It's 888 Miles to Chicago...
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After a weekend away from the TV...spent instead taking in the college game...well, even this dedicated NFL fan needs a little help for his NFL picks...roll the film!

Ah, homecoming...what a great time.  Lots of tradition, parades, bonfires, speeches, seeing old friends, exploring the old campus, great football.  It's a time to pay a little something back to the institution that gave you that degree you cherish...and all those memories that swim through your head.

Or, if you're like me, it's a chance to sponge off someone else's traditions, see a good football game, and take a drive through the majesty that is New England in the fall.  For those that attend or have attended a school with a lot of homecoming traditions...enjoy them...soak them up.  Illinois State is not a tradition rich school...not big enough to demand one, not small enough to create them, and not old enough to matter...so we had a parade...and that's about it.  But attending the Dartmouth homecoming weekend, it was a lot of fun to partake traditions that have been around for quite awhile.

Plus, Reggie Williams, former Cinicinatti Bengal was being honored as he was being inducted into the College Football hall of fame.  At 53 he made a speech to the Dartmouth Big Green, and promptly told them, "I'm 53 years old, and I can kick the *ss of everyone in this room...the coaches included."  Not a single person in the room doubted him.  Ah football...

All the homecoming, and college atmosphere, got me thinking of all things college...and my mind drifted to some of my favorite college movies...Animal House of course came to mind...but I instead focused on a new classic...Old School.  I'm a massive sucker for all things Will Ferrell...the guy makes me laugh at the drop of a hat.  Anyway, in honor of the Dartmouth homecoming, this will be an Old School flavored set of picks...

Let's get to those picks!!

Detroit at Chicago

"Fill it up again! Fill it up again! Once it hits your lips, it's so good!" - Frank the Tank

While the Bears are filling a beer bong, they play a game like they did last week...and they're filling us fans up with hope again.  The old beer bong of hope has burned us many times, sending us streaking through the streets...but when it hits your lips it's soooo good, you just have to try again.

And there we are Bears fans...that's the question for the week...

Are the Bears back on the right path?  Where does that path lead this season?

Griese seems to be the answer for the offense...at least for the time being.  But what about the play calling?  That last drive looked great, the ball was distributed around...the TEs got a taste which is great to see since Clark and Olsen are 2 of the most talented Bears receivers.  But then it came to light that there was a problem with Griese's radio, so the plays might not of been from the sideline completely.  So does that mean that part of the problem with the Offense is Ron Turner?  Or did it just take a few weeks to get the offense really geared up for Griese?

And what about the defense?  Did they play well last week, or is part of the issue that the Eagles O isn't all that great right now?  We can't win without you guys...

So fill up the beer bong of hope...let's see where it takes us...and if you see my streaking through your neighborhood...well, you'll know what happened...

The Bears exact revenge on the Lions at home.  Griese continues the trend of doing enough to win, and the defense starts playing like the monsters of the Midway, and not the cute lovable furry monsters of the midway.

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

"Honey, Frank the Tank is not coming back, ok? That part of me is over. Water under the bridge. I promise." - Frank the Tank

Marvin Lewis has mutter a similar phrase about his defense every week...and every week...

Well, they end up naked in the back of an SUV asking if KFC is still open.  And yes, I'm referring to on the field, although I'm sure it applies to off the field for this team as well.

The one thing that has to scare Pittsburgh fans is that their defense was exposed last week...their Corners are not good, and they weren't getting to Cutler, and that spells trouble.  This Bengals team will hurt them through the air...

But at the end of the day, the Steelers have an offense to keep pace with the Bengals...especially against their sad defense...it's the old, "who has more bullets".  Right now, the Steelers do.  Pittsburgh gets the win in a high flying battle to the death.  Lewis is seen after the game quietly mutter "Water under the bridge..." while sitting naked in the back of an SUV elbow deep in a bucket of KFC.

