Sunday, September 18, 2011

2011 NFL Pickery -- Week #2

Last Week

Joe: 10-6
Aaron: 8-8

Oakland at Buffalo

Aaron: The postgame national narrative after the Raiders and Bills both won on the road last week (in two of the toughest venues in the league) was essentially confirmation of the Broncos' and Chiefs' ineptitude. It usually takes another week (and a 2-0 start) for an assuredly mediocre team to capture the "Cinderella" storyline and the cover of Sports Illustrated. Welcome to the ball, Buffalo. Your invitation is valid until you play New England next week. Pick: Buffalo

Joe: It's too bad THAT was the national narrative this week rather than the true story here: Pickery Bowl 2011! Cam vs. Movie Joe! One's beloved team will be showered with praise! The other will be cursed and booed until Homer Simpson's throat is sore! You know. Anyway, I now regret falling asleep at halftime of the Raiders-Broncos game (that thing started LATE, y'all), but my guess is that Darren McFadden provides a second consecutive test for the Bills' maybe-hopefully improved run defense, while the hope is that Air Fitzpatrick and his merry band of tight ends I didn't know were on the team will be able to exploit the Nnamdi-less Raiders defense. Not that I have anything approaching confidence that my raised hopes won't be dashed, but why not ride this era of good feelings while it lasts? Pick: Buffalo

Green Bay at Carolina

Aaron: Partially lost in the hubbub over Cam Newton's 422-yard passing debut for the Panthers was his heretofore unknown ability to raise the dead. But, he brought WR Steve Smith -- whose biochemistry is 75% formaldehyde -- back to life. Keep your eyes peeled for Mushin Muhammad and Rocket Ismail running short routes this Sunday. Pick: Green Bay

Joe: Meanwhile, the Packers look absolutely frightening. Best of luck this season, rest of the NFL. Pick: Green Bay

Arizona at Washington

Aaron: When the Redskins win, they'll be 2-0. This will, of course, lead to a handful of journalistically short-sighted pieces on the "genius" of head coach Mike Shanahan. For those of you who aren't football fans, Shanahan's baseball equivalent is Tony LaRussa. In basketball, it's probably Don Nelson. In hockey...I don't know...Mike Keenan? In tennis, it's anyone associated with the Williams sisters (especially I right?). More publicity feeds their limitless egos -- similar to the way negative emotions sustained Vigo the Carpathian in Ghostbusters II. Pick: Washington

Joe: Sometimes I'm left with nothing to do in these write-ups but step back and applaud the sheer population density of references in Cam's blurbs. Anyway, if I trust anything in this world, I trust Rex Grossman and the Redskins to revert to the mean. Pick: Arizona

Baltimore at Tennessee

Aaron: It's the running back I passed on with the fourth pick overall in TWO fantasy drafts (Ray Rice, two touchdowns and almost 150 all-purpose yards in week one) facing the running back I selected instead (Chris Johnson, zero touchdowns, 49 yards total last week). In both drafts. Well played, NFL schedulers. Jerks. Pick: Baltimore

Joe: I'm feeling the Rice Remorse this week too. Baltimore delivered a pretty textbook definition of a statement game last week against the Steelers. Hard to imagine they'll be able to conjure up the same intensity against the beat-by-the-Jags Titans. Still, after the way Ben Roethlisberger was treated by the Ravens D, I do worry about the welfare of my darling Matt Hasselbeck (with Hasselbecks, as with Scientologists, you're allowed to like one). Pick: Baltimore

Seattle at Pittsburgh

Aaron: So, we have a pissed off Steelers team fresh from a four touchdown loss in week one playing at home against a Seahawks squad that didn't look good against the miserable 49ers last week, has to travel three time zones east and will lodge in desolate western Pennsylvania -- where cell phone reception, internet connectivity and Starbucks are all still years away from realization. There may be no survivors in this one. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Yeah, unless Pittsburgh has just suddenly become terrible without anybody noticing, this one's set up on a tee for them. Pick: Pittsburgh

Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets

Aaron: I didn't watch one minute of last Sunday night's Jets v. Cowboys clash, but from what I read on Twitter, the Jets won the game because Tony Romo is terrible at everything. Using that logic, I'll go ahead and look up the current Jacksonville quarterback and...oh. Well, then. Pick: NY Jets

Joe: Ah, but before that, the Jets were losing because Mark Sanchez is terrible at everything. It was a neck-and-neck race on Twitter as to whose unearned enmity was going to win out. Anyway, another year, another opportunity for my deeply felt conviction that Jacksonville is the worst team in football to be disproven enough that I pick their games wrong about 70% of the time. So excited! Pick: NY Jets

Chicago at New Orleans

Aaron: I wish I could come up with more sturdy reasoning than "the Saints are at home and will have had 10 days rest", but that's all I got. Of course, I'd still pick the Saints if they were on the road and it was the Bears who'd had the extra days off. So, instead, let's go with "Drew Brees can pass the pants off Jay Cutler" as my superficial rationale. Cool? Pick: New Orleans

Joe: "The Saints are at home and will have had 10 days rest" is more than sufficient reasoning as far as I'm concerned. Watching the season opener last Thursday, I got really jealous of a team with Darren Sproles and a quarterback willing to get the ball to him. Pick: New Orleans

Kansas City at Detroit

Aaron: Without fail, there's one team every season that plays well for the first several weeks, but that I consistently pick against in a defiant example of prognostication self-mutilation. I'm still not sold on the Lions, but I'm willing to consider a week-to-week assessment of my contrarian position. Plus, Kansas City looked awful last week, you guys. Pick: Detroit

