Scott Feschuk Last week: 8-6 Season: 39-37
Scott Reid Last week: 8-6 Season: 44-32
Ah, week six of the NFL season – the pivotal 35.294% mark of the long gridiron campaign. The cream is rising to the top. The wheat is being separated from the chaff. And the “inspirational” bulletin board material in the Rams locker room consists of brochures for January cruises.
K.C. (plus 6.5) at Washington
Feschuk: Over the last four weeks, the Redskins have played the Rams, Lions, Bucs and Panthers (aka the Four Horsemen of the Spazocalypse). Combined, those teams have a record of 2-17. Against which team did both those wins come? Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Washington Redskins! Running back Rock Cartwright (I believe he graduated from Bedrock U) put it this way after losing to Carolina: “You can’t cry over spoiled milk.” Yes, Redskins fans, it’s gotten this bad: your team can’t even succeed in executing the fundamentals of sports clichés. Pick: K.C.
Reid: This was all so predictable. Not only could Zorn not defeat Kirk, he just stood by and watched him create gunpowder. How then, I ask you, was it ever reasonable to assume he could lead a football team in the warm-blooded NFL? Matt Cassel is beginning to play like he’s not suffering from shingles. He’s a public health miracle. And he’s going to pound the Skins. Pick: K.C.
Houston (plus 5) at Cincinnati
Reid: In a world where Archie has decided to marry Veronica instead of Betty, I guess it’s not so hard to believe the Bengals are sitting atop the AFC North ahead of Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Bengals have proven themselves to be clutch all season long, winning tough games and pulling out late victories – like last week’s shocker over the Ravens (although I did predict the result). It’s taken a while but people are now convinced they’re the real deal. Enter Houston – or as I like to call them, Reggie Mantle, a mercurial team that sometimes acts like your friend and sometimes slips over to the Lodge estate to shag Veronica behind your back. The Texans are only 2-3 but they’re more talented than they look. Schaub’s numbers are actually better than Palmer’s so far this year. And Andre Johnson is a beast –unstoppable, like Big Ethel when she gets a whiff of Jughead in her nostrils. For all you Betty Cooper fans, get ready to cheer. Cincy’s going to lose this weekend. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: See, there’s your problem – you don’t pay sufficient attention to the critical details that will truly affect the outcome of the game. For instance, the Texans aren’t more talented than they look. And Archie actually ended up marrying Betty, not Veronica. You haven’t looked this foolish since you tried to put the moves on Midge at the jukebox when Moose was right behind you the whole time! Pick: Cincinnati.
Buffalo (plus 9.5) at New York Jets
Feschuk: Last week, the Bills lost to a Browns team whose quarterback threw two (2) (TWO!!!!) completions the entire game, passing for a grand total of 23 yards and a quarterback rating of 15.1. That’s the equivalent of trying to pick up a chick in a bar and losing out to a maraschino cherry. Buffalo’s got injuries everywhere and incompetence everywhere else. I look at those ads for the Bills’ Toronto game – the ones with a giant Trent Edwards looming over the cityscape – and I can’t help but think he’s going to stumble over the Rogers Centre and have his errant pass picked off by First Canadian Place. Pick: Jets.
Reid: Watching the Bills lose to a quarterback who couldn’t pass a kidney stone, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing. Then it struck me: Scott Norwood! That’s who was missing! Let’s face it. In the public library of the Bills’ most humiliating defeats, last weekend is an instant classic. A Twain. A Garcia Marquez. A Lee (Stan or Harper). You toss in Norwood, and you would have been into the rarefied critical and popular success of a Rowling. To say the least, the Jets will cover. Pick: New York.
