Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 4: A Whole Nother Week

Late afternoon addition: I had to add this, because it just made me laugh uncontrollably for 3 minutes without stopping.


Thanks again to TJ for compiling all of this garbage this week. I’ll explain more later, but I was avoidably detained from doing my duty on this and he was nice enough to bring all this together. I’m gonna buy him some lunch shots of jager as thanks.

By the way—random thought--has anyone else noticed the conversational use of the following phrase: “a whole nother”? People are saying it all the time. “I think I left one of my testicles at church last week, but that’s a whole nother problem.” I noticed it a few months back, and now I’m catching it everywhere—on tv, radio, in my atrium, at the chiropodist, everywhere. Hey America—“nother” isn’t a word. I realize you are breaking “another” in two and inserting “whole” but we don’t do that. That’s not one of the rules. Okay? Moving on. (Oh yeah, I’m a mess today…)

Rob

Baltimore (-4) @ Cleveland (O/U – 39)

A dreadful squad from stem to stern entertains a dreadfully boring opponent. And I’m quite sure we’ll be getting this game as part of our network doubleheader here in the Nation’s Capital. Whee! Joe Bugel will be spending the ‘Skins bye week road-tripping with Sam Huff to Owings Mills on a mission to toilet paper that whippersnapper Billick’s office while the Ravens are in Cleveland. Ravens cover, probably by 10-3 or something equally scintillating.

Denver (+9) @ Indianapolis (O/U – 46)

The Horsies have given off the slightest hint of a foul smell over the past two weeks, like someone left a half-eaten ham sandwich in the locker room. (My money’s on Bob Sanders – that guy’s a freaking slob.) Of note, though, that locker room’s been unoccupied since Week 1, with Indy getting two alarmingly tight wins on the road – which, of course, means that the sandwich has been sitting there for almost a month. My point? No earthly idea. Denver let two bad teams stay close before losing to a decent Jax squad at home. Colts pummel them senselessly and cover the number.

New England (-7) @ Cincinnati (O/U – 52)

How fired up are the ESPN Monday Night Football suits about this one? It’s got a mess of juicy controversy rife for overhype, with the Patriots’ chicanery still fresh and the Bengals’ legal problems continuing to provide punch lines to hacky NFL writers across the league. It features a built-in (if irrelevant on the field) competition between Brady/Moss and Palmer/Ocho Cinco. The WWL can horse-beat the Patriots’ Team of Destiny angle against Cincy’s No Respect/Backs to the Wall faux-motivation. And, most importantly from a television perspective, the two teams are averaging a combined 69 points per game. There’s not an over in the world that can contain these offenses.

Hey, I guess Mark was right. Take the over and laugh all the way to the “bank”.

****

Mark

Because my bosses here have changed up the format this week (and presumably for the duration of the season), I’ll be picking two winners ATS and one game based on the over/under. (That’s right. I have bosses on a blog that I don’t get paid to contribute to. So to sum up, I have a boss at my job, I have bosses on this blog and I live with my girlfriend. Luckily, I’m still allowed to shit without asking permission, though I’ve heard that’s going to be up for renegotiation in November.) So, with the change in format I figure it’s probably best if we dive right into things this week.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (Pick ‘Em)

Carolina has fared extremely well against Tampa in recent years, dating back to their sweep of Tampa during the Panthers Super Bowl run in 2003. Hell, last year the Panthers decided to not only beat the Bucs in their home stadium but also rupture the spleen of Chris Simms while doing so. I have to say, as a Bucs fan, I preferred the festivities of a year before when two of the Panthers cheerleaders decided to bump monkeys in the bathroom of a Tampa area watering hole the night before the game. Whichever you prefer, you have to give Carolina credit for bringing a little something extra to the party. Alas this game is being played in Charlotte, so unless Michael Pittman decides to duct tape a hooker to the wall of his hotel room and throw firecrackers at her (always a possibility) the night before the game, we’re just going to have to settle for a football game between two division rivals who are battling for the top of the suddenly moribund NFC South.

I want to believe in the Bucs, Really I do. Cato June and Barret Ruud are both playing fantastic football. The light seems to have come on for Jermaine Phillips in Tampa’s secondary and even the Bucs’ O-Line has begun to emerge as a dominant force, a thought that as recently as last year was a completely laughable proposition. However, I’m still not ready to bet on the Tampa offense to put up enough points to counteract Steve Smith, err, the Carolina offense playing at home. Not with Cadillac bruised and fumbling and Joey Galloway remaining as the only proven playmaker of the offensive unit. Sorry Bucs, win this one and I’ll start to believe. Wait one minute, my phone’s ringing…Oh really? Okay, thanks. Umm, so David Carr is starting? Alright then, I’ll take the Bucs 23-16.

