Scott Feschuk Last week: 10-3-3
Scott Reid Last week: 8-5-3
Pittsburgh (plus 5) at Tennessee
Feschuk: It’s overreaction Sunday! Let’s all overreact based on what we witnessed last weekend. The 49ers are terrible! Michael Vick should be a starting quarterback! Brett Favre prefers his Metamucil served with a straw! And the Titans are an unstoppable force of nature, like tornados or my hatred for that Papa John guy! I like Tennessee, and I like Chris Johnson, and I like the scent of lavender (not relevant in this context, probably) but I think this spread is too big given how well the Steelers’ D played last week. Let’s see how Vince Young handles coverage and pressure. (Prediction: three interceptions, two girlish screams.) Pick: Pittsburgh.
Reid: Overreaction Sunday! It’s right up there with Hungover Monday or Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Creep Wednesday. I share your analysis: The Steelers D looked pretty solid and I remain far from sold on Vince Young. He has all the emotional durability of Joaquin Phoenix. I say this is a gimme. Take these points, splash some lavender behind your lobes and prepare to be a winner. Pick: Pittsburgh.
K.C. (plus 2) at Cleveland
Reid: When I saw this line I assumed it had to be the work of those guys who designed the antenna for the iPhone 4. It’s that incompetent. Of course, my theory could never be correct. Steve Jobs had those guys skinned alive and fed to guard dogs. Still, someone needs to do some ‘splainin. Joan Rivers could have moved the ball better than Cleveland last week – and looked better at it. Delhomme wasted no time in making his presence felt in C-town, handing out two picks and scratching out a passer rating of 59.2. Jake, you generous bastard. You’re like an interception Santy Claus – making sure that you turn over one to every good girl and boy. All Kansas did, meanwhile was take apart what was supposed to be one of the NFL’s most finely tuned offensive machines. How dominant did the Chiefs O-line look out there? It was so shocking I thought Norv Turner might make an expression. But not ole glass eyes. He just stared straight ahead the whole night – presumably playing Sudoku in his mind. Pick: K.C.
Feschuk: Delhomme spent most of Sunday limping worse than the final season of Roseanne, which means Seneca Wallace may get the nod at QB. In terms of an upgrade, this is somewhat less than a Ryan Reynolds (to Scarlett Johansson from Alanis Morissette) but somewhat more than a Wade Phillips (to applesauce from the other applesauce that had the pull tab that always hurt his finger.) Pick: Cleveland.
Baltimore (minus 2) at Cincinnati
Feschuk: Check out Carson Palmer’s stats from last week: 34-50, 345 yards, 2 TDs. And those numbers might actually have meant something if roughly 344 of those yards hadn’t come after the Patriots iced the game in the second quarter. Here’s one instance where Vegas oddsmakers haven’t overreacted enough. A two-point spread? That’s crazier than that Tea Party lady who thinks she can win an election in America by badmouthing the national pastime: masturbation. Pick: Baltimore.
Reid: Two points? Has Gary Busey been made mayor and Lord Toothy-Ruler of Vegas? That’s cracked. Bananas. Super-nutty. More importantly, let’s get to the bottom of this masturbation thing (you’d be correct in guessing this isn’t the first time I’ve typed out that sentence at my keyboard). As I understand it, Tea Party sensation Christine O’Donnell is against masturbation and even believes it encourages homosexuality. (Well, what doesn’t really?) Look, I don’t know how they do things down there in Delaware but if a short skate on your own pond makes you gay, then I might as well change my name to Sam Ronson. Obviously, the ranks of the overtaxed and angry never let their fingers do the walking. And there’s a certain logic to the notion that a belief in big government will lead first to self-gratification and ultimately same-sex debauchery. Think about it: You can always see where Rob Ford has his hands. Pick: Baltimore.
