Alternate Viewing Guide: Thanksgiving Edition.

In Case You Are Sick of Football AND The Godfather Trilogy.

In Case You Are Sick of Football AND The Godfather Trilogy.

Certain people feel obligated to watch football on Thanksgiving.  Maybe it is some high school rivalry game they’ve been to for the last 30 years, maybe it’s the NFL, but football has branded itself with Thanksgiving.  So, you’ll probably end up watching a bit even if you think football is dumb and “don’t really get the rules.”  Of course, not all Thanksgiving football slates are made equal, and this year feels especially repulsive.  Green Bay at Detroit should have been the game of the day, but with no Aaron Rodgers, it loses a lot of its appeal.  It still might be the best contest, though, as Dallas/Oakland should be ugly and Baltimore/Pittsburgh is about two years past its expiration date.  I strongly encourage you to follow the advice below if can’t stomach another second of football.  For the sake of originality, I will not list the Godfather this year.  Just know that it’s going to be on.  Probably all day.

12:00-1:00 PM–The National Dog Show, NBC

As you probably read I went to this event a couple of weeks back and now is your chance to not see me on television. Despite my offer, I was not asked to sit-in as a guest commentator.  Starting at 12:30, football is going to be on for about 10 straight hours, so this will get you in the proper, competitive frame of mind.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Dr. Phil, OWN.  Dr. Phil is the absolute worst.

1:00-2:00 PM–Wild Russia, Animal Planet

Judging by the description, this is an hour of watching Polar Bears.  If you need more enticement than that, you are probably dead inside.  If all animals were able to domesticated, and could live comfortably, and you know…not accidentally maul you to death, a polar bear would be in my top-5 of animals to just have “around.”

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Keeping Up With the Kardashians, E!  I’m not above reality TV, but I’m above this.

2:00-3:00 PM–Cliffhanger, Sundance

Of all of the implausible roles that Sly Stallone played (Rambo, Rocky, Demolition Man) and of all the ridiculous things those characters pulled off, I’m not sure that there is anything more ridiculous than Sylvester Stallone: Rock Climber.  Just an amazingly horrible and watchable film.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Top 100 House Party Songs Part 9, Fuse.  You’d probably be lost if you missed the first 8 parts.

3:00-4:00 PM–Family Feud, Game Show Network

I’m assuming this is classic Feud and not Steve Harvey Feud.  If you don’t see Richard Dawson, turn back to Cliffhanger.  Dawson was a perverted master.  He’ll kiss you, ON THE MOUTH, at any moment.  Let it happen.  Also, the Feud is great for sporadic attention spans and audience participation.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Star Trek Next Generation, BBC.  I’d love to hear a defense of any Star Trek vehicle.  Just kidding.

4:00-5:00 PM–Property Brothers, HGTV

Who doesn’t love the property brothers?  I’m sure this show is a total scam, but it feels like the show to get on, because they get you a good deal on a house and then they renovate the damn thing for you.  All you have to do is waffle on a few decisions and act exasperated a few times.  Sign me up.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Beverly Hills, 90210, Soap.  Not on the Pilgrims’ Day.

5:00-6:00 PM–The World Series Of Poker, ESPN

Dinner should be over, people should be getting sleepy and/or tipsy, it’s the perfect time get the juices flowing for some games of chance.  It isn’t a holiday without some cutthroat family game time.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Sponge Bob Squarepants, Nick.  Isn’t everyone’s kid watching this crap on their iPads at this point?  Free up the TV.

6:00-7:00 PM–Pawn Stars, History

You just won all that money off your family, how about a Civil War belt buckle to complete your collection.  I’ve been through a Pawn Stars phase, a Storage Wars phase, an American Pickers phase and a Duck Dynasty phase.  Pawn Stars seems to have the longest shelf life.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: The Andy Griffith Show, TV Land.  Your parents will defend Andy Griffith like you’ll defend Seinfeld in 20 years.

7:00-8:00 PM–Con Air, Random Cinemax.

I took a bit of a shot at Stallone earlier, of course some of Nic Cage’s roles make Sly look like Daniel Day Lewis. There’s plenty to love here, from the ridiculous premise, to the horrible Cage accent, but Thanksgiving is a time for nostalgia.  Remember when Nic Cage was a movie star?  Remember when you saw horsebleep like this in the theater?

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Reba, CMT.  I’m mostly against genre crossover.  Singers sing/actors act, etc.

