So I may finally have a job. That's right, after six months of unemployment, I may finally be hired somewhere. But there's a catch, they still have to do a background check. Now, I don't have a criminal record and everything on my resume is accurate, but the first thing that pops up when you Google my name is my PIC column. Now, I stand by my column. I enjoy writing it. Tens of readers (and numerous 14-year-old girls with perverse MySpace accounts) enjoy it, too.
And if by some measure my employers are reading this, well, please take the following into account.
I have black friends, Jewish friends, Hispanic friends, Asian friends and girlfriends.
I respect other cultures.
I exaggerate certain remarks for comedic effect, often as a satirical jab at real racists/sexists/etc.
I'm not nearly as immature as my writings suggest, although I do get a majority of my news from the Daily Show.
Yes, I'm a sellout, but student loans don't pay themselves.
Okay, on to the picks (HOME teams in CAPS)
ATLANTA (-8) over Cleveland
For whatever reason, my Yahoo! pick em league changed this spread to PK on Wednesday and I have no idea why. I remember last year a Pats-Falcons game got taken off the board because Vick's status was a game-time decision (he eventually didn't play). But for this game, who knows? Vick appears healthy. It's not like Cleveland all of a sudden got a Peyton Manning clone back from injury. So what's the deal? Why is such an obvious game suddenly a toss-up? You're killing me, Yahoo!
Washington (+7) over PHILLY
I like the Eagles in a real close one. And since I have nothing to add, I found “Borat” to be one of the funniest movies in years, and my early frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar. With that said, stop trying to do him. People always try to bust out an exaggerated Kazakh accent and say things like “Women are worthless, I like.” It's just embarassing. It's like Beavis & Butthead, you can't quote them in context becuase the words aren't funny on their own, you need the voice to go with them. Since the only people in my life who could do a good Beavis and Butthead were my friends Kenny and Eric in junior high, it's damn near impossible to quote them. So don't. That is all.
San Diego (-1) over CINCY
TJ Houshmandzadeh (I think that's right) said in an interview he could sum up easily why his team is struggling, but didn't want to say why because he didn't want to get in trouble with the NFL. But that's weak. Housh makes $5.62 million a year. If it was something with his team, like Palmer is still scared about his knee being shattered again or Chad Johnson is too busy learning Spanish to catch a damn touchdown pass, that's one thing. Don't want to be a pariah. But if it's something that would piss the whole league off, well, come on. I mean, what could it be? I don't like suspense, TJ.
San Francisco (+6) over DETROIT
This week's “Demolition Man” game. One quick note, though: I could not be happier from a fantasy perspective that Frank Gore turned out to be a very subpar running back. People were drafting him in August and acting like they cured the common cold. You mean some crappy no-name behind a crappy O-line with a crappy quarterback wouldn't produce? This is why I don't do any research before fantasy drafts.
Baltimore (-7) over TENNESSEE
The Ravens currently top my leaderboard for teams just aching to upset the Colts in the playoffs. I also like the Chargers, Pats, Jaguars and Broncos, and pretty much any other team in the AFC. I'm sorry…I've just seen this movie too many times.
INDY (-12) over Buffalo
Hey, speaking of Indy…I give credit where credit is due. The Colts are, by far, the best team in the AFC and Peyton Manning should win the MVP unless he gets run over by a meat truck. But please listen, ESPN, being a great regular season team doesn't mean they're going to win the Super Bowl. Winning in the playoffs is based on running the ball and stopping the run, both things Manning and Co. suck at. And if Belichick and Brady had stuck to the script and ran the ball 25-30 times, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. (I'm still going with a Ravens-Giants Super Bowl, because that was so much fun in 2000.)
JACKSONVILLE (-10) over Houston
Every exceptional Madden player has one friend that they frequently demolish (mine is my friend Brian). Then one day, said punching bag wins and your world is turned upside down. At first, they claim they'll never play again, but eventually you talk them into it, with their confidence still fairly high. So you play again and what happens? You kick the ever-loving shit out of them. Anyway, after Houston ransacked the Jags a few weeks ago, this feels like a Madden Revenge game. Sorry, Brian.
Kansas City (-1) over MIAMI
Somewhere, Trent Green and Drew Bledsoe are having a drink together. And what if Miami wins out like they did last year? As a Pats fan, I pine for the good old days when Miami started strong and fell apart toward the end. Now they start shitty and turn it on as the season winds down. Either way they don't make the playoffs, but still, as a Dolphin-hater, I liked the November gag job a little better. Call me nostalgic.
Green Bay (+5.5) over MINNESOTA
The Packers are 3-5 and only a couple games out of a wild card spot. So here's my question: Which is worse? The NFC or the National League? And why can't my favorite team play in one of them? Oh by the way, I'm aware the Cardinals, an NL team, won the World Series (and if you weren't aware, rest assured DeGraaf will write three more columns making you aware). But they had 83 wins, relied on Yadier Molina as a hitting hero and Suppan/Weaver as their Koufax/Drysdale. Trust me, they were way more lucky than good.
New York Jets (+10.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Yes, the 2006 Red Sox-2006 Patriots comparisons are scary; beating up on shitty teams early, convincing everyone you're really good, then falling apart against your chief rival and losing one of your irreplacable players (Red Sox:Varitek::Patriots:Harrison). Hey, if ESPN is willing to ignore the Colts' tendency to blow it in January then I can ignore this.
OAKLAND (+9) over Denver
You've got to love Gene Wojciechowski and his unparalleled streak for writing the most obvious, uninspired columns on ESPN.com. His latest topic? The Raiders are awful. Thanks, Gene. I don't know where we'd be without your insight.
Dallas (-7) over ARIZONA
Let's see if I've got this right: Parcells goes for two early, they hand it to Julius Jones and he doesn't make it, Mike Vanderjagt shanks a 35-yard field goal for the win and the refs call a 15-yard facemask that was clearly 10 yards too many….and Terrell Owens is to blame for this loss? What else can we blame TO for? The war in Iraq? AIDS? Erectile dysfunction?
New Orleans (+4) over PITTSBURGH
Two teams in opposite directions, and how about Willie Parker getting reamed by the national media for his “We're just not as hungry anymore” comment? Do you realize pro sports is the only profession where you just can't complain about your job? My dad comes home from a busy day and says “Man, work sucked today” and nobody gives him shit. It's like Keith Foulke saying he didn't like baseball. So what? It's a job. How many people honestly like their job? (Except for me. I love every job for which I'm hired…God I'm a sellout.)
SEATTLE (-3.5) over St. Louis
No Hasselbeck. No Alexander. And they're 5-3? That would be like me getting castrated and improving my sex life. (Just shut your mouth, Gaudio. Shut it.)
NEW YORK GIANTS (-1) over Chicago
Welcome back to reality, Rex Grossman. Bernard Berrian will be your server.
Tampa Bay (+9.5) over CAROLINA
A few weeks ago, I compared the Panthers to Heineken beer. Both are high-end and you feel respectable for endorsing them, but after you've had a few they both taste like shit. And that's why I take the points.