Cleveland (plus 14) at Pittsburgh
Reid: Rumours in Cleveland this week have the team trading Brady Quinn. Barely-a-Man-gini has come out and denied those reports but frankly, why wouldn’t they? After all, when you’ve got a guy like Derek Anderson, who needs anything more? He’s not a quarterback. He’s a freaking wizard. Dude throws two completions, one interception, notches a QB rating of 15.1 and still wins the game. It’s like magic – incompetent magic. But still magic. As long as Cleveland figures out a way to play against Buffalo each week, Anderson is set to keep winning. You’re finished Quinn. Pick: Cleveland.
Feschuk: Actually, someone has found a way for Cleveland to play Buffalo every week. It’s the Devil, and he’ll be replaying last week’s Bills-Browns game in Hell every Sunday afternoon from now until the end of eternity. All the incompletions! All the incompetence! All the cutaways to Eric Mangini looking as clueless as Ted Baxter. All the tedium, time and time again until time itself ends. Screw you, Hitler – you’re getting yours now, douchebag. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Carolina (minus 3.5) at Tampa Bay
Feschuk: Bucs coach Raheem Morris had tried babying his team. He’s tried building a rapport based on respect. He’s only got one option left to try in this week’s pre-game speech: “OK, boys, gather round. Now before we go out there I’m going to put the names of all you fellas into this here hat. Now I’m going to pull one name out of the hat, and put in right here in my pocket. If we go out there and lose again, I’m gonna shoot that guy. Most likely in the leg, but we’ll see. Am I joking? Who knows. Probably best to win and not have to find out.” Pick: Carolina.
Reid: I think that’s a terrible idea. Ridiculous. I can’t believe you would suggest such a thing. I mean, come on: Why wouldn’t he shoot them all? Pick: Carolina.
Baltimore (plus 3) at Minnesota
Reid: Ray Lewis killed a guy once (more or less – the details remain murky and people don’t like to talk about it anymore. Kind of like Dion’s time as Liberal Leader). Then, last week, Lewis tried to remove Ochocinco’s head from his body (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for – but it was wrong). That helped the Bengals snag a huge penalty and complete their comeback win. My point is this: Ray Lewis is a killer and, tragically, it’s starting to hurt the regular people who like to bet on football. Baltimore now needs to avoid a third consecutive loss. Minnesota has a chance to graphically cement its status as a powerhouse Super Bowl contender. My life philosophy is that you can’t bet against an unbeaten team at home, particularly with such a small spread. (Actually, my life philosophy involves lying, liquor and leaving before her Dad gets his mitts on you). Pick: Minnesota.
Feschuk: Minnesota has a chance to graphically cement its status as a powerhouse Super Bowl contender. God, you’re adorable. Where are you getting this dead-serious prognostic talk all of a sudden? Are you conducting séances with Jimmy the Greek? If so, can you conference me in? I want to ask if he ever nailed Phyllis George. (I’d also like a follow-up: same question, but about Irv Cross.) Pick: Minnesota.
Philadelphia (minus 14) at Oakland
Feschuk: Over the years, the Raiders have been defined by slogans such as “Pride and Poise” and “Commitment to Excellence.” They’re now defined by an inability to execute certain niche aspects of the game of football, such as the forward pass and that thing where you kinda grab the other guy and try to make him fall down… oh, what the hell’s it called… tackling! A serious question – as a Raiders ticket holder, at what point do you wake up on game day and think to yourself, “You know what? Maybe today I’m just not going to go to the trouble of slipping into the whole Darth Vadery, Road Warrior-type get-up, with the face paint and the shoulder spikes and the nipple rings and, I don’t know, is there a penis holster? There’s probably a penis holster.” Anyway, what’s the point of getting all dolled up when the Black Hole is about as menacing and intimidating as an Olive Garden. I’ll tell you this much: if Al Davis were still alive, he’d never stand for this bullshit. Pick: Philadelphia.
Reid: “Penis holster” brings back such a flood of bad memories. Thank God our days in politics are over. To my mind, there’s not really a line too large to discourage me from taking Philly. It would have to be 50 points plus someone comes to your house and breaks your “penis holster” (as though mine doesn’t crack everytime I put it on). Pick: Philly.
