Last week: 6-10
Last week: 5-11
SF: OK, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room (technically, he’s not an elephant – he’s our bookie’s muscle and his name is Zeke; with him is “Ronnie,” his baseball bat): We were some awesome kind of lousy last week. We had a worse Sunday than Tom Brady’s ACL and Marvin Lewis’s will to live. I’m not saying we couldn’t pick our nose, but it’s been five days and I still can’t get my pickin’ finger out of my eye. I guess what I’m saying is: we keep showing this level of incompetence and we’re going to get drafted to run Harper’s campaign. First strategic decision: Lose the sweater, prime minister. And the undershirt. Now here are your talking points and your halter top…
SR: No one’s ever expected perfection from us. And we keep proving them right. But frankly, it wasn’t our fault. First of all, it was Week One of the season – very unpredictable. Second, there were a lot of injuries. For instance, my gimp knee was sore the whole time I made my picks and wasn’t your eczema flaring up again? And third, it was all the work of the web designer (that’s for all the losers like us who are following this election WAY too closely). As for Stephen Harper’s sweater, if he expects to get my vote, he’ll have to switch to Angora and start calling me sailor.
Now, on to the Week 2 futility…
Green Bay (minus 3) at Detroit
SF: I have to admit – I didn’t see this coming. Usually the Lions like to tease us a little, expose their incompetence bit by bit over the course over several games, before fully flashing the naked truth of their awfulness. They’re kind of like a stripper that way – a really terrible, ugly stripper. But last week they decided to peel it all off even before the first chorus of Pour Some Sugar on Me. Detroit lost to Atlanta – as in: Atlanta – and managed to give up approximately 3,000 yards rushing in the process. The local papers responded by declaring “Lions’ season is already over” while Matt Millen responded by declaring [sounds of girlish weeping…]. Pick: Green Bay.
SR: First of all, there’s no such thing as a terrible stripper. We’re all God’s children when the coloured lights come on. Second, if you’re going to start predicting Matt Millen’s demise, I’m going to have to drive over your crystal ball with Charles Rogers’ Lamborghini. Millen is obviously untouchable. He must have photos of William Clay Ford Sr. performing truly degenerate acts. Like applauding the decision to draft Joey Harrington. There’s some thought that the Lions could win this matchup if they can keep control of the ball. And by that, I mean, they would have to keep the ball the whole game and Green Bay can never touch it. Pick: Green Bay
Oakland (plus 3.5) at K.C.
SR: The most interesting thing about this game will be the Colombo re-run that will be airing simultaneously on SunTV. I hope it’s the one where William Shatner wears an ascot and speaks with a stage accent. Rockin! ‘Uhhh, just one more thing Coach Kiffin. Your secondary blows.’ Picking a team led by Damon Huard to win anything other than a game of ‘aren’t you missing a consonant’ seems dodgy. But Oakland looked dreadful last week. And Peter Falk always says take the Chiefs at home. Pick: K.C.
SF: Word is Herm Edwards is going to do some “coachin’” down Kansas City way this weekend. Got a plan to maybe debut a two-QB system while Brodie Croyle is injured. The other pivot would be Tyler Thigpen, who has thrown six whole passes in his NFL career. I’m not saying this has disaster written all over it, but somewhere Jeff George is sitting patiently by the phone holding his cleats and an overnight bag. Pick: Oakland.
Chicago (plus 3) at Carolina
SF: Kudos to any and all who possessed the wherewithal and insight to predict that the Chicago Bears would school the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. Quick favour: could you use your mighty powers to tell me whether it’s going to be splittsville for Sam Ronson and Lindsay Lohan? (I’m asking for a friend.) Pick: Carolina.
SR: Don’t get me going on that foolish, experimental lesbian thing. At least not unless you’ve got some snapshots and can afford to wait a few minutes while I…umm…read the newspaper. Pick: Carolina
Tennessee (plus 1) at Cincinnati
SR: It seems wrong to poke fun at those suffering from what could be serious emotional and mental disorders. But Cincinnati asked for it. Shithouse crazy is the only way to honestly describe the way this team is being managed. Criminals. Dudes with new legal names. Reclamation projects. Just about anything but football. Even Carson Palmer, the sole bright spot in the Cincinnati night sky, seems to have gone off the deep end. Last week he threw nine completions. Ten if you count the one caught by the Ravens. And the defense couldn’t stop a guy who until five days ago had never played organized football against players that had been scouted. Tennessee has their own problems. But they beat a team that someone close to my heart picked to go to the Super Bowl. Pick: Tennessee.
