Friday, December 28, 2007

Week 17- Surrender

The last week of the NFL season is always marred with teams and players not giving it 100%. Some teams will rest their players for the playoffs and some players will rest their feet for the golf course.

This year, the league joined in on the whole “giving up” vibe. They decided to surrender to the fans and televise the Patriots/Giants game on regular TV instead of exclusively on the NFL Network. The league tried to get the cable companies to buy into the fact that the NFL Network deserves to be on basic cable just like ESPN, CNN and Telemundo. Cable companies, not being completely stoned, decided that a network that will only air 8 meaningful programs over the entire course of 365 days did not merit such status. Go figure.

So the NFL was faced with only 10 people being able to watch the possible historic Patriots’ victory. They decided to go in the completely opposite direction and flood the airwaves with the game by showing it on two national networks (CBS & NBC). Someone asked why would these networks agree to air the same game at the same time. The answer…because it’s football and even if they split the ratings for the games it will still get 5 times bigger ratings than anything else they could air at the same time. Football ratings are gold. The Hallmark Network would bump their programming quicker than you can say “Valerie Bertinelli stars in…” for a chance to air an NFL game.

Now that everyone can watch the game, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Will it be worth watching?” The fear is the Giants are going to sit their star players for most of the game thus letting the Pats roll to 16-0. The G-Men have absolutely nothing to play for except pride and pride don’t pay the alimony (see Strahan, Michael). Sure, the coaches and players will say all the usual things like “We are taking this like any other game,” “We’ll give it 110%,” and “We haven’t decide if we are going to wear shoulder pads.”

In reality, as soon as the Patriots get two touchdowns ahead, it’ll be time to fold like the French in ‘40. I don’t blame the Giants for doing this either. It’s not their job to keep the Patriots from going undefeated; there were 12 other teams just as responsible for this. The Giants need to think about next week and the game that really matters in Tampa.

So I fully expect the Giants to surrender on Saturday evening. But they are not alone in their capitulation. They will be joined by plenty of other teams this week in flying the white flag right after the coin toss. And then there are several others that should surrender:

Roger Clemens- The typical side effect of steroids is diminished testicle size, yet yours must be gargantuan to pull off this whole denial PR campaign. Eventually, you will be joining Peter Rose in an autograph session across the street from the Hall of Fame. Surrender now and they might let you keep your Cy Youngs and collection of retirement gifts.

Ricky Williams- save the NFL and the Dolphins the cost of administering your next urine test and just admit to your renewed marijuana use.

The National League- you haven’t won an all-star game in God know how long and all the good teams in the AL keep getting stronger. And it seems none of your teams (excepts the Mets) have the capability or desire to get much better. Surrender now and except your fate as a very good AAA league.

Arthur Blank- there is no disgrace for you in surrendering the Falcons. You have endured more than anyone can expect a poor billionaire to suffer.

Gary Bettman- you’ve cross-checked your league into irrelevance. Surrender you commissionership to Don Cherry who will restore the league to its toothless glory days and improve hockey’s sense of fashion.

Isiah Thomas- actually, I take this back. Never surrender. You’ve done so much already to get fired that some might say you are subconsciously trying to give up. Keep doing what you are doing and we promise someday, mercy will be granted to you, and you will be escorted out of the Garden.

Me-the term horrific does not adequately describe my picks this year. Living in the center of the gambling world has not helped me one bit. In fact, it has paralyzed me with too much information, proving the old axiom, “The less you know, the more you win.” (This is particularly true at the low limit poker table). I am have signed the official document declaring my unconditional surrender to the sports books.

Last week, I went 5-11, and 1-3 on my star picks. For the season, I am 111-118-10 and 23-31-3. My picks are in bold. The star indicates I feel so confident about this pick that you might want to stay away from the game.

New England –14.5 at NY Giants

Buffalo at Philadelphia –7.5

Carolina at Tampa Bay +2

*Cincinnati at Miami +3

Dallas +9 at Washington

*Detroit at Green Bay –3.5

Jacksonville +6 at Houston

New Orleans at Chicago +2.5

Pittsburgh –4 at Baltimore

*Seattle +3 at Atlanta

San Francisco +10 at Cleveland

Tennessee at Indianapolis +6

Minnesota –3 at Denver

San Diego –7.5 at Oakland

St. Louis at Arizona –6

Kansas City at NY Jets -6


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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Week 16- Miracles Can Happen

Last Sunday, I sold my left kidney and right lung.

Sure the fatheads at the AMA might say this was a “risky medical procedure.” But, I figure if I don’t drink too much and keep my breathing shallow, I should be fine for the next 5 years. I did not sell these seemingly vital organs for the usual black market rate of 500,000 Chinese Yuan. No, I sold them for something far, far more valuable… a single Dolphin victory.

Laugh if you like. I would join you if the sutures still didn’t hurt and I had the air capacity. Unless you are a Tampa Bay Bucs fan from 1976-77, you have no idea the stigma that is attached to your favorite team serving up an O-fer. In a 1-15 season, your team just sucks; but, after an 0-16 season, all other fans look at you like you are John Merrick (the Elephant Man). Sure they will say, its okay, you don’t look that bad wearing your Cleo Lemon jersey. But as soon as they leave you, they’ll pray to every god in the universe that they never befall such a tragedy.

Parents would purposely go out of their way to make sure their child was not a Dolphins fan for fear of the ridicule they would face. The quality of cheerleaders trying out for the team would suffer because how would a woman be able to further her career as a “dancer” or “middle level manager at Hooters” with the stigma of the Dolphins on her resume. Wayne Huizenga would have been forced to sell the team to competent ownership!

I saw the future of an 0-16 season for the team I grew up loving and I just couldn’t let that happen. So I made the trade. I met some guy who goes by the name of Bones because he wears gorilla femurs around his neck. (That would probably explain his hunchback.) He promised me he could make miracles happen in the exchange for these organs. I thought about his claim for a moment mulled over asking him to use his powers for world peace or a cure of illness, but then I thought about a crying Jason Taylor. I ripped open my shirt and said “Go at it! Just, be careful, I have sensitive nipples.”

I am not sure what Bones did to Matt Stover’s right foot to make him miss or to Rich Camarillo’s legs to make him run so fast. All I know or care about is that the Dolphins won a game. Infamy has been staved off. I can wear my aqua and orange jumpsuit with pride for at least one week.

As an extra bonus, Bones threw in the Dolphins getting Bill Parcells to right the ship for the future. I just hope I live to see it..seeing how I have only one lung and kidney.

I think the other reason the Dolphins won is because of the balance of nature. When one thing rises, another must fall. The Dolphins won, and my picks plummeted. Last week, I went 5-11, and 0-3 on my star picks. For the season, I am 106-107-10 and 22-28-3. My picks are in bold. The star indicates I feel so strong about this pick because Bones has wagered my organs on these games.

Pittsburgh at St. Louis +8

Dallas –10.5 at Carolina

Cleveland –3 at Cincinnati

*Green Bay –9 at Chicago

Houston +7 at Indianapolis

Kansas City at Detroit –4.5

Miami at New England –22

*NY Giants at Buffalo +3

Oakland at Jacksonville –13

Philadelphia at New Orleans –3

Washington at Minnesota –6.5

*Atlanta at Arizona –10

*Baltimore at Seattle –10

NY Jets +9 at Tennessee

Tampa Bay at San Francisco +7

Denver at San Diego –8.5


Friday, December 14, 2007

Week 15 - We Need More Reports

Yesterday the long awaited Mitchell Report came out which was baseball’s in-depth, non-bias investigation into how many Yankees they could accuse of steroid use.

But of all the issues that need to be investigated, baseball players increasing the size of their craniums and decreasing the size of their testicles is the least interesting to me. I believe there are far more pressing and important topics that need to be addressed. So Senator Mitchell, if you are done with your bloodhounds, I would like to borrow them for the following blue-ribbon investigations:

The Moss/Welker Report. I care less about Spygate than I do about how the Patriots were able to get the best wide receiver in the game for a 4th round pick and get the best possession receiver in the league for a 2nd and 7th…and from a team in their own division. Either something fishy is going on or the Dolphins and Raiders are just plain dumb! 95% chance that it is that later.

The Backbone Report. Investigation into the disappearance of Bobby Petrino’s backbone. It must be gone because how could he have slithered out of Atlanta like that. I think they will find it in the same location as Nick Saban’s.

The Compromising Photos Report. An immediate investigation needs to be launched on what damning evidence that the following have over their employer. This is the only logical explanation on why they still have a job:

Matt Millen –GM for the Lions

Isiah Thomas – Coach of the Knicks

Randy Mueller – GM of the Dolphins

Gary Bettman – Commissioner of the NHL (it’s a professional hockey league in case you were not familiar with it.)

Brian Billick- offensive genius for a team that can’t score.

Bryant Gumbel- for his play-by-play work on the NFL network.

The guy who gave out all those home loans to people who couldn’t afford it.

The Toothless Smile Report. An explanation is required for the fact that hockey players, who fight in their sports all the time, often come across as really nice guys in the media; while, players who fight in any other sports come across as total jerks. Maybe there is something sympathetic about a guy in need of dental work, which explains our affinity for the British.

The Bizarro World Report. This might be beyond any mere mortal to investigate, but how did the traditionally “clinically depressed” town of Boston end up with a first place baseball, football, and basketball team at the same time. It might be Boston’s screw you revenge to the rest of the country for not voting for John Kerry.

The Parenthood Report. It amazes me when I see all these celebrities with young children go to every party, event and premiere. Brad and Angelina seem to be literally everywhere in the world and, yet, are supposed to be great parents of 4 little children. I know parents who have not left their zip code in months. So are these celebrities just the most time-efficient people in the world or do they just pick the best nannies?
I feel an asterisk should be placed next to their “Best Mommy and Daddy in the World” mug.

