Scott Feschuk Last week: 9-7 Season: 90-83-3
Scott Reid Last week: 11-5 Season 100-73-3
NY Jets (minus 3) at Buffalo, Thursday in Toronto
Reid: Welcome to Toronto, NFL prime timers. Feel free to enjoy your tailgate party on the Jack Astors patio – but remember: no smoking, swearing or raising your voice. We wouldn’t want to upset the anti-Island airport crowd. Last year, the Rogers Centre hosted what most sentient creatures regard as the least watchable football game in history. This year the Bills promise all that times two. One hates to bet on the Jets after their pitiful recent record. And Lord knows what will happen if Rex Ryan learns he can get unpasteurized cheese down the highway in Montreal. But you’ve got to believe the New York defence can at least stop Ryan Fitzpatrick. Pick: New York.
Feschuk: Both these teams experienced some early season optimism. But then they both ran over the fire hydrant of overconfidence and smashed head-on into the tree of harsh reality. Now they’re just two teams praying that Tiger Woods has enough money to pay Superman to reverse the rotation of the earth and turn back time. Pick: Buffalo.
Oakland (plus 13) at Pittsburgh
Feschuk: True story: Disgruntled Raiders fans have bought billboard space in town and put up the message: “Mr. Davis, do the right thing. Please hire a GM.” Ever the populist, Davis immediately agreed – and hired a new Buick Lucerne. Honk if you disagree we should bring back Jim Plunkett. [Silence.] I like the cut of your jib, Mr. Buick! Pittsburgh needs to win this game the way Tiger Woods needs to get accustomed to onanism. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Reid: What’s with Hines Ward anyway? He’s like the Keith Martin of the NFL – but without the medical degree or height. Calling out your star QB as a wimp is like running your own guerrilla episode of What Not to Wear. Expect Stacy and Clinton to go through Ward’s closet and throw out all his stupid opinions before dressing him up in a brand new uniform thanks to a post-season trade. Pick: Oakland.
Denver (minus 4.5) at Kansas City
Reid: I spent the past couple days with Canada’s consul-general to Denver. He’s a good friend and originally from Regina so after a few hours of cursing and randomly throwing beer bottles at anything that remotely reminded us of the Grey Cup, he told me that he believes Kyle Orton is among the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. I ask you: can we continue to send the criminally insane abroad to represent our country? What got the Broncos back to their winning ways last week was Mike Nolan’s defence. KC will be tougher at home, but another strong turn from the people not playing beside Kyle Orton will give Denver the victory. (Lord help our Foreign Service.) Pick: Denver.
Feschuk: Nice name-dropping. I’m so important because I spent time with our consul-general to Denver! And we drank our tea with our pinkies in the air because that’s how fancy boys do it! Oh yeah? Well, Pam Wallin used to be our consul-general in New York and now she’s a Senator and you know what? I’m currently reading her book about cats. Check and mate. Pick: K.C.
Houston (even) at Jacksonville
Feschuk: Houston has lost three straight, hurting its playoff hopes. Jacksonville lost a critical one to the 49ers last week, hurting its playoff hopes. Whichever team wins this one is going to be wearing smiles bigger than the one on Phil Mickelson as he sits in front of his computer and refreshes the home page of TMZ.com. Pick: Jacksonville.
Reid: These two teams have both had such unpleasant experiences lately, they’ve decided football is the wrong way to settle their differences. Instead? Sumo babies!
Philadelphia (minus 5.5) at Atlanta
Reid: Matt Ryan is out. Which means Philly should win. Of course, Tiger should be able to get a little strange without the whole world going bananas. But it seems nothing makes sense in this tabloid-infected culture of ours. Still, I predict a better outcome this week for McNabb than Woods. Pick: Philadelphia.
Feschuk: I’m not so sure. I think we’re a couple days away from public revelations of a panicky voice mail in which McNabb begs Andy Reid not to tell anyone that he forgot which quarter it was, how many timeouts he had left, how overtime works, which direction he was supposed to be driving his team and which sport he was playing. You gotta do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye. Pick: Atlanta.
Tennessee (plus 7) at Indianapolis
Feschuk: I’m depressed: it’s December and that means we’re usually counting down to Sorgitime! – that special time of the year when the Colts, having locked up a top seed, rest their George Michael of a quarterback and inflict upon the world his Andrew Ridgely, Mr. Jim Sorgi. Sorgi only appears for a few weeks every year, making him just like my Christmas lights and my Thigh-master. But this year Sorgi has a bum shoulder and might wind up on injured reserve. I guess hauling around that clipboard can cause a surprising amount of wear and tear. In other news, with the Titans having won five straight, I’d say Tennessee has the makings of a Cinderella story if it weren’t for the fact that Jeff Fisher looks so cheap in taffeta. Pick: Indianapolis.
