NFL Picks Week 3: The Bills are who we thought they were

(We thought they were terrible)

Scott Feschuk Last week 7-8-1 Season: 17-11-4

Scott Reid Last week 7-8-1 Season: 15-13-4

Welcome to Week 3 at Can’t Miss NFL Picks and Other Lies. We would like to state for the record that despite what you saw last week, we have no intention of crudely luring people into our football-based blog by displaying photographs of random attractive ladies unless their appearance herein holds measurable educational value. Because that would be wrong.

• • •

Tennessee (plus 3) at New York Giants

Reid: Surgeon General’s Warning: watching this game could lead to death from Blood Dulling. This rare but always deadly disorder afflicts those so impassive that their blood simply quits caring – and circulating. Often misdiagnosed, this affliction was jointly recognized by the CMA and AMA last year after a mysterious rash of deaths among Nicholas Sparks readers. Vince Young will start. Or not. Who cares? Giants will run. And gain a yard each play. It will slowly drain your interest and flatten your arteries. Kerry Collins? Are you kidding me? What – Betty White was booked? Pick: New York.

Feschuk: It’s a relief to know my current symptoms could be Blood Dulling brought on by watching last week’s Steelers-Titans game (barely 200 passing yards combined) and not the even deadlier Brain Dulling, brought on by reading Ezra Levant’s Twitter feed. Pick: Tennessee.

• • •

Buffalo (plus 13) at New England

Feschuk: Trent Edwards is out and Ryan Fitzpatrick is in at starting QB for the Bills, because that will solve everything. Fear us, New England, for our quarterback is HARVARD-EDUCATED and therefore able to calculate instantly whether his team is behind by 24 or 37 points and pinpoint exactly which vertebrae just shattered during that sack. Make your move, Belichick – but Fitzgerald will be thinking four moves ahead (ie. to the punt after the three and out). Pick: New England.

Reid: Buffalo’s offence operates with all the pocketwatch efficiency of the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Which makes Trent Edwards the human equivalent of a footbridge. Putting Ryan Fitzpatrick under centre for the Bills and expecting a turnaround is sort of like putting John Baird in charge of negotiating with the opposition parties and expecting them to hug-out their differences. Pick: New England.

• • •

Cleveland (plus 10.5) at Baltimore

Reid: Baltimore coach John Harbaugh showed the sort of ‘put-his-finger-on-it’ genius that careers are made of this week when he said of QB Joe Flacco’s performance against the Bengals, “Hey, four interceptions is too much.” Wow, you just can’t learn that sort of thing hanging around Head Coach school. That’s pure sense of touch talking. And the man is right-a-rooni. Flacco threw so many interceptions last week he may be legally compelled to change his first name to “Jake.” But this game’s only big enough for one Delhomme. And I think it probably will be Delhomme. Or maybe Wallace. But not Flacco. Time for Baltimore to put up 30+ points. Pick: Baltimore.

Feschuk: God, I love the way you refer to players only by their surnames, as though you were a broad-shouldered, pec-flexing stalwart of the NFL community and not a guy who flinches at the sight of an earwig. But you’re missing the big story here: the Browns lost last week because one guy grabbed another guy’s balls! Check this out:

Browns center Alex Mack accused Kansas City defensive lineman Shaun Smith of grabbing his crotch during Cleveland’s loss to KC on Sunday… The play apparently amped Mack up to the point that he committed an unnecessary roughness penalty when he hit linebacker Derrick Johnson after the whistle on Cleveland’s next offensive series.

The penalty moved the Browns back from a chip-shot field that would have given them a 17-10 lead at the half. As it turned out, Cleveland never scored again and lost 16-14. And all because a wily Chief decided to squeeze the Charmin. There’s a lesson in this for my Buffalo Bills: Reach. Grasp. Clutch. It’s really our only hope. Pick: Baltimore.

• • •

Pittsburgh (minus 2.5) at Tampa Bay

Feschuk: Both these teams are 2-0, but neither has impressed. Pittsburgh managed a grand total of seven first downs and 21 yards passing last week against Tennessee, but won because the Titans turned the ball over seven times – which seems like a lot until you consider the fact that Jeff Fisher is the only NFL coach to have a mysterious crop circle in the centre of his beard.

Clearly, this suggests otherworldly involvement and a wider conspiracy that centres on an energy-depleted alien race that is powered by fumbles. Meanwhile, the Bucs have beaten the kids’ table of NFL opponents: Cleveland and Carolina. Sadly, you must be THIS tall to score on the Pittsburgh defence. Pick: Pittsburgh.

