Last week's first gambler's roundtable was a fun affair, because I (Raven) did best, the chick still doesn't understand how it works, Neil saved a shitty week by the skin of his Lions, and Mavpa blew it for the most part, and I've not heard from him since, making me wonder if he didn't actually bet real money as well and has disappeared to join some Uzbeki jihad of some sort. But here is how people did last week...
RAVEN - 4-1 on picks, won $1300, and was only a shitty Chargers field goal late away from being perfect, and convincing myself illogically that I actually know what I'm talking about and should take $2000 up to Atlantic City.
STEPH - 3-2 on picks (against the spread - one team she picked to win - New Orleans - won the game, but not against the spread; it was fun trying to explain that), won $100, which doesn't seem right considering how well she did. Her Colts pick kinda fucked her.
NEIL - 1-3-1 on picks (got a push in the Jets/Patriots game), won $600, because he dropped a grand of fake money on the Lions in a bold move of heartfelt pride.
MAVPA - 1-4 on picks, lost $1100 in fake money, has disappeared; hopefully I get picks from him for this week, but not sure.
So our money going into this week is:
RAVEN - $2800
NEIL - $2100
STEPH - $1600
MAVPA - $400
With $100 minimum gambles on five games (four in Mavpa's case), including the one featuring your favorite team. Here is this week's slew of pickages...
Well, boys, guess who's feeling pretty good this second week? That's right, yo' girl is. I randomly pulled five picks out of my ass and correctly guessed four of the winners based on nothing at all having to do with the actual science of football. However, Raven says my score is 3-2 because of the numbers in parenthesis. After about 20 emails back and forth with me asking questions and Raven providing increasingly complex answers, I still don't understand that shit. The last email ended with blah blah blah, just trust me. Yeah, like I haven't heard that before. So my TECHNICAL score is 3-2, and my ACTUAL score is 4-1. Since I'm a woman, I will totally discount whatever I don't understand and pretend like it doesn't even matter.
Bengals (-7) over Colts in Cincinnati - $300
Okay, Indianapolis fucked me last week. Literally and and in the gambling sense. I didn't realize that they didn't know how to play football when I threw down that $600 pretend dollars, especially when that's a year's worth of pretend Brazilian wax jobs. I'm going to bet they won't be able to learn this week and I'm going with Cincy. And for the record, I don't like expansion teams. After about 1990. Seriously, that's pretty much my cut-off. If I don't remember them from my childhood and teenage years then they pretty much don't count. So the Bengals squeak by with a couple of decades. Minus one point to the Colts for losing last week, and minus another point for sucking in general and me not knowing that. Plus one point for me sleeping with a guy from Indiana. Minus one point for the Bengals having very possibly the *ugliest* helmet in all of American football, but plus one point for them having the balls to wear it. Plus one more point for the jersey sleeves matching the helmets. Their designer is either gay or a really old lady with a nasty smoker's cough named Boopsie.
Redskins (even) over Eagles in Washington - $100
Of course I'm going to take this bet! It's either win or lose, no strange push gambling or anything. I'm going with the Redskins because I hear they don't suck as much as last year, and because they don't have (wait for it, wait for it) Michael Vick. I'm not a Redskins fan, and maybe if they play Dallas I'll explain why. Or did they already play Dallas this year? I don't fucking know. I was trying to figure out if I could get my boyfriend tickets to see Green Bay at the Eagles, and fuck, they don't play until 2013. I didn't know that you don't play every franchise every year. I thought with all those games every Sunday (early afternoon, mid afternoon and night games), plus Monday night games, each team would play each other team every year. But I feel like it probably doesn't happen like that. They probably wouldn't have that issue if it wasn't for all those fucking expansion teams.
