Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Football Results - Week 12: I knew it was going to be tough. Quarterbacks are dropping and recovering at a furious pace. Teams are more unreliable than anytime in recent memory. Still, you know those cartoons where the characters get flattened by a steamroller? Or better, you know that episode of the Sopranos where Tony belt-whips the congressman? Or even better, you know those "You Gotta See This" type shows where someone bungee jumps from a bridge and the cord breaks? Well, that'd be me. In all cases. I am ashamed to even type the numbers. 4-12.
  • Minnesota +7.5 at New England Pick: Evil Minions Wrong! Minions win 24-17 What could be more evil than just trouncing the Vikings? Easy answer: trouncing the Vikings by just enough to not cover the spread. That way, not only do the Vikings lose, but so do I. Pure evil.

  • Tennessee -2 at Baltimore Pick: Titans Wrong! Ravens win 13-12 Just when I think the Ravens aren't as much better than everyone else thinks as I thought, they prove to be slightly less not better that everyone else thought. You figure it out.

  • Atlanta -3.5 at Carolina Pick: Falcons A Winnah! Shower him with glory! Rhymes with Sick attains a new level of greatness by handing the woeful Panthers their eighth straight loss. What an achievement.

  • Detroit +5 at Chicago Pick Bears. Wrong! Bears win 20-17 Remember what I said last week about the Bears being a potential late season sleeper? Fuhgetaboutit. They were on the verge of losing this game until the Lions, true to form, found a way to let them tie it up in the final seconds of regulation. Then, also true to form, the Lions took the most direct possible route to lose the game by winning the coin toss and giving the Bears first possession in sudden death overtime. Pay attention to that: winning the coin toss and giving the Bears first possession in sudden death overtime. There's a new sheriff in Stupidville and his name is Marty Mornhinweg. It was interesting to see the Lion's player's reaction after the game. Impressively diplomatic. Stuff like "I'm not paid to make those decisions. That's up to the coach. Once it's made we just give it everything we got." Nothing to read between the lines there, eh? The only one who came out one hundred percent behind the decision was Joey Harrington who saw that the only hope was to try to put any resentment toward the coach behind them and move on. The fact that he would go on record in support of such inanity for the sake of holding things together shows what a good leader he is. Nice try Joey, but I think Marty just lost the confidence of everybody and he's as good as gone. Matt "devout cowards" Millen too.

  • Jacksonville -2.5 at Dallas Pick: Jags Wrong! Cowboys win 21-19 Think about it. The Cowboys have absolutely no reason to hit the field. They haven't played like they wanted to hit the field all year. Emmitt's been causing a fuss in the papers about not being given playing time. Even the Jags, the masters of mediocrity, should have taken them. I can think of no plausible or implausible explanation.

  • San Diego +3 at Miami Pick: Chargers Wrong! Fins win 30-3 I am officially off my three week long pack-it-in-and-worry-about-next-season kick I was on regarding the Fins. The defense is unreal; Ricky Williams is everything he's cracked up to be; and now that Ray Lucas (Jekyll) has replaced the abysmal Ray Lucas (Hyde), things are falling into place again. These guys well positioned to be post season monsters now.

  • Cleveland +6 at New Orleans Pick: Browns A Winnah! Browns win 24-15 I shall hold on to this pick as a work of startling insight, despite the utter decimation I experienced otherwise. beat the spread. I thought the Saints were running out of steam and I was so completely right it isn't even funny. The Saints may be my anti-sleeper for the remainder of the year.

  • Buffalo +3 at New York Jets Pick: Bills Wrong! Jets win 31-13 Ok, I wasn't ready to believe the Jets were for real, but now I am. They are a very good team (as was expected of them early in the year before they mangled the proceedings early on). The opposite is true of the Bills - a strong start and now looking lame. How poetic that teams going in different directions should cross paths and produce a palindrome score. (Picture two drunks guys watching Sportcenter highlights in some sports bar, stupefied by the deeper meaning of it all.)

  • Cincinnati +10.5 at Pittsburgh Pick: Steelers Wrong! Steelers win 29-21 The foundations of science have been shaken. I'm going to have to re-evaluate the nature of the universe before I go any further. Hold my calls.

  • Green Bay +3 at Tampa Bay Pick: Cheeseheads Wrong! Bucs win 21-7 I think Brett Farverer is struggling with his vision. Has he been checked for color blindness? He seems to be throwing to folks in the wrong jerseys. You know, despite everything that was said, I don't think the hit Warren Sapp made was all that awful. That's what you do. You block out as long as the whistle hasn't blown. It was a clean hit. Where Sapp blew it was his reaction. He could have showed a little concern for the guy he sent off the field on a stretcher. He could have not reacted like he did when the Green Bay coach mentioned it to him. Nope, not Warren. He goes off and acts like a thug, swearing up a storm and getting in the face of a couple of grey haired old guys. Class act.

  • Kansas City -3.5 at Seattle Pick: Chiefs Wrong! Seahawks win 39-32 I don't know what to say. In my own defense, just ask yourself this. If someone told you Priest Holmes would get 300+ yards; KC would get 550+ yards, 32 first downs and only one turnover, would you have picked the Seahawks to win? Apparently the Chiefs D was so bedazzled by the all-blue Seahawks uniforms that they just watched them go by. Whatever outside shot KC had at the playoffs is pretty much gone now.

  • Oakland -8.5 at Arizona Pick: Seniors A Winnah! Seniors win 41-20 The Seniors pretty much did whatever they wanted, as expected. Let me just say that despite the presence of the abhorrent Bill Romanowski, I've really gotten to like the Raiders. At the moment - my choice for AFC champs.

  • St. Louis -5 at Washington Pick: Rams Wrong! Potatoes win 20-17 What a mess. Exactly how is one supposed to make a reasonable pick when the Rams are playing. Again, in my own defense, I'll say that when I posted this I fully expected Marshall Faulk to play (he didn't). Where does that leave Kurt Warner? Well, Bulger won the previous week without Faulk. So, with Faulk, Warner lost 5 and Bulger won 5; without Faulk Bulger won one and Warner lost one. You do the math. Warner is hanging by a thread.

  • New York Giants -5.5 at Houston Pick: Giants Wrong! Texans win 16-14 Schroedinger's Cat didn't just die. It got squashed by a sixteen-wheeler, and the carcass was devoured by scavenging birds, who then flew north and dumped on my car just for good measure.

  • Indianapolis +6.5 at Denver Pick: Colts A Winnah! Colts win 23-20 It took two 50+ yard field goals in a snowstorm. The Colts are rocking. Once again, I wonder will I have to sacrifice them as my sleeper?

  • Philadelphia +7 at San Francisco Pick 49ers Wrong! Eagles win Jeez Louise! The QB named for a pond fish makes everyone say 'McNabb who?' He gets hurt and replaced by third stringer A.J. Feeley (What kind of name is Feeley for a QB? That's not a QB, that's a porn star.) And still the 49ers can't get it done. Not even close. Ah well, why not cap the week with one last slap in my face.
Here's a point of interest. One would think that point spreads are set such that there would be about a 50-50 likelihood of a victory by either the favorite or the underdog. So in 16 games you figure the favorite is likely to cover about 8 times. Not this week. This week, the favorite failed to cover 11 times and lost outright 8 times. So it would seem like the odds makers had just as bad a week as I had.

Of course, it doesn't actually work that way. Point spreads are not really set based on expert evaluation of the teams. They are set so that an equal amount of money is wagered on either side of the spread. The points are adjusted over the course of the week as wagers are made. So what it really means is that the collective expectations of the betting world were seriously trounced last week. That makes me feel better. Misery loves company.