Buffalo (plus 13) at Green Bay
Reid: Some people think this line is too large. Some people also think it matters that Megan Fox is dumb and self-entitled. I don’t agree with any of these ill-considered opionistas. I’m for Megan as long as her lips are full and beckoning (to say nothing of her flat tummy, round derrierre, exquisitely shaped chestals and…pardon me, I need a couple minutes of me time). I feel much the same way about Aaron Rodgers – or at least his ability to see down the field and exploit a secondary’s weak spots (speaking of weak spots – isn’t it time Brian Austin Green just pissed right off). The Bills are so bad that Gary Cherone has offered to join as their new lead singer. Did you see that safety last week? ’Cause millions of people betting the line in favour of Miami sure did. You could hear gamblers cheering in taverns, sports books and school yards all over North America. I’m taking Green Bay for the simple reason that I believe they will score and convert at least two touchdowns. And notwithstanding the shattering talents of CJ Spiller (14 combined yards from scrimmage?) I think 14 will be all that’s needed to cover this line. Pick: Green Bay.
Feschuk: Being a Bills fan and a masochist, I receive in my inbox each morning the Daily Buffalo Bills Buzz – a compendium of news and propaganda put out by the team. After the game vs. Miami, in which Buffalo gained nine first downs, went 3-14 on third down and rushed for a grand total of 50 yards, Bills Buzz described it as the beginning of a “new era.” Just like the one the dinosaurs experienced after the meteor hit. Pick: Green Bay.
Chicago (plus 8) at Dallas
Feschuk: That play call at the end of the first half of Dallas’s game against the Redskins was so bad that it actually made Wade Phillips look up from his milkshake. It’s not hard to imagine the Cowboys’ season unraveling in a hurry if they can’t rebound against the Bears. One disturbing note for Dallas fans: Chicago RB Matt Forte just revealed to his fiancée that his ex-girlfriend is about to have his baby, and Forte is still alive, so clearly he’s a very fast runner. Pick: Dallas.
Reid: See, now your take is interesting. Because I also noticed Wade jerking his head up from that shake. But I assumed he suddenly realized he had recently over-tipped at Jack In the Box. The Cowboys looked truly lost on offence last week. Their O-line is about as tight as Paris Hilton’s knees and when they enter the red zone Tony Romo assumes all the leadership qualities of Neville Chamberlain. I hate this team. But surely, they’re better than what we saw in Week One. If they blow this game, their latest sure-fire Super Bowl season is in real jeopardy. I expect them to come back hard. But I’m taking Chicago anyway cause…well, cause I wanna. Plus, I think it’s important that all us invertebrates show our solidarity for Forte. Pick: Chicago.
Philadelphia (minus 6) at Detroit
Reid: My favourite story of the week is how Philly says that it put clearly concussed linebacker Stewart Bradley back into Sunday’s game because no one noticed he was injured. Really? No alarm bells went off when he was hit so hard the numbers peeled from his jersey, he walked like he was half fish and answered the question ‘how many fingers am I holding up’ by saying, “I’m Vivian Leigh – and I’m beautiful”? What a disgrace. Speaking of concussions, Vick takes over the reins as starting quarterback because Kevin Kolb is also out with scrambled eggs. This marks the first start for Vick since he was sent to prison for his secret dog fighting ring. I know eveyrone wants to let bygones be bygones but I think it’s fitting as he reclaims his past glory that we pause to recall a couple of the details that he once lied to keep quiet – such as how he gave the nod to dousing a dog in water before it was electrocuted to death. I know he’ll play well and Philly will cover this spread. I suspect he’ll eclipse Kolb and be named the permanent starter by week six. And as plenty point out, he served his time and says he’s sorry. But, you know, I’m a dog lover. And speaking strictly for me (and Findley – world’s coolest Duck Toller), Michael Vick can go straight to Hell. Pick: Philadelphia.