8:00-9:00 PM–Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, ABC.

You know, unless you don’t love America.

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch: Billy Madison, IFC.  Someone’s got to say it–Billy Madison isn’t funny anymore.  Sorry.

9:00-10:00 PM–Friday Night Lights, ESPN Classic.

I think I would actually rather watch this movie (for the 9th or 10th time) than the Steelers and Ravens play live. Even though I know that Mojo isn’t going to get in on that last drive against Dallas Carter, part of me thinks this could be the year?

Under No Circumstances Should You Watch:  Glee, Fox.  People that like Glee don’t even like Glee anymore, right?

***

Ok, that takes you to 10 pm.  At that point you should be pulling down the covers and calling it a night.  Or having a conversation with your granny, or eating your 22nd piece of pie–just no more TV.  We’ll see you Friday, Happy Thanksgiving.

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Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

How Cumbersome is The Head Sock?

How Cumbersome is The Head Sock?

I think a little too much is being made of the Peyton Manning cold weather issue.  The guy looked fine on the TD drive in the 4th quarter.  If anything, the cold just makes Peyton look like more of a goof.  Lumbering around even more, the full head turtleneck, it’s all a bit ridiculous.  I’m sure he doesn’t love sub-zero wind chills, but I don’t think that was the game.  The game was the avalanche of fumbles that went one way and then the other.  They very nearly tied, were headed toward a tie, until that final “muff.”  It was a hell of a game though–assuming you were watching indoors.

The only other thing I have to say this week is that I have probably neglected trashing the AFC this year as my scorn has mostly been focused on the NFC East.  Right now, a 5-6 team makes the AFC playoffs.  The Browns, Bills, and Raiders are all 4-7 and could argue that they are in the playoff hunt.  Also, the Texans have lost 9 in a row.  How were they ever 2-0?  And, they might be the worst team in the entire league.  So, hooray AFC.

***

NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 35-23-2
  2. Grossy, 34-23-3
  3. Big Dub, 32-25-3
  4. Nichols, 28-30-2
  5. DC, 27-29-4
  6. JCK, 26-33-1

***

The “Two Days ‘Til Mashed Potatoes” Pick of the Week: Kraft (Jacksonville +10)

I made up some ground on Kraft this week, but might have passed him entirely without this gem.  It really was an incredible line.  The Texans had lost 8 games in a row.  They were playing a QB with no career wins.  The only thing they had going for them was they were at home.  2013 Home Record: 1-5.  And somehow the Jags were still getting 10 points.  It really is remarkable.  More remarkable than that massive line earlier this year in Seattle, I think.  Anyway, if one person is going to have their finger on the pulse of the Jags and really the entire AFC South–It’s Kraft.  He loves that slop.

The “Green Bean Cassa-vomit” Awful Pick of the Week:  Various (Colts +2.5)

This was a big, old Cardinals line.  And, look at those Cardinals–sitting pretty at 7-4.  Do not underestimate the NFC West.  On one hand you could say, what is wrong with the Colts?  But, it’s pretty obvious isn’t it?  They have the worst running game in the league.  “Touch Yourself” Hilton does not have the Reggie Wayne security blanket and that means they are going to struggle to score points, especially against a defense as good as Arizona’s.  Their own defense on the other hand is quite poor.  After flip-flopping several times, it’s most certainly NOT Indy’s year.  And, what’s wrong with the Colts?  They were underdogs against Arizona.  That’s all you need to know.

***

3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Kase Ceenum!

Check out the D.A. page.  Updated standings, with point totals.  It’s closer than a fat man’s belt to the steering wheel. And a really nice effort by Kase Ceenum.  It’s about time.  Also, what’s going on with that Are Gee Three?

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Seattle, 10-1.  Looking Great on the Bye-Week.
  2. New Orleans, 9-2.  NFC Bias.
  3. New England, 8-3.  Less Fumbles Please.
  4. Denver, 9-2.  Showed some flaws in New England.
  5. Kansas City, 9-2.  Pass Rush Down.  Not good.
  6. Carolina, 8-3.  By Default. Not this good.
  7. Arizona, 7-4. Might Kill the Eagles.
  8. San Francisco, 7-4. Needs to Beat a Good Team.
  9. Dallas, 6-5.  We Left Actual Good Teams Long Ago.
  10. Philadelphia, 6-5.  High Water Mark?

