Jesse: BEST WORST PICK OF LAST WEEK:“In the past I have taken the Saints quite a few times, and just like the most of the last DVDs I reviewed, they let me down. I can’t do it again.” - Clint (Saints 31, Falcons 27)
For the first time since 2008, an NFL game ended in a tie as the Rams and 49ers played to a 24-24 standstill. I could only chuckle, knowing that fans in St. Louis had just discovered a beloved tradition known to Nashville residents for years: The Jeff Fisher Victory That Isn’t Really A Victory, But Sort Of Feels Like One. Fisher made an art of this for years as coach of the Titans, peaking with a painful loss in the Super Bowl so heartbreaking that people liked him more after the loss. He only had 6 winning seasons out of 16, but his job was rarely in jeopardy until the end. To have that kind of career longevity as an NFL head coach, especially when your owner is a 90 year old Texas oilman who’s probably insane, is simply remarkable. Whether it’s his soft-rock DJ voice, his Ned Flanders-like moustache or the calm way he stands there while his team gets a delay of game penalty on the field goal that would have won the game, Jeff Fisher has the ability to keep his job, no matter the results.
- Rick Reilly is a DICK. (Shutdown Corner)
- After a brutal week of concussions, the NFLPA renews call for independent concussion specialists. Goodell, predictably, is silent. (ESPN)
- A look at the Saints’ goal-line stand against Atlanta. (National Football Post)
- When bounties seemed funny. (New York Times)
- Jerramy Stevens, one of the NFL’s all-time bad guys, involved in domestic violence dispute with Hope Solo. They were married hours later. Ugh. (Shutdown Corner)
Miami Dolphins(4-5) vs. Buffalo Bills(3-6)
Tom: What to think, what to think. I was on the Miami bandwagon, and then Ryan Tannehill went and looked like a rookie vs. the mediocre (I’ll not say terrible) Titans. The Bills have a sieve of a defense, but their offense hung in with the Pats (although their defense is not so good either). The Dolphins have a better D than the Pats do (sorry, but they do). So I’ll err on the side of Miami. Fleed, if they lose again, I’m off the ‘Phin Fan Foom.
Clint: It’s damn cold in the North right now. This is the time when weather starts to really affect teams, but the Dolphins don’t care. Buffalo is missing a major piece of their offense with Jackson out too, so I see nothing else to do but agree with Tom:
Arizona Cardinals(4-5) vs. Atlanta Falcons(8-1)
Clint: I had a feeling the Saints, a division rival, had the chance to put a chink in the Falcons armor. Their season is not lost. The Cardinals are abysmal on offense, with as much bang as the Big Bang Theory.
Tom: So, I argued with someone last week about the loss was fine, and he said, “Don’t say it’s a good loss. When is a loss a good loss?” I responded “When it’s not the playoffs!” Falcons are back home, and probably re-focused again. Cardinals…eh. Defense will probably give Atlanta some trouble, but they have enough to overcome and RISE UP! (sorry–we hear that an awful lot here in Atlanta)
Tom: Bucs are the surprising team in the NFC South right now. The pass defense is terrible but the run defense and offense are great, and when Freeman has time, he has great weapons to throw to. The Panthers shocked the week prior, then looked bad again last week. Is it time for the upswing again? Not against this defense.
Clint: Another lopsided game. I don’t see the comeback of Cam Newton. What are they even playing for? Pride? That was so 2008.
Cleveland Browns(2-7) vs. Dallas Cowboys(4-5)
Clint: Here come my Balls. The Cowboys shoot themselves in the proverbial foot this time of year. A healthy Richardson shows them what a rookie RB is supposed to look like and Romo completes 5% of his passes to the Browns Defense.
Tom: Well, I tried it with the Browns once. ONCE.
Green Bay Packers(6-3) vs. Detroit Lions(4-5)
Tom: Hey Lions—the Pack offense is back. Sorry. And you made Christian Ponder look good last week. Brutal.
Clint: The king of the jungle is more like the king of the jungle gym. On paper this game actually looks a lot more interesting than the Packer practice it will wind up being.
Jacksonville Jaguars(1-8) vs. Houston Texans(8-1)
Clint: When it comes to division rivalries, I normally give a little extra leeway for the lesser team to sneak a victory, but there is no sane way I could ever predict the Jaguars to win this game.
Tom: I would throw out “by the GDP of a small country” but that’s not giving enough credit to the small country.
Cincinnati Bengals(4-5) vs. Kansas City Chiefs(1-8)
Tom: I don’t care that it went to OT last week with the Steelers Monday night—the Chiefs are still bad. They make dumb mistakes at the worst times, they drop passes…but they sure can dance. Andy Dalton is on my fantasy team that’s 9-1, so I say keep on slingin’ Andy.
Clint: Damn you schedule. I want to make fun of Tom for making a bad choice, but all his picks they are too easy. Chiefs are still horrible, regardless of how bad the Steelers played them.
