Scott Feschuk Last week: 6-8 Season: 72-66-6
Scott Reid Last week: 4-10 Season: 65-73-6
Chicago (plus 2) at Miami, Thursday night
Reid: With Chad Pennington and Chad Henne both battered and too injured to play, questions are swirling as to where the the Dolphins will find a new Chad able to quarterback their team by Thursday.
Chad Everett? Too toothy.
Chad Michael Murray? Too melancholy.
Chad Lowe? Too Not-His-Brother.
Miami needs a radical solution. Enough with the failed Chad experiments. It’s time for Tyler time! Tyler Thigpen (yes, of the Bridgeport Thigpens) will start agains the Bears this Thursday. And despite the strong outing by Jay Cutler on Sunday, Tyler will win easily and soon have everyone forgetting all the Chads. Well, maybe not Michael Murray. That heartbreaker. Pick: Miami.
Feschuk: I apologize if this entry seems rushed – just got back late last night from Miami, where, in the company of every other grown man who owns his own athletic cup, I was trying out at QB for the Dolphins. Right from the start of the emergency session there was a palpable sense of anxiety in the air. Or was that the aroma of Jeff George’s full-body Bengay rubdown? Either way, very tough on the stomach. Coach Tony Sparano told us he would be biased toward quarterbacks with experience playing professional football, which was bad news for me, TV’s Horshack and two guys who had played for the Detroit Lions. Then he put us through some drills — the usual stuff for would-be Miami QBs: seeing how adeptly we could avoid the blitz, hit a downfield receiver or legally change our names to Chad. Long story short, my lifelong dream of achieving wealth, fame and multiple spinal fractures while wearing aqua and orange was dashed. Pick: Chicago.
Washington (plus 6) at Tennessee
Feschuk: People are down on the Redskins for signing Donovan McNabb to a contract extension despite his mediocre play, lack of conditioning and the fact he often seems to be throwing the ball to an invisible rabbit named Harvey. But that’s short-sighted thinking. It’s super-savvy to lock up an aging QB for several years because soon McNabb will qualify for a senior-citizen discount, meaning the Skins will need to gain only eight yards for a first down. And he’ll get 15% off all intentional grounding calls. Dan Snyder wins again. Pick: Tennessee.
Reid: Under the clear-as-clay terms of his new contract, Donovan McNabb can reportedly top out at $85 million provided he leads the Skins to five consecutive Super Bowl victories. In an unrelated story, Dan Snyder has offered $200 million in guaranteed money to Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake if they can sweep the Oscars with their upcoming live-action Yogi Bear film. What makes the McNabb situation so baffling is that he’s sucking it. To imagine you’d pay him bazillions more to keep sucking is literally impossible to understand. Does Dan Snyder know about me and my failure at predicting the outcome of football games? Shouldn’t he be offering me some guaranteed cash? Pick: Tennessee.
Oakland (plus 7.5) at Pittsburgh
Reid: Are the Steelers Tom Brady’s bitch or what? Short of trotting to the sideline and laying a purple nurple on Mike Tomlin, it’s hard to imagine how much more the Patriots’ quarterback could have done to completely humiliate the mighty Pittsburgh football club. He even scored one touchdown by running – something people in Boston hadn’t seen since he sprinted over Drew Bledsoe’s grave. Expect a surly bunch look to take their frustrations out on a much-improved but still Al Davis-owned Raiders squad. The Steelers will eliminate Oakland’s running game and make Jason Campbell beat them. Jason Campbell will make a series of wet, uncomfortable sounds that indicate his bones are being emulsified. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Feschuk: How can you write about football at a time like this? A time when Eva Longoria is hurting, man. Hurting where it hurts.
