It's 888 Miles to Chicago...
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Wait, it’s Week 7 already?  And it’s Thursday?  Man, this “time flies” thing is really overrated.  Guess it’s time for another round of NFL Picks...man...wait...put on a happy face for the guests...Yay!  NFL Picks!!  Another week of exciting NFL action....man, too cheery...just read the picks...

Last week at this time, in this very blog, it was stated that there would be 2 blog posts this week…and again that has not happened.  But Josh, you promised…you lied to us…

“No I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD.”

Ah, feel much better now…

After last week…what with Adrian Peterson making the Bears look like a high school team…and my Fantasy teams pulling a 0-3…well, some morbid thoughts ran through my head.  Things like…

“Football sucks…what channel is rugby on?”

“Whoever invented fantasy sports…you just made the list!”

“Jerious Norwood, what were you thinking?  You pick this week to break a long TD run?  You’re on the list as well.”

“Ah well, the Bears got creamed, at least I have Adrian Peterson on my fantasy team…wait, what?  In one league I was playing against him!  And even though I had him in another league, I still lost?  That’s it, I quit.”

“Yes!! Hester saves the day again!!  Crap!  Peterson kills us again!!”

That’s just a brief run down of the many thoughts that went through my head…fun weekend.  My hope is this weekend will hold some form of joy for me…just not sure what it might be….

Let’s just get to the picks…

(You see, Blues Brothers clips just make the world a happier place....ah, I am now at peace....until the Bears game kicks off...)

Baltimore at Buffalo

This past weekend was the first time I got to experience the joy of the DirectTV Redzone channel.  Very strange way to watch football, you get to see a little of just about every game…but not enough to really feel the flow of the game.  It’s like fast forwarding through the dialog in a porn movie, you just don’t get a true sense of the characters.

Wait, bad example.

No, really what it’s like is watching only the final episode of every season of the Sopranos.  You know how everything ends, and you have an idea about the whole of the game…but you don’t have a real sense of who anyone is, and you’re not sucked into the show.  That’s how I felt for most of the day Sunday…just out of the flow of the games…

Except for one…the Baltimore game.

The reason?  Kyle Boller.  Here’s the game in a nutshell…

Ravens D gets a turnover…Ravens O, despite great field position, can’t do anything….Matt Stover Field Goal.

Repeat until sick.

To shake things up, ask Boller to force one deep…which leads to a Ravens turn over.  Just an ugly offense right now.

Luckily, the Ravens have run into a string of teams that have even more problems…and the trend continues this week.  For although the Bills show signs of life…the fact of the matter is they are still coached by Mr. Jauron, and therefore can never be trusted.

Ravens win on the strength of FGs and Turnovers…the Bills meanwhile, flip flop on who the QB will be, stunting the development of the offense, and leading to a short tenure for their coaching staff.

New England at Miami

Back in high school, I was in charge of mowing the lawn.  At the time we had quite a large suburban lawn…great for playing baseball, football, soccer, or any other game you could think of, and many you can’t.  The yard was big enough that there was a ball field area, and space for a modest above ground pool.  Basically, my dad got it at a garage sale…an origin shared with about half the things in our house.  Another such garage sale find, were 3 riding lawn mowers…2 that were very low end, and didn’t work…and one big one…the type of riding lawn mower everyone pictures.  It was the type of riding lawn mower that made a teen longing to drive a car…look forward to mowing the lawn.

Anyway, one Saturday afternoon, I was out mowing the lawn…when out of the corner of my eye, I saw my Dad, sister and brothers huddled around one of the broken mowers.  After 4 or 5 more circles…I was greeted by the site of my sister racing towards me on the other mower!  Not to help mind you, the blade was removed…but rather, my Dad had just made a low budget go-cart.

Well, I lifted the blade on my mower and a race around the yard started.  After soundly beating my sister in a lap around the yard, my brother Jake wanted a turn.  But he didn’t want to drive the smaller go-cart style mower…he wanted MY mower.  I launched into a list of reasons why he shouldn’t drive the big mower…it was too big for him, too powerful, there was still a blade attached…but this just made him more resolute on driving it.  Finally, my Dad said, “Josh, let him drive it.”