Feschuk: That’s the ingredient we’ve been missing in this column – social commentary! We don’t just make football predictions. We make you think. You have to feel badly for the Lions, don’t you? They got boned out of a win even though Calvin Johnson made the winning catch, rolled onto his arse, started getting up, completed his income taxes and poured himself a refreshing lemonade before letting go of the ball. And now their franchise QB is injured and being replaced by Shaun Hill, who is to arm strength what John Mayer is to celibacy. Pick: Philadelphia.
Arizona (plus 6.5) at Atlanta
Feschuk: The Cardinals managed to pull one out against the Rams, but not before QB Derek Anderson misfired about 200 balls in the direction of his top receiver, Larry Fitzgerald. Over his head, into the ground, to the left of him, to the waaaaaay left of him, into a little’s boy popcorn in the third row. I’m pretty sure Fitzgerald grabbed a boom box and spent halftime pulling a Lloyd Dobler over at Kurt Warner’s house. The last time there was a falloff as severe as the one from Warner to Anderson, it involved the third part of the Godfather saga. Pick: Atlanta.
Reid: Sticking with your analogy, I’m going to call Derek Anderson “Sofia” for the rest of the season. A sadly outmatched individual, lost in the wrong job with a distracting lip curl that you just know Andy Garcia would never find attractive. It remains to be seen if the Cards QB will be shot coming out of a church but given his accuracy issues, I can’t entirely rule out the possibility. Pick: Atlanta.
Tampa Bay (plus 3.5) at Carolina
Reid: My friend Kory Teneycke stepped down as head of SUN-TV yesterday in the eye of a political and media storm. It’s a situation steeped in controversy and not many commentators have been kind to a guy who admittedly loved to live by the sword. But I feel more than a small twinge for my pal. First of all, he served as communications director in the PMO, he’s hated by scores of journalists, loathed by Danny Williams and despised by well over half of the Liberal Party of Canada. In other words, we have a lot in common. Second, although he could be terribly personal in his on-air rants, he’s an immensely entertaining and intelligent guy. Sharp as a knife – albeit the kind of knife you plunge into passersby with frequent abandon. I think he would have shaken up television news and I’m sure it would have enflamed every Liberal bone in my body. But you watch – without him, they’re going to be selling dry toast. It’s not the uninformed, self-aggrandizing ways of Charles Adler that were going to make SUN-TV work. It was Kory’s nose for controversy and sense of how to draw eyeballs. What does any of this have to do with Matt Moore or Cadillac Wiliams? Not a single thing. But who in hell cares about this game? Pick: Tampa Bay.
Feschuk: Hang on, hang on. A minute ago you were doing social commentary. Now you’re writing a lovesick paean to Stephen Harper’s former pitbull? Can we please focus on what really matters here – the fact that the Carolina Panthers’ quarterback position is… haunted! First the poltergeist claimed Jake Delhomme’s competence and confidence and scared him out of town. Now it’s haunting Matt Moore, who hurled up three interceptions before he was mercifully concussed out of the opening game. Gas up the Mystery Machine, set course for Charlotte and prepare to pull the rubber ghost mask off Old Man Fox – who was behind the hauntings the whole time! Pick: Carolina.
St. Louis (plus 3.5) at Oakland
Feschuk: My favourite storyline from Week One was five months of Raiders’ hype being trampled into tatters by a cavalcade of missed assignments and poor tackling. I especially enjoyed Jason Campbell’s fake handoff to… nobody. Al Davis was so excited before kickoff that his heart beat for the first time since 2003. Three hours later, not even the notion of haunting the dreams of kids on Elm Street could bring a smile to his face. Pick: St. Louis.
Reid: I may have been hasty in hopping on that “Tom Cable has turned the Raiders around” bandwagon. But if you’re expecting me to hop off, think again Mr. Mensa. They’re at home. Against St. Louis. And if they can cut back to granting the other team a mere 200 penalty yards, they should be able to get it done. Look for Jason Campbell to pick it up with a much better game. St. Louis is more fun to watch under Sam Bradford but they’re going to keep losing all year long – again. Pick: Oakland.