Oakland at Tennessee

"Anything? Well, uh I guess I, deep down, am feeling a little confused. I mean, suddenly, you get married, and you're supposed to be this entirely different guy. I don't feel different. I mean, take yesterday for example. We were out at the Olive Garden for dinner, which was lovely. And uh, I happen to look over at a certain point during the meal and see a waitress taking an order, and I found myself wondering what color her underpants might be. Her panties. Uh, odds are they are probably basic white, cotton, underpants. But I sort of think well maybe they're silk panties, maybe it's a thong. Maybe it's something really cool that I don't even know about. You know, and uh, and I started feeling... what? what I thought we were in the trust tree in the nest, were we not?" - Frank the Tank

The trust tree of these 2 teams has sucked me in the last few weeks...keep believing that these teams are silk panties...when in reality they are just regular underwear.

The Raiders got off to a good start, have a strong defense and a good running game (sounds like a team I used to know...) but have not been able to put it all together for long stretches this year.  They win a game they shouldn't...then lose a couple they shouldn't, very frustrating.

The Titans meanwhile are one of those teams I have a man crush on...power running, solid coach, good D and Vince Young.  What needs to be remember, is that this team is doing a lot with a little.  It's a team of overachievers, and so it needs to be taken into account that those teams are still going to lose to the really good teams out there.

Whenever you ask my daughter a question ending with the word "doing"...."How is that diaper doing?"..."How you doing?"

Her response is always the same, "Doing good."

This can get frustrating when you know it's been 2 hours since she last sat on the potty, and yet everytime you ask, "How you doing? You need to sit on the potty?" She always responds with..."Doing good".

And then my wife explained the simplest thing...change the question...

"Do you want my help to sit on the potty?"  Gets a response of "No, I do it."  And gets an even better result.

The question we need to ask about these teams?  Are they playoff teams?  The Titans can make the playoffs..as a Wild Card...the Raiders...they're a year or so away.  But they are headed in the right direction.

The Titans are more than enough to handle the Raiders.  They'll prove that they aren't quite silk panties, but they're a little more than white cotton briefs...maybe something in between...

Cleveland at St. Louis

"Well why don't you give me your number in case anything happens to my wife." - Beanie

Can you see both Scott Linehan and Derek Anderson saying something similar to each other?

Wait, you can't?  Okay, let me explain....

Derek Anderson has come out of no where to revive the Browns.  Turning them from the most boring team to watch, to one of the most enjoyable.  They seem to be in every game, and even gave the Patriots a minor scare.  But yet, his time in Cleveland is limited.  Why?  Golden Boy Quinn is sitting on the bench waiting to get in...and you know the day is coming when Brady takes the reigns of this team...hopefully, Mr. Anderson is gainfully employed elsewhere...and that's why you can see him saying this to every opposing head coach..."Well why don't you give me your number in case anything happens to my job."

On the other sideline sits Scott Linehan.  A year ago he was one of the new generation of coaches breathing new life into a franchise...now he's in a sophomore slump that only Sean Payton can understand.  At the beginning of the season, the Rams were talking playoffs...now?  At 0-7 they are thinking, "What college game is on this weekend?"  And you can see Linehan starting to make contact with every opposing head coach, "Well why don't you give me your number in case something happens to my job...seriously, I'm a great offensive coordinator..."

Mr. Anderson, who shall be referred to as Neo from now on, continues the magic.  The Browns get a win against the hapless, when will it end, seriously god put me out of my misery, Rams.  Gus Ferrotte refushes to go in for Bulger at the half, after watching Bulger get crushed behind the porous Rams line.

NY Giants at Miami

"I see Blue, He look's glorious." - Frank the Tank

As a random phrase, "You're my boy Blue" is a great one.  You can whip it out at just about anytime, and get great laughs and knowing nods from all around.  It doesn't have to make complete sense...trust me...

The next time your manager turns to you, and asks where you status report is, just shout out, "You're my boy Blue!" and point at him...all will be forgotten.

The next time you throw a TD pass to your favorite WR, just point and yell, "You're my boy Blue!".

The next time you're in a crowded men's room, and you're having trouble dropping off the kids...just grunt out "You're myyyyy booy BLUE!"