SF: Bad week for Vince Young – good week for Campbell’s Chunky Soup, which may have found another caring, publicity-loving football Mom to replace Donovan McNabb’s. (“Vince: finish your soup – and stop crying like a girl about not liking football!”) It’s hard to figure this spread. If anything, the Titans are more of a traditional downfield threat with Kerry Collins at quarterback – a dangerous element when combined with all the Bengals defenders being slowed by those electronic ankle bracelets. Pick: Tennessee.
New York Giants (minus 8.5) at St. Louis
SF: I don’t understand why everyone’s being so hard on the Rams just because they started the season by losing 38-3 to the Eagles. I mean, there have been worse starts – though only France in the Second World War comes immediately to mind. Things were so grim that a panicked Marc Bulger delivered his annual “I want to prove we’re not that bad” press conference three weeks ahead of schedule. It doesn’t help that coach Scott Linehan’s first order of business this year – and this is actually true – was to institute a new “24-hour rule” so players don’t dwell on losses for more than a day. That’s pretty inspirational – having a policy on how long you’re allowed to think about how terrible you just did. Kind of like the speech in Hoosiers, except if Gene Hackman ended it by shooting himself. Pick: New York.
SR: Ok. Here’s what I don’t get. Why is Michael Strahan not playing for the Giants? Can it really be more fun at Fox Sports News listening to Jimmy Johnson run his mouth about how he likes his hair styled. And styled. And styled. I’d bring a bat to work. As for your irrational hatred of France, I’d remind you that they gave the world many fine things: French braids. French fries. French kissing. All of which, coincidentally, the Rams players enjoy more than football these days. (Linehan does Bulger’s hair so tight in the back you couldn’t get a pencil through it). Pick: New York
Indianapolis (minus 2) at Minnesota
SR: This is a contest between two teams that are starting to look like pretty mediocre when compared to the competition. Let’s call them the Bidens. First, up – Indy. How ugly was that? There’s getting beat – and then there’s getting beat by Kyle Orton. That’s like losing a game of dodgeball to Dick Cheney. Manning misses his long-time centre. And his working knee. And all those wins they used to rack up. As for Minnesota, Tavaris Jackson is reminding everyone that he could be one of the league’s premier tight ends. Sadly, he keeps trying to pass the ball. Pick: Indianapolis.
SF: It’s hard to imagine Indy going 0-2 to start the year, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to stop Adrian Peterson. That guy’s faster than a hobo chasing a boxcar. (Is that an old-tyme expression? I feel as though that should be an old-tyme expression.) Pick: Minnesota.
Buffalo (plus 5.5) at Jacksonville
SF: My Bills were perfect in just about every way last week, thus deepening the mystery of precisely how they will break my heart this year. A late-season collapse? An untimely penalty that alters the course of what seemed like a certain playoff victory? Every single player getting the measles? Part of the fun is waiting to find out. But until fate hoofs me in the nuts, I like Buffalo to keep this one close. Pick: Buffalo.
SR: Well, as my Great Aunt Marg used to say, ‘now we’ll find out where the bear shit in the buckwheat.’ The Bills are your team but the Jags are your Super Bowl pick. So who do you root for? Or more to the point, are you sure it’s safe to stand so close to that bear’s ass? The Bills are looking mighty and they’re getting a lot of points. They’ve got my support until they start losing. At which point, they will have to change their name to the Buffalo Scotts. Pick: Buffalo
New Orleans (minus 1) at Washington
SR: Is this spread for real? Can I please wager a million dollars? Because New Orleans looked last week like the team they were supposed to be. Brees threw for 340 yards. Reggie’s rushing. Reggie’s receiving. Defense was stingy. It was all good. Washington on the other hand looked an army private the morning after VE day. Limping around hungover and sorta confused about which direction to go next. This game is a gimme if I ever saw one. And I ask you: When have I ever been wrong before? Pick: New Orleans
SF: The fact we both consider this our can’t-miss, surefire, armour-plated, five-star, well-hung lock of the week pretty much guarantees that Jason Campbell will connect for 900 yards, 14 TDs and, during the two-minute warning, anywhere from three to five cheerleaders. Pick: New Orleans.
