right, just like the Steelers defense Cleveland faced in Week 1. And how'd that work out? I don't care if Lane Kiffin rotates Vince Evans and Todd Marinovich at QB this week, the Raiders are the pick.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue: Here's the stat I would've used if I thought Cleveland had any shot. Which I don't. The Browns are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 3. That's like finding out Dark Helmet is Lone Starr's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate. It means absolutely nothing.

Jerry (3-3-0 ATS)

Dallas (+3.5) at Chicago Why is Mike Ditka still getting regular radio spots and TV appearances? One reason: Bill Swerski's Superfans. I didn't realize it until recently, but Ditka doesn't even border on being entertaining, interesting, or informative. He's actually kind of bland. Yet he still keeps showing up over and over and people expect him to say something cool. Never happens. His entire reputation is built on a series of Saturday Night Live Skits. Pretty amazing, and it makes you wonder what would happen if Neil Diamond got a VH1 reality show. We'd be expecting him to pop pills, batter minorities, and run down the youth of tomorrow, but he'd probably just sit around and eat Pringles. As for the game, I'm feeling a typical Bears win. Bogging down the Dallas offense, punting on 2nd down, and hoping for a defensive or special teams TD. Bears 19 Cowboys 13.

Minnesota (+2.5) at Cheeves – I've come to learn that my fantasies are different than the average bear. For me, it would've been a dream to be in some important, smoky room in Las Vegas with a bunch of other professional degenerates and say, "Looks like Tavaris Jackson is out on Sunday, how is that gonna affect our line?" What's the response? Laughter? Pensive thought? Whizzing a crumpled up porn ball at me? I'd really like to see how that went down. Game – Vikings defense good. KC nothing good. Simple enough. Vikings 19 Cheeves 6.

New York Football Giants (+4) at Dirt Worshippers – Yeah, we're callin'em people now. No more of this several handed shit. We're gonna drive those territorial cocksuckers in Yankton straight into the turf. Who? Me and you, you stupid bastard. Cut out the fucking dimwittedness of the coverage scheme, lest I flee my apartment in horror. Stop playing like the Ambulators. Who's gonna be comptroller? Michael Strahan. He's gonna chair the piss out of the line of scrimmage. Blow by that squarehead Todd Wade like he's wearing a frock coat. Underarms clean. Cunts braided. Hang Fucking Die. Giants 38 Dirt Worshippers Head in a Box

Okay...let's be careful out there...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Week 2: Mazeltov!

Happy unnamed Jewish Holiday(s?) to all my Jewish(ish) friend(Hi Aaron!). We went a not too embarrassing 8-6-4 ATS last week (and there are two extra games there due to three of us picking the Skins game each week). This week's effort is approaching 5,000 you might wanna print this out and take it to the crapper...

We’ll start off this week with a new feature that I am unilaterally electing to name “This Week’s Lines That We Like So Much We Want to Take Them Back Behind the Middle School and Get Them Pregnant.” It’s pretty simple—in addition to our pithy picks sniglets, the six of us will get together every week and pick three to five games that we all really like (more than friends) ATS. Here are this week’s:

This Week’s Lines That We Like So Much We Want to Take Them Back Behind the Middle School and Get Them Pregnant aka Supreme Confidence Locks of the Week:

New Orleans (-3) over Tampa Bay – the Saints are on the road, but you have to go with them here to cover the three. Is Vegas really saying that on a neutral field, this would be a pick ‘em? Edit: Oh wait, no, that's not at all what Vegas is saying...they're saying on a neutral field it would be Saints by 6. But why would they play on a neutral field? That makes no sense...unless they met in the Super in that Broncos-Colts fictional Super Bowl I predicted a couple years back. Moving on...

Cincy (-6.5) over Cleveland – Usually you don’t look to a 6.5 point road dog to be one of your locks…but you also usually don’t see teams as God awful as the Browns. The guy who started at QB for them opening day (aka last week)? Yeah, he’s no longer with the franchise. Bet that’s never happened before.

On the second tier, most of us like the Eagles at home to cover the 7 against the Skins and Seattle to cover the 2.5 @ Arizona. Jerry has fallen deeply in like with Detroit over Minny and TJ is ring shopping with the Bears covering the 13 at KC. Let’s get ready to gamble…

And now, on with the picks.


Houston @ Carolina (-6.5) - Ah yes, the Panthers have been waiting years to get their revenge. You see, the Texans beat Carolina 14-10 way back in 2003 (the only time they've ever met, in fact) behind the "stellar" play of Tony Banks (wow) and Carolina coach John Fox has been waiting 4 years to beat "those queers from Harris County" (his words not mine, so take a deep breath, put down your pink Razr phone and go back to watching E! Fashion Emergency). For some odd reason (alcohol), I have adopted the Houston Texans as my 2007 Sleeper Team, and thus feel compelled to take them in Week 2, even though they are on the road and their Week 1 win over the Corpses of Kansas City revealed absolutely nothing (well, it revealed how awful KC is, but nothing else). Here's hoping Mario Williams scores again so we can listen to some asshat like Sean Salisbury tell us "You know, he's got more TDs that Bush...hahaha...Trey, look how funny and insightful I am...Trey?" Houston.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:
The Panthers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games.

