Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #17

Last Week

Joe: 12-4
Aaron: 12-4

Current Standings

Joe: 157-80-1
Aaron: 146-90-1

Tampa Bay at Atlanta

Aaron: The Falcons have wrapped up the NFC #1 seed in the playoffs, so I doubt their starters will see much action.  On a related note, the Buccaneers haven't shown up since before Thanksgiving.  (Hey, it's been a long season. I'm allowed ONE Jay Leno-esque joke this week, yes?)  Pick: Atlanta

Joe: Oh, wait, did we all forget to have that tedious conversation about whether the Falcons are cheating their fans by sitting their starters? Pick: Atlanta

NY Jets at Buffalo

Aaron: I don't know what's true and what's not. But, I'm rooting for this Tim Tebow heel turn to continue this week and through the offseason -- with an NWO-era Hollywood Hulk Hogan beard and an interview tour that draws heavily on The Rock's infamous, incredulous "Die Rocky Die" promo.  Pick: Buffalo

Joe: Whoever starts for the Jets this week, can they just do me a solid and beat the Bills so that I can at least look forward to a top-5 draft pick? Pick: NY Jets

Baltimore at Cincinnati

Aaron: The Bengals are currently the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs and will be playing on the road next week against one of the division champions.  So, I'll go back to inexplicably picking against them in seven days.  Pick: Cincinnati

Joe: The Bengals are certainly playing better more consistently these days. But that was a good, solid win the Ravens had over the Giants last week. I think they pull this one out too. Pick: Baltimore

Chicago at Detroit

Aaron: For Chicago to make the playoffs, the Bears need to win here and hope Minnesota loses to Green Bay.  Sounds like an awful lot of good fortune considering the storm cloud that perpetually follows Jay Cutler's pouty frown around.  Pick: Chicago

Joe: Detroit is riding an incredibly sad first-to-worst trajectory that can't possibly be redeemed even by knocking a division rival out of the playoffs. But they might as well give it a try. Pick: Detroit

Jacksonville at Tennessee

Aaron: The 2-13 Jaguars remain in contention for the first pick in next year's draft. They've already defeated the Titans earlier this season, so a win here does nothing for no one.  Kind of like Maggie in the "Lisa on Ice" episode of The Simpsons just before she catches the beer bottle that was hurtling towards Homer's head.  If only she were real, eh, Jacksonville?  Pick: Tennessee

Joe: Hard to imagine how Jacksonville's season could have gone downhill so steeply after losing their only good player to injury. Pick: Tennessee

Houston at Indianapolis

Aaron: There are unquestionably more grotesque stories in the news this holiday season, but let's find a way to give an honorable mention to the Arian Foster fantasy owners who groused about his unavailability last week -- due to an irregular heartbeat -- in relation to their fantasy playoff prospects.  Pick: Houston

Joe: New Year's Eve Eve in Indianapolis! Just like Irving Berlin wrote about! Pick: Houston

Carolina at New Orleans

Aaron: Let's recap: earlier in the season Panthers QB Cam Newton was getting nonsensically crushed for bad body language on the sideline and in postgame interviews.  Last week, he deliberately bumped the referee in a game against one of the league's worst teams and now he's nonsensically hailed as "intense" and a "team leader"?  Got it.  Pick: New Orleans

Joe: Football fans are kind of the worst. Meanwhile, what a sad 8-8 season for the Saints this will have been. Bounties and punishments and injuries and 5-interception games. Their NFL Films highlight video is just going to be the Drew Brees/One Direction ad over and over again. Pick: New Orleans

Philadelphia at NY Giants

Aaron: Remember that scene in Major League where Roger Dorn defends his refusal to dive for a ball by explaining how he's not going to put himself at physical risk for his teammates ("a bunch of stiffs") when he's so close to free agency?  Yeah, that'll be Michael Vick filling in for Corbin Bernsen this week.  Pick: NY Giants

Joe: And so begins Project Don't Let the Bills Sign Michael Vick. Pick: NY Giants

