21 November, 2008


November 20th, 2003

(oops, I’m LATE!)

I’m almost convinced that the fortunes of Jake Delhomme and I are linked in this obscene karmatic twist. When he sucks, my picks suck. When he’s on, I’m on. So I’m prepared to be mediocre this week. We are now well into the month of separation in the league, when the pretenders meet their doom; the contenders make their statements, and the bottom feeders play for jobs and draft picks. There are 6 PIVOTAL games this week, and I soldier on, despite falling into sub-500 territory now. Before I pick, I’ll now introduce the playoff status for all teams NOT eliminated.









The elitist bastards at the NFL Network offer us up a matchup that appeals only to fans, unlike last week’s tremendous BRETS/PATSY tilt. And I’m guessing it’s appealing to Squealer fans only. Somehow, Pissburgh is keeping Big Ben upright and in the game, but I’m convinced their poor pass protection will be their undoing at some point this season, despite the ferocious D. It’s good to see that the Bungles continue to fight on despite their record, but they’re not good enough to dent the Squealers on this night. There really isn’t any jeopardy for the Squealer’s playoff machine with a loss, but Tomilin will have his boys motivated for this one. The line’s rather large at 10, but Pissburgh’s got something to say about scoring a measly 11 points on the Chargers. I’m taking the Squealers and the –10 points.

This game will be played for pride only, as there is pretty much no realistic shot for either team to make the postseason. Brownie Nation is now officially ready to divorce Derek Anderson and walk down the aisle with Brady Quinn. Truth be told, he’s actually looked like a first-round draft pick in the past two games, and the teams’ rallied around him. They played a terrific road game against the Bills this week, and I got a feeling they’ll continue to improve through the remainder of the season, albeit much, much, too late. While the Texans showed some moxie in playing Indy tough last week, I think the Brownies continue to evolve into Brady’s Bunch. I’m leaning to the Brownies and the –3 points.

The Brownie’s defeated and demoralized opponent goes into what may be their last gasp in their playoff derby. The Bills played good enough to win, DESPITE the horrific turnovers by Edwards, but were punished ONCE AGAIN by a kick gone WIDE RIGHT. That was a game they HAD to have, and like the Eagles last week, they will go into this game deflated against an inferior opponent. Here’s another angle- Larry Johnson will probably be back for this game, and to Herm Edwards’ credit, the Chefs continue to fight and play football. I’m sure LJ’s return pumps the team up, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Chefs win, and make the AFC East race a little simpler. Beefalo’s favoured by -3, but I’m leaning to the Chefs in this one.

This is the first of the BIG SIX for the week. The BRETS are coming in jacked up having dispatched the Pastry-Rots last week, and are playing some outstanding football. Jenkins continues to be a one-man wrecking crew on defense, and will provide the stiffest test for the Titans so far this year. If there ever was a game this season where Fisher’s fellers could fail, this would be it. Tennessee will play this game for keeps, I guarantee it, but so will The BRETS. I doubt the running game for either team will be particularly productive, and the better passer will be victorious. Uh, that would be Brett. A loss does virtually nothing to the Titans in the playoff sweepstakes, and that influences my pick, because getting these guys motivated will be getting harder and harder until the playoffs begin, as the home field is practically guaranteed. A loss by the BRETS gives some juice to the Pastry-Rots and Dolphins. Gimme the B*R*E*T*S and the +5.

This is the second of the BIG SIX games. At this time of year, a game in Dolphins stadium is a delightfully warm break from the brutal chill of the Northeast. Matt Cassel is playing his way to a big payday from a QB-starved NFL team, if not the Patsies. While their defense is not playing particularly well, the offense is now clicking. The Dolphins, on the other hand, have seriously underachieved against the bottom-feeding Seadawgs and Schraiders. Perhaps they’ve been looking past these two to this game. Great news, Team of Tuna-
You finally get to play the Pastry-Rots this Sunday! Don’t think they’ve forgotten the pasting they took at home to your “Wildcat” play. They might not be able to defend it STILL, but they’ll be a little more prepared. I’m expecting fireworks in this game, and might be the most entertaining contest of the day. A loss for NewEnglandland is crippling, because their remaining schedule is tougher than Miami’s. This will be a day for the Pastry-Rots, who are a +2 point underdog.