Cincinnati (+6.5) @ Cleveland - The Hindenburg. Dukakis in '88. Zubaz. Fox's new show K-Ville (seriously, have you seen the commercial for this? This might be the first show ever to get canceled halfway through the first episode). Coverdale-Page. The film version of Bonfire of the Vanities. New Coke. Cop Rock. My brief foray into Kabuki Theater. Highlander II: The Quickening. Carrot Top. That's right, you can already add the 2007 Cleveland Browns to the above list of epic disasters. Go look at the Browns schedule and try to find me more than two wins...
You done? Couldn't do it, could you? The spread could be 20 in this game and the Bengals could be starting this guy at QB and I'd still be taking Cincy. [Note to Swint: This is free money. Tell Moose and Rocco you want to put at least a grand on this one.] Expect Phil Savage to trade Derek Anderson on Tuesday to the Frankfurt Galaxy (do they even exist anymore?) and replace him on the roster with Brock Berlin. Bengals.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:
The Bengals are 15-4-1 ATS in their last 20 road games.

NY Jets @ Baltimore (-10) - It's Kyle Boller vs. Kellen Clemens for all the marbles. I believe these two faced each other once in college, in a 2002 PAC-10 battle (Boller playing for the overrated Jeff Tedford at Cal, Clemens donning a space age all green uni for Oregon), but the internet is not helping me find a box score to confirm this, so let's just move on. The Newark Star-Ledger is reporting Clemens will be the Jets QB in Week 2, replacing Chaz Sexington, who has the dreaded high-ankle sprain. Penis-head John Clayton says Steve McNair is also out this week, having re-injured a groin that I'm pretty sure has been bothering him since his days at Alcorn State. I'm sorry, but a Kyle Boller-led team being 10 point favorites? Even if I wasn't a Jets fan, that's a tough spread to swallow. And yes, I know the double murderer and his defensive mates will most likely feast on Kellen. It's going down like this: Clemens plays valiantly, outplaying the still jittery Boller, but the Jets lose the game on a late Ed Reed TD (fumble return, INT return, punt return...who knows with that guy). However, they do cover, and that's all you care about, isn't it you gambling fiends? Jets.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:

The Jets are 10-2 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.


When you get assigned games with spreads of 7, 3, and 0, it pretty much means that Vegas has no idea what's going to happen. They threw up their hands, found the closest football number that separates the teams, and let the betting public think amongst themselves. Be prepared for the least insightful trio of predictions you'll see in a while. Truth is, I wouldn't touch any of these games, even if I had all of Geoff's "old credenza" money.

Packers @ Giants (pick'em) – Over on the Giants message board, people were trying to make themselves feel better about the Green Bay game by invoking the memory of Jeff Hostetler's 1990 run to the Super Bowl as a backup QB. I'd just like to think of Hostetler's mustache on Jared Lorenzen's face.

I have no idea what to make of this game, so I'll just discuss something Giants-related that's been confusing me recently. In 2000, Jim Fassel pushed his chips to the middle of the table and took over play-calling duties from Sean Payton. The Giants offensive production increased by about 50%. In 2006, Brian Billick took over play-calling duties from Jim Fassel. The Ravens offensive production increased by 50%. Also in 2006, Sean Payton took over the Saints play-calling duties and they had the #1 offense in the league. Try explaining that one, smart guy.

The feeling here is that Eli doesn't play and the Packers win a really boring game that turns on 3-5 really weird plays. All the while Favre and Lorezen would rather be shooting and eating deer. Packers

Colts (+7) @ Titans – I've spent the past 15 minutes trying to make up some jokes about Tony Dungy's best-selling book, but I can't find a bad word about it anywhere on the internet. has 41 out of 44 reviews as 5 stars, and the other 3 are 4 stars. I find this deeply disturbing. The internet – a place where you could probably find video of a horse screwing a physics student – has nothing bad to say about this best-selling book. No snarky bloggers. No religion-hating extremists. No anti-sap logic-mongers. No Patriots fans complaining that Belichick's book should've sold more copies. Nothing. I'm scared.

There are two ways this game could play out: 1) Colts aerial rout or 2) Tennessee plays one of those scrappy ball control games that frustrates Indy and its close in the 4th quarter. I'll take the Colts because even in scenario 2, they could cover the spread. Colts.

