Scott Feschuk Last week: 11-5 Season: 106-99-3
Scott Reid Last week: 6-10 Season: 111-94-3
Indianapolis (minus 6.5) at Jacksonville, Thursday night
Reid: I am one who always craves the chance to bear witness to history –much like Max the 2000 Year Old Mouse. So I was angry when David Tyree used his velcroed head to rob us of the chance to see the Patriots go 19-0. But now I want something even better: A clash of the undefeated in the Super Bowl. Imagine it. 18-0 Indy takes on 18-0 New Orleans. It would be the greatest of all games. The most historic of all seasons. And finally, Mercury Morris would be forced to shut his yapping hole. In other words: Don’t even think about it Jacksonville! Pick: Indianapolis.
Feschuk: I don’t know, buddy – Jacksonville always plays Indy tough. This one is going to be as close as the riveting season-long tussle between Terry Bradshaw and borderline literacy. Pick: Jacksonville.
Dallas (plus 7) at New Orleans, Saturday night
Feschuk: When Brett Favre returned to Lambeau, Fox kept a camera on him all game long – you could watch the “Favre feed” live on your computer. And you know what? It was boring. But you know what wouldn’t be? A camera that stayed focused all game long on Jerry Jones. Last week, as his team continued to be every bit as successful in December as most diets, Jones looked poised to take down Wade Phillips from the owner’s box with a blow gun. If the Cowboys lose again, he may actually spontaneously combust – the first verified case of a human doing so since it happened to me when I watched Uma Thurman remove her top in Dangerous Liaisons. Pick: Dallas.
Reid: I had precisely the same reaction (to the sight of both Jones and Uma). He was rubbing his forehead so hard, I thought his face-lift would tear off. I honestly believe that if the Cowboys put in yet another lame-ass December performance, Jones will fire Phillips. And why not? What’s to lose? You’ve got two games left. If you lose them, you would have surely lost them under the sterling leadership of Mayor McCheese anyway. And if you win, then you’re probably in the playoffs. Rumours are running that Mike Shanahan is their top candidate for next year. Screw that. Give him the job now. Pick: New Orleans.
Miami (plus 3) at Tennessee
Reid: Hand it to Chris Johnson. Pass it to Chris Johnson. Fake it to Chris Johnson. Wrap it in some tight denim and shake it at Chris Johnson – these are both game plans and things to do with your ass in Tennessee. The last time a black dude was this popular in Nashville, he was named Charley Pride. Three weeks to go and if Johnson can pick up his per game average of 125 yards each week he will top 2,000 for the season. It’s going to be crazier than the day Charley released Kiss an Angel Good Morning. Pick: Tennessee.
Feschuk: I was tempted to go with the Titans in this one, based on the fact that Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is still working Thanksgiving dinner through his system. But I think it’s time we all stop holding it against Chad Henne that he looks like Will Ferrell in a football helmet. Dude’s a player. And his team might actually make the playoffs, whereas the best the Titans can hope for is to make Jeff Fisher’s “I’ll let you touch my moustache” list. Pick: Miami.
Green Bay (plus 1) at Pittsburgh
Feschuk: It’s hard to believe Pittsburgh is effectively out of the playoffs after losing this season to Oakland, K.C., Chicago and now Cleveland. On the other hand, Mike Tomlin got mentioned on House, so it all kind of balances out. Did you catch the Steelers’ performance in the Browns game? I haven’t seen a more lackluster effort since Frankie Goes to Hollywood rhymed “supernova” with “pushover.” Pick: Green Bay.
Reid: If Green Bay loses this game, I’ll post a naked picture of myself next week. (That’s right – I’m threatening our readers: Make Green Bay win or risk falling hopelessly in love). Pick: Green Bay.
Arizona (minus 11.5) at Detroit
Reid: Arizona and Tiger Woods both have the same problem: They keep turning their balls over. (Please, hold your applause for the end. We’re trying to get through a show here). The Cards are hard to figure out. Some weeks they look like the best team in the league. The next week they look positively Millen-esque. Sadly for Detroit, they always look that way. What’s more, this week, they will be without the services of Matt Stafford and Kevin Smith (the running back, not the director of Jersey Girl although he’s also unavailable – and very regretful for his part in the whole Bennifer fiasco). If the Cardinals can’t bounce back against Detroit, they may as well pack it in and let the Niners take their place in the playoffs. Actually, I’d like that a lot. Pick: Arizona.
Feschuk: True story: To motivate his team before pivotal games, former Ravens coach Brian Billick used to play a brutally violent scene from the mob film Goodfellas. I’m not saying the Lions aren’t going to be much of a challenge, but Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt was spotted at Blockbuster yesterday renting Steel Magnolias. Pick: Arizona.
Cleveland (plus 2) at K.C.