Jake hoped on, and headed off into the yard…making a big sweeping circle…his face frozen in a huge grin.  That is until he came out of his turn, and realized he was headed right at the pool!!  His face turned to panic, I ran screaming “Jake turn! Jake Stop! Jake do something!”  All this accomplished was a larger amount of panic…

And then he collided with the pool.  Water shot up 8 feet into the air, and then proceeded to gush out the massive hole in the side of the pool…Jake still aboard a mower going full steam ahead, panicked.  I reached the mower, just as it started to lurked forward again, turned it of, and yanked it back out of the growing hole in the pool.  Then the words came out of my mouth…

“I told you it was too much mower for you to handle.”

One could reason that this game is a trap game for the Pats…big win over the Boys, looming game with the Colts…but let’s be honest….

The Pats are too much mower for the Dolphins.

The Patriot Machine keeps on chuggin’ along with a win over the hapless Fins.  Belicheck calls Steve Spurrier for Running up the Score advice, and proper etiquette.  The Ole’ Ball Coach explains the simple joys of beating up on inferior teams, and Bill decides he’s right and lays 50 on the Phins.

Arizona at Washington

If it wasn’t already apparent that being the Cardinals quarterback was a doomed position…lets do a quick recap…

Matt Leinart…the Future

Whoops

Leinart-Warner…the Platoon

Ouch

Warner… the 2nd coming of Warner?

Ouch

Tim Rattay?

Glad to have you back Tim, been a long time.  Make yourself comfortable…but not too comfy, you never know what might happen next….

…2 words…Jeff George!  Or maybe…Tim “HGH” Couch!  Or (please, god, please) Rex Grossman!!

Redskins have a blast teeing off on Rattay as he hurriedly is trying to remember what play was just called…Washington gets a win, and the Cardinals sink back to their normal floundering level.

San Francisco at NY Giants

Here’s all you need to know about the Niners…

They have no talent on the outside…concentrate all you energy to getting up field and into the backfield.  Once back there, level the guy with the ball…whether it’s Gore or Dilfer…just put him on the turf.  Repeat.

Unfortunately for San Francisco…the Giants have the horses to do that…it’s going to be a long day in the meadowlands for the jet lagged 49ers.

G-men pound the Niners into submission.  The city of San Francisco slips into a deep sleep…as visions of sugar plums, WRs named Rice, and QBs named Montana dance in their heads.

Tennessee at Houston

Every beer drinker has a “Beer Scale” in their head.  You have groupings of beers of equivalent value…everyone’s scale is a little different, but there are some things that are universal…

Everyone knows the beers that are classified as “College Beers”…you might have a different name for this group…but it is a group of beers that survive in the market because they are cheap.  Beers such as Hamms, Old Milwaukee, Natural Light, Rainer…these are beers that you don’t search out…they sort of just find you.

Back in College, my roommate Pat had a thing for Heineken.  It was a special treat for him to buy a 6 pack for a big game, or big celebration…or just because he found some extra cash in the couch cushions.

At the same time, we were living in a 4 bedroom apartment…that have about 9 regular occupants…4 that were paying rent, and several groupies.  There were a few girlfriends….and then just a couple of friends or acquaintances that seemed to always be there.  One such groupie was a guy by the name of Eugene.

Eugene was a bass player who had a “band” with my roommate Chris…what this meant is they would sit in Chris’ room and play a couple of Counting Crows songs over and over.  He was also a massive mooch.  One night he was over, and helped himself to Pat’s stash of Heineken.  After he drank 5 of the 6 that were in the fridge…Pat rounded the corner and discovered the crime.  Much yelling ensued…and Eugene swore to replace the beer he drank.

A few days later, Eugene showed up with a paper sack, and deposited in the fridge a 6-pack of Natural Light.  He then had the balls to turn to Pat and say, “there you go, replaced your beer.”

The kicker to the story?  Eugene drank the Natty light as well.

Guess what, the Titans are replacing a dynamic, running QB with….Kerry Collins.  Or as he will forever be known from this day forth…Natty Light.

Despite Andre Johnson still being absent, the Texans overcome the absence of their injured star, and get a win over the Young-less Titans.  Jeff Fisher starts making phone calls to see if he can locate some more Heineken…er…a better backup QB.

