San Diego (plus 1.5) at New York Jets
Scott Feschuk: Okay, sure, Rex Ryan probably did the right thing on Tuesday when he benched Mark Sanchez. And he certainly did the right thing on Wednesday when he petitioned the court for a restraining order that forces Tim Tebow to keep 50 yards away from oblong objects. Still, I can’t help but wonder: Sanchez had been getting worse every week, culminating with a performance on Monday Night Football that left people across North America thinking to themselves, “If this man gets the ball for just one more series, he’s going to find a way to swallow it.” How bad was Sanchez’s performance? Let’s use the power of comparison. Let’s say Sanchez was a Subway employee (I know it’s asking you to gaze at least seven months into the future, but stick with me): if he were a Subway employee, and he performed as poorly as he did on Monday night, the result would be a loaf of Italian herbs and cheese filled with sawdust, mucus and three slices of human sadness. Would you like that toasted, sir? Anyway, my point is this: aren’t you a little bit curious about what would have happened this week? How would Mark Sanchez have one-upped (or, rather, one-downed) his five-turnover performance against one of the league’s worst teams? Would he have thrown the ball underhanded? Would he have found a way to fumble into his own butt? Would he have finally managed to pass the football so poorly that gravity itself refused to have anything to do with it and the ball floated off into space? Now we’ll never know. Pick: San Diego.
Scott Reid: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a video is worth just two: “F**k” and “You.”
Pick: San Diego.
Washington (minus 4.5) at Philadelphia
Reid: Reports out of Philadelphia suggest that Eagles team owner Jeff Lurie has already decided to fire Andy Reid at season’s end. There are no reports yet that he plans to padlock the rest of the team in an old barn in much the same way Hershel locked away all those zombies in season two. But I’ve decided to seed the idea. And for the record, I sincerely think it will happen. All of this raises the question: What comes next for Andy Reid? Many NFL observers expect the veteran coach and Quarterback Whisperer to be picked up quickly – possibly by Dallas, San Diego or a lonely-for-love manatee.
But what if Andy feels he needs a bit of a break from coaching? Ever wonder what else might be out there for him? Well, worry not. The intrepid job-search staff here at NFL Picks (all of whom are required by company policy to be named Scott) have already identified Reid’s top three most promising career alternatives:
3. Assume Wilford Brimley’s Identity
2. Batman Utility Belt Tester
1. Just Go Completely Gay
Feschuk: I admit it: I’ll be a little sad when Andy Reid gets the axe. Over the years he’s given us soooo much: terrible decisions, atrocious clock management, confused expressions, shirts that look like Jackson Pollock paintings but with gravy. It’ll be sad to see his role reduced to nothing more than a protected moustache habitat for the black capped chickadee. Pick: Washington.
New England (minus 14.5) at Jacksonville
Feschuk: Are you like me? Did you watch the big Sunday nighter between the Patriots and the 49ers? Were you moved by the tribute to the victims of the school shooting in Connecticut? And did you, during this emotional moment of silence, catch the cutaway shot in which Tom Brady was seen to place his index finger alongside a nostril and blow? Because nothing says “sober reflection” quite like an 85-mph snot missile. THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, NEWTOWN. Brady is a terrific player but there are things about him I just don’t get and never will: The haircuts. The fancy-boy photo shoots. And you know the football game and the pre-game tribute are on TV and everything, right? TV IS THE ONE WITH THE CAMERAS THAT SHOW PEOPLE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. But there’s more: I don’t know if you’ve ever been stuck in a car for Monday night football, but Tom Brady does this thing where he phones into the national radio broadcast both before the game and at halftime – just to chat with that sycophantic knob, Jim Gray. Gray asks stupid questions. Brady gives boring, inoffensive answers. And listeners wonder to themselves: Doesn’t this guy have better things to do on a Monday night than sit in his man cave and answer Jim Gray’s phone call? Tom, you have a scantily clad wife and a big pile of money. DO I HAVE TO DRAW YOU A DIAGRAM? Because I will. Here it is:
Pick: New England.