Saints (-4) over Buccaneers at Tampa Bay - $400
Ah, ye old Battle of the Gulf Coast. The one game of the year when it doesn't matter who tries to force who to wear their dark uniform, because all of these boys can get down in a heat index of 300 degrees. I'll go with the Saints because they did me well last weekend (here's looking at you, dear boyfriend, for telling me I didn't know what in the hell I was talking about), and because the Bucs lost by 20-some points (I think). Plus one point for the Saints winning, plus two points for me being able to talk shit to my boyfriend because of it. Minus one point for the Bucs for horrible colors, but plus one point for getting rid of the old shitty logo with the Anglo pirate holding a dagger in his teeth. Plus one point for having Ronde Barber from old Virginny, which kind of offsets (wait for it, wait for it) the Vick brothers. Saints alive, I think they'll do it again this weekend.
Patriots (-7) over Cowboys in New England - $600
I think Dallas sucks this year, and that's from someone who doesn't watch football until this past weekend or unless I am hanging out with my boyfriend, who is awesome, by the way. I don't like the Redskins, but alternately, I don't really like Dallas either. Plus one point for Dallas having probably the most recognizable logo in the United States, and plus one point for having the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, but minus two points for being incredibly over-rated. If everything is bigger in Texas, it certainly applies to the egos down there, too. On the Patriot side, I think I've heard that they've had a good season this year. I just wish the little patriot guy on their helmet wasn't so pointy.
Vikings over Bears (-2.5) at Chicago - $200
I'll make this quick. Plus one point to Minnesota for the purple, plus one more point for having my high school alma mater's exact colors - purple, gold and white. Plus another point for undoubtedly having the manliest moniker in the NFL. Can you be any more manly than a Viking? I think not. I bet they eat raw meat and shit in the locker room right before a game. Kind of like Chuck Norris, who is actually the father of all Vikings. And that's it. I'm done. I'm not even going to offer anything up for the Bears.
Saints (-4) over Buccaneers at Tampa Bay - $1000
I’m surprised this line is so low. I know the game is in Tampa but shit, the Buccaneers are kind of a shitty team this year. If you’ll recall, I said this when Raven and I did those team previews but nobody listened to me, just like nobody listened when I tried to warn the world about Hitler in the early ‘30s or about Jonas Salk back in the day. (He knows what he did . . .) Simply put, Tampa Bay is a butt. They just aren’t that good. I mean, it was only a week ago that they got crucified by the 49ers. I can still see Josh Freeman hanging there from that cross, begging his dad to forgive Harbaugh and his boys because they didn’t know what the fuck they were doing. It was terrible, just terrible. See, I totally thought about church on Sunday. Now leave me the fuck alone you Jehovah’s Witnesses, although I did read your latest pamphlet while I was taking a shit. Wait . . . where was I? Oh yeah, the Buccaneers aren’t very good and while I still think there is something slightly off with the Saints, they should still be able to beat the Buccaneers by 4 measly fucking points.
Eagles (even) over Redskins at Washington - $200
Look, I hate making this pick, both because I am rooting for Raven to have joy and success in all of his endeavors, including the football ones, and because, well, fuck the Eagles. But I promised my financial advisor after last week’s shitty Falcons over Packers pick that I would not pick with my heart anymore and my head is telling me that while the Eagles might be finished in the bigger picture, I think that this week they will pull their shit together just enough to get by the Redskins before then freefalling back into the Abyss. I mean, let’s be honest here. The Eagles aren’t going to go 2-14. They’ll win some games and even though my rationale here is suspiciously close to last week’s when I picked the Eagles to beat the Bills, I can’t help it. Perhaps I have been stunned by the Eagles into disbelief. I simply can’t believe that they’re this bad, you know? I mean, bad, yeah. But this bad? Naw, come on now, you’re just fucking with me, right? I don’t know, maybe this is a lousy pick. Shit, I’m almost sure it is now that I think about it but I’ve already said it to the universe and if I take it back now I’ll be accused of being a liar and I won’t have the universe call me a fucking liar. There are principles at stake here.