Week 12 NFL Picks.

Need Some Genius In These Picks.

Need Some Genius In These Picks.

I really did a lot of dipsh*t things as a kid.  Not necessarily dangerous, or harmful, but really odd as hell.  One of the weirdest?  I would occasionally wear a shower cap.  We had a polka dot shower cap in the bathroom, one of those random items in a vanity, or linen closet that just appears out of nowhere.  You don’t have a fully stocked bathroom unless you have a shower cap. Perhaps this is something you learned from hotel rooms in the 80s?  I’m not sure.  Anyway, there was NEVER any reason for me to wear the shower cap.  I wasn’t protecting a perm.  I wasn’t even particularly interested in keeping my hair dry.  I’d often take the shower cap off mid-shower and proceed as normal.  I was just being a dipsh*t in a shower cap.  Moving on…

Week 12 Beer:  Evil Genius Brewing Evil Eye PA

We’re back after a one week hiatus with a new beer. This time from local brewery, Evil Genius.  Saw this at good old Wegmans for the first time and decided to give it a shot.  This despite Celebration Ale being out–so expectations were high.

Am I sorry I didn’t get Sierra–Pretty Much.

I wanted to like this beer.  It’s local.  I consider myself a bit of a genius.  So, special connection.  And, I was actually pretty excited when I poured the beer into a glass, but then I remembered that amber color looks a lot better than it tastes.  I don’t know that this is a bad beer as much as it doesn’t really remind you of a traditional IPA, or APA.  As I skimmed through some reviews, several beer asshats talked about the excessive maltiness, and I assume this is what was turning me off.  I’ll drink them, but a bit of a swing and a miss this week.  Brewing beer not as easy as it looks.

Top 10 to Date:

  1. The Alchemist–Heady Topper
  2. Southern Tier 2X IPA
  3. Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
  4. Shed IPA
  5. Bell’s Midwestern Pale Ale
  6. Casco Bay IPA
  7. Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA
  8. Evil Genius Brewing Evil Eye PA
  9. Deschutes Brewery IPA
  10. Otter Creek Hop Session Ale

Winning Bets, Please….

***

Kraft, 33-20-2

  1. Indianapolis (+2.5) ovcr Arizona
  2. Jacksonville (+10) over Houston
  3. Denver (-2.5) over New England
  4. Kansas City (-4.5) over San Diego
  5. Tampa Bay (+9) over Detroit

***

DC, 25-26-4

Chicago (+1) over St. Louis.  Both of these teams are flawed and really no result here would surprise me, but I think Chicago is generally the better team at this point and wins the game more often than not.

Baltimore (-3.5) over New York Jets.  Another D.A. Hall of Fame performance leaves the Jets floundering and Rex Ryan back on the hot seat.

Indianapolis (+2.5) over Arizona.  Again, as between flawed teams, Indy wins this game more often than not.

Denver (-2.5) over New England.  Obviously, can’t wait for this game, but Denver has advantages almost everywhere on the field, and I think this line is a little low.  4.5 points and I would think about going the other way.  Denver, 31-27.

Pittsburgh (+1.5) over Cleveland.  If Pittsburgh wins this game they are kinda, sorta in decent position to make a run at a wild-card spot.

***

JCK, 24-30-1

  1. Kansas City (-4.5) over San Diego
  2. Pittsburgh (-1.5) over Cleveland
  3. Chicago (+1) over St. Louis
  4. San Francisco (-6) over Washington
  5. Indianapolis (+2.5) over Arizona

***

Grossy, 30-22-3

Miami (+4.5) over Carolina.  Standard letdown scenario.  I really have a Panthers stink bomb in my mind.  So much that I’m probably not going to start Cam Newton in fantasy.  That’s serious business.  But really, the Panthers and Ron Don Rivera are just not good enough to cruise into the playoffs without a hiccup.  It gets ugly on South Beach.

Baltimore (-3.5) over New York Jets.  Is there a pattern to Geno Smith’s performances?  I can’t imagine that on the road in Baltimore is a spot where he figures it out again.  Ray Rice goes back to sucking, but the Ravens go ahead and pull this one out.  Hopefully by about 4 points–or more.

St. Louis (-1) over Chicago.  The Rams have screwed me on multiple occasions this year already.  This is where I flip and probably still lose.  I can’t even put into words how much I hate the lines this week, but we’re committed for five picks.  My reasoning here is if Ray Rice runs for 100 yards against Chicago then Zac “Morris” Stacy is going to look like Eric Dickerson. Go ahead and throw on a pair of goggles.  He’s going for 2 bills.