Joe: Yeah, Week 2 is that demon week where everybody simply assumes that the way things went in Week 1 is the way they'll continue to go. If there's a game this week poised to disprove what we thought we knew and send us into a tailspin of self-doubt and existential despair, it's this one. Then again, the Chiefs GOT THEY ASS WHOOPED BY THE BILLS OF ALL TEAMS. Pick: Detroit

Cleveland at Indianapolis

Aaron: For the past few years, every argument in favor of Peyton Manning winning the MVP award included some variation of "...this is a 2-14 without him...". Well, we're here. Pick: Cleveland

Joe: You know, the analogy could be made comparing the 2011 Colts with the 2008 American financial establishment. Starring Peyton Manning as Lehman Brothers, Jim Caldwell as Hank Paulson, and Kerry Collins as Barack Obama. ...Yeah, feel sorry for Obama now? Pick: Indianapolis

Tampa Bay at Minnesota

Aaron: At this point, does Minnesota have anything to lose by lifting from the Tecmo Super Bowl playbook and running Bo Jackson Adrian Peterson every down? Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: Donovan McNabb couldn't possibly have looked as bad as his stat line from last week suggests, right? There's some kind of advanced football metric that doesn't make it look like Donovan passed away sometime during last season in Washington? Of course, Tampa's Lagarrette Blount turned in an equally incredulously terrible stat line. Let's hope Sunday's game starts off with some public apologies. Pick: Tampa Bay

Dallas at San Francisco

Aaron: Hey, did you know that these two teams met in the NFC Championship game after the 1981 season? Joe Montana led the 49ers to victory with a last-second touchdown pass that became known as "The Catch". You didn't know? Well, don't worry...I'm sure FOX and ESPN will revisit the highlights of that game like a kajillion times before, during and after the 2011 version. Pick: Dallas

Joe: Come on, you don't think we'll get ONE retrospective of Terrell Owens scoring a TD and then running back to midfield to "disrespect" the Dallas star logo? Or those early-'90s Aikman-Young games? Constant cutaways to Deion Sanders, wondering which former team he's pulling for. Come on media. Diversify, man! Pick: Dallas

Cincinnati at Denver

Aaron: One of the bigger storylines to come out of last Monday night's Broncos loss to the Raiders was the loud chanting from small pockets of Broncos fans for Tim Tebow to replace Kyle Orton at quarterback. The media positioned this as an indictment of Orton instead of an abject display of idiocy. Tim Tebow is terrible, Denver. He's the third-string quarterback because he's terrible. Terrible! Stop chanting his name. Pick: Denver

Joe: The Bengals were looking pretty hapless last week until Bruce Gradkowski came in to replace a dinged-up Andy Dalton and sparked a comeback. Naturally, Dalton will be starting in Week 2. Pick: Denver

San Diego at New England

Aaron: Heading into last Monday night, my money-league fantasy team was trailing by almost 40 points with QB Tom Brady and WR Wes Welker yet to play. By the time their game was over, I'd won by more than 20 points. The lesson here, as always: fantasy football anecdotes are boring to everyone except the person telling the tale. Also...Brady! 500+ passing yards! Welker! 99-yard touchdown reception! Fantasy football! Pick: New England

Joe: Hey, I'm with you. Aaron Hernandez's big game almost single-handedly stole the week for me as well. Meantime, can we talk about how annoying it was this week to have to talk about Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison whining about probably the most innocuous Ochocinco tweet ever? As if the Patriots weren't already the Yankees of the NFL, now their ex-players have to police the current roster for violations of the Belichick Way? Ugh. Pick: San Diego

Houston at Miami

Aaron: How often do teams from two of the cities that ruined rap music meet up? I can't be the only one who thinks both cities should be punished by forcing their NFL teams to relocate to areas that gave birth to the genre in the first place. It's an appropriate consequence for the sonic nonsense that passes for hip hop today. Besides, who wouldn't support the "Queens Texans" or the "Money-Earnin' Mount Vernon Dolphins"? Pick: Houston

Joe: This is based on the thinnest of observational evidence but: I don't think Houston is as good as last week's score suggests, and I don't think the Dolphins are quite as bad. Time for NFL parity to work its magic. Pick: Miami

Philadelphia at Atlanta

Aaron: "Michael Vick returns to Atlanta" is the last remaining Michael Vick storyline that had yet to be beaten into the ground. Or thrown into the ceiling. Just doing my part. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: Losing that game to the Bears last week means the Falcons are facing a must-win game in Week 2, as ridiculous as that sounds. Glad to see Atlanta's Matt Ryan hasn't escaped the sports media's thirst for fresh blood for the hype-up, tear-down QB meat grinder. Pick: Atlanta

St. Louis at N.Y. Giants

Aaron: ESPN recently announced a $15 billion deal to keep Monday Night Football through the 2021 season. Think about that during this surefire 16-13 shootout. Pick: NY Giants

Joe: Dear Hakeem Nicks, Steven Jackson, and Sam Bradford: My fantasy football teams are sending out this weekend dedication to y'all. Pick: NY Giants


SHough610 said...

Bruschi might be my most hated ESPN NFL monkey. He reminds me of the jock from high school who still wears his letterman jacket and can't stop reminding everyone how great his team was.

Smitty said...

If Welker were a baseball player, you would call him overrated

Aaron C. said...

@Smitty -- Pfft. Welker just gets the most out of his abilities. BIG difference.

@Sam -- I was all ready to retort with Curt Schilling until I saw you included an "NFL" qualifier. That said, I'm still voting for Schilling. Screw it, I don't care.

Carrie said...

If you haven't heard John Oliver's thoughts on Tim Tebow, you need to hear John Oliver's thoughts on Tim Tebow: (The start of the first sentence is cut off, but I believe it's something along the lines of "If I were faced with...")