Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #13

Last Week

Joe: 12-4
Aaron: 11-5 

Current Standings 

Joe: 113-61-1
Aaron: 112-62-1

New Orleans at Atlanta 

Aaron: The three games on Thanksgiving seemingly debunked the ol' "take the home team on a short week" credo that had been eerily accurate for most of the season.  But, like other Thanksgiving events – my wife  making/baking three pies in one night or America pretending to give a shit about nationally televised parades, let's say – I'm calling them ALL outliers.  Pick: Atlanta 

Joe: Plenty of motivation for the Falcons here, avenging their only loss of the season and trying to re-establish themselves as the Super Bowl front-runner (they are). I thought for a while last week that the Saints had the stuff to make a late run at the playoffs, but we can't expect anyone to stop Colin Kapernick, can we? Pick: Atlanta

Jacksonville at Buffalo 

Aaron: With two weeks left in the regular season of my big-money fantasy football league; I hold a tenuous grip on the fourth and final playoff spot.  If I can win out, I'm in.  Why am I boring all of you with this?  Because of the inherent hilarity that my fantasy season (and upcoming Christmas shopping) hinges on – in no small part – my NEW wide receiver combination of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon.  Both from the 2-9 Jaguars.  Apologies in advance to my family.  Pick: Buffalo 

Joe: One of these days, fantasy football will discover a way to give points for games lost by foolish interceptions thrown when driving for the tying score. Dibs on the Bills when that happens. Pick: Buffalo

Seattle at Chicago 

Aaron: The only thing more amusing than the NFL experts' retroactive appreciation for Bears QB Jay Cutler is their retroactive derision for the Seahawks.  Wait, wait, wait…a team coached by the esteemed Pete Carroll and led by a rookie quarterback might occasionally be inconsistent in their performance from week to week?  But, they beat New England a few weeks ago!  On TV!  Pick: Chicago 

Joe: Yeah, there's a slight chance that Chicago's opportunistic defense will feast on Russell Wilson on the road. Pick: Chicago

San Francisco at St. Louis 

Aaron: The last time these two teams met, the game ended in a tie.  I'm still trying to decide which postgame storyline was more insulting: the "hey, we found a few stupid players who stupidly didn't know a regular season game can end in a tie…I mean, that's so stupid, right?" one or the "it's time to do away with those unsightly ties and play until there's a winner (or someone on the field dies)" one.  Pick: San Francisco 

Joe: I love how Colin Kapernick is already Tom Brady after two weeks. No pressure, though, guy! Meanwhile, St. Louis is dangerous at home and already has shown that they can hang with the Niners on the road. But I think San Francisco is locked in at this point. Pick: San Francisco

New England at Miami 

Aaron: Listening to this past Monday's "BS Report" podcast, it occurs to me that columnist Bill Simmons…really believes that the Patriots are the best team in the AFC?  So, you mean I have to set aside some time in mid-January for his "I should've seen the Ravens/Texans coming" mea culpa podcast?  It just so happens I'm free!  Hee!  Pick: New England 

Joe: He can't help it! It's so great. Unfortunately, I don't think the Dolphins have enough weapons to properly exploit the weak New England defense. I guess the hope is that, one by one, key Patriots players get waylaid in Miami, "Homer at the Bat"-style. Wes Welker at the Ft. Lauderdale Mystery Spot! Pick: New England

Arizona at NY Jets 

Aaron: Honestly surprised to see how consistent – albeit unspectacular – Jets QB Mark Sanchez's numbers have been during his 3 ½ seasons in the league.  He took the Jets to the AFC championship game his first two years and NOW he's terrible?!  He's the same guy he's always been!  But, if Sanchez played even an infinitesimal role in the retirement of "Fireman Ed", then…win?  Pick: NY Jets 

Joe: It's always so unseemly when the normally protective-to-the-point-of-insulting sports media picks a team and declares it open season on them. Yes, the Jets are not a very good team and they tend to lose in embarrassing, running-into-butts ways. But to act like Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez have this coming on some grand moral level ... I really have never understood it. Pick: NY Jets

Indianapolis at Detroit  

Aaron: The upstart Colts are 7-4 on the season, but just 2-3 on the road.  The Lions, meanwhile, are playing their third straight home game after losing the first two.  The city of Detroit hasn't bore witness to such an "irresistible force vs. immovable object" match-up since Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant headlined Wrestlemania III at the Pontiac Silverdome.  Pick: Detroit 