San Francisco (+3) at St. Louis Last week I had Panthers-Rams. This week it's the 49ers. I don't know what to say other than: these games are stupid. 49ers, Rams, Panthers, Cardinals, Packers. What's the difference? These teams are all the same 7 to 9 win crap boring mediocrities and when they get together, the outcome is nearly random. I mean, really, who the hell cares? We're an NFC-heavy blog – does anybody give a damn about this game or have any idea who's going to win? I sure as hell don't. All I want is for Jeff Wilkins to kick a lot of long field goals.

In honor of Geoff's post earlier this week, I'll be picking against St. Louis because of the massive hole that Orlando "Tubby" Pace leaves on the left side of the offensive line. It really is a huge loss and the Rams offense was markedly worse after Pace left the game on Sunday. 49ers.


Atlanta @ Jacksonville (-10) - The Falcons are somewhere between Bill Simmons' square peg/round hole insertion of them into his Ewing Theory (he shrewdly picked them as the 12th best team in the NFL this year) and the 24-3 ass-kickees at the foot of a mediocre Viking club. They stink. They stink bad. But here's the thing: oddsmakers are taking (10!) points away from a Jacksonville team that allowed 282 rushing yards to the powerhouse Titans while grinding out 72 of their own. At home. While mustering a mere 10 points. One week is one week, and anything can happen, but don't spit on the Falcons by giving a 10-point cushion to the so-so Jags and tell them it's raining. Jaguars 13, Falcons 7.

Buffalo @ Pittsburgh (-9.5) - In 1992, the New York Jets lost Dennis Byrd to a paralyzing vertebra injury in Week 13 against the Chiefs. The Jets would win only one of their four remaining contests to finish 4-12, but the one game they won was the week following the incident in Buffalo against the Super Bowl-bound Bills. Just a year earlier, Detroit Lions guard Mike Utley had suffered a similar spinal injury that paralyzed him. The Lions went into the Metrodome and throttled the Vikes a week later. (The late Darryl Stingley's injury happened in pre-season, otherwise there might be a similar follow-up.) The point? Teams band together and overachieve after something like this happens, at least for one glorious game. Can the beat-up Bills go into Heinz Field and knock off the Steelers? Now that'd be something special. More to the point, can they cover? You betcha. Steelers 24, Bills 16.

Washington @ Philadelphia (-7) - Did You Know??? Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. The capital was moved to Washington when John Adams got sick of the local residents giving up on every president three months into his term, booing every session of Congress, and suggesting we let Mexico come in and take over. Already noting that the newly formed Library of Congress would be of little service to Philadelphia denizens (a cracked bell was high-minded culture to them), the last straw for Adams & company was when Vinneus from New Hope sent a Western Union telegram suggesting that Napoleon and or his own smallpox-laden mother would do a better job with the Presidency. Now . . . everyone pause for a second and think about what this country might be like if the move hadn't happened.

Now put your money on Vinneus' Eagles. 21-13.


Dallas (-3.5) @ Miami This will be a very telling game for both teams. The Dolphins offense looked slightly better than last year’s version against the Skins (Is that Cam Cam’s work, or just the upgrade from Cleo Lemon to Trent Green? And speaking of, ‘member that band Letters to Cleo? I miss them like crazy. I bet Whitney and Rob hated them because they never played the Birchmere and more than six people had heard of them. Moving on…) and the Cowboys offense looked like Hawaii, Texas Tech, BYU and Loyola Marymount combined against the Giants. So, is the Giants defense horrible, or are the Cowboys an offensive juggernaut? And, is the Dolphins offense still poopy, or is the Redskins defense back to being a force? My guess is that the Cowboys have a very good offense, and the Dolphins will have a mediocre offense this season (a major improvement). I think the Cowboys to again break the 35 point barrier but also give up way too much on the defensive side, in part due to injuries to Newman, Greg Ellis and Ferguson. They do enough to go 2-0. Cowboys, 38-27.

Jerry made an interesting point the other night—if Wade Phillips didn’t look like a mix between John Candy and Captain Kangaroo, he would probably be a much more well-respected coach. I mean, his defenses have always been solid and he’s over .500 as a head coach. But I, like everyone else, still think of him as a small town sheriff in some backwoods Texas town who repeatedly spills chili on his uniform and can’t seem to figure out who keeps knocking over all the mailboxes.

KC (+13) @ Chicago – As I once heard Steve Mariucci yell on the Niners sideline, “Holy wow!” 13 points? I had a brief inkling to pick the Chieves to cover here, but then I remembered watching the Chargers-Bears game and even with the injuries, I can’t really foresee a scenario in which the Chiefs get a first down against the Bears defense in this one. By the way, for those of us who watched Hard Knocks, it was nice to get a chance to see what Larry Johnson spent his month long holdout doing: Painting…poorly. Did anyone see that picture he was working on of Jim Brown? It looked like he was trying to draw the solar system or something. And how about Dwayne Bowe and Chris Sippio realizing they were cousins after being on the same team for over a week? This never happens to anyone I know. I mean, I found out after working here for a year that hot dog eating phenom Joey Chestnutt’s sister works in my building and I felt like I had had my head buried in the sand…but I’m pretty sure there aren’t any level one blood relatives here…and if there were, and I was introduced to them…I would know within seconds, let alone weeks, that we were “kin,” as they say in the South. My point? Bears, 24-7. (Defensive TD for KC on a SexyRexy INT/fumble/bedwetting)

