Chargers over Bills: I sure do love stupid quotes. This is what Phillip Rivers had to say after his team trampled over the Patriots last week: "I think it was obviously good to play well." Well, obviously. I'm glad he cleared that up. Rivers also confirmed that it's best to look both ways before crossing the street and warned that it's a bad idea to drink bubble bath or put a plastic bag over your head.
Anyway, this pick is killing me because of -- DUM-DUM-DUUUUUM -- duelling stat curses! Stat curse #1: The Bills are 13-6 following a bye, and haven't lost after an off week since 2004. Stat curse #2: They're just 4-10 all-time against the Chargers. So what happens now? I mean, is it like a double negative in math? Do they just cancel each other out? Or does the stronger stat curse win out? Gah! I just don't know!
Well, when in doubt, I like to pick the team whose quarterback isn't coming back from a concussion. Chargers it is. But don't despair, Buffalo fans. You can still enjoy the game from your very own NFL-approved Bills Dream Seat!
You'll feel like the game is being played in your ass.
Constructed of high quality top grain leather (leatherette sides and back for ease of maintenance) with an embroidered logo sewn into the back, the Bills Dream Seat offers the patented Wallaway feature, so you only need to position your Dreamseat three feet away from the wall for it to fully recline. But that's not all! With your purchase of the Bills Dream Seat -- a bargain at only $999 -- you'll also get either the Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Beer Kit for $9.99 or Mr. Beer Premium Edition Beer Kit for $19.99. The choice is yours!
futuremrsrickankiel sez: Defense: some teams have it, some teams don't. The Chargers, for example, do not; the Bills do. And, as prolific as this San Diego offense is, I don't see them outlasting the Bills in this one.
Steelers over Bungles: Let me state up front that I hate picking against winless teams. I mean, on the one hand, there's a perfectly good reason that they're winless: They suck. So a really bad team should always lose to a really good team, right? Ah, but it's never quite that simple. Just ask the Broncos, who got handled by then-winless Kansas City in Week 4, or the Redskins, who got upended on Sunday by the previously 0-fer Rams. The Brown Stains weren't winless, but it sure felt like they were...and they dropped a Macho Man-esque atomic elbow on the no-longer-undefeated Giants last Monday night. I'm just saying that the Law of Truly Large Numbers says that, at some point, even a team as woefully inept as the Bungles are going to win a game. That, my friends, is...
On the other hand, the Steelers have a kick-you-square-in-the-nuts defense -- they're second in points per game (15.8) and yards per game (231.6), and they're tied for second in sacks (18.0) -- and they're finally getting everybody healthy (except for running limping back Willie Parker, who aggravated his sprained left knee by stepping in a freaking hole during practice). With Ryan Fitzpatrick starting under center -- and probably preparing to be savagely beaten into something squishy and unrecognizable -- it's hard to imagine the Bungles pulling off the upset. Unless there are a lot more holes, deep ones, for the Steelers to step in on their way to Paul Brown Stadium.
futuremrsrickankiel sez: While I share your reluctance to pick against a winless team, I feel no such reluctance in picking against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Also: LIMAS SWEED BABY WOOOOO!
Jets over Raiders: If you're planning to watch this game live, I suggest you either mute the volume or be prepared for the possibility of uncontrolled vomiting as the Brett Favre Drama Train comes choo-chooing into the station. Wait, what's that? You've forgotten what happened the last time Favre played against Oakland?
[Insert dramatic music here]
One day after his father, Irvin, died of a heart attack, Favre bravely played a football game in front of a national television audience on Monday night. His heart was heavy but his arm was light as he led Green Bay to a 41-7 victory on an evening that would have been as cold as fate itself had the game not been played in Oakland. Though he was in a daze brought on by memories of his father and a silent rehearsal of the post-game quotes his agent had written for him, Favre went 22-of-30 for 399 yards and four touchdowns in that contest that ultimately helped propel the Packers to the NFC North title. Which, as it turns out, was laughingly futile because Green Bay's defense couldn't stop the Eagles on fourth-and-26 in the fourth quarter of their NFC divisional playoff game.
Anyway, like I said, mute the game or...
futuremrsrickankiel sez: On the one hand, Brett Favre appears to be living the dream as he defies all those who doubted him and puts up game after game of killer offense. On the other hand, Oakland is where dreams go to die. Still, I like the Jets.
futuremrsrickankiel sez: The Chiefs trying to play without Larry Johnson is like trying to make guacamole without avocados. It's just a bunch of shit in a bowl. Titans by 800,000.