Joe: I can't believe we're talking about anything but the colossal dumbness of that "accidentally throwing the challenge flag when the play gets automatically reviewed means the play no longer gets reviewed" rule that felled the Lions and their admittedly dunderheaded head coach last week. They've finally found a way to codify passive-aggression. Pick: Indianapolis

Minnesota at Green Bay  

Aaron: After their blowout loss to the Giants last week, expect the 7-4 Packers to bounce back with the formula that's worked so well for them this season – barely beating teams they're obviously better than.    Pick: Green Bay 

Joe: With all the talk at the beginning of the season about how passing offense is making a dominant rushing attack obsolete, I have to think the Packers would really appreciate an effective running back right about now. Pick: Green Bay

Houston at Tennessee

Aaron:  I don't know what kind of numbers Texans RB Arian Foster will end up with when his career is over, but I hope any eventual discussion over his Hall of Fame credentials will include his inexplicable propensity for bow ties when he's not in uniform.  This is ALWAYS a terrible look for black guys – Nations of Islam and/or Domination, excepted.  Pick: Houston 

Joe: Can I get a ruling on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on The Critic? Anyway, Houston's near-miss against Jacksonville a few weeks ago has me nervous that they could still be due for that dreaded "trap" game, but maybe they're on guard against it now. Pick: Houston

Carolina at Kansas City 

[I don't know why, but I feel like I should mention that Joe and I completed our respective write-ups before the awful news from Kansas City broke yesterday. --Aaron]  

Aaron: For the second week in a row, the Panthers are playing in the worst game of the week.  Given the level of pressure and competition, it looks like we'll all be treated to "competent" Cam Newton.  Again!  Then, he gets to play San Diego and Oakland in back-to-back weeks later this month.  The Panthers could finish 6-10.  Again!  Pick: Carolina 

Joe: It's funny that all this is happening while Cam is on one of the least history-laden teams in one of the most media-unfriendly markets in the league. Imagine the horror show if he was in Dallas or New York? [shudder] Pick: Carolina

Tampa Bay at Denver  

Aaron: With the rest of the AFC West in their rearview mirror, a decadent array of cupcakes on their remaining schedule AND a short turnaround from this game to their next (in Oakland on Thursday night); this has all the makings of a preseason-level effort from the Broncos.  Pick: Tampa Bay 

Joe: Can I take a moment to yell at everybody who saw Doug Martin coming and didn't tell me about it? This is maddening. Meanwhile, this could be a really fun, offensive-minded game to watch. Thank God the local Fox affiliate is airing "UFC's Road to the Octagon" in its place. (Yeah, yeah, blackout rules.) Pick: Denver

Cleveland at Oakland 

Aaron: Great to see the new patient leadership in Oakland is SO committed to their long-term rebuilding plan that they're planning to give callow back-up QB Terrelle Pryor some snaps this week – all in response to the large faction of moronic Raiders fans who insist Carson Palmer is the problem.  This should go well.  Pick: Cleveland 

Joe: Tough to imagine the Browns following up their big home win against the Steelers with anything but a back-to-Earth loss in Oakland. Which would be nice as somehow my fantasy season is riding on Raiders TE Brandon Myers. Pick: Oakland

Cincinnati at San Diego  

Aaron: We've all enjoyed the Chargers recent team-wide banana peel slide.  But, save for an early loss to Atlanta, they've been competitive – for the most part – in their defeats.  The Bengals have won three in a row – against the Raiders, Chiefs and the midseason version of the Giants.  I'm not sure either of these two teams is all that good.  Pick: San Diego 

Joe: I agree that the Chargers can't just keep losing, but this Bengals team is dangerous. Not great, but dangerous. Pick: Cincinnati

Pittsburgh at Baltimore 

Aaron: Give the NFL credit...they're hell-bent on getting this matchup over as the league's new biggest rivalry.  Maybe when they meet next year, the Steelers won't be led by a back-up quarterback who's one or two decades past his prime.  Pick: Baltimore 

Joe: Do these two teams just play each other every week now? Doesn't it seem that way? Also remarkable: how the Steelers have managed to eke out a winning record without having ONE player you'd be happy to have on your fantasy team. Pick: Baltimore

Philadelphia at Dallas 

Aaron: Much-maligned Cowboys QB Tony Romo has had a surprisingly solid year.  Just so I'm clear, the plan is to forget that and unfairly blame everything on him -- as usual -- when the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs, right?  Just checking.  Pick: Dallas 