Washington (+7) @ Philadelphia I’m sticking to my guns on this one. This is a game the Redskins lose. Until further notice (and the Redskins should feel free to serve that notice at their earliest convenience) the Eagles just have a major mental advantage over the Skins—they know they will beat them and the Skins don’t think they can win. The Eagles have won eight of the last ten meetings, and the two wins the Skins have notched are “suspect” at best. Win #1 is the Sunday night game from ’05 where Terrell Owens had just been suspended. The game was at FedEx (I was there) and the Eagles were reeling from the sort of personality turmoil that is rare in sports but is commonplace when dealing with T.O. That game is a little suspect. Not this one though: The other W came in week 17 of that same year, when Mike McMahon started at QB for the Eagles (until he got benched late for Koy F’ing Detmer…dagger), Ryan Moats was at RB and half of their defense was injured or golfing…the Eagles were 6-9 and playing for nothing and the Skins were playing for their playoff lives for the first time since I was in high school…and it was still a nail-biter until Sean Taylor sealed it with a TD. I like the Eagles offense to find its stride, the Redskins offense to continue to struggle to score TDs and a final of 31-16 Eagles. And hey—Coach Williams…can I call you Gregggggggggg? Thanks. Could you do me a solid and start Shawn Springs this week? Here’s the thing: I think “skill level” should be at least part of the criteria for determining “starters.” Sound good? Tits. Ok, stay black.

The Redskins are going to lose this game, and that is a tragedy. But they will lose because they have no offense, they have no passing game…and God(ell) was watching.


Minnesota @ Detroit (-3.5) - Detroit! Hot! Sexy! Also, still run by Matt Millen. Minnesota. Solid. Boring. Solid. And more boring. Except for that nifty Peterson fellow. Vikings edge the number.

San Diego @ New England (-4) - The Belichick-era Patriots have been exceptional at either blocking out distractions or using them to their advantage, jujitsu-style. They’ve not ever had to handle one that directly impacted their coach as much as this week’s cheating conflagration, though. The Bolts would appear to have some real advantages in this one – in addition to the scandal engulfing the New England front office and coaching staff, there’s real anger in the San Diego locker room after the Pats’ field-stomping playoff win. All systems seem to point to a Charger upset…until you remember that it’s Belichick versus Turner. The Pats’ head man could actually tell Norv the play calls in advance and I’d still put my money on Brady and the boys. Patriots by 10.

Washington @ Philadelphia (-7) - I was distracted last week when my daughter started kindergarten – I have no earthly clue how Andy Reid can concentrate on his job right now. I’m can’t believe he green-lighted the early retirement gift package the Iggles’ special teams offered Brett Favre and the Packers in Week One. Meanwhile, the Skins ground out a 16-13 overtimer against Miami in their opener. Joe Bugel remains confused, but this time he’s trying to figure out what everyone’s got against heroines – he loves both Harriet Tubman and Wonder Woman.

I’m almost ready to believe in the Skins. Almost, but not quite. Philly covers.


Saints @ Bucs (+3.5) - Both of these teams lost last week by significant margins to teams who were recent Super Bowl participants and picked to win their respective divisions. So, this should be a close game, right? Umm, no. The Saints are good and the Bucs, well, let’s just say that that they should be happy they don’t play in the AFC. They’d undoubtedly be the worst team the entire conference. As it stands now, the Bucs may not even be the worst team in their own division. In other news, I’m starting to come around on the whole Mike Vick thing. He seems like a nice enough fellow and all. As for this game, I have a distinct feeling it’s going to look a whole lot more like the second meeting between these two teams last year (A blowout victory for N.O. featuring Saints receivers running open and free all over the secondary) then the first (A close game clinched by Reggie Bush’s first NFL TD, a punt return TD). To be honest, depending on the way tomorrow’s Florida-Tennessee game goes I may not even care if the Bucs even show up come Sunday afternoon. Saints 31- 10

Oakland @ Denver (-10) - I really enjoyed the player ranking column that Geoff and Jerry ran earlier this week. I was stuck in training at the time but managed to read it and decided to add a few guys I thought also deserved mention. Nnamdi Asomugha was one of these guys. He’s as a good a corner as there is in the NFL right now. You know who I never even thought to mention? Champ Bailey. Sure, he’s good. Just not nearly as good as his reputation would lead you to believe. I’m calling it right here, Daunte Culpepper beats Champ deep for 6 at least once on Sunday. Book it. When you’re swimming around in piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck on Monday morning, remember to send me a thank you card. Something like this would be nice.