St. Louis (plus 10) at Jacksonville
Reid: Jacksonville, you fickle lover, you. Some weeks you win. Some weeks you lose. Some weeks Garrard plays well. Some weeks he rolls around like Paris Hilton at a hockey tournament. One thing we can say with certainty is that St. Louis stinks like Rush Limbaugh’s seat cushion. Will they win a game this year? Hard to imagine right now. But sooner or later, they’ve got to beat a double-digit spread. Pick: St. Louis.
Feschuk: Did you hear what Rams DE Chris Long said Wednesday? He said this game is “no different than any other week. We’re trying to get that win, just the same as if we were 5-0.” Yeah, just the same, except entirely different – from the desperation on the field to the lower class of groupie awaiting them at the team hotel. A couple more losses and the only ladies showing any interest will answer to the adjective “denture-wearing” or the surname “Tequila.” Pick: St. Louis.
Arizona (plus 3) at Seattle
Feschuk: Big week for me last week – I actually picked a Seahawks game right. That doesn’t happen too often. I’m not sure exactly what it is about Seattle and why I have such trouble prognosticatin’ them. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Or maybe it has something to do with me choking that old gypsy woman and then suddenly she hisses, “A curse be upon you!” Pick: Seattle.
Reid: That wasn’t a gypsy woman. That was Jon Kitna. It seems to me that looking at last week’s game the Seahawks gain something of an advantage with Hasselbeck as QB. More or less comparable to the advantage early man gained when he created the wheel. Arizona remains an enigma wrapped in an improbable Super Bowl run wrapped in a nearly ancient quarterback. This is a divisional game that matters. I’m going on basis of home field and Hasselbeck’s return performance. Pick: Seattle.
New York Giants (plus 3) at New Orleans
Reid: Not since Robert Conrad challenged Gabe Kaplan to a footrace to decide the Battle of the Network Stars tiebreaker has there been such a highly anticipated athletic clash. Brees and the high-scoring Saints meet Manning and the workmanlike Giants. An interesting sidebar to this game will be the presence of Jeremy ‘I thought/wished you had died’ Shockey going up against his old teammates. It’s pretty clear that Shockey did more for New York by leaving than he’s done for New Orleans by coming. Although, in the end, Mr. Kot-tair kicked James West’s ass. That obviously works to Brees’ benefit. Pick: New Orleans.
Feschuk: Wait… what? Are you saying the Saints are Gabe Kaplan in this scenario? No way. New Orleans is the broad-shouldered, chiseled-chin offence daring its rivals to knock the Eveready battery off its shoulder. New York is the scrawny, unassuming dude with the white-man afro and the bookishly hot wife. And when these two football teams round the final turn in this race that I worry no longer holds together as a metaphor, take Juan Epstein’s mother’s word for it: it will be the Gabe Kaplan Giants blowing pass a winded New Orleans Conrads. Pick: New York.
Chicago (plus 3) at Atlanta
Reid: Last week Matt Ryan slaughtered my Niners in the same way Anakin took out the younglings in the Jedi Temple. It was bloody and merciless. I’m not saying the same thing is set to happen to Chicago but can it be a coincidence that Jay Cutler’s CB handle is “Count Dooku”? This game is a step-up test for Cutler and for the Bears defence. Atlanta has been a mixed bag this season. If Chicago can’t beat them, then they are not for real. Pick: Atlanta.
Feschuk: I was going to listen to you, but then I remembered that you’re the guy who once put the words “Joey Harrington” and “this will be his year” in the same sentence. Pick: Chicago.
