Scott Feschuk Last week: 5-8 Season: 66-58-6
Scott Reid Last week: 7-6 Season: 61-63-6
Let us sum up the last couple weeks of our pigskin prognostication: Never before have two men (term used loosely) made such an awful series of decisions and not ended up in bed with Tara Reid.
Baltimore (plus 1) at Atlanta, Thursday
Feschuk: It’s the last week of byes, the first week of Thursday night games and yet another week of Ed Reed making opposition quarterbacks poop themselves. (Three interceptions in two games this year; 49 now for his career.) In other news, I was skimming through the CBC website on my daily hunt for news of a Gordon Pinsent-Rita MacNeil sex tape (where are those Canadian content laws when you need them?) when I glimpsed the following headline: “Falcons, Ravens similar yet different.” That’s some good journalisming! These two teams are exactly the same except for being completely opposite. Indeed, the only way you can tell them apart – other than by the fact they’re wholly dissimilar in their identicalness – is that one wears a goatee like evil Spock. Let’s just hope to God that none of these players come into contact with one another during this game or the universe will surely be obliterated, putting an end to existence as we know it and the headaches of my car lease. Pick: Atlanta.
Reid: Matt Ryan is 17-1 in home games. He’s also six-foot-four, Irish as Lucky Charms and has a smile that melts women’s blouses. In other words, if he loses this game he’s still got a pretty good life going. And he will lose this game. Because the two times this year the Falcons have faced off against top-tier defences, they’ve come up short. Baltimore will put the hammerlock on Roddy White and this team will be hardpressed to score a dozen points. Pick: Baltimore.
Cincinnati (plus 7) at Indianapolis
Reid: You wanna know what it feels like to be royally rogered by the fates? Consider Mike Brown. At season’s end, the Bengals’ owner will almost certainly have to pay squillions to Terrell Owens in fulfilled incentive clauses while his team still fails to make the playoffs. Unless TO suddenly falls from something high (like his ego or the bumper of Ochocinco’s Lexus) he’ll likely top 100 catches, 12 TDs and 1,500 yards receiving. Hey kids, beers are on Rosenhaus! This was a team, you’ll recall, that was labelled a pre-season Super Bowl contender (in much the same way that Kirstie Alley was labelled a pre-Look Who’s Talking Too hottie). In all honesty, why doesn’t Brown just cut him now and save the cash? He can always claim that Owens did something outrageously offensive that brought on the response. Like anyone’s going to take TO’s side. If the Colts don’t soon find a running game, they’re going to discover life gets a lot harder from here on in. I like Cinci to cover in a predictably losing effort. Pick: Cincinnati.
Feschuk: I love when you identify players, coaches and agents exclusively by their surnames, like Rosenhaus. It makes everyone in the NFL seem slightly more like Cher (not that Ochocinco needs any help). But I can’t agree with your conclusion: Sure, the Colts have more injuries than Lindsay Lohan has thigh hickeys, but they are ruthless at home and likely to run it up against a team that thinks of the 2010 season in terms of having 51 sleeps left til they can all go home. Pick: Indianapolis.
Tennessee (minus 1) at Miami
Reid: Randy Moss makes his Titans’ debut as he closes in on his goal of playing for every NFL team before Christmas. Expect him to hold a post-game newser where he breaks down in tears describing how hard it was to play against his beloved former teammates in Miami. The fact that he’s not yet played for Miami is what people in the Being F**king Nuts racket call a shortcut. The Dolphins sport their own fresh face as Chad Pennington returns to his starting role after completing the eleventy-sixth surgery on his right shoulder. It’s now made of spit and boiled macaroni. He’s still very accurate but has a somewhat limited throwing range of four yards. This may require some changes to the playbook. Pick: Tennessee.
Feschuk: I’m not saying this return to Chad Pennington has disaster written all over it, but somewhere Jeff George is sitting patiently by the phone holding an overnight bag. Pick: Tennessee.
Minnesota (minus 1) at Chicago
Feschuk: Okay, sports media, we get it: The Minnesota players don’t like Brad Childress. I believe we now have approximately 7,000 anonymous sources confirming this fact. Tell Morley Safer to climb on out of the Vikings’ locker-room laundry hamper with his Whisper 2000 – he’s been scooped. Let’s now move forward and focus on more salient issues such as whether Jay Cutler will prioritize his interceptions to members of the Vikings secondary based on height or alphabetical order. Pick: Minnesota.