Anyway, I’m feeling the Raiders covering here. I’m also feeling like my herpes is about to flair up. Tennessee week always does this to me. Broncos 24- Oakland 20

Seattle @ Arizona (+3) - Has anybody actually figured out who Matt Leinart hangs out with on the Cardinals? I guess maybe Deuce Lutui. He seems fun enough and he went to USC with Leinart so I could see that. However, we all know you can only hang out with fat, sweaty guys for so long before they begin to stink like old bacon left out in the sun and that doesn’t exactly attract the ladies. Well, ladies out of Tennessee that is. I guess I’m talking about this because I have a real hard time picturing Leinart chilling out with Boldin, Fitzgerald and Edgerrin James and because this game isn’t very intriguing. Patrick Kerney’s gonna earn some of that big signing bonus this weekend against the traditionally awful Cardinal O-Line. Will he be worth all that money? Not a chance. Will he earn half his sacks this season in two games against the Cardinals? You betcha. Take Seattle here and throw some extra money on Shaun Alexander scoring at least two TDs while you’re at it. Seattle 27- 13

Seriously...did anyone other than me read all that?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Week 1: Well, That Certainly Looks Like a Lot of Words

Week One of the 2007-8 NFL Campaign is upon us, and the annual event that has become a yearly tradition at the Wheelhouse will return again to bring joy, sexual arousal and wheelbarrows of belly laughs to the clamoring masses. Yes, it's the weekly NFL picks column where we pick the NFL games (against the spread, like real men) poorly. However, this year, there's a new wrinkle. In the coming weeks, the mental giants who have lo' the many years brought you Jerry's Wheelhouse, Drunk & Stupid and Gheorghe: The Blog will be aggregating our efforts to bring you one all encompassing study in cyber-mediocrity. Our yet to officially be announced new venture will probably launch later this month or possibly in early October...and will be a fancier version of our current respective efforts with some new elitist twists and more overall content. I know--this is kind of like the AFL-NFL merger and Smith meeting up with Wesson all in one. All right. Well, in honor of this informal announcement of a soon to be formalized announcement, the men who will bring you said new site have gotten together to provide a group efforted week one pick'em opus. Each respective contributor picked his favorite squadron's game (for your reference Geoff-Skins, Whit-Skins, rob-Skins, TJ - Jets, Jerry - Giants, Mark - Bucs), plus two others. I know...I've got wood too... Enjoy.


Pittsburgh (-4.5) at Cleveland

Tradition. Fat mustachioed fans. Two "classy" coaches. Clouds.

Shrinking cities. Three yard off-tackle runs. Unusual color schemes.

Two teams that "flat-out don't like each other." Yup, this game has it all, and then some.

If somebody asked me to sum up the difference in media coverage between foreign and American sports, I might say that the CBS broadcast of this heated rivalry is guaranteed to feature some sort of QB comparison graphic that says, "Roethlisberger with Fryes."

Prediction: The Fryes will be soggy, the Berger will be well-done, the bun won't even have sesame seeds, and Willie Parker will provide more than enough shake to easily cover the spread. Then Romeo Crenell will eat all of them in an effort to close the 10 fanny-pack gap that his old buddy Charlie Weis has opened up on him.

Carolina (+1) at St. Louis

Last week I dined with Rams owner, Georgia Frontiere, at a lovely little bistro overlooking the Mississippi that came recommended by none other than Dick Vermeil. What a lovely setting and what a lovely woman. Her homespun tales of football and show business nearly had me forgetting about the scrumptious spiced lamb shanks and the delectable pumpkin risotto. After the meal we sipped a knee-buckling good glass of Da Silva's Vintage Port 1865, which is a personal favorite of former commissioner, Paul Tagliabue. Frontiere mentioned to me how excited she was about the upcoming season and how she thinks this is the best squad she's had since the Vermeil-era. She seemed particularly taken by rookie RB, Brian Leonard, as she referenced his versatility, professionalism, and rugged masculinity on several occasions.

Who will win? I don't know. I don't know very much about football.

It's difficult to even think about such a violent game after such a tranquil meal. All I know is, good luck, Men of Linehan. This neutral observer will be hoping the Ram-Men can cast one more ray of sunshine through the misty autumn clouds of this fine woman's life.


Giants (+6) at Dallas

Woody Paige on the Giants: "I don't like this team, I don't like the quarterback, and I really don't like Tom Coughlin."

Some preview of this game : "Giants at Cowboys. Division rivals split the 2006 series, but N.Y. is headed south, while Dallas is on the way up." (seriously, that's the whole thing and it came from a professional website)

Some terrible writer on claimed there are 24 QBs he'd rather have over Eli Manning, including Batch, Huard, Garcia, Leinart, Smith, and Leftwich.

