Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 NFL Pickery -- Week #3

Last Week

Aaron: 14-2
Joe: 11-5

Current Standings

Aaron: 22-10
Joe: 21-11

Jacksonville at Carolina

Aaron: Since the beginning of this month, the Jaguars have had three different starting quarterbacks as rookie Blaine Gabbert was handed the keys to the Canyonero this week. And, if I may liberally lift from the Canyonero commercial: Well, it goes real slow with the hammer down! It's the country-fried truck endorsed by a clown…Canyonero! Twelve yards long, two lanes wide, 65 tons of American pride…Canyonero! Which is to say I expect the Jaguars to neither run fast nor complete a pass longer than 12 yards or 2 lanes. Pick: Carolina

Joe: I still think of this matchup as "the two expansion teams" even though that was at least 15 years ago. Which makes me old? Anyway, it'd be nice if, after two weeks of playing really well, Cam Newton got a win. And I may finally be getting my wish of a legendarily terrible Jaguars team. Pick: Carolina

Houston at New Orleans

Aaron: Doesn't it seem like Houston has started the last few seasons 2-0 only to wake up from their undefeated dream in week three? How are the networks already airing repeats this early into the new fall season? (Now that's how to seamlessly incorporate a timely non-football reference. The only more opportune comment would be something critical about Whitney Cummings. And, I have no idea who that is.) Pick: New Orleans

Joe: I've seen Devery Henderson stat lines that are funnier than Whitney! (Gauntlet picked up.) I'm not exactly ready to forecast New Orleans's whole season yet, but they might be the "good at home, shaky on the road" team. Pick: New Orleans

New England at Buffalo

Aaron: Joe's Bills beat my beloved Raiders last week. During the final few minutes, he and I exchanged frantic tweets as both teams exchanged offensive haymakers while simultaneously abandoning any pretense of defense. In the aftermath, several pro-Bills stories were written that didn't condescendingly juxtapose the team's fortunes with the local economy. It was a great game and I'm rooting for the Bills here, but…. Pick: New England

Joe: I'm so happy about this 2-0 start (shut up, at least it's something) that I don't even think a loss to the Pats here will kill my buzz. Though it'd be nice if this wasn't a total blowout. Pick: New England

Miami at Cleveland

Aaron: You've probably heard that the Dolphins have lost 11 of their last 12 home games, but finished 6-2 on the road in 2010. When the oral history of this statistical anomaly is written by the staff at Grantland, you'll see reasons cited like "it's too humid for the home crowd to will them to victory" and "LeBron James joined the Miami Heat". This, of course, is ridiculous. LeBron James is the reason Cleveland won't win this game. Pick: Miami

Joe: This game will likely not be pretty. And so much hideous orange in the uniforms! Blegh! (Ha ha! Gay dude talking about the sports!) Pick: Miami

Denver at Tennessee

Aaron: After last week's surprising win over the Ravens, Tennessee head coach Mike Munchack declared that his team would be playing a more balanced offense with more passing than in previous years. Honestly, drafting Titans RB Chris Johnson with my first fantasy football pick continues to pay comedic dividends! Pick: Tennessee

Joe: Meanwhile, Denver may have beaten Cincinnati last week, but they didn't win in the gritty, feel-good way they would have if Tim Tebow had started at QB. Look for more boring competence at the position this week. Pick: Denver

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia

Aaron: In the annual "Michael Vick Injury Pool" I did not have "tackled into his own teammate while still in the pocket". In my defense, "ironically eaten by the mutated feral dogs last seen in I Am Legend" seemed to be a more likely payoff at the time. Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: I have never seen a team score more touchdowns while playing poorer on offense than the Giants did on Monday night. The Rams might as well have placed that game underneath a silver dome for the G-men. Picks: Philadelphia

Detroit at Minnesota

Aaron: This game is wearing the familiar musk of Donovan McNabb's Desperation. With their season essentially on the line, is anyone willing to bet the old man has a few tricks left up his sleeve and too much pride to embrace mediocrity? That rationale worked out for Minnesota last year, no? Pick: Detroit

Joe: This game does have that "warning" label on it. Minnesota and McNabb have each individually pulled this "not so fast" thing before. But Detroit just looks like they're capable of scoring more points than the Vikings can match. ANALYSIS! Pick: Detroit

San Francisco at Cincinnati

Aaron: These were the last two MLB stops in Deion Sanders' vagabond baseball career. Now, he's a winged pixie in those DirecTV commercials for the NFL's Sunday Ticket. As career choices go, this is probably worse than his MC Hammer-produced rap album and better than his cameo at the end Celtic Pride. Pick: Cincinnati