Feschuk: Good thing the Browns had an extra few days to prepare for this one – the shocking reality of having actually won a game knocked several of the team’s starters for a loop. The “W” felt so unfamiliar to them, like a gun in the hand of a pacifist or a comb in the hair of Tim Burton. Can Cleveland build on its upset of the Steelers and win a second straight game? Sadly, we’ll never know since no one on the face of the earth hates himself enough to actually watch this game. Pick: Cleveland.
Reid: Not so fast.
San Francisco (plus 8.5) at Philadelphia
Reid: Such are in the insanely motivational ways of Mike Singletary that his team still believes they can make the playoffs. Imagine if he coached Dallas. He might be able to persuade them it’s October and the Cowboys might have a shot at winning the occasional game. The Niners defence is growing into something to be feared, like a haunted house or a Liberal Party Photoshop contest. If Alex Smith can handle Philly’s pressure and the get ball out fast, the Niners will win this game and they should win their last two against weak teams. If Arizona goes 1-3 during the same stretch (not impossible), the Niners win the division on the tiebreak. Can it happen? Listen, in a world where Genesis can be named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame even after letting Peter Gabriel go in favour of Phil Collins, anything is freakin’ possible. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: This sport just baffles me. Two weeks ago, the 49ers looked pathetic – and I’m talking Eddie Murphy, a transvestite hooker and the words “just giving her a ride home” pathetic. Then last week they single-handedly stopped me from winning $500 in a pool by crushing Arizona. So I guess the only logical conclusion to reach about the quality of the 49ers as a football team is that Mike Singletary owes me $500. Pick: Philadelphia.
New England (minus 7) at Buffalo
Feschuk: First, New England players had to pretend to stand behind their coach when he botched that fourth-and-2 call against the Colts. Then this week they had to pretend that Randy Moss is a good teammate and a hard worker. And still those halfwits at the Golden Globes snubbed them for a Best Actor nomination in favour of Morgan Freeman? Come on! At this point in his life, Morgan Freeman basically is Nelson Mandela. There’s almost no difference between the two. But pretending Randy Moss has a work ethic – now that’s acting. Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: This is not totally related but I think the dude from the Slap Chop commercials might actually be Leonardo DiCaprio. Now that guy has work ethic (not to mention all the finely diced toppings he cares to have). Pick: New England.
Atlanta (plus 6) at New York Jets
Reid: Theoretically, the Jets could still make the playoffs. Of course, theoretically, Kate Beckinsale is reading this and thinking to herself, “The only thing sexier than a man with a sense of humour is a man with a sense of humour who is fat, increasingly covered in eczema and named Scott Reid – I’m going to find that man and I’m going to bed him.” Atlanta, on the other hand, could very plausibly sweep its final three games and compete for a spot in the post-season. For the life of me I don’t understand this line. Sanchez won’t play or will play poorly. Rex Ryan is going to like the end of this season about as much as he likes leafy green vegetables. Pick: Atlanta.
Feschuk: I’m a little worried about Rex Ryan, actually. He seemed to have things under control early in the season but when we cut to him on the sidelines these days, he more often than not looks as confused as someone who just woke up married to Liza Minelli. Pick: Atlanta.
Oakland (plus 13.5) at Denver
Feschuk: There’s nothing in the Bible about God having a sister – but God must have a sister and Al Davis must have totally jerked her around, because God is some kind of pissed at Al Davis. First, Al’s starting QB somehow managed to wreck both his knees against Washington. And now, God has delivered unto Al’s Raiders a new backup quarterback in the form of… J.P. Losman, a QB with all the on-field success of JaMarcus Russell and none of the natural gifts. Pick up the phone, Al. Call God’s sister and work it out. Pick: Denver.
Reid: Calling in Losman to save your football team is a little like calling in Rachel Uchitel to save your marriage. Next season, JaMarcus Russell is entitled to a $10-million salary and a roster bonus of $5-million more. He says he won’t renegotiate. Bets on whether he’ll be there to collect that 5M? Losman may be a starting quarterback again come next September. Don’t you love a Christmas miracle? BTW, in my Bible, God has a sister. And a best friend named Scott. And he writes funny columns and many split infinitives in Maclean’s magazine. Come to think of it, didn’t you give me my Bible? And aren’t you growing a long white beard? Pick: Denver.
Chicago (plus 10) at Baltimore
Reid: This man is also named Jay Cutler. He looks very strong but I wonder if he could carry around 22 interceptions.
Feschuk: I’m not saying Lovie Smith has given up and is resigned to being fired, but here’s the full text of his pre-game speech from last week’s big game with Green Bay: “OK, fellas, I… uhhh, I think the door that takes us to the field is over here. [Dramatic pause.] No, that’s a closet.” Pick: Baltimore.