Ravens (-7.5) over Texans in Baltimore - $100
This is kind of a dangerous pick (read: stupid) until you consider that the Texans have lost both their best offensive player, Andre Johnson and their best defensive player, Mario Williams, for the season. Well, vaya con dios, Houston. I mean, it’s not that the Ravens are a super great team this season or anything but shit, I think they’ll be able to take advantage of a Texans team that’s had its heart ripped out, you know? Yeah, the Texans might be able to run the ball a bit but that will probably end about the 40th time that Ray Lewis howls incomprehensible gibberish and digs out whatever’s left of Arian Foster’s soupy brains with a spoon. Shit, you know what? This is another pick I don’t really like. The line feels just a touch too high and Baltimore’s offense is kind of a fuck-up offense and I could see them only winning by, like, 3. Still, the Texans season just rode off on its spirit horse last week and they might be ripe for an ass-kicking for a week or two before they stop moping around and get their shit together. At least that’s what I’m counting on here.
Raiders (-5.5) over Browns in Oakland - $500
The Raiders finally feel like a team that’s getting their Raiderness back if that makes any sense. I’m guessing Al Davis was just hanging on to make sure this would happen so he could then die in peace. He wasn’t going to go out with his beloved boys flailing around like a bunch of pussified jackasses. No sir. He wanted to see a glimmer of the old fire and then when he saw it, he hit the eject button on life and his spirit flew out of that cockpit and straight into Valhalla. Meanwhile, the Browns are what they always are: ass. And the Klan’s favored son, Peyton Hillis, has revealed himself to be, as Socrates would say, a bit of a bitch. I mean, there’s holding out because you want to be able to afford the good nursing home when your brain turns to pudding at the age of 45 and there’s pussy-footing around and acting like a goddamn prima-donna just because you want to leverage the fact that a bunch of white hooded mongrels are jacking off to your Madden cover into an extra sack of blood money, which is what Hillis is currently doing. His teammates see that and they aren’t going to go all out for a turd like that. I’m picking the Raiders because it’s the right thing to do, both intellectually and morally, and if I am anything, it is an intellectual moralist or perhaps I am a moral intellectual. Who is to say?
Lions (-4.5) over 49ers in Detroit - $300
I’m going to be honest here: I hate this pick. This just feels like a game that the Lions might lose, not because they secretly suck or anything but because the conditions just feel right for it to happen. They’re coming off a huge emotional high and I can see them playing flat as hell this week. I mean, it’s just human nature, you know? There’s no way they will be able to match the intensity of Monday night. Which is another reason why I don’t like this pick – they had one less day to recover and prepare for the 49ers which makes at least a small difference, you know? On the other hand, the 49ers seem like they’re peaking, don’t they? They just destroyed the Buccaneers and Jimmy Harbaugh has them buying into whatever crazed bullshit he is selling. So why am I picking the Lions? Because fuck you, that’s why. This is my team and I’ll be damned if I’m going to psychically poison them by picking against them. That shit just isn’t going to happen. Also, fuck the 49ers and fuck Jim Harbaugh. He broke my heart back in January and although Brady Hoke is working out pretty damn well, Jimmy turned his back on family and I can’t forgive that. Not yet, anyway. I am counting on The Great Willie Young to be my personal tool of vengeance this week, and while it may be foolish for any man to try to harness the power of The Great Willie Young for personal gain, you forget, I am more human than human and Willie and I understand one another, just like all the greats do. Fuck you, Jim.
Giants (-3) over Bills in New York - $100
Super Bowl 25 rematch game... I've always wondered how Bills fans by in large feel about losing all those Super Bowls in a row. Like, if you could select a panel of like 25 hard core fans, and in 1990 show them what the next 4 years would hold, if they'd rather just not make it at all. It really is too bad they didn't win all four though, because if the NFL went in the model the Bills had established instead of what the Cowboys built, it'd be a lot more exciting a game today. I still think one day the giant offensive lineman will be a thing of the past, and they'll get back to 260 pound dudes lighting up safeties 30 yards down the field... anyway, I still don't buy the Bills this year, and the Giants just loss to Seattle... Tom Coughlin seems like the kind of dude who would murder a homeless guy after a loss like that, and then go home and yell at his family to go to church while he stays home and watches porn.