Miami (plus 5.5) at Minnesota
Reid: Many people believe the true fantasticality of the Vikes 9-point performance was obscured by the fact that it was playing such a loaded, talented New Orleans squad. Presumably these people believe that when Minnesota gets the chance to play a group of armless, unsighted dwarves, they’ll strut their true stuff. Coloured me unconvinced. Anytime Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and nine other dudes paid millions of dollars annually to play professional football manage to score one point less than Darryl Sittler did all by his lonesome in 1976, I say it’s time to hit the worry button. So why am I giving this many points to the Dolphins? As if you hadn’t noticed already, I’m a half-wit. Pick: Minnesota.
Feschuk: Miami barely managed to beat Buffalo last week, and now they have to face a team that doesn’t operate using Baby’s First Offence by Fisher-Price. Pick: Minnesota.
Houston (minus 3) at Washington
Feschuk: So we’re buying into the Texans, are we? That’s what Vegas seems to be saying with this line. And you know what? I’m with them. I’m on the bandwagon. Besides, despite their victory, the Redskins seem poised to descend into chaos even earlier than normal. Clinton Portis spent part of the week talking about lady reporters checking out the “53 packages” in the locker room, then literally taped his mouth shut. Albert Haynesworth is doing more moping than a Virginia Woolf heroine. And you can just feel that Donovan McNabb is 100% focused on finding a really creative and novel way of getting horribly injured in the next three weeks. Pick: Houston.
Reid: Damn straight! I’m going all-in on Houston. They had a bona fide ‘f–king show me what ya got’ game last week and they delivered through and through. I haven’t seen a performance that ballsy since Jimmy Johnson put the boots to that ageist snotnose Wendy. I expect Mario Williams to spend most of his day eating from Donovan McNabb’s chest cavity. Watch for a lopsided Houston win. Pick: Houston.
Seattle (plus 3.5) at Denver
Reid: To grunge, Sleepless in Seattle and the last two seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, you can now add that preening haircut called Pete Carroll to the reasons Seattle should be drowned beneath the waves of the Pacific. How does the guy look in the mirror while Reggie Bush hands back his Heisman. And did you see him bouncing around last weekend as his team stole that game from the Niners? Pathetic. Everyone knows they only won because Jimmy Kaye wasn’t getting the plays to Alex Smith quickly enough. If he was half a man, he wouldn’t even accept the win under those terms. He should forfeit it – not unlike the peach basket full of wins USC was ordered to forfeit under Carroll’s leadership. Fortunately for Seattle – they’re facing Denver who can be expected to put up all the fight of Poland in 1939. Pick: Seattle.
Feschuk: I thought it was bad enough when you revealed your torso in last week’s column – but to reveal that you watch Grey’s Anatomy? I think I’m going to put together an intervention for your eyeballs. I like that Pete Carroll fellow – he’s just like the cast of Glee, but in coach form. Don’t blame him for the fact your 49ers played last week with all the urgency of a Grandpa Simpson aside. Pick: Denver.
New England (minus 2.5) at New York Jets
Feschuk: Did you see the end of last week’s Jets/Ravens game? With the game on the line, with time running out, Mark Sanchez kept checking down and didn’t once throw the ball downfield. He couldn’t run a two-minute drill any more poorly with a sock puppet on his throwing hand. (“The running back’s open at the line of scrimmage. Get it to him, Lambchop!”) In New England, meanwhile, could someone please get Randy Moss a new contract? He keeps holding news conferences to talk about his feelings. Two more weeks of this and we’re going to be hearing about how underappreciated he felt in his role as a rooster in the second-grade production of Old MacDonald’s Farm. The smart pick here just might be the Jets to bounce back, but I’m dying to see how Rex Ryan copes with an 0-2 start. Answer: Mallomars. Pick: New England.