Joe: A full-on tank by the Eagles, all the way down to the top draft pick, is probably exactly what they need. Cleanse it with fire. Pick: Dallas

NY Giants at Washington

Aaron: This seems like the perfect time to pick the Redskins.  They lost in the last minutes to the Giants earlier this season and Eli Manning has been nowhere to be seen for most of November.  But, the Redskins still rank next-to-last in pass defense and don't the Giants get hot around this time every year (that they go on to win the Super Bowl)?  Pick: NY Giants

Joe: Very important caveat there, Cam. All this knowing talk about how the Giants operate makes it sound like they're in the Super Bowl every year. They haven't won playoff games in consecutive years in the entire Coughlin era. Pointless numerology neutralized pointless numerology! Pick: Washington

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #12

Last Week

Aaron: 13-1
Joe: 10-4

Current Standings

Aaron: 101-57-1
Joe: 101-57-1

Houston at Detroit

Aaron: So, which Texans team should we believe?  Is it the one that gave up 37 points to the execrable Jaguars last week or the one that gave up 28 points combined in the three weeks prior to that?  By comparison, the Lions are positively predictable -- an 8-8 team that occasionally masquerades as something more.  They'll put up a fight, but there are some Thanksgiving traditions even older than tryptophan.  (Not to be confused with Trypticon, the sentient Decepticon city and a contrived reference I've been dying to use for years.)  Pick: Houston

Joe: This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that we no longer have the "Is this the year for the Texans?" narrative; that Arian Foster is still a reliable fantasy treasure; that Clint Eastwood and Eminem won't be claiming credit for a Detroit Lions Super Bowl run; and that Matthew Stafford will be humiliated in front of the whole country like he deserves. Pick: Houston

Washington at Dallas

Aaron: There was a recent meme involving Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and the word "'Merica". ran with it and ignited a small firestorm from self-described "patriots", "truth warriors" and, redundantly, racists.  The Cowboys branded themselves "America's Team" several decades ago.  Remember such silliness when FOX airs one of those obligatory "Happy Thanksgiving from Afghanistan!" shots of the troops.  Never forget...they're fighting for highly-compensated, carbon-based concussion sponges and their grotesque owners.  Pick: Dallas

Joe: I'm thankful that RGIII fever is being tempered by lots of Redskins losses; I'm thankful that the Dallas Cowboys are still uniting a divided country under the banner of schadenfreude; I'm thankful that Jerry Jones will be humiliated in front of the whole country like he deserves. Pick: Washington

New England at NY Jets

Aaron: For those of us who aren't planning to brave the Black Friday stampede, the Jets will be an appropriate proxy for the seasonal stomping victims and chalk outlines of holiday cheer.  Pick: New England

Joe: I'm thankful that "talking about Tim Tebow" has become far more scorned than Tebow himself; I'm thankful that Mark Sanchez will soon be wandering New York City at night, seeking comfort; I'm thankful that Rob Gronkowski is going to have a lot of free time to take iPhone photos of himself. Pick: New England

Minnesota at Chicago

Aaron: I'm not sure how the Bears' season will end, but it'll undoubtedly be followed by an obnoxious cacophony from the anti-Jay Cutler contingent.  By then, everyone will have forgotten how bad Bears backup QB Jason Campbell looked last week AND that the team might start a concussion-diminished Cutler this week.  Pick: Minnesota

Joe: Minnesota's become that impossible to predict team that lays eggs randomly and then looks way better than they are other times. I think they give it away on the road. Pick: Chicago

Oakland at Cincinnati

Aaron: Unlike their previous two opponents  -- Baltimore and New Orleans -- the Bengals actually have motivation to run up the score on the Raiders.  QB Carson Palmer returns to Cincinnati after briefly retiring to force a trade out of town.  If the Bengals have any compassion, they'll concede that playing for the rebuilding Raiders is punishment enough.  Pick: Cincinnati

Joe: Cincy's looking good again, and with opponents like the Raiders and their incredibly generous defense, they look really good to nab a playoff spot. Pick: Cincinnati

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Aaron: The Steelers are running out of black backup quarterbacks who bear more than a passing resemblance to rappers and R&B singers.  Byron Leftwich reacquainted America with Doug E. Fresh's elephantine face last week. But after suffering a pair of fractured ribs, it'll be third-stringer and John Legend stand-in Charlie Batch. As I write this, Kordell Stewart is getting fitted for gold teeth and irresponsibly running with scissors in an attempt to look like Slick Rick.  Pick: Cleveland