St. Louis @ Dallas (-11)

Most of my family is from St. Louis. I’m actually the only member of my immediate family who wasn’t born in St. Louis. Thus my complete and total lack of “midwestern sensibilities”. As a result of this affiliation to St. Louis, I was frequently gifted St. Louis Cardinal (both football and baseball) paraphernalia as a child. There are even pictures of me wearing a Neil Lomax Cardinals jersey early in elementary school. While my parents were original Bucs season ticket holders, the rest of my relatives lived and died with the Cardinals (Well, mostly died) until the Cards bolted town. As you can imagine, all of my relatives adopted the Rams when they moved to St. Louis in 1995. Well, all but one family. You see, my Dad’s sister is some kind of big deal in Dallas. I think she invented Big Mouth Billy Bass or maybe she banged Bill Bates. I really can’t remember. Anywho, a fringe benefit of said big dealdom is that she owns a luxury box at Texas Stadium. Of even more benefit to me is that they have twice allowed me to attend Cowboys games in said luxury box. Honestly, there’s really nothing quite like drinking free Crown and eating Southwestern Egg Rolls while you hurl obscenities down upon the throngs of unwashed rednecks that populate Texas Stadium for eight Sundays each fall. It’s really something. Oh yeah, this is a picks column isn’t it? Well, my relatives from Dallas let me drink in their luxury box and my relatives from St. Louis once sent me a Neil Lomax jersey. I think you can see where I’m heading with this one. Dallas with the win and the cover, 34-14.

Green Bay @ Minnesota ( +2) (O/U: 38.5)

Did you know that Brett Favre could break the NFL’s career mark for passing TDs with a TD pass against Minnesota this weekend? No? Well, it’s understandable; the media isn’t really making a big deal out of it. You know what other record he can break? George Blanda’s career interception record. I’m wondering if there is going to be a website created to document every pick the original Cumslinger has tossed in his sexy, southern career. You know what else I’m wondering? If I can find a place to bet the over/under on the number of times that Favre’s potential record breaking TD will get mentioned on Sunday’s various NFL pregame shows. How does 136 strike you? Yeah, you’re right. That’s probably a little low. While I think it’s a lock that Favre breaks the record this week, I can’t see him doing much more against a very good Minnesota defense at home. Not that it will matter with Kelly Holcomb under center for Minnesota. Hey, did I ever tell you about the time my buddy Silva nailed a chick named Christy Holcomb and then, like two weeks later she turned lesbo? Man, it’s a great story. Remind me to tell you some time. In fact, give me a call during this game on Sunday and I’ll recount the whole sordid tale. I mean, it’ll be at least 50% more interesting than this game. Well, unless Brad Childress puts Adrian Peterson at QB. Wait, that’s a great idea. Somebody get that creepy, mustachioed douchebag on the phone stat! Take the under and take a nap. Childress isn’t taking my calls.

****

Jerry

NFL – Not terribly interested this weekend. The Mets are in freefall and I've never experienced anything like this. Don't get me wrong, I've been at the business end of some all-time meltdowns courtesy of the Giants (and to a lesser extent, the ZookGators), but I've never seen anything like this over a prolonged period of time. It's like watching going home and watching one drive of the 2002 Giants collapse each night. Then wait 24 hours and see the 49ers score. Then wait 24 hours and the Giants go 3 and out. You can see it coming, but you think the lead is large enough that things have to even out. You don't need much. Just a single win against the Nats. Just a 1st down or a sack. Just one bloody screamer down the 3rd baseline that doesn't get picked and turned into a double play. Just one decent inning from the bullpen. Just a little bit of magic. A clutch hit. A great defensive play. A freaking error by the other team. Anything. Just a little bit. Not happening.

The Mets are tied for first place with three games to go. It feels like their season is over. I just don't know how to proceed. Every night, I'm waiting for something. A shutout. Some baseball magic. The crowd is dying to go nuts. They want it. They need it. And they're not getting it. As of tonight, the Phillies are smoking and the Mets are sucking. Mets Township is gutted. But it's baseball and anything can happen. Provided the division is still in play, come 1:15 on Sunday, I'll be watching baseball. And now my abbreviated NFL picks for the week because if I don't do it, Geoff will beat me mercilessly with his old Brooks Brothers ties.

Chiefs (+12) at Chargers

With the way the Mets have me stewing inside, I'd love to be a San Diego Charger this Sunday. They are going to take massive aggression out on Herm and Co. Fire and brimstone stuff. I'd take San Diego -20, Tomlinson over 150 yards and Chiefs QBs over 1.5 INTs (maybe 2.5 if I could get long odds). San Diego 49 Kansas City 7.