Reid: Ways to improve the entertainment value of this game…make it in 3D, make it in 2D even, losing team is bodily sacrificed, Katy Perry and Elmo show up at half-time to finish what they started, keep a Judy Blume book (any will do, but I suggest Superfudge) hidden under the cushions and read it during the boring parts – such as when the clock is running. Pick: Pittsburgh.

• • •

Cincinnati (minus 3) at Carolina

Reid: Jimmy Clausen is so adorable. He’s all college-clean, well spoken and keen to overachieve. Sorta reminds me of Barack Obama for the first 90 minutes of his Presidency. Of course, Clausen isn’t the President. He’s not even Muslim. But he has been named Carolina’s starter after only two weeks. It’s a chance for the young man to show he’s ready to step up and play on the big stage. Course, it’s also an opportunity for the many world-class orthopedic surgeons who call Raleigh home if Clausen can’t grow a receiving target who isn’t named Steve Smith. The Bengals are coming off a big win. They’re not nearly the team they promised they’d be before the season began. But they should be able to handle John Fox’s winless, rookie-led box of Animal Crackers. Pick: Cincinnati.

Feschuk: I love how Carson Palmer is giving unsolicited counsel to Clausen (Don’t just throw to Steve Smith!), despite tossing up a Delhommian 60 QB rating last week, which followed a god-awful first half against the Patriots in the opener, which followed a ghastly second half of the season in 2009. Getting QB advice from Carson Palmer is like getting an ugly lesson from Jon Hamm. Pick: Carolina.

• • •

Atlanta (plus 4.5) at New Orleans

Feschuk: I was pretty drunk during the Monday nighter, but I’m almost positive I saw the Saints running an offence that was about as creative as the Family Circus guy. (The dotted lines, Bil? Again??) New Orleans hasn’t impressed me so far (although, admittedly, I am difficult to impress – the Duke boys had to generate a seven-cop-car pileup before I’d even bother to look up from my Bugles). I picked Atlanta to go to the Super Bowl, so it’s time to put my money where my semi-random selection of quasi-competent teams is. Pick: Atlanta.

Reid: Drew Brees – star quarterback, Super Bowl champion, Father of the Year…is there any imperfection to this guy? Probably not. But I like to imagine he stinks. A lot. I bet he’s one of those guys who reeks like spoiled milk. And let’s face it: Matt Ryan smells like an Irish morning. And for the record, Family Circus is for sexual – and comedic – deviants. Pick: Atlanta.

• • •

San Francisco (minus 3) at K.C.

Reid: Not since the Knife Chair in Saw IV has there been a nastier trap laid than this game for San Fran.

After an inspired – but still losing, goddammit! – performance against New Orleans on Monday night, the Niners should be feeling a whole lot better about themselves. But traveling to Arrowhead to play a Chiefs team that people are still refusing to take seriously is a dangerous cup of sugar. Even in the confused and possibly meth-induced days of Brodie Coyle, the Chiefs were hard to beat at home and right now, this team is deceptively talented. San Francisco needs a big performance from its defence – and its defensive line in particular – to bring this home. Since starting 0-3 is a virtual death sentence, they’ll get it done. Pick: San Francisco.

Feschuk: I don’t know, buddy – the signs aren’t good for your Niners. First, your offensive co-ordinator couldn’t remember certain things about his plays, such as what they were called and how to communicate their identity to others. Then Mike Singletary fired the guy who lobs him puffball questions on his weekly local TV show because the fellow had the gall to gently ask him whether Alex Smith is good enough (spoiler alert: no). Now Vernon Davis is guaranteeing victory against the Chiefs – after guaranteeing victory against the Saints. And if they don’t beat the Chiefs, he’s going to guarantee victory against gingivitis or unflattering trousers. So much incompetence! The only thing missing at Singletary’s news conferences is a Mission Accomplished banner. Pick: K.C.

• • •

Detroit (plus 10.5) at Minnesota

Feschuk: Did you get a good look at Brett Favre last week? He looked as utterly dazed and defeated as Frodo climbing Mount Doom or Robert DeNiro suddenly realizing he was starring in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. I haven’t seen anyone regret a decision so intensely since the last eight women to marry Larry King. Conventional wisdom holds that the Vikes will turn it all around this week. But the Lions have 10 sacks in their first two games and – just as important – a talent for scoring late, otherwise inconsequential touchdowns that result in a cover. Pick: Detroit.

Reid: According to a new book, evidence has recently been uncovered that it was a crew member who mistakenly steered the Titanic into the iceberg, guaranteeing its doom. Any resemblance to Brett Favre is coincidental. Brad Childress? That resemblance is better described as entirely accurate. Pick: Detroit.