Joe: Did you all know that Kordell Stewart's wife is one of Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta? On how many levels is that fucking fascinating?? Anyway, as for players who WILL be in this game: Batch has been surprisingly serviceable for the Steelers at times. And I imagine the Browns will find all sorts of ways to lose by one point. Pick: Pittsburgh

Buffalo at Indianapolis

Aaron: It ended as a blowout loss, but QB Andrew Luck and the Colts played aggressively and weren't at all intimidated in New England last week.  Joe's Bills, unfortunately, will provide the proverbial palate cleanser this week.  And, what football team doesn't want comparisons to a refreshing lemon sorbet or a glass of room temperature water with a twist of citrus?  Pick: Indianapolis

Joe: The Bills came out blazing in the first half against Miami and built a big enough lead to endure the 30 minutes of squatting over a hole in the ground that was the second half of that game. This week, I'm bracing myself for some third-string walk-on WR to go 8-117 and 2 TDs. Pick: Indianapolis

Denver at Kansas City

Aaron: My father-in-law is a diehard Chiefs fan.  He's a good and decent man who deserves better than my near-weekly calls and/or e-mails mocking his team after another loss.  Believe me, I only barely enjoy it.  Pick: Denver

Joe: Do you ever think the Broncos might be resentful of the rest of the AFC West for their grand swan dive this season? Like when you got old enough to notice that your dad was letting you win at H-O-R-S-E? Pick: Denver

Seattle at Miami

Aaron: The Dolphins' next few games include home dates with the Seahawks, 49ers and Patriots, plus another game at New England.  Maybe they can stop compiling game footage for their season yearbook DVD after week #8, back when Miami was 4-3 and America hadn't yet reelected the black guy.  Pick: Seattle

Joe: I'm still hesitant to trust Seattle on the road, and if Miami hadn't made the seemingly conscious decision to throw last week's game away, they wouldn't be in so much freefall. This is purely a chaos pick, but here we are. Pick: Miami

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Aaron: The Buccaneers' pass defense is the worst in the league and it's facing QB Matt Ryan who's 4th in the league in passing yards, 4th in completion percentage and 5th in touchdowns.  How many more arbitrary statistics do you need me to cite?  Pick: Atlanta

Joe: So let me get this straight: TV networks have all conspired to take a moral stand against showing streakers on air, and yet everyone is free to bring up the 1972 Dolphins and their idiot champagne toast whenever the final undefeated team loses? I'm sorry you had to witness that, Falcons fans. Pick: Atlanta

Tennessee at Jacksonville

Aaron: Reminiscent of last week's brief Jaguars resurrection; this feels like one of the two or three times that Titans RB Chris Johnson reappears this season.  Those of you who swore you'd never draft him again in fantasy football will almost assuredly be playing against him on Sunday.  I am.  Chris Johnson might be the most resilient, purest evil of them all.  Pick: Tennessee

Joe: Come Back to the Five and Dime, Maurice Jones-Drew, Maurice Jones-Drew. Pick: Jacksonville

Baltimore at San Diego

Aaron: We're down to the final six weeks of Norv Turner's tenure as head coach of the Chargers.  Unfortunately, Sunday's game will be blacked out locally, forcing citizens out into the 72-degree sunshine and into their idling cars where everyone will yell helplessly at their radios.  I'm planning to take my son around the neighborhood to watch!  No swear words, San Diego!  Pick: Baltimore

Joe: You know, I gently mock Cam's blind, frothing Chargers hatred, but if we were in the business of picking college football games, my thoughts on every Notre Dame game would be preeeetty similar. Pick: Baltimore

St. Louis at Arizona

Aaron: Every time these teams play against each other, my first urge is to write about the Cardinals' late-1980s move from St. Louis to Phoenix while throwing in lazy references to those who played for the Cards in both locations.  Soooo...Neil Lomax?  Stump Mitchell? Via Sikahema? We good, guys?  Pick: St. Louis

Joe: Um, somebody forgot Freddie Joe Nunn. Pick: Arizona

San Francisco at New Orleans

Aaron: The current Alex Smith/Colin Kaepernick quarterback controversy in San Francisco has been long on noise -- at least on the left coast -- but, short on common sense.  Everyone knows the 49ers' success has been built on their defense and running game, right?  They're 28th in the league in passing WITH incumbent Alex Smith. You know this. Don't you?  Pick: San Francisco

Joe: But he's so handsome! ...Wait, that hasn't been the most prominent aspect of the debate? Pick: New Orleans