Falcons (-4) over Panthers in Atlanta - $100
Matt Ryan is still good, right? Isn't Michael Turner a top running back? Did Roddy White regress to his early days when he couldn't catch Mike Vick's wild overthrows? It really seems like they should be scoring a shit load of points and Matt Ryan should be the one throwing for 400 yards every week. But, usually when things seem like they should be that way, they eventually go that way... or the coach gets fired and for some reason Eric Mangini gets involved, and then it really goes bad for everyone.
Eagles (even) over Redskins at Washington - $100
The Eagles defense is so shitty in almost every way, but the one thing that links it all together is the coaching. No one on the team seems to ever be in the right place, or know what plays they're supposed to be on the field and what their assignment is. It ends up with 3 dudes covering the goal post while someone catches a pass at the goal line. Juan Castillo sounds like a pretty broken man too. Before the season, he'd be on the radio here and he sounded like some kind of crazy cartel leader who would burn down the other team's houses before the game to get a mental edge... now he just kind of mumbles... and if there were a team smart enough to just come out and drop 42 points in the first half on them running a no huddle, he'd end up in a wheelchair banging a bell like the guy in Breaking Bad. Thankfully for the Eagles, they play a team that put their faith in Rex Grossman... and soon he'll waste the outstanding play of their defense just like he did in Chicago. Hopefully, Vince Young comes in to lead the Eagles to victory too.
Vikings over Bears (-2.5) at Chicago - $100
This is one of those games that makes me wish I really played fantasy football... and drafted first overall so I'd have Adrian Peterson. The Bears have become one of those teams that needs to just blow the whole thing up, or they'll always gonna go through the same cycle of being right around 9-7 for 2 years, then having a year where they win more games than they should before losing in the playoffs at home. As a Bears fan, I don't even believe in the concept of home field advantage anymore. I know there's a way to look this up, but I bet they have a better road record than home in the playoffs, and I bet it's not even close. The biggest problem is that the Bears is that they're not even very entertaining to watch right now. Their best play of the season was that crazy fake punt return, and that got called back on a shitty holding call. You take that away and it's just boring and bad football. I think they benched both their starting safeties this week too, which should lead to another 80 yard plus touchdown run or two. You know, they coulda beat the Colts that year but Rex Grossman fucking buried them. He really doesn't get enough blame for that shit. He fumbled like 4 snaps in that game. If it wasn't for him, Peyton Manning never would have won a Super Bowl... and I think that would make everyone happy.
I like how nobody ever does just the minimum when we have it, just betting all our fake money to let our fake reputations ride. I shall follow suit because fuck it, I blow through real money like it ain't no thing, so why would I treat fake money any differently?
Cowboys over Patriots (-7) at New England - $200
This line seems ridiculous to me. The Patriots defense, especially their secondary, is as susceptible as any one in the NFL. Romo has had a week to hear people talk about what a fuck-up he is, so he can switch back to on in his on-again, off-again career. This will be the game where he bobbles some snaps in the shotgun, and throws a stupid INT, but ultimately somehow salvages the game. Also the Cowboys have played like 39 games in a row decided by less than 3 points. Also they had a week off. Also the Patriots are overrated because if it gets into a gunslinging showdown between Monsieur Brady and Romo the Homo, I'm gonna bet on the Cowboys defense being more belligerent than the Pats defense, all day, every day. All of these alsos lead me to wonder how the fuck there's such a large line on this game in favor of the Patriots? No way they win by that much, and I'd actually be shocked if they even win the game.