The Energizer Bunny Report. How the hell has that bunny kept going for over 20 years!

Speaking of investigations, there should be a report explaining why for the first 12 weeks of the season I was picking at below 50%, but for the last two weeks, my winning percentage is up to over 70%! Last week, I went 11-5 (again), and 1-2 (not again) on my star picks. For the season, I am 101-96-10 and 22-25-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about it that I will not cooperate with investigators if I am wrong.

Cincinnati –8.5 at San Francisco
Arizona +4 at New Orleans
Atlanta +13 at Tampa Bay
*Baltimore –3 at Miami
Buffalo +6 at Cleveland
Green Bay –9.5 at St. Louis
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh –3.5
NY Jets +24.5 at New England
*Seattle –7 at Carolina
*Tennessee at Kansas City +4
Indianapolis –10.5 at Oakland
Detroit +10.5 at San Diego
Philadelphia +10.5 at Dallas
Washington +5.5 at NY Giants
Chicago +10 at Minnesota

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Five Things That Will Happen in the Thursday Night Game

Broncos @ Texans

1. You will fall into a hypnotic trance to the droning voice and monotone play by play calling of Bryant Gumbel. Do not watch this game while driving.

2. Jay Cutler will throw for 3 TDs and more than 250 yards, giving every fantasy football player a self-induced concussion from knocking his head against a wall from not playing him. I will be wearing a helmet for this very purpose.

3. There will be 127 split screen shots of Mike Shanahan on the Bronco sideline and of his son, Kyle Shanahan over on the other side for the Texans. This story angle will be beaten dead by the middle of the 2nd quarter, revived with electric paddles during the half, and then beaten to death again for the 4th quarter.

4. Sage Rosenfels will look decent for the first 2 ½ quarters, then throw an inexplicable interception that will make Texan fans smack their collective forehead and say “Oh, I forgot, Sage Rosenfels is playing tonight.”

5. And for strictly recreational purposes, Denver will cover the 1-½ points they are getting. (Even though I think they will win outright, I am too much a scary cat not to take the lousy point and a half.)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Week 14- Save the Dolphins

After overcoming the one obstacle that could have prevented a place in football infamy, the Miami Dolphins are speeding down the HOV lane on their way to the imperfect season. Their offense has not scored a touchdown in three games. Their defense just game up 40 to a team that scored just 3 the week before. Fingers are being pointed at everyone in sight, blame is spread around like fertilizer on a farm, and there is a real chance their new coach’s first year will also be his last.

But this does not have to be. I’ve spent the week shut in a basement watching tapes of Dan Marino’s Greatest Hits and the NFL Film’s documentary on the ’72 Dolphins. This has inspired me to come up with some ideas the Dolphins can employ to ward off the inevitable and win that one game needed to make the season a tolerable failure, instead of an ultimate catastrophe.

So, Mr. Huzienga, Mr. Mueller, and Mr. Cameron, here are some tips, free of charge:

Flood the field before everyone of your games. The game you had the best chance of winning was played in 3 feet of muck in which no one could stay upright. The key is to bring your opponent down to your level, since you have no chance of rising to theirs.

Punt on third down. Your third down conversion rate is abysmal. You can totally fix that by just eliminating third down. Plus it gets your offense off the field quicker. This helps since your offense has clearly been an impediment to scoring.

Videotape the other team sending in signals. Heck it’s working for the Patriots. (Oh come on Belchick, I was only kidding. You are a great coach and I wish you were running the Dolphins, or even better the CIA.)

Blame the officiating. You may not be able to technically win the game, but by blaming the officiating as the cause of your loss, you can at least enjoy that moral, “the game was stolen from us” victory that the Ravens are celebrating after Monday night.

Immediately try a field goal as soon as you get in range. Once you get inside the 40-yard line, even if it is on first down, immediately line-up for a field goal try. Why risk losing the ball on a turnover and getting zero points. And don’t come back to me saying “but a touchdown would be better.” It would be better if this blog won the Pulitzer Prize, but both that happening and you scoring a TD have an equal chance of occurring.

Spike the other teams Gatorade with drops of Visine. I think it was the great Vince Lombardi who once said, “The only way to stop the run is to give the runs.” This is expert advice usually found only on the Fox pre-game show.

Pick a lucky fan to play running back for the 3rd quarter. You are down to your 6 or 7 string running back. I think any person who can stand upright might help you now. Plus, it’s a way to give back to the paying for their hospitalization.

Send typical Miami drivers to drive near the opposing team’s bus on way to the stadium. It’s a miracle your own team makes it to and from home games driving in Miami (see Zach Thomas). Why not take the home field advantage and extend it to the home roadway advantage. Even if the deranged Miami drivers don’t run the bus off the road, they would scare the living hell out of the team leaving them catatonic for the game. This is just like Miami residents are after a rush hour commute home.

Schedule a game against Notre Dame. Seriously, this might be your only hope.

Don’t discount my advice so easily. Last week, I went 11-5, and 2-1 on my star picks. For the season, I am 90-91-10 and 21-23-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about it that I will donate the victory to the Dolphins, but not the money that comes from betting the pick.

Chicago at Washington –3
*Carolina +11 at Jacksonville
Dallas –11 at Detroit
Miami at Buffalo –7
NY Giants +3 at Philadelphia
Oakland at Green Bay –10
Pittsburgh +11
at New England
*San Diego –1 at Tennessee
St. Louis at Cincinnati –6.5
*Tampa Bay –3 at Houston
Arizona +7 at Seattle
Minnesota –8 at San Francisco
Cleveland –3.5 at NY Jets
Kansas City at Denver –6.5
Indianapolis –9 at Baltimore
New Orleans –4.5 at Atlanta

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Week 13 – Triskaidekaphobia

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13 and I am an acute sufferer of this condition, particualry when it is applied to the 13th week of the NFL season. I am scared, so scared. Somebody hold me.

After 12 weeks of watching football, I have no idea what to expect. It’s like the boogie man is going to jump out of the closet or worse, the Broncos are going to punt to Devin Hester. I know neither makes sense and it’s all a figment of my imagination. Seriously, there is a greater change of a orge living under by bed than Denver kicking it to Hester a second time, right?

Each week of the season, I go in thinking I know what is going happen. I belive each weekend that the better team will win, smart decisions will be made by highly paid professionals, and the most profitable sports league in the U.S. can afford putting down a quality playing surface for its games. And then, BAM!, I watch the games, with the blanket pulled up just below my eyes, and spend the entire Sunday constantly on the verge of wetting myself. It’s that scary.

But I am a masochist and I go into each week thinking this will be the one that will be a pleasant, feel good, Rudy type of film and I end up ashen faced as I just experienced a Wes Craven/ Saw sequel / snuff film rolled into one.

Just last week I screamed like a little girl when I watched:

Neil Rackers ripping the heart out of every Cardinal fans as he shanked a chip shot field goal.

Herm Edwards eviscerating Chiefs fans with him brilliant decision making allowing the hated Raiders to win.

Gus Ferrotte garroting Rams fans with his bumbling fumble on the last play of the game, a mere yard from victory.

AJ Feeley giving Eagles fans and the rest of us hope that the Patriots could be beat, only to bludgeon us with an idiotic interception.

The NFL gouging the eyes of every football fan by making them watch that Monday night slop fest.

There are scarier things but for the fans of the Titans, Giants, Panthers and Jets, I will refrain from bringing them up.

So watch this week at your own peril. You know something bad is going to happen, but you don’t care. Just likes those coeds who go skinny dipping in Cyrstal Lake, you are going to get drowned by Jason and/or Eli Manning.

Speaking of scary, while last week I went 8-8, I went an otherworldly 3-0 on my star picks. For the season, I am 79-86-10 and 19-22-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about that I might watch the whole game without calling out for my mommy.

Green Bay at Dallas –7 - I am scared every time they do a close up on Jerry Jones’ face.

Atlanta at St. Louis –4 - I am scared the Falcons will NOT commit 10 boneheaded penalties.

Buffalo +5.5 at Washington - Too many emotions to even watch this game.

Detroit +3.5 at Minnesota – I am scared to bet against God’s team, even if He doesn’t have a running game.

*Houston at Tennessee –4 – I am scared every time Vince Young throws the ball.

Jacksonville +7 at Indianapolis – I am scared that all the arm waving and yelling Peyton Manning does at the line is really him putting a voodoo curse on the defense.

NY Jets at Miami –1.5 – As a Dolphins fan, I am seriously scared that if Miami doesn’t win this game, they won’t win until 2008. Maybe.

San Diego –5 at Kansas City – I am scared Norv Turner will forget again that he has LaDainian Tomlinson on his team. Maybe he should write it down or wrap a string around his finger.

Seattle +3 at Philadelphia – I am scared that Seattle will give the ball to Shaun Alexander. I am not afraid that AJ Feeley will throw 3 INTs. Remember, I am a Dolphin fan; I’ve seen that movie already.

*San Francisco at Carolina –2.5 – I am scared that Vinny Testaverde will forget to take his Geritol.

Tampa Bay +3.5 at New Orleans – I am scared that the Saints might actually find some consistency.

*Cleveland +1 at Arizona – I am scared Neil Rackers will make every kick over 50 yards, and miss every kick under 30.

Denver –3.5 at Oakland- I am scared the Broncos will still try to kick to Devin Hester, even if he is playing in Chicago.

NY Giants –1.5 at Chicago- I am scared whenever I see that “How come you stole my crayons?” look in Eli Manning’s eyes. Which means, I am scared every time I watch him play.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh –7 – I am scared that is might rain in Pittsburgh again. By the way, there is a 40% chance of this happening.