Cleveland at Pittsburgh

Aaron: The chasm between QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers coaching staff is going to come to a head very soon.  Head coach Mike Tomlin looks increasingly overrated -- more "motivator" than Xs and Os coach.  His resume is impressive, even if all of the success was sustained years ago, so he's got all the qualifications to be an Oakland Raiders employee by 2014.  Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Well, we've already got the Steelers knocked out of the playoffs. Maybe we can go in for a losing record as well? Pick: Cleveland

Arizona at San Francisco

Aaron: At home and against an inferior opponent, the 49ers will probably hang 50+ points as some sort of "response" to their humiliating defeat last week.  Good.  Hopefully, this reminds America why we should be united in rooting against them when the playoffs start.  Pick: San Francisco

Joe: Really excited to see how Niners QB Chris Kirkpatrick fares in the upcoming playoffs. Pick: San Francisco

St. Louis at Seattle

Aaron: The transformation of Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll from laughingstock of the NFL coaching ranks into this affable, smirking genius isn't all that remarkable.  In fact, baseball fans like me saw it when incompetent Texas Rangers manager Bobby Valentine landed in Queens.  If this ends with Carroll ruining New England sometime in 2022, I'll wait it out.  Pick: Seattle

Joe: So who decided it was a good idea to feed the Seattle Seahawks after midnight? Huh? The cryptic, weird Asian "celestial" stereotype at the curio shop SPECIFICALLY said not to! Pick: Seattle

Oakland at San Diego

Aaron: And, so...just 48 hours after Raiders head coach Dennis Allen went on record criticizing back-up QB Terrelle Pryor's practice habits, knowledge of the playbook and grasp of fundamentals...Pryor was announced as the starter here. NO ONE doubts it was owner Mark Davis who made the call in response to loud, know-nothing fans who thought QB Carson Fucking Palmer should've had this team playing in February. Honestly, you guys.  Been a fan since I was seven years old.  But, this shit...  Pick: San Diego

Joe: Okay, ONE more win for Norv Turner. But that's it! In other news, Project Don't Let the Bills Hire Norv Turner. Pick: San Diego

Green Bay at Minnesota

Aaron: With the single-season rushing record within reach, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will rack up a kajillion carries and everyone on the field knows it.  Also, predictable?'s Bill Simmons will make a kajillion references to "Tecmo Bo Jackson" about it on his podcast come Monday.  Pick: Minnesota

Joe: Come on, Packers. If you can't get up for spitefully denying a hated rival a spot in the playoffs, what can you get up for? Pick: Green Bay

Miami at New England

Aaron: I always look forward to the "warm-weather team plays in cold weather" narrative.  The one that dutifully ignores the fact that NO ONE likes playing in cold weather and the fans who pay to sit outside in these temperatures are crazy people and shouldn't be romanticized.  Pick: New England


Kansas City at Denver

Aaron: Any team that steadfastly sticks with QB Brady Quinn has clearly stopped giving any expletives, whatsoever -- a sh*t, a f*ck, a sh*tf*ck. Take your pick.  Pick: Denver

Joe: Oh, Denver. Taking an 11-game win streak into the playoffs. Enjoy that divisional-round home loss. Pick: Denver

Dallas at Washington

Aaron: Is it possible to bet on where Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will rank when the first fantasy football projections come out next summer?  Overall top five, right?  Third behind Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster?  And, will his 2013 performance be impacted by his inevitable "Madden 14" cover?  Can we bet on this?!  Pick: Washington

Joe: The NFC East can't be decided this cleanly, can it? Pick: Dallas

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #16

Last Week

Joe: 13-2
Aaron: 7-9

Current Standings

Joe: 145-76-1
Aaron: 136-86-1

Atlanta at Detroit (Saturday)

Aaron: Oh, of course. I started Lions QB Matt Stafford during the first round of my big-money league fantasy playoffs last week.  After putting up solid numbers over the past three weeks, he gave me six goddam points against the execrable Cardinals when I needed him the most.  When my eight-year-old son asks why there are no presents under the Christmas tree, I'm going to show him a picture of YOUR FAT FACE, STAFFORD.  Pick: Atlanta