Reid: I feel certain the Vikes will go on a wild winning streak now that it means Childress keeps his job. This reflects the “Get What I Don’t Want” principle that condemns the U.S. economy and every woman I’ve ever dated. Jay Cutler threw no interceptions against Buffalo last week. That means he’s got twice the quota to fill this week. These statistics don’t just look after themselves, you know. Pick: Minnesota.
Houston (plus 1.5) at Jacksonville
Reid: Way to go, Jacksonville, you bunch of freakin’ killjoys. Thanks to your dismantling of the Cowboys two weeks ago – and Green Bay following suit last week – we don’t have Wade Phillips to kick around any more. In comedy terms, losing Phillips from the NFL is like losing Frank Burns from M*A*S*H. Sure, things will continue on. But the real fun is over. How many laughs do you think we’ll get out of Jason “Winchester III” Garrett? That gag about him listening to classical music gets old pretty fast. The Jags are about to learn that not every Texas-based team is quarterbacked by a handicapped senior citizen. Still, these two are closer than they appear. If Houston can keep Jones-Drew in check, they win. If I can convince Scarlett Johansson that I’m Ryan Reynolds, I win. It’s just that easy. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: I’m so bad at forecasting the outcome of games involving the Texans that a randomly selected monkey could easily do better – and, for the record, leave behind less of a mess. Pick: Houston.
Detroit (plus 3) at Buffalo
Feschuk: The 0-8 Bills, who’ve kept it close against New England, Baltimore and K.C., just might be the best worst team in football. This would make Tampa Bay the worst best team in football, the Carolina Panthers the worst worst team in football and the Dallas Cowboys the best best team in ladies’ field hockey (junior varsity). Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: This is it! No Matt Stafford. Home game. The moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Buffalo will finally win. Henceforth, this month will be known as Chanvember. Pick: Buffalo.
St. Louis (plus 6) at San Francisco
Reid: Suddenly the Rams are more popular than Will Smith’s kids. But grab yourself by the bandwagon for a second there, Hoss! Beating Carolina is no “Whip My Hair.” The Niners are coming off two big wins in a row. First, they beat the Broncos in Wembley Stadium. Second, they made it through the bye week without being beaten by another team. That would be a given for most but after this year’s start, it ranks as one of the Niners’ finest achievements. Singletary still hasn’t decided whether to start Troy Smith, Alex Smith or Anna Nicole Smith. The fact that at least two of those people are deceased matters less in the outcome than you might guess. Trap game for the Rams. Niners are about to win their second of four consecutive games. By December they’ll be .500. Heard it hear first. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: The Rams get no respect, which makes no sense when you look at their record (4-4), their rush defence (eighth overall) and Sam Bradford’s cheekbones (dreamy). Sure, St. Louis is 0-3 on the road but right now the 49ers could barely beat a ragtag assortment of castaways, layabouts and no-good drifters (ie. the Denver Broncos). Pick: St. Louis.
New York Jets (minus 3) at Cleveland
Feschuk: The Browns say they’re “cautiously optimistic” about Colt McCoy becoming a solid franchise quarterback. That doesn’t sound overwhelmingly positive, but you have to put it in context. Here are some recent Cleveland QBs and the team’s feelings about their chances of becoming a reliable starter:
- Derek Anderson: “guardedly neutral”
- Jake Delhomme: “aggressively nauseous”
- Brady Quinn: “cautiously suicidal”
- Charlie Frye: [repeatedly stabbing selves in face with fountain pen]
- Luke McCown: “genuinely curious if we were drunk when we drafted him”
Pick: New York.
Reid: This week’s match-up features two brothers in pitched battle against one another. In recognition of this fact, Jets coach Rex Ryan conducted a news conference dressed up as his sibling Rob, who serves as the defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Incidentally, you may know Rob better by his stage name: Divine. Pick: New York.
Seattle (plus 3) at Arizona
Reid: I could tell right away last Sunday that Charlie Whitehurst looked a little scared of the Giants’ D-line.
They say that Hasselbeck might be back this weekend. Who cares? They’re hooped. Pick: Arizona.