Finally, the next time you're consummating your relationship with your better half...just start screaming out "You're my boy Blue!!"  Trust me, woman love it.

The Big Blue have looked Glorious the last few weeks.  Their swarming defense has been taking it to teams and making things easy for the offense.  The Miami offense should be shaking in their cleats right now...considering that they have a grand total of ZERO playmakers on their team.  Let me double check those figures...yep, ZERO.  Is it wrong that the image of the 72 Dolphins clubbing the current team with Champage bottles just keeps running through my mind?

Big Blue adds to the misery in Florida.  It's not enough that the Hurricanes won't be in a BCS bowl this year, but the Dolphins are on the path to infamy.  Giants get a win, as their Defense just swarms over the group of guys the Phins call an offense.

Philadelphia at Minnesota

"Guys this is a very special occasion. The Godfather himself has decided to grace us with his presence. This is his damn house. He sleeps twenty feet away." - Beanie

Andy Reid gets to meet up with Brad Childress....let the questionable coaching decisions begin!!!

Wait, Peterson is a horse?  Yeah, we'll get him 10 carries.

What is this "running game" people keep talking about...me throw ball.

Blocking adjustments, we don't need your stinking blocking adjustments!

So what if that guy has taken the ball back on me already, I'm going to keep kicking to him!

Ah, yes, this will be an epic battle between the Godfather and his protégé.  Should be a blast.

Here's the deal, if Peterson gets 20 carries in this one, Vikings win, no question.

But he won't.  Eagles steal one from the Vikes.  Reid proves he's still the Godfather, and takes out Childress at the knees.  Childress, doing his part, decides he needs to beat his old master at his game, so he puts the game in Tarvaris Jackson's hands...and that leads to doom.

Indianapolis at Carolina

"Don't beat yourself up over this, Mitch. It's not your fault. Dammit, Blue was old. That's what old people do. They die." - Beanie

Tonight the role of Blue will be played by Vinny Testaverde.

How bad of a beating, verbal or otherwise, will David Carr take if he returns to the starting lineup and stinks up the place...after Vinny got a win?  And how long will it take the Panthers to trot Vinny back out there?  And finally, how long will Vinny last?  One big hit?  Two maybe?

Very intriguing stuff...

Meanwhile, the Colts are having a Peanut Butter and Jelly season.  My daughter's favorite food is Mac and Cheese...she would eat it everyday and twice on Sundays.  It's the goto meal, if she's not interested in eating anything else...well, there's always the M and C.  But all the hype surrounding the Mac and Cheese tends to obscure the fact that she also adores PBJ...and that due to the peanut butter and whole wheat bread...the PBJ might just be healthier for her as well.  But Mac and Cheese is front and center, so that's all we talk about.

Reread that paragraph but sub in Colts for "PBJ" and Pats for "Mac and Cheese".  And keep your mind out of the gutter...my daughter will not eat either team...okay...wait...just stop...you get the idea.  Man, I can't take you people anywhere.  We're out in public and you're pulling this juvenile stuff...last time we go to a nice restaurant.  The last time.

The Colts win...cause let's face it, these Panthers don't have it.  And does anyone else get the feeling that Carolina's Super Bowl year was the anomaly, and that this is who they really are?  A completely mediocre team?

Houston at San Diego

"Dear Mitch,

If you're holding this letter you already know.

The house has been boarded up. The doors. The windows. Everything.

We're at the Comfort Inn. Room 112.

I love you.

Frank"

Due to the wild fires in San Diego, this game might be played at the Comfort Inn.

Speaking of the fires...was watching a little news clip about it...and over heard the reporter say the following about the fire fighters...

"They were up in extremely dangerous conditions, bravely fighting to save a multi-million dollar house...."

Um, what?  Okay, that's not bravery, that's stupidity.  Houses can be rebuilt...even multi-million dollar ones.  Human lives, well once those are gone...sorry.  All firefighters have my utmost respect.  They do a job I could never do...and they risk their lives for our safety.  But a note to Mr. Repoter...

Bravery and defending a multi-million dollar house do not go hand in hand...saving a family...or maybe even the whole city of San Diego...now that's bravery.