New England –20.5 at Baltimore – I am scared that Bill Belichick one day will pull the hood on his sweatshirt over his head and turn into Darth Sidious. Tom, don’t succumb to the dark side!

Black Friday Rap

Hilarious new song.
If this doesn't make you want to go shopping, then, well, you are a normal guy.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Week 12- Black Sunday

Click here to listen to an audio podcast of this posting

The day after Thanksgiving is commonly referred to as Black Friday since retailers hope to be in the black after a rush of holiday spending and because that is color of your heart as you cut in front of the person waiting for that last parking space.

Looking at the football schedule for this weekend, Sunday should also be referred to as "Black Sunday." Not a single game will have two teams with a winning record. Not a single one. And the Monday night game features a winless Dolphin team going to slaugher at Pittsburgh. ESPN seriously must want to renegotiate its NFL contract. While Monday night games this year have been horrific, at least this week ESPN won’t feel singled out since all the games will be terrible.

But this is the NFL which for fans stands for - Never Faltering Love-affair. No matter how ugly she looks, no matter how bad she treats us, no matter how much she costs us (and judging from my picks this year, she has cost me two years’ worth of rent and car payments), we come home to her every weekend and beg her to never leave us.

We watch her games. We buy her merchandise. We ignore that fact she is pumped with enough chemicals to fill a Dupont warehouse.

Let’s face it, we are in a co-dependent relationship with the National Football League. I would suggest getting professional therapy, but we can’t afford it because we just blew the last of our cash on getting Dish TV so we can watch the NFL Network.

Below are my predications for this weekend. If you find the idea of watching these games too disturbing, just catch the highlights that night. The whole weekend’s worth of highlights should only run only 45 seconds.

Last week I went 6-8-2 and 2-2 on my star picks. For Thanksgiving I went 2-1 so overall I am 73-79-10 and 16-22-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about this pick that if I am wrong I will take the NFL out for a steak and lobster dinner and expect nothing but a kiss on the cheek at the end of the night.

Not only do you get my picks this week, you get a juvenile “this game is so ugly” joke to go with it. You’re welcome.

*Houston at Cleveland –3- This game is so ugly, it’s only watchable over the radio.

*Seattle –3 at St. Louis- This game is so ugly, not just the fans, but the players, coaches and referees will wear brown bags over their heads.

*Washington at Tampa Bay –3 - This game is so ugly, you’ll want to shower after watching it.

Denver +2.5 at Chicago - This game is so ugly, you’ll wish Jake Plummer would return.

Tennessee -1 at Cincinnati – This game is so ugly, the field will be treated with manure to help ease the smell.

Buffalo +7.5 at Jacksonville - This game is so ugly, blind fans don’t want to watch it.

Oakland +5.5 at Kansas City - This game is so ugly, the players in it will want their money back.

Minnesota +7.5 at NY Giants- This game is so ugly, it makes New Jersey look pretty.

New Orleans at Carolina + 3- This game is so ugly, cats will try to bury it.

San Francisco +10.5 at Arizona – This game is so ugly, tailgaters will stay in the parking lot throughout the game.

Baltimore +9.5 at San Diego - This game is so ugly, even the players’ kids won’t watch it.

Philadelphia at New England –23.5 - This game is so ugly, you’d rather have a post-game handshake with Bill Belichick than watch it.

Miami at Pittsburgh –15.5 – This game is so ugly, it can only be shown on cable.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving- Honoring the Holiday through Football

As any good American student will tell, the story of the first Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and Indians gathering together to enjoy their harvest, skin a pig, tied up said skin in an balloon-like oval shape, inflate it with air, and proceed to toss it about back and forth.

That magical first Thanksgiving afternoon would come to an abrupt halt when it was discovered that the pilgrims were using a spy hidden in a tree to read the lips of the Indians’ defensive coordinator as he called in sign to the team. Those pilgrims are the forefathers of what would later be know as “New England Patriots.”

History tells us football has always been a part of this holiday. So when your wife or mother or therapist complains that about you spending 11 hours in front of the TV set watching games on Thursday, you stand up and shout the following:

“How dare you try to stop me from honoring our forefathers!

I don’t watch football because I want to, I do it because I have to.

I do it to honor those brave pilgrims who died crossing the ocean on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

I do it to honor the hard work and sacrifice they made to build a land where free men and women can enjoy the pursuits of liberty, justice and the United Way.

I cheer for touchdowns, first downs, and 4th down conversions, so I don’t forget that Thanksgiving Day is a day of infamy,
that we have nothing to fear but fear itself,
that I ask not what my country can do for me but what my country can do for me and you, and, finally, for Mr. Gorbachev to tear down this wall!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some honoring to do. Could you grab me a beer?”

Then sit right back down before the commercial break is over.

Another way to honor football, is too combine it with your favorite alcoholic beverage and make a drinking game out of it. Check out the web site The Bachelor Guy for The Bachelor Guy’s Official Thanksgiving Football drinking game.

So in honor of those brave pilgrims such as Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, and Amelia Earhart, here is a preview of the games on Thanksgiving Day. My fearless picks at in bold.

Green Bay –3 at Detroit- To think Favre almost retired, nearly denying us a whole litany of “Brett Favre is playing like a 20 year old” stories.

Side note: This has got to be a terrible two-year run for Dan Marino. He has witnessed almost all his records broken by Favre, Manning, and soon Brady, and to top things off he has to share a stage with Shannon Sharpe who probably dangles his three Super Bowl rings in front of him before every show. I hope those residuals from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” ease his pain.

NY Jets at Dallas –14 – The big news this week was the revelation that during halftime at Giants Stadium, Jets fans heckle and goad women into showing their bare breasts. These requests came to a sudden halt when female Jets fans began obliging them.

Indianapolis at Atlanta +11.5 – Peyton Manning is in a real funk. He threw 6 INTs two weeks ago, could only muster 13 points against a terrible Chiefs defense last week, and during that game, I saw three straight commercials air without Peyton in any of them. Looks like we are days away from the Jim Sorgi era in Indianapolis.
(Jim Sorgi is the back-up for Peyton Manning. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I didn’t even know he had a back-up.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Week 11 – Smoke’m if you got them, Ricky Williams is Back

Click here to listen to a podcast of this posting

Guess who’s coming to dinner with the Miami Dolphins? It’s Ricky Williams, and they better have plenty to eat because he has a mean case of the munchies.

Everyone’s favorite social anxiety sufferer / running back has been cleared to play again in the NFL. The league that so callously turned its back on a man who clearly is in need of hemp, ummm I mean help, has come to its senses and readmitted Mr. Williams back into the league.

Bravo Roger Goodell. It takes a courageous man to admit a fault. Your initial decision to expel him for the minor transgression of taking drugs that are illegal under the laws of the United States and her territories was clearly an overreaction. What’s next, kicking out players involved in a strip club shooting resulting in the paralyses of an innocent man? Don’t tell me you’ll expel a player involved in financing and organizing underground dog fighting? See what I mean? It’s a slippery slope isn’t. Kick out one player for breaking the law and where does it stop.

Let’s not just let Ricky back into the game. I think there are plenty of others that should be brought back to sports.

OJ Simpson – bring him back as a coach. If he can motivate perfect strangers to commit armed robbery and kidnapping for him, imagine what he can do with his new hometown Dolphins. “Play hard or I’ll kill you,” will have a whole new meaning.

Pete Rose- as a manager or player, he never bet AGAINST the Reds, unless of course his starting pitcher was a real dog, then who could blame him.

Jose Canseco –sure he’ll probably get knifed in the locker room showers for being a rat, but who wouldn’t pay to see another popup bounce off his head and over the fence for a homerun. Priceless.

Rae Carruth –he is spending 19-24 years for conspiracy to commit murder, but he has good hands, the Panthers could use another offensive threat, and what DB would want to tackle him. That crazy mo-fo had the mother of his son killed, what do you think he’d do to a guy who horse-collar tackled him!

Mike Tyson – without him, the sport of boxing has become a cure for insomnia. Boxing has been overtaken by a sport which consists of a bunch of oversized men wearing short underwear and rolling around on the floor together. I can see that for free any night in West Hollywood.

(Serious suck-up note- the fighters of UFC are incredibly talented and tough individuals and I have the utmost respect for each and everyone of them, so please don’t kick my ass.)

Last week, I went 6-7-1 and 1-3-1 on my star picks. Overall I am 65-70-8 and 14-20-3. My picks are in bold and that star indicates I feel so strong about this I’d let Pacman Jones take me on a midnight run to Pure Platinum if I am wrong.

Every week of the season, commentators and sports writers love to put a label on a game. “Revenge Game,” “Bounce Back Game, “Trap Game,” etc. Well, who am I to think I am better than the people at ESPN, Fox Sports or the NFL Network. This week, I will title each game so you will know the theme of that game. This will help you follow along, much like Cliff Notes or the annoying old lady sitting behind you at the movies who has to repeat everything for her deaf husband.

*San Diego at Jacksonville –2.5 The “Thank God We’re Home, When Do We Leave Again?” Game. Jacksonville had to play their last three games on the road. That can’t be easy. I mean it can’t be easy to have to come back to Jacksonville after seeing the real world.

*Kansas City +14.5 at Indianapolis – The “American Red Cross” Game. With the amount of injuries both these teams have suffered, the Red Cross will be set up on the sidelines for its mass causality training exercise.

Oakland +5 at Minnesota - The “Petty Revenge” Game- Part Deux. First the Dolphins, now the Vikings will feel the wrath on the healed Culpepper. His powers only work against his formers teams, against everyone else he still stinks, which I guess is why the Vikes and Fins are his former teams.