New England (+2.5) over Denver.  Looks too easy for Denver.  New England banged up, Welker returns, Peyton in Prime Time–etc.  But, this is THE GAME for New England this year.  Brady probably hates Manning more than the refs and remember–the Broncos can’t stop anyone.  Take the home team.

New York Giants (-2.5) over Dallas.  Feels right.  These teams have played some really ugly games recently.  Eli actually looks like a professional QB against Dallas’ secondary.  The G-Men are back rolling.  They stink, but they’re rolling.

 ***

Nichols, 25-29-2

  1. Pittsburgh (+1.5) over Cleveland
  2. Tennessee (-1) over Oakland
  3. New York Giants (-2.5) over Dallas
  4. San Francisco (-6) over Washington

Tuesday Evening Self-Esteem Check.

Tom, The Blog, Not Happy With Mr. Whistle.

Tom, The Blog, Not Happy With Mr. Whistle.

I don’t have a ton of time to throw this together tonight.  Already a good bit behind schedule.  Perhaps it is a good thing.  Not a great week for picking games.  It sure would have been nice to get that Patriots cover last night.  The shame is, the game played out kind of how I expected.  I wasn’t thinking blowout, but I thought New England could win, would find a way to win.  They were right on the verge.  Anyway, still 30 games left to pick (a lifetime), but dreams of 65% or winning the Super Contest next year are starting to fade away…

NFL Pick ‘Em Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 33-20-1
  2. Big Dub, 31-21-3
  3. Grossy, 30-22-3
  4. DC, 25-26-4
  5. Nichols, 25-28-2
  6. JCK, 24-30-1

***

The “Sean Bradley Triple Pocket Jort,” Pick of the Week:  Big Dub/Nichols (Tampa +1.5)

You would think someone who has hated on the Falcons so much recently would have had this game, but what happens is there are some weeks where I like more than 5 games and some get left off the sheet.  That happened this week and I certainly regret it and am envious of the wisdom displayed by these two.  I think we’ve finally seen the end of Atlanta getting the benefit of the doubt?  Will the lines start to reflect them being 2-8 now?  Has everyone decided they aren’t going to snap out of it?  If they play Jacksonville tomorrow, who is favored?  They just got blown out by Tampa.  Maybe the Jags look feisty in that matchup.  Anyway, I’d expect the Falcons to continue to be a popular fade.

The “Sean Bradley’s Jort Tailor,” Awful Pick of the Week:  Kraft (Jets +1) 

Sometimes I go for faulty rationale, other times I just go for games that didn’t even get close to covering.  The required line for this game would have been NYJ +23.5.  When the Bills cover by three touchdowns, obviously something has gone terribly wrong.  What might have Kraft been forgetting?  The Jets could be on a–get blown out, win inexplicably, get blown out see-saw right now?  Rex hates Buffalo since he got his stomach stapled?  I don’t know…

***

The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Seattle, 10-1.  Am I worried about them winning the Super Bowl yet?
  2. Denver, 9-1.  Nice solid win, but more tests coming.
  3. Kansas City, 9-1.  Needs to adapt in two weeks time to prove themselves legit.
  4. New Orleans, 8-2.  Has to figure out how to get home field.
  5. Carolina, 7-3.  Six straight wins.  High-Water Mark.
  6. New England, 7-3.  Need more big plays.
  7. Indianapolis, 7-3.  Need a blowout to regain rhythm.
  8. Cincinnati, 7-4.  Atop an ugly division.
  9. Philadelphia, 6-5.  Atop an uglier division.
  10. San Francisco, 6-4.  Floundering–again.

At The National Dog Show.

Where is Busy Bee?

Where is Busy Bee?

I went to the National Dog Show this weekend, which shouldn’t be confused with the Westminster Dog Show, but instead is the dog show that your aunt will be watching on Thanksgiving before you rip the remote from her hand and put on the Lions game.  Follow all that?  Great.

I imagine the large majority of people out there have not had the opportunity to attend a dog show, but it really is almost exactly like the movie Best in Show.  I’m not even sure that movie qualifies as parody.  Aside from all the handlers having a right AND a left foot, the dog show related details in the film are all quite accurate.

