Week 11: “Hey man, want some corn?”
My ineptitude has clearly reached carrying capacity. There’s no way for me to claw my way to the top of the standings in the remaining weeks, so I’m going to offer some transparency this week as a cry for help.
This week, instead of telling you that I saw Jack Del Rio throwing his own feces or that Brian Billick masturbates in front of a mirror, I’m going to develop a lucid rationale for predicting a winner in each game and then clearly explain it to you, the hopelessly lost reader.
(Note: this week I am writing the introduction – this part – before writing the picks section, so I am yet unsure what I will write about the individual games. However, it should be noted that my pseudo-academic dissertations on this week’s matchups may be much funnier than the things I normally write with the intent of making someone laugh.)
Then, after the games have been played, there will be a decisive record on the mindset that led me to predict the wrong outcome in approximately 75% of them. And I freely invite any recommendations and admonishments, as long as you don’t talk about my momma.
If this drastic step doesn’t lead to some tangible improvements in my NFL prognostication skills, I will have to admit that either (1) NFL results are essentially as random as the roll of a die, or (2) my once sharp mind has atrophied to such an extent that its capacity is not dissimilar to that of a large gourd, and that perhaps I would be well served to attach strings to my teeth so someone could play my head like an African kora.
Now, onward and further downward with the picks. But first, a reminder that tha Dirt Dog is not one to be fucked wiff.
Also: R.I.P. Vincent Edward “Bo” Schembechler.
Atlanta at Baltimore
Atlanta’s defensive injuries have clearly taken a toll, the raw numbers bear out that their running game isn’t close to where it was last year (has Dunn finally hit the wall… in a contract year?), and the game’s in Baltimore. Pretty easy.
Buffalo at Houston
Both of these teams have awful records, but are moving in opposite directions. Houston’s defense appears to be improving significantly, and they’ve recently had some close losses and a win at Jacksonville. Buffalo’s offense hasn’t been able to get out of its own way in weeks, and J.P. Losman looks terrible. Plus, the game’s in Houston. Again, pretty easy.
Chicago at New York Jets
The Jets have been playing over their heads, but I can’t imagine they can beat the Bears unless Rex Grossman totally stinks up the place.
Cincinnati at New Orleans
Cincinnati has regressed in too many ways to count, partially because of injuries. The O-line and linebackers are all shot to hell and both cornerbacks seem to have regressed. New Orleans has had a sharp, consistent, relatively mistake-free offense, and now has en estimable home-field advantage.
Pick: New Orleans
Indianapolis at Dallas
Many writers and pundits are picking the Cowboys to win this game based on the rationale that the Colts just gotta lose sometime. That doesn’t wash. The Colts have problems with 3-4 defenses, but generally teams run that defense because they’ve got players who suit it (or in the case of the Chargers, because they have a defensive coordinator who’s mastered it); the Cowboys, however, pulled the decision to run a 3-4 directly out of The CarTuna’s enormous ass. And now Greg Ellis is out for the season. Although Dallas’ cornerbacks are excellent, I think Peyton Manning can carve up the safeties and the Cowboys won’t be able to get enough pressure on Manning.
Minnesota at Miami
Minnesota is moving backwards in a hurry. Brad Johnson is turning the ball over, their O-line isn’t anywhere near as good as most people thought it’d be, and they’re not running the ball well. Meanwhile, Miami has finally sorted out its offensive line, which is allowing Ronnie Brown to put up the type of numbers his skills would indicate. (Seriously. He’s really good.) However, the Vikings have a great run defense. (Take the under.) I’m figuring Miami’s defense will be able to force a couple turnovers and squeak one out at home.
New England at Green Bay
It’s very tempting to pick Green Bay here, as they have shown a huge amount of improvement in their offensive line and defensive front seven since the start of the season, but I just can’t imagine that the Pats would lose three in a row and imperil their division lead. Then again, I wrote just a week ago that Bill Belichick has lost his mind.
Pick: New England
Oakland at Kansas City
Oakland has a legendarily bad offense, no matter who is at QB. Kansas City is only gonna need about 7 points here, and I figure Larry Johnson’s good for that, even with Tony Gonzalez out. Welcome back, Trent Green.
Pick: Kansas City
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
I’m really feeling an upset here. Pittsburgh was a Saints fumble away from overtime last week, Polamalu is out and the rest of their secondary has been weak this year, they’re not getting anywhere near the pass rush they were getting last year, and their offensive line is looking old all of a sudden. However, Charlie Frye still stinks, Cleveland’s top umpteen cornerbacks are all injured, and Pittsburgh is playing with a general intensity level that would suggest they still have a chance to make the playoffs.
St Louis at Carolina
Rams go boom. Good luck carried them for the first few weeks, but now it’s obvious they have no defense whatsoever, and it’s tough to roll with the Rams on the road, even though they’re not the same stereotypical “dome team” they used to be.
Tennessee at Philadelphia
Check the NFL statistical rankings: Philadelphia, first in everything; Tennessee, last in everything. (Note: I’m oversimplifying things a little.)
Washington at Tampa Bay
Welcome to the NFL, Jason Campbell. Have fun without Clinton Portis and Santana Moss. Still, this is yet another “inadvertent rebuilding year” for the Bucs, and they’re just totally wretched. Gradkowski has been horrible the past couple of games. I’m thinking the Skins empty the chamber to get a win in Campbell’s first start. They can still pound the ball with Betts and Duckett.
Detroit at Arizona
If not for some defensive injuries, the Lions would be looking like a pretty decent team right now. Jon Kitna has a somewhat reasonable chance to throw for 4,000 yards this season. Arizona just has absolutely nothing going for it right now.
Seattle at San Francisco
San Francisco is making some strides on defense now, but Seattle is just a much better team. It doesn’t even matter how healthy Shaun Alexander is. Maurice Morris has turned out to be OK.
San Diego at Denver
San Diego -- and specifically LaDainian Tomlinson -- has always had a huge amount of difficulty playing in Denver. And they’ve gotta be spent after last week’s frantic comeback. I’m not liking Denver’s running game right now with Tatum Bell banged up, but Merriman and Castillo are still out for San Diego, and it’s usually a good idea to go with Denver at home.
New York Turds Double Turds Double Farts Giants at Jacksonville (plus total points)
For some reason, coach/simpleton Jack Del Rio always has his team playing at a high level in national TV games, which is pretty much the opposite of the Giants (see last week’s El Foldo against the Bears). Despite a ton of injuries, the Jax defense has been playing well, and they’ve gotta be sore after getting beaten by Houston. (Remember, the last time they were coming off a Houston loss, their defense totally neutered the Eagles.)
Pick: Jacksonville, 17-11 or thereabouts