Scott Feschuk Last week: 11-5 (Season: 18-14)
Scott Reid Last week: 12-4 (Season: 21-11)
Week 3 Picks follow below — but first: tailgating! Sure, we spent six hours in traffic last Sunday thanks to uptight, power-mad border guards and the fact that every bloody highway in western New York just happened to be closed, either for construction or for kicks (That’ll learn them Canadians!). But the Bills-Bucs game itself was a blast and the tailgating was tremendously fun and caloric. Plus, the Bills won, thereby reducing the post-game potential for flying bottles, parking-lot fires and jokes about bringing back O.J.
People sometimes ask us what it’s like to tailgate down at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Perhaps the best answer can be found in the following triptych of beer-based images.
1. Shirtless guy helps fill Octobong, to the delight of his friends.
2. Shirtless guy drinks beer from Octobong, to the delight of his friends.
3. Shirtless guy vomits beer from Octobong, to the delight of his friends.
A few more images from last weekend…
No one was consistently happier on Sunday among the Shirtless Guys than Shirtless Guy in His Underpants.
This guy told me he’d bet his friend (the fella down the way in the white T.O. jersey) that he could “hit him in the balls” with the pigskin. I asked the thrower: “What are the stakes?” He seemed confused, so I clarified: “What do you win if you actually hit him in the balls?” He brightened. “I win your respect!”
The ball ended up wide left, alas. I was free to keep possession of my respect and give it to someone more worthy, such as Dancing on Top of the Bus With Different Girls All Afternoon Guy. I’m telling you: he earned it. Judge for yourself…
You can see some remarkable things while tailgating, such as large-screen TVs, full living room sets and sometimes even girls. I thought I’d seen it all. And then I saw this elegant yet functional nacho cheese fountain. It was mesmerizing and totally worth the angioplasty I’m going to need just from looking at it.
This is a shot of some Buffalo fans really giving it to a guy in a Ronde Barber jersey (you can just barely make out the “20”). I am consistently amazed by the courage of those who come to Ralph Wilson Stadium wearing the jersey of the day’s opponent. Bills fans will happily fistfight each other over perceived slights, actual slights and whose turn it is to use the toilet. And yet Tampa fans seemed shocked they were being pelted with things like cups, programs and swears.
I never touched my popcorn again after Mr. Hairy Arm helped himself while I was snapping this photograph.
Based on what we witnessed in the parking lot during the previous four hours, He’ll need to use a lot of blood.
On to Week 3…
Tennessee (plus 3) at New York Jets
Feschuk: Yes, I know the Jets look sharp so far. Yes, I know they got a big win last week against the Pats. And yes, I know that Rex Ryan is so hot and popular right now that he’s the NFL equivalent of Megan Fox (and not just because they share the same bra size). But I just can’t shake the feeling that betting on the Jets to go 3-0 – and the Titans to go 0-3 – is as foolhardy as knocking on Oprah’s front door dressed as a smoked ham. Pick: Tennessee.
Reid: I now know three things about you that I previously did not. First, you’re defiantly hype resistant – which explains your indifference to the Jets but makes a mystery of your giddiness about the upcoming remake of Fame. Second, you’re able to spot the sucker bet of the week. And third, you’ve never sat in front of a computer screen for hours on end staring at the pixelated cleavage of Megan Fox. I’m telling you right now, Rex Ryan makes her look as flat as a Saskatchewan highway. Pick: Tennessee.