Green Bay at NY Giants

Aaron: Just as Eli Manning's -- and the Giants' -- midseason swoon was a predictable annual occurrence, so is their inevitable midseason resurgence after everyone had positively identified their corpse in the morgue a la the first three minutes of Law & Order after the completion of the opening credits.  Pick: NY Giants

Joe: I'm actually onboard with this. Somehow the Packers STILL have only looked good once this season (that fluky blowout of Houston). Pick: NY Giants

Carolina at Philadelphia

Aaron: Intriguing. If only because this matchup will challenge ESPN color commentator Jon Gruden's sycophantic tics and tendencies like never before.  Pick: Philadelphia

Joe: Despite Michael Vick's well-publicized woes this season, the underreported story was that both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were having very decent fantasy seasons. Enough that I'd been able to start both of them all year with confidence. Which means Nick Foles has singlehandedly destroyed my season even worse than the Eagles' season (which was already destroyed). Pick: Philadelphia

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #11

Last Week 

Aaron: 11-2-1
Joe: 8-5-1 

Current Standings 

Joe: 91-53-1
Aaron: 88-56-1

Miami at Buffalo (Thursday Night)

Aaron: Kudos to all the Internet Truth Warrior Patriots out there who are trying to make this "Reggie Bush vs. the women of Buffalo" kerfuffle into an actual news story. (And, damned if it doesn't have all the 21st century style points: lazy generalizations, overweighting an athlete's opinion on anything and a self-appointed, self-important defender of honor and virtue).  Back in MY day, former Dolphins LB Bryan Cox went to war with the entire CITY of Buffalo.  There was spitting, middle fingers, alleged slurs and fights with Carwell Gardner.  Carwell Gardner!  There was a lot more to the 1990s than pogs and relevant black sitcoms, y'all.  Pick: Buffalo 

Joe: Oh, did Reggie say Buffalo women were fat and ugly? I can never keep track of which athletes have let that novel observation fly. (Also, he dated KIM KARDASHIAN. (Fat) check and (ugly) mate. Anyway, the Bills. Talented enough on offense (i.e. at the running back position) to generate enough points to win a few games this year, ensuring a thoroughly dispiriting 6- or 7-win season and steering clear from any draft pick that might threaten to make a difference. Although I guess there's the case of Robert Griffin III, a talented as hell player in the biggest difference-making position on the field who nonetheless has the Redskins nowhere near playoff caliber. Anyway, win, lose, who cares? The world is an endlessly unfurling gray terrain of meaninglessness. Pick: Miami

Arizona at Atlanta

Aaron: The Falcons first loss of the season last week -- which I TOTALLY randomly guessed right by accident -- was the inevitable result of a team that's been taking on water for awhile.  Their wildly talented passing game has been increasingly undercut by pretty much everything else on the field that doesn't require QB Matt Ryan throwing a football.  And, that's at least two or three other things, you guys.  Pick: Atlanta 

Joe: Does it seem to anyone else that Arizona hasn't even played a game since their 4-0 start? They seem to have dropped right out of the league. I still think that defense can give any team in the league problems, but they can't seem to move the ball at all. Pick: Atlanta

Cleveland at Dallas

Aaron: The Cowboys win against the Eagles last week combined with the predictable panic over the Giants equally predictable midseason swoon has led to an unnerving amount of "the Cowboys can win this division" nonsense.  Settle down.  The Cowboys can't play terrible teams every week.  Well, starting NEXT week, presumably.  Pick: Dallas 

Joe: So long as DeMarco Murray remains injured, Cowboys opponents can't be counted out of games. Though if there was any week for a big ol' ego-soothing blowout, this would be it.  Pick: Dallas

Green Bay at Detroit

Aaron: One year ago, the Lions hosted the Packers on Thanksgiving Day. The narrative was all about "the changing of the guard" in the NFC North, as the Lions were poised to end Aaron Rodgers' tyrannical reign.  Today, Rodgers STILL lords over his empire -- rife with his self-effacing commercials and doe-eyed affability.  Pick: Green Bay 

Joe: Curse that handsome devil! I feel bad for Lions fans, who were teased with a playoff run last year only to be beaten back down into irrelevance, but that's what happens when you entrust your team to a fat-faced fantasy-season killer like Matthew Stafford. Pick: Green Bay

Cincinnati at Kansas City

Aaron: Dennis Green in Arizona...Art Shell in Oakland (again)...Romeo Crennel in Kansas City.  The sideline shot of recycled black coaches who've clearly stopped giving a shit is one of our more underrated autumn traditions.  Pick: Cincinnati 