I haven't seen a team, (bear in mind a team that has made consecutive playoff appearances), that has been so thoroughly blasted in the media in such a vapidly superficial way. No doubt, the Giants have some concerns, most notably a dreadful secondary, but everything you hear is Barber, Coughlin, Manning stinks. Not much meat on that bone. Now I have a pretty healthy dislike for Coughlin and I think he's a pretty terrible coach, but the Giants have shown they can win games with him stomping around like a hyper-active 60 year old toddler on the sidelines.

Something that a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that the Giants have been pretty good when they're relatively healthy. In 2005 they went 11-5 and won the division. In 2006, they started 6-2, led the Bears at home on Sunday night before going on to completely self-destruct. But they still made the playoffs at 8-8, which is kind of a joke. Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL and nobody gives a damn if your guys are hurt, so I won't be whining about them, but they should be a consideration when projecting a team's prospects for the following year. Dallas had virtually no injuries last year and managed to make the playoffs.

For what it's worth, Eli has looked fantastic in the pre-season, sharp, accurate, composed. He's going to get better. And he hasn't been that bad. I'm constantly amazed by the amount of stick Eli takes in the media, especially versus other young QBs. You hear people gush about Alex Smith and Matt Leinart. I even heard somebody say "We know Tavaris Jackson is a good QB…" although that was probably an isolated comment. Eli is better than those guys. He really is. He's not a great player right now by any means, but he's pretty decent and he's still going to improve. Barring massive injuries, the Giants are going to have a good offense this year. The defense will have some problems and is going to lose their share of battles, but they also have a good pass rush and the ability to counteract a negative series of plays by getting pressure on the QB. I don't like this Giants team that much, but they're a lot better than they're getting credit for. Giants.


Atlanta @ Minnesota (-3)

A year ago the Vikings were the ones groin-deep in controversy, as the final dust was settling on Freddie Smoot and his fellow nautical enthusiasts. A year later Smoot's in Redskins camp while Michael Vick is headed to federal prison (some might say a comparable fate), and it's the Falcons who are looking at a long rebuilding season. Word on the street is that Chris Chandler is mulling a comeback, despite the fact that it could result in serious head injuries for him and me. The fact that I'm kidding and yet he might be the Falcons' best good chance against Tarvaris Jackson spells very bad newz for Atlanta. Vikes 23, Falcons 3.

Detroit @ Oakland (-1.5)

Some years ago we were throwing back a few pints in a pub in San Francisco's Financial District. A woman who appeared to have gone to U. of Houston approached the group and bought us a drink. She volunteered that she was from "the worst city in the United States"; several locals instantly guessed Oakland. Nope, it was Detroit. Winner. Lions 27, Raiders 13.

Miami @ Washington (-3)

Super Bowl XVII this ain't. The decent Dolphins D ain't the Killer B's; same goes for the albeit-improved Skins' defense as compared to Butz, Milot, Manley, & Co. Ronnie Brown has been only marginally better than the forgettable Andra Franklin, and Portis & Betts (together they're Bettis?) still don't stack up to Riggo. But most importantly, Trent & Jason aren't even Woodley & Theismann, and boy, is that saying something. This game will be the first bleeding eyesore of the season. Enjoy. Redskins 9, Dolphins 7.


Kansas City @ Houston (-3)

Huard versus Schaub. Not exactly Manning versus Brady. The Texans have jumped ugly on unsuspecting teams in a handful of their season openers*, and the fabled HBO Curse has crippled lesser teams than the Chiefs. Okay, the curse has crippled teams with lesser head coaches. Strike that. The curse has crippled teams with fewer words in the names of their home towns. Noted prognosticator T. Geofferson Burrrrrr whiffed on the Kansas City gridders last season, but he wouldn’t be wrong in 2007 by taking the under on 7 wins. Texans cover the number.

* - Note: this may be purely anecdotal and not necessarily backed by any actual facts.

Most important DNP: Brodie Croyle, because putting him on the field all but assures an injury, and his comely wife won’t have that.

Denver @ Buffalo (+3)

I’ve paid next to zero attention to either of these teams during the preseason, so I know just about nothing about their prospects. I was gonna go with the Bills because I like Marshawn Lynch’s name, but then Denver went and picked up Simeon Rice to counter Buffalo’s naming advantage. In actual fact, I don’t think the Bills will be very good, and I’m a sucker for Mike Shanahan. Broncos’ long-standing grudge against the Bills’ namesake will prove decisive in this one. Denver covers on the road.

Most important DNP: Jake Plummer. Natch.

Miami @ Washington (-3)

The Dolphins and Skins meet in a Super Bowl rubber match, with Garo Yepremian and Mike Bass on tap to re-enact the most awkward pass in Washington history – well, next to Larry Craig’s incomplete effort. Cam Cameron’s new-agey coaching theories and cutting-edge use of the same first and last name has Joe Gibbs and his geriatric staff in a complete tizzy in the days before the game. Joe Bugel’s paralyzed with indecision, trying desperately to figure out whether to punch Cameron in the neck or hit Al Saunders in the mouth. Meanwhile, Clinton Portis just realized that he’s paid to play football and that his backup may in fact be a fairly adept running back. Look for a big game from No. 26, right up until he bruises his shin trying to tackle Mike Wise. Dolphins win outright.