Joe: Speaking of nostalgia, this was the first Super Bowl I ever remember watching, with Joe Montana's game-winning drive, and Tim Krumrie's legendarily gruesome leg injury. Now, the mantle of this proud rivalry will be picked up by Alex Smith and an incarcerated Cedric Benson. Clear your calendars. Pick: San Francisco

N.Y. Jets at Oakland

Aaron: During my previously referenced in-game Twitter frenzy with Joe last week, I mentioned the worst aspect of the Raiders' loss was that I seemed to be talking myself into the Jason Campbell era. He threw some beautiful passes under pressure and if Oakland can find a short-yardage security blanket at tight end for him…gah! I'm doing it again! They're not there yet and the Raiders defense spectacularly regressed from week one to week two. Pick: NY Jets

Joe: Didn't the Raiders have a short-yardage security-blanket tight end last season that they let get away during the free agent frenzy? I'm sorry, just trying to throw some friendly cold water before you get your heart broken. ...But first, I will pick your Raiders to give the Jets their inevitable "OMG the Jets are soooooo overrated" scare of the season. Pick: Oakland

Kansas City at San Diego

Aaron: As much as I took pleasure in the Chargers pratfall in Foxboro, they're still among the AFC's elite and they're facing a Chiefs team that has clearly closed up shop for 2011 with 15 weeks to go. Looking at the Chargers' schedule, it's clear that I won't get to enjoy another loss like last week until sometime in mid-January. I'm cool with that. Pick: San Diego

Joe: I wouldn't rule out Dexter McCluster pulling a surprise stat bonanza of a season for the Chiefs now that the running game has been ceded to him, but I still don't think that saves KC's poor doomed season. Pick: San Diego

Baltimore at St. Louis

Aaron: Rams RB Steven Jackson is not expected to play, which means another week of relevance for his back-up, Cadillac Anderson. It's just a nickname, but as African-American appellations go, it's the second-best one you'll hear this week. The best? It's clearly Boogaloo Watts – as identified early in the first part of this piece. Pick: Baltimore

Joe: I'll have you know that World B. Free will be filing a grievance about this horrible slight. I think if St. Louis can keep from shooting themselves in the foot, they still have the best chance of winning the embarrassment that is the NFC West. This would be a good place to start, but Baltimore's going to want to right their ship after last week's inexplicable loss. Pick: Baltimore

Green Bay at Chicago

Aaron: This week, ESPN has aired clips from the 1986 Packers v. Bears game in which Chicago quarterback Jim McMahon is bodyslammed to the ground by Packers defensive end Charles Martin, including 2011 interviews with some of the players in that game. I don't see anyone wanting to talk to Jay Cutler for any reason in 25 years. Pick: Chicago

Joe: Come on. By 2036, Grantland will definitely be out of good stories to write oral histories about and will instead focus on An Oral History of Kristin Cavillari's 8th Place Finish on Dancing with the Stars. That'll be all you, Jay! Pick: Green Bay

Arizona at Seattle

Aaron: The inherent problem with parity is that a handful of really good teams and a handful of really bad teams bookend all of the 8-8 teams. Of course, the obvious benefit is playing in the NFC West where you can be a really bad team, an 8-8 team AND a playoff team. Sports socialism works! Pick: Arizona

Joe: Arizona blew it last week, but I am more and more buying into their offense. Kolb-Beanie-Fitz is no Aikman-Emmett-Irvin, but they might be enough to get the job done against Tarvaris-Lynch-whoever-is catching-Seattle's-passes. Pick: Arizona

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Aaron: In week one, the Falcons were the designated "disappointing" punching bag after losing in Chicago. In week two, they were praised for their determination in a comeback win against the Eagles. This week, they'll get no credit for slogging through thunderstorms, oppressive humidity and at least 50 individual IVs. As a native Californian, I can tell you...I had an IV once. Not fun. Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: Yeah, Atlanta in the out-of-doors does not inspire a whole lot of confidence. But shouldn't Atlanta get credit for being a destination for trashy reality-TV personae rather than a source of them? I think they should? Pick: Atlanta

Pittsburgh at Indianapolis

Aaron: Colts QB reportedly flew to Europe recently and received stem cell treatment on his injured neck. It would appear the "search and rescue" of his career has been called off in favor of a recovery mission. Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: God damn it, Ben Roethlisberger, THROW SOME TOUCHDOWNS. Pick: Pittsburgh

Washington at Dallas

Aaron: Looking for a way to erase every bit of positive publicity you received for (belatedly) addressing concussions, NFL? Then, allow Cowboys QB Tony Romo to play with a f*cking punctured lung. Pick: Washington

Joe: Wait, Rex Grossman is on the verge of 3-0 AND they're remaking Footloose?? It's a weird, wild world we're living in. Pick: Washington

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