Can I interest you in a Tab or a Fresca?
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.
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 makes 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...