Reid: Rex Ryan says the fact that Darrelle “Best Cornerback in This Or Any Other Newtonian-based Universe” Revis has a bad hammy doesn’t concern him. By that measure he must be positively Skip-to-my-Lou about the fact Mark Sanchez has permanent night vision and can see only seven yards down the field. If the Jets offense looked any more pathetic, it would be cast on Sober House – right next to Jeff Conaway as he pisses himself and begs to use his cellphone. Revis called out Randy Moss this week. Don’t be surprised if Randy answers on Sunday. Welcome to the land of 0-2 Rex. How’s that for a hard knock? Pick: New England.
Jacksonville (plus 7) at San Diego
Reid: Last week’s Chargers game showcased a surprising upset and an important breakthrough in medical science. First, the Chiefs took the Jesus out of SD, winning the game with a performance so masculine it could have earned a cameo in The Expendables. Then Norv Turner helped physicians finally settle a heated clinical debate: it turns out that people in comas can hear what’s going on around them. They just don’t give a shit. Jacksonville hardly looked great last week. But so long as they stop Gates, these points will hold up. Pick: Jacksonville.
Feschuk: Are we sure Jacksonville even has a team? I never hear anyone talking about it. I never hear anyone talking about any player on that alleged “team.” And I’m pretty sure I just saw Jack Del Rio wearing a sandwich board and a clown suit outside the Leon’s near the highway. Even with Turner at the helm, I’m confident the Chargers can cover against the vague idea of a football team. Pick: San Diego.
New York Giants (plus 5.5) at Indianapolis
Reid: Battle of the Mannings – the two least charismatic brothers since Venus and Serena Williams. But don’t make the mistake of thinking Eli and Peyton are mere clones of one another. Herewith, the three significant things that distinguish these two gormless football superstars from one another:
– One of them digs girls.
– Eli drives an Impala. Peyton grinds the gears on a Lucerne.
– Eli’s for Phantom. Peyton is Les Miz all the way.
Feschuk: I’ve come around to Peyton Manning and his laser rocket arm. He appears to have a sense of humour, unlike 99% of other pro athletes and 215% of other Mannings. Plus he managed to throw 57 passes in the season opener without his shoulder falling off. Impressive. Pick: Indianapolis.
New Orleans (minus 5.5) at San Francisco, Monday night
Feschuk: All the hype about your team, Reid. All the predictions that the 49ers would waltz to the division title. All the stories about the motivational genius of Mike Singletary. And then they get pasted by a team coached by Pete Carroll. That’s got to hurt more than posting that shirtless photo last week and having its rights snapped up by the men’s magazine Soft ’n Pasty. Pick: New Orleans.
Reid: As we have come to clearly understand, the Niners easily won last week’s game but for a small bit of very correctable confusion on the sideline. Here’s what happened. Offensive Coordinator Jimmy Raye is upstairs in the booth. Typically, he calls the plays and sends them down via headset to his longtime assistant who then relays them to QB Alex Smith who then executes them without blemish. But last week Raye was calling them into QB coach Mike Johnson. And – here’s the funny part – it seems that Raye doesn’t actually know the proper names of all the plays and makes up his own terminology mid-game. Also, he’s very excitable and sometimes slurs his words during stressful points in the game, like when your offense is on the field. Finally, he is quite slow. In the past, it seems his old assistant was adept at translating Raye’s incorrect plays and incomprehensible English but Johnson, the slacker, was left a little bit bewildered. Bing Bang Boom. Next thing you know you’ve got confusion and a loss to Pete Carroll and his wavy hair. So, no fear. They’ve given Johnson a wristband that helpfully lists the names of the plays for the man who created them in the first place and, naturally, the Niners will now power to victory over the best team in football and the defending Super Bowl champions. Also, Singletary says the team member who revealed this story to Yahoo Sports is a rat and a coward. He intends to identify that person and snap his bones like dry firewood. So, as you can see, Niner fans like myself have nothing to worry about. This is a team that clearly has its shit together. Pick: New Orleans.