Reid: Maurice Jones-Drew began the year by holding out for a new contract that he did not receive. He then gained a mere 414 yards in seven games before injuring his foot and remaining inactive for the balance of the season. His quarterback is Blaine Gabbert – although the team covets Tim Tebow – and he has a hair lip (I may have made up that last thing – remember when it was considered appropriate to make hair lip jokes? Whatever happened to that whole movement?). My point is this: His life sucks as much as Tom Brady’s rules. And yet, Tom Brady would have you believe the world is ripping him off if he doesn’t win a fourth Super Bowl ring. Sorry Tom. As San Fran exposed last week, you’re donezies. Pick: Jacksonville.
Minnesota (plus 7.5) at Houston
Reid: After another monster ground game against St. Louis last week, Adrian Peterson needs only 294 yards in two games to break Eric Dickerson’s all-time single season rushing record. This is all the more remarkable because only last year images of Peterson’s injured knee suggested total devastation:
Moreover, the Vikings back has drawn near this mark during a pass-first era and without the benefit of Dickerson’s colour-coordinated underwater goggles.
I know I’m a buzzkill but I’m going to say Peterson doesn’t even make the 2,000-yard mark. Houston is at home, has a monster D-line and feels it is still disrespected by the league – even after crushing on Indy last week. And then it’s Green Bay who will be playing for a post-season bye. I think Peterson’s got two weeks of running backwards ahead of him. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: I can’t help but notice that as we get further into the season, your picks feature more and more football information and an increasingly serious perspective on matters – as though you think you’re Irv Cross or something.
Well, you’re not Irv Cross, okay? We can tell you’re not Irv Cross because Phyllis George doesn’t look at you with white-hot lust in her eyes and beads of desire sweat forming on the nape of her neck. And Jimmy the Greek doesn’t call you “boy.” Pick: Minnesota.
Buffalo (plus 4.5) at Miami
Feschuk: I’m not saying the Bills quit during their 50-17 beatdown at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks but Mario Williams sure woke up from his third-quarter nap with some hilarious pillow marks on his face. I’ve been a Buffalo fan since I was a boy but this franchise sure doesn’t make it easy. Terrible draft picks. Terribler free-agent signings. A league-leading 13-year streak of missing the playoffs. And once again the team refused to put its logoed thong on sale for the holidays. Now what I am going to give my kids’ teachers? Thanks for nothing, Ralph Wilson.
Reid: How bad were the Bills? Is there anything positive at all that can be taken from their performance in Toronto. Umm, well. They weren’t quite as disgusting as Bradley Cooper going on Ellen to reveal he has a third nipple.
Cleveland (plus 13) at Denver
Reid: If the Browns let rookie second-stringer Kirk Cousins have 329 yards through the air in Cleveland, what’s the over/under for the mark Peyton Manning can achieve at home in Mile High? 400? 1200? Splendity-thousandhundred? Perhaps this is the actual cataclysmic event that the ancient Mayans foresaw 144,000 days ago. Sure, scientists scoff at the prospect that doomsday is approaching but let me ask you two simple questions: First, have you ever met a Mayan? (Answer: No – because they were all diced after the last turn of the baktun). Second, if the Cleveland corners aren’t a sign of apocalypse what exactly would qualify in your judgment? Goodbye cruel world. I, for one, will not miss you or the Peyton Manning Papa John’s commercials. Pick: Cleveland.
Feschuk: The Christmas/Chanukah concert at my kids’ school was two and a half hours long and although it was pretty great it did give me time to think about a few things – such as the fiscal cliff negotiations, the fragility of this mortal realm, my favourite Pop Tart flavours, the U.S. Civil War, the lyrics to Thunder Road, alchemy, deforestation, scalloped potatoes, the colour yellow (kinda garish), Soviet hegemony in the 20th century, all breeds of dogs assembled mentally in alphabetical order and also by adorability, Jerry Lewis, the artistic eloquence of talented needlepointers, every waking minute I’ve spent upon this earth, and the circumstances under which I would go to see that new Les Miz movie. Which brings me to my point: There are no circumstances under which I would go to see that new Les Miz movie. Pick: Denver.