Seahawks (-2) at 49ers

I have a theory that Seattle doesn't play well on the road. It may or may not be supported by facts. San Francisco 24 Seattle 13. (Yeah, I know that sucked, but I'm pissed off and these columns are too long anyway and I can't stop thinking about the fact that Vanilla Ice was Dj'ing at McFadden's this week. Like the Seahawks, I bet he really blows on the road.)

Eagles (-3) at Giants

Last year it happened in week 3. Mets clinched the division. Gators beat Tennessee. Arsenal won at Old Trafford. Giants won one of the more memorable regular season games against the Eagles. Greatest sports weekend in a long time. Sunday is setting up for as a glorious day. Or one of the worst days of all-time. Gotta love sports.

As for the game, I wouldn't be surprised by anything. A close game either way. A blowout either way. Just don't know. I'm feeling some sloppiness, so I'm betting the UNDER. Less that 48 points. Lock it up.

Philly vs. NY. Loser of the football game is in a huge hole. Loser of the baseball race might be on the golf course. Huge huge huge day. 41 total points.

****

TJ

N.Y Jets (-4) @ Buffalo (O/U 37*)
I'm sure everyone has mentioned this already in their picks, but I'll touch upon it as well. We're all still picking three games, but it's now two against the spread and one over/under, and let me just tell you, this little twist couldn't have come soon enough. Why, you ask? Because of this exact game. Yep, we all know 0-3 Buffalo is horrendous, having lost more men than Captain John Miller on Omaha Beach, and as an added bonus they have to start rookie Trent Edwards this week. That cannot be good for Dick Jauron (or can it? apparently Bill Walsh was very high on this kid before he went to the big Candlestick Park in the sky). You'd think I would take the Jets in a heartbeat, but as that little troll Lee Corso says way too often, "Not so fast my friends." It's not like the Jets are world beaters, in fact, the Jets let a 31-13 lead become a 31-28 squeaker against the juggernaut that is the Green Cameron Project in Miami (think Alan Parsons Project minus the good). The Jets can't stop anyone, the Bills can't stop anyone...take the over (points are huge) and count your (imaginary...except for Swint) money Monday. By the way, what's the earliest a team has ever clinched a division? Whatever it is, the Patriots are beating it this year. If I were forced to come up with an obscure pop culture reference to properly depict this division (you know, by these imaginary blog bosses we have), it would be this collection of men. I think you can guess who represents the Jets, Bills and Dolphins.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue: Over is 13-5-1 in the Jets' last 19 vs. the AFC.

Houston (-3) @ Atlanta
People, please, I'm hearing a lot of "Joey really looked good last week" and "Hey, maybe he's finally putting it together." Put down the Ron Mexico collectible 4' Graffix and sleeve of Pillsbury Slice 'n Bake chocolate chip cookie dough. This is Chop Sticks Harrington we're talking about here. And even if it wasn't the Captain Hazelwood of NFL QBs at the helm (apparently, the writing staff is doing all 80s jokes this week...I wonder if I can work Alf into the Packers/Vikes game?), this is the Matt Schaub Revenge Game. You think he hasn't been geared up for this game since the minute he was traded? "Hey Matt, you've shown some promise in your brief time on the field over the last three years, but we're feeling real good about Mike's decision making, maturity and leadership, so we're shipping your ass off to the trifling Texans. Don't let the door hit you on the way out." Yep, Schaub (even minus Andre Johnson) is gonna stick it to 'em good. On the old revenge scale, think of it somewhere just above Chuck Bronson beating a guy with a sock full of quarters and just below Cartman feeding Scott Tenorman his famous "Mr. and Mrs. Tenorman" chili. Mark down another win for my 2007 sleeper team, and sorry Mr. Simmons, but there is still no room for you on the bus. Texans.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue: The Falcons are 3-9 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Oh yeah, the Falcons also blow.

Green Bay (-2) @ Minnesota
"What about Brett Fav...ruh?" Never heard of him. Oh, you mean Brett Favre. Yeah, he seems to get some pub. Last week he joined this guy and Ace Ventura's best bud Dan Marino in the 420 Club. Exclusive group from what I'm told. The Packers have no running game to speak of (trust me I know, I've got Brandon Jackson on my team...not for long), but Favre and the wide receiver trio of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones seem to be an early season force. The Vikings do field a pretty good defense, but of course they have zero offense to speak of. The Giant Douche (Kelly Holcomb) vs. Turd Sandwich (Tarvaris Jackson) debate of who to start at Vikings QB will have absolutely no impact on the game. So once again it's all about Favre. With the Packers also fielding a pretty stout defense could we be looking at a defensive struggle? Perhaps...but whatever, the Vikings suck, and I say Green Bay does enough behind that passing game and 3 FGs from the leg of Desmond Mason Crosby Stills & Nash to win by double digits and remain undefeated. If you thought Brett Mania had reached an all-time high this week, just wait until Monday. Packers.