Reid: In this here corner ya gots yur Colts who’ve scratched out victories in the past five consecutive games by margins so bare that Tiger is starting to sniff around. In that there corner ya gots yur Titans who have steamed to five consecutive wins since switching to the previously nutters Vince Young. Could it be that this will put an end to Indy’s perfect season? No. That comes next week against Denver. This week, Peyton Manning takes Vince out for a little lesson on the difference between a man and a boy (hint: it involves 150 extra yards through the air and standing to pee). Pick: Indianapolis.
Detroit (plus 13) at Cincinnati
Reid: According to Jim Sanchez (no need to Google – he’s the Lions’ coach), the plan is to put pressure on Carson Palmer. And my plan is to switch lives with Zac Effron. Middle Age Musical, here I come. Pick: Cincinnati.
Feschuk: Yeah, I saw you in the first Middle Age Musical. I especially liked that ballad about your sciatica. If the Bengals are serious about being an elite team with a real shot at going somewhere in the playoffs, they need to buckle down and destroy teams like this. [Extremely long pause.] And they will. [Even longer pause.] And now you know… the rest of the story. Pick: Cincinnati.
New Orleans (minus 9.5) at Washington
Feschuk: I’ve seen a lot of impressive things in my time – I’ve stood two feet from Angelina Jolie, four feet from Gwyneth Paltrow and right damn next to a Baconator – but I’m not sure I’ve seen anything as impressive as the Saints’ dismantling of the Patriots. (Wait – I’m reminded of the fact I have seen footage of Rosie O’Donnell at all-you-can-eat rib night. It’s a close call.) The question: Can the Saints maintain that level of intensity or will they lower themselves to their competition, like Tiger scoring a Swedish model but then slumming with a cocktail waitress? Pick: New Orleans.
Reid: Slumming a cocktail waitress – that’s like onomatopoeia right? I can’t believe you stood that close to Gwyneth Paltrow and didn’t bite into her like she was an egg-whites-only omelette. Are you even a man anymore? If you’re the kind of fan who hates to lose close, good news. Washington is about to get a lot easier to watch. Lately it seems like the Skins hang around every game til the bitter end – in much the same way that Jennifer Aniston hovers over Brad Pitt’s marriage. But relief is coming in the name of the Saints. Expect Brees to light it up once again as he continues to roll his team toward a little town called 16-0 (it’s just past Miami, on the outskirts of New England). Zorn can breathe easy without the fear of disappointing anyone. Pick: New Orleans
San Diego (minus 13) at Cleveland
Reid: Three things lamer than Eric Mangini: Charlie Weiss. High risk ass surgeries. Tiger’s media relations. Pick: San Diego.
Feschuk: So you’re saying Eric Mangini is less lame than the Sylvester Stallone remake of Get Carter? I don’t even know who you any more. Pick: San Diego.
Tampa Bay (plus 6) at Carolina
Feschuk: The 4-7 Panthers v. the 1-10 Bucs: just one of the many games this December that will give new meaning to meaninglessness. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme has a broken finger – word is he got it while trying to tally up all the interceptions he’s thrown this year. (“Five, 10, carry the two – snap!”) If it’s determined Delhomme can’t go, backup Matt Moore will get the ball. If it’s determined Delhomme can go, the Tampa secondary will get the ball. Pick: Tampa.
Reid: It’s true, Jake Delhomme threw another four interceptions last week. But you can’t blame him alone. His offensive line has provided Jesper Parnevik-like support all season long. Matt Moore, you might want to spend the next few days removing your nerve ends. Bucs have played better in recent weeks. And it’s tempting to take them. But their defence is so bad that as long as Carolina can keep the ball out of its own quarterback’s hands, everything should be fine. And how hard can that be? Pick: Carolina.
San Francisco (even) at Seattle
Reid: A critical NFC West matchup where the winner inexplicably still has a shot at overcoming Arizona as long as Kurt Warner stays old and Matt Leinart stays Mattish. I’ve said it before and Ill say it again: I’d slit your throat for one sweet taste of Kate Beckinsale. Also, the Niners’ defence is word. Watch for Willis to slaughter Justin Forsett and force Hasselbeck to try and do it all. Gore got nothing last week. But the spread offense will give him plenty of holes. He’ll run like the wind. A large muscular wind that shatters your skeleton. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: Funny – those are the exact words I’ve heard used to describe Jerome Bettis’s farts. Pick: San Francisco.