Jacksonville (plus 3.5) at Houston
Reid: Watching Jacksonville play football is no fun. It’s like work. Actually, it’s worse than work. It’s like someone else’s work when that someone else is Tyra Banks’ personal assistant. David Garrard is barely completing 50% of his passes and teams are loading up to stop Jones-Drew. If the Jags had any fewer weapons, they could apply for Swiss citizenship. On the other hand, Houston is coming off of a balls-to-the-wall victory over the Titans – the kind of victory that basically screams “Attention: Good Young Team Set to Take Next Step Forward.” Pick: Houston
Feschuk: This is a classic early season matchup of stoppable force versus movable object. Personally, I subscribed to the NFL Sunday package just so I could actively choose NOT to watch even a moment of games like this. (Those of you who don’t subscribe to the Sunday package and wish to simulate the experience of watching any game with the Jags can follow these three easy steps: 1. Attach one handcuff to your right wrist. 2. Attach other handcuff to left wrist of Geraldo Rivera. 3. Swallow key.) Pick: Houston.
K.C. (plus 10) at Philadelphia
Feschuk: This game is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped (at the insistence of Andy Reid) in a strip of hickory-smoked bacon. Philly’s defence was just terrible last week against the Saints. Terrible. Meanwhile, the Chiefs looked credible v. the Ravens and hugely outgained the Raiders, but lost due to dumbness-based reasons. Can they keep it close against the Eagles and the QB Cerberus of Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick and Jeff Garcia? More important, has anyone secured the rights to a sitcom starring Kolb, Vick and Garcia as a three-headed demon dog from the depths of Hell itself? Pick: K.C.
Reid: Kevin Kolb’s defenders point out that he passed for 400 plus yards last week and two touchdowns even if they did end up losing. But then again that is what email@example.com would say, wouldn’t he? KC will beat this spread. And Jeff Garcia will stomp up and down the sideline muttering the following obscure nursery rhyme: “Pro bowl QB, that’s me. Pro bowl QB, that’s me.” Pick: K.C.
Green Bay (minus 6.5) at St. Louis
Reid: Green Bay should be freakin’ ashamed. Cincinnati? Are you kidding me? The Packers’ O-line was physically dominated by the Bengals. It’s humiliating. That’s like losing a fresh breath contest to Rita MacNeil. There is no reason the Packers shouldn’t go deep into the post-season. So let this be a statement game. And the statement is: “Hey Spagnuolo, suck it.” Pick: Green Bay.
Feschuk: I have no strong feelings about this game. But did you know they’re making another Sex and the City movie? Apparently, the first movie – which followed the libidinous exploits of, uhh, Veronica, Betty… Dopey and, er, Horny? (I’m guesstimating) – made a ton of money, delighting women around the world who mistakenly believe that they and their friends are interesting because they, too, have sex indiscriminately. I guess they needed a sequel to answer important questions raised by the first movie – questions like, “Is it technically possible to catch syphilis from the seventh row?” and “Which one of the four is the dude again?” Pick: Green Bay.
New Orleans (minus 6) at Buffalo
Feschuk: Here’s something worth noting: Only by witnessing him live can you truly appreciate the lack of effort, wholesale laziness and general, all-round sucky-babyness of Mr. Terrell Owens. I think I saw him try to block once last Sunday, at which point he came at his man with all the force of a lobbed marshmallow. I’m telling you – there’s more aggressive hand-to-body contact in Ryan Seacrest’s daydreams about the pool boy. In other news, this game seems like a lock, right? The Saints are ripping it up. The Bills look decent enough but unspectacular. But I refuse to be beholden to things like logic, obviousness and manifest certainty. Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: It’s true. If admiring your reflection in your own fingernails, attached to the hands you’re determined to use only once per game were an Olympic sport, TO would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. His body posture screams, “I’m better than you, so why should I lower myself and prove it by doing my job”. This game against New Orleans seems like it’s a lock because it is a lock. If the Bills let Byron Sandwich and the offensive line that effort forgot climb back into last week’s game, Drew Brees will score so often he’ll have to change his name to Thomas Magnum. Pick: New Orleans.
