Scott Feschuk: Last week (7-9)
Scott Reid: Last week (7-9)
Chicago (plus 6) at Green Bay, Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET
Scott Reid: If you felt the solar system wobble slightly on Sunday night, don’t worry – that wasn’t your imagination. It was the entire United States of America picking the exact same moment to jump off the Green Bay bandwagon. Take away Randall Cobb’s TD that was generously awarded by Daddy Frank the replacement referee and the much-feared Packer offence squeaked out only two scores all day. Not to be outdone, the Green Bay defence let Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Abe Vigoda run around the field at will. All in all, there was much sadness in the land of cheese. But keep this in mind: They were playing the 49ers who really are all that (I say, 10 years to the day that that colloquialism went officially out of cool). Chicago, on the other hand, played Indy. And yes, Cutler and Marshall clicked like Richard and Karen Carpenter. But something tells me that against the Pack they won’t be quite so on top of the world looking down on creation. Nevertheless, if the Bears feed Forte the ball, those six points will be more than Chi-town needs. Pick: Chicago.
Feschuk: Jay Cutler is the best: He was quoted this week as dismissively wishing the Packers “good luck” in stopping the Bears’ passing attack. The guy puts together one good game against a secondary made up of castoffs and housewives and suddenly he’s cockier than Jon Hamm’s trousers. (Link possibly not safe for work and definitely not safe for insecure males.) Pick: Green Bay.
K.C. (plus 3) at Buffalo
Feschuk: Man, I couldn’t be more excited about the 2013 Buffalo Bills season. Just 359 days ’til Opening Day! As for this year, well, where to begin? Buffalo’s top receiver and top running back are out with serious injuries. They gave up 48 points to a Jets’ teams that’s unlikely to score 48 more points the rest of the season. And big-ticket free agent Mario Williams looked about as fierce as a Shetland pony.
Oh, and Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard and obviously totally aced Introduction to Dejectedly Unsnapping One’s Helmet Chin Strap After an Interception 101. I’m not saying Fitzpatrick looked stiff and inanimate but he spent most of the third quarter being yelled at by Clint Eastwood. On the other hand, it’s only one game, right? * smothers self to death with pillow * Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: Buffalo’s season opener was the football equivalent of the first 15 minutes of Bar Rescue – ugly waitresses, dirty kitchen, and Ryan Fitzpatrick standing motionless, looking inebriated. I mean, he was drunk, right? That can’t be the way he plays sober. I think the good news for Buffalo fans is that fall is a beautiful time of year in upstate New York and Ryan Reynolds finally seems to have found love. Not that Buffalonians (Buffalozians? Bisonians?) care uniquely about his love life but you people have to take the good where you can find it. My honest view is that the defence will rally. Mario Williams is great and that will show up on the field. As for the QB? Let’s just say that Ryan Fitzpatrick is no Matt Cassel – and Matt Cassel is no Frank Reich. And Frank Reich was, in the final analysis, no damn good. Pick: K.C.
Minnesota (minus 1.5) at Indianapolis
Feschuk: Haha Minnesota, your team couldn’t even beat the Jaguars in regular time. That’s like having to go to overtime to defeat an infant in a game of peek-a-boo. I don’t know how you could possibly even lose at peek-a-boo but that’s the point: JAGUARS. Pick: Indianapolis.
Reid’s pick: Minnesota.
Tampa Bay (plus 7.5) at New York Giants
Reid: Most Giants fans will find good reasons to excuse their Week One loss. The Cowboys were underrated. The defending Super Bowl hype was too much. Victor Cruz was incorrectly billed as having arms that ended with hands.
The bad news for New York is that Tampa (as I correctly informed you last week) is for real. On D they will make things very hard for a now one-dimensional running game. And their offence is going to ruthlessly beat down the Giants secondary the way you, me and every man with an ounce of decency should do to Chris Brown. Pick: Tampa Bay.
Feschuk: Yes, you told us last week that Tampa is for real. You also told us that the Vikings would crush the Jaguars by a large margin and that you were just yawning and stretching when you put your arm around us at the movies. Pick: New York.
Oakland (minus 2) at Miami
Feschuk: Guys. Guys. Miami kicker and apparent former Doobie Brother Dan Carpenter has a killer moustache and his holder, Brandon Fields, also has a moustache.
