Friday, November 22, 2002

Football Results - Week 11: Tasteful is how I would describe it. Unassumingly tasteful, in fact. 9-7. On the plus side, but tastefully so. For the year, that makes me a somewhat more gaudy 31-24-3, mostly owing to my phenomenal, season-making performance in week 10. (Do you realize I was 10-3-1 last week? Amazing.) Still, one doesn't want to make like Terrel Owens with a Sharpie, so a bit of restraint was in order this week.

Please note that I have begun including the final score in my comments. Generally, in fine literature, it is thought to be good to have a certain context for your action. In this case, it causes eveything I write to make sense without having to go to to find out what I am going on about. It's a technique thing.
  • Green Bay -6.5 at Minnesota Pick: Cheeseheads Wrong! Vikings win 31-21 -- The almighty Cheese fail to come through. This should have been a gimme. And don't give me any of that Brett-Favererer-doesn't-play-well-in-the-Dome nonsense. What sort of irrational twaddle is that? If there is anything I dislike about sports reporting it's that silliness like that passes for wisdom. Mind you, this isn't a commentary about how the Cheese are relatively more comfortable in bad weather - that would at least be plausible. Except that the Cheese play just fine when they are down South. This theory hinges on the dome itself. And not all domes, that specific dome - Favererer does well against the Lions in a dome. So come on now. Does anyone besides me ever question this sort of outrageous conventional wisdom? The obvious answer is that Brett Favererer doesn't like how I spell his name and this was his juvenile, immature way of getting even.

  • New Orleans +2.5 at Atlanta Pick: Saints Wrong! Falcons win 24-17 -- I refuse to say his name. From now on I will refer to him as "Rhymes with Sick."

  • Cleveland -3.5 at Cincinnati Pick: Browns A Winnah! Browns win 27-20 -- Cosmologists and metaphysicians are using the Bengals as proof that we live in a perfectly deterministic universe.

  • Dallas +6.5 at Indianapolis Pick: Colts A Winnah! Colts win 20-3 -- Yep. The Colts have been a great sleeper team (a team that is much better than their record) for me. After this trouncing of the Cowboys they won't be under the covers anymore.

  • Buffalo + 3.5 at Kansas City Pick: Bills A Winnah! Chiefs win 17-16 -- Weird game. Should have been a triple digit affair, but scoring was fairly reserved. My guess is that there is deep meaning in that for the rest of the season, but I have no idea what it is.

  • Baltimore +4.5 at Miami Pick: Ravens Wrong! Fins win 26-7 -- No excuses here. I was way off. I had written the Miami season off, and thought the Ravens were underrated. Wrong on both counts. I was glad to see the Fins win and Ray Lucas play well. Sadly, it will make next week's picks for these teams all the more difficult.

  • Pittsburgh -3 at Tennessee Pick: Steelers Wrong! Titans win 31-23 -- Tommy Maddox, whose story of perseverance has been touted all year, deserved better. He deserved to finish out the year with success, if not a Super Bowl victory, and be able to go through the off season knowing he was solidly entrenched as an NFL starting QB. Did you see the interview with him? He is clearly shaken to the core - as I would be if I spent some time lying in the hospital unable to move my legs. Anyway, I wouldn't blame the guy for a second if he never wanted to see another football again in his life. Of course, the remaining Steelers may never want to see another football in the hands of Kordell Stewart again for the rest of their lives.

  • Washington +3.5 at New York Giants Pick: Potatoes A Winnah! Giants win 19-17 -- Countering the deterministic, fixed state metaphysics of the Bengals we have a probabilistic existence exemplified by the Giants. I predicted Schoedinger's Cat would die this week. I'm not sure whether I meant the Giants would lose or jsut not cover. Perhaps we need a four-state Cat for the Giants - Live, Head Cold, Coughing Up Blood, and Dead; corresponding to Win, Beat the Spread, Fail to Cover, and Lose. Of course we'd have to re-do Schroedinger's experiment with two slits for the photon to pass through. I actually think about this sort of stuff. The conclusion you are racing to (correctly) is that I am some kind of weirdo.