Most important DNP: Mark Brunell, because if he’s called on to enter the game, emergency rooms throughout the National Capital Region will experience a marked spike in laceration injuries from frustrated Skins fans putting their fists through their television screens.


Dolphins +3 @ Redskins

Number of snaps the Skins starting offense took as a complete unit this preseason: Zero. Pete Kendall and Chris Samuels will be taking their first live snap next to each other on Sunday at FedEx. That said, the Redskins preseason performance this year looked far different compared to last year's Spurrier-esque showing (who loses a preseason game 41-0...seriously?). At the least this iteration looked…what’s the word? Ah yes, competitive…and at it’s best, their defense looked like it might be an elite level unit again. But come Sunday, one wonders if Jason Campbell will be nervous in his first season opener as "the man"? He shouldn't be--he started seven games last year. But Greg told me I'd be an idiot to be nervous at my wedding, and yet I still was while waiting for the ceremony to go figure. I've hedged and equivocated quite a bit, but I’m optimistic about this Skins team--which means I think they could be at or above .500 heading into December with at least a chance to do something…

And then there's the Phins: They suck. Their offensive line is ghastly, Trent Green is the "answer" only if the question is "Who has two thumbs, is 37 and loves a good gyro?" and their vaunted defense is aging like a fine milk. I like the Skins 24-14.

Saints +6 @ Indianapolis

On a recent flight, I finished reading the vomit bag and the passenger safety guide (showing pictures of people smiling calmly whilst using their seat cushion as a flotation device juxtaposed against a flaming water bound aircraft in the background) and was ultimately relegated to reading American Airlines in flight magazine. It featured a cover story on Drew Brees that delved into every aspect of his life, save for the interesting ones (What’s that thing on his face? Why Purdue? When’s the last time you took the old lady to Poundtown, USA? Ever get her to let you go five-hole?). Apparently Drew LOVES New Orleans—can’t f*cking get enough of it. He loves the restaurants, the people, pouring resources into the local economy, and using small pieces of his vital organs to plug holes in the levees. But, Bourbon Street is “not for him.” What a douchenozzle. I actually like the Saints in this one from a “Indy letdown” perspective, even though I think New Orleans misses the postseason this year and the Colts again get double-digit victories. 26-24, Saints.

Philadelphia -6 @ Green Bay

How many times in the last 10 seasons have the Packers been a 6 point dog at Lambeau? I say…infrequently… And, you really have to give it the media for standing strong on their Favre-love. The blogsphere/counterculture mocking of the media for the unabashed Favre fellatio has been going strong for 4 years now, and the talking heads are still showing no sign of relenting. I’ve personally tired of it and am conceding victory. Favre is “great” and “everything that’s right with America” and “plays football the way it’s meant to be played” and “has a penis so large they could project a drive in movie on it” and “makes minorities, old people and puppies smile with his greatitude” and “throws tight spirals of honeysuckle and magic into the hearts of all ruddy faced children.” Eagles, 38-9.


New England @ NY JETS (+6.5)

Not the way I want the Jetropolitans season to open, against everyone's Super Bowl sweetheart New England. It's the cougar-hunting, hooded sweatshirt-wearing Mentor against The Mangenius. Hey, Bill, you know who really pulls off the hooded look?
This guy.

Mangenius did get the cameo on the penultimate Sopranos episode, so his Q rating is off the cha
rts. HOWEVAH, I have serious concerns about the Jets offensive line, and fear Brady and his new brand of offensive weapons will dismantle the Jets secondary. I am very sad to see NW released Raccon Eyes Caldwell, because the close-ups of him in the NE/San Diego playoff game last year were priceless. He looked more clueless than Cliff Clavin on Jeopardy.

Enough delaying the obvious - the Jets are starting the season 0-1 (and failing to cover). Man do the Patriots drive me crazy.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:

The Patriots are 7-1-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings.

Baltimore @ CINCINNATI (-2.5)

Well lucky me, I get both Monday night games this week. And lucky for you, the viewer, you get a Joe Theismann-less booth for the entire year. I saw Joe on the MASN simulcast of the John Riggins show yesterday, and let me just say, I’m not gonna miss him in the least. Then I heard he was discussing prostates on the Junkies this morning. Is that awful male version of The View still around, the one with AC Slater and Danny Bonaduce? If so, Joe should be a regular. What does Joe have to do with the Ravens/Bengals game? Absolutely nothing at all.

The actual game...well, I despise Brian Billick, in a LaRussian sort of way. I am convinced Steve McNair will turn to dust on the field this year, Friz Freleng-style. Dust that Devard Darling will try to snort mid-play. Look, Troy Smith made the roster - he spends his nights prank calling Eric Crouch and Jason White. All these unconnected statements simply lead to me taking Carson Palmer and the Bengals (and look, I waited all the way 'til the end to mention that Palmer is on my fantasy team). Shayne Graham boots a 45 yarder as time expires for the cover.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:

The home team is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings.

