Chicago at San Francisco (-3)
Oh, you think this Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree-inspired shirt is funny, 49ers fans? Well, it's not, okay? Some people actually have VD and crabs. And you're cruel joke makes them sad. Knock it off.
My pick: San Francisco
1:00 p.m. ET
Buffalo at Tennessee (-7)
The Titans are hot! Unfortunately, they started 0-6. So they're basically like sewage treatment plant that caught fire.
My pick: Buffalo
New Orleans at St. Louis (+13.5)
Some people are warning the Saints against overlooking the Rams. I'd be more worried if they were taking the Rams seriously. That would show a major lack of confidence. Legitimate Super Bowl contenders know they can just show up and kill the Rams.
My pick: New Orleans
Tampa Bay at Miami (-10)
The Buccaneers last three games have been in London, Tampa and Miami. Which one of these is not like the other? Ohhhhhh you were thinking I was saying that Tampa is a dump compared to those other two international destinations. Huh. I hadn't thought of it that way. Good point. But, no, I was just alluding to the fact that they actually won one of the games.
My pick: Miami
Detroit at Minnesota (-16.5)
People want to talk about how the Brett Favre thing has been so hard on Aaron Rodger and the Packers. But what about the Lions? Favre was gone and then he came back. It's like being in your 40s and then having the bully who tormented you back in grade school show up and your door and give you a wedgie.
My pick: Minnesota
Jacksonville at New York Jets (-7)
With the Jets now 4-4, kicker Jay Feely seems to have switched his focus from football to more pressing issues. Yes, this week on his Twitter page, noted intellectual @jayfeely railed against the horrors of the war on Christmas. But I understand why he has already turned his thoughts to the holiday season and this country's hundreds of millions of persecuted celebrants. His head coach pretty much looks like shaved Santa. (I didn't expect that to sound so dirty. Sorry.)
My pick: Jacksonville
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-7)
I'm going to be at this game. So if CBS scans the crowd showing celebrities, look for me. Maybe I'll be sitting near one of them. (Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod! That would be soooo cool! Maybe it will be someone super-famous like from NCIS!)
My pick: Pittsburgh
Denver at Washington (+3.5)
Have Josh McDaniels and Kyle Orton been exposed? Does the emperor have no neck-beard?
My pick: Washington
Atlanta at Carolina (+1.5)
In the last two weeks, the Delhomme Virus has infected both Kurt Warner and Drew Brees, who played poorly against the Panthers. This week Matt Ryan comes into Delhomme's infected space. I fear for him. The Delhomme Virus is especially hard on the young.
My pick: Atlanta
4:05 p.m. ET
Kansas City at Oakland (-2)
Poor Matt Cassel and JaMarcus Russell. Now that Jay Cutler is out of the AFC West, they're the worst quarterbacks in the division.
My pick: Oakland
4:15 p.m. ET
Dallas at Green Bay (+3)
The Packers were 6-10 last year. But then they had a 3-1 preseason and seemed to score at ease. So tons of experts picked them to be awesome this year. I mean, not as awesome as the 4-0 Detroit Lions of 2008. But awesome nonetheless. Well done, as always, experts.
My pick: Dallas
Seattle at Arizona (-8.5)
It's time to blow up the Seahawks. They're old and they're bad. My only concern is that in blowing them up, some radiation could be leaked into the atmosphere due to their uniforms.
My pick: Arizona
Philadelphia at San Diego (-1)
Andy Reid vs. Norv Turner. Wow. A chess game. Only Reid will forget to hit the timer between each of his moves and Turner will think he's playing checkers.
My pick: Philadelphia (and to win)
8:20 p.m. ET
New England at Indianapolis (-3)
Can Tom Brady ever beat Peyton Manning again? The Colts really have his number.
My pick: New England (and to win)
Baltimore at Cleveland (+10.5)
I keep seeing reports that Brady Quinn is starting at quarterback this week for the Browns. I'm pretty sure that's wrong. I've watched Browns games. I don't think they have a position that could be described as quarterback.
My pick: Baltimore***
A key running play in the Houston Texans’ loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday died in the team’s running back committee, sources say. The long-awaited debut of “20 Stretch Right,” a proposed run by tailback Steve Slaton, never came to fruition due to fierce subcommittee debate.
Despite eleventh-hour attempts at a compromise to get a play in front of quarterback Matt Schaub before the play clock wound down, the team’s Committee on Running Backs could not reach an agreement. Given this inter-committee bickering, Schaub had no choice but to audible the once-promising running play into a pass, which fell incomplete when the QB overthrew wideout Andre Johnson.
The original play, which called for second-year running back Steve Slaton to run a stretch, forced the team’s running back committee to divide along partisan lines. Slaton and veteran tailback Chris Brown supported the call, while the rest of the RB committee called it “a wasteful use of our constituents’ hard-earned plays.”