Cleveland at Baltimore +3 –The “Circle the Wagons, Ray Lewis has a Knife” Game. This is the highest level of must win urgency because if the Ravens don’t win, someone will get cut. And I don’t mean released.

Pittsburgh –9.5 at NY Jets – The “Be Gentle with Me” Game. This game could get so out of hand that the welfare authorities might have to step in and take the Jets away in protective custody.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta +3 – The “Don’t Screw Up a Good Thing” Game. Atlanta might sit Joey Harrington who has lead them to two straight wins. A brilliant move on par with invading Russia in the winter and telling that one night stand where you work.

*Arizona at Cincinnati –3 – The “I Really Thought We’d Be Better Than This” Game. Both teams had high hopes for the post season this year. Well actually the Cardinals had those hopes, the Bengals just hoped they could post bail.

Miami at Philadelphia –10 – The “Deer in the Headlights” Game. Poor John Beck. His first NFL game against a team that blitzes on every down. Cam Cameron must really hate this guy.

New England –16 at Buffalo – The “Bring Extra Light Bulbs for the Scoreboard” Game. New England has had a whole week off so they can put in more offensive plays utilizing defensive players. I bet we see a play with the entire secondary in the backfield to run the option.

Washington +10.5 at Dallas – The “Shouldn’t This be Played on Thanksgiving” Game. This a classic match-up of old rivals that deserves to played when we have nothing else watch. Instead, we get the Cowboys playing the stinkin’ Jets on turkey day. Granted, I will watch it anyway, but it’s the principle of the thing.

*New Orleans +1 at Houston – The “What Could Have Been” Game. Houston suffered this last year when Vince Young beat them. Now it Reggie Bush’s turn to remind them how bad they blew the 2006 draft.

Carolina at Green Bay –9.5 – The “AARP” Game. If Testaverde starts, this match up will have the highest combined age of two starting QBs since 1970. Rue McClanahan, Betty White and Bea Arthur are hired as guest cheerleaders for the game. (Yeah, try getting that visual out of your head.)

NY Giants at Detroit +2.5 – The “Damn We Were Almost Good” Game. Whichever team loses this game will have to look in the mirror and repeat “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, and gosh darn it, people do not like me.”

St Louis at San Francisco +3 – The “Only Reason I am Watching This is Because I Have Money on It” Game. The NFL wants nothing to do with Las Vegas or gambling, but if it wasn’t for both, this game would get beat in the ratings by ice hockey.

Chicago at Seattle –5 – The “Oh God, He’s Back” Game. Rex Grossman returns and I can already hear the people who bet the Bears ripping up their betting slips.

Tennessee +2 at Denver – The “Let’s Save Electricity” Game. The opposite of the New England game. The stadium will unplug the scoreboard to save power and because, seriously, who expects there to be any scoring in this game.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Week 10 - Asterisks

Click here to listen to an audio version of the entry.

Asterisk (definition from dictionary): a small star-like symbol (*), used in writing and printing as a reference mark or to indicate omission, doubtful matter, etc.

If 2007 is known for anything, it will be known as the year of the asterisk. From Barry Bonds’ enlarged head to a corrupt ref calling the Spurs - Suns pivotal game 5 to the Patriots moonlighting as freelance filmmakers, many of this year’s achievements in sports are being looked at with a lazy eye.

It has really called into question my devotion and love for sports. If all that is great in the game is accomplished under false pretense, then what am I to believe? Sports fans embrace the touchdown, the home run, the breakaway goal for the apparent greatness we are witnessing and because we believe in the integrity of the achievement. We get lied to plenty every the store..on TV…in the bedroom. Look, I understand my “achievement” during moments of intimacy has a 50/50 chance of being misleading or chemically enhanced. But the climax I reach upon a team winning a championship should not have to be au natural.

I wish I had Doc Brown’s DeLorean that could take me back to the good old days of sports, when I knew everything was done the right way and on the up and up.

Take me back to…

A time when heroes like Mays and Mantle hit their home runs using only good old fashioned hard work and amphetamines.

To 1996, when the great Yankees won their first series in 18 years with a plucky young shortstop and an even pluckier young kid in the right field stands pulling fly balls in for home runs.

To 1951, when the NY Giants refused to quit and made that miracle comeback against the Dodgers using timely hitting, clutch pitching and astute signal stealing from a spy in centerfield.

When biting, gouging eyes, and grabbing testicles in a pile during a football game was called being tough and not flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct.

Oh, those were the days.

So when a team or player does accomplish something under dubious manner, we speak about putting the dreaded star-like scarlet letter next to their name. I believe athletes hate the asterisk above all else, more than any fine or suspension or court order paternity payments. That is the reason why I believe in using it. It might be the only stick we non-athletically inclined people have in keeping our misguided heroes in place. It might make them think twice about visiting that dentist prescribing them HGH for an overbite.

The record books and hall of fame and spineless sportswriters might be afraid of affixing the mighty asterisk, but Don Shula and I are not. So I hereby declare that the entire year of 2007 receive the unsightly asterisk tattoo placed right on the small of her back, so everytime she bends over, the whole world, whether they want to or not, can see it.

And I am not doing this as a bitter fan whose every favorite team has failed miserably this year, nor as a poor gambling loser whose picks have been putrid this year. I do this for the integrity of sport, for an example for future generations of fans, and because, dammit, there is no way the Dolphins can be this bad without someone cheating.

Last week I went 6-8 and 2-2 on my asterisk picks. Overall I am 59-63-7 and 13-17-2. My picks are in bold and that funny star indicates I feel so strong about this pick I already have an accusation of cheating prepared in case I get it wrong.

Jacksonville +3.5 at Tennessee - I took the Jag plus the 3.5 on the road last week and got creamed. So what do I do, the exact same thing. My head is thicker that the Great Wall of China

Denver at Kansas City –4.5 – The Broncos get blown out. The Rockies get swept. Seven people are shot in the LoDo district. If you think black holes are just theoretical, visit Denver.

*Buffalo –3 at Miami – I circled this match-up at the beginning of the year as a battle for last place in the AFC East. Well, Buffalo, Miami lived up to their end of the bargain.

Cleveland +9 at Pittsburgh – If the Browns win, they will be tied for first place. Nothing funny here, just thought it should be noted the Browns are playing for first place and not the first pick in the draft.

St. Louis +12 and New Orleans – It is insulting to be a more than 10-point underdog to any team in pro football not called New England.

*Atlanta at Carolina –4.5 – Because of Vinnie’s resurgence, Stallone is thinking about doing Rocky XII. All means must be used to stop Testeverde before this project get greenlit.

*Philadelphia at Washington –3 – My prediction of the Eagles going to the Super Bowl looks so stupid now, my high school called to ask for my diploma back and the local library suspended by borrowing privileges.

Minnesota +6.5 at Green Bay – The Vikings literally have no QB. And this would usually be bad but in this case it will actually help them because now they have no excuse not to just snap the ball directly to Adrian Petersen.

(P.S. Raise you hand if you got all excited because your fantasy football team had Adrian Petersen on it, until you realized it was the one from Chicago. They should have the same rules as SAG and make players change their name or add at least add a middle initial to help us ill-informed fans out.)

Cincinnati +6.5 at Baltimore – I loved Ray Lewis crowing about the fact they held Pittsburgh to only 3 points in the second half on Monday night. It takes a tough guy to do an interview with a concussion.

Chicago at Oakland +3.5 – This is an example of a screw you pick. I know the Bears are better and it is just plain silly to pick the Raiders, but the Bears have cost me so much this year, I am picking against them out of petty spite, and that’s the best kind of spite there is.

*Dallas PK at NY Giants –The G-Men are on a roll. The last 4 teams they have beat have a combined record of 5-28. I didn’t think it was possible to score that easily without visiting the Chicken Ranch with a fist full of fifties.

*Detroit +1 at Arizona – Detroit, by way of Kitna, has God on their side. Arizona plays in the land of the Sun Devil. Something’s got to give. While the Devil is strong against the run, God has a wickedly deceptive play action pass and has the arm to go deep. I like God over the Devil in this game because of a no time on the clock, game ending smiting.

Indianapolis at San Diego +3.5 – Not sure how the Colts can come down from playing in the game of the century to playing in merely the game of the week. Also, after getting literally rolled over last week by the Vikings, Charger defenders are being treated for Porphyrophobia ( fear of the color purple).

San Francisco +10 at Seattle – this game is going to be so bad, I hear ESPN is moving it to ESPNU and instead will be airing the Division III Women’s College Basketball Preview show.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Week 9- The Super Bowl of the Regular Season

Sunday, November 4. 4:15pm Eastern, 1:15pm Pacific. On CBS. What else could you possibly want to watch? Simply put, it is THE match-up of the year. Three words say it all.

Sage Rosenfels vs. Dante Culpepper.
Kris Brown vs. Sebastian Janikowski.

A guaranteed epic battle sure to captivate all those who love the game of football. And I mean football in the European sense since the only scoring will be by kicking. The final score will end up 9-6 where the last team with the ball with throw a game-ending interception (or in the case of Culpepper, a game ending fumble.) I bet the people in Houston and Oakland are just giddy over the fact they get coverage of this game, while the rest of the CBS affiliates in the country have to endure the Patriots vs. Colts. I’m inclined to take a road trip to Oakland just so I can see the game, but I still need to get an security system for my car.

This game got me thinking of other match-ups I would love to see, and not just in the world of sports. Here’s my list of battles I would pay money to watch. Not a lot of money mind you, but, you know, twenty or twenty-five dollars, something like that.

Bill Clinton vs. Ronald Reagan – both could charm the pants off you…and in Clinton’s case, he did.

Homer Simpson vs. Peter Griffin- settle the score once and for all on who is the best poorly drawn animated character on television today.