Dog show people are crazy in that obsessed, yet not totally endearing way that you see with most niche fascinations. And, going to the dog show was an intense experience because you have the common folk walking around saying things like, “look a Lassie dog,” mixed in with someone blow drying a dog’s tail while it stands on a specially designed grooming table that may cost more than the groomer’s car.

Anyway, I’m not going to spoil which breed won the show, and actually I have no idea who won.  The results are either closely guarded or people don’t care enough to make them public before Thanksgiving.  But, we only saw one group final and a bunch of preliminary stuff.  Some dog show thoughts–in case you ever go.

1. Some of the dog owners are very nice, some cannot be bothered at all, and others are blossoming egomaniacs?  Oh, US?  We’re just waiting around for best in breed.  Yep, thanks, thanks for asking.  (No one asked).

2. The dogs, on the other hand, seem to all be extremely friendly and well-behaved.  I didn’t see a single unsuspecting toddler lose a grubby finger.

3.  It’s a bit of a low-budget affair.  There is a misconception among some people that there is big money in raising dogs and showing them, kind of like racehorses, and those people are wrong.  I’m fairly sure the winner of the dog show gets a trophy, a lot of personal validation and a coupon to Cracker Barrel.  This ain’t the Kentucky Derby.  And, that shows in the “outer rings” that are nothing more than squares outlined in collapsible “fencing.”  The areas where the dogs have to wait things out are also quite cramped.  Even the “tv ring,” is a lot smaller than it appears on television with fewer seats available than your average high school gym.

4. I learned that not all the best dogs go to all the big shows.  It’s sometimes better to win a smaller show than to get bested against tougher competition.  This, of course, does not matter to the casual spectator who is not interested in seeing Grand Champion English Tom’s Muffins–they just want to see whatever kind of dog they have.

5. The guy who announces the show really is the best.  Is he reading off a script?  Does he get bored describing the same breeds every year?  “The Appalachian Squirrel Terrier originated in Western Virginia in the 1830s and quickly developed a reputation among moonshiners as a loyal and easily trained tracker of small game.  In the years since, as demand for squirrel meat has rapidly declined, the Appalachian Squirrel Terrier has found a niche a docile lap dog.  This is Appalachian Squirrel Terrier…Number 27.”

6.  The handlers wear terrible outfits.  There are a lot of suits (on the ladies w/skirts) that seem salvaged from the nineties.  Apparently being a handler requires you to wear something that accentuates your upper arms.  Think shoulder pads or poofy sleeves.  If you took all the dogs out of the room you might think, “oh, hilarious–90s prom party.”  Also, all these women wear grandma sneakers and trot around the ring.  It’s spectacular.

7. Speaking of clothing. I thought I’d see more air-brushing.  I thought there would be an air-brushing station where you could get your dog sprayed onto your jean jacket, but I saw nothing of the sort.

8.  Someone streaked right between the Schipperke and the Keeshond.  I’m joking, but that would have been wild, right?

9.  Aside from the main show ring there were two massive crowds.  One around the ring where the golden retrievers were showing and another around the booth selling dog treats.  I’m serious, the dog treat booth was like stock exchange scene in Trading Places.

10.  There were no puppies for sale.  Thankfully, because you might have left there with a dog.

Week 11 NFL Picks.

Is it Skunked, Or Is That Just How it Tastes?

Is it Skunked, Or Is That Just How it Tastes?

I did not try a new beer this week.  I’m embarrassed.  What can I say?  Instead of lying about it, though, I’m just going to be honest and skip a week.  Instead I’ll try to stick with the beer theme and trace my journey to Sierra Nevada devotee.  It was a quick, intoxicated road through a lot of mediocre beer.  I’ll try to be brief.

Early College: Early on in college I drank almost exclusively light beer.  This was due to availability and necessity. Drinking games require a certain “lightness,” unless you are a deeply sick individual.  When I wasn’t slogging through Keystone and Natty I developed what I thought was a taste for Michelob Light.  Very Odd.  There was also one frat that served Yuengling to the special party guests, which made me think Yuengling was special, when in fact, it’s swill.

Brief St. Pauli Girl Phase:  Was it the bottle?  Was it my desire to get a neon beer sign and be that cliche?  Who knows. It was so long ago now, but I remember being irrationally excited about St. Pauli Girl and showing it off like it was a fine wine when I had a case.