Joe: Uncle Phil during the latter seasons of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air"? You know, when he became a judge? Would that count? I'm not sure what other kind of analysis anyone is supposed to offer for a game like this. Kansas City is awful. That's it. Pick: Cincinnati

Philadelphia at Washington

Aaron: Watching back-up Eagles QB Nick Foles hilariously -- and unsuccessfully -- hightail it from a consistent onslaught of defensive pressure last week has me hoping Chris Berman's next obnoxious nickname is along the lines of "Nick 'Feets Don't FOLES Me Now'".  Don't worry...if history is any indication, co-host Tom Jackson won't act all offended until several days later.  Pick: Washington

Joe: (DANG! That is a deep cut from the TJ file!) This season's Eagles team makes me think of nothing so much as that line from Angels in America, when Harper Pitt says, "I don't understand why I'm not dead. Your heart breaks, you should die." I'm not sure if the fizzling promise of last season's superteam counts as a heart breaking, but everybody just seems confused that they're still playing, right? Anyway, someone has finally used an Angels in America quote to preview an NFL game, so the Mayans can do what they want with us, then.

Tampa Bay at Carolina

Aaron: So...the Bucs have the league's worst pass defense, but best run defense.  This means the Panthers' fortunes rely almost solely on the arm of the enigmatic Cam Newton.  Well, that was easy.  Pick: Tampa Bay 

Joe: Have the Bucs had their "not so fast" inexplicable divisional road loss yet? Pick: Carolina

Jacksonville at Houston

Aaron: 22 years ago this week, the University of Houston hung 84 points on Eastern Washington.  Feel free to use that one (and name drop David Klingler!) on your Hooters girl at halftime of this inevitable debacle.  Pick: Houston 

Joe: On Bill Simmons's weekly podcast/hilarious comedy revue with the esteemed "Cousin Sal," he claimed that Jacksonville should not have a football team. I find that kind of statement condescending and unnecessarily callous towards Jacksonville fans, or I would if I thought any existed. Pick: Houston

NY Jets at St. Louis

Aaron: Everyone realizes that Tim Tebow -- when it's all said and done -- is going to be the ONLY person associated with his professional football career, directly or indirectly, who didn't come across as an asshole, right?  Pick: St. Louis 

Joe: Last week's Rams-49ers game was the first time I'd ever actually watched an NFL tie occur. It's tough to watch a team play for a tie, as both teams ultimately did at the end there, and have any confidence in them to win going into the future. Just demoralizing. Pick: NY Jets

New Orleans at Oakland

Aaron: As a fan, it was a tad dispiriting that this Raiders team not only lost big last week, but seemed perfectly fine with the Ravens rolling out a fake field goal while leading by 24 points.  Say what you want about late owner Al Davis, but if that happened under his watch, Ray Lewis would've been shanked in retaliation.  Irony!  Pick: New Orleans 

Joe: I'm waiting patiently for the game where the Saints improbably revived playoff hopes get cut down like a scene from The Walking Dead. But the Raiders' defense doesn't appear to be equipped to stop them. Pick: New Orleans

San Diego at Denver

Aaron: Last week, Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw the most Philip Rivers-ian interception of the Philip Rivers era.  The defender was less than 10 yards in from of him.  No other player from either side was between them.  "I didn't think he'd do 'Moon River', but then BAM! Second encore!"  Pick: Denver 

Joe: Can we get back to the thing where Eric Decker scores a TD every week? If not for my fantasy season then at least for the extra 2-3 sideline close-ups of his face? Thanks, Peyton, I'd appreciate it. Pick: Denver

Indianapolis at New England

Aaron: Years ago, respected NFL writer Peter King explained the convoluted scheduling reasoning behind why these two teams seem to play each other every season.  I always assumed it was more about: Peyton Manning! Tom Brady! Nielsen Ratings!  The Andrew Luck Colts can't be counted out, but...New England in November, you guys.  Pick: New England 

Joe: Wishful thinking. Don't care. Pick: Indianapolis

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Aaron: You know what this always-unwatchable, defense-first series needed?  Steelers backup QB Byron Leftwich getting his first start since 2009!  Negative points are a distinct possibility!  Pick: Baltimore 

Joe: The Steelers needing to start Leftwich this week reminds me of how I would always have "buy a flashlight" on my list of things to do and all of a sudden a hurricane was coming and I had to scramble to get whatever crappy product was available at a moment's notice. Gotta prepare for disaster, guys. Pick: Baltimore