Michael Scott vs. David Brent- in the showdown of insufferable, self-centered managers, I would bet on the good old-fashioned American boss every time.

Dame Judi Dench vs. Dame Helen Mirren – raise your hand if you are like me and just can’t get enough of catfights between 60+ year old British stage actresses. They even bleed with a regal British accent.

Michael Vick vs. a pit bull – No nooses. No buckets of water. No guns. Mano y canine. (wagering allowed)

Norway vs. Sweden vs. Denmark- look, you are all pretty much the same. Just have a battle royale and the last country standing gets naming rights for the whole Scandinavian peninsula. (written by a true American)

Stephen Hawking vs. Frank Wilczek- Love to see a fist fight between these two giants of theoretical physics. Sure Wilczek has the Novel Prize and use of his arms and legs, but Hawking gets the ladies and that wheelchair can puncture skin.

Now on to the football games. There are 13 other games besides the big game between Houston and Oakland. While you are probably not interested in any of them, I took the time to tell you what will happen at these games so you can concentrate all your efforts on the Texans and Raiders. You can thank me later.

Last week I went 7-6 and 2-2 on my star picks. Overall I am 53-55-7 and 11-15-2 on my star picks. My picks are in bold and the star indicates I feel so strong about this pick I am going to take it out for dinner and a movie.

*Washington -4 at NY Jets – Kellen Clemens stakes the Jets to an early 7-0 lead. The crowd thinks he’s the second coming of Joe Namath. In the second half, he’ll throw 3 picks and the crowd thinks he is the second coming of Brooks Bollinger.

Green Bay at Kansas City –2.5 - in the final two minutes of the game, the Chiefs will accidentally on purpose cut off Herm Edwards headset so he can’t mismanage the clock.

Arizona +3.5 at Tampa Bay – Tampa will dominate most of this game until the last five minutes when Warner just chucks the ball around against a prevent defense and the Cardinals pull a last second cover. Buccaneer bettors will have their shoelaces and belts confiscated and be on suicide watch.

*Carolina +4.5 at Tennessee – after falling behind with David Carr at QB, the Panthers force Testaverde to play, using one of the offense linemen to prop him up so he can throw.

San Francisco at Atlanta –3 – this game will be so ugly, that Tyra Banks will come out at halftime to have a stylist do a complete makeover of both teams. The crowd will gasp at how beautiful the teams look, but leave early when they realize they still play awful.

Jacksonville +3.5 at New Orleans – Quinn Gray’s performance will make Jaguars fans forget David Garrard who made then forget Byron Leftwich who made them forget Mark Brunell. Gee, I think Jacksonville fans have Alzheimer’s.

*Denver and Detroit –3 - God will be sitting in the owners box cheering his Lions on to victory. How’s that for an advantage.

*Cincinnati at Buffalo –1 – Good news for the Bengals, the Bills starting QB is out. Bad news for the Bengals, their defense can make any QB look like a Hall of Famer.

San Diego –7.5 at Minnesota – The Vikings will be holding a special contest where one lucky fan will get to quarterback the team in the 3rd quarter.

Seattle +1 at Cleveland – the Browns will take a lead into halftime, remember in the locker room “Hey, we are the Browns! There is no way we can win three games in a row,” and then return to the field and completely fall apart in the second half.

New England at Indianapolis +5.5 –There will be a 30-minute delay in the fourth quarter when the scoreboard short circuits from overuse. Note to remember: Miami’s offense, with no QB, no running back and no wide receivers scored 21 points against New England.

Houston at Oakland –3 – The McAfee Coliseum will be playing the Pats/Colts game on the jumbo-tron. The players are going to agree to decide the game with the opening coin toss so they dispense with playing and enjoy watching the game.

Dallas -3 at Philadelphia – With the ink still wet on his huge new contract, Romo goes out and throws four picks in the first half, but still has that silly grin on his face, because, hey “I’m rich and just got a lap dance from Britney Spears!”

Baltimore and Pittsburgh –9 – The real news out of this game will be the post game surgery required for Brian Billick to have his play calling sheet removed from his derriere after Ray Lewis sticks it there.

Cheerleader Gets Run Over By Football Team

The greatest "cheerleader getting crushed clip" ever! I dare you to watch it only once

Friday, October 26, 2007

Week 8- Location, Location, Location

They say the three most important things about real estate is location, location and location. The same goes for football, except it is for location of the game, location of the nearest HGH distributor and location of the nearest strip club to the team hotel.

This week in the NFL, location is the top story. We have a game being played in London. We have a game that, at this moment, we have no idea where it is going to be played. And we have no games being played in Oakland or Philadelphia, giving those hard working police departments a well-earned break.

They say home field means a lot to a team. Vegas sports books usually give 3 points to the home team when setting a line. I say “Phooey!” (I often said “Phooey” because I like the sound it makes and because it keeps people from talking to me.) The home teams this year are only covering at a 48% clip. That’s basically a coin flip. So home cookin’ is not better than the breakfast buffet at Cracker Barrel

I think it’d be more fun if the games were held not in the traditional home stadiums, but in locations that will add an extra element of excitement . We fans are tired of the same old, same old. Green Bay is cold in the winter. Miami is hot in the summer. Seattle has loud fans. Atlanta has no fans. We get it. It would be more interesting to have the teams play in a location that better exemplifies the match-up. May not be fun for the players, heck it might even be dangerous, but when as a league or as fans have we ever cared about the well-being of players? (see the players who played before the 1980s)

So this week, along with my picks, I am going to share where I think the games should really be played.

Last week I went 7-7 and 2-2 on my star picks. Overall I am 46-49-7 and 9-13-2 . My picks are in bold. The star indicates I feel so strong about this pick they could play the game in Miami and I would still pick the same way. Oh, they do play football in Miami? Not this year.

Cleveland –3 at St. Louis- Greenland. Most people think Iceland is the more remote location but it is really Greenland, and remote fits the bill for this game.

*Detroit and Chicago –5Hockey Rink. These are two great hockey cities so why not letthe fans enjoy the best of both. Bet Devin Hester still scores a TD…and a hat trick.

*Indianapolis –7 at Carolina – Palm Beach, Florida – With Vinnie starting, what better location than the retirement capital of the US for this game so he can play into front of his neighbors and fellow mah jong players.

NY Giants –9.5 at Miami – Scotland - Not because of my affinity for kilts. But because there would be so many fights in the stands, maybe my Fins would learn a lesson or two about toughness.

Oakland +7.5 at Tennessee – San Quentin Prison - This gives the inmates the opportunity to see what their lives could have been like, and for the Raiders to see what their lives WILL be like.

Philadelphia –1 at Minnesota- Outdoors – I think moving their football games indoors has made Minnesotans soft. I hear Bud Grant is embarrassed to be seen in the city and Fran Tarkenton won’t even be a shill for any companies there.

*Pittsburgh –3.5 at Cincinnati – Cleveland – It’d be just as fascinating to watch the fans as the game. I believe after three straight hours of booing everything that happens on the field, they would all spontaneously combust.

Buffalo +3 at NY Jets – Iran- once the mullahs get a load of the group of Bills and Jets fans that travel over there for the game, they’ll realize we are just crazy enough to attack them and they’ll give up the nukes..and their wallets.

Houston +9.5 at San Diego – San Diego - Okay I have a heart and the people of San Diego need some distraction.

*Jacksonville at Tampa Bay –4Lambeau Field…in January- the frozen tundra would be the perfect weather for these two, sun-baked team. It could be settled by a contest of musical hot seats.

New Orleans –3 at San Francisco – Lancaster County, PA- How appropriate for two of the meccas of alternative lifestyles to play in the heart of Amish country.

Washington +16.5 at New England – atop Mt Everest – the lack of oxygen at this height might slow down the Patriot offense…might.

Green Bay at Denver –3Sahara Desert – everyone talks about how tough it is to play in the frigid weather, well let’s see how tough these cold weather teams are while playing in 130 degree heat. Oh, and make sure you have the sand storm to your back for the fourth quarter.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Week 7- Bad Mood Rising

I hate to get personal but I have been in a foul mood this week. Just had a sour disposition. Walking around with the proverbial stick up my derriere. At first, I thought it was because I am worried that the current housing crisis is likely to lead to an economic recession that could have detrimental worldwide consequences. Then I remembered I don’t know jack about macro economic issues and, therefore, will continue to run up my credit cards bills.

No, the reason for my blue mood has been my lousy record in picking games this year. It has just been awful. Last week, two of my picks lost their starting QBs leaving me begging the sports book director for a do-over. Apparently, there are no do-overs in sports betting, nor is there crying allowed. As I was biting my quivering upper lip, security ushered me out as Tim Rattay was throwing his 17th INT of the game.

Later that evening, as I was standing in line at Vinnie’s Pawn shop hugging a set of sterling silverware passed on from my great-grandparents from the old country, I was thinking about all the other things I hate about sports besides teams not covering. And here is the list I came up before I was handed the $350 cash for was probably $5000 worth of flatware.

Home teams wearing dark jerseys- “Home whites” is how I grew, it was a constant, and let you know immediately who the home team was. The other day the Rockies and D-Backs look liked recreational league softball teams with one wearing red and the other black.

Playoff beards – When they started, it was cool because it made them look tough, now it just makes them look like the squeegee guy off the highway exit. You are all multi-millionaires, but a Gillette!

Timeouts after kickoffs – Nothing drives football fans crazier that a timeout after a score, a kickoff, then another commercial timeout. It’s a wonder a football players breaks into a sweat at the pace they play.

Waving the white towels – Great if you are emulating the Italian army, pretty damn silly looking if you are cheering for your team.

Late October baseball – for a sport that plays 90% of its games in warm weather, to determine its champion in below freezing conditions is just plain dumb. Next year, hockey will play their championship on a lake in the Florida Everglades.

