Friday, September 26, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Four

These are what you call "truncated" picks. Basically, that's just a fancy word for "Oh shit, it's 5:15 on Friday and I still haven't written anything."

I'll be back to full-speed, which of course is everybody else's half-speed, next week.

The picks:

Denver (-9 1/2) @ Kansas City. PICK: Denver

Cleveland @ Cincinnati (-3 1/2). Take the over. Always take the over when these two jagoffs play. I'd tell you what the over is, but that would require actual research. PICK: Cincinnati

Houston @ Jacksonville (-7). I might be outthinking myself in fantasy football this week. I picked up Texans RB Steve Slaton (going against a porous Jags run D) and am starting him over Darren McFadden and Jerious Norwood. And I'm sitting Aaron Rodgers in favor of Buffalo's Trent Edwards, who's facing the Rams. For the perhaps (perhaps) single person reading this who cares, any thoughts? PICK: Houston

Arizona @ NY Jets (-1). So far my prediction of "the Brett Favre who throws a lot of picks and can single-handedly lose a game for his team will show up in New York instead of the guy from last year" is looking pretty good. PICK: Arizona

San Francisco @ New Orleans (-5). I'm hoping this game will turn out like it would have in the '80s. PICK: San Francisco

Atlanta @ Carolina (-7). I swear to God, I'll pick against Atlanta at some point this year. But I honestly can't do it here - despite the Panthers' winning record, they just got beat by Gus Frerotte. So the Falcons will climb atop the broad shoulders of Michael Turner and win a close one. PICK: Atlanta

Minnesota @ Tennessee (-3). It looks like the Presidential debate is happening tonight, but the candidates don't care if I watch or not. Well, first, because neither has ever heard of me. But second, my vote is already taken. Yep, yesterday I took advantage of Georgia's new early voting law. So who did I vote for? Well, I've said for months that I wouldn't vote for McCain or any Georgia Republicans given their recent history, though some doubted whether my conservative stripes would overturn that decision. Well, check it:

Of course, if Obama wins Georgia by one vote, I'll jab a pencil into my neck. PICK: Tennessee

Green Bay @ Tampa Bay (-1). The voting, by the way, was over on Memorial Drive. If you're familiar with Memorial - well, it's a safe bet mine was Bob Barr's only vote. And that he beat McCain by one. PICK: Green Bay

Buffalo (-8) @ St. Louis. Oh, do you mean the Super Bowl-bound Buffalo Bills? You heard it here first! And second! And now third! After they dismantle the Rams this weekend (go Trent!), you might actually hear it somewhere else. In a few weeks. PICK: Buffalo

San Diego (-7 1/2) @ Oakland.
Ok, so these picks are short and awful. I know. (Of course, what else do you expect based on the recent output here?). But there are reasons. First, I have an actual job. When I did eBay for a living, I had a tad bit more free time for blogging. Second, and far more important than my employment, it's football season. I was going to do a long, drawn out picks column last night, but the oh-so-fucking-awesome Oregon State/USC game got in the way. And today I'm a little scattered because TOMORROW IS THE UGA/ALABAMA GAMEDAY/BLACKOUT/MASSIVE TAILGATE/MUNSON TRIBUTE PERHAPS/WIN AND MAYBE BE #1 GAME. I mean, in 14 years of regularly attending Georgia games, I don't remember so much electricity surrounding one, including SEC Championships and bowl games. Earlier this week, though, I had figured I'd be missing it. Check out these prices. The cheapest start at $300, and I know a guy who sold his for $650 each. So it looked like tailgate-watchin' for me. But oh, there was a hero, atop his gallant steed Stedman, who rode in with the sunshine at his back, tipping his hat, and speaking words so lovely they took the form of rose petals and tickled my ears. "My client has two tickets," he bespoketh. "A hundred each. Want 'em?" I looked up at him, misty-eyed, shielding mine orbs from his glory. "Holy fuck yes, dude!" I uttered. And that dude, pray tell, was one Dave Akins. My hero. And honestly, if he wants, my lover. It would be worth it. PICK: San Diego

Washington @ Dallas (-11). That's a lotta points. Even for Jason Campbell. Basically, I'm thinking nobody is going to go 16-0 a year after the Patriots did it. So the Cowboys are bound to lose a shocker (call it the "Oregon State Corollary"). Is this it? Maybe not, but it will be a game until the clock hits 0:00. PICK: Washington

Philadelphia (-3) @ Chicago. PICK: Philadelphia

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh (-5). PICK: Pittsburgh

Last week: 5-11 (ouch)
Overall: 22-24-1

Now THAT'S comedy

"Freshman" spelled incorrectly. Running back's name, however, correct.

For the record, I didn't alter that screenshot of That's actually the headline they went with.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Role play

Now that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has moved to next summer, there were very few movies I was actually interested in seeing this year. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, yeah. The new Bond, definitely. And that was it.

Until I saw this trailer. My man crush on Paul Rudd aside - ok, yeah, we can't put that aside. This is all about my man crush on Paul Rudd.

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Three

Bathe in your jealousy. Mr. Postal Carrier was nice to ol' Josh yesterday.

The season tickets are in hand. And hey, I had to sell this weekend's on eBay, and I made a whole $1 over face value. They're already paying for themselves, huh?

Oh, speaking of:

"I’ve written an equation. A math equation. The roots of it were taught to me during my days as a statistics major minoring in football equations at the University of Georgia. It’s complicated – far too complicated for me to reveal here, to the plebes – but suffice it to say that math never lies. And it tells me that Atlanta will not lose a single game..."

That's me, three weeks ago. But I checked, and, well, I forgot to carry the two. "10-6." It says "10-6."

I'll take it.

The picks (early this week because of my impending trip to 'Zona):

Kansas City @ Atlanta (-5). Well, it looks like the ol' oddsmakers are realizing we have something brewin' in Hotlanta! Falcons Magic, baby! Get on board for this 1-1 dynamo! The spread certainly has nothing to do with the