Scott Feschuk Last week: 7-9 Season: 25-23
Scott Reid Last week: 8-8 Season: 29-19
Welcome to Can’t Miss NFL Picks for Week 4, the first bye week of the season… not counting Week 3 when Carolina said “bye” to its last remnants of credibility. In honour of the Panthers’ QB, all interceptions thrown this Sunday afternoon shall be referred to as “delhommes.”
Oakland (plus 9) at Houston
Reid: According to Forbes, Bill Gates saw his personal fortune erode by $20-million a day over the past 12 months. That’s roughly the same pace at which JaMarcus Russell has seen his goodness-at-football deteriorate. Over the first three games, he’s thrown four times as many interceptions as touchdowns (hint: he’s only hurled one TD). He’s completed about 40% of his passes. His QB rating is a Jack Benny-ish 39. He’s fat, he can’t sing and if he continues to perform this poorly, someone’s going to ask him to serve as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The latest hot rumour is that the Raiders will pick up just-released Jeff Garcia and name him this week’s starter. Why not? They’re deep down the well of ‘At this point anyone would be better.’ Is DeForest Kelley still alive? Give the Doc a shot. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: But Jim – he’s a doctor, not a miracle worker. And although DeForest Kelley is in fact dead, this does not entirely rule out the idea of him replacing Russell. Think about it: If Patrick Swayze could cross the firmament in 1990 just to give Demi Moore a goodbye kiss, then surely God has no choice but to give Bones McCoy a weekend pass to lead the Raiders to glorious victory and then go haunt the crap out of Shatner. I’m pretty sure it’s in the Bible. Pick: Houston.
Cincinnati (minus 5.5) at Cleveland
Feschuk: Hey everybody – stumped for what to get your football-loving pal for his birthday? Give the gift of a week at Brady Quinn’s Fantasy Backup Quarterback Camp (clipboard and headset included)! Derek Anderson is the new starting QB in Cleveland because, yeah, that’ll solve everything. Meanwhile, here’s my understanding of how the NFL works. The Bengals go out and beat Green Bay, which is a good team. Then they beat the Steelers – also a good team. All of which means it’s an absolute lock that they’ll struggle against the Browns, an awful team. Don’t ask me why things work this way – they just do. It’s like the swallows returning to Capistrano or Jessica Simpson returning to John Mayer’s crotch. Pick: Cleveland.
Reid: It’s true that John Mayer’s crotch is hard to ever completely leave behind (to this day it remains the mailing address for Jennifer Aniston’s self-esteem) but even the Browns will find it hard to go back to the days when Derek Anderson was putting up Pro Bowl numbers. The story of this game is not who’s at quarterback. It’s who’s not at running back. Without Jamal Lewis, the Browns have a statistically -55,000% chance of winning. Those are tough odds to overcome. If you’re in a suicide pool, this is your week to take the Bengals and breathe easy. Pick: Cincinnati
Tennessee (minus 3) at Jacksonville
Reid: Hi, my name is Scott and I’m an addict. I’m addicted to betting FOR the Titans and AGAINST the Jaguars. I’m not sure how I developed this particular malady. I think it might have started with a few innocent Jeff Fisher snapshots in my locker. But lately it’s grown out of hand. I’m missing work. I’m setting up ‘jerk the Jags’ Facebook pages. I’m starting to paint my living room powder blue. I want to change. I know I should change. But I’m going to wait one more week before I try to change. Pick: Tennessee.
Feschuk: Wow: 13-3 last year. Oh-and-3 this year. The Titans have faded worse than Kirstie Alley on the second flight of stairs. They can’t lose again, can they? Thankfully (if you’re a Tennessee fan) the Jags are about as good against a run as a pair of dollar-store pantyhose. I’m told. Pick: Tennessee.
New York Giants (minus 8.5) at K.C.
Feschuk: Barack Obama is such a disappointment: The guy promised to usher in an era of bold and lasting change and nine months later the Chiefs still suck. Although, to be fair to the President, K.C. really ought to have taken advantage of that Cash for Clunkers program: Getting four grand for Larry Johnson would have been an absolute steal. Meanwhile, have you taken a look at New York’s schedule? Tampa, followed by K.C., followed by Oakland. Who’s up after that? Mississippi State? I guess there’s always the chance that the Giants mail this one in – but you’d have to think that even the postal service moves quicker than the K.C. offence, right? Pick: New York.
Reid: It used to be that beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead was practically impossible. Even their bad teams were home-field heroes. Of course, it used to be that men held doors open for ladies, people dressed up when they went out at night and dirty words were banned from the radio. All I can say is thank Christ things have changed. New York would have to wear blindfolds to lose this game. Pick: New York.
Baltimore (plus 2) at New England
Reid: Every once in a while, I just get a feeling. Like last week I just had a feeling that Cincy would beat Pittsburgh. And every day of my adult life in politics I just had a feeling that Denis Coderre was a self-interested gasbag. I’m not saying I’m psychic. A bit gifted perhaps. In the parlance of Stephen King, it’s possible I’ve got some of the “shine.” I can’t explain it. But from Clear Pepsi to the Pat Sajak show, I seem to have a nose for winners. This week, my powers tell me that Baltimore – a team that I flat-out love – will not beat New England. My “feeling” is that Belichick will find a way to keep his team better balanced on offence. And I think Brady sees this game as a personal challenge that he would rather die than fail at – in much the same way he feels that he simply must nail every good-looking woman over six feet tall on the planet. Pick: New England.
