Last week: 6-7
Last week: 6-7
SF: I don’t know about you, but I thought it was great that the Oakland Raiders held a news conference this week – because now we know a) the fate of coach Lane Kiffin, and b) the whereabouts of Freddy Krueger:
In what has to be the highlight of this or any other week in the NFL, Al Davis made news of Kiffin’s firing public in a lengthy news conference that is still transpiring on all planes of reality where there is no God. I’ve been a fan of the NFL for more than 30 years and I’m pretty sure that’s the first press conference to actually include an intermission, presumably so Davis could stalk a defenceless coterie of Bay area teenagers in their nightmares.
In other news, Scott Linehan was fired from his job as Rams coach by the new owner of the St. Louis franchise:
In his first move at the helm, new coach Jim Haslett has restored Marc Bulger as starting quarterback, saying Bulger gives the Rams “the best opportunity to win games the next three months.” Their second best opportunity: just keep hurling those virgins into that volcano until some deity or other finally notices.
SR: Al Davis’ press conference was great. Not just good. Not just pretty cool. But gobsmackin groovin’ greatness. The best part? His desk lamp! He looked like Sam Spade. A lonely, crazed and inhuman Sam Spade. But he’s not all bad. Remember, he did fire Norv Turner.
I actually feel bad for Lane Kiffin. On the other hand, I’m sort of sick of all the people who feel bad for Lane Kiffin (Chris Mortenson has been positively syrupy sweet on this point). So maybe I’ll join the ‘Al Davis Deserves Another Hundred Years’ fan club. Haslett gets a second chance but don’t expect a long stay. He’s a coordinator born and bred. As for Scott Linehan, only the nocturnal kiss of Al Davis could rouse him from the coaching graveyard. He’s dead and buried.
On to this week’s futility…
Indianapolis (minus 3) at Houston
SR: We’re here. We’ve arrived at the very moment that Indy’s season jumps the shark. Not only will the Colts fail to cover in this game, they will outright lose to Houston. Matt Schaub got on track last week and he’ll stay there this. Expect him to manage a solid ground game that eats up the clock and leaves Indy’s weak secondary vulnerable to sudden assault. It’s sad to see a great team go to pieces. But frankly I always hated the Colts. No personality. Pick: Houston.
SF: Good point. I mean, does anyone even talk about the Colts anymore? They’re the According to Jim of the NFL – technically still there, but entirely absent from the conversation. They’re like According to Jim in another way, too. Each week, they appear on TV for what feels like three hours and produce zero laughs. That said, Peyton Manning… Matt Schaub… feels like you’re making the wrong choice here buddy. Pick: Indy.
Chicago (minus 3.5) at Detroit
SF: Lane Kiffin? Gone. Scott Linehan? Gone. Even Matt Millen is gone. Lions coach Rod Marinelli, with his 10-25 record and 0-3 start, has got to be feeling like the last person other than Sigourney Weaver left alive on board the Nostromo. Oh thank God I’m going to make it. I’m going to live through this and — Aiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! Cut to a shot of the monstrous, dripping jowls of William Clay Ford Sr. Pick: Detroit.
SR: They must suffer from the same sense of dread and impending doom that is felt by every pass thrown by Kyle Orton. Chicago’s offensive schemes are about as inventive as an episode of Charles in Charge – only without the versatility of Willie Ames. Is it possible no one in this game will score a touchdown? Or at all? Pick: Chicago.
Seattle (plus 7) at New York Giants
SR: What a turd Seattle’s season is turning into. The only team they’ve managed to outpace is St. Louis. Which is like congratulating yourself for winning a footrace against Reuben Studdard. This could be a critical game for the Seahawks. They need to get back to .500 and to beat a good team. If they can surprise the Giants, then people will start respecting them again. On the other hand, whenever Matt Hasselbeck needs to win is usually the exact time he swallows the chickenbone and chokes to death. Pick: New York.
SF: I don’t know. Plaxico Burress is sitting out for being a bad, bad boy, so Eli Manning is going to have to hook up with some dude named Mario Manningham. Admit it – that sounds made up. Maybe it’s actually just Jeremy Shockey coming crawling back in blackface. Pick: Seattle.