Gambling stat that makes me look like I know what I’m doing when I really don't have a clue: You get a two-fer here, mainly because I'm trying to sell myself on this Green Bay choice in what I consider an obvious trap game. The Packers are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 vs. the NFC. In addition, the road team is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 meetings. Why would random numbers I found on the internet lie?

****

Whit

The week of the road dog for me, for whatever reason. Quite coincidentally, please note the first player I mention.

Houston @ Atlanta (+3)

One step up, two steps back for everybody's All-American Michel Vick, testing positive for weed and ensuring that leniency is barred from the courtroom when he's sentenced. So, too, will go the Atlanta Falcons this week. And yes, I'm counting losing by only seven to Carolina as a step up. This team has 2-14 written all over it -- if all goes well. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans are suddenly an interesting team, perhaps the most -- perhaps the only -- interesting thing about Houston, Texas. Look at their puff pastry schedule; it's not inconceivable that they could win 10 games. And all they had to do? Dump Charley Casserly, apparently. (The Ebola-like tandem at the helm of the mid-90's Washington Redskins continues to fool, befuddle, exasperate, and maim the NFL. Just ask a Charger fan.) Anyway, no matter where the games are played, a team good enough to give the Colts a mild scare should be giving more than three points to this year's football version of Ishtar. Texans 28, Falcons 17.

Pittsburgh @ Arizona (+5)

A lot of folks over the years have left the soot and sweat of Steel Town for the dry Phoenix air, breathed easy for a while, and played leisurely games in the sun. These people are usually called "retirees," but this Sunday they'll go by the name Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Tomlin '95 leads his gang into the valley of the sun, and the only thing that could undo them would be complacence stemming from facing a cursed, wretched, red-shirted stepchild of a franchise. And that won't happen, if only because the Cards have played three tough games in three weeks, even beating Seattle in Week 2. It's plenty to keep the Steelers on their toes for another week. Here's all you need to know when picking this game: (1) The Steelers have throttled not only their opponents but the spread three weeks in a row. (2) The Cardinals' top passer last week was Kurt Warner. (3) In the last 20 years, the Cardinals franchise has three times as many different team names as playoff appearances. Steelers 38, Cardinals 13.

Chicago @ Detroit (+3, 44 points)

Lions and . . . Bears. Oh, my. This game features some old school divisional match-up, a bit of media-created hype, and two teams that won't sniff postseason play. I know, the Bears went to the Super Bowl last year, but come this January the only chance to catch Lovie on the tube will be during TV Land's "Gilligan's Island" marathon. Brian "Pork Chop, Pork Chop, Greasy" Griese steps into Rex "The Bell Tolls for Thee" Grossman's flip flops this weekend, and . . . nothing. Nothing's going to happen that you care about. The Chicago-Detroit rivalry isn't much of a draw any more, having faded from Ray vs. Smokey to Alice vs. Iggy to Styx vs. Grand Funk to Richard Marx vs. Ray Parker Jr. Enjoy. I'm assigned the Over/Under on this one, and the only thing that scares me (besides Keyser Soze) is the strong opportunity for defensive touchdowns. Even with that, I'm seeing Lions 19, Bears 16, viewers 0.

****

Geoff

MIAMI -4 vs. Oakland

The Dolphins are 0-3 and the Raiders are 1-2 and let’s be honest—they both suck something awful. I also personally don’t care for either city (or British people, dumb women and the first season of Seinfeld). Well…to be quite frank, I’ve never really been to Oakland proper…but I’m quite certain I’d hate it. As to the football contest, the Raiders are a fat chick who’s a little too cocky for her level of fatness/attractiveness while the Dolphins are a fat chick with a pretty face who you can kind of talk yourself into after you’ve had 17 Nattys and half of your friends have already gone home. Yep, I may still be drunk from last night…might help my pick accuracy…it certainly can’t hurt. 2-6-1 ATS? As Steve Spurrier would say: “Not very good!” Dolphins

DALLAS 11 ST Louis

The braintrust over at Kissing Suzy Kolber have burrowed into my funny bone and laid eggs of hilarity with the Jerry Jones/Wade Phillips bits . Good thing they’re funny…cause I’m not today… I went to a fundraiser last night that happened to take place at the improv. The featured comedian: Mark Curry. Yes, I was hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. He was kind of funny…but I’m not really sure if he had any real material. He just sort of stood up there for 90 minutes and said “what do you guys wanna talk about?” Just for TJ, I yelled out “OJ” early on. Mr. Cooper suggested sending him to Iraq with a knife and telling him that the dark haired fellas over there were trying to sleep with Nicole. It played well to this audience. So…where am I going with this? I’ll tell you where—right in the lumber yard. I like the Rams to cover.

