Scott Feschuk Last week (8-7-1) Season (23-24-1)
Scott Reid Last week (5-10-1) Season (20-27-1)
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San Francisco (minus 4) at New York Jets
Feschuk: What a great weekend for the NFL! Sure, the league took a hit over how replacement officials jeopardized player safety, undermined the integrity of the game and looked as confused and terrified as someone who just woke up married to Liza Minelli – but hey, at least it distracted from the fact that every single member of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad has joined the Hitler Youth.
Now the lockout is over, which is great for football but also a little disappointing. Week 4 brings a whole new slate of games that the replacement officials could have turned into shitshows and I for one was looking forward to seeing what they would do horribly, horribly wrong next. Botch a penalty call? Fail to place the ball on the correct line of scrimmage? Get Chinese food delivered to the red zone? Or maybe this would finally have been the week they called the two tallest players to midfield for a jump ball.
Pick: San Francisco.
Reid: Fun fact: When I’m super disappointed I sometimes bear a slight resemblance to Zooey Deschanel.
And I was very disappointed indeed when the Vikings put up 146 yards on the ground against my boys in gold. But all things considered, I should have seen this coming. Under the dome in Minny is a tough place to play. The Vikings have an explosive running game. Plus, all year the Niners secondary has been bend, not break. And they got bent a lot in Minnesota (right over the dishwasher as the boys down at the Legion like to say). The good news is that they’ve gotten the boneheaded game plan of the year out of the way nice and early. Here’s a tip Niners: Give Gore more than 12 touches. The Jets are ranked 28th in the league against the run. They couldn’t stop Kat Deeley. Pick: San Francisco.
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New England (minus 4) at Buffalo
Reid: Tom Brady won’t be the only elite-level athlete who enflames the sexual fantasies of American women in Buffalo this weekend. I’ll be there, too. Look for me, Gisele – I’ll be in a windbreaker with a face full of peameal and mayonnaise. Yep, it’s the annual tailgating trek to Orchard Park to witness humanity in all its fugliness.
Expect candid photographs and possibly a police artist’s sketch in next week’s column. This year we’ll be taking our sons – so that we can pass on time-tested values such as fair play, athletic exceptionalism and drinking warm beer at 9 a.m. I’m hoping the boys will get to see an outstanding game that runs down to the wire and ends with a memorable play – although it’s a shame they’ll miss out on Bill Belichick performing a splenectomy on a replacement referee. With his incisors. Pick: New England.
Feschuk: My two boys came to the Bills game last year and during four hours of tailgating, well… they saw some things. THEY SAW SOME THINGS, MAN. They saw acre upon acre of undulating belly fat – and that was just from sitting next to me on the ride down. They saw their mother do a Jell-O shot. They saw a drunk guy dressed as a whoopee cushion and wearing a wool Cookie Monster hat twirl around rapidly until he vomited.
They also took that all-important first step toward becoming degenerate gamblers!
And later in the day they saw my uncle feign a health emergency to secure a doctor’s note that would allow him to return to his car for his medication. (He didn’t have any medication. He used the note at four different gates to sneak out of the stadium four times for a smoke.)
Sound implausible? You don’t know Uncle Robert.
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New Orleans (plus 7.5) at Green Bay
Feschuk: What the hell happened to the Saints last week? They were up 24-6 against the Chiefs when all of a sudden their defence made Matt Cassel look less like the second coming of Joe Montana and more like the actual Second Coming – the Jesus one. Fishes, loaves, touchdowns: everything was being multiplied. Now New Orleans is 0-3. We haven’t see a drop-off in quality of this magnitude since Francis Coppola made a third Godfather or Jakob Dylan picked up a guitar. Pick: Green Bay.
Reid: Kudos, my friend. Jakob Dylan jokes don’t just grow on trees. That was some good quiperizing. Watching New Orleans cough up that hairball of a loss, I developed a secret theory. Everyone’s all fixated on who’s NOT coaching them, with Sean Payton and Gregg Williams suspended for the season. The question remains: Who is really calling the shots for the Saints? For two weeks I had my suspicions but after choking out that second half loss I’m now positive. There is only one NFL coach with the uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory quite that way – a man who can turn gold into straw, chocolate into shit and Brees into that. The man of which I speak is Norv Turner. But – you might ask, ‘Isn’t he coaching the Chargers?’ Well…not really. Pick: Green Bay.