The strongest opposition to the play came from recently promoted starter Ryan Moats, who explained, “I felt that I owed it to myself, my constituency, and my fantasy owners not to simply allow that play to transpire in the hands of a fumble-prone back. I got this job by promising a sure-handed change from the fumbling status quo around here, so I couldn’t let things go back to business as usual.”
Cynics noted, though, that for all his high-minded rhetoric, Moats crushed a later Texans drive with a goal-line fumble in his first game as a starter.
“Typical sleazy running back. Lures you in with promises of reform, but he’s just as bad as the rest of them,” disenchanted defensive tackle Amobi Okoye lamented.
Despite these political struggles, for a brief moment it looked as if fullback Vonta Leach might save the play when he proposed a flea-flicker amendment, but the rest of the committee shouted down the suggestion as mere “pork to endear himself to Schaub.”
Although Leach pushed hard for the amendment, no committee member would second Leach’s motion to vote, so the flea-flicker proposal fizzled. Leach accepted that any further pressing for a vote on his part might lead to a point of order being raised.
“Look, I want to get a first down as much as anyone on this team,” Leach said, “But if our committee has to break with proper parliamentary procedure to get one, I’m not sure it’s worth it.”
Other proposed amendments might have helped the play get out of committee but surely would have prompted QB Schaub to exercise his veto power.
“Frankly, I love Slaton’s ability as a football player, but there’s no way I would have approved a halfback pass on third-and-two from our own 30-yard line,” Schaub later confirmed.
Pundits suggested that a few members of the committee were actually personally in favor of running 20 Stretch Right but had been corrupted by lobbying from the team’s receiving corps.
“I don’t want to make any accusations,” an oboe-playing guard who asked to remain anonymous explained. “I’m pretty sure I saw (wide receiver Kevin) Walter put a sack of money in Moats’ locker on Sunday morning, though.”
When asked to comment on the Texans’ difficulty in choosing a running play, opposing quarterback Peyton Manning confidently responded, “See? Our efficient QB-led dictatorship doesn’t look so bad now, does it?”
Men and women of the military, thank you for your service to all of us. Sincerely.
Even to those of us who are morons. Also sincerely. Or not. Yeah, probably not.
Lt. Winslow, U.S. Douche Corps.
AVOID: Chris Chambers, WR, Chiefs Last monday Chris Chambers was released by the Chargers. Tuesday he was claimed by the Chiefs. And then on Sunday he caught two touchdown passes in Kansas City's loss to the Jaguars. Quite a week.
Can we expect more of this from Chris Chambers? Despite his sub-par numbers over a now 9-year NFL career, Chambers has long tempted fantasy football owners. Consider his Fantasy Files commercial:
Whoops. I'm sorry. Wrong video. That was footage from the future showing how many catches Chambers will have the rest of this season.
Back in October we all learned about the Lebron James corn maze at Little Darby Creek Farm in Milford Center, Ohio. By mowing "Ohio Loves Lebron" and "#23 MVP" into their acreage, the owners of the farm tried to send a message to the Cavaliers star.
Hoping to find that there were more creative, sports-loving farmers across this great land, SportsPickle.com put out the call for images of similar corn mazes.
This is what we got back.
Well done, America. Well done.
1. Jim Caldwell By starting 8-0 in his coaching career, Caldwell moved up in some pretty select company for most wins to start a career.
1. Wally Lemm: 10-0
2. Potsy Clark: 8-0
2. Jim Caldwell: 8-0
4. Barney Clark: 7-0
Of course, this also makes Caldwell kind of a loser. I mean, look at the other guys on that list Wally, Potsy, Barney. All great hobo names. And Caldwell is just named "Jim." Pathetic. He doesn't deserve to be on that list until he also gets a hobo name. Or at least gives his current name a hobo flourish. Like maybe Chowder Jim Caldwell. Why Chowder? No reason. There doesn't have to be. You think those other guys had a great reason to be coaching in the hobo leagues of the 1920s and '30s? They just did what they had to do.
2. Steve Slaton No fumbles this week. And it's all thanks to him trying the Tiki Barber method. That's where you create three pressure points on the ball. Slaton should know he can also use this holding method beyond football. For example, thanks to his approach, Tiki Barber himself somehow manages to hold onto his dignity every morning while interviewing chefs about shrimp stir-fry on the Today show. JOURNALISM!
3. San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers is now 2-0 lifetime against Eli Manning, the quarterback he was traded for after Elisha and his father whined their way out of San Diego. And Shawne Merriman, one of the three players the Chargers drafted with the picks they got along with Rivers in exchange for Manning, sacked Eli on the final play of the game. I think that's called irony. Or is it? I'm not sure. Sometimes I honestly forget exactly what irony is. If irony = hilarious, then that's what I mean here.
4. Bucco Bruce Great to see him again. Especially because the America of 2009 is a different place than the America of the '70s and '80s. Did you see Bucco Bruce and his partner have adopted a little Filipino boy? He's adorable. His name is Bucco Bitao.