No woman that hot should have to endure the indignity of being cheated on by someone that boring. Buck up, Eva: It’s in times of crisis that a woman finds out which people are truly her friends, and which are two football prognosticators who’ve dressed up like ladies to try to get a glimpse of you in the shower at the gym. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Detroit (plus 7) at Dallas
Feschuk: We’re getting close to the season of elaborately named college football games (ex. The Rose Bowl Presented by Citibank Presented by Hundreds of Billions in Bailout Money Presented by Wall Street Bankers’ Hubris, Insatiable Greed and High Speed Hover-Yachts). In this spirit, I would like to welcome you to the If You’re Actually Watching This Game, You Must Be Jon Kitna’s Mom Bowl. Pick: Dallas.
Reid: What a bunch of sellouts and traitors the Cowboys are to the legions of longtime underachievers everywhere. You know how it looks on the rest of us when you clowns snap to attention after a day or two of Jason Garrett making you show up on time for meetings? Now wives, bosses and mall restroom attendants are going to be encouraged to go all ‘tough love’ on the rest of us. I got news for you world: Making Roy Williams put his drink down until coach is done talking is not going to change this group. Losers lose. That’s their thing. Sadly, we have one more week of this phony hype to endure before the world is corrected. Pick: Dallas.
Houston (plus 7) at New York Jets
Reid: What kind of arse-pick coaches have they got in Houston anyway? Is that how you teach a player to bat down a ball? Where I come from when we slap our meaty arms at objects, they hit the ground! And pronto. Just ask my one-time high school guidance counselor. He sure as hell didn’t land in anyone’s hands for a winning touchdown. With this improbable last-second loss Houston has officially signaled its desire to be coached by Norv Turner. It couldn’t be clearer. He’s the all-time coaching expert when it comes to finding exotic ways to lose. The Texans look to be his kind of players. As for the Jets, what can you say about Mark Sanchez that has been wildly overstated in the past few days? To hear the New York media tell it, he’s Joe Namath, Boomer Esiason and the archangel Gabriel all rolled up into one beautiful cocktail of perfect quarterbacking. Mmmm. Let’s have a double. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: Once again you overlook the pivotal storyline behind a football game. The critical factor in this one is how Sanchez will cope with losing the most important competition of the year: Sexiest Man Alive. And to that Canadian cupcake Ryan Reynolds, no less.
In retrospect, Sanchez made a fatal campaign error when, in pursuit of the Sexiest Man Alive title, he underestimated American resistance to his plan to institute a mandatory three-day waiting period for purchases of all sweatshirts from Old Navy. In other news:
Pick: New York.
Green Bay (minus 3) at Minnesota
Feschuk: I spent some quality time skimming through a few Vikings fan blogs after last week’s loss to the Bears, and it was just post after post of people taking shots at Brad Childress, criticizing him for his coaching skills and sarcastically calling him a “genius.” Wait a minute – you mean people can call you that sarcastically? Maybe the ladies on the bus aren’t impressed by my Spirographs after all. Pick: Green Bay.
Reid: Forget Childress. If he was any more dead he’d have to change his name to Nick Jonas’ solo career. Favre is where the new deathwatch has set up camp. This game marks his last time vs. the Packers and what a way to go out. He’s outlived his welcome with fans, is limping around like House and is likely to be the first player in NFL history to be suspended for swinging his down low in public. Green Bay wants to put the final bullet in the Vikes’ season and Favre’s career. And they will. We haven’t seen an ending this sad since Star Trek: Generations. Pick: Green Bay.
Baltimore (minus 9.5) at Carolina
Reid: Three things that Carolina could actually beat:
a) an egg – a weak egg with no ability to throw on the run or see downfield.
b) the Alan Parsons Project – unless the competition involves breezy lyrics.
c) the blues - how? I’d start by gazing at this. See, you’re feeling better already.
Feschuk: Could this be an easier game to pick? The Carolina quarterbacking corps should be featured on a highway billboard that reads, “If You Had Us Under Contract, You’d Be Futile By Now.” The only move here is to take the favourite, take the superior team and take comfort in the fact that Ed Reed has six arms and operates using bat sonar. Pick: Baltimore.