Feschuk: New England answered the call against the Falcons and Brady finally looked his usual self in the second half. And you know what that means – it means he’s renegotiated his deal with the Devil. Brady gets five more years of success, three more Super Bowls and a trip back in time to do the Landers sisters when it meant something. And what does the Devil get in return? He gets to watch. And Michael Moore has the nerve to question the merit of capitalism. Pick: New England.
Tampa Bay (plus 7) at Washington
Feschuk: So sad to see Byron Leftwich getting benched in Tampa. He’d become a real source of inspiration for all those inanimate objects out there that aspire to play in the NFL. I’m telling you: Several marble statues and this handful of stones have lost a real role model. It’s true that Washington, having lost to Detroit, can be described only as “terrible.” But the Bucs, having lost to everybody, can be described only as “terribler” – a word that, like their defence, doesn’t even exist. Pick: Washington.
Reid: If I was going to die tomorrow and watching this game was the only relief I could look forward to I think I’d ask to die a day earlier. Tampa Bay is plain brutal. The Leftwich era is over. It was short-lived, unremarkable and very, very slowfooted. I’m assuming that Washington will win because it’s impossible to imagine how anyone could lose to this Tampa team. Of course, that Jim Zorn is the fools’ gold of conventional wisdom. Pick: Washington.
St. Louis (plus 9.5) at San Francisco
Reid: No Gore. An early deficit. And the Niners still charged back to physically control last week’s game against the Vikes. But for a last second miracle play from Brett “Jesus Loves Me, Yes I Know” Favre, San Fran would be 3-0. They’re tough. They’re focused. And they believe deeply in themselves. Think of them as Dog, the Bounty Team. Many handicappers are betting the line. And it certainly feels like a trap game. But I don’t think Singletary will let that happen. I think he’s rabid to avoid a trap game. And as he goes, so goes this team. Pick: SF.
Feschuk: I shudder to think what Mike Singletary will need to strip down to in order to motivate his team after that loss. Pick: San Francisco.
Buffalo (minus 2.5) at Miami
Feschuk: Check out this quote from Dolphins coach Tony Sparano: “I don’t want Chad Henne to be Chad Pennington out of the field. I want Chad Henne to be Chad Henne out on the field. I’m looking for Chad to be his own man, no different than Chad Pennington was his own man.” I’m pretty sure that’s the most uses of “Chad” since the 2000 U.S. election. Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Chad Lowe – it’s doesn’t make a difference. The Wildcat is looking sooo 2008. I’m not saying Miami’s offence was impotent last week but the Chargers’ defence kept gently stroking its arm and telling it that this happens to all the offences. Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: Chad, schmad. Miami is taking the big step backward that everyone expected this season. Don’t be surprised if Henne adds mightily to the lone pick he threw last week. The Bills defensive backfield has some talent and every time Henne drops back to pass the ball, he’s going to get manhandled like the new girl at Sterling Cooper. Pick: Buffalo.
Dallas (minus 3) at Denver
Reid: Two teams that fall firmly into the category of loser-winners. Loser-winners are those teams/people/business-partners-who-live-in-Ottawa that win only when they come up against the weak and losery. I don’t care if the Cowboys won last week. That Romo is a complete candy apple. Their offence is not for real. And they’re about as mentally tough as Joaquin Phoenix. Denver is no better. Yes, they beat the striped enigma that is the Cincinnati Bengals but their other victories came against Cleveland and Oakland. In other words, they didn’t even have to play football to succeed. In this clash of the cupcakes, I’d reluctantly go with Dallas. Their defence is better and will likely cut down the Bronco’s running game – which also happens to be its only game. Pick: Dallas.
Feschuk: I love when you identify players and coaches exclusively by their surnames, like “Romo.” It makes everyone in the NFL seem slightly more like Cher. (Not that Tony Romo needs any help in this regard.) I hesitate to call this game the Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Bowl Five-Star Lock of the Week, but only because Olive Garden hasn’t paid us any endorsement money or even comped us some apps. That doesn’t change the fact the Cowboys are going to run all over the undersized, undergood Broncos. Pick: Dallas.
New York Jets (plus 7) at New Orleans
Feschuk: This is one of the week’s marquee matchups with the 3-0 Jets going up against the 3-0 Saints. The game pits the league’s No. 1 offence against the league’s No. 3 defence and, in an equally compelling matchup, Rex Ryan’s belly against Rex Ryan’s belt (I’m taking the belt – I love an underdog). The Saints have embarrassed one good defence (the Eagles) but the Jets have embarrassed one good offence (the Patriots). Drew Brees already has 9 TD passes, 841 passing yards a QB rating of 118. Mark Sanchez, by way of comparison, has an 87 rating and Rosie O’Donnell’s moustache. This new facial hair defines Sanchez as a man of purpose and confidence and denim, a man capable of chafing the cheek of any woman foolish enough to accept his kiss – which would be all women, by the way, on account of his moustache. Hard to bet against it, frankly. Pick: New York.