Joe: I don't want to talk about him anymore. I should probably feel bad for Detroit fans, having been teased with a playoff team last year only to have it cruelly yanked away. But between Stafford and the fact that seemingly every week I went up against Mike Leshoure who scored as many touchdowns are he possibly could and still have the Lions lose ... let's say my sympathy has been drained. Pick: Atlanta

Oakland at Carolina

Aaron: My Raiders insist that third-string QB Terrelle Pryor will see some opportunities this week in third down situations and in the red zone.  Y'know, because when you're 4-10 and have scored the sixth fewest points in the league, you entrust the offense to the long-term project who's been on the field for three plays in his two-year NFL career.  Pick: Carolina

Joe: Carolina is pulling the old Bills trick of pulling a 7-9 season out of a terrible start and sabotaging any prospects to improve through the draft. Well done! Pick: Carolina

New Orleans at Dallas

Aaron: Pretty sure it was preordained that the 2012 NFC East would end in a spectacular clusterfuck heading into the final week, so I'll pick accordingly.  Pick: Dallas

Joe: What do you think goes through Jerry Jones's mind when he looks at the Saints, a team whose season was deep-sixed by the commissioner's office (or so the outrage goes). Does he feel like the career bank-robber who's been on the run his whole life looking at someone get popped? Pick: Dallas

Tennessee at Green Bay

Aaron: While the Packers seem to be getting healthy at juuust the right time, the nitpicky cynic in me can't help but point out that they've allowed most of their 2012 opponents to keep the score close all season.  They'll be a fascinating storyline in January.  Less so against the continued collection of cream puffs, cakes and ├ęclairs they'll squeak by in December.  Pick: Green Bay

Joe: By the NY Giants theory of lying in the NFC weeds, the Packers would seem to have their opponents right where they want them. Pick: Green Bay

Indianapolis at Kansas City

Aaron: Soon-to-be-fired Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel is going to be handsomely paid for the final two years of the three-year contract he signed prior to the 2012 season.  His career record is 28-53. If this isn't a specific Republican presidential candidate talking point in 2016, I'll be disappointed.  Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: Not that this game is important enough to warrant it, but you know those mayoral wagers where the mayor of Kansas City will send a case of BBQ to the mayor of Indianapolis, who in turn sends to the mayor of Kansas City ... what? Miniature Formula One cars? Parks and Recreation DVDs? Pick: Indianapolis

Buffalo at Miami

Aaron: NOW, it occurs to me that I've been picking the Bills with much more frequency than the guy who actually roots for them.  I'm beginning to think Joe knows something I don't.  Pick: Miami

Joe: Well, great. SKYNET has become self-aware. Pick: Miami

San Diego at NY Jets

Aaron: It's probably not a good sign in the short-term that in the same week third-string QB Greg McElroy is named the starter for the Jets, there are reports that the team will pursue Michael Vick for their quarterback spot in 2013.  Oh, Jets.  Don't ever change.  Pick: San Diego

Joe: I still think we've seen Norv Turner's last win for the Chargers. Pick: NY Jets

Washington at Philadelphia

Aaron: Let's slow down on all the "Washington has TWO good quarterbacks" claptrap, America.  Backup QB Kirk Cousins is the quintessential second-stringer -- unspectacularly competent -- who's coming off a win against Cleveland.  Cleveland.  The Redskins could start Cousins OR a recovering Robert Griffin III this week.  The Eagles are worthy of the same condescending italics.  Pick: Washington

Joe: I've been home for Christmas for 25 hours now, and I've already got family members clamoring for Andy Reid (my brother's namesake, of course) to be the next Bills head coach. Somebody bright-side this for me.  Pick: Washington

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh

Aaron: The Steelers were outcoached two weeks ago against the Chargers and outplayed last week against the Cowboys.  While it's FAR too soon to welcome Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin into the pantheon of incompetent black head coaches; Art Shell, Dennis Green, Ray Rhodes, Raheem Morris and Herm Edwards are monitoring the situation.  Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: This Christmas, let's give the Steelers the gift of a January vacation, hmm? Pick: Cincinnati

