Saturday, September 09, 2006

Picking the Pros

Just like on the ESPN commercial, that song from Monday Night Football has been stuck in my head for a couple of days. And just like legions of fans from around the country, I am a bundle of nervous energy waiting for Week 1 to kick off. Yeah, I know we had a little taste the other night when Pittsburgh gave Miami it's beat-down. But REAL football includes spending the day on the couch eating and drinking stuff that's bad for you, working the remote, and and listening for that six-note Pavlovian bell on Fox letting me know that The Scores Are Coming.

Stations Casinos, and well, just about every casino in Vegas, has capitalized on the hype and offered their own season-long football contest, and just like a dog that chases cars no matter how many times my master beats me down, I am powerless to resist.

Luckily, this contest appeals to everyone, novices included, by throwing the lines out the window. It's just a straight-up pick-the-winners affair.

So here are my picks:

Panthers beat the Falcons -- "Owned". And I pick Carolina to win the hardware this year, although the Falcons have a pretty damn good running back under center.

Buccaneers beat the Ravens -- I don't believe the Ravens hype this year, and believe either Schottenheimer or Billick is the first coach to get canned. McNair will be injured by week five and the Ravens will be back to that whole "We have no quarterback" issue they've been dealing with for the past, oh, history of the franchise.

Patriots beat the Bills -- Although, I'd love to see this one go the other way even though we'd have to listen to a week's worth of OMG, Are the Patriots DONE?!?!?!? commentary on ESPN.

Bengals beat the Chiefs -- If Carson Palmer stays healthy, they're my AFC Super Bowl pick.

Rams beat the Broncos -- Rams are underestimated this year, and that's not just home cookin'. Besides, all of the Broncos fans are ready to throw Jake Plummer under the team bus and seem to believe that Jay Cutler is the second coming of that guy with the big teeth.

Titans beat the Jets -- Somebody has got to win this stinker, right? Might as well be the home team. But I'm guessing this game won't be showing up on ESPN Classic anytime soon.

Browns beat the Saints -- Who knows? Maybe I should've gone the other way on this one, but the ticket was already in the self-service scanner machine.

Eagles beat the Texans -- As a self-proclaimed member of The Media, I just want to see a black quarterback do well in something besides Chunky Soup commercials.

Seahawks beat the Lions -- Although Alexander doesn't run the way he used to. Hey, and speaking of Detroit, does anyone else out there find it mildly amusing that Bill Laimbeer is coaching Detroit's WNBA team? How long does he have to do that before he burns off all of that bad Karma from the eighties? Does anybody know if this was like, a sentence or something, handed down from David Stern?

Bears beat the Packers -- It'll be an ugly game, but I'm going to watch, waiting for Brett Favre to snap and pull an opening-scene-from-The Last Boy Scout on live tv.

Jaguars beat the Cowboys -- The Jags were the best team nobody had ever heard about last year, obscured deep in the shadow of the Colts. I've been on the Jags bandwagon ever since I got Fred Taylor and Edgerrin James (rookie season) with my first two draft picks in the 1999 fantasy season and ran it up on everyone, only losing in the playoffs by one point the night Jeff George decided to throw three touchdown bombs to Randy Moss on Monday Night Football. That was before Fred was made of glass. Anyhow, while I grudgingly admit that the Cowboys have a good defense, Terrell Owens isn't going to last long with Bledsoe. If he couldn't get along with somebody who actually threw catchable passes to him, I can't wait for this drama to unfold. Mark my words--this is going to end ugly. Parcells will 'retire' again at the end of the season, Jerry Jones will bring in another Barry Switzer type yes-man to coach, and the Cowboys will spend the rest of the decade living in the basement of the NFC East, underachieving but making noise and screaming for attention, like the A.J. Soprano of the NFL.

Cardinals beat the 49ers -- I bet you could check all media archives from the years 1980 to 2000 and not find that headline anywhere (except for that Monday Night game where Steve Young got knocked the f*ck out--I was there). Everyone picks the Cards to be a contender again this year, but don't believe the hype. As long as Bidwill is the owner, they'll figure out a way to end the season at 7-9.

Peyton beats Eli -- We'll call this the Breathless Media Bowl, and while I find it potentially a decent game to watch, I just don't want to sit through endless cutaways of Archie and Ma Manning in the stands, along with the obligatory halftime interview. Coming from a family with six kids, I can tell you that siblings compete all the time. This is not news.

Redskins beat the Vikings -- Frankly, I don't believe that the NFC East is a monster powerhouse of a division, like everyone on tv seems to accept as holy writ. I see a bunch of 8-8 or 9-7 teams. But the Vikings are no good either.

Chargers demolish the Raiders -- The bolts will win in spite of Schottenheimer, not because of him. They won't get over the hurdle until he's gone, no matter how much talent they have. And I'm glad to see that the Raiders are being coached by what was clearly Al Davis' first choice. Oh wait, didn't he fire Art Shell before? Must've been some reason for that...

So yes, to answer the question on everybody's mind, I am ready for some football! And not able to resist a good sucker bet, I put $20 on the following parlay:

Tampa Bay -2.5

Cincinnati +2.5

Carolina -5.5

Eagles -4.5

Week one is always damn near impossible to pick with any success, but those are the games I felt the best about. If I win, hey, thats $240 comin' my way. If I lose, well, that's just one less lap-dance in the great Strip Club of Life.

But if I do crash and burn this Sunday, I'm going to empty the change jar and checking account on Monday afternoon and put it all on the Chargers.


PS--there was a change on our college parlay card. Instead of Texas, we're going with Eastern Michigan +25.5 today.

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