San Francisco (plus 7) at Minnesota
Reid: Mike Singletary to his team in dressing room before game: “Listen up disciples! I want physical play. I want you to finish your blocks, crash your tackles and bathe yourself in the humiliated defeat of your opponent. Bring me your jerseys after the game. Those stained with the blood of others will each get a hundred dollars and a signed copy of my new book Killing with Honour.” Brad Childress to his team in dressing room before game: “Alright fellas, let’s really try…Hey! Come on Brett, quit putting hot things down my pants. That’s uncomfortable…where was I? Oh yeah, make a point of trying, eh guys? Thanks a lot. I really like you. I hope you like me back.” One of these teams is supposed to run away with this season and be in the Super Bowl. All the other team has done so far is beat its toughest two divisional rivals. The Niners are real. And watching Adrian Peterson vs. Patrick Willis will be a delight to behold. Pick: SF.
Feschuk: It’s been two games now and Brett Favre still hasn’t been asked to do very much for the Vikings. The guy broke more of a sweat tossing deep to those hairless cupcakes in that Wrangler commercial (the beefcakey one that increased Wrangler sales by 6,000 per cent in the crucial demographic of “Tom Cruise’s house.”) But this will be Favre’s coming-out party in purple. He’s going to pick the Niners apart so badly that Brad Childress will stroke his new beard and say, “Damn, I like the feeling of stroking this new beard. Also, Brett Favre is playing well.” Pick: Minnesota.
Washington (minus 6.5) at Detroit
Feschuk: Let’s listen in as rookie coach Jim Schwartz delivers a motivational speech to his Detroit Lions: “No use putting any fancy words to it: We’re 0-2. We’re winless. In fact, we’ve lost 19 straight. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know it was a long hike up that volcano, but I really felt we needed a human sacrifice to appease the football spirits. With the benefit of hindsight, I should have foreseen the possibility that Stafford would miss the mouth of the volcano with the virgin. The spirits were not happy about that. To be honest, the virgin wasn’t all that pleased, either. Kitna would have made that throw. We all know that.” Futility and an overwhelmed rookie QB aside, the Redskins looked ghastly v. the Rams. I’m picking the Lions in a straight-up upset. For Detroit, the suck stops here! Did I just blow your mind? Pick: Detroit.
Reid: You blew something, all right. I think it’s that slender fellow who calls himself Conventional Wisdom. Detroit is the fashionable pick this week. But if I believed in fashion would I be wearing this argyle mesh tank top (in a dazzling powder blue)? Matt Stafford looks so scared behind that line, you’d think he’d been raised in a Rob Zombie movie. Washington must rally this week. And it will against the still-crummiest team in the NFL. Pick: Washington.
Atlanta (plus 4) at New England
Reid: Remember on M*A*S*H when they killed off Col. Blake and then replaced Frank Burns with Charles Emerson Winchester III? Remember thinking, ‘Man, this could be the beginning of the end.’ Well, it’s starting to look like Tom Brady’s injury last season was the football equivalent of Henry Blake’s untimely death. A season later, Brady’s back – and he’s still playing great. Just like Hawkeye was still cracking one-liners. But something’s starting to feel very different. I am not ready to declare the Pats officially over. It’s not like Klinger has quit wearing women’s clothing and taken Radar’s job – just yet. But last week’s loss to the Jets on the heels of a sub-par performance against Buffalo has me more than a little rattled. This team should not be passing 50 times a game. And Brady needs Wes Welker back to give him an always safe option. Atlanta is not to be dismissed. Good young team. Reminds me of Cheers in its second season. Pick: Atlanta.
Feschuk: Wow. A Radar O’Reilly reference. Our blog traffic is going to soar by Gary Burghoff’s Mom percent. Pick: Atlanta.
Cleveland (plus 13) at Baltimore
Feschuk: If a tie is like kissing your sister, then losing a football game to the Cleveland Browns would be like getting caught kissing your sister’s Barbie when I thought no one was looking. I mean you. When you thought no one was looking. On the Browns sideline the once-cocky Mangenius comes across as so baffled and shellshocked you’d think he just woke up married to Liza Minelli. In the highlights of last week’s game v. the Broncos, I kept waiting for him to throw his clipboard to the ground and yell: “You guys finish up here. I’ll get a jump on the drive to the airport and pick us all up some Sbarro.” Pick: Baltimore.