Chicago @ DETROIT UNDER 44

Yep, we suck so much at picking winners we’re reduced to picking over/unders now. Will Brian Griese trip over a dog and bang his noggin between now and Sunday? What about Jon Kitna’s Lord, Savior and Neurologist Jesus Christ—is he rooting for Detroit again this weekend? See, I don’t know the answer to any of these questions…so how can I tell you who’s gonna win? I can’t. But I do think that Detroit can’t score on the Bears…and the Bears offense couldn’t score on Notre Dame. Final: 5-3 Bears. Take the under.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eighteen of the More Ridiculous Moments in Sports Movie History that Occured to Me (and TJ) For Some Reason or Another Purple Monkey Dishwasher

You're probably asking yourself "what inspired Geoff to write this drivel today? There's a lot going on in the sports world, Cane premiered last night on CBS featuring the steamy Latin machismo of Jimmy Smits, the "President" of Iran claimed that the Arab world lacks any gays, the NL playoff hunt is tighter than Gloria Allred's asshole and the Cards have decided to go with some odd manage a trois at QB. What gives?" Well, let's be honest...everyone's talking about that shit...and it's the Redskins bye week...and I'm sick of thinking about what a skittish little ninny Joe Gibbs has become. My mother is actually going on her first date since the early 1970's this weekend (which officially makes Jerry the person I know who has gone the longest without going on an officially sanctioned date) and she's less nervous about that than Coach "Joe" Gibbs is about a 2nd and Goal in the 4th quarter of a regular season game. So...you know...whatever...

Appearing below in arbitrary order are the eighteen sports movie moments that I, along with Thomas’ aid, was able to think of while zoning out in meetings, playing brickbreaker on my blackberry in the men’s room and thinking of all the backwoods underage ankle Mayhugh’s taken down at that wing joint out in Fairfax…Enjoy.

#18.
Film: Major League
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Aging catcher attempts to bunt with two outs and a man on second in the bottom of the ninth of a game that decides the AL pennant.

Synopsis: Hayes has great speed…but he’s going to score from second on the rarely utilized bunt-and-run? And what about Taylor’s bunt? The only accurate thing about the scene is that he certainly “bunts like a catcher.” My personal highlight is that the third baseman pauses to stop and exclaim “shit!” prior to charging the ball. You could make a strong argument that the pause there costs the Yankees the pennant. Serves them right.

#17.
Film: The Legend of Bagger Vance
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Matt Damon can compete with Jones and Hagen…or even shoot under 100 with that swing.

Synopsis: Damon’s swing looks very much like my wife’s. Her favorite thing about golf? The cute outfits. She also has a long standing complaint that 18 holes is too many and that a round should be reduced to no more than 14. In a related story, I also recently became aware that my friend Matt’s mother plays nine holes with her girlfriends a few days a week at their country club, and instead of recording scores on each hole, they either give themselves a happy face or a sad face on the scorecard. Maybe Mr. Damon and his girl’s swing should employ that system. We’ll call it the Modified Gaybolford Scoring System. I think he’d have a lot of these :( on his. And he certainly wouldn’t have enough of these :) to compete with Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.

#16
Film: Jerry Maguire
Most
Ridiculous Moment: Agents are fighting for the right to represent Ki Jana Carter.

Synopsis: Yeah…there was nothing really ridiculous about this…it was just an excuse to post some of my favorite Bob Sugar moments… Arguably the most under-rated character in sports movie history…if this is a sports movie…and if you don’t hate Jay Mohr, which a lot people do…and if you’re not Canadian… It’s not show-friends…it’s show business.

#15.
Film: The Last Boy Scout
Most Ridiculous Moment:
During a nationally televised Monday night game, star running back commits triple homicide on his way to the end zone.

Synopsis: Stop for a second…read the sentence above again. If Tank Johnson, PacMan, DeAngelo Hall or, ummm...Robbie Gould pulled this, would it be THAT surprising? Yeah, I guess it would. It might even force Fox to develop some new, even more low-key “injury music” to use prior to going to commercial. And Joe Buck would certainly need to go a step further than his "disgusting act" bit.