St. Louis (plus 9) at Chicago
Feschuk: Did you see this headline on one of the big Chicago football blogs? “Bears Offence is Statistically Awful.” That’s such an unfair thing to say – the Bears offence is awful is so many other ways, too. Having said that, the stats are pretty shocking. Chicago, which has lost six of seven, is last in the league in rushing. That said, there is a bright spot: Jay Cutler leads all quarterbacks in the critical measure of WLLG (Whining Like a Little Girl). Stephen Jackson alone should keep this as interesting as possible (ie. still not all that interesting). Pick: St. Louis.
Reid: Poor Jay Cutler. He obviously struggles under the illusion that he can throw a ball through a car wash and keep it dry. But as Chicago is learning, his balls are all wet. (Tip of the hat to Gene Tracy’s Truckstop for that joke). The Rams surely can’t beat them. Surely. But if a study of Bea Arthur’s life tells us anything, it’s that odds and short men exist to be screwed hard. Only my lifetime ban on betting in favour of St Louis precludes my taking them. Pick: Chicago.
Dallas (minus 2) at NY Giants
Reid: The Giants don’t look like they could beat a defense anchored by Dakota Fanning. But December is as welcome in Dallas as Mackenzie Phillips at a family renuion. Eli Manning says his twice-injured right foot isn’t the problem. Sure. And Tom Coughlin does a wicked Marty Feldman impression. Pick: Dallas.
Feschuk: Sure, the Cowboys are 8-3, but their six non-division wins have come against teams that are a combined 21-45. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we in the prognostication game like to call “actual research.” Sadly, I now feel compelled to wager in accordance with these findings, even though I personally believe Archie Manning represents a healthier quarterback option for the Giants right now. Pick: New York.
Minnesota (minus 3) at Arizona
Feschuk: Everything is going so great for the Vikings. Brett Favre is having one of his best seasons ever. The receivers have emerged as being among the league’s best. And yesterday coach Brad Childress found half a snickerdoodle in his beard. The only question left to ask is whether Favre will flame out like he did last season with the Jets, when he used the final weeks of the season to make more unwise passes than Tiger Woods at an airport cocktail lounge. If Warner returns at QB for the Cardinals, we’ll have a battle of two wily veterans If Leinart plays, we’ll have a battle of one wily veteran and Matt Dillon’s character from The Flamingo Kid. Pick: Minnesota.
Reid: Is this the week it happens? Will it come on Sunday? Or are we truly going to escape the sight of a late-season Brett Favre craptectacle? So far, the old man is playing like an MVP. But why should this year end any different than the last three? Two words: Voo. Doo. Clearly Favre has got himself some of that who doo witch brew going. But as any faithful monster movie watcher knows, sooner or later it all goes to hell (literally). Has anyone noticed any reports of chicken blood and louder-than-usual Haitian music in Minnesota lately? Pick: Minnesota.
New England (minus 5) at Miami
Reid: If Suzy Kolber had tried to interview Tom Brady after Monday night’s drubbing, I think he would have gone completely Rob Zombie on her. Nothing left but blood, hair and wide-in-the ass designer jeans. New England has failed to win a single game on the road all season. But after that humiliation in New Orleans, expect a statement game. (And the statement will be: We’d already have eight wins if our coach wasn’t such a vainglorious prick.) Pick: New England.
Feschuk: In those cutaways to the sideline on Monday night, Bill Belichick looked like a young Wade Phillips – baffled and wishing Daddy was there to help. And the Pats’ D looked as slow as The Hours. Pick: Miami.
Baltimore (plus 3) at Green Bay, Monday night
Feschuk: THIS GUY Jon Gruden is starting to wear on me. THIS GUY says nothing but positive things about players on Monday Night Football. THIS GUY makes a lot of blanket statements about THAT GUY being outstanding or excellent or outstandellent. THIS GUY tells us less and less about the actual game because he’s because giving THOSE GUYS a verbal tongue bath. THIS GUY JON GRUDEN is beginning to remind me of THAT GUY Joe Theismann. Pick: Baltimore.
Reid: Suck it! I love Gruden. Now, before anyone gets all excited about Green Bay’s three consecutive wins, keep in mind they’ve only beaten two decent teams all season: Dallas and SF. And frankly, they seem to easily lose their focus – like Wade Phillips whenever he catches a whiff of waffle cone. Baltimore’s defence is starting to look clutch again. Expect the Ravens to shock with a big win. Pick: Baltimore