1:00 p.m. ET
Philadelphia at Atlanta (+5.5)
Michael Vick says he expects to be cheered on his return to Atlanta. Perhaps during all of his legal problems he legally changed his name to Michael Boourns Vick.
My pick: Philadelphia
St. Louis at Chicago (-9)
My pick: St. Louis
Detroit at Cincinnati (-13)
I don't always want to poke fun. So let me commend Cincinnati's Tank Johnson for offering three free tickets to this week's game via Twitter. In the end, Johnson decided to give them to a military vet. There's nothing to criticize there. Assuming Johnson isn't befriending the guy just to have a contact he can use to get military-grade weapons.
My pick: Cincinnati
Tennessee at Indianapolis (-6.5)
It drives me insane that people are giving Jeff Fisher any credit for Tennessee's turn-around. He was the one who stuck with Kerry Collins all the way to an 0-6 start. He only went to Vince Young when he was ordered to by Titans owner' Bud Adams. But then I'm not surprised. Fisher has a history of sticking with things long after he should. If Adams doesn't step in, Fisher will die with that '80s hair-sprayed mullet/mustache combo.
My pick: Tennessee
Denver at Kansas City (+4.5)
Josh McDaniels hasn't been seen since screaming that F-bomb on the NFL Network on Thanksgiving night. Because the Broncos haven't played since then. But also because he was grounded by his parents.
My pick: Kansas City
New England at Miami (+4)
The Patriots have struggled to stop the wildcat offense. But it's only the wildcat offense and pro-style offenses that give them troubles. So they should be fine.
My pick: Miami (and to win)
Oakland at Pittsburgh (-14.5)
This used to be a rivalry. A rivalry that was marked by the "Immaculate Reception." But now it's time the Raiders give some payback. Because every time they make a reception it's miraculous. Pittsburgh can't match that.
My pick: Pittsburgh
New Orleans at Washington (+9.5)
I always get the "Who dey" and the "Who dat" cheers mixed up. "Who dat" is Saints, right? And so I guess "Who dey" is Bengals. But what about "Whom dat"? Harvard or Yale?
My pick: New Orleans***
Tampa Bay at Carolina (-5.5)
Jake Delhomme is out with a broken finger. I think it's the one he's been giving to Panthers fans his whole career.
My pick: Tampa Bay
Houston at Jacksonville (PK)
Both of these teams need a win to stay in the playoff chase before getting eliminated in a few weeks anyway because they're not all that good.
My pick: Houston***
4:05 p.m. ET
San Diego at Cleveland (+13)
Rumor has it that Charlie Weis will become the offensive coordinator in Cleveland. If that happens, it will really tilt the field towards Cleveland's side.
My pick: San Diego***
4:15 p.m. ET
Dallas at New York Giants (+2.5)
The Giants are still pissed that Eli Manning signed his name on the wall at their new stadium. But they need to relax. Dumb kids color on walls all the time. It's actually quite impressive Eli knows how to spell his name.
My pick: Dallas
San Francisco at Seattle (PK)
Seattle's general manager got canned this week. It's hard to list all of his terrible moves in a concise way. So I'll just say this. If you could make several years' worth of personnel decisions into a jersey, it would be Seattle's neon green abomination.
My pick: San Francisco***
8:20 p.m. ET
Minnesota at Arizona (+3)
Good try on the speeding, Adrian Peterson. But you're still much slower than Chris Johnson.
My pick: Minnesota
Baltimore at Green Bay (-3)
The Packers plays the Ravens and Steelers in the coming weeks and will play a major role in determining which AFC North teams make the playoffs. More of a role than the Browns will, at least.
My pick: Green Bay
New York Jets "at" Buffalo (+2.5)
Hi, Canada. Hope you are well. I don't know if you follow our football league. But we have a game up there tonight. Full disclosure: I don't follow your CFL very closely. I know a few things. And I know that the NFL is different. For example, NFL players don't wear rouge.
Anyway, to help you enjoy the game more, here are a few storylines to keep an eye on.
1.) The Jets are having New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi teach Mark Sanchez how to slide. And thank God! I watch a ton of football every Sunday for my various NFL-related duties, and I have noticed that poor sliding is one of Sanchez's biggest problems. In fact, it's probably his second biggest problem right after turning the ball over on every possession. But I digress. Joe Girardi is the perfect person to teach someone to slide. In his 15 seasons as a major league catcher, he stole 44 bases. So I think his advice will be: "Just run until your knees give out and then fall to the ground." Well done as always, Jets. You remain a model franchise.
2.) Fired head coach Dick Jauron has been edited out of the Bills' team photo. At least that's the story. But I'm not buying it. I have seen Jauron. He was quickly going from pale to translucent. So I am sure he's in that photo. Somewhere. I'm positive. Unfortunately, he must naked because I don't see any floating clothing. Gross, Dick. Gross. Ewww. Wait. I don't see any floating pubic hair either. So Dick Jauron shaves down there? I did not need to know that.