Cincinnati (plus 6.5) at San Diego
Feschuk: The Chargers have now won 16 games in a row in the month of December. There hasn’t been a December performance this impressive since Santa managed to keep straight the lists from all of Travis Henry’s illegitimate children. Pick: Cincinnati.
Reid: I’m going to try that over for you. Only this time we’ll finish it with a joke and a correct pick. “The Chargers have now won 16 games in a row in the month of December. There hasn’t been a December performance this impressive since Santa scarfed back those Cialis-spiked cookies and milk.” Pick: San Diego.
Houston (minus 10.5) at St. Louis
Reid: It’s not that I’m not interested in this game but I’ve been thinking a lot about Oral Roberts. He died earlier this week. Which is sad of course. But also mysterious. Because he claimed to not only be a faith healer but to have actually raised people from the dead. Which begs the question: How does it work? Do you bring them back to a point in their life when they were healthy? Do they de-age? Or do you just get them back breathing – which returns them only to poor health, advanced age and death’s door (unless they were in an accident – which also begs the question are they alive but still all busted up from their car crash or mountain climbing fall? Is that a merciful thing?) But however it works, what surely must be the case is that you can raise the dead because you’re alive to pull it off. Which means ironically, if you’re dead you can’t use your rare powers of resurrection on yourself. So Rev. Roberts couldn’t save himself and now, he’s not around to reanimate the Rams. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: I’m more excited about the fact we’re nearing the time when Pat Robertson has his conversation with God. Every December, Pat claims to sit down with the Almighty – FYI, God is apparently fine, keeping busy, thanks for asking – and have a wee chat about what the coming year has in store for humanity. In 2006, Pat claimed God told him a tsunami would strike the United States. That never happened. In 2007, Pat said God told him there’d be a “mass killing,” possibly nuclear in nature, in the United States. Nope. Could God be lying to Pat Robertson? Doubtful. It’s just that Pat is a busy man. You know how it is – you’ve got things to do and God just won’t stop going on about his latest smitings and where next his image will appear in a cinnamon bun or nacho chip or whatever. The mind wanders. Pick: Houston.
Tampa (plus 7) at Seattle
Feschuk: I enjoyed the recent headline in the Tampa Tribune: “Bucs rookie QB Freeman confused but confident.” A couple more games like last week and he’ll be “confused but unemployed.” I’ve got nothing more to say about this matchup, but I do have something to say about Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Whose idea was it to let Ryan Seacrest horn in on this show? Can we not have one tiny patch of the pop-culture landscape that isn’t befouled by the leering smirk and skinny jeans of Ryan Freaking Seacrest? He’s on 28 TV shows. He’s on the radio and on Twitter. And how he’s ghoulishly waiting for Dick Clark to die so that every year begins and ends with Ryan Seacrest. Screw health-care reform, Obama: Never has a better case been made for government adopting as its No. 1 priority the discovery, at any cost, of a way to make Dick Clark immortal. Pick: Seattle.
Reid: I love Ryan. He’s funny, cute and best of all he snapped it off in Brian Dunkleman. Sure, he’s up every morning putting ice on Dick Clark’s front walk. But if Byron Leftwich, Josh Johnson and Josh Freeman had a little of that killer instinct maybe Tampa wouldn’t be the Keeping Up with the Kardashians of the NFL. Pick: Tampa Bay.
Minnesota (minus 7) at Carolina, Sunday night
Reid: Falling behind Jay Cutler in the interceptions sweepstakes, Jake Delhomme has something to prove in prime time. Expect the Panthers QB to go out there and teach that picky-come-lately in Chicago a thing or two about tossing the ball to the other team. Meanwhile Brett Favre will swagger around with a big ‘I’m so cool, I piss ice cubes’ T-shirt over his jersey. The old man of the NFL is starting to sound a little cocky. Sooner or later he’ll pay for that. My guess would be right about the second round of the playoffs when it matters most. Pick: Minnesota.
Feschuk: It looks like Matt Moore will probably get the start at QB for Carolina, what with Delhomme nursing a finger injury. But at this point, who really cares? It’s like sitting through a sequel to Jury Duty where the director sees things going down the toilet and with 15 minutes to go in the movie replaces Pauly Shore with Dane Cook. Does that really qualify as an upgrade? Pick: Minnesota.
New York Giants (minus 3) at Washington, Monday night
Feschuk: Did you catch the performance of the Giants’ defence on Sunday night against the Eagles? I’m no accountant but I’m pretty sure that by halftime the entire secondary had maxed out on its charitable donations for 2009. Pick: Washington.
Reid: I can’t believe I’m betting on the Zorn (once thought to be extinct since the close of the Mesozaic Era) but I’m just not sold on the Giants offense these days. I feel the same way about the new season of Smallville. Although I freely admit I could be wrong on both counts. Pick: Washington.