Big Heineken:  I went in hard for Heineken.  Look at that star on the green bottle.  Beauty.  I was a huge Heineken fan and actually defended it against people who complained about the taste.  Senior year my roommate got me a case for my birthday and that was a great present.  Then there was Heineken Light–also exciting. Eventually, I strayed to hops and of course, there is that occasional Heineken that is EXTRA funky.

Leaving College a Bud Light Man: Every single person who drinks beer in college emerges with a preferred American Light Beer.  You could argue this isn’t true, but you’d be comically and tragically wrong.  I was Bud Light.  Then you go home and see all your boys and the 30-pack depends on who picks it up.  A Miller guy?  A Coors guy?  There was always that balance of being happy you didn’t pay for it, yet a little sad it wasn’t the RIGHT American light beer.

The End:  I think I had my first Sierra Nevada my senior year of college.  Smack in the middle of the Heineken era.  It was an immediate connection.  Several factors kept me from immediately converting.  Price, need for lower ABV, peer pressure?  But over the next couple years the habit formed and there I was, a million miles away from St. Pauli Girl.

If you bet on football, you should bet on the following….

***

DC, 24-23-3

Cleveland (+6) over Cincinnati.  No way the depleted Bengals defense can stop Touchdown Tommy Vardell in this one.  Browns outright, 23-16.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) over Detroit.  I just can’t stop picking against the Lions and this feels like a nice, big fat letdown. Kind of a trap line, no?  Pittsburgh 31-27.

New England (+2.5) over Carolina.  YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS.  New England, 42-13.

New Orleans (-3) over San Francisco.  I don’t think the Niners can hang with the Saints if the game opens up.  New Orleans, 34-20.

Green Bnd ay (+5) over New York Giants.  Scott Tolzien is a poor man’s Mike Tomczak.  Green Bay, 15-11.

***

Grossy, 29-19-2.

Washington (+3.5) over Philadelphia.  If you haven’t heard the Eagles are the worst home team in professional sports.  Washington is in a huge revenge spot, RG3 is a lot healthier and the Eagles are a little banged up.  I’d call this pick 35% logic and 65% Foles hate.

Seattle (-13) over Minnesota.  Did you know it’s Core-Darrell Patterson and not Corda-Rel?  Because I didn’t.  Seattle seems to be over its bout with covering big numbers and back at home they should fully embarrass the Vikings.  AP is going nowhere, various amounts of mayhem, a complete blowout.

Kansas City (+8) over Denver.  Too many points.  This is like spotting Andy Reid eight minutes at a buffet.  Can’t do it. Won’t do it.  Reid is great at preparation, which is why he does well after a bye-week and Pey-Pey face has some gimpy ankles.  That non-athletic body is breaking down.  KC’s pass rush, the frigid temps, it all conspires to keep this one close.  This is the biggest game in Kansas City since what, ’93?  We need to acknowledge that.

New Orleans (-3) over San Francisco.  The Saints at home is a pretty simple formula.  The Niners haven’t beaten a good team this year.  TRUE STORY.  Plus when the Saints win, Rob Ryan goes out drinking with the people.  The whole city needs that.

New England (+2.5) over Carolina.  I think a couple weeks ago this line would have been Patriots (-6) and you would have taken it, because TOM BRADY! And, the Panthers have that aura about them.  Then the game would have started and it would have been a shockingly ugly affair and you’d be nervous the whole time, etc.  Well, that’s exactly what is going to happen.  This is a going to be like an old AFC North slopfest, but if you’re giving points, I’ll go ahead and take them.

***

Kraft, 31-18-1

  1. New York Jets (+1) over Buffalo
  2. New England (+2.5) over North Carolina
  3. San Francisco (+3) over New Orleans
  4. Seattle (-13) over Minnesota
  5. Cincinnati (-6) over Cleveland

***

Nichols, 23-16-1

  1. Tampa (+1.5) over Atlanta
  2. Miami (+1.5) over San Diego
  3. Cleveland (+6) over Cincinnati
  4. New Orleans (-3) over San Francisco
  5. New England (+2.5) over Carolina

***

Big Dub, 29-20-2

  1. Tennessee(+3) over Indianapolis
  2. Tampa (+1.5) over Atlanta
  3. Detroit (-2.5) over Pittsburgh
  4. Cincinnati (-6) over Cleveland
  5. San Francisco (+3) over New Orleans

***

JCK, Record: 22-27-1

  1. Cincinnati (-6) over Cleveland
  2. Detroit (-2.5) over Pittsburgh
  3. New England (+2.5) over Carolina
  4. Oakland (+7) over Houston
  5. San Diego (-1.5) over Miami

Tuesday Morning Self-Esteem Check.