Buffalo (plus 5.5) at Cincinnati
Feschuk: Believing that Carson Palmer will come through in the clutch is like believing Kirstie Alley will put that Sara Lee cake back in the freezer. This guy is a one-man wrecking crew against humanity’s belief in the value of statistics. Take a look at his numbers and he appears to resemble a quality QB. But watch him play and you see that his finest work comes in garbage time, long after he’s killed his team’s chances with throws so bad that the wayward ball keeps thinking to itself, “Man, I thought I’d read that JaMarcus Russell was out of this league.” Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: Ding Ding Ding!! That marked our 1,000th official Kirstie-Alley-is-Fat crack since we started writing this thing in 2007. If her heart doesn’t burst, we should be at 2,500 by the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Speaking of landmarks, if Chan Gailey loses this game, his career record as a head coach would be an even .500. With that kind of will to win, versus the team-first philosophy of TO and Ochocinco, they might as well call this the “Who Gives a Rat’s Ass Bowl.” Of course Carson Palmer sucks. He is to winners what Ringo Starr is to vocalists. But I still like them over the Bills. Pick: Cincinnati.
Atlanta (minus 3) at St. Louis
Reid: Four words no man should ever have to hear said about himself: Outduelled By Troy Smith. (Actually, the real answer is: You Don’t Screw Right. But it didn’t apply perfectly to this game.) Matt Ryan has the NFL talking about the possibility of Atlanta heading to the Super Bowl. Course, my bosom buddy Scott Feschuk called it first way back in September. Me, I’m not convinced they can get past the likes of Philly and Green Bay. But they’re surely going to beat the Rams by more than three. Pick: Atlanta.
Feschuk: The Rams are decent enough, but upsetting the a top-notch team like the Falcons – even at home – would require either a miracle, a hilarious misunderstanding involving Mr. Furley or the majority of American women accepting the word of Victoria’s Secret that this is lingerie:
Cleveland (plus 2) at Jacksonville
Feschuk: Exciting finish to that Jags/Texans game last week. Quite a reception. If I remember anything from going to confession as a youth, David Garrard just needs to do nine more Hail Marys like that to be forgiven by God for feeling up Debbie Slater in the back of my Dad’s Dodge Dart. Pick: Cleveland.
Reid: If the collective football commentariat got any more excited about Colt McCoy you’d have to squeeze Mike Ditka and Jon Gruden into the same cold shower. Imagine how that conversation might go.
Gruden: “Wow! Mike Ditka! I love that guy! I love you! The 46 D? Super Bowl Shuffle? You’re the man. [eyes dart downward ] And I mean all man!”
Ditka: “Hey partner. Keep your West Coast offence away from little linebacker, alrighty?”
Gruden: “Don’t get your moustache in a twist. Wanna wash my back though – since you’re already closest to the loofah.”
Ditka: “I’ll shove that loofah right up your Cover 2 pretty boy”
Gruden: “Touchy touchy. I’m not the one who traded the adult population of Lousiana for Ricky Williams.”
[sound of smashing tiles and grunting obesity. Ends ambiguously.]
Tampa Bay (plus 3) at San Francisco
Reid: Ok, God upon his almighty throne: Don’t think I’m not on to you. I see what you’re up to. First, you’re behind this whole creepy Cher comeback thing – talk about working in your mysterious ways. And second, you’re yanking me into thinking there’s a slim chance the Niners could rally to steal the NFC West. Two wins in a row. A schedule as soft as Jennifer Hudson’s legfat. All they’ve got to do is get past the self-professed best team in the NFC and it could be clear sailing. Still, you’re not satisfied. I’m soooo ready to snatch that apple from Eve’s hand. But no. That would be too easy. You’ve got to push me further and give the points to Tampa. My God, my God. Why hast thou forsaken me? It’s a terrible price a man pays for having faith. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: You’re looking in the wrong direction, Reid: Nothing as ugly and rank as the NFC West can possibly be God’s work. There is every chance that the division is going to be represented in the playoffs by a team that wins only eight games in the regular season. This may be Satan’s most vile and unholy undertaking since he executive produced The Marriage Ref. Pick: Tampa Bay.