As has been said here many times...if Andre Johnson was playing, this would be a different game.  But it looks like he's not going to dress for this one either...and so...

Chargers win an emotional game...no matter what room of the Comfort Inn they play it in...and get a much needed win.  Norv delights in playing another sub par team, and excitedly looks forward to matching collect wits with Brad Childress next week...before getting beaten down by the Colts 2 weeks from now.

Buffalo at NY Jets

"Well, Columbus wasn't looking for America, my man, but that turned out to be pretty okay for everyone." - Beanie

And the Bills weren't looking for their QB of the future this April, but that turned out to be pretty okay for everyone.  Forget all the teams that passed on Edwards...and forget the fact that this team still has the albatross of Jauron around their necks...how does it feel to be JP Losman right now?  Does he feel a little Wally Pippish?  He should get that checked out, that could be bad.  The guy has a rough rookie year, shows some real signs of improvement...things are looking good going into this year, then he gets injured...and all of a sudden he's out of a job.

Don't worry JP...there are plenty of teams out there looking for a new QB...a couple come to mind...

The Jets on the other hand SHOULD change QBs.  Due to my location, "Better yet Connecticut!", many Jets games have passed through these eyeballs...and the only one that showed any offensive spark was the game that Kellen Clemens played.  Yes, they lost to the Ravens, but watching Pennington go through the motions is not working any more, Clemens actually has a live arm, and is fun to watch.

Hopefully this is a battle of the future QBs of the AFC East, one that will grow overtime to a Marino-Kelly level...

In the end...the Bills look like a team on a roll...while the Jets just look like they're rolling over.  Buffalo gets the win...and Mangenius continues to get roasted in the press.

Jacksonville at Tampa Bay

"True love is hard to find, sometimes you think you have true love and then you catch the early flight home from San Diego and a couple of nude people jump out of your bathroom blindfolded like a **** magic show ready to double team your girlfriend..." - Mitch

Yep, that about sums it up for the Jags and David Garrard.  Here they are, 4-1, Garrard is 3rd in passer rating, and they get a Monday night game against the Colts...AT HOME!!!  Man, what a great stage to announce, "Here we are!"  And then...well...then a couple of nude people jump out of the bathroom...and before you know it, Garrard is injured and out for a couple weeks....the game gets a little out of hand...and now you've got egg on your face, and your starting QB is Quinn Gray. Yay!!

But don't worry Jags fans, what you need is a good cheer up...

This past weekend at the Dartmouth game, my daughter found that she got a great reaction when she stood up, put her hands over her head and yelled "Touchdown!"  The first time she did it was for a touchdown...that was so successful she started doing it for every play...it still got a decent reaction...so she just kept on doing it.  Finally, I had to show her how to signal a first down, just so she would have some new material.

Well, Monday night marked the invention of a new game....

My daughter came up to me while I was watching the MNF Game and said, "I have a game for you dad."

"Great, what is it honey."

"It's called First Down-Touchdown."

"Okay, how do you play?"

She proceeded to signal first down and scream "first down!" Followed immediately with a "Touchdown!" complete with signal...and finished off with a high stepping dance.

Don't know what the point of the game is, but it seems to make her happy, and as she often says to me "I crack you up Dad."

There, now don't you feel better Jags fans?  Good...now remember this story when you're watching the game this Sunday...

Tampa proves to be too much for a unproven QB with limited playing time.  The Bucs slug out a win with a battle tested QB and swarming defense.  When a defense like the Bucs only has to worry about the run, it makes the game a lot easier.

Washington at New England

"That party that we had last night has given us a lot of street cred." - Beanie

After the Redskins had lost 2nd half leads in 2 out of their last 3 weeks...they put some of the demons to rest by holding on to beat the pesky Cardinals.  At 4-2, they have quite a bit of street cred...