These guys need a nickname or a motorcycle and sidecar. Pick: Miami.
Reid’s pick: Oakland.
Cleveland (plus 9) at Cincinnati
Feschuk: So they unfurled a huge American flag over the field before the Cleveland-Philadelphia game – and rookie Browns QB Brandon Weeden somehow managed to get trapped underneath. Seriously.
It took him, like, 20 seconds to crawl to sweet, sweet freedom. Who’d have thought a day that started like that would end up going so poorly? Weeden threw four interceptions and wound up with a 5.1 rating in his first NFL game, which is pretty amazing because the passer-rating system is designed to give QBs a minimum of 10 points for not pooping themselves. So what’s Weeden got in store for us this week? Will he trip over the 50-yard line? Put his helmet on backwards? Get hit by a falling piano? The fun part will be finding out. Pick: Cincinnati.
Reid: There hasn’t been a debut as bad as Weeden’s since UK heavy metalists (and noted animal lovers) The Handsome Beasts released their first studio album.
A lot of people are feeling bad for Cleveland’s rookie QB. But you know who we really ought to feel bad for? Colt McCoy! He’s thinking to himself, “Am I to assume that people around here believe I’m worse than THAT?” I am no fan of what Cincy’s got going this year but I certainly expect their defense to unlock the mystery of how to frustrate Weeden. Pick: Cincinnati.
Washington (minus 3) at St. Louis
Feschuk: So Robert Griffin III does very well in his debut and naturally the media immediately take that performance, multiply it by infinity hype, and produce a 24/7 torrent of rave-speak about how he’s instantly a top 10 elite quarterback and potential MVP who can cure cancer with his farts. ESPN.com actually wrote that Griffin is “about to stupefy us all with his mind and his talent” – because, yeah, I guess talking like Skip Bayless is contagious. The only upside is that this one game will surely convince Daniel Snyder to sign RG3 to a 100-year contract extension worth $600-squillion, to be followed immediately by Griffin’s inevitable four-interception outing and revelations of his involvement in a cock-fighting ring. (Spoiler alert: Jon Hamm’s wins.) Pick: St. Louis.
Reid: I think it’s important to keep in mind that that RGIII has the most marketable nickname since Chestica Simpson. And like her, I expect his career to be without limit. You warn us all that it’s only been one week – but read your Bible, Couch Boy. God was able to create all the heavens and the Earth in a single week – and unlike Griffin he wasn’t playing on the road. Personally, I believe the hype. I embrace the hype. I repeat the hype. For Pete’s sake, I am standing and cheering as I write this. And sure, thanks to Roger Goodell, the Saints didn’t have a head coach or a defensive coordinator or a guy to PVR players’ favourite shows. But they’re still a pretty good team. Robert Griffin the Troisieme is, in my considered opinion, the Beatles. And remember, I’m the man who told you that Chestica’s Dukes of Hazzard reboot was can’t miss! Pick: Washington.
Tennessee (plus 5.5) San Diego
Reid: This is a hard game to handicap based on Week One performances. So instead, I think we should look at CW’s upcoming show The Arrow – based on the DC superhero who you may remember from the last few seasons of Smallville (or not if you are distracted by things like being grown up and sexually active with a person who isn’t yourself).
Now, few men know better than I the thrill of running around at night performing good deeds dressed as Robin Hood. (And I must be inspiring others because Meals On Wheels says they have all the volunteers they can use at present). But if my own experience with shirtless, hooded costumes is any guide, not everything about this concept is practical. For instance, I ask you: Is there are any logic to the bow and arrow once you become aware of the existence of firearms? Aren’t guns faster and more killy-like? Also – zip lines. How do they work in the real world? They’re not just everywhere. Did billionaire Oliver Queen sneak out earlier in the day and fortuitously pick that exact spot to place the line should he later be chased by police and need to escape into the night? And why do the police just stand there saying, ‘Well, shucks Chief, he got away.” It takes him 35 minutes to slide down that damn thing. Here’s an idea, Barney Miller: Cut your end. Green Arrow becomes guacamole. Most unbelievable of all? Dude has been on an island for three years. Even that’s not enough time for olive outfits to come back in fashion for men. Pick: San Diego.