K.C. (plus 9.5) at Carolina
SF: Herm Edwards and the boys beat the Denver Broncos for their first win of the season, their first win in thirteen games, and Herm immediately starts exuding the confidence of Drago in Rocky IV. He started talking about how his young players have finally become men. He started yakking about how his team is now a legitimate threat. “I think they were questioning themselves,” Edwards said. “They were questioning their talent. You can’t question that.” Exactly. That’s our job. Pick: Carolina.
SR: Good news! Backpackers have discovered Herm Edwards’ coaching skills alongside the wreckage of Steve Fossett’s plane in rural California. Legally, that means they were also declared dead last February – which explains a lot. The Panthers are a physical team with a desire to win. The Chiefs are a delicate team with a desire to get home early and watch Entourage. Pick: Carolina.
Cincinnati (plus 17.5) at Dallas
SF: I’m seriously wondering what more Marv Lewis can do to draw attention to the fact he deserves to be canned. His team is 0-4. Its “high-octane” offence is scoring 13 points a game. Carson Palmer has one (1) TD pass. And their solution to it all? Bringing in RB Cedric Benson, who under regular circumstances wouldn’t even qualify for membership on the Bengals on account of having only two alcohol-related arrests. Alas, Cinci is so desperate that they upgraded one of them to an aggravated assault, so he’s in. In Benson’s defence, he was arrested both for driving a car while intoxicated and for driving a boat while intoxicated, making him the team’s only legitimate double threat. Pick: Cinci.
SR: When the season began, I thought watching the Bengals was like watching an episode of Oz. But lately it’s more like an episode of Night Court. They’re not menacing bad guys. They’re just clowns. And I’ll be damned if Carson Palmer isn’t starting to look like Markie Post. Dallas has to show the NFL that it can recover from last week’s loss and TO’s jerkoff eruption. Expect Romo to play great. I’m talking John Larroquette great. Pick: Dallas.
Tampa Bay (plus 3) at Denver
SR: Two 3-1 teams. Two teams that have looked great while winning and surprised with unexpected losses. Cutler showed last week that he can still toss a pretty good looking interception. Griese has never left any doubt about his talent in that department. Expect Denver’s balanced offense to overmatch Tampa’s still-great defence. Pick: Denver
SF: What an exciting time for Bucs QB Brian Griese – returning to the city where he started both his NFL career and his hobby of acquiring serious injuries by tripping over domestic pets while shitfaced. The Broncos will be looking for redemption after being embarrassed last week by the Chiefs, which is the football equivalent of losing a game of Trivial Pursuit to Sarah Palin. Pick: Denver.
San Diego (minus 6.5) at Miami
SF: I’ve got a good feeling that Ricky Williams can really get things going against the Chargers, unless the San Diego defence responds by stacking the box with eight pot dealers. Then things could get tricky. And very, very mellow. Ever the savvy conversationalist, Williams was admitting to reporters this week that we was tempted to get high during the bye week but managed to resist because “there’s no space, no wiggle room for me.” Explain something to me: in our modern age, in a time when everyone is infamous for 15 minutes, how is it that this man does not have his own reality TV show? Pick: San Diego.
SR: Ricky Williams has two problems: first, he’s a bit partial to an illegal substance. Second, he’s a bit partial to being stupid. I guess the indignity of playing for the Argos taught this man nothing. And yet, half fried and wholly moronic, he’s still the best offensive threat for the Dolphins. I can’t understand why this spread isn’t twice as large. San Diego does suffer from the condition known as “Norv Turner Can’t Coach For Shit” but they’re going to thump the roach clips out of Miami. Pick: San Diego.
Buffalo (plus 1) at Arizona
SR: Watching tape of last weeks 56 point rollover by the Cards must have given the Bills a lot to clap about. But it’s worth noting that Warner still managed to rack up huge numbers. This old man has got a lot left in his tank. The Bills need to pressure him up front and rush Warner’s already lightning-fast release. That’s when creaky Kurt starts to throw tons o’ interceptions. On balance, I think Buffalo is going to stay perfect (just like you, Scott Feschuk). Pick: Buffalo
SF: Excitement is building in Buffalo over the 4-0 Bills. The city hasn’t been this alive and optimistic since it had a) four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, and b) an economy. Pick: Buffalo.
Atlanta (plus 8.5) at Green Bay
Off the board due to Aaron Rodgers’ injury, but we’re assigning an arbitrary spread that assumes he’ll play.