Atlanta at New Orleans

Things I learned watching the Sunday night game:

Ah, so Drew Brees is still alive!

You mean Colston can catch?

Seems the Saints still have a little life left in them.

Things I learned watching the Monday night game:

Wait, Atlanta still has a football team?  Wow, good for them.

The Saints still have a LONG road back to being a respectable team…but the nice thing is, they play in the NFC.  8-8 might just get you a Wild Card spot.  They were able to make hay against a solid Hawks defense playing at home…no small task.  That bodes very well for the rest of the season.

The Saints go Marching on, and get a win in the Big Easy over the Atlanta Football club.  Looking to spark the club, the Falcons go retro wearing the old red jerseys and helmets…and starting Gerald Riggs and Steve Bartowski.

Tampa Bay at Detroit

One train of thought goes…

Rod Marenelli will give Mike Martz a full run down of the Tampa D, and how to best attack not only the scheme but the personnel.

But on the other hand…

Monte Kiffin is Obi-Wan to Rod’s Luke…so you get the feeling he has a few tricks still up his sleeves.

That, and there is the whole thing about the Lions being turnover prone, and the Tampa D being good at creating turnovers.  And as we learned last week…turnovers are the great equalizers.

The Bucs keelhaul the Lions.  Kitna can be seen looking to the heavens for answers after he throws another red zone pick…but the answer to his question is, “No, Jon, I already used up all the magic juice on Warner for those couple of years.”

Kansas City at Oakland

Back in college, my cousin and I did a road trip to New York to see the David Letterman show…

Now this was our first time to NYC, so we did as many of the sight seeing things as we could on our meager budget.  Did a boat tour around Manhattan, wandered around Time Square, ate at the Carnegie Deli, went inside the Empire State Building, and finally took a walk over to Central Park…

My cousin made a bee line for a bathroom...and I wandered over to look at the pond.  As I was standing there, looking out over the park...a jogger ran up and stopped maybe 5 feet away...he saw me, and gave a little...

“Hey”

I gave the casual nod, and said “Hey” right back, only slightly glancing at him.  We stood there at the pond for a good 10 minutes...and then I turned and walked away.  After I had gotten a good 20 feet from the pond and the jogger...my cousin came running up saying...

“Dude, that’s Steve Guttenberg!”

Turning back around, to where the jogger was...

“No it’s...crap, that is Steve Guttenberg!”

But he had already started to make his way off to another section of the park.  Being the good tourists that we were, we still snapped a quick picture...one that is so poor that I’ve often showed it to people as a joke...”You see this little speck, that’s Steve Guttenberg.”

The moral of the story?  Sometimes you don’t realize who you’re standing next to until it’s too late, but in the end it’s just Steve Guttenberg.

We’re dealing with a couple of Steve Guttenberg sightings in this one...these are 2 teams everyone thought were going to be horrible…but all of a sudden…

… 6 weeks in, and both these teams are playing better than expected.  KC keeps winning games no one expects them too...and the Raiders are winning with defense and the running game.

While they are better than expected, in the end, they’re still Steve Guttenberg...look at it this way Raiders and Chiefs fans...if you were in the NFC you would be locks for the playoffs.  In the AFC, you’re still on the outside looking in right now.

The Raiders D is the difference in this game.  In a battle of long time rivals...the D and home turf give enough of an edge.  Oakland takes one from KC...and Herm Edwards hordes his time outs just in case he needs them next week.

NY Jets at Cincinnati

Can we officially start referring to them as the Bungles again?

Their Defense is like watching a drunk guy playing tetherball…there’s balls flying everywhere…there is no coordination…anyone can score…and in the end there is a strong chance someone is getting strangled.  And yes, that was a crack about the arrest record.

On the other side of the ball…the “high flying offense” has been grounded the last few games.  Rudi Johnson has been hurt, and Chad Johnson and Palmer are having a spat.  Ah, it’s a great time to be a Cincy fan!

Meanwhile, the Jets have a full on QB controversy.  Although, really it shouldn’t even be an argument.  Clemens has looked good and moved the offense…and Pennington has…well…not.