Arizona (plus 7.5) at K.C.
Feschuk: True story: former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner tweeted this week that he’d accidentally turned on his car’s seat warmer and now “my butt is on fire & I have no idea how to turn it off.” This graphic display of utter cluelessness immediately propelled Warner to the top of Jerry Jones’ list of coaching candidates. Pick: K.C.
Reid: Get to water Kurt! Get to water now!
Indianapolis (plus 3) at New England
Reid: I’m getting tired of watching the two titans of this generation of football square off on the field. Manning or Brady? You can make a case either way. It’s like arguing between Betty and Veronica. Manning has pure passing statistics like none other. Veronica is rich - and puts out. Brady is a winner who becomes even greater for the great games. Betty is completely devoted – and cooks like the bejeezus. The way to resolve this once and for all is to compete their greatness in another arena. Bowling. Cribbage. My own vote: Head or Gut. Let’s settle this like men. Who can throw a shot? Who can take a shot? (My prediction: Manning folds like the skin on Rex Ryan’s throat). Pick: New England.
Feschuk: Enough stalling – the time has come to talk about the elephant in the room: Reid is terrible at picking football games. He was 4-10 last week and he’s below .500 for the year – but you know what? That’s OK, because that no one reads this column for insights into football. You read it, naturally, for insights into human nature. Sadly, Reid was 2-12 on his insights into human nature last week. Frankly, I don’t know what he was thinking when he picked Moderation (plus 11.5) on the road against Charlie Sheen. Pick: New England.
Seattle (plus 11.5) at New Orleans
Feschuk: Trying to contain Drew Brees at home with the 28th-ranked pass defence may be the only football-related challenge more onerous than figuring out what Shannon Sharpe is talking about. Pick: New Orleans.
Reid: As a Niners fan, I want Seattle to lose this game the way Todd Palin wants a goddamned break. Last night my 12 year old and I played Madden. He was the Saints and he slaughtered me. Coincidence? I think not. Pick: New Orleans.
New York Giants (plus 3) at Philadelphia
Reid: Further confirming my view that the world deserves to burn all at once, Michael Vick is now the most triumphant player in the NFL. So much for Karma. Dog killing son-of-a-Bullmastiff. About the only thing he didn’t manage to do in the first half of Philly’s match-up against the Redskins was raise the dead – Donovan McNabb remained his still-as-stone self. Even with a new $78 million five-year contract. The least deserved accomplishment since Brian Austin Greene notched Megan Fox. I expect nothing to change this week against the Giants since the Earth is doomed. Pick: Philadelphia.
Feschuk: You know what people aren’t talking about enough? Michael Vick. Those guys on sports radio – they’re only talking about him 100 per cent of the time. They should definitely step it up a bit. In fact, they should make a pledge right now that Vick’s alleged story of “redemption” is so compelling that they are going to continue to talk about him even after he retires. Generations from now, whole hours of the broadcasting day will be taken up with fascinating discussions about whether Vick’s nursing home nemesis Gladys Peabody cheated at canasta or whether the orderly was truly to blame for incorrectly placement of the bedpan. Gripping stuff. Pick: New York.
Denver (plus 9.5) at San Diego
Feschuk: Help me out here – the typical network brings, what, maybe 18 or 20 cameras to a typical NFL game. Plus the ones from NFL Films, right? If we focus them all on Josh McDaniels and Norv Turner, we should be able to knock off an entire DVD of coaching bloopers in the first half alone.
Stockings, consider yourselves stuffed. Pick: San Diego.
Reid: Norv Turner inspires ridicule and bafflement. “Look at that poor man, he’s locked himself out of his car. Wait a minute - that’s not his car.” Josh McDaniels is another kettle of fish altogether. Smug little snot. He’s like every oh-so-cool dude at University who hit on your girl even if you were standing right there. And then took her home even though she lived at your house. And then put the boots to her even though those are your boots. Not that any of this ever happened. I’m just saying. I bet it did to some poor prick who’s not nearly as self-confident and in control as me. Pick: San Diego.