• • •

Dallas (plus 3) at Houston

Reid: There are already so many – mostly outstanding – uses for the word pussy that it hardly seems a bother to add just one more. So can we agree to restitch the letters P-U-S-S-Y across the back of Tony Romo’s sweater? Because surely we can agree he’s earned it. It used to be that Romo would lose his nerve and winning ways come December. This year he’s wasting no time. Dallas looks lost on offense. And playing in Houston, they’ll be facing a cross-state upstart rival anxious to declare its arrival in the loudest possible way. It’s easy to dismiss my take because I hate the Cowboys the way Stephen Harper hates people who smile, but let’s face it: This team is in deep trouble. It cannot afford to lose this game. It would be the end of the world for them. Wade Phillips might even have to put down his mini-donuts and actually do something. But it doesn’t matter. I still think they’re gong to lose. Outright. It will be the best thing to happen in Houston since LBJ. Pick: Houston.

Feschuk: Agreed. In other news, can you believe they kicked Katy Perry off Sesame Street for cleavage-based reasons?

Now how are kids supposed to learn about the number 38 and the letters DD? Pick: Houston.

• • •

Philadelphia (minus 3) at Jacksonville

Feschuk: The Eagles O-line is so bad that Mike Vick got sacked six times last Sunday, which is like a quarterback of average mobility getting sacked 12 times or Brett Favre being tenderized into a possum-flavoured schnitzel. This Vick thing can go one of two ways now: it’s either going to end like a feel-good Hallmark TV Movie, with Vick leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl and celebrating his personal redemption and then – just as the NFL commissioner is about to present Vick with his MVP trophy – the quarterback sees several of his former fighting dogs making their way onto the field. Maybe one of them has a limp. As the music soars, as tears form in Vick’s eyes, the dogs run toward Vick, and Vick runs toward the dogs, and as they meet the limpy dog gamely leaps into Vick’s arms, but the other ones go straight for his nutsack, viciously mauling their former owner beyond recognition, ending his playing career and sapping from him the will to live. It’ll either end like that or in some implausible way. Point is: Vick has been built back up. It’s American law that he must now be knocked back down. Pick: Jacksonville.

Reid: It’s like a dog-inspired Inglourious Basterds. Revenge fantasies are my second favourite kind of fantasies (the first kind involves Kate Beckinsale, a ’77 Impala and the words Chip Wagon – I really shouldn’t go any further). Sadly, I don’t see the Super Bowl or shredded nutsacks in the Eagles’ future. Instead, I think Vick will scramble his way to the mid-point of the season when their schedule tightens. Then he’ll get pulled and we’ll be treated to the spectacle of an intergalactically de-motivated Kevin Kolb returning to the field. For the O-line reason you mention, he’ll be lucky to finish the year with power of independent locomotion. Pick: Philadelphia.

• • •

Washington (minus 3.5) at St. Louis

Reid: We know that Clinton Portis can make funny quips about his naked wang and female reporters. And we know that he can ham it up by putting duct tape over his mouth – presumably to demonstrate how serious he takes the issue. These are talents that are much appreciated. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Sid Caesar revival: Portis forgot that he’s a RUNNING back – emphasis on RUNNING apparently not necessary if you’re a Redskin. So far, Don Rickles is averaging about 50 yards per game. Which is, in the technical language of high-priced sports consultants and kinesiologists, “dickless” (wang-talk comes up everywhere in football). Also, it would help if the Skins didn’t give up a staggering 450 yards per game. It’s so hard to win when the other team gets first downs just by standing upright. If ever there was a chance to get this team’s shaky fundamentals under control its against the Rams. Pick: Washington.

Feschuk: Golly, that Sam Bradford is a scrappy young pup: I wish he were available for purchase in plush form. But the Rams are as likely to stop Washington on the ground as Jim Flaherty is to be invited back to the Canadian Club of Ottawa. Pick: Washington.

• • •

Indianapolis (minus 6) at Denver

Feschuk: Indy rebounded last week with a dismantling of the Giants. Afterward in the jubilant Colts locker room, coach Jim Caldwell gathered his team together and, as his players looked on in rapt attention, blinked his eyes twice – the most emotional outpouring of his tenure. “He’s obviously pretty proud of us,” Peyton Manning told reporters later. “Either that or he wants a danish. I can never remember what two blinks means.” In Denver, meanwhile, it is forecast to be very warm on Sunday – unseasonably warm. Weirdly warm, when you think about it. Almost as though God were trying to tell the people of Denver something. GIVE MINE DISCIPLE TEBOW SOME REPS OR THOU SHALL VERILY BURN!!! Pick: Indianapolis.