Pop The Corks.

Pop The Corks.

It never felt like the Bucs were going 0-16 this season, but the Jags had a shot.  They had that special look about them, and once they got halfway home the rest should have been downhill.  But, the oddities of professional sports win out. Jake Locker goes down and the Jaguars win despite Chad Henne’s 49 QB rating and about 200 yards of total offense. It was a shame the home faithful couldn’t see the Jags snap out of it, perhaps a sold-out stadium watched the win on the Jumbotron–I don’t know, but either way the 2008 Lions are safe for another year.  Dinner’s on Matt Millen.

With those streaks ending, the most impressive streak of futility in the NFL is probably the Eagles’ 10-game home losing streak.  The 5-5 Eagles are the first team to be at least .500 after 10 games without winning at home.  Another high honor.  So, is Nick Foles going to be the guy who breaks the streak?  A home game against Washington feels like a great opportunity and I know that “Blown Coverage” Nick has won over most of the fan base.  I remain a miserable skeptic.  A true Foles hater from day one.

It brings up the question, how important are the individual players?  What percentage of the rooting interest is based solely on the team and what is based on liking individual players?  I’ve always gravitated toward individual players. Maybe this was a result of growing up in Philadelphia during the drought, but I’m having a hard time warming up to old Polesy.  I’d much rather blindly throw my loyalty to an unproven commodity after the draft next year.  We’ll see how it plays out, and if I can rally behind Foles as he efforts toward 8-8.

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NFL Pick ‘EM Standings:  

  1. Kraft, 31-18-1
  2. Grossy, 29-19-2
  3. Big Dub, 29-20-1
  4. DC, 24-23-3
  5. Nichols, 23-16-1
  6. JCK, 22-27-1

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The “Belgian Waffles” Pick of the Week:  Kraft, Tampa Bay (+2.5) over Miami.

A quick note, that guy’s “life savings” parlay appears to be a hoax, but still a great call by Big Dub to go the other way for an easy 2-0.  Anchored his week, but as we fight for position at the top of the board, I’ve got to acknowledge Kraft’s 4-1 that created some distance between himself and the chase pack.  Kraft is currently picking winners about 30% more often than he did in his debut year and no one else can boast that type of improvement.  This Tampa call was a good one, acknowledging that the Bucs really weren’t bad enough to go 0-16 and the Dolphins were the perfect mark.  Plus, Brad Johnson IN THE HOUSE.

The “Tofurkey Bacon,” Awful Pick of the Week:  DC, (Atlanta +6).

Oh, DC, DC, DC.  Come to the light.  Did they not get the 2013 season up in Vermont yet?  Are you still watching highlights from last year?  The Falcons are terrible.  So, so bad and this was actually the easiest game of the week–if you went the right way.  I imagine the rationale was something like, “Well, at some point between now and the end of time the Falcons will cover again.”  True enough, but it certainly wasn’t this week, and it probably won’t be next week, either.  Everyone please, PLEASE, stop picking the Falcons.

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3-PT D.A. of the Week:  Andrew Luck.

We had two stellar performances in wins by Cam Newton and Chad Henne, something I always like to look for in D.A., but they weren’t quite enough to overcome the sticker shock of 38-8.  That was the Rams against he Colts?  This one’s on you, Dumbo.  Check out the always tight D.A. Standings among other things on the D.A. Page.

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The Definitive, Yet Arbitrary, Top-10:

  1. Kansas City, 9-0.  Andy Reid off a bye against Denver–Game of the Year.
  2. Seattle, 9-1.  Back in the groove after slapping Matty Ice.
  3. Denver, 8-1. Avoided letdown in San Diego.
  4. New Orleans, 7-2.  Hahahah, Dallas.
  5. New England, 7-2.  Bye-Week upward mobility.
  6. Carolina, 6-3.  High-water Mark.
  7. Detroit, 6-3.  Winning close games–odd.
  8. Indianapolis, 6-3.  Just inexcusable.
  9. Cincinnati, 6-4.  Couldn’t bury the Ravens.
  10. Arizona, 5-4.  Imagine them with a QB and/or running game.