Scott Feschuk Last week: 6-8 Season: 45-45
Scott Reid Last week 7-7 Season: 51-39
Kudos to the Oakland Raiders for defying the odds, the skeptics, the sane and all known human logic by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles last week after a three-game stretch in which they were outscored 96-16.
It was a memorable game. For instance, there was that crazy pigeon. Man, that pigeon was crazy! Also, Donovan McNabb called a timeout when his team didn’t have any timeouts. Man, that pigeon was crazy! Also … well… uhh…. oh yeah! – the game gave us this tender photograph, featuring former dog enthusiast Michael Vick and former good quarterback (college only) JaMarcus Russell, with McNabb as the date’s third wheel.
Here’s the challenge: Come up with a funny-type caption for the picture and enter it in the comments below. The winner, selected by a jury of us, will receive a gift valued in the tens of dollars. Winner announced Monday morning.
New England (minus 14.5) vs. Tampa Bay (at London)
Reid: There are worries that the short week, brutal travel schedule and five hour time-change will play hell with New England. But Brady says not to worry, he’ll still find the stamina to nail every model in London. Beating Tampa Bay by at least 14.5 points – that’s for sure the easy part. Frankly, I don’t really understand what the NFL is up to with this overseas regular season game. Sure, people will tell you that American football has lots of fans in Britain. But are we ever going to have European teams? Sunday games with the Oakland Raiders versus the Liverpool Lorries? (Incidentally, the Lorries opened as 13-point favourites). Why go through this nonsense? Does Belichick want to see Billy Elliot: The Musical that badly? Pick: New England.
Feschuk: New England was a sight to behold last Sunday against Tennessee, scoring with a passion and intensity not seen since Pinky Tuscadero rolled into Milwaukee and hooked up with the Fonz before the big demolition derby. The football world hasn’t seen so total a defeat since Wade Phillips tried to open that bag of Doritos. But were the Titans much of a test? I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Tampa covered due simply to the time change and the confusion caused by the inevitable on-field streaking by Amy Winehouse. But I’m just not manly enough to be so counterintuitive. Pick: New England.
Arizona (plus 7) at New York Giants
Reid: After getting lit alive by Drew Brees last week the Giants will be playing for pride against the Cards. And pride is nice to have (or so I’m told). But what the Giants will really need this Sunday is a secondary. NO scored four TDs through the air last week. Don’t be surprised if Warner does likewise. If Jesus’s right-hand man can avoid the Giants’ rush, he should have a big day. Enough to win? Yes. The Giants are set to enter an official lull. Pick: Arizona.
Feschuk: Warner is Jesus’s right-hand man? You mean I’ve been sucking up to Pat Boone for nothing!? Having been humiliated last week, the Giants will be motivated to put a licking on a team so one-dimensional that its running backs come affixed with the warning “For ornamental purposes only.” Pick: New York.
Green Bay (minus 7) at Cleveland
Feschuk: Can’t Miss NFL Picks isn’t usually the forum for important community announcements, but here’s a serious message for children in the greater Cleveland area: on Halloween night, do not knock on Eric Mangini’s door while dressed as Jeff George. The only “treats” you’ll get are a big bear hug and an NFL contract. Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn have been so bad that the only thing that could be worse is an ungodly hybrid of the two – Quinn’s inaccuracy melded to Anderson’s cluelessness in a terrifying Frankenstein monstrosity of incompletions and three-and-outs. Some teams run the Wild Cat. Cleveland runs the Arthritic Puma – the offence just kind of lies there in pain all day. Pick: Green Bay.
Reid: If I was going to cross-breed Derek Anderson, I think I’d start with either a peregrine falcon (for eyesight) or a Kilmer (for ability to persevere in spite of declining skills). Green Bay looked like it finally cleaned up its problems with the O-line. Of course that could have been a mirage against Detroit. Fortunately, against Cleveland, home of the horizontal pass rush, offensive lineman are a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘need to have.’ Pick: Green Bay.
Indianapolis (minus 13) at St. Louis
Reid: Jeff Fisher caught royal hell this week for clowning at a charity fundraiser by wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. Fisher’s point: He wanted to feel like it was to be a winner. Frankly, who can blame the guy? If Manning were any better, he’d be a new JJ Abrams Star Trek sequel. St. Louis is obviously terrible but last week Bulger looked a lot sharper. I’ve been slightly off the mark on St. Louis in the past (turns out they didn’t win the 2008 Super Bowl). But I think they’re improving to shaggy-ass terrible from spit-in-your-face terrible. Pick: St. Louis.
Feschuk: Just to be clear about this – you’re picking winless St. Louis (27th in the league in offence, 27th in the league in defence, tied for 32nd in the league in not sucking) to cover against a 5-0 team led by a veteran quarterback who’s completing 73.5% of his passes and has been sacked a grand total of two (2) times in 181 pass attempts. Man, I gotta get someone in here to replace you. Maybe that TV Kate lady would do it. She could flip her kids to make her picks. Writes itself. Pick: Indianapolis.