Arizona @ SAN FRANCISCO (-3)

The booth for this game - Mike and Mike...and Mike. Awesome. Can't get enough of those guys. Greenberg, Golic and Ditka for three plus hours. Alex Smith wants everyone know he does not have small hands and he most definitely does not smell like cabbage. Matt Leinart would like to be the white version of procreation machine Travis Henry. Everyone seems to think Arizona will be good this year, but even if they score 30 a game their defense blows. At least I say it does - I have nether the time nor the energy to look up actual stats. I'm taking San Fran by at least a touchdown in this game, mainly because Dennis just sent me this Rotoworld "Gem of the Day": According to the San Francisco Chronicle, TE Vernon Davis is rumored to have dated Serena Williams.

It's just a rumor of course, but that potential genetic combination is pretty amazing. Boy or girl the kid would probably be wearing spandex, running a 4.4 40-yard dash and bench pressing 350 pounds by the second grade. We don't normally play cupid here at
Rotoworld, but this really needs to happen.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue:

The 49ers are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 MNF games.


Tennesee @ Jacksonville (-7)

By now most of you have read that former Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich was "euphoric" when he learned of his release from Jacksonville late last week. Most have assumed this is b/c of his often rocky relationship with his former axe-wielding, suit wearing maniac meathead of a coach, Jack Del Rio. While this is a solid theory, I have it on good authority that the real reason for Leftwich's exultation was that he had recently caught a glimpse of Reggie Nelson's penis in the locker room and said penis was so monstrous in size that it had been haunting Leftwich's dreams ever since. While cutting Leftwich came as a surprise to most, I can't see how it matters much come Sunday, since Tennessee has exactly one offensive skill position player who is worth a shit in Vince Young. The Jacksonville defense is a juggernaut built to stop the Colts offense so I'm having a tough time imagining them struggling to contain the likes of LenDale White & Bo Scaife. Sorry Titans fans, Yancey Thigpen isn't walking through that door. Even if he did, his chronic case of ass herpes would render him largely ineffective.

19-7 Jags.

Tampa Bay @ Seattle (-6)

I'd like to optimistic about Tampa's chances this year. However, based on last year's prediction it's safe to say I don't have a goddamn clue what I'm talking about. Here's what I do know:
Cadillac Williams is perpetually banged up, Michael Clayton isn't starting and Jeff Garcia is nailing a Playboy Playmate despite the fact that he's (a) bald and (b) wears a do rag underneath his helmet. Life ain't fair kids.

Don't believe me? Go ask David Boston about his recent experience with the fine folks at the Tampa Police Department.

Seattle is back after an injury plagued post Super Bowl season and looks scary good on offense once again with Deion Branch acclimated to the West Coast Offense and Shaun Alexander healthy. Additionally, FB Leonard Weaver will supply the offense with an additional pass catching dimension out of the backfield
that Mack Strong never could, due to splitting time between Seattle and Vivid Video. (Actually, that's probably not true at all but Weaver and I went to the same high school. Go Scorpions!). Either way, Seattle better be ready to put some points on the board with regularity this year because I don't see how their defense stops any competent offense unless they figure out a way to clone Lofa Tatupu 10 times over. Luckily enough for Seattle, they're playing the Bucs who haven't had a competent offense since Doug Williams was banging cocktail waitresses two at a time in Ybor City.

31-17 Seahawks.

Chicago @ San Diego (-5.5)

Has the statute of limitations on referring to San Diego as "whale's vagina"
in an NFL picks column run out? God I hope so. Seriously, we get it. It's from Anchorman and Anchorman is funny. You know what else is funny? Watching Rex Grossman try to handle the QB-Center exchange. How did Alex Smith get stuck with the small hands label with Grossman running around fumbling like a pre-Coughlin era Tiki Barber? God only knows. Luckily for you, God's not the only person who knows that Rex spent last night pissing himself at the thought of Shawne Merriman coming off the edge unmolested.

How pathetic of a QB do you have to be replaced by a guy who once injured himself tripping over his dog whilst heavily overserved? Well, we're about find out. The over/under on Griese replacing Rex is Week 6*. I'll take the under, thank you. As for this game, Norv Turner could've probably guided Team USA to a semifinal loss to Puerto Rico in last week's Tournament of the Americas but even he won't be able to fuck this game up. Have no fear AFC fans, he'll make sure he takes care of sabotaging this Charger team eventually. If I had to guess, I'd say somewhere around Week 11. The nauseating Super Bowl hangover begins tonight Chicago. Have fun with that.

* May be completely untrue.

27-10 Chargers.

Okay fellas...candlesticks always make a nice gift. Let's get two...