Atlanta (plus 8) at Tampa Bay
SF: So there I was, watching a bit of the Bucs-Saints game on Sunday. The Bucs are driving, they’re moving the ball. The New Orleans D is looking a bit tired. So Jeff Garcia shifts to the hurry-up, and signals what I assume to be the next play to his teammates – and the way he does this is he takes his two hands and he makes the gesture for… the gesture that indicates… well, there’s no polite way to put this – he makes the gesture commonly used to reference a big-bosomed lady. Two hands, cupped and placed suggestively in the chestal region. He was either calling a screen pass or he’d just spotted Reggie Bush’s girlfriend Kim Kardashian in the stands (although if that were the case, he probably would have cupped the hands under his buttocks). Meanwhile, the Bucs turn this week to Brian Griese at QB. Watch in the first quarter for Griese to make a gesture that suggests he’s confused and outmatched. That’s his secret sign for being confused and outmatched. Still… Pick: Tampa.
SR: Speaking of big boobs, Jon Gruden is out of his mind. He’s benching Garcia for Griese? Is it possible this is a joke? Will Ashton Kutcher show up after the coin flip and tell Garcia he’s been pranked? And then everyone will have a big hearty chuckle – especially when the Tampa O-line grinds Kutcher into untraceably small pieces. Still, there could be some method in his madness. Garcia is getting older and Griese brings his own style to the position of quarterback. It’s called piss-poor. But even with eight points and Matt Ryan, the Falcons can’t win on the road against this defence. I’d bet you $50 and a slightly used Feschuk that I’m right. Pick: Tampa Bay
Baltimore (plus 4.5) at Houston
SR: Joe Flacco didn’t look like a rookie. And he controlled the game well. But before we all get wildly ahead of ourselves, let’s remember that dude passed for 129 yards and netted a 63.7 QB rating. Pretty good for a guy who prepared for the NFL by playing Ultimate. But set aside the hype and it’s the same old same old in Baltimore: their defense won the game for them. Against a real team, they will be in real trouble. That’s why they’re so happy to be playing Houston and getting points. Pick: Baltimore.
SF: This game is being moved to Monday night in Houston on account of Hurricane Ike. Also being moved to Monday night in Houston by Hurricane Ike – Galveston. Pick: Houston.
Miami (plus 7) at Arizona
SF: Miami lost to the Jets (ugh). Now they’re going to lose to the Cardinals (whatever sound conveys more dismay than ugh – gahh?). It’s just a sad – hang on… Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a pass from Dolphins QB Chad Pennington! No, hold on a minute … it’s actually flying in a straight line … oh, and it just travelled more than 27 yards in the air … and look, a player for the opposing team hasn’t yet batted it down. Yep, it’s a bird. Pick: Arizona.
SR: Seriously, I look at this game and I think: who gives a rootin tootin tinkers’ damn? (When I think to myself I sometimes sound like Popeye). I see zero evidence that Miami is a bit better than it was last year. Pick: Arizona.
San Diego (minus 1.5) at Denver
SR: Norv Turner, you crafty bugger! You’re like the Indiana Jones of losing. No matter how impossible it might appear, you can find a loss hidden anywhere on Earth. Beneath the pyramids of Egypt? The jungles of South America? Deep in the end zone of Carolina? Seriously, why do you suck so hard? And why do the owners put up with it? Near as I can figure, the only people more incompetent than you are the folks who watched both those games last week and are making San Diego the favourite to win at Mile High. Unlike Indy – who goes on forever – your days are numbered. The Turner era in San Diego will be over by American Thanksgiving. Pick: Denver.