New York Jets (minus 6) at Oakland
Feschuk: If I were a Jets fan, I’d be worried (I’d also be 80 pounds heavier). Taking time out from his full day of interceptions, Mark Sanchez sat on the bench last week with his chin in his palm and a look on his face that said, “Hey, um, guys – I’ve participated in one touchdown drive today. At this point, that’s pretty much my upper limit. Let’s make with the stoppity-stop.” Alas, even the famed Rex Ryan defence couldn’t pull out a victory against Ryan Fitzpatrick (a quarterback out of, egads, Harvard) and Dick Jauron (a coach out of that commercial for Bad Idea Jeans – ‘Sure, it’s windy and we’re still really far from the endzone, but I won’t try to advance the ball before sending out my field goal kicker.’ Caption: Bad Idea.) Pick: New York.
Reid: I’m pretty sure I can explain last weeks Jets-Bills game. Like Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis (or Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris if you’re a purist), the two teams had a Freaky Friday episode of spontaneous body transfer. This explains why Sanchez suddenly looked like a third-rate backup and Fitzpatrick (love that joke about Scottish altar boys) looked like…well, not quite like a quarterback but at least like someone without vertigo. Which is a big improvement for the Bills. Will they have returned to their real bodies by Sunday? If I know anything about fortune cookies and magical earthquakes, I think the safe answer is yes. On the other hand, JaMarcus Russell was found licking the bottom of a Chunky soup can and insisting his name is Donovan McNabb. Pick: New York
Atlanta (plus 4) at Dallas
Feschuk: Do you think they’ll still be making those Coors Light commercials when Wade Phillips is out of coaching?
Fat guy: Hey, Coach Phillips, have you seen where we left our Coors Light?
Phillips: [Stares ahead, blinking slowly.]
Skinny guy: Uhh, coach – did you hear what we said? We can’t find our Coors Light anywhere!
Phillips: [Eats pie.]
Fat guy: Yo! Coach! Can you help us or what?
Phillips: [Pokes at microphone, then licks it.]
Black guy: Jesus. Let’s go talk to Norv Turner instead.
Turner: [Stares ahead, squinting.]
Reid: Imagine if Phillips was around in the heyday of the classic Miller Lite commercials. Billy Martin would yell “tastes great.” Bubba Smith would scream “Less filling.” Rodney Dangerfield would show up in a bowling shirt for some reason. And Phillips would look away from his turkey and mayonnaise sandwich long enough to ask “tastes filling?” Then John Madden would burst through the Miller Lite logo and knock Phillips into two of Mickey Spillane’s three girlfriends. We’d fade to Eubanks with a last glimpse of a dazed Phillips trying to work his paw out of a Miracle Whip jar. Pick: Atlanta.
San Francisco (plus 3) at Houston
Reid: Playing against Atlanta in Week 5, the Niners looked slightly worse than Steven Page’s solo career. We can only imagine the players will be anxious to get back on the field this Sunday – if only to get away from the Ike Turner-ish beating that Singletary surely laid on them throughout last week’s bye-week. To punish players during Training Camp, the SF coach made people run the hill next to the practice facility. What unpassable obstacle might he have forced them to run along last week? SF’s city streets? Mount St. Helen’s? Steve Phillips’ libido? Sadly, Houston matches up a lot like Atlanta. Crabtree makes his debut as a starter this week. But the question is whether SF’s defence will show up after going totally AWOL. I’m betting yes. Pick: San Francisco.
Feschuk: Your loyalty to your team is noble, as are your clandestine efforts to keep the peace between herring and porpoise in your secret guise as Aquaman. But even your ability to summon all the creatures of the sea won’t be enough to help your 49ers this time – they’ve been exposed as vulnerable on defence and vanilla on offence. That said, would you mind luring me in a nice two-pound lobster? Feeling a bit peckish. Pick: Houston.
San Diego (minus 4.5) at K.C.
Feschuk: I enjoyed the little sideline spat on Monday night between LaDainian Tomlinson and Norv Turner. Tomlinson thought he should be in there on a short-yardage play because he’s obviously of the view that it’s 2006 and he still has explosive speed. Turner thought LT should not be in there because he’s of the view that it’s 1933 and his friend George is about to tell him about the rabbits. K.C. usually plays the Chargers close, but the Chiefs got a win last week and that ought to tide them over til December. Pick: San Diego.
Reid: I love a good Steinbeck reference. Although I think it’s pretty unkind to the homicidal and developmentally challenged to compare them to Norv Turner. Over the past two years, San Diego has underachieved like the part of Alanis Morissette’s career that didn’t include the words “jagged,” “little” and “pill”. But nothing seems to ever trigger doubts in the mind of AJ Smith. By the time they finally get around to giving that team a real head coach, Philip Rivers will be the official spokesperson for the Ultramatic adjustable bed. They face KC and Oakland over the next two weeks. Anything short of two Ws will mean no chance at the playoffs and another step closer to the end for Gordie Tapp. Pick: San Diego.