#14.
Film: Any Given Sunday

Most Ridiculous Moment: Player loses eye ball mid-game.

Synopsis: Did this happen to Randy Foye? Or Allen Ray? Or Ray Allen? I find it far more difficult to accept that Bill Bellamy is coordinated enough to catch a football or that Jimmy Woods could pull that level of ankle.

#13.
Film:The Natural
Most Ridiculous Moment:
35 year old rookie right fielder literally knocks the cover off a baseball.

Synopsis: Is that harder to believe, or if I had told you in 1984 when The Natural was released that I was making a movie about a ballplayer in his late thirties/early forties who puts up seasons with 73 HRs, a 62% on base percentage and over 230 walks in only 373 plate appearances…would that be more believable? And what if he went back in time…for some reason?

#12.
Film: Blue Chips
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Shaq gets over 900 on his SATs, willingly wears flowered Capri pants in public and turns down a free Lexus.

Synopsis: Again…is that harder or easier to believe than Shaq working as an undercover police officer who tracks down sexual predators in his spare time?

#11.
Film: Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver
Most Ridiculous Moment: Entire premise - Golden Retriever dominates junior high football league and as a result, helps a pre-pubescent teen “fit in.”

Synopsis: Growing up, we had three goldens (two of which were named Tracy, oddly enough) and I can say with a great deal of certainly that this is just not possible. Just getting the dog to wear the helmet would be difficult if not impossible, but let’s talk about teaching it all the plays and signals? I mean, come on. Have these people ever even had a dog? Think about getting a dog to come to a complete stop before each snap and getting them to line up on the right yard line and cover the tight end so as to avoid an illegal formation? It’s like they never considered any of this. I mean, would the league even allow this? Did the dog attend classes with the rest of the kids and get subjected to standardized testing? I've got like a thousand more...


#10.
Film: Wildcats
Most Ridiculous Moment
: Woman is hired to coach inner city high school football squadron.

Synopsis: I think this has already happened. Oh, and this is how my local DC Fox affiliate promoted their airing of this classic back in the 80s. That is an enticing promo, no? After that, Fox 5 News at Ten with Morris Jones, Sue Paulka weather and Steve Buckhantz’s big fat face giving you the sports. Dagger…

#9.

Film: Happy Gilmore

Most Ridiculous Moment: Novice golfer and former hockey player drives the ball 400 yards consistently and repeatedly wins PGA Tour events.

Synopsis: Some of our nation’s strongest celebrity golfers are former hockey players. I believe Mario Liemuex won that celeb event out at Lake Tahoe where they play form the ladies tees, put all the pins in the center of the greens, and ship in to the resort and subsequently kill a few dozen Turkish hookers. But I do have to call in to question their interpretation of the “play the ball as it lies” rule in the movies penultimate scene. According to USGA rule 18-1 if the ball is moved or comes into contact with an outside agency, it is to be replaced to the spot determined by the player to be closest to where it would have arrived. No penalty is incurred unless the ball was intentionally contacted. Clearly, this was the case and the commissioner misinterpreted the rule…quite badly at that. That has to be pretty embarrassing for them.

#8.
Film: Tin Cup
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Bar trick shot scene or climatic 18th at the U.S. Open scene.

Synopsis: I’ve watched the bar scene a couple times with people who have claimed “that’s not really possible.” Well, it’s actually based on a true story—Gary McCord pulled it off in a bet with David Feherty and a couple other players during a rain delay a few years back. Most of the other ridiculousness in the movie – putting up an 84 in a major because he was too hungover and dropping 5 consecutive shots in a lake—has already been accomplished by John Daly—the latter at least twice that I know of and the former…God knows how many times.

Man…my arms a little tired..let’s bring in TJ to eat some innings…Thomas…

#7.
Film:
The Waterboy
Most Ridiculous Moment: Former waterboy records sixteen sacks in a single collegiate football game.

Synopsis: Frankly, its ridiculous that Sandler made $160 million in domestic box receipts by simply melding "The Excited Southerner" and "Canteen Boy" into a socially awkward tackling dummy, but whatever, that's neither here nor there. You know what, have you seen Notre Dame play yet this year? I was going to see this was virtually impossible, but with that sieve of an offensive line perhaps Jimmy Clausen gets sacked by one USC Trojan (Keith Rivers?) sixteen times October 20. "You can do it!"

#6
Film:
White Men Can't Jump
Most Ridiculous Moment: Four words (and they ain't what you think) - Rosie Perez, Jeopardy Champion.