Baseball managers wearing uniforms – who are they fooling. Are we to believe Joe Torre is going to pick up a bat and pinch hit for A-Rod (not a terrible idea with runners in scoring position in the playoffs).

Note- Although it would be funny to see football coaches in full pads roaming the sidelines. But not so funny to see Stan Van Gundy in basketball shorts.

Soccer players faking injuries – this is the single biggest reason the US will never win a World Cup. No championship is worth having if you have to make yourself look like a pansy to win it.

The coach calling time out before a field goal attempt – this latest craze just seems unfair. It’s like an attorney use an obscure objection to get his triple-murder client off. Okay, that might have been too strong, how about double-murderer.

Last week I went 5-7-1 and 1-2 on my star picks. Overall I am 39-42-7 and 7-11-2 on my star picks. This week I dislike all my picks so much, I’ve got nothing to say about them and let the result do the talking for me. So this week, look for a special results posting on Tuesday.

My picks are in bold. The ones with the star are picks I hate so much, I WOULD want my worse enemy to play them.

Now if you will excuse me, I am going to watch “Million Dollar Baby” to cheer me up.

Arizona at Washington –7
Atlanta +8.5 at New Orleans
Baltimore at Buffalo +3
Minnesota +9.5 at Dallas
New England –17 at Miami
San Francisco at NY Giants –9.5
Tampa Bay +2 at Detroit
Tennessee at Houston +1.5
*Kansas City at Oakland –2.5
NY Jets +6
at Cincinnati
*Chicago +4.5 at Philadelphia
St. Louis at Seattle –8.5
*Pittsburgh –3.5 at Denver
*Indianapolis –3 at Jacksonville

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Week 6- Honoring the Sabbath

Muslims have Mecca
Jews have the Wailing Wall
Catholics have Vatican City
and football fans have a sport book on Sundays

It’s the holiest place for the followers of footballism, a not yet recognized religious sect in the United States. There is no better place to watch a Sunday worth of football than at a sports book in Las Vegas for the following reasons:
1) Every game going on right in front of you.
2) You can legally bet on the games.
3) Not only to you not have to buy food and drink, you get the drinks for free.
4) You can bet first half lines, and if you lose those, bet second half lines on every game.
5) You are likely to find at least one other person cheering for your team, even if it is for strictly financial reasons.
6) Your football day starts at 10am and doesn’t end until close to 9:00pm. Granted Catholic services run just as long and with an equal amount of booze involved.
7) What else can you do that will allow you to have a great time and give you the chance to leave with more money than you started with?

The hallowed grounds of the sports book give you the opportunity to see things that can only be explained by divine intervention, and I just don’t mean the end of that Cowboys game. I do mean the sights and sounds of your fellow worshipers. It brings together an eclectic mix of people, from all walks of life, all areas of the world, and all ranges of mental stability.

I have seen and heard the following so far this year (I am not making any of these up):

A guy who makes the homeless look clean with three empty Bud bottles and a wad of betting slips in front of him sitting next to who I believe was Thurston Howell III.

A guy standing near the front, looking up at the board, and blabbing away on his cell phone. The clerk, right in front of him, is literally waving his arms and screaming at him to get off the phone. He looks dumbfounded, as security points to the huge sign at the front saying no cell phones.
(Nothing makes you look more like a novice than using a cell phone in a sports books. Do what the rest of us do and use a hand free devise cupped in your hand to mumble to your friends.)

A guy muttered "F$%king Grossman" after his umpteenth pick and three others in unison said “Amen.” Who says this isn’t a church?

An older gentleman upon seeing the USC/Stanford score said “Even though they don’t have that Elway anymore, that Stanford is still pretty tough.” They have not had Elway for going on 25 years.

I saw a mother shout out the betting lines to her 13 year old son who was standing just away from the sports book, and him shouting back his picks. A family that bets together stays together.

There was a young lady who was probably betting for the first time. She was yelling and screaming for her team. Which is fine. But she was getting excited about a kick return to the team’s own 30, …and in the second quarter. Nothing more annoying than misplaced exuberance.

I have seen jerseys, hats, or other items worn for every NFL team, except the Seattle Seahawks. The teams I see the most represented are the Giants, Cowboys and Steelers.

I’ve seen a grown man stand up and stare with tears in his eyes at the huge TV screen as his team loses to a last second, 57 yard field goal
. Actually, I only caught a glimpse of this through a reflection and with water clouded eyes.

Last week, I fell back to below mediocrity and was 6-8 overall and 1-3 on my star picks. For the year, I am 34-35-6 overall and 6-9-2 with my star picks.

My picks are in bold.
*- denotes I really feel so strongly about this pick, I will tip the cashier when I place the bet instead of waiting until I cash the winner.

Cincinnati –3 at Kansas City- the last team with the ball, will throw an interception and have it returned for a TD.

Houston at Jacksonville –6.5 – Houston doesn’t even try for TDs anymore, they just starting kicking when they get inside the 35.

Miami at Cleveland –5 – Cleo Lemon v. Derek Anderson. You’ve got to throw the record books out when these two lock horns.

Minnesota at Chicago –6 – I’ll be the sucker to jump on the Brian Griese Super Bowl bandwagon. Length of trip, one week.

Philadelphia at NY Jets +3- My “forget about it” pick of the week. Both fans are equally obnoxious and bitter. The only just result would be a tie.

St. Louis +9.5 at Baltimore – St. Louis is 1-4 against the spread, the Raven are 0-5. Both these teams have shredded a forest full of parlay cards.

*Tennessee +2.5 at Tampa Bay - Don’t drink pop rocks and coke. Don’t swim within 30 minutes of eating. Do not bet against the Titans when they are getting points.

Washington +3 at Green Bay - Now last week was the Farve we have all grown to love and curse.

*Carolina at Arizona –4 – Vinny Testaverde might start for the Panthers. I don’t think you heard me. How this spread is only 4 points either makes me want to run to the window or scares the hell out of me.

*New England –6 at Dallas – Everyone is praising the Cowboys for overcoming 6 turnovers and winning, but how bad must the Bills be to get 6 turnovers and lose?

Oakland at San Diego –10 – I know, I know. Oakland looks good this year. But this is one of those sucker lines, it suckers you in to betting the Raiders when the Chargers are prime for a rout. And I should know suckers having been one for most of my professional gambling life.

New Orleans at Seattle –6.5 – The Seahawks are the Dorothy of the NFL, there is no place like home for them. Okay, okay, San Fran, you can still be the Dorothys of the league.

New York Giants –3.5 at Atlanta- When the league planned this Monday night games, I am sure they were looking forward to showcasing Joey Harrington. I think there is a 3 to 1 chance baseball getting a better rating than football this night.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Week 5 - Researching the Games

People often ask me to explain my process in picking football games. Can Picasso explain how he paints? Can Einstein explain how he thinks? Can Da Vinci explain how he devises codes? No. And why? Because they are dead. I, on the other hand, am alive and will let you into the mind of a master procrastinator, I mean prognosticator.

I break down each game spending hours conducting research. I study how well each team rushes the ball and defends against the rush. You’ve got to run the ball and stop the run to win in this league. I know this because ESPN always tells me this. I also breakdown the turnover plus/minus; the team’s history against each other and common opponents, injury reports and weather forecasts, among other things. Most touts do this also, but what sets me apart is the extra steps I take that many do not.

I study the horoscopes for each team’s starting lineup, backups, coaches and team trainers. If a team is full of Libras, I shy away from betting them unless they are playing against a Taurus laden team, but only if the head coach is a Leo on the cusp.
I also study the grounds crew on the home team stadium to see how they treat the grass. I research legal filings to see how many players have upcoming court appearances.

And then I go that extra step that no one dares go. I call up the spouse and/or significant other of each team’s starting QB. Who better to get a read on how they are feeling and how they’ll perform. I’ll share a conversation I had leading up to week two of the season:

Me: “Hello, Mrs. Hasselbeck?”
Mrs. H: “Yes, who is this?”
Me: “It’s Blame the Mascot, how are you today?”
Mrs. H: “Oh great thanks. It stopped raining here for two whole days. We are very excited. Who are you again?
Me: “Blame the Mascot, but that’s not important. What is important is, how is Matt feeling?”
Mrs. H: “Oh fine, you are a dear to ask.”
Me: “Nothing unusual in his behavior?”
Mrs H: “Can’t say there is. Oh, there is that one thing, but it’s probably nothing.”
Me: “Nothing is nothing, ma’am. What’s the problem?”
Mrs. H: “Well lately he’s been kind of clumsy. Dropping things for no explicable reason.”
Me: “Example, please.”
Mrs. H: “Oh he’d kill me if he knew I was telling anyone about this. Wait, who are you again?
Me: “Blame the Mascot, we are the most popular sports blog in the history of the world, but whatever you say will only stay between me and you and my readers.”
Mrs. H: “Sounds fair. So take the other day, I asked him to hand me a dish. He turns around to hand it to me, bumps right into me and drops the dish, shattering it on our hard wood kitchen floor.”
Me: “That doesn’t sound like Matt.”
Mrs. H: “ I know. He’s been dropping everything. Books, laundry, the cats, the kids. It has been hell on those hard wood floors. They are so difficult to maintain you know.”
Me: “I know. Oh I know. Well, Mrs. Hasselbeck…”
Mrs H: “Call me Mrs. H”.”
Me: “Mrs. H, thank you for the information and your time. And I hope the weather stays nice.”
Mrs. H: “Me too. I’ve only got one more refill on that Prozac prescription.”
(canned laughter)

So what did I do with the information? I completely ignored it. Who is going to believe a blabbering housewife hopped up on anti-depressants who has hard wood floors in a damp climate like Seattle. And what happened? Her husband was the klutz she said he was, fumbles the game away and blows my pick, costing me the two Lincolns and a Washington I bet on the game.