Chicago at San Francisco 

Aaron: And, erstwhile Redskins and Raiders QB Jason Campbell is getting the start for Chicago here!  I saw one of the national sportswriters referenced Campbell's 10-5 record in his last 15 starts as a reason to not underestimate him.  I'm going to do it, anyway.  Pick: San Francisco 

Joe: These were the two dominant NFC teams the year I started watching football. Jim McMahon! Joe Montana! Richard Dent! Ditka! Walsh! Honorary G.I. Joe William "The Refrigerator" Perry, whose "Joe" action figure was hilariously svelte! Somehow, Jason Campbell vs. Colin Kapernick can't compare. Pick: Chicago

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2012 NFL Pickery -- Week #10

Last Week 

Joe: 10-4
Aaron: 9-5 
Current Standings 

Joe: 83-48
Aaron: 77-54
Indianapolis at Jacksonville 

Aaron: Here's hoping that the NFL Network's otherwise reputable and entertaining pregame anchor Rich Eisen isn't tasked with reading some contrived line about how declaring the winner of this game will be easier than declaring the state's electoral college winner.  Or, at least give the line to co-host Deion Sanders -- if only for the sheer joy of watching him silently mouth "e-LECK-tor-al" to himself as they fade to breaks and STILL mispronouncing it as "electrical" in the end.  Pick: Indianapolis 

Joe: Try as I might, I can't find ANY trace of cynicism in myself for this Chuck Pagano stuff. He's great and inspiring and Andrew Luck seems like a really good guy and I will probably be rooting for them for the rest of the season. I worry about this being a trap game, though: division foe, on the road, short week, dreams of playoffs dancing in their heads. Jacksonville has exactly nobody on their team right now, but they still hang close with everybody. And picking counter-intuitively has worked for me on Thursdays. Pick: Jacksonville

NY Giants at Cincinnati

Aaron: The recent stretch of mediocrity by Giants QB Eli Manning was going to catch up to the team sooner or later, as last week's loss to Pittsburgh shows.  It feels like it's arriving a little late this season, but here's your annual -- and unnecessary -- collective panic attack, Giants fans.  Pick: Cincinnati 

Joe: I certainly wouldn't like heading to Cincinnati coming off of that disappointing loss, but that's just the Giants tricking everybody into thinking they're not that good before springing the trap. They do that. It's exhausting. Pick: NY Giants

Tennessee at Miami

Aaron: This Dolphins team isn't terrible?  And, two weeks from today, they could be 6-4 with the Titans and Bills as their next two opponents.  Then comes Seattle...New England...San Francisco.  Well, then.  On the plus side, you guys still have the CUTEST helmets in the NFL!  Pick: Miami 

Joe: As we saw last week, though, scrappy team defense is sometimes felled by an offense without a whole lot of weapons. Still, this is a good matchup for Miami. Pick: Miami

Detroit at Minnesota

Aaron: The Lions have won three of their last four and even QB Matt Stafford -- who asphyxiated my fantasy football season -- has shown signs of not being the unproductive, dinged-up jerkface that he was in September and October.  Sorry.  I'm not letting that jowly ass back into my heart.  Pick: Minnesota 

Joe: Same. Also, is everybody talking about Adrian Peterson's improbably comeback season when I'm not around or what? Because nobody should stop talking about it. Pick: Minnesota

Buffalo at New England

Aaron: Well...on the plus side, in about 10 days, Joe will be back home in Buffalo and surrounded by family and friends as he enjoys a sumptuous Thanksgiving dinner.  He's already hard at work on the holiday centerpiece -- a tribute to the trailblazing women who made our country great, including Georgia O'Keefe, Susan B. Anthony, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas (who worked to preserve the Everglades).  Pick: New England 

Joe: Beat up on the Bills as much as you want, New England. Doesn't make you any less flawed a contender in the AFC. Pick: New England

Atlanta at New Orleans

 Aaron: We've reached the point of the season in which I foolishly assume THIS will be the week the last undefeated team will lose.  After a few weeks of this, I'll pick 'em to win and THEN they'll lose.  It's an autumn tradition!  Pick: New Orleans 

Joe: I actually think the Saints ending the winning streak at home is just the kind of effed up thing to actually happen, but I'll ride the hot hand here. Pick: Atlanta