Saints (-4) over Buccaneers at Tampa Bay - $600
At this point in the season, many teams are still coasting on their preseason reputations, with what they've actually shown during actual games thus far being sort of discredited because everybody refuses to believe what they see. The Buccaneers are one of the better examples of this. They almost lost to a dilapidated Colts team in Tampa, then got crushed by the 49ers, who are NFC West good, but not NFL good. Josh Freeman's rising star seems to have stagnated, and the Saints offense is actually like the best it's ever been, even compared to their Super Bowl year. They will crush these fucking Buccaneers.
Ravens (-7.5) over Texans in Baltimore - $1200
The Texans have not looked as remarkable as everyone thought, and have been crippled by injuries, including their offensive and defensive centerpieces in Andre Johnson and Mario Williams in the past two weeks. Joe Flacco is actually a fairly mediocre QB, but he has his moments, and I can't see the Texans have enough of a team left to combat the Ravens defense, and usually when the Ravens defense becomes a soul-crusher, that's when Flacco has his moments. And just so everybody is clear on this, the Houston Texans will always be the Houston Texans. They are a doomed team from birth. They will never be good, so stop trying to jump on that bandwagon every year.
Colts over Bengals (-7) at Cincinnati - $600
Poor Curtis Painter. Nobody told him that he's supposed to suck more than Kerry Collins so that the Colts can get Andrew Luck as an insurance policy against Peyton Manning's experimental European embryonic treatments to his broke neck not working. Curtis Painter is actually trying still. The Colts aren't that good, but Painter to Pierre Garcon has become a thing that is happening, and the Colts have played everybody tough, sort of just barely playing up to their competition for the most part. They ain't winning, but they're close. The Bengals are also still the Bengals, no matter how good Andy Dalton has looked thus far. They lack the bloodthirsty killer instinct of a respectable football franchise, and will not blow anybody away, ever. All this being said, there is no fucking way the Colts lose by more than a TD against these Cincinnati Bengals. They'll probably lose, yes, but it'll be an ugly and close game, and nobody will care, but still people will gamble on it, because we are a nation of degenerates, no?
Eagles (even) over Redskins at Washington - $200
I have been looking towards this game with dread all week. My Redskins friends actually seem excited, as if the bye week made us forget how shitty Rex Grossman looked at times in both the Cowboys and Rams games. We have focused on the 3-1 record and ignored the glaring realities of actual games. Plus, there is the Eagles/Redskins game from November - a home game for the Skins - where the black Mike Vick went all Madden '11 on a Redskins defense and left them laying there wondering what the fuck happened. Seriously, towards the end, Albert Haynesworth was just laying on the ground waiting for Vick to finish a play, but also of note is how on the first play, Laron Landry was left laying flat-chested against the turf watching DeSean Jackson high-step towards six points about 11 seconds into the game.
I feel terrible about this game, and may actually just take my children to a collegiate women's soccer game instead, so I don't even have to watch it. I am so afraid. Sure, our defense is looking tough, but I have not seen quotes from Redskins World where players seem to be on the "we've got a lot of things still to improve, it's a work in progress, so we're happy to be where we are" type quotables I'd like to see. Instead it's talk of validation and how they are a playoff contender. No one is a bonafide playoff contender in October. You cannot even begin to delude yourself with such things until November, because then you're halfway through the season, and maybe it's true. I see motherfuckers throwing out "the Redskins have a 44.2% chance of making the playoffs," and I think to myself, "Shut up calculator brains, football is about punching people and knocking them out, not calculating bullshit, and this Redskins team has not knocked out a single fucking thing yet." So with that in mind, I pick against the team that fills my heart with hatred and frustration, yet hope and delusion. I hope to the Football Gods that they do knock somebody out, preferably the black Mike Vick, and hopefully the entity that is the Philadelphia Eagles 2011 Dream Season, but I do not feel good about that happening. Therefore my fake money is against my heart's delusional hopes, and I will hide from the TV on Sunday afternoon and hope my robotphone blip bloops good news to me around 4:30 pm.