Feschuk: Did you hear the Seahawks signed Buffalo Bills washout J.P. Losman this week? So they’ve got Losman and Whitehurst as backups at quarterback. In a related story, Seattle players immediately starting surrounding Matt Hasselbeck in layer after layer of bubble wrap. Pick: Seattle.
Carolina (plus 6.5) at Tampa Bay
Feschuk: This game hasn’t even started yet and already it’s boring me. You know what would make this matchup interesting and genuinely explosive? If Carolina just bowed out and they made it Tampa Bay vs. Michael Bay. Freeman drops back… hurls it up to Mike Williams… and it’s picked off, atomized and reconstituted as a nuclear warhead by Megatron! Plus, we could do the movie-going public a favour by getting Ronde Barber to ensure Shia LeBeouf suffers a career-ending injury. Pick: Tampa Bay.
Reid: Matt Moore is out for the season which means the team will be led by either back-up Jimmy Clausen or Lauren Tewes who played cruise director Julie McCoy on The Love Boat. Tewes is aged, mostly female and has a history of drug abuse. In Minnesota, that means you get to call your own plays. But this is Carolina and the smart money’s still on Clausen. Actually, there is no smart money in Carolina. It all left after Prince of Tides forever ruined the entire region for everyone not on the paid staff of Barbra Streisand. Pick: Tampa Bay.
Dallas (plus 14) at New York Giants
Reid: PHILLIPS, Wade Dumbfounded -– of Irving, TX left us far too unsuddenly on November 8, 2010 after a long struggle with ineptitude and advanced motionlessness. Leaves behind a confused, de-motivated group of young men and also the Dallas Cowboys football team. Renowned for his love of licking his fingers and Kool-Aid Man commercials, he will be remembered always for getting the least out of his team and the most out of others’. A quiet man who ate Easter Cream Eggs daily, Wade delighted in past times such as staring blankly, breathing with his mouth open and listening intently without comprehending. He is survived by Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones and legions of satisfied Dallas haters. Pick: New York.
Feschuk: That was touching. I’m not going to lie: I already miss Wade Phillips. I miss his patented facial expression – that look of anxiety, befuddlement and severe not-knowing-what-the-hell-to-do-nextness. Here, do me a favour, Reid: Walk to your bathroom. Look into the mirror. Now pretend you’re out in a bar and a pretty girl just said “Hi” to you. There! That’s the face! Good times, man. Good times. Pick: Dallas.
K.C. (minus 1) at Denver
Feschuk: I’m not saying Denver is impotent these days when it comes to scoring points but rival defences keep gently stroking its arm and telling it that this happens to all the offences. Pick: K.C.
Reid: I’m sure I don’t even understand the meaning of that joke. Pick: KC.
New England (plus 4.5) at Pittsburgh, Sunday night
Reid: How Eric Mangini appeared to Bill Belichick after besting his estranged mentor on the open field of pigskin battle.
Shadow Dancing, Cleveland Style! Pick: Pittsburgh.
Feschuk: I miss the old Tom Brady – the Tom Brady from a couple years ago. I miss the way he hurled the ball more than 10 yards downfield and the way his hairdo looked like it belonged on a man. 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 actually got any further than that. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia (minus 3) at Washington, Monday night
Feschuk: They should figure out a way so that all the NFC East teams make the playoffs – even Dallas, because it’s so goddamn fun to watch them lose. Is it impossible? I’ve been led to believe by countless self-help authors and Ric Ocasek nailing Paulina Porizkova that nothing is impossible. In terms of this Monday nighter, I’m impressed by the Eagles but I’m also savvy enough to sniff out a trap game – it’s a pungent and musty aroma, like the smell of a really old book or Andy Reid’s gravy-soaked moustache. Pick: Washington.
Reid: Michael Vick is the top rated passer in the league. He can beat you with his arm, his legs or any other body part that isn’t currently being massaged by Kevin Kolb. Donovan McNabb, on the other hand, has yet to receive a public endorsement from his own coach who, when last heard from, explained that his starting quarterback is dumber, slower and fatter than Rex Grossman. That’s like being called shorter, uglier and less bankable than Rob Schneider. Pick: Philadelphia.
Can’t Miss NFL Picks and Other Lies is written by Scott Reid and Scott Feschuk, who run the speechwriting and communications firm, Feschuk.Reid.
Week 10 byes: Packers, Raiders, Saints, Chargers