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Washington (plus 3) at Tampa Bay
Feschuk: I will personally pay for a TV camera to be directed the entire game at Washington owner Daniel Snyder. If the Redskins lose another close one, he may actually spontaneously combust – the first verified case of a human doing so it happened to me when I watched Uma Thurman remove her top in Dangerous Liaisons. Pick: Washington.
Reid’s pick: Tampa.
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San Diego (minus 1) at K.C.
Feschuk: Five on-field calls were reversed in last week’s Chiefs-Saints game. FIVE. Watching those replacement guys officiate was like watching Norv Turner read the instructions for shampoo. “Hmm, wet hair then lather? Okay, I’ll try it your way, Mr. Sassoon!” * drinks shampoo * Pick: San Diego.
Reid’s pick: San Diego.
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Seattle (minus 2.5) at St. Louis
Reid: What can you say about the end of Monday night’s game in Seattle that hasn’t already been said by monkeys flinging poop (yes, that means you entire population of Twitter). I’m not suggesting that the Marx Brothers skit passed off as officiating gave the real referees added bargaining leverage but Ed Hochuli demanded that Roger Goodell lovingly massage his biceps each Saturday night as part of any new collective agreement. It’s being called the Absorbine Jr. clause. Lost in all the screeching injustice and flatulent ineptitude was a thoroughly unimpressive offensive effort by Seattle quarterback Frodo Baggins. Russell Wilson is so small he has to stand on a stool to ask Doug Flutie for advice. (For the record, Flutie’s answer to any question is: “I should be starting.”) Wilson threw only nine completions during the game – 10 if you count his pass to MD Jennings. However, there is that defence… Pick: Seattle.
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 Golden Tate keeping a straight face while telling reporters that, yeah, absolutely, I totally caught that ball in the end zone. Pick: Seattle.
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Cleveland (plus 13) at Baltimore, Thursday night
Feschuk: I’m not saying Browns coach Pat Shurmur has already given up on his team but here’s the full text his pre-game speech from last week’s home game with Buffalo: “OK, fellas, I… uhhh, I think the door that takes us to the field is over here. [Long pause.] No, that’s a closet.” In Shurmur’s defence, it’s hard to get excited when your offence looks as though it’s auditioning for the roles of Spazzes 1 through 11 in the major motion picture Spaz 2: Electric Spazaloo. Pick: Baltimore.
Reid: On the indignity scale of one to Breaking Amish the Browns offence defies accurate measurement. It may be in the rarely detected awfulness realm of Toddlers and Tiaras. Weeden has thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns, Trent Richardson has a grand total of 175 yards on the ground and their most feared tackler is Bob Denver (yes, I know he’s dead). The Ravens are undefeated, coming off a hard fought win over the Pats and Flacco is throwing for 300+ yards per game. What would it take for the Browns to win? Have you seen the end of Inception? Did you understand it? I didn’t think so. Pick: Baltimore.
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Oakland (plus 6.5) at Denver
Reid: When people talk about Carson Palmer being an elite quarterback I like to pick my nose and cough the word “bullshit” into my fist (ok, the nose picking part was just something I was already doing). But last week’s fourth quarter comeback against the Steelers was pretty impressive. This game also extended the weekly theme of ‘Are the replacement refs blind or drunk?’ when they made no call on a helmet-to-helmet hit on Darrius Heyward-Bey that was so blatant my three year old threw his Spiderman cup in lieu of a flag. After laying still for what seemed like a week more than forever, Heyward-Bey was taken to the hospital where he’s now been discharged and declared healthy (yeah, let’s check in on that in 25 years when he can’t remember where he left his hands). As the seven to eight readers of this column know already, I’m a big skeptic about Peyton Manning and his licorice-whip throwing arm. And I’m starting to think that Oakland might be a teensy bit better than they showed in that humiliating loss to Miami in week two. But…you just can’t go with Raiders on the road. Pick: Denver.