Samurai’s Niners take their one-game winning streak to the resurgent (barely) Cowpuppies who got a little better by beating the Deadskins in DC. Since Singletary and his old-school bluster took over the team, they have responded to him, and I think they bring their best game to Texas this weekend. I’m not convinced the Cowbabies are back to power team status, and this game will bear it out. The Phoney-Niners have nothing to lose, and will probably make their season by beating Dallas. A loss for the Cowbabies will hurt, but won’t be fatal this week. SanFran’ll come close. Gimme the Niners and the +11 points to put a little scare into Dallas.

At some point, The Lie-uns are gonna beat someone this season. This is about as good a chance as they are going to get- The Bucs have lost Earnest Graham for the season, and while they get Cadillac Williams back for this game, he’s NOT in football shape. Give the Motor City Misfits credit- they are still “swinging their sword” and showed it last week against Carolina. I’m wondering if Daunte Culpepper doesn’t present a matchup problem? How I’d absolutely LOVE to see the Lions get their first win here! Not likely, but Tampa Bay came perilously close to losing to the Chefs on the road. Just a hunch, but I’m thinking the Lie-uns cover this week. My pick might be tinged with a bit of homerisim, as there’s really no doubt Tampa will win, but I’ll take the Leos and those +8 ½ points.

I knew for all of the carnage I’d endured last week that I’d be right about one thing- The Iggles would lay a big dodo egg at Cincinattah, and they didn’t disappoint. What WAS astounding, and in a bad way, was the fact that Donavan McSnabb had NO CLUE an NFL game could end in a tie. This lack of attention to detail has been plaguing the Boids for years, and now it threatens to undo them. The Ravens were soundly whooped by the G’ints last week, and may have been exposed defensively. Fortunately for them, the running game that crushed them doesn’t exist in Philthy, so they can blitz McSnabb to their hearts content. The tie for Philthy was every bit as bad as a loss, and one more loss might be it for the Fleagle’s playoff chances. I’m leanin’ to the Ravens and the –1 ½ points.

Let’s make it official. The Lambs have given up on Jimmy Haslett. Their play over the last few weeks has certified the interim coaches’ exit from the team. And let’s make another thing official. DaBears’ defense is AVERAGE. Possibly BELOW average. Wont’ matter in this game. DaBears have GOTTA have this one. Expect Orton to ‘eer SEVERAL ‘Oo’s in this game. No problem for DaBears giving up the –8 ½ points this Sunday.

This could be the last chance for the Vikings to keep up in the divisional chase, and their second consecutive trip to Florida. While the warm weather is obviously welcome for a cold-weather team, the Jags still have a little bit of pride left, and would love to take the Vikes down with them. I’d expect a HUGE dose of AP to beat up the Jag’s D, but if the league decides to suspend the 3 core defensive linemen of the Vikings, the game tilts in favour of the Jag-you-whyers. Roger Goodell has shown himself to be a hard-ass in his ruling on league violations, so I’m guessing the suspensions go down. And so will Mini-Soda. And so will their playoff chances. I’m leaning to the Jags and the –2 ½ points.

This is the THIRD of the BIG SIX games this week. This at first seemed to me to be a tough game to call, but seeing how they were flat out-coached by the Broncoids leads me to think that the ‘Cats should enjoy even more success against the team that has given them nightmares in the past. The Panther’s D is starting to peak at the right time, as is the running game. Two names are coming to me that make a huge difference in this game- Julius Peppers and DeAngelo Williams. I’m anticipating game-dominating performances from these two. Another angle- Top defensive tackle for the Duckies, Grady Jackson, is in the same boat (Pun INTENDED) with the Vikings players in the substance abuse issue. I would expect a VERY heavy dose of Stewilliams in this game, and so will the Duckies, who are in the bottom part of the league standings against the run. Without Jackson to help against the run, there might be another BIG ground game for the ‘Cats. Problem is, which Jake shows up? I’m not sure it matters for this game, so I’m relegating that to MINOR problem. I’ve got a really good feeling about this game since Denver managed to expose them. The Panthers are on a mission, and the Duckies are a mere speed bump. Duckies, the league was pullin’ for you, but we’ll see you next year. Wrong team favoured here. Take the Panthers and the +1.