3.) Canada, if you enjoy the Grey Cup, then you will enjoy this game, too. It's equally pointless.
My pick: Buffalo (and to win)
ADD: Kenny Britt, WR, Titans Not long ago, having a Tennessee Titans wide receiver on your fantasy football team was akin to setting a starting lineup full of players on their bye week. But then Vince Young came back. And it appears Young spent his blue period learning how to throw a football. In the past two weeks he's thrown it 11 times for 170 yards and two touchdowns to Kenny Britt, the 30th overall pick in April's draft.
People used to make fun of Vince Young's throwing motion. They compared it to Uncle Rico:
Well, guess what? Vince Young still throws that way. But now he really can throw the ball over that mountain. And guess who's waiting on the other side to catch it? It's Kenny Britt. And it's for a touchdown.
So pick up Kenny Britt. And in no time you'll be singing love songs to Britt like this:
(Yeah, I know his name is "Bret," not "Britt." But it's pronounced the same. So shut up. Jerk.)
The New England Patriots sent a strong message to the rest of the NFL Monday night, scoring just 17 points in a 21-point blowout loss the Saints that saw them pull their starters with 5:26 remaining in the game.
"I don't know why they would do that," said Saints head coach Sean Payton. "Leaving our receivers wide open time after time after time, pulling their starters. People expected a great game, and then they come out and do that. I found it disrespectful. Disrespectful to us and the NFL. No team should perform that way on a football field."
Saints safety Darren Sharper echoed his head coach's sentiments.
"Our defense is much better than it's been in recent years, but still only 17 points?" said Sharper. "And they only went for one on their two touchdowns. As much as people are pinning the blame on Belichick, I think it's on Tom Brady. Did you see his two interceptions? Terrible. Just terrible."
Belichick said it's simple why the Patriots didn't go for two following their touchdowns.
"I was pretty sure we wouldn't be successful. The Saints are a far superior team to us and I was just happy to take the one point and be on our way," he said.
But Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson wasn't buying it.
"Of course that's how Belichick will describe it. But then he's a liar," said Henderson. "They were running down the score on us and they know it. Did you see how wide open I was all night? No team does that unless it's on purpose. It's impossible to leave someone that wide open unless you're trying to. If we meet this team again in the Super Bowl, we won't let this happen a second time, mark my words."
Belichick says that is unlikely and continued with his denials of intentionally running down the score on the Saints.
"I don't see us meeting the Saints in the Super Bowl," he said. "Really. Because we're not a very good football team. At all. You saw how we played. No way we make the Super Bowl. We won't even get close."
1. Vince Young Vince Young owns Matt Leinart. The 2006 BCS title game and again on Sunday both games won on a dramatic game-ending drive while Leinart can do nothing but stand on the sidelines and think to himself: "Nah, brah, nah." Vince Young completely owns him. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Young informs Leinart that he's the real father of his child. Actually, no. Leinart would probably like that.
2. The media Vince-anity, inVINCEable. It's all back in play, baby. If Vince Young continues to play well and the Orlando Magic make a run in the playoffs again, the media may be able to mail in most every headline via pun between now and June.
3. Carolina Panthers Jake Delhomme broke a finger. Best of all: it's on his interception-throwing hand. So you shall be free of Delhomme, Panthers fans. Now the bad news: Delhomme will finish his season with 18 interceptions. That will be enough for John Fox to say: "He only threw 18 interceptions! That's not too bad. He's our quarterback again in 2010." But you're thinking, "Those 18 interceptions came in just 11 games!" Ah-HA! See, now you're thinking logically. You must instead think like the guy who has started Jake Delhomme year after year after soul-crushing year.
4. Big East Kenny Britt and Ray Rice of Rutgers had big days. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Clint Session, LeSean McCoy and Darrelle Revis of Pitt had big days. (And just being able to lay a hand on a few of Leinart's ducks earns Larry Fitzgerald a mention.) Louisville's Elvis Dumervil had two sacks and forced a fumble. West Virginia's Steve Slaton is back. Basically, what I'm saying is this: the Big East is a lot like people you knew in college who weren't all that popular. But, now, a few years later, they have better jobs, make more money and are married to hotter women. (Note: my analogy falls apart a bit in regards to the Mountain West and WAC conferences. I hear many of their players become polygamists, so the women comparison is unfair.)
5. Grey Cup It was played on Sunday. I don't know who won. Anyway hi, Canada!
1. Cris Colinsworth Early in the Ravens-Steelers game: "Ray Lewis is killing the Steelers backs." Fine. I can see one slip of the tongue. But in the second half: "Ray Lewis has a little blood on him. It may be somebody else's." Wait WHAT? How can you talk about Ray Lewis a guy who fled a double murder scene in blood-spattered clothes and then ditched his outfit and not maybe make a conscious effort to avoid the murder/blood spatter comments? But then, Collinsworth never was one to think before he speaks:
2. Prince He was at the Vikings-Bears game. And he didn't appear to be having much fun:
Maybe he can team up with Jay Cutler to launch a new band called Prince and The New Pouter Generation.