Synopsis: Forget Woody Harrelson's jumper. Forget the shock of seeing Kadeem Hardison get work again. Just focus on the plot line the allows the nasally Rosie Perez to be a Jeopardy Champ. This is #20 by a landslide. Rosie can't even make it to the Dinero Rapido stage of 100 Mexicanos Dijeron.

#5
Film:
Slap Shot
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Player does full strip tease on the ice during Federal League championship game.

Synopsis: You might be asking how we passed up three goons (who just happen to be brothers) beating an entire team senseless during warm-ups as our ridiculous moment. Well, first of all, the player in question during the strip tease is Ned Braden, "a college graduate...and an American citizen", strange enough for any minor league hockey club (they teach you to underline in college you know...just not the fuck scenes). But more importantly, Ned's impromptu full monty, set to the tune "The Stripper", actually infuriates the other team so much they assault the referee, leading to their DQ and a title for the Charleston Chiefs. Even with a perpetually drunk Ed Belfour still employed you won't ever see this happen.

Okay…I’m back, rested and ready to slowly bring you to climax…

#4
Film: Hoosiers
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Woman finds Gene Hackman attractive, kisses him willingly.

Synopsis: It’s the least aesthetically appealing kiss in sports movie history, and not just because Hackman’s head looks like a volleyball crowning out of the vagina of a woman with a substantial bush. Barbara Hershey’s character is up there with Adrian Balboa in the “front running bitch” hall of fame and doesn’t deserved to be kissed by anything other than a Louisville slugger.

#3
Film: Rocky IV
Most Ridiculous Moment:
A 5’7” inch heavyweight boxing champion trains in Siberia; elects to wear bomber jacket and Timberlands while running in 3 feet deep mountain snow while his trainer hangs out at the lodge regularly dispensing with all Russian comers on the chess table.

Synopsis: Ummm…I have nothing to add…

#2
Film: Field of Dreams
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Let’s see…Man plows over sole cash crop to build baseball field because he hears a voice that no else can hear that tells him to do so. As a result, long deceased major league stars show up as ghosts to intermittently play pick up baseball games in order to help an aging black writer find inner peace and to allow a dead doctor and former baseball prospect to fulfill a dream…oh, and so said farmer could have a catch with his dad.

Synopsis: The guy who successfully pitched this movie should have his tongue bronzed and posted in the Smithsonian immediately upon his death. I mean, I love it…because I have a soul (unlike Mayhugh), but pitching that thing must have been a bear. And yes, I know it was a book first. So was Soulpane…according to Greg…

#1.
Film: Teen Wolf
Most Ridiculous Moment:
Player is allowed to stand directly under basket, stare menacingly, during opposing team’s free throw attempt.

Synopsis: Yes, I know…this movie involves a high school student who turns into a Werewolf and dominates basketball games and the social scene as a direct result. But really? Standing at the end of the lane right under the basket? The ref was right FUCKING there. He’s not even in bounds. That does not make sense.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Big, Quiet Story of Incompetence

The #1 story of the 2007 football season to date has been the New England Patriots. Not only have they been a dominant force, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time, they’ve also brought some delicious controversy to keep us occupied during the week. They’ve become the perfect villains, nearly reaching Yankees status. That’s been covered. After that, there are lots of interesting goings-on, but for me, one stands above the rest and it hasn’t received what I would consider to be the appropriate level of attention.

The San Diego Chargers hired Norville Eugene “Norv” Turner to be their head football coach for the 2007 NFL season.

Just let it sink in: The Chargers hired Norv Turner. Norv F’ing Turner. This guy:

How is this not getting more attention? The Chargers were the top team in the NFL in the regular season last year and arguably the most talented and well-balanced team in the league. They had a bye and lost a tough draw against a battle-tested Patriots team in the first round. In retrospect, it was a predictable loss, as the Pats clearly had more playoff chops than San Diego. Nonetheless, it was still a very successful season and they had a lot of build on. Just as an aside, the AFC is really freaking tough. The Chargers and Ravens were the top two seeds and got the gift of the Patriots and Colts coming to town in the first round.



Chargers GM, AJ Smith, has assembled a very strong squad in San Diego, but he butchered this off-season beyond belief. So he hated Marty Schottenheimer? Fine, fire him. It was an easy enough move, considering he had TWO head coaching candidates already on his staff. Not one, TWO. How often does that happen? Can Marty. Plug in Cameron or Phillips. Move on. Easy, right? Both of those guys would’ve been happy to stay in SoCal, keep coaching their guys and walk into a ready-made championship contender. Nope. Smith let BOTH of them walk.