  • Arizona +11.5 at Philadelphia Pick: Cardinals Wrong! Eagles win 38-14 -- McNabb fractures his ankle and then throws 4 TDs - best game of his career. First observation: Note what the Football gods had to go through for me to lose this one. Second observation: Another back-up QB gets a big shot at leading a top level team. Bulger, Maddox, even Pennington have succeeded in this situation. Koy Detmer? - possibly, I'll be suspicious until it happens; after all, like the Dolphins before them, the Eagles have made inquiries about Troy Aikman's status. (What kind of a name is Koy, anyway? That's not a quarterback, that's a mutli-colored pond fish.) Third observation: A little perspective is in order for McNabb's injury. Certainly it took a good deal of grit to play that kind of game when injured, but the fact is the ankle didn't even bother him enough to get it X-rayed at halftime. When it got really bad at the end of the game he left. That level of courage would almost qualify him to play hockey.

  • San Francisco -2.5 at San Diego Pick: Chargers A Winnah! Chargers win 20-17 -- I'll admit this one was a coin toss. Sometimes you get lucky.

  • Carolina +9 at Tampa Bay Pick: Panthers Wrong! Bucs win 23-10 -- On paper this was the NFL's best chance to get a 2-0 game in history. Since when did the Bucs get an offense?

  • Denver -4.5 at Seattle Pick: Broncos A Winnah! Broncos win 31-9 -- Yet another QB goes down. Has anyone thought to call Troy Aikman yet? Prediction: At the end of the season, Holmgren will call a tear-filled press conference to announce that he has fired himself.

  • New York Jets -3 at Detroit Pick: Jets A Winnah! Jets win 31-14 -- Low hanging fruit.

  • Jacksonville -6 at Houston Pick: Jaguars Wrong! Jags win 24-21 -- Is a mediocre team one that can only beat less than mediocre teams, or one that can only win or lose in a mediocre fashion? The Jags seem to think the latter. Am I even making sense?

  • New England +4 at Oakland Pick: Seniors A Winnah! Seniors win 27-20 -- Why does everything seem to go the Pats way? You could develop some sort of conspiracy theory. You know that episode of X-Files where in the Cigarette-Smoking man dictates to his cabal of shadowy puppet masters that "Buffalo will never win the Super bowl. Not while I'm alive." You are never given the reason. Of course, in the conspiracy theory you develop Paul Tagliabue plays the evil doer and the referees are the cabal. You can't think of a reason, but you don't really need one. I don't buy it. I can't imagine so blatant a conspiracy on that level going on for over a year and nobody speaking up out of fear of reprisal. Not a referee for martyrdom, no front office lackey looking for 15 minutes fame, everyone keep perfectly quiet. Nope, I don't buy it. Even Tony Soprano can't keep his people quiet. In the fiction business, we call that implausible.

    The only plausible explanation I can think of is that the Patriots are a bunch of soul-selling Satan-worshippers. It started with the now-so-infamous-it's-a-cliché tuck last year, the Super bowl victory, and then the Pats come out of the box like gangbusters this year. Suddenly, they slip up and lose four in a row. This, I believe, corresponds with a brief falling out with the Dark Lord. It could be that the Pats just got too big for their britches, thought they could win like mere mortals do, slacked up on the incantations, drew their pentagrams a little crooked, did a few too many good works.

    So they pull themselves together, rededicate themselves to the Prince of Darkness, double up on the ritualistic sacrifice of small furry mammals, and so forth. Listen to Tom Brady's audibles backwards and you will hear things like, "Satan is your buddy, Satan is a cool guy, send Satan a fruit basket...", you get the picture. What a turnaround. They get a victory over Drew Bledsoe, against a Bills team that plays worse than humanly possible. (I am of the opinion that Bledsoe was ousted from the Pats primarily because he never bought into the devil-worship thing.) At least two provident calls late in the game (the bumbled interception and the generous first down spotting) enable their last minute comeback over the Bears. And you can't tell me they weren't the beneficiaries of the influence of the Evil One against the Raiders - and not just the "duck" which saved them from a fumble. A Gannon pass bounces off the foot of a defender into the arms of a defensive lineman who waddles in for a touchdown. Who's kidding whom? That's clearly the result of some sort of arcane demonic curse, or perhaps Bill Belichick was carrying a Rich Gannon voodoo doll. Check the game tape closely.

    And still the Seniors won. They can now lay claim to having Beat the Devil. "The Devil went down to Oakland, He was looking for a game to steal..."

  • Chicago +10 at St. Louis Pick: Chicago A Winnah! Rams win 21-16 -- The question is "Is it indicative of a weakness if a team doesn't beat the spread?" Probably not. But I can't help but think the Rams should have won by more. Interesting. Chicago pushes the Patriots to the limit last week, and maintains respectability against the Rams. Could they be my new sleeper? This question and more will be answered in an upcoming episode of As The NFL Turns.