So now you have some insight into what I call “my craft.” I learned my lesson on Week 2. I will always follow the dictates of my elaborate research system, listen to the spouse and/or significant other of the starting QBs, and, if that fails, do what other touts do and flip a coin.

Last week, I went an impressive 9-5 overall and but a not so impressive 1-2 on my star picks. For the year, I am 28-27-6 overall and 5-6-2 with my star picks.

Here are my picks for Week 5 along with a little bit of what I learned about one of the QBs from my research.

My picks are in bold.
*- denotes I really feel so strongly about this pick, I made sure it won 3 out of 5 coin flips before I picked it.

*Carolina at New Orleans –3 – About David Carr “He doesn’t feel alive unless he is getting sacked.”

Jacksonville at Kansas City +3 – About Brodie Croyle “He thinks of Herm Edwards as a father figure, and think of himself as a altar boy figure.”

Detroit at Washington –3.5 – About Jon Kitna “His trust in God is tempered by the Lord’s lousy play calling.”

*Atlanta +8.5 at Tennessee – About Joey Harrington “He just happens to have the Virginia State police on his T-Mobile My Faves.”

Miami at Houston –5.5 – About Matt Schaub “Enjoyed it much more when he was the QB that should be starting rather than being the QB that is starting.

Seattle +6 at Pittsburgh – About Ben Roethlisberger “Now, won’t even ride a stationary bike without a helmet.”

Cleveland at New England –16 About Tom Brady- spoke to his current girl but I don’t understand Portuguese. Spoke to his ex but I don’t understand what “@#%&ing *&@#er” means.

*Arizona -3.5 at St. Louis – About Matt Leinart “He’s recently contacted USC about a 6th year of eligibility.”

NY Jets at NY Giants –3.5 – About Eli Manning “Wants more dialogue in future commercials with his camera hog brother.”

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis –10 – About Jeff Garcia “When he joined the team, Tampa Bay removed all “s” sounds from their play calls.”

San Diego +1 at Denver – About Jay Cutler “Has been trying to talk Jake Plummer out of retirement.”

Baltimore –3.5 at San Francisco – About Steve McNair “His left ear lobe, the middle toe on his right foot, and the 5th and 7th rib on his left side are the only parts of his body not in pain.”

Chicago at Green Bay –3.5 – About Brett Favre “Meditates before each game by listening to love songs written and performed by John Madden.”

*Dallas -10 at Buffalo – About Tony Romo “He goes into every week thinking “this will be the week T.O. turns against me.’”

Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 4 - Football Films

I already predict this weekend will be horrific for football. Not because I fear my favorite sea faring mammals from southern Florida will lose again. Some things you just have to come to terms with as you grow up to be a man-child.

No, far worse than that, Disney’s “The Game Plan” opens at a theatre near you this weekend. The film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a superstar QB who is suddenly forced to deal with the consequences of his skipping his college course “Application of Contraception 101.”

Side note- While I made that course up, don’t you think that should seriously be a pre-requisite class offered to college athletes. Matt Leinhart and Tom Brady now receive child support notices instead of Father’s Day cards. Travis Henry sired 9 kids! Forget the traditional easy class like “Rocks for Jocks” and instead give them a class they can use like “Socks for Jocks.”

I digress. So you get the point. The Rock has to deal with his new found little daughter while trying to lead his team to a championship and he learns a valuable lesson about being a responsible adult and working as a team and blah blah blah I am going to throw up. I saw something on ESPN where they talked about making this film look authentic, like real football fans are going to judge this movie on whether The Rock checked down to the open receiver. There is not a football fan around that is going to go out and spend the $10 to see this movie. They will wait like the rest of us until it comes on HBO and watch it when no one else is around.

It did get me thinking about what are the best football movies ever made. Hollywood has done a poor job in this department compared to other sports. There are far more good films about baseball and boxing than about America’s favorite sport. But here is my stab at those movies worthy of being called “great football flix”

Rudy - The Rocky of football films. I hate Notre Dame, but love this film.

North Dallas Forty – aside from Mac Davis making a lousy QB, I thought the film was ahead of its time to show the gritty, business side of the sport.

The Waterboy – if you don’t quote Rob Schneider’s “You can do it!” line at least once a week, you are not a football fan, and you are a liar.

Brian’s Song- the Gale Sayers (Billy Dee Williams) speech in the locker room after Brian dies can make a Vulcan cry.

Remember the Titans- alright I granted it’s a bit schmaltzy, but its got Denzel and that gives it street cred.

The Longest Yard (original) they did not need to remake this film, the original still holds up today.

Friday Night Lights – the movie actually frightened me about how obsessive Texas football fans can be. Imagine if we elected a president from there? (Yes, you are right. That was a cheap shot at President Lyndon Johnson.)

Those are my picks and I’m sticking with them. As for my weekly picks, well last week I like the movie “The Replacements,” the epitome of mediocre. I went 6-6-4 overall and 1-1-1 on my star picks. For the year, I am 19-22-6 and 4-4-2 with my star picks.

Here are this week’s picks along with the movie that best describes the game.

My picks are in bold.
*- denotes I really feel so strongly about this pick I am willing to go see it in the theatre instead on waiting for it on DVD.

Oakland +4 at Miami – “Black Sunday” – The way things are going to go for the Dolphins this Sunday, I hope a blimp crashes into the Orange Bowl. Yeah, I know they don’t play there anymore. It’s not like I want anyone to actually get hurt. Geez.

Houston at Atlanta +3 – “Back to the Future” –don’t you think the Falcon’s wish they could jump in the DeLorean, dial it back about a seven months, and never let Matt Schaub go..and never returned Joey Harrington’s phone calls.

Baltimore –4.5 at Cleveland – “Necessary Roughness” – because Ray Lewis’ act is starting to remind me of Sinbad.

*Chicago -3 at Detroit - “Starting Over” – It’s like the Bears started their real regular season this week after trying things with a “starter QB”

Green Bay at Minnesota +2 – “The Highlander” – this is the game Favre break Marino’s career TD mark, proceeds to lob off his head and scream “There can be only one!” …then throws an interception to lose the game.

*St. Louis at Dallas –13 – “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” – No Stephen Jackson. A hurt Marc Bulger. No Orlando Pace. People will be running for the aisles to avoid the unsightly gore.

*NY Jets –3.5 at Buffalo – “Buffalo 66” – which represents the total number of yards the Bills will gain with Trent Edwards at the helm.

Tampa Bay +3 at Carolina -“Song of the South” – just like the movie, this game should be banned.

Seattle -2 at San Francisco “My Dinner with Andre” –it’d be just like these two laid back, coffee sipping teams to give us a three hour game about as exciting as watching two people talking.

Pittsburgh at Arizona +6.5 - “Revenge” – If the Cardinals play one great game this year, it’ll be against the team the spurned its coach.

Kansas City +12.5 at San Diego – “Falling Down” you know how crazy Michael Douglas gets in this film, LT and Herm Edwards are one step away and who ever loses this game is heading for the Santa Monica pier.

Denver at Indianapolis –10 – “Everbody’s All American” – Peyton Manning fits the bill. He’s a great QB, likable person, and fantastic spokesperson. If he did a PSA saying sticking your fingers in your ears prevents cancer, I would listen. Actually, I wouldn’t listen too much after that since, well you get the point.

Philadelphia –2.5 at NY Giants– “The Great White Hype” – what about all the pressure placed put on Eli Manning because of his race, which is the race of people with perpetual looks of confused depression.

New England –7.5 at Cincinnati - “Spy Games” – one last dig at the eventual Super Bowl champions.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Week 3- The Blame Game

It is America’s second favorite pastime after bowling. I can’t think of a greater skill to have than the ability to deflect attention away from your own failures and shortcomings and placed them on some other completely unrelated cause.

Everyone is born with the ability to play the blame game. We start off as a toddler blaming imaginary friends for spilling the milk, move to adolescence pointing the finger at the dog for eating the biology paper, and then move on to the young adult years blaming Pabst Blue Ribbon for that unfortunate night with the 255 lbs R.A. (but I passed every room inspection after that)

But what separates the really successful people in our society from the ones who write seldom read sports blogs is the ability to truly master “ludicrum culpa.” It is the trait that leads men and women to become captains of industry, Presidents of the United States, and players in the National Football League.

This week we saw some expert play at the blame game that deserves to be called out and admired.

Donovan McNabb adeptly deflecting attention from the fact that he has lead his team to only one TD drive in eight quarters and placing attention squaring where it would inoculate him from any further criticism, by playing the race card. Well played Donovan. Well played in deed. I have tried using the race card myself by saying people put too much pressure on me to bite my bottom lip when I dance, but it has never been as effective as Donovan.

Brian Billick blamed the Jets for illegally simulating the snap count, which at least for this week took attention off the fact that the offensive genius has one of the worse offenses in the league. Next week, Billick will blame the other teams for “trying to wrap there arms around our running back and pull him to the ground in a violent manner” for the reason they score less than 10 points,

The blame game was taken to another level when it was played by every team in the league that lost to the Patriots in the last 5 years (which pretty much is every team). It is an awe-inspiring sight to witness such a large collection of individuals working together toward the same goal - explaining away their butt kicking by the Patriots on video taping. Granted, Belichick is such an easy target to blame. He dresses like a hobo, has the personality of two-month old cottage cheese, and the disposition of someone who ate that two-month old cottage cheese. Nonetheless, when an entire league tries to dodge blame for not being able to stop a team that had Antwain Smith as its starting running back from winning the Super Bowl, that’s more than just winning the blame game, that’s just plain ballsy.