New York Giants (minus 2.5) at Baltimore
Feschuk: Remember the old Tom Coughlin? The really mean one? Can you imagine how he would have responded to his team getting trounced 34-0 in a pivotal game? First of all, one of eyes would definitely have exploded out of his face. There’s no doubt about that. It would have exploded out of his face and he wouldn’t even have bothered to retrieve it. He’d be like, “I don’t need that eyeball because if I had that eyeball then I’d just have to see TWICE AS MUCH OF YOU GUYS SUCKING!!” Then, he probably would have thrown someone into a volcano. Maybe not a player – he’d pick one of the equipment guys or something, just to make a point. Oh, how the screams would echo. Anyway, from all accounts the New, Mellow Tom Coughlin didn’t do any of that. Instead, he basically just stood there in the locker room for 20 minutes making Disappointed Old Guy sounds: “Hrrrrmuph ggrruumpph bah hmmmmhammm,” and so on. He didn’t seem all that pissed off about the loss. Word is no one even got spanked. It’s all very disappointing. Pick: New York.
Reid: Are you up to date on this whole Instagram controversy? It turns out that the photo-sharing and social networking site that used to be awesome until it was bought by Facebook announced plans to take any and every one’s photos and use them in any way they see fit – including selling them to interested advertisers. This has outraged users and led to an epidemic of cancelled accounts. Among those angry with the notion that his private pics might be pirated by for-profit barbarians? Tom Coughlin. Fortunately, before he shut down his account, I was able to grab a few screenshots of his most personal moments for the potential use of corporate America.
San Francisco (minus 1) at Seattle
Reid: Before proceeding to this week’s game, allow me to post my very favourite picture of the week.
Not to be confused with my very favourite picture of ANY week:
What Kaep and San Francisco did Sunday night to Tom Brady and the Patriots – in Foxboro, in the rain, in prime time, in my wildest dreams – was a pure delight to witness. Sure, Brady brought them back and gave me a mini-stroke or so (who needs the power of speech – I communicate by drool already) but the Niners held tough and pulled out the W. It was a magnificent, statement win that just begs for a sequel in New Orleans. However, they must first get past the Seahawks at home and their magnificently tiny QB Russell Wilson – who shred the Bills like pulled pork in Toronto last Sunday. At this juncture I should say that my season-long slagging of Russell Wilson as a poor man’s Michael Bishop may – just may – have been misplaced. In particular, I want to concede to life-long Seahawks sufferer and (consequently) occasional Oxy addict Jack Bensimon that I was wrong to compare Wilson to Smurfette. It would appear the kid has the real stuff. That said, I believe the Niners are on a mission to secure the first-week bye. And, like anyone decent, they’re determined to shove it right up Pete Carroll’s ass. I’m taking the Niners by ten. I don’t care how good Seattle’s been at home. Pick: San Francisco. P.S. Yes, Akers has me in cold sweats.
Feschuk: At this time of year, everyone debates the worst Christmas/holiday song of all time. (Some people say it is Wonderful Christmastime. These people are correct.) But for a more interesting debate, I invite you to ponder: Which Christmas carol makes the least sense? I’m keeping an open mind but, for me, the leader in the clubhouse is Frosty the Snowman. That song is stupid. So we’re supposed to believe some kids put a musty old hat atop a snowman, the thing comes to life and… the children are immediately fine with that? They’re psyched? Where’s the line about them all wetting themselves from shock and fear? But here’s my real quibble with the song. Let’s say the kids do bring Frosty to life and do have a good ol’ time playing with him and whatnot. Is there any chance – ANY chance – that they’d just stand there and happily wave as he thumpety-thumps off into the distance over the hills of snow? Let’s be honest: they’d be like, “Nice try, Frosty – but we’re going to need the hat. It’s a long winter and we’ve got all kinds of inanimate shit we can now bring to life and chase through the downtown core. Tomorrow let’s put it on my Dad’s lawnmower!” They’d rip that magical hat off Frosty’s head and leave him to melt right in the middle of the street. We all know this is true. Kids are the worst. Pick: Seattle.
Twitter: @scottfeschuk @_scottreid