Reid: You’d like to wake up married to Liza Minelli, wouldn’t you? It’s obvious you’ve thought about it. Maybe even imagined what it would be like. Word to the wise, Anna Nicole Feschuk: Liza’s not looking for a trophy husband. She wants some action. And just like Cleveland’s fans, you should be frightened about what comes next. Pick: Baltimore.
Chicago (minus 2) at Seattle
Reid: Jay “Veal” Cutler fired up his baby fat last Sunday and finally delivered the kind of performance Bears fans are expecting. His 105 passer rating was a slight improvement over Week One’s four picks, one fumble and two crying jags in the powder room. On the other side of the ball, a cracked rib will keep Matt Hasselbeck off the field in favour of the strangely named and even more mysteriously talented Seneca Wallace. The idea that Wallace will lead the Hawks into battle against Cutler’s Bears and emerge with anything other than a faint buzzing sound and a bruise where his body used to be is absurd. Bears will dominate both sides of the ball. Get back Matt. Pick: Chicago.
Feschuk: Every pool enthusiast has his or her evil nemesis – the team that plays Darth Vader to his Luke Skywalker, Khan to his Kirk, Ben Affleck to his American cinema; the team that simply defies successful prognostication, that covers the spread when you pick against it and plays like a squad of retarded high-school flutists when you pick it. Perhaps the Cardinals are your nemesis. Or maybe the Giants. Mine is Seattle. I’m telling you: if I were to wager with actual money, I would avoid Seahawks games like any new CD bearing the two words “Duran” and “Duran.” Pick: Chicago.
New York Giants (minus 7) at Tampa Bay
Feschuk: Good news, Buccaneers – only 99 more sleeps til the final game of the season. Enjoy all three of your wins this year. Instead of wasting time stating the obvious (Giants, big), let me waste time issuing a shameful confession: I have lost track of what Puff Daddy is calling himself these days. I mean, I know that during the past several years he’s gone by P. Diddy, Diddy, Puffy and – during one disturbing dream I had last spring – Mrs. Feschuk. Then he announced a while back that he was going back to Puff Daddy, but did he? I try to keep up but it would help me out a lot if he just changed once and for all to Rappy McRapsalot. Pick: New York.
Reid: Speaking of sleeps, let’s take a moment to reflect on the first couple of nights passed by the freshly incarcerated Plaxico Burress. He’s now sleeping under a rapper who goes by Puff Mommy (you really don’t want to ask why). Sadly, Plax will still probably enjoy this Sunday more than the Bucs whose offence, at times last week, looked like it was committing a crime against organized sport. Expect Boss to be huge. (Which he oughta be with a name like that). Pick New York.
Pittsburgh (minus 4) at Cincinnati
Reid: The Steelers can’t run (insert loud ladies’ gasp here). The Pittsburgh Friggin’ Smashmouth Steelers! The tween-the-tackles-tough-guys from Three Rivers! The home of Bleier, Harris and Bettis! It’s shocking. The Steelers can’t run. What the hell is the world coming to? Spock is kissing girls in the Star Trek reboot. Now this? I know that Cinci is no Chicago. And I know that the Steelers D is still stiff as hell – especially against the run. But right now, I’m not prepared to lose points on Pittsburgh. Like the Vicar’s wife says, you’ll have to show me more first. Pick: Cincinnati
Feschuk: Really? The Bengals win one (1) game and you’re ready to take them over a Steelers team that is just aching to atone for last week’s loss to the Bears? If you were any trendier, you’d be feigning lesbianism for free publicity. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Miami (plus 6) at San Diego
Feschuk: The 0-2 Dolphins need this game the way Andrew Ridgely needs to pick up the phone and hear George Michael say the words “reunion tour.” In deciding which team to pick, I am guided by two critical factors:
1. The Dolphins looked creative, physical and motivated against the Colts on Monday night.
2. If Norv Turner had commanded the armies of the north in the U.S. Civil War, the White House would be in Atlanta, Bo Duke would be President and Jeff Foxworthy would be Secretary of Possums. Pick: Miami.