Minnesota (plus 4) at Pittsburgh
Reid: That’s two games now that Favre has single-handedly won this year for the Vikes. It gets you to thinking – who else should come out of retirement? Jim Kelly? John Elway? Kerry Collins? This week, the Steelers will try to bring the Vikes’ unbeaten streak to a close. But don’t bet on it. The Steelers’ D isn’t as dominant as it once was. Jared Allen on the other hand is going to have a heaping helping of Roethlisberger for eats. Pick: Minnesota.
Feschuk: I’m down on the Vikings. Don’t get me wrong – they’re playing great, but I’m bummed at the thought of the NFC playoffs with two dome teams hosting games. I like playoff football to be played the way it was meant to be played – outdoors, in the elements, in the snow, with semi-naked fat men risking belly and ballsack to drunkenly cheer on their side (now that I describe it, the whole experience sounds an awful lot like how you and I spent the 2006 federal election campaign). The Saints are unstoppable so I must root against Kid Wrangler. Pick: Pittsburgh.
New Orleans (minus 6.5) at Miami
Feschuk: What a year Drew Brees is having. He’s been sacked only four times all season. Last week, he led his team to five first-half touchdowns against the league’s No. 1 defence. And he got back to his locker Sunday to find the money he could be saving with Geico. Brees has a shot at breaking Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a season and, in this game alone, Drew Bledsoe’s record for making Bill Parcells want to curl up in a ball and cry during their time together in Dallas. Pick: New Orleans.
Reid: If Drew Brees gets any hotter, he’s going to have to record an album with Pete Yorn. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and predict right now that the Saints will run the table and go 16-0 this season. Two reasons that such a prediction isn’t entirely fracked: First, their offence has more weapons than Moon Knight. Second, their schedule is as soft as that skin hanging under Al Davis’ chin. They’ve got St. Louis, Washington, Tampa twice and Carolina twice. That’s six games with sub-500 teams. New England, Dallas and two turns with Atlanta are their hurdles and none of those look insurmountable. In fact, as of today they’d be the favourite in every single game left to play. You heard it hear first. Just like the news about Jennifer Connelly and my carseat. Pick: New Orleans.
Buffalo (plus 6.5) at Carolina
Reid: Dick Jauron loses his quarterback and, inexplicably, gains a victory. Will Edwards play this week? Will the Bills’ D come to play? Will Ralph Wilson make Smithers and Jauron switch jobs? Does anyone care? Only the last question is truly knowable and the answer is non, merci. Carolina will control this game tighter than Ruth Madoff’s face-lift. Pick: Carolina.
Feschuk: Control the game? Jake Delhomme looks every bit in command as the baker who keeps falling down the stairs on Sesame Street. The Bills’ offence is impotent but, as TMQ noted this week, the D has allowed just 118 passing yards over its last two games – and netted seven picks. Put them on the same field as Delhomme and that should work out to roughly 125 interceptions on Sunday. Pick: Buffalo.
Chicago (plus 1.5) at Cincinnati
Reid: Chicago announced this week they’ve extended Jay Cutler’s contract by two years. Isn’t that a little like hiring the cast of Heroes to star in your next TV show? Cutler has shown he can sling the ball but he hasn’t shown he can win – which I thought had something to do with his salary. Cinci should win after taking a step back last week. Pick: Cincinnati.
Feschuk: The 4-2 Bengals are tough to figure. They’ve beat some good teams but looked very JV at home against a mediocre Texans squad. And now they’ve lost Antwan Odom, the league’s co-leader in sacks, for the duration of the season to a major injury. That’s like the Cannonball Run team losing Burt Reynolds for the duration of the shoot to a set of triplets. That’s only so much you could get out of Dom DeLuise. Pick: Chicago.
Philadelphia (minus 7) at Washington
Feschuk: What a Monday nighter – the team that last week couldn’t beat the Raiders vs. the team that right now couldn’t beat the anybodies. Are you ready for some CSI: Miami? Jim Zorn deserves to be fired (and, for the record, wedgied) but instead he had his play-calling duties taken away because, yeah, bingo, problem solved. Apparently, Daniel Snyder wanted to free up Zorn to devote more time to creating new facial expressions that convey hopelessness. Meanwhile, over on ESPN.com they’re saying Andy Reid got out-coached last week by Tom Cable. That’s like Lindsay Lohan being out-skanked by an inanimate object. (In a strange coincidence, Inanimate Object is currently ranked as a more desirable free agent in the coming off-season than Jason Campbell.) Pick: Philadelphia.
Reid: According to Steve Largent (a regular source of mine when I can’t reach Drew Pearson), Jim Zorn considered resigning this week but ultimately decided he wouldn’t quit on the team. What a break. Without this guy, imagine where Washington would be. A lot of people are making fun of the Skins because they have placed their play calling in the hands of a man six years out of the NFL who just a few weeks ago was volunteering at a seniors’ home and announcing bingo games. But I ask you to look around the league and consider this question: If Wade Phillips or Norv Tuner had every number covered on their bingo card would they know enough to speak? No, I don’t think so either. Sherm Lewis, you deserve a shot in this NFL. As for Philly – thanks a lot. You knobs forced me out of every suicide pool I was in last week. I hope you choke on that canoe full of potato skins, Andy Reid. Pick: Philly.