Last week I went 5-10-1 in my picks a 0-3 on my star picks. Do I take responsibility for this display of putrid prognosticating? Nope. You see last week, instead of doing my due diligence, I spent it watching my recently acquired bootleg copy of seasons 2 and 3 of “Perfect Strangers.” That Balki is soooo damn funny I could not pull myself away from watching what fine mess he got his cousin Larry into next. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

So for the season I am 13-16-2 and 3-3-1 on my star picks. Here are the picks for this week. I have already taken the time to pick who I will blame if I get them wrong. I am too busy this weekend because guess what just came to my doorstep…”Family Matters” seasons 1 and 2. Damn that Urkel makes me laugh so.

My picks are in bold.
*- denotes I really feel so strongly about this I will blame my own mother if I am wrong.

Indianapolis at Houston +6
I blame Mario Williams for trying to pick up a late fumble instead of falling on it. He wanted to run it back so he can say he had more TDs than Reggie Bush.

San Diego at Green Bay +5
I blame Norv Turner for doing what the league could not do last season, stop LT from scoring.

Minnesota at Kansas City –3
I blame Herm Edwards for using up all his time out in the first 2 minutes of the each half.

Detroit +6 at Philadelphia
I blame Donovan McNabb for reading my above blog and getting so angry he goes out a completes a pass to a wide receiver.

Buffalo +16 at New England
I blame my utter stupidity for picking against the Patriots for three straight weeks. Just like in roulette, it just has to come out black sometime…right?

*Miami at NY Jets -3
I blame my brain for overruling my heart and making me pick the stinkin’ Jets. I also blame the Jets for simulating the snap count, forcing the center to actually hike the ball to Trent Green.

Sidebar- Did you see last week where Trent Green failed in his attempt to spike the ball to stop the clock. He actually failed to make perhaps the simplest play in organized sports. Take the ball and slam it to the ground. I see one-year olds do this all the time, yet he could not. The guy next to me summed it up when he muttered “Jesus Christ, Dolphins.” Amen.

San Francisco at Pittsburgh –9
I blame all my Steelers fans who so passionately argue that the Steelers are going to win every week that I feel like I have to pick them or I might end up with a Terrible Towel in a terribly uncomfortable place.

Arizona +8 at Baltimore
I blame Matt Leinart for being too tired because he is busy raising a young baby. Oh wait, he doesn’t have to deal with that.

St. Louis + 3.5 at Tampa Bay
I blame the coin I flipped to make this pick. I have always had a thing against to Delaware quarters.

*Jacksonville at Denver –3
I blame Jake Plummer because I am old school I and I just can’t let go.

Cincinnati at Seattle –3
I blame the Seattle weather. All that rain has got to make the Seahawks depressed. Unfortunately, the league banned Prozac for them because it would be a performance-enhancing drug for Seattle.

Cleveland at Oakland –3
I blame Janikowski for hitting on fields goals for 51, 47, and 49, but missing the 39 to tie the game at the end. I guess its tough to kick a ball after downing vodka for three hours.

Carolina –4 at Atlanta
I blame Atlanta’s DB for not taunting Steve Smith thus not getting him all riled up to go off for 200 yards and 3 TDs. Where’s Deion when you need him?

NY Giants at Washington –4
I would blame Jason Campbell but is there a starting QB in the league that is talked about less than him? So I’ll blame Joe Gibbs for being so caught up with his NASCAR drivers that he’s been giving his players 5W30 instead of Gatorade.

Dallas +3 at Chicago
I blame the Cowboys for punting the ball anywhere in the direction of Devin Hester. Actually, they should go for it on every fourth down, like the Grossman is going to lead them to a score.

*Tennessee +4.5 at New Orleans I blame my friend who just moved to Tennessee from Miami and now roots for the Titans. Bad Dolphins karma is highly contagious and can spread easily to any new team a former fan pulls for..and there is NO cure. (da da da dummmm)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Week 2- The Foo-mmys

My week one quick hits and observations

Did anyone consider that Belichick was taping the Jets for a submission to “America’s Funniest Defense Play Calls?”
Host Bob Saget –“Look what happens if you only single cover one of the fastest receivers in the league…whoops... burned for another TD (cue up canned laugh track and cut to audience guffawing).

Holy Wes Craven, NY Giants players were dropping like half naked teenagers on Elm Street. Now that I think of it, Tom Couglin sort of looks like Freddy Kruger.

After months of being out of the lime light, a once might superstar comes back to the main stage only to give a performance that leaves everyone’s muttering “What the hell was that?” No I am not talking about Britney, I’m referring to Donovan McNabb. While he might have looked better than Britney in a bra and bikini bottom, their performances was eerily similar They both staggered around the stage/field looking completely lost, had no rhythm, and left you screaming “I picked Britney to go to the Super Bowl ?!”

It’s so good to see Tim Donaghy get a second chance after the whole basketball gambling fix. He seemed to fit right in as the back judge for the Ravens-Bengals game. Nice call on that Todd Heap pass-interference play. Hope Fat Paulie pays you well for keeping the Ravens from covering.

In their suit and ties, Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan looked less like NFL head coaches and more like substitute teachers.

Which will last longer, a bottle of vodka in Lindsay Lohan’s hand, Paris Hilton’s relationship with God, or Derek Anderson as Brown’s QB? Seeing how the previous QB went for getting the coach’s vote of confidence to traded to Seattle in less than 48 hours, I think I’ll bet on the vodka staying out of Lindsay’s bloodstream as lasting longer.


Now on to the picks. In honor of this Sunday also being the 59th Emmy Awards, along with my picks, I am doling out my own football Emmys or “Foo-mmys.”

Last week I went 8-6-2 in my picks, but a stellar 3-0-1 with my star picks. So basically, only listen to half of what I say, just try figuring out what half.

My picks are in bold.
*- denotes I really feel so strongly about this I would testify under oath in a court of law to its validity.

And the Foo-mmy goes to…

Indianapolis at Tennessee +7
Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series. After watching Peyton doing all that crazy direction at the line of scrimmage, do you wonder if instead of yelling “Hut,” he yells “Action!”

*Cincinnati –6.5 at Cleveland
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. The way Romeo Crennel has handled his QB situation is a mark of a true genius, in the spirit of the Keystone Kops.

Buffalo at Pittsburgh –9
Outstanding Stunt Coordination It is remarkable how they make it look like JP Losman is getting absolutely crushed when he gets sacked by the Steelers, when we all know it’s staged so he doesn’t get hurtl. Right JP? JP? Is you helmet supposed to be turned around like that?

Houston at Carolina –6.5
Outstanding Animated Programming Tell Steve Smith he’s going to get shut down and he gets as mad a Yosemite Sam, runs by defensive backs as fast as the Road Runner, and ends up taunting opposing teams like Bugs Bunny. Texan coach Gary Kubiak is going have that Elmer Fudd look all day.

San Francisco at St. Louis –3
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series. Steven Jackson’s flowing dreadlocks makes him look like a better running back. I believe dreadlocks add at least five spots to a player’s fantasy football ranking. Besides, he looks so darn cool. It almost makes me forget the two fumbles last week…almost.

Green Bay +1 at NY Giants
Outstanding Miniseries It’s a continuing saga of when will Tom Coughlin be fired. I loved the new twist of taking away his QB, running back, and best defensive player. I’m dying for the next episode to see how he gets out of this jam in time to save his job.

Atlanta +10.5 at Jacksonville
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. I love the subtle comedic nuisance Joey Harrington brings to his role as the hapless second banana thrust into the lead role, like just when you think it can’t get worse, he throws another pick for a TD. As Joey would tell you, comedy is all about topping yourself.

*New Orleans –3.5 at Tampa Bay
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Jon Gruden is like Al Pacino if Al ever portrayed a football coach. Oh he did? I mean portrayed a football coach well. Gruden emotes so much, they have to wipe the field clean with “Emote Be Gone” after every game. (Not available in stores, call now to get your free sample.)

Minnesota at Detroit –3
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Program Mike Martz really embraces variety as he directs the Detroit offense, from throwing the ball deep to throwing the ball really deep. You never know what’s coming next (hint: look for the deep pass)

Dallas –4 at Miami
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Name calling. Coach bashing. QB-sexual orientation questioning. Hold outs. Front lawn push-ups. Attempted Accidental Suicide. T.O., you own this category.

*Seattle –3 at Arizona
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series Ken Whisenhunt takes up the revolving part of “the coach who enters with high hopes of turning around a sorry franchise only to have his heart crushed as he is fired in three years for never breaking 8-8.” Dennis Green was the standard bearer of how to play this role, so Ken you have big shoes to fill.

NY Jets at Baltimore –10
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series This game boasts two supporting actors taking over lead roles as QB, and I promise you one will have a bold dramatic performance…as they boldly throw a interception run back for a TD.

Oakland at Denver –9.5
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries. Mike Shanahan has done a brilliant job of directing this long running serial drama “How to Torment Your Crazy Ex-Boss.”

Kansas City at Chicago –12.5
Outstanding Comedy Series. Watch the hilarity as Rex Grossman plays a clueless college kid trying to pass himself off as an NFL QB, My favorite line is when the cranky Coach Smith slaps his forehead and yelps “Oh, Rex, ya threw it to the wrong team again!”

San Diego +3.5 at New England
Outstanding Dramatic Series. There will be more bad blood than on any episode of the Sopranos, but with a better ending,

Washington at Philadelphia –7
Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series Recipe for a knee-slapping comedy - cast your team by spending more money than anyone else, use all that money to gather mediocre talent, and fill the role of head coach with a guy running a NASCAR team. Oh, that Daniel Snyder has been America’s favorite diminutive, high strung, ne’er-do-well capitalist since Alex P. Keaton.