St. Louis at Tampa Bay

Aaron: The Buccaneers still sport the top-ranked defense against the run AND the worst defense against the pass.  Since the Rams offense still goes through RB Steven Jackson and the Bucs are at home and they're probably still pissed over last week's 41-0 loss to New Orleans and...etc.  Pick: Tampa Bay

Joe: Whereas I think the Bucs have lost it. LOST IT! Scientific finding! Pick: St. Louis

New England at Jacksonville

Aaron: Seems unfair that it's the Patriots who are the only team to receive two byes this season, but after last week's heavyweight fight against the 49ers, I suppose it's defensible. Pick: New England

Joe: Really annoyed that last week's near-comeback against the Niners gave Pats fans the bright side of proof that running up the score is necessary. Even when they lose they win. Pick: New England

Minnesota at Houston

Aaron: Surprised to learn the Vikings (with RB Adrian Peterson) and Texans (with RB Arian Foster) only rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in rushing offense.  OK, so the three teams ahead of them (Washington, San Francisco and Seattle) have quarterbacks who can run, but keep this bit of trivia in your back pocket. Use it to chase off the sports-hating relatives after Christmas dinner.  Pick: Houston

Joe: Once again, we're still not talking enough about Adrian Peterson. I know this because someone somewhere is not talking about him right now. And there's no excuse for that. Pick: Houston

Cleveland at Denver

Aaron: I'm beginning to reconsider my "Broncos have already clinched the division, they're due for a letdown" prognostication strategy.  Pick: Denver

Joe: Watch out, Broncos! Don't want to take a jinx-prone winning streak into the playoffs! Start that goldbricking, fellas. Pick: Denver

Chicago at Arizona

Aaron: With their season teetering on the brink, a loss to the 5-9 Cardinals would undoubtedly be the most "Jay Cutler" moment of Jay Cutler's career.  Chicago

Joe: The Cardinals started the season 4-0, you guys. THIS season! THESE Cardinals! Pick: Chicago

NY Giants at Baltimore

Aaron: Both of these once-great defenses are now borderline abominable.  But, it's the Giants who have some serious health concerns with many of QB Eli Manning's weapons banged-up.  I think it's time for the greater New York/New Jersey area to consider the possibility that Manning's social calendar will be WIDE open for the next nine months.  Available for birthday parties!  Pick: Baltimore

Joe: I'd say it's the Ravens who are slightly more likely to go into the ultimate swoon, but there's no one in the AFC waiting to overtake them. BTW, is Ray Rice still a great running back? I'm not being sarcastic -- I honestly don't know. I haven't heard anyone mention him all season. Pick: NY Giants

San Francisco at Seattle

Aaron: The 49ers can be schizophrenic from week to week, while the Seahawks' earlier loss in San Francisco was on a Thursday night as both teams sleepwalked for three hours. It's not exactly an airtight rationale for picking Seattle, but one of these teams has gotta win, I suppose.  Pick: Seattle

Joe: Happy that the Seahawks were able to get those self-esteem-boosting 50-plus-point outings against the Cardinals and Bills in time to be wildly overconfident against the 49ers. Pick: San Francisco

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #15

Last Week 

Aaron: 9-7
Joe: 7-9 

Current Standings 

Joe: 132-74-1
Aaron: 129-77-1

Cincinnati at Philadelphia 

Aaron: Has anyone lazily equated the inevitable end of Eagles head coach Andy Reid's tenure with the team's colors yet?  Those "Green Mile" headlines would write themselves.  Last week, the Eagles showed some life against Tampa Bay and their porous pass defense.  Riding the home underdog on Thursday nights has been a gambling staple this season, but I can't see beating TWO teams fighting for playoff spots in back-to-back weeks.  Pick: Cincinnati 

Joe: For the first time in the 15 seasons we've been making these picks, one of us blew a deadline. And it was me. If I end up losing this season by a half a game, I'm gonna be pissed. 

Aaron:  Nah, I won't count it...unless we finished tied. And, only because I LOVE the idea of Andy Reid being analogous to the House of Representatives.

