NFL WEEK 12
I Have Activated the "Funky" Rhythm
By Pete Tothero
Last week: 8-7 (So I’ve had a couple bad weeks. So what? I’m dancin’.)
Of ESPN’s 13 “NFL Experts,” number who have a better record than me: 2
How funny it is that after two very bad weeks, I’m still in third place: very.
New Orleans Saints (8-2) at Atlanta It’s Over (2-8)
Pittsburgh Undead (4-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)
The Steelers are alive! So conflicted about this game. How, exactly, did Pittsburgh pile up so many points on Detroit’s defense last week? I don’t get it. Does that mean I have to pick them on the road here? I think I have to pick them. I feel ill. Pick: Pittsburgh
Tampa Bay Whatever (2-8) at Detroit Lions (6-4)
Minnesota Like I Care (2-8) at Green Bay Packers (5-5)
Tampa Bay has won two games in a row! The Minnesota Vikings have Adrian Peterson! I have a college degree! These things are equally irrelevant! Picks: Detroit and Green Bay
San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
At 1:15 in the above clip, Howard Cosell introduces us to the most important touchdown celebration. In the history. Of professional football. "The Jig of Delight." From Elmo Wright.
I suspect the Jig of Delight was danced only once. Which is a crime. Against the sport. Of professional. Football. "Who else but Otis Taylor!" Cosell yells. Um...Elmo Wright? Any of the other receivers? I don't know—you tell me, Howard. Who else was on the team? Sheesh.
Sorry, Howard, I love you. Pick: Kansas City
Chicago Bears (6-4) at St. Louis Gust (4-6)
Which is the worst dome? My vote is for St. Louis. I don't even know the name of their dome. Is it maybe not even named? Is it maybe just RamDome? The St. Louis Convention, Motocross, and General Athletics Dome? Here are the number of times over the last five years friends or coworkers have brought up the St. Louis Rams while talking with me about pro football: zero. How is that possible? It's like a franchise that doesn't exist. They'll probably win this week just to screw things up for me, but I won't even care. It will be like a gust of wind knocking over a fence. Do you blame the wind? No. Do you remember the wind? Not really. Do you respect the wind? That doesn't make sense. Pick: Chicago
Carolina Panthers (7-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-5)
Go Carolina, go. Pick: Carolina
New York Jets (5-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
The best thing that could happen in this game is a scoreless tie. That's the only thing that would make me happy. Because that won't happen—because at some point one of these teams will fall ass-backward into some points, and at the end one side will walk off the field "victorious," shaking their helmets and waving to fans—I already know this will be a charade. Pick: Baltimore
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) at Houston Texans (2-8)
I know the Jaguars will lose, but picking against the Jaguars means picking the Texans. I know the Texans will lose, but picking against the Texans means picking the Jaguars. Because making a pick here involves picking one of these teams to win a football game, no matter which team I pick, I will feel I have made an insane pick. It is insensitive of the NFL to allow these teams to play each other. My entire life is one long Jaguars at Texans pick that I make again and again, but repress having made each and every time. And the NFL puts it right on the schedule? Shame on you, NFL. Why stop there, you bastards? Why don't you just go ahead and explain to me how tiny human beings are when one considers the actual size of the universe? Also explain how my single vote rarely actually counts, and how my parents only love me for biological reasons, not for any reason having to do with who I am. If you're scheduling Jags-Texans, why not just make a mockery of everything? Pick: Houston, but I don't even care, I know it doesn't matter and everything is pointless.
Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Oakland Raiders (4-6)
I. Don't. Know! Why do you keep making these match-ups! You have totally harshed my mellow, NFL. I will make a pick here, but I'm going to need to get funky afterward, to restore morale. Pick: Oakland. 1970s, rescue me!
Indianapolis Colts (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
Happiness. I support every decision that was made in the making of the above video. All of it, uncritically. Even the use of "regularly scheduled." These are regularly-scheduled games they're going to broadcast at night. These aren't exhibitions to test whether the players can even see the ball. These are regularly-scheduled games! Good Lord—football at night, on television? What kind of funky jazz will that turn out to be? As long as it doesn't pre-empt "Barney Miller," I'm fine with it. Neither of these serious, sober teams has the moxy it would take to play on the verson of Monday Night Football advertised above. Pick: Arizona
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) at New York Giants (4-6)
Almost all of the "NFL Experts" think the Giants are going to win this game. Why? I understand a few of them thinking that, but is there something that separates the Giants so definitively from the Cowboys? The Cowboys just had a bye week in which to study the Giants very carefully. Pick: Dallas
Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3)
I picked against the Broncos last weekend and got burned. They are one semi-solid hit on Manning away from watching Brock Osweiler assume command, though. But will Manning allow that hit ever to occur? This is also a trap game for the Broncos, sandwiched as it is between their two showdowns with the Chiefs. I suspect Belichick will come us with something particularly fiendish. Pick: New England
San Francisco 49ers (6-4) at Washington Kind of Knows What's Coming (3-7)
After Washington's loss last week, Robert Griffin said the defense "kind of knew what was coming." I love the way in which this recasts the loss as merely a strategic error. Look, Washington? What your opponents know is coming is that you're not good at football. That's it. Pick: San Francisco