San Diego at Tampa Bay

Aaron: Fun facts!  The Chargers have four wins this season -- including two against the 1-7 Chiefs.  The combined record of the opponents they've defeated: 7-18.  Yes, they beat my Raiders, but THAT JUST PROVES MY POINT.  Pick: Tampa Bay 

Joe: Somehow, the psychodrama of watching you react to a terrible Chargers season is more harrowing than watching you go through a winning Chargers season. Pick: Tampa Bay

Denver at Carolina

Aaron: The narrative will surely focus on the composed leadership of Peyton Manning vs. the poor posture and terrible table manners of Cam Newton.  So, I'm rooting for Newton to go all-in on the heel turn and whack Manning with a steel chair immediately after the postgame handshake.  Pick: Denver 

Joe: If Newton's going to turn heel on anyone, it might be his supporting cast of bumblers and good-for-nothings on that Carolina offense. Pick: Denver

Oakland at Baltimore

 Aaron: Why, hello, inevitable injury to Raiders running back and the team's best player Darren McFadden!  What on earth kept you?  Pick: Baltimore 

Joe: The sorry state of my fantasy season can probably be summed up by the fact that my dismay last Sunday came not at McFadden's injury, but from the subsequent injury to his backup Mike Goodson. Sigh. Pick: Baltimore

NY Jets at Seattle

Aaron: 20 years ago, soon-to-be-sh*tcanned Jets head coach Rex Ryan would've had his choice of "tween" TV shows to fall back on.  This was the era that gave us former Raiders DT Bob Golic as a dorm advisor on Saved by the Bell: The College Years and Hall of Famer Dick Butkus as a basketball coach on Hang Time.  Today, Ryan will be lucky to land the 12th or 13th seat on one of ESPN's omnipresent pregame shows.  Pick: Seattle 

Joe: How dare you shun the proud legacy of My Two Dads? HOW DARE YOU? You gotta figure the Seattle defense is drooling at the things they're going to do to Mark Sanchez. (Speaking of drooling at the things one would want to do to Mark Sanchez, [REDACTED]!) Pick: Seattle

Dallas at Philadelphia

Aaron: Do the Eagles still do that thing where they don white jerseys at home versus Dallas JUST so the Cowboys are forced to wear their rarely-seen dark jerseys?  Don't the Redskins do this, too?  I mean...take that, Dallas?  Pick: Philadelphia 

Joe: I'm way less confident in my pick for the winner of this game than I am in my pick that the losing team will get 90% of the post-game attention for the entire NFL. "What does this mean for the future of Andy Reid/Jason Garrett/Tony Romo/Michael Vick/Dez Bryant/Terrell Owens/Jerry Jones/Rocky Balboa/Sal Paolantonio/Ron Jaworski???" Pick: Dallas

St. Louis at San Francisco

Aaron: After defeating Green Bay in the season's first week, the "Super Bowl" noise following the 49ers has settled down somewhat.  They're still 6-2, but they're obliterating bad teams and are led by a limited quarterback.  Keep this in mind come playoff time, degenerate gamblers. Pick: San Francisco 

Joe: I can't believe Halloween came and went and no one dressed up as the re-animated Frank Gore. Who knows how long this productive streak from him can last, but as long as those bolts in his neck hold up, he'll keep on moving. Pick: San Francisco

Houston at Chicago

Aaron: The Bears are 7-1 yet field the 29th-ranked passing offense in the league with a middle-of-the-pack passing defense.  I suppose their run defense is the great equalizer, but it's not like they've faced Texans All-Pro RB Arian Foster yet.  Conversely, an outdoor game in what's expected to be inclement conditions could be the equalizer for that, so now we're right back to where we started. Can someone loan me a coin?  Pick: Houston 

Joe: Riding the Bears until they lose and this free me from having to so such unpleasant things as ride the Bears. Pick: Chicago

Kansas City at Pittsburgh

 Aaron: So far, the biggest story from this game is whether Steelers offensive coordinator -- and erstwhile Chiefs head coach -- Todd Haley would be inclined to have Pittsburgh run up the score against his former team.  Random midseason NFL fever!  Pick: Pittsburgh 

Joe: Not that Roethlisberger v. Cassel is SO uninspiring a matchup, but I'll be watching this and longing for the days when these teams were mirror images of each other, from their awkward middling QBs (Steve DeBerg! Neil O'Donnell!) to their punishing RBs (Bettis! Okoye!) to their equally punishing defenses and cacophonous fans. But, you know, Matt Cassel seems like a nice enough guy. Pick: Pittsburgh