NY Giants at Atlanta 

Aaron: Both teams are playing like they will make the playoffs before being eliminated in their first January game.  While the Falcons have the NFC South won, the Giants appear content to drunkenly stumble down the win one/lose one alley for the rest of the season.  Pick: Atlanta 

Joe: We've seen this happen countless times, right? The embarrassing playoff defeat is "avenged" in the much-lower-stakes regular season rematch? Pick: Atlanta

Minnesota at St. Louis 

Aaron: I squeaked into the playoffs of my big-money fantasy football league.  My opponent this week will field all-world Texans RB Arian Foster and all-world Vikings RB Adrian Peterson.  You see, back in August, no one thought that a human being could recover from a torn ACL in less than eight months – much less play the most violent major sport in America (half the time on artificial turf) for 16 weeks.  So, Peterson was passed over in the early rounds of our fantasy draft until he landed in my opponent's lap.  And, so concludes my own eulogy.  Pick: Minnesota 

Joe: Two teams playing above what people assume their level to be at the moment. Two pop-psychology strategies -- go with the team with the best player on the field; so with the home team in a toss-up game -- are in opposition to each other. Which leads me to strategy #3: pick against Cam to make things interesting. Pick: St. Louis

Jacksonville at Miami 

Aaron: With nearly 20 years of history to consider, I think it's safe to say that the NFL's Floridian trifecta of Jaguars, Dolphins and Buccaneers will never produce the collectively entertaining football that Florida State, the University of Miami and the University of Florida generated for any one year during the late 1980s/early 1990s.  No disrespect, Mark Brunell.  Pick: Miami 

Joe: Ah, but what about the trifecta of fictional Floridian sports teams: Any Given Sunday's Miami Sharks, Coach's Orlando Breakers, and the XFL's Miami Maniax. ...What's that? Oh no they weren't, that's ridiculous. Pick: Miami

Green Bay at Chicago 

Aaron: Rivalry week! Overly reverent attention paid to former Bears coach Mike Ditka on the ESPN Sunday Gameday set!  A rare "-bo" tweet from President Obama showing solidarity with Chicago!  People sitting outside in frigid conditions pretending that they're REAL fans!  Smash-mouth! And, so forth!  Pick: Chicago 

Joe: Whatever, I totally get into the Packers-Bears rivalry, I will fully admit it. The Bears are in a swoon, while we're in Week 15 of Green Bay Return to Dominance Watch. Maybe we don't get THERE this week, but maybe another ugly win is in order. Pick: Green Bay

Washington at Cleveland 

Aaron: Last week, I joked that the Redskins would win as long as QB Robert Griffin III remained upright.  He didn't…and they still won.  The Browns are building a little "this team might not be bad" momentum based entirely on a few recent wins against really bad teams.  That'll do, Cleveland.  Pick: Washington 

Joe: Man, I REALLY want to pick Cleveland to halt this recent Griff-mentum. But when one team has this much to play for and the other really doesn't, it's tough to go against that tide. Guess I'm taking the team with the actual racist name over the team whose name just sounds racist. Pick: Washington

Denver at Baltimore
Aaron: Two weeks ago, I picked the Buccaneers to upset the Broncos.  Last week, Joe picked the Raiders – 10-point underdogs – to upend Denver.  So…I guess it's my turn?  Pick: Baltimore 

Joe: NEVER AGAIN. Pick: Denver

Indianapolis at Houston 

Aaron: This could be the next big NFL rivalry that the networks fast-track into a pair of prime time spots.  Not soon enough for everyone who is long sick of those Pittsburgh v. Baltimore 14-13 slogs.  Speaking of next season, that's when Colts QB Andrew Luck will be more likely to beat a very good team on the road in December.  Pick: Houston 

Joe: Took the observation right out of my mouth, re: Luck. This would be a good time for Houston to come up large and wrest back some of the confidence they lost in last week's unfortunate loss to the Patriots. Not that they'll get any credit for it. Pick: Houston 

Tampa Bay at New Orleans 

Aaron: Even by the kneejerk standards of the 24/7 news cycle in professional sports, the epitaph of Saints QB Drew Brees – penned by many after his five interception performance in Atlanta two weeks ago – seemed unusually hasty.  Sometimes good players/teams have bad years.  Sometimes the league's commissioner wreaks havoc with a vendetta against a single team.  So it goes.  Pick: Tampa Bay 