Reid: The bizarre suicide of Denver’s Kenny McKinley casts a pretty ugly shadow over the Broncos’ locker room. Suffice it to say the Colts will win large. Pick: Indianapolis.

• • •

San Diego (minus 6) at Seattle

Reid: The visibly pissed-offy player-agent for Vincent Jackson called AJ Smith the Lord With No Rings with this week after San Diego pettily declined to trade Jackson. It’s a great story. Had SD moved Jackson, he would have seen his suspension reduced to four games and the Chargers would have ended up with compensatory draft picks. Who knows – they might have been able to draft an expression for Norv Turner’s face. Like most people, I enjoy a good Tolkien dig (Your mother’s ass is as big as Mordor; You’re such an Orc). But Neil Schwartz has a point. This seems like a vindictive move by San Diego. And when it comes to playing better teams, it will matter. Pete Carroll remains souless. Pick: San Diego.

Feschuk: The Seahawks whipped the 49ers in week one but then laid an egg last Sunday against the Broncos. And then flaky Pete Carroll took that egg and sat on it all night and nurtured the egg and said, “Guys. Guys! Guys, come here and look! Isn’t it beautiful, guys? Isn’t it magical? We made this, guys! WE. MADE. THIS. EGG.” (Yes, I’m saying what you think I’m saying: Pete Carroll is the double rainbow guy.) Pick: Seattle.

• • •

Oakland (plus 4) at Arizona

Feschuk: Two weeks ago, Jason Campbell was being called things like “the future of the franchise” in Oakland. Now Jason Campbell is being called things like “Jason Campbell.” When Al Davis likened this guy to Jim Plunkett, no one realized he was comparing him to how Plunkett would play right now. Bruce Gradkowski becomes the starter, at least until Davis can find some cleats that fit over his cloven hoofs so he can take over personally. Then he’ll show us. THEN HE’LL SHOW US ALL! <insert MWAHAHA devil laugh> In Arizona, meanwhile, I’m not saying the Derek Anderson experiment has been a bust, but Ken Whisenhunt spent last Friday night driving around to college hot tub parties in search of Matt Leinart or, failing that, a co-ed with decent pocket awareness. Pick: Oakland.

Reid: Here’s one of those obscure facts that I dug up after doing a pile of research: Tom Cable is apparently still employed in the NFL as a head coach. Wow. Upon learning this to be true, many people are astonished, even angry. Course, down at the ‘I’m Also A Fat Prick’ social club, we’re rooting for the Cabman. His picture hangs proudly over the bar – snuggled in between framed photos of Rob Ford and Rush Limbaugh. I don’t know how Gradkowski will play but I’m pretty sure I know what we’ll see out of Derek Anderson. Which means good things for the Raiders. Pick: Oakland.

• • •

New York Jets (plus 2.5) at Miami, Sunday night

Reid: Rex Ryan needed that win over New England the way Mel Gibson needs a black female lawyer (and a time machine). And while they did pull out the win, my favourite moment of the season so far was when Randy “Slouch” Moss hoovered in that one-handed TD catch over Darrelle Revis, who promptly cried ‘hammy’ and went out for the rest of that game and this week’s. Chew on that, mouthy. With a spread of 2.5, I see this as a cheap buy. Chad Henne? I don’t think so. Pick: New York.

Feschuk: Miami would be a real threat here if they had their key offensive weapon from last week in the lineup, but unfortunately Brett Favre plays for Minnesota. Pick: New York.

• • •

Green Bay (minus 3) at Chicago, Monday night

Feschuk: People are actually using the words “Jay Cutler” and “mistake-free” in the same sentence, so clearly the end of days are upon us and the time of judgment is nigh. I REGRET NOTHING! But wait – now Cutler is up against the Green Bay defence and linebacker Clay Matthews, who after just two games has an unbelievable six sacks and an even more unbelievable head of flowing, flaxen hair. Even Pete Carroll couldn’t keep his hands off him in college!

Will Cutler continue his march toward elite QB status? Will Matthews continue his pursuit of the single-season sack record? Will Carroll ever recover from Matthews’ withering, dismissive stare and learn not to belly rub guys who are out of his league? No, yes, and ask Charlie Whitehurst. Pick: Green Bay.

Reid: Not since Cagney and Lacey has there been a match quite as professionally perfect as Cutler and Martz.

Although Sharon Gless would kill to have Martz’s hair and Al Waxman had a lower BMI score than Jay Cutler, the fact remains that matching a pass-happy coordinator with a pass-drunk QB and you’ve got a two-game winning streak. Not to mention a 121 QB passer rating. Can it last? Sure it can. For about two more days. Pick: Green Bay.

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