Colts over Packers: This just in: The Colts-Packers game will be played at the center of the earth! This controversial decision was made out of necessity, since the weight of the drama surrounding these teams' quarterbacks was going to sink Lambeau Field right down to our planet's molten core anyway. Peyton Manning kept a minor surgical procedure secret! Aaron Rodgers has a sore shoulder! OH THE HUMANITY!!
Give it a rest, media. Call me back when something really awful happens, like a partly cloudy day in Hawaii. More meaningless stats: Green Bay's pass defense is holding quarterbacks to a 62.3 passer rating (third-lowest in the league) and 178.8 yards per game (which is seventh-best in the NFL). But before you do something stupid like bench Peyton Manning for Jason Campbell, keep in mind that the murderer's row of QBs the Packers have faced includes Tavaris Jackson, John Kitna, Brian Griese, Matt Ryan and Charlie Frye. It's called context, people.
futuremrsrickankiel sez: Ever heard two old people sit around and try and one-up each other with various maladies and physical ailments? "Well, with my back acting up the way it is..." "You're lucky you still have your hearing, though..." "At least you still have both your hips, I remember back when I had my hip out in '83..." "That's nothing, didn't I tell you my doctor thinks I might have to have my face amputated?" That's kind of what this quarterback matchup is like. The difference-maker: Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers is a numb-nuts first-year starter who's let the thick layer of football-related hyperbole that hovers in the Green Bay air like smog over the Hollywood Hills permeate his little brain. Colts win.
Dolphins over Ravens: Baltimore coach John Harbaugh riled up the Miami players by defending buddy Cam Cameron's 1-15 performance as the 'Fins coach last season. Said Harbaugh: "He was an effective coach in Miami last year. Even though the results weren't what people were hoping for, he did a great job there with what he had to work with." Say whaaaaaaat?! Uh, look, John. Going 1-15 can't seriously be called a "great job" even if all he had to work with was some string, an old tin can and Martin Gramatica. But bravo on insulting all those worthless players who were, you know, the crap you're saying Cameron had to work with. Why not just paint a target on Joe Flacco's chest? Or maybe fill your team's jock straps with bullet ants? I mean, there are so many other great ways to sabotage your team!
Anyway, until proven otherwise, I'm instituting a "Don't bet on Joe Flacco on the road" rule for the rest of the season. And besides, last week's loss to the then-winless Texans has actually made Dolphins coach Tony Sparano more confident. "The fact that we've won some ballgames and won some ballgames after we lost a few ballgames, I think gives us some confidence to understand that we can do this." So...to win, all your team has to do...is lose. Brilliant!
futuremrsrickankiel sez: I don't need your rules! You're not even my real mommy! Ravens win!
Patriots over Broncos: Man, last week's 30-10 ego-ectomy spawned a flurry of "This proves Tom Brady is the NFL MVP!" stories across the country, which strikes me as a little history rewrite-y. I mean, it's not like a Tom Brady-led team hasn't been bitchslapped before. Seriously. It's happened. Against the Chargers even. And during championship seasons. Besides, this isn't simply a case of going from an MVP-caliber QB to a standard backup. Matt Cassel hadn't started since high school. It was sort of like the Patriots didn't even have a backup. And while I know it's a popular notion to blame Cassel's inadequacies for all the woes in New England, that sort of ignores the team's defensive shortcomings, the offensive line deficiencies, the lack of a running game, and the fact that Randy Moss couldn't look less enthused if Bill Belichick was making him read Jane Eyre between plays. So, you know, it's not as simple as "Patriots Blowout = Dramatic Conclusion About Tom Brady." That, my friends, is...
Anyway, this game boils down to a classic case of a resistable force (the Pats) meeting a moveable object (the Broncos). And we've all talked about how puke-tacular their defense has been, but what about the "explosive" offense? Denver hasn't scored 20+ points since Week 3. They've scored 19, 16 and 17 points in their last three games, the last two of which were at home. Well, the Broncos ain't at home this week. And it's damn tough to win in New England.
futuremrsrickankiel sez: There is one reason, and one reason only, that the Patriots will win this game: this is my first Patriots game I'm ever attending. (Please bear in mind that the Patriots won their first Superbowl when I was 17, and thus tickets have been unattainable for my entire adult life... 4 years of which I spent in New Jersey for college.) So, like, they have to win. End of story.