Feschuk: If I’ve learned anything from listening to sports talk radio – other than (to judge from the commercials) the fact that 98% of the listening audience has massive credit-card debt, big-time IRS troubles and chronic erectile dysfunction (no wonder everyone who calls in seems so grumpy) – it’s that we all need to have a VERY STRONG OPINION about whether Peyton Manning is STILL THAT PEYTON MANNING. Some people believe he DEFINITELY IS. Others believe he is NOT THAT PEYTON MANNING but instead a different, inferior Peyton Manning. Let’s listen to what Greg from Boulder thinks. Greg, you’re on the air. Pick: Oakland.
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New York Giants (plus 2) at Philadelphia, Sunday night
Feschuk: They say we don’t have heroes any more. I say they’re wrong. Let’s all pause a moment and pay tribute to Andy Reid, who is making a real contribution to the fight against climate change with his inspirational example of no-impact coaching. I especially like how he stood there motionless and unblinking last week while his offensive line allowed Arizona’s defenders to feast on an all-quarterback diet. Future generations will thank Andy for keeping to a bare minimum his emissions of thoughts and strategies. Pick: New York.
Reid: Happily, before writing this column, I was visited by my friends from the 31st century, the Legion of Superheroes.
They wanted me to know that without intervention, Andy Reid’s surface will continue to recede precipitously in the years ahead, raising sea levels and opening up vast tracks of Andy to commercial mining interests.
It’s unclear what role this season will play exactly in Andy’s future. But one thing is for sure, if Vick doesn’t learn to stay in the goddamned pocket he won’t be around to find out. Pick: New York.
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Tennessee (plus 12) at Houston
Feschuk: I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong – but I’m woman enough that I will only do so using interpretative dance. So please enjoy the following display of acrobatic leaps and dainty arm-flapping, which attempts to explain how I could possibly have picked pool-noodle-armed Peyton Manning over the Texans last week. Pick: Tennessee.
Reid’s pick: Houston.
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Chicago (plus 3.5) at Dallas, Monday night
Reid: Jay Cutler and Tony Romo: Two throw-happy chokers who between them can’t quite match the leadership qualities of Amanda Bynes. The challenge with this game is that, based on their respective records to date, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what these two teams are made of. At times they look great. And at other times they look like the final season of Entourage. In games like this, it comes down to two things: Who’s the biggest pussy? Answer: Cutler.
Feschuk: Entourage sure got terrible, didn’t it? For a while, there was something about the chemistry and penis-themed banter among the four main characters that made me overlook the show’s small flaws, such as the fact that the allegedly charismatic, A-list Hollywood superstar was played by an actor who has all the magnetic properties of a marshmallow. Plus, I liked Ari. He yelled a lot. But then all of a sudden one of Vince’s pals was going to school (Look everyone, it’s Saved By the Bell: The Turtle Years). Another was in high demand among women and big-wheel Hollywood agents despite the fact that all he ever seemed to do was wear sweaters and shrug. Plus, we actually had to watch Drama “act,” which was cruel. Pick: Dallas.
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Carolina (plus 7) at Atlanta
Feschuk: I keep hearing about how America is in decline – but is it really? Can a nation truly be in decline if it retains the creativity, ingenuity and pure hatred for the well-being of children required to produce something as majestic and undeniably awesome as this?
And what does it say of Canada that we as citizens are deprived of access to this feat of high-tech food engineering and creative recycling of nuclear fuel rods? For shame, Stephen Harper. I mean, the ghosts turn the milk green – just as nature intended! Pick: Atlanta. Reid’s pick:
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Minnesota (plus 4.5) at Detroit. Feschuk: Detroit. Reid: Detroit.
Cincinnati (minus 2) at Jacksonville. Feschuk: Cincinnati. Reid. Cincinnati.
Miami (plus 6.5) at Arizona. Feschuk: Miami. Reid: Arizona.
Byes: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh.
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Twitter: @scottfeschuk @_scottreid