5. Matt Leinart One pass, one interception, and pulled from the game. Well done, Matt. Well done. That should teach Ken Whisenhunt. YO, DICKWEED! DON'T INTERRUPT ME TO GO IN THE GAME WHEN I'M HITTING ON CHEERLEADERS, BRAH!
1. Jake Delhomme Yes, I know. Putting Jake Delhomme in the losers spot is getting tiresome. But this time it's not about his football skills, or lack thereof. No, there is something much more embarrassing about Jake Delhomme. I'll let Brian Billick explain with this audio from Sunday's game. My God. Jake Delhomme's testicles have yet to descend. Perhaps they were intercepted on their way down.
2. Andy Reid You fat turd. As though Philadelphia fans don't suffer enough at the end of games already. Why not just have Brad Lidge play quarterback in the final minutes?
3. other fat turds Andy Reid? Lost. Mike McCarthy? Lost. Charlie Weis? Lost. Mark Mangino? Lost. Ralph Friedgen? Lost. Not a good week for our heftiest coaches. I trust/hope that there is more than just one hot seat. And that they are reinforced. And, if not, for their safety, let's please replace the hot seat with a hot barge or hot cargo ship.
4. Steven Hauschka Baltimore's young kicker is making a habit of missing late-game kicks. He missed a kick that would have tied the game at the end of regulation in Minnesota, and then missed another on Sunday against the Bengals that would have kept Baltimore in the game. On the Ravens, that will get you cut. Literally.
5. New England Patriots Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter said last week that there is "no question" that Tom Brady is getting favorable calls. After the game, Brady said those words motivated the Patriots all week. "It's really motivating," Brady said on WEEI Radio. "I think the guys take it to heart and the coaches take it to heart." Wait really? So let me get this straight the Patriots are motivated by the stating of fact? Huh. Well, suck on this Patriots: "The sun rises in the east." Oooooooh. Motivation. Now the Colts have no chance against them on Sunday.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked six more times Sunday in Green Bay's disheartening loss to the Buccaneers, raising his total to an NFL-worst 37 sacks through just eight games.
But only four of the sacks were attributed to Tampa Bay.
"If Aaron is going to go down, I may as well do the hitting. It's more fun that way," said Packers left tackle Chad Clifton, who tallied two late sacks against his quarterback. "And more often than not, the guy I'm blocking is going to sack him anyway. This cuts out the middle man."
Clifton leveled Rodgers on each of Green Bay's final two drives, peeling off the line and driving through his quarterback from the blind side just moments after the snap.
"I didn't expect it. Chad hit me hard. And fast," said Rodgers. "But, to be honest, and no offense to Chad, I've actually been sacked a lot quicker this year. I was almost able to finish my drop when he got me. That's a rare treat."
Clifton hopes his two sacks can raise some eyes around the league.
"I'm obviously not cut out to be an offensive lineman in the NFL," he said. "None of us on this line are. That's quite apparent. But I have the body type of an NFL lineman and I hope I can get a look somewhere next season as a defensive lineman after I'm cut by the Packers. But I just have to keep racking up the stats."
Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy isn't so sure Clifton has a future on the other side of the line of scrimmage either.
"Sure, he got those two sacks," said McCarthy. "But he tried to sack Aaron on more than 20 different plays. That's not a good rate. He always either tripped or got picked up easily by Ryan Grant blocking. He's happy about his performance, but I thought it was even worse than how he normally plays, if you can believe that."
Andy Reid's questionable clock management left the Eagles with zero time on the clock midway through the third quarter against the Cowboys, allowing Dallas to take the field without an opponent for the final 21:48 of the crucial divisional battle.
Thanks to the unique strategy, the Cowboys were able to overcome a three-point third quarter deficit and win the game.
"I'm not going to apologize," said Reid after the game. "You have to make those decisions in the moment. You know you can get second-guessed after the game, but that's the nature of the business."
In fact, a defensive Reid said he should be complimented if anything.
"No one mentions how I was able to use almost twice the amount of clock that Dallas was in the first half in the same amount of time," he said. "That's remarkably efficient. What other coach can do that?"
Reid used all of his timeouts and challenges during Philadelphia's first offensive series of the game, then set about having his team eat clock in hopes of preserving its four-point lead early in the second quarter.
"I'm not going to coach thinking we're going to cough up a lead," said Reid. "I have confidence in this team. So it's my job to keep that game clock moving as quickly as possible without any stoppages."
The Eagles went into halftime several minutes before Dallas, enabling a Cowboys' field goal before the scheduled half, and then set about blowing through the rest of the clock when they emerged for the second half.
"I learned my lesson at the end of Super Bowl XXXIX against the Patriots," said the Reid. "I'd rather be out of time completely than have to rely on some sort of two-minute drill. What team can possibly hope to do anything in two minutes? It's absurd."
Reid says he will not change his approach going forward.
"Unless they let me use timeouts and challenges I have in future games and I have petitioned the league about this numerous times," said Reid. "I see no reason to change. The league says it's to protect me from myself, but the suits in the league office clearly don't understand the intricacies of clock management."