Reid: Is it just me or is Rex Ryan getting a little big for his britches? Which is really something given that with his britches you could build a denim bridge from St. John’s to Lisbon. Ryan is mouthing off at every opponent, talking like his team will go undefeated and picking food off the plates of anyone smaller than him (which technically only excludes a rarely seen race of ape-men that live beneath the northern tundra). Well let’s throw a little trash talk back big Rexy’s way. I guarantee that New Orleans will win this game. In a lock. Brees will throw for 300 yards and at least three touchdowns. Chew on that, fatman. Pick: New Orleans
San Diego (plus 6.5) at Pittsburgh
Reid: Pittsburgh comes off a humiliating loss that leaves real questions about their offensive balance and their Polamalu-less defensive backfield. Questions like: “Why do you blow so hard?” and “Is someone paying you to be such pussies?” It’s not too early to say that a third consecutive loss would amount to a full-on crisis for Mike Tomlin and his team. Which is why they’re breaking out the Pabst Blue Ribbon to toast Norv Turner’s arrival in the three rivers city. It’s not that San Diego isn’t a talented team with massive breakout capacity. It’s that Turner is the magician of miserable losses. With no apparent use of mirrors or sleight of hand, Coach Confused Face consistently finds creative ways to piss away sure games that should be won. And it’s for this reason that I will pick San Diego. Because you can bet that this game will not won by a touchdown. It will come down to the wire and a last minute choke by the Chargers. That’s the Norv Turner Way. Pick: San Diego.
Feschuk: I don’t get it. I know the Polamalu loss is a big deal, but on both sides of the ball the Steelers look as dazed and befuddled as Charlton Heston when he first sees the Statue of Liberty. And Willie Parker! What a mess. Time after time the guy just keeps making the wrong decisions in his work. He’s the black David Spade. Pick: San Diego.
Detroit (plus 10) at Chicago
Feschuk: Excitement is building in Detroit now that the Lions have actually won a game. The city hasn’t been this alive and optimistic since it had an economy. And why not? You take what you can get when you root for a team whose 2008 season technically qualified as the third Dumb and Dumber movie. Can they keep it going and beat the Bears? Hell no. But Chicago tends to play down to its competition, so my prediction is that the Lions will cover. And remember – I’m the guy who not only correctly called Detroit’s straight-up victory last week but also accurately predicted the exact moment at which America would get bored of Megan Fox. Pick: Detroit.
Reid: What the hell are you talking about? America has not – and will not – ever grow tired of Megan Fox. On the other hand, she will surely soon grow tired of Brian Austin Goofpants. Don’t be surprised if she ends up coming back to Toronto looking for two scoops of ButterScott Ripple. I think her eyes are the big unsung secret of her success. They’re like emerald oceans of pure warm. I wish they’d make a new Transformers this week! (Can you tell I’m bored to death of this game?) Pick: Chicago.
Seattle (plus 9) at Indianapolis
Reid: Here’s the tale of the tape in rainy-town: No Hasselbeck. No Jones. One Mare. If the Seahawks were a car company they’d be called Saturn. All of a sudden, it’s just freaking grimness. By way of contrast, the Colts are 3-0 and seem to be improving as the season goes longer – which is fitting since I predicted they would self-destruct this season. This spread seems large but when you’ve got Peyton Manning versus a team that can’t score by passing, running or kicking, it’s hard to say no. Pick: Indianapolis.
Feschuk: Not only do the Seahawks have to deal with the physical toll of all those injuries, they also must cope with the mental trauma of being eliminated from Project Runway for those hideous green uniforms they showed off last week. To be any more flamboyant, those outfits would have needed a feather boa around them and the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy inside them. Pick: Indianapolis.
Green Bay (plus 3.5) at Minnesota
Feschuk: I dare you to watch ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown and do a shot every time they say the word “Favre.” Within 10 minutes you’ll be either legally dead or legally a Nolte. Favre this, Favre that, Favre’s legacy, Favre’s indecision, Favre’s handsome stubble, Favre’s turn-ons and turn-offs, Favre’s recipe for muskrat scones – the whole show will be like a John Madden masturbatory fantasy, except Brett won’t be covered in bacon grease. Favre pulled a miracle out of his arse last week against the 49ers but this week there’ll be too many people down there kissing it for him to reach in there for another one. Pick: Green Bay.
Reid: I wish his arse had waited a week. ESPN is already preparing to cover this game as though it were the moon landing (if the lunar lander had been piloted by Michael Jackson and Kate Gosselin). My prediction is that Favre overreaches. I think Rodgers will be laser-like accurate, leading his team to success. Peterson will lead the Vikes and then, with the game close in the fourth quarter, Brett will get jumped up and throw a critical interception. Shortly after, John Madden will burst onto the field like a crazed Kool-Aid Man screaming ‘Oh Yeah’ and crying uncontrollably. On reflection, maybe the pre-game hype is deserved. Pick: Green Bay