Damage done, but not a disaster. Losing Cameron and Phillips is hardly equivalent to the Giants allowing Lombardi and Landry get their shots elsewhere. So you’ve still got a job vacancy. What assistant or re-tread NFL coach wouldn’t jump at the chance to coach the Chargers? Even a mediocre guy would do. Just find somebody who wouldn’t break everything. They couldn’t find this year’s version of Brad Childress, Rod Marinelli, or Scott Linehan? Jim Mora Jr. wouldn’t do? Or even a bland non-entity like Dick Jauron, Mike Sherman, or Jim Haslett? Somebody, anybody but Norv.

Now, everybody knows Norv Turner. We know that he’s been a bad coach. We know that he’s the least charismatic sports figure of our time. We know he couldn’t lead starving kids at fat camp to the mess hall. We KNOW he sucks. The guy practically has “failure” tattooed across his forehead. As one of my co-workers would say, just LOOK at him. He’s a LOOOOSER.

What people may not know is that the numbers support Norv’s incompetence to a surprising degree. His career record is 59-84-1, a winning percentage of .413. Among coaches with as many NFL games as Norv, only ONE has a worse winning percentage. That’s Norm Van Brocklin for those of you scoring at home. In the history of the NFL, 77 coaches have coached more than 100 games. Ony FIVE have a worse winning percentage than Turner. John McKay, Dan Henning, Ray Perkins, Dom Capers, and the aforementioned Flying Dutchman. That's 5/77, or 6.5%.

The Chargers have bags of talent and they’re going to win some games. Norv could screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, but even a walking crapstorm like him should be able to get them to the playoffs. But you have to ask why. Why do that to yourself? AJ Smith, you’re in charge. You could hire ANYBODY. You didn’t have to choose from some short list of “people you know” or “guys who would take the job.” How in the hell did you come up with Norv Turner? This mystifying to me and it’s going to be a big factor in how the season plays out. Maybe New England will waltz to the title, but they’ve got some major competition in the AFC. Unfortunately, for neutral observers, some of that competition is guaranteed to be sub-par because of on Norv Turner.

And while we're doing flummoxed former Redskins coaches:


5-11! Not very good!

You remember Rand? He skippered Hitler's catamaran during the war...

You remember these guys? Feast and famine offense mixed in with spats of defensive dominance? Yep, it's the 2005 Washington Redskins. It's really easy to say that Gibbs 2.0 has been a consistent revolving door of Jekyll and Hyde teams, but this little 6-10, 10-6, 5-11, ____ dance seems to be falling into place.

This Redskins team is not a great team--they're not even a good team yet, but the one thing I'm trying to take away from this is that I *think* they're getting better. The defense did generate turnovers yesterday, and Jason Campbell played a solid yet flawed game, on the whole. Obviously, the story of the game was the Skins second half ineptitude, which can be blamed 60% on Clinton Portis and 40% on the offensive line getting handed their lunches by the Giants defensive line for two quarters. Portis' fumble was all on him (he simply took his eyes off the ball) and his two drops of potential first down passes would have extended drives and given the exhausted defense a couple seconds to catch their breath. There really aren't many ways the Skins could have been worse in the second half, and yet still they were in the game at the end. It'd be easy to say that Jason Campbell panicked on the final drive, and he did, on the last play of that drive in particular. But, I'm looking at at his performance there as a positive. He had Strahan and Umenyiora in the backfield on every play, and still found ways to get the team to the goal line and make the throws necessary under a ton of pressure. The fact that some uninspired play calling and poor blocking kept them out of the end zone is not his fault. (I will tell you one thing: I'm supremely confident that if the game had gone to OT, whoever won the coin toss would have won the game.)

It also seemed clear that Clinton Portis had been benched for that final drive, and rightfully so. But I did wonder if the little bit of daylight I spotted on Betts' final carry could have been better taken advantage of by CP. I'm guessing probably not...but I just wonder.

All in all, it's an embarrassing loss and a discouraging performance...and these hammers get to suck on it for two weeks. I will tell you this--this is a better team than last year (the defensive stop at the end showed you that by itself) and it is certainly, the second half notwithstanding, a much more fun team to root for. The ineptitude of the Brunell led offense was life-sapping and painful. This team at least has some juice. But, just like the '05 team, they are going to lose some games they should win because they simply cannot put people away and they are going to need to hit a hot streak over a 4-5 game period if they want to see the postseason.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Week 3: Crystal Balls Full of Bong Water

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

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

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

Geoff (1-4-1 ATS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark (2-4-0 ATS)

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

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

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

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

Rob (3-2-1 ATS)

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

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

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

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

Whit (3-2-1 ATS)

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

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

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

Pic taken by Whit at aforementioned game.

TJ (4-1-1 ATS)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jerry (3-3-0 ATS)

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

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

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

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