3. Stylez White He was in on three sacks against the Falcons. Great. Fine. But he's still a loser because his name is Stylez. Although I am the biggest loser here because I am about to post a third consecutive YouTube video in a row, a new low for the Internet. Enjoy watching Stiles from "Teen Wolf.":
Wait, I'm sorry I found a clip of "Teen Wolf" in Spanish. Awesome. I place myself back in the winner category.
4. Cleveland Browns Wide receiver Joshua Cribbs played some quarterback. Quarterback Brady Quinn played some wide receiver. Wide receiver Mike Furrey played some safety. Still, the Browns lost. Now, maybe if they tried head coach Eric Mangini at the unemployed position they might be getting somewhere.
5. Jim Caldwell I think that's your name. Whoever you are. The guy coaching the Colts. You need to do a better job creating an identity so you can get some credit for the Colts' 11-0 start. Everyone thinks you are living off the success built by Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning. Everyone thinks you are boring, plain. You need to do something to get some attention. Have you considered crashing your SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree?
1:05 p.m. ET
Indianapolis at Houson (+3)
I am playing a hunch here that the Texans are going to end the Colts perfect season. I also have a hunch that this is an incredibly stupid hunch. But you can only play one hunch at a time. Or so says the Rule of Hunches. At least that's my hunch.
My pick: Houston (and to win)
Washington at Philadelphia (-9)
Andy Reid running an offense while tryptophan is still in his system this should be good.
My pick: Philadelphia
Miami at Buffalo (+3)
Bill Cowher turned down the Bills. Which is unfortunate. It would be awesome to see his spit turn to snow before hitting the face of his players. He would look like the Abominable Snowdragon.
My pick: Miami
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-13.5)
Eric Mangini accused the Lions of faking injuries last week to slow down Cleveland's no-huddle offense. Eric, they weren't faking injuries. They were falling down laughing.
My pick: Cincinnati
Seattle at St. Louis (+4)
Kyle Boller, boyfriend of Carrie Prejean, is getting the start for the Rams. You may recall that Boller also used to date Tara Reid. So Rams remember if Boller starts scratching his junk at the line of scrimmage, he's not calling an audible.
My pick: Seattle
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-12)
Even though the Falcons are 5-5 and will miss the playoffs this year, you have to think they are hopeful about the future because Matt Ryan is probably having the second-best season of his career.
My pick: Atlanta
Carolina at New York Jets (-3)
A game like this has to piss off Lou Dobbs. Mark Sanchez, a terrible quarterback with Mexican heritage, is the starting quarterback for the Jets. In the old days, that job would have gone to a terrible quarterback with European heritage. Like Jake Delhomme, for example.
My pick: Carolina (and to win)
Jacksonville at San Francisco (-3)
The Jaguars are sticking on the fringes of the playoff race thanks to a three-game win streak that has moved their record to 6-4. And Jacksonville is starting to take notice. At their last home game, the black tarps covering up the upper deck seemed full of spirit.
My pick: San Francisco
Kansas City at San Diego (-13.5)
With the Broncos winning, perhaps the AFC West race isn't over after all. Perhaps Josh McDaniels plans to own the Chargers on a layaway plan.
My pick: San Diego
4:20 p.m. ET
Chicago at Minnesota (-10.5)
The Bears and Vikings both acquired quarterbacks last spring. And Chicago clearly won out. Sage Rosenfels has done dick for the Vikings.
My pick: Minnesota
Arizona at Tennessee (-3)
Vince Young vs. Matt Leinart. Again. Maybe Leinart's team will win this time. I think they will. Because Kurt Warner will probably end up starting.
My pick: Arizona (and to win)
8:25 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh at Baltimore (+7.5)
Don't worry, Steelers fans. In college at Oregon, Dennis Dixon was every bit as good his senior year as Joey Harrington. And Harrington was a No. 3 overall pick. So yeah.
My pick: Pittsburgh (and to win)
New England at New Orleans (-1.5)
Suck it, England and Orleans. No one cares about you anymore.
My pick: New Orleans
12:30 p.m. ET
Green Bay at Lions (+11.5)
The Associated Press would like you to know that "The Lions have lost their touch on Thanksgiving." Really? You don't say? I look forward to new reports on how the Lions suck on other holidays. Or just really any date on the calendar.
My pick: Green Bay
4:15 p.m. ET
Oakland at Dallas (-13.5)
Bruce Gradkowski gets the start again for Oakland. And even if he struggles, he'll stay in the game because JaMarcus Russell is listed as Doubtful (eating).
My pick: Dallas
8:20 p.m. ET
New York Giants at Denver (+6)
Thanksgiving is all about tradition. For example, being thankful during the day. And, then, at night, getting pissed off that the relative you're visiting doesn't get the NFL Network. I mean, really. How can you be related to this people?
My pick: Denver
November 27, 2009 Column
Tweet of the Week
Tweet of the Week
From @leroybutler AKA former All-Pro safety LeRoy Butler