Reid: When asked last week to explain his team’s failure to come away with a win after a close game against Baltimore, Norv Tuner offered up this analytic gem: “It is what it is.” Two things: First, I’ve just about had it up to my “Whach you talkin bout, Willis” with that saying. It’s the conversational equivalent of declaring, “Piss off, I’m too lazy to form an opinion.” Second, how the frak can Turner get away with that? He was handed a great team. He’s taken them nowhere. They’re 10-10 in the past 20 games. They barely beat Oakland two weeks ago and lost to Baltimore last Sunday. And his answer is “That must be the way it was meant to be.” Isn’t that very Eastern mysticism of you. Get bent, Turner. You’re horrible. Pick: Miami.
Denver (plus 1) at Oakland
Reid: Congratulations Josh McDaniels! You’ve so shattered public confidence in the Broncs that even though your team starts with a 2-0 record, they’re still perceived to be a pick ’em against Oakland. Oakland!! A team whose quarterback has completed exactly 35% of his passes so far this year. A team whose owner is so out of it, he still thinks Plunkett plays for him. It’s a goddamn shop of horrors, McDaniels. You’re confidence Kypton. Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t blow this game. If you somehow manage to lose to the Raiders, people will turn you name into a verb. As in, “I was rushing in the bathroom and ended up McDanielsing all over my own shoes.” Pick: Denver.
Feschuk: Denver hasn’t beaten anyone good, so I’m not surprised people are still skeptical. But Oakland is so… Oaklandy. Drafting JaMarcus Russell first overall is starting to look like such a mistake that the league has launched an investigation to see if Matt Millen was involved. Pick: Denver.
Carolina (plus 9) at Dallas
Feschuk: Sure, interceptions are now officially known in the NFL as “delhommes” but… Did you see the look on Jerry Jones’s face as his team choked away the big opening night for his new stadium? I haven’t seen an expression that solemn and depressed since 2006 when I glanced in the mirror while watching Joey. It’s the same thing time and time again with this team – I’m not saying it’s been awhile since the Cowboys won a meaningful game, but Dallas motorists were shocked this past Tuesday when they glanced over in traffic and saw Wade Phillips pouring a bottle of Gatorade over his own head. Oh how he’s missed that… sweet… sweet…taste… Pick: Carolina.
Reid: Last week’s Sunday night match-up in the brand new Cowboys Stadium had a definite playoff feel – which explains why Tony Romo played like his hands were wrapped in lousy. Imagine, 105,000 devastated Dallas fans. It’s enough to make you cry – with joy. Carolina needs this game. Expect a spirited, gritty effort. (WARNING: The preceding sentence may contain words, phrases and meanings unfamiliar to Cowboys supporters). Pick: Carolina.
Indianapolis (plus 2) at Arizona
Reid: Kurt Warner bounced back from his Week One humbling at the hands of my beautiful Niners and was practically perfect against Jacksonville. He completed 92% of his passes, netted two touchdowns, earned a QB rating of 131.2 and restored Jennifer Aniston’s dignity. Sure Jags fans hated it. And Matt Leinart was photographed crying so hard his handsome was starting to rust. But Cards fans needed this sign that their team still has it. This week we’ll see if they can hang onto it against Peyton Manning. This one is interesting. Indy’s defence should be vulnerable to Warner if he’s hot again. But you get the feeling he’ll need to be as perfect as he was last week to pull out a victory. Don’t think that’s likely. Pick: Indianapolis.
Feschuk: I’m not saying those rookie Indy receivers looked inferior to their precedessors v. the Dolphins, but for a while I thought I was watching the 1980-81 season of Saturday Night Live. Pick: Arizona.