Feschuk: No one has any idea what you were talking about just there. No one. But in far more important and even more unrelated news, I have to be honest with you: I’m getting a little worried about our Prime Minister. His speeches to Conservative barbecues this summer pretty much consisted of him just saying “My friends” over and over. That’s been his favourite oratorical crutch for a long time but it’s getting out of hand. At best we’re one or two Augusts away from him standing up and saying, “My friends, you are my friends, my friends.” His staff should at least equip their boss man with some synonyms. Let him drop the occasional “my bruthas,” or “guys” or “human flesh-beings of the earth planet.” Pick: Tennessee.
Arizona (plus 13.5) at New England
Feschuk: Tough news, Scott Reid. Wes Welker this week described Tom Brady as “the toughest metrosexual I’ve ever come across,” so now you’re shooting for second place at best. Pick: New England.
Reid’s pick: Arizona.
Houston (minus 7.5) at Jacksonville
Feschuk: Great moment there in Jacksonville’s overtime loss to the Vikings. It’s fourth down. The Jags need only three yards to get the first and keep the game alive. Instead of running a short out or a slant or even a screen pass, they call for QB Blaine Gabbert – whose first year in the NFL went about as well as Nicolas Cage’s last 293 movies – to drop back and chuck up a deep pass. Into double coverage. BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE. To Gabbert’s credit, he only overthrew his receiver by five yards, his least overthrowy overthrow of the day. At the rate he’s learning, he should be a pretty decent quarterback by the time he’s 48. Co-ed Rec Touch Football League of Greater Sarasota – you’ve been warned! Pick: Houston.
Reid: Since this game is boring and predictable (barring a pandemic of necrotizing fasciitis in Houston, the Texans will win by at least 10 points), I thought I’d mention the three things about the people of TIFF that bug me most. First, everyone is beautiful. Even the ugly people. I saw a woman yesterday with an enormous wine stain birthmark covering her face but she was holding a spritzer, playing confidently with her designer glasses and telling the funniest story about Brian Grazer. I was smitten. Second, everyone is a writer, they all think they’re brilliant and never shut up about it. Course, I’m used to it. I know Scott Feschuk. Finally, everyone’s a shameless name dropper. It’s so obnoxious. On Tuesday night, Bill Murray and I were totally laughing about how insecure people can be. Pick: Houston.
Detroit (plus 6.5) at San Francisco, Sunday, 8:25 p.m.
Reid: Last year during this matchup Detroit coach Jim Schwartz went all Joan Rivers on Jim Harbaugh. Seems the Niners coach bumped him or ignored his handshake or didn’t compliment Schwarz’s perm.
Who knows? Whatever happened, it was all very second-floor girls’ bathroom. What we do know is this: In an afternoon when they set records for the longest field goal and oldest Randy Moss ever, the Niners were damn near perfect. They’ll have to stiffly defend the pass against Stafford but, honestly, I don’t think the Lions will score more than 10 points. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: Forget the game itself: There’s so much more to enjoy simply from watching the new version of the opening theme to NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
First of all, I didn’t know this was possible at her age but Faith Hill’s legs seem to have grown even longer. Pretty soon her nickname is going to be Stilts. Also, the segment sets a new world record for number of Verizon advertisements and NBC show promos (although where was Adam Levine for the cameo featuring the judges on The Voice? Here’s a guiding philosophy to embrace, NBC: if Adam Levine considers your promotional concept too tasteless to appear in, you’ve probably gone too far). Finally, what’s the over-under on how long Aaron Rodgers spent combing his hair before shooting his little part? Twenty minutes? I bet it was at least 20 minutes. Pick: San Francisco.
Baltimore (plus 2.5) at Philadelphia
Feschuk: I’m not saying Ray Lewis is getting old but here’s the complete transcript from his firin’ up of his team on Monday night: “Y’ALL GET OFFA MY LAWN.” Pick: Philadelphia.
Reid’s pick: Baltimore.
New Orleans (minus 2.5) at Carolina. Feschuk: New Orleans. Reid: New Orleans.
Dallas (minus 3) at Seattle. Feschuk: Seattle. Reid: Dallas.
New York Jets (plus 6) at Pittsburgh. Feschuk: Jets. Reid: Pittsburgh.
Denver (plus 3) at Atlanta, Monday, 8:35 p.m. Feschuk: Denver. Reid: Atlanta.
Twitter: @scottfeschuk @_scottreid