If Kellen plays…the Jets have a shot in this one.  But with both teams struggling, let’s go with the home team with the extra fire power.  Bengals get a much needed win…and for one day, Ocho Cinco talks to Palmer.

Chicago at Philadelphia

My daughter and I were having dinner the other night at a café.  There were a few other people in there, but it was pretty empty.  While she was eating, we were playing a game…one of her own invention.

She would say, “Do you have eyes?”  And I would say “Yes, I do” and point to my eyes.

She was having a lot of fun, and getting really excited that I was playing along, and being goofy.  When my daughter gets excited, her volume level tends to go up…a trait she inherited from her dad…a long with a voice that can hit a good loud volume.

She made it through the normal body parts and then broke out the “Do you have a but?” And I said yes…and then even louder she asked…

“Do you have a Vulva?”

But then she answered her own question with a quick…”No, you have a peanut!”  At least that’s how it sounds when she says it.

I quickly glanced around a little embarrassed…until I realized that if anyone did hear, they didn’t care.

That sums up my feelings on the Bears this past week…it was embarrassing to watch Peterson cut through them with ease…and I was fully expecting to be harassed by everyone…until I realized, they’ve already soiled themselves so thoroughly, that it’s not a shock to hear about their peanut.

That being said, the Eagles are the team that always screws my picks…so in that spirit…

Bears steal a win in Philly.  McNabb starts deflecting rumors about coming to Chicago…and Lovie Smith states firmly, “we’re sticking with Griese.  Donovan is welcome to come in as a backup QB, but Brian is our starter.”

St. Louis at Seattle

Watching the Sunday night game last week, it was hard to think of a team that played worse than the Hawks did that night.

But then the highlights of the Rams game came on…and suddenly it was clear what the word “pitiful” meant.

Hawks get the win at home…and this one is not going to be pretty.  And even with how bad they played on Sunday, with the Cardinals and Niners losing, this would mean the Hawks would have sole possession of first in the West.  Yeah, 8-8 is winning this division again.

Minnesota at Dallas

The good news for Dallas?  There is no way on Earth, Mars, Space or Endor that Tarvaris Jackson throws for 388 and 5 TDs on them.

The bad news?  There’s this guy named Peterson and he’s done some nifty running against teams from Texas in his career…225 yards in his freshman year to be exact….

Well, he’s in his freshman year of the NFL, can he duplicate the performance?

Nah.  Dallas bottles up Peterson, finds plenty of ways to score against the Vikes.  The Boys assert their dominance over the NFC with an easy victory over Minnesota.

Pittsburgh at Denver

Isn’t it great when stats make things easy for us?

Denver is dead last in rush defense…that would be 32nd for those that don’t know.

The Steelers are 2nd in rushing offense.

Um, anyone want to guess what the game plan is going to be?  Anyone?  Bueller?

The Steelers run right through the Broncos…and Shanahan doesn’t even get a chance to pull his little time out maneuver, as this one will be over at half time.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Let me pause for a moment to say, bravo Jimmy Kimmel, bravo.  You got the chance to say what the rest of America wishes it could to those boneheads in the booth…and to ESPN as well.  ESPN, if you’re going to insist on parading celebs through the booth, to the detriment of the game, you’re going to have to put up with the occasional screw up like this one.  And Jimmy didn’t say anything wrong, just honest ESPN, just honest.

Now back to the game…

This is a very tempting game to pick Jacksonville in.  Their at home, they’re playing well, and Indy is banged up…but then Indy is coming off the bye.  They are 2-0 the last 2 years after the bye…but the last team they lost to?

Jacksonville in 2004.  Interesting.  And historically, they are only 4-6 after the bye week.  Also not good.

But the Colts have won their last 5 Monday night games…so there is that as well.

In the end, the Colts pull this out.  But unlike last week’s MNF game, this one should be a great game, and one to stay awake for it’s entirety.

What every fan must remember...including yours truly...is this is all supposed to be fun.  Even when your team's season looks like a total wreck, there's always something that can keep you interested.  Whether it is watching an exciting rookie get his feet wet, a unit start to come together...or just the morbid joy of watching a train wreck...there is always something.  Besides, in the end, everybody, needs somebody to love...remember that...

And, as always, you can seek a second opinion with my partner in crime, the one, the only....Dan! 

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