Joe: Tampa Bay has settled in nicely to the role of Team I Can Never Pick Correctly. So congratulations to the Bucs, then. Pick: New Orleans

Detroit at Arizona 

Aaron: It's been 20 years, but my alma mater – San Diego State – has finally produced another terrible NFL quarterback!  The Cardinals' Ryan Lindley – like Dan McGwire two decades earlier – has no business playing on Sunday afternoons.  And, Lindley can't even boast having a famous, muscle-bound sibling who played Major League Baseball.  Wait, let me double check.  No.  He can't.  Pick: Detroit 

Joe: Dan McGwire! Oooh, that takes me back. Where did Kelly Stouffer go to college? Stan Humphries? Browning Nagle? Wait, I know Browning Nagle went to Louisville. Glad that little nugget of un-monetizable information is taking up space in my head. Pick: Detroit

Carolina at San Diego 

Aaron: Embattled Chargers head coach Norv Turner used an imaginative, aggressive game plan to upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh last week.  Media reports indicate that he's already been told he won't be coaching in San Diego next season, so what better final "f*ck you" to Chargers fans than coaching like he has nothing to lose, picking up some meaningless December wins and sabotaging the team's draft position next spring.  Norv!  Pick: San Diego 

Joe: OR ... that was the last-gasp, "Roy Cohn crowing that he finally got Ethel Rosenberg to sing" effort for the Chargers this season before they drop dead and Cam is asked to come in and say the kaddish over his vanquished foe? (Is that TWO Angels in America references this season? I'm on fire!) Pick: Carolina

Seattle at Buffalo

Aaron:  So, we're all back on the Seattle bandwagon?  I mean, sure, they won 58-0 last week, but are we ALL going to ignore the caliber of that execrable Cardinals squad?   Huh.  OK, then.  Pick: Buffalo 

Joe: Eight turnovers! The Miami Maniax could have won a game getting the ball back that many times. (Callback!) I'd go with the Bills, except this is their annual Fake Home Game in Toronto screwjob. Pick: Seattle

Pittsburgh at Dallas 

Aaron: Ten years ago, these were the two most insufferable fanbases in the NFL.  Now, they're what – second and third, respectively?  And, please don't ask who's number one.  You ALL know.  Pick: Pittsburgh

Joe: Well, if you're picking Chargers, I'm adding the Patriots and the Redskins somehow. And the Niners fans will be back up there before you know it. I'm going to call the last couple weeks for the Steelers "fluky." Plus, they need to lose here in order to beat the Bengals next week so that they can drag the final AFC wild card spot into 9-7 drudgery. Pick: Dallas

Kansas City at Oakland 

Aaron: The Raiders reinstated linebacker Rolando McClain after suspending two games for conduct detrimental to the team.  He's been demoted to the bench and will likely see most of his playing time on special teams.  Media reports indicate that the Raiders didn't release him outright as a means of keeping him from signing elsewhere.  So, his punishment is to…play for the 2012 Raiders?  Makes sense.  Pick: Oakland 

Joe: I've been sitting here for like fifteen minutes trying to think of one interesting thing about this game. Nothing. Straight-up nothing. This is what happens to me when I miss the playoffs in both my fantasy leagues. Pick: Oakland

San Francisco at New England 

Aaron: Last week, I predicted 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh would ascend to Belichick-ian levels of fan animosity someday.  This week, they're on the same field.  The insufferable force against the intolerable object – broadcast to a national television audience.  Enjoy the last night of Hanukkah, everyone!  Pick: New England 

Joe: Come on, jerky Niners defense. Do something. Pick: San Francisco

NY Jets at Tennessee

Aaron: Anyone else rooting for the Jets to run the table in December and somehow stumble into the playoffs with a 9-7 record?  Really?  Just me?  Pick: NY Jets 

Joe: I mean, obviously. For like a billion different reasons. Which means now is when that dream dies. Pick: Tennessee