Tennessee (plus 9.5) at New England
Feschuk: Wow. Tennessee is 0-5 and I think we’re all walking around a little stunned and disappointed, like all the plastic surgeons who didn’t get picked to feel up Tyra Banks on her talk show and certify that her bosom is authentic. I spent some time on the Titans website searching for some good news, any good news, and eventually came across the team’s Cheerleader blog, on which Julia reflected on a hard off-season of training that included “etiquette classes [and] skin care 101.” I’m thinking the Titans themselves may have accidentally followed the same regimen, judging from their defence’s terrible play and Kerry Collins’ immaculate pores. (By the way, the Titans insists on referring to their cheerleaders not as “cheerleaders” but as “professional cheerleaders.” They’ll thank you not to overlook their four years at the University of Pelvis Grind at Crotchville.) Pick: Tennessee.
Reid: It’s nice to know that the cheerleaders are professionals. Too bad the offensive line can’t make the same claim. Things are so bad that some people are asking for Vince Young to be named starter. But those people tend to live in Vince Young’s locker, stand four inches high, have squeaky fairy voices and they like to be called “The Tinies.” It’s hard to see Tennessee winning this game. But lately New England’s opponents find a way. Spread is waaaay too large. Like Julia’s back end. Pick: Tennessee
Detroit (plus 13.5) at Green Bay
Reid: In London, Amy Winehouse was rushed to hospital after complaining her recently operated-upon breasts hurt so badly they felt like they were on fire. In an unrelated story, Green Bay’s offensive line burst into flame. Each time Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass you can hear the sound of sadists scrunching up to get closer to the TV screen. It’s like a sports movie by David Cronenberg. Over in D-Town talk is that Matt Stafford has begun to take snaps. Oh boy! By all means, rush him back immediately and risk a more lasting injury so that he can help the Lions lose by a lot, instead of a really big lot. Pick: Detroit.
Feschuk: As a man, I wasn’t sure there was any way that anyone could ever mention breasts in a way that I’d define as a turn-off. But kudos – putting them alongside “Amy Winehouse” and “operated-upon” did the trick. The Lions are in tough against a team that is superior on paper, not to mention grass, Astroturf and lighted disco floors. Sure, Daunte Culpepper fumbled three times last week but he also got harried, pestered, chased, hunted and, in the end, sacked seven times. Seven times! Dude, two words of advice: Isotoner gloves. Pick: Green Bay.
Denver (plus 4) at San Diego, Monday night
Feschuk: Even though Jon Gruden is surprising prone to hyperbole, and surprisingly reluctant to dish out criticism (probably because he knows he’ll be coaching the Redskins in a matter of weeks), I think this year’s ESPN broadcast team is pretty decent. But if you’re like me, you probably wonder what has become of the old ESPN crew. I tracked them down at their new gig – doing play-by-play at an industrial office park in Tacoma:
Mike Patrick: Johnson, opens the cabinet, grabs the new toner cartridge, walks briskly over to the copier – oh, and he makes the switch! What a move!
Paul Maguire: You wanna talk about agility? You wanna talk about determination? This guy is unbelievable!
Joe Theismann: We had dinner last night with Walt Johnson. He told us that one of his jobs is changing the toner in the copier. And let there be no doubt: The toner in that copier has been changed.
Patrick: I haven’t seen execution like that since Jenkins in Wichita in ’74!
Maguire: Watch the replay: Watch, watch. Right… HERE! Old one out, new one in. I gotta tell you: This kid knows a thing or two about toner.
Theismann: We had dessert and a few cocktails last night at the home of Walt’s boss, Miriam Flint. And she asked us how the hell we got into her kitchen…
Reid: I feel badly for all the fans of the Office Supplies Network. Like me, I’m sure they hoped they’d seen the last of Joe Theismann. Frankly, if you want quality colour commentary for that kind of thing, you’ve got to go to Dan Dierdorf. Just last week he was busting on this dude trying to find typewriter ribbon. It was fan-freaking-tastic. He was hysterical. “Typewriter ribbon? Who still uses that stuff? Where did you come from – 1981?” He also tossed out some very exciting analysis of what it takes to be a great daytimer. (Hint: Don’t go small with the tiny weekends. Who doesn’t have to schedule their weekends these days?) Pick: Denver.