SF: Funny how quickly the mood can shift around a team. Seven days ago Brett Favre was looking like a washout in New York and Aaron Rodgers was pope of the cheeseheads. Then Favre threw 3,274 touchdown passes against Arizona and Rodgers went out and played like the second coming of Joey Harrington. Even with an ouchy shoulder, Rodgers should against the Falcons at least be able to upgrade his performance to the second coming of Joey Lawrence, which would be enough. Pick: Green Bay.
SR: Aaron Rodgers could not practice all week. That tells me this: he’s injured. Again. Dude has actually been banged up twice before and that’s when he wasn’t playing. Now, four games into the year he’s hurt again –except Green Bay is missing that fellow who’s name rhymes with “Ted Thompson blows.” The Falcons have shown some game against weak opponents. Green Bay, even with a hobbled Rodgers, is not weak. Pick: Green Bay.
Minnesota (plus 3) at New Orleans
SR: This is a tough one. These two teams are well matched and, in particular, the Vikings have played better as the season’s worn on. It will come down to quarterbacks: a resurging Brees who again looks like one of the game’s best. And, suiting up the Vikes this week will be…Gerry Mathers? Jim Nabors? Screech from Saved By the Bell: The NFL Years? Deuce McAllister is like Colonel Steve Austin. He’s mostly made of new parts at this point. But he seems to be playing just fine, bien sur. Pick: New Orleans
SF: The Saints, who currently have 143-year-old Mark Brunell as their backup QB, signed a new third stringer at the position this week: the aforementioned Joey Harrington. In a related story, Saints players immediately starting surrounding Drew Brees in layer after layer of protective bubble wrap. Pick: Minnesota.
Washington (plus 5.5) at Philadelphia
SF: They should figure out a way so that all the NFC East teams make the playoffs. Based on the intra-conference games we’ve seen, that would be awesome. Is it impossible? I’ve been led to believe by countless self-help authors and Ric Ocasek nailing Paulina Porizkova that nothing is impossible. Pick: Washington.
SR: I think the world is overestimating Washington after last week. It was an impressive win but I continue to believe that Philly will emerge as the last team standing in the NFC when all is said and done. And Jason Campbell is due to blow up. I think it happens this week. Course, I’ve been doing some work for Stephane Dion. So let’s not spend too much time exploring my brilliance. Pick: Philly.
Tennessee (minus 3) at Baltimore
SR: Ok. So suppose you have an emotionally and mentally fragile fellow playing on your team. And suppose said basket case has made it particularly clear that he is a bit insecure about his position. Would you think that replacing him with someone else is a good way to go? Or would you think that might just result in a really biiiiig drama. Jeff Fisher’s decision to start Kerry Collins is hard to criticize but one can’t help but wonder if it will send Vince Young right off the diving board. And the game? Oh yeah. Titans will eat em. Pick: Tennessee.
SF: You’ve got to figure the Titans will lose soon, and this seems the ideal venue for it to happen. But Baltimore played a brutal OT game on Monday night and they’ve got more injuries than Lindsay Lohan has thigh hickies. Pick: Tennessee.
Pittsburgh (plus 4) at Jacksonville
SR: Roethlisberger (man, his name is hard to spell) may not play. And Parker was already sure to be out. That throws predictions for this game into total chaos. Personally, I think Jacksonville would have whipped them even with Big Ben in the saddle. The Jags are coming on and a win this week will put them right back into the discussion. Pick: Jaguars
SF’s pick: Pittsburgh.
New England (minus 3) at San Francisco
SF: I miss Tom Brady. I miss his serenity under pressure. I miss his never-fails accuracy. I miss his chin dimple. I miss the way that girls would sometimes gather round the bar just to get glimpse of him on the TV, and I’d pretend to be his cousin, and I’d lead them to believe I’d left his cell phone number back at my apartment, and if they just paid for my white wine spritzer we could get on my ten-speed on head on back there and I’d… well, it never got any further than that. Pick: New England.
SR: If Matt Cassel loses this game, Belichick will a) have a lot to answer for b) have to find Jeff George’s phone number c) murder his entire practice squad and restitch them together into one mightily impressive zombie quarterback. My Niners are playing Ok for a team that isn’t really ok. But with this week’s game they’ve got a bellyful of pride coming from one of the greatest franchises in modern history. So…um…they’re going to be pasted. Pick: NE