But if you want street cred, the leader is the Pats.  They have so much street cred, they don't know what to do with it.  After walloping the Cowboys at Dallas...they go on the road to Miami...a place they have always struggled...and put a smack down on the Dolphins.  Is the Miami win surprising?  No.  But the fact that they have soundly beaten every team they played this year is.  As someone that grew up knowing what "Winning Ugly" is...this is the complete opposite.  These guys just blow people out of the water...and that is truly amazing to watch.

The most dominant team I've every seen, was the 85 Bears.  Yes, that won't shock anyone.  They had a defense that humiliated teams, and an Offense that could beat you any which way as well.  People tend to forget that their offense was ranked 6th that year...because the defense was so dominating.  In 13 out of 16 games...the other team scored less than 20 points...in 11 of those, they scored less than 10 points.  That was just dominating...

And these Pats are just as dominating...it's a long season, we'll see how it plays out...but right now, these guys are just wiping the floor with the other team.

The Redskins become another notch on the Patriots belt.  But don't worry Skins fans, you get the Jets, and Eagles next.

New Orleans at San Francisco

"We're going streaking." - Frank the Tank

You can look at this game one of two ways....

Watching this game is like seeing Will Ferrell naked...it's funny at first...but in the end, it's Will Ferrell naked.

Or...

In college, one of my roomates was always talking about how he was going to streak the quad.  But there was always some excuse about why he couldn't do it...

"It's the middle of the day"

"It's too cold"

"I'm too sober"

"The wind is from the southwest"

"I just got my hair cut"

So it became this weird facisnation for the rest of us to get him to do it...just because, well, what else do you do in college besides get your idiot friends to do stupid things?  What's a degree?

Well, around came his birthday...and he annouced that he would streak the quad at midnight on his birthday.  We did our part, we made sure he got plenty drunk, and kept talking him up.  Midnight rolls around and we all walk over to the quad...

Just as we walk onto the quad...we notice 2 police cars stationed right in front of us.  Headlights on, cops leaning on the hood.  Of course, this gave my roomate the excuse he needed, and he chickened out.  To this day, I believe he called himself in, just so he didn't have to do it.  After all that build up....no payoff.

Before the season started, this looked to be a battle of division leaders...up and coming teams...the NFC favorite against the NFC West favorite...

Instead it's a battle of 2-4 teams...yeah, build up with no payoff.

The Niners are in a world of hurt...besides the injry to Alex Smith, the players have started to question the O-Coordinator...not good.  The Saints seem to be rebounding...New Orleans marches in and steals one in San Fransico.  Mike Nolan's suit can't hide his disgust in this one.

Green Bay at Denver

"Yeah, thanks. Took the restrictor plate off to give the Red Dragon a little more juice. But it's not exactly street legal, so keep it on the down low." - Frank the Tank

The Broncos FG time out ploy, has now become standard operating procedure in the NFL...expect to hear a lot about it during this game.  Much will be made about how it's not exactly "Street legal"...but how all the NFL teams are copying this idea.  Kornhiser will talk at length about it...trust me.

Meanwhile, we'll get to watch a rematch of the 1998 Super Bowl....of course none of the players are the same..except Favre...and only one of the head coaches remain...so it really has no link to that game at all...but it will get brought up during the broadcast...so it will get brought up here.

This is one of those games where the teams seems really even.  Denver's D is still a little suspect...but the lack of a Green Bay running game makes things a little easier.  There are 2 rules that apply in this one...

When it's close, always pick the home team.

When it's close, remember a good AFC team trumps a good NFC team.

Sorry Cheeseheads, both those guidelines point to the Broncos pulling this one out...but my gut says....

Denver gets the win...and Kornhiser goes blue in the face talking about time outs during field goals.  The interesting thing to watch for...who will the in booth guest be this week?  Do you think they've learned their lesson after Jimmy Kimmel?  Or is there a chance for another disaster?  Can't wait....

Well, that's another week down....which means that after this weekend we'll have hit the halfway point of the season...although with the bye week it's sort of not really the halfway point...but you get the idea.  Anyway, look for a midseason review of the league from Dan and I...and quite possibly a seperate midseason recap from just me...all depends on how much time I get in front of the laptop...

Let's end with this...

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