SF: Come on! Don’t be so hard on Norv. For pure entertainment value, this guy just gives and gives and gives – always finding new and more exciting ways to blow a game. I’m hoping he somehow gets to the Super Bowl so we can for the first time see a professional football coach stand on the sideline in the biggest game of his life and overhear him tell his quarterback to bunt for a base hit. (I’m still convinced that when this all shakes out, we’ll discover that, against all odds and logic, Norv Turner being hired in San Diego was the work of Matt Millen.) Pick: San Diego.
Pittsburgh (minus 6) at Cleveland
SF: After the Browns got pummeled by the Cowboys, Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson was going on about how the season is like “a 16-chapter book… and there are still 15 chapters to be written.” Just like a mystery novel! Welcome to Chapter Two: The Curious Case of Derek Anderson’s Spleen and Why It’s Lying There on the 45-Yard Line. Pick: Pittsburgh.
SR: Think I’ll skip the book and wait for the movie to come out. This weekend, it’s going to be a horror flick for Romeo Crennel. Pittsburgh is back with a vengeance and with Brady’s injury, look for Tomlin’s team to quickly take up the role of AFC frontrunner. Roethlisberger notched a 147 QB rating last week and was in total control of the game. People forget how good this guy can be when he’s on. Throw in an improved defense and Cleveland’s hyped season is off to an 0-2 start. Pick: Pittsburgh
San Francisco (plus 7) at Seattle
SR: I think we can safely say that Alex Smith is now the Stephane Dion of American football. I rooted for you, Alex. I really did. And you were handed some hard luck. But the party’s nearly over dude. I will think of you fondly. Still, the J.T. O’Sullivan debut was only slightly less impressive than the screen version of Evita. As pressure mounts, I expect to see Shaun Hill under centre. When that goes bust, things will get a bit desperate. Daunte Culpepper? Joey Harrington? Chef Gordon Ramsay? Seattle – still my NFC Super Bowl pick because I am…well, dimwitted and resistant to objective evidence – is going to beat my Niners. But I’m holding out some hope a good young defense will keep it close-ish. Pick: Niners.
SF: Matt Hasselbeck had a rough opening day for the Seahawks, throwing up errant balls at the rate of approximately once every pass. Then again, who did he have to throw to? Seattle decimation at receiver is so freakishly complete that yesterday morning, while doing nothing more strenuous than reaching for a bran muffin, Steve Largent tweaked a hammy. Pick: San Fran.
New England (plus 1.5) at New York Jets
SF: I know Tom Brady is great and awesome, not to mention positively dreamy and made entirely out of tasty licorice, but are we to understand that the Patriots – they of the almost perfect season – are now to be considered underdogs against a Jets team that a) won four whole games last season, and b) has as its No. 2 receiver, assuming the injured Laveranues Coles doesn’t play, a guy named Brad Smith? It’s 48 hours til gametime and Brett Favre has already thrown three interceptions. Pick: New England.
SR: Brady’s injury throws the NFL season wide open and puts me firmly back in control of our neck-and-neck rivalry for Gisele Bundchen’s affections. For a while there, Tom – with his height, looks and intergalactic success – appeared to have the upper hand. But I know a certain supermodel who likes her man to be able to pivot and push off. So long superstar athlete! On more mundane matters, we agree once again my roundy pal. This line is ridiculous and the Pats will win handily. But NE fans can’t be fooled. The Pats are going to have to make a move soon. Belichick thinks he’s sooooooooo smart that any player can be plugged in and out like a car part. But QB is different. Matt Cassels cannot carry this team deep into the playoffs. He’s just not good enough. They need to make a move. Pick: New England.
Philadelphia (plus 6.5) at Dallas
SR: The scene we’re all hoping to witness: Eagles are down by four with 1:05 left in the final quarter. They’re driving hard into the Dallas red zone. Two Westbrook rushes are stuffed. It’s fourth and goal. McNabb looks calm. He takes the snap, drops back, wheels and fires the ball like a cannon at the Dallas sideline where he clocks TO right in the nuts. Owens drops to the ground and screams in agony. Across North America a fierce cheer erupts and, after a sideline review, the refs decide to declare it a completion and touchdown. Eagles win the game. Pick: Philadelphia.
SF: That makes sense. It’s not the 2005 Super Bowl so the Eagles will probably remember to run their two-minute offence. Pick: Philly.