Here’s a pair of teams with a very contentious history. There’s no need to motivate either to play this game, because they TRULY hate each other. This might be one of the leagues’ bitterest rivalries. Shanahan is starting to figure out what he has for the rest of the season and is making the most of it, much to my surprise, because I never gave them the credit. The Schraiders are playin’ out the string, but they’ll want to at least be competetive. Too bad they won’t be able to. I don’t think this game is even close. Denver will want to put some distance between them and the Chargers, and this will be a splendid opportunity to do it. As I’ve said again and again, if you are playing for a championship, THIS IS A GAME YOU MUST WIN! Gimme the Broncoids and the –9 ½ points.

The Fredskins took a hit from Dallas last week, but here’s a chance for them to get back into the front of the playoff chase. The SeaDawgs will be playing in a stadium full of dispassionate fans, used to seeing this team compete for playoff positioning, and not draft positioning. The ForeSkins actually played well until the second half, when stopping Marion Barber became a problem. The SeaDawgs have no such athlete, or no such offensive line. Even without Clinton Portis, the DeadSkins should have little trouble moving the ball on these guys, and should have little trouble stopping their meager offensive attack. I like the FredSkins and the –3 ½ points.

Here’s BIG GAME #4. This is a HUGE statement game more than it is for playoff positioning. Both teams are guaranteed at LEAST one home playoff game- Of course, they are playing for more than that- And oddly enough, a loss doesn’t jeopardize that for the G’ints. But the Cardy-Noles would love to show the nation that they belong with the elite of the conference. They came close against the Panthers, but came up short. Here’s an opportunity for them to make themselves legitimate. This just in- Battering ram Brandon Jacobs has a sprained knee and will be OUT for this game- The G’ints DO have two other great backs, but if Arid-Zona manages to blunt the run game even slightly, they give themselves a chance. It’s also IMPERATIVE that they keep the G’ints’ formidable pass rush off Warner long enough to find that AWESOME trio of receivers. If they do, they have a serious chance to upset the NFC’s frontrunner. I think they do it. Gimme the Cards and the +3.

This is BIG GAME #5 in the BIG SIX sextet of games for the week. The Colts, given up for DEAD three weeks ago, have managed to play themselves into decent playoff positioning. The Chargers, on the other hand, have played themselves into the brink of elimination. A loss to Indy will pretty much do it, as catching Denver will be their only chance to get to the postseason. They know it, the fans know it, and this game will be hard-hitting and desperate for both teams. What they will have to do is try to create mis-matches on the line on offense as so to help LT create big gains on the ground, and keeping the ball out of Peyton’s hands, who is at last finding his footing this season. It’s the Bolts’ last best chance – after this, three of their last six remaining games are against contenders, and they CANNOT afford a loss. I just think Indy has more to play for, and they’re getting good at the right time. They put Sad Diego out of their misery this Sunday Night. COLTS and the +3.

Monday night brings us the final BIG GAME in the SERIOUS SEXTET for the week. This is desperation time for the Saints. A loss here, and they are done. And Green Bay knows a wild card spot is out of the question, and they have two tough games against Carolina and Chicago coming up. I have a feeling this will be one HELL of a shoot out between Rogers and Brees. Forget T.O., get your popcorn ready for THIS one. The Saints might be without some stalwarts, particularly Duce McCallister because of the illegal substance stink, if Goodell rules against the dozen or so players being investigated. Won’t be good for the Saints. I’m leanin’ to the Packers and the +2 ½.

We’re getting into the best part of the regular season, when we start getting into elimination games. And it’s awesome when OUR team is actually one of the most relevant ones.

I just wish I didn’t suck at handicapping games this year…

Last week- yeeeeeechhhhh!!! 6-10

Season- 62-64

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