New York Jets(3-6) vs. St. Louis Rams(3-5-1)
Clint: Looking past raw talent I have disliked Fisher since his days as head coach of the Houston Oilers. Talent wise, this guy is a rock. The decisions the GM made in Tennessee kind of forced his hand to leave and prove he wasn’t the reason for that team going downhill. He has proven not to count his team out of any game this season. Add to that a healthy Danny Amendola that put up above average yards versus the Niners last week, and this looks like Ryan and Tebow and Dirty Sanchez are going to go down like a crackwhore looking for a rock.
Tom: The Rams are strong at home–but this is one of those games where, you think the Jets are hugely overmatched and stumbling, and suddenly they pull a win out of their ass. But the Rams defense is pretty darn good. I’ll go with St. Louis and keep my balls in my enormous ball pouch that I keep tucked away in a special place.
Philadelphia Eagles(3-6) vs. Washington Redskins(3-6)
Tom: So the Eagles have lucked (?) into Vick getting a concussion so they can play their backup QB without a lot of controversy. He looked pretty decent vs. the Cowboys, even though he wasn’t able to spur them to victory. I would guess a lot of Eagles fans (and at least one on the message boards) would be willing to ride Foles to the end of the season as long as it meant changes were a comin’, ie: goodbye Vick and Andy Reid. RGIII helps them out with that wish, although the Redskins have fallen from beloved to average now that teams are getting tape on the rookie.
Clint: A game that is almost interesting, except both teams are playing just to play. Neither is in the big race, and both are struggling. Both these teams appear to be anemic on offense but I side with the very marginally better Redskins defense.
New Orleans Saints(4-5) vs. Oakland Raiders(3-6)
Clint: The Saints have a great offense and no defense. The Raiders have ……
Tom: The Saints took their swing at the champ and held on to win. Now here comes a tomato can. The defense is improving ever so slightly, and with the offense being so good, that’s all they should need vs. the Raiders. Hey look Clint! I’m picking the Saints!
Tom: How wild would it be if the Broncos went up big on the Chargers and then Rivers brought them back to win? Yeah, not gonna happen.
Clint: I’m still not a Broncos believer. Manning is firing on all cylinders, but the rest of team seems to be on and off. That may be good if they get hot in time for the playoffs. I think this game will be won by the last drive, and who better in the last few minutes than Peyton, unless it’s a Papa John’s commercial.
Indianapolis Colts(6-3) vs. New England Patriots(6-3)
Clint: Here comes that awful term again. Division rivalry. Last week Buffalo kept the game against the Pats close. The Colts are 1000 times better than Buffalo. On that ill formed logic I will probably make the stupidest call I can make this week:
Tom: This is a huge test for Andrew Luck. Yeah, the Pats defense isn’t great, but it’s Brady, Belichick, and it’s at New England. BIG stage. I don’t think he’ll choke, but it will be another test for the rookie. I’ll see your Dalton and raise you a Wesley.
Baltimore Ravens(7-2) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers(6-3)
Tom: Steelers play to the level of their competition again last week but because I picked the Chiefs to win, my plan still worked out and Pittsburgh got out of there with the W. Ben goes down to a shoulder injury, meaning it will be Byron “Wind Up” Leftwich vs. the not-so-mighty-anymore Ravens defense. Yeah, that should be great. I’ll go with the standard, but I think I may end up being right this week. Dammit.
Clint: I was there last year when Ben was suspended and Batch helmed the Steelers against the Ravens in their only loss during his suspension. It all came down to a single drive by the Ravens at the end of the game. This year should be the same. I can’t root against my boys, and I still feel they have a chance here.
MONDAY NOVEMBER 19
Chicago Bears(7-2) vs. San Francisco 49ers(6-2-1)
Clint: You can say that Cutler going down last week assisted in the Texans winning, but honestly Cutler was imploding before that happened and if he had stayed in he may have helped the Texans win by a larger amount. I like Cutler, except when things get tough he acts like a diaper rash baby. I would say if he ever grows up he may turn into something great, but if he hasn’t grown up by now, it’s a lost hope. That said, he may not even play. San Fran is not what everyone expected them to be, and their QB just can’t be expected to do much more than manage a game, and against the Bears Defense that is exactly what is going to be much needed. I feel I should pick the Bears, but with such uncertainty at QB I can’t. Even if Cutler plays, if he isn’t 100% he may piss off his o-line again and it once again doesn’t matter.
Tom: First, Sunday night in miserable weather, and now most likely in pleasant weather 8 days later vs. a 49ers team that possibly will be missing their starting QB. Was that the reason for the tie with the Rams? Kapernick was OK, but nothing special. Somewhat like Alex Smith. However Chicago just brought back Josh McCown, so that shows you how much faith they have in Cutler being healthy the rest of this season. Jason Campbell is serviceable, especially if they don’t rely on him to win the game. I would not be surprised if this is a 13-9 or even lower scoring game. Both teams have the RB talent and defense to win. But both may be playing with a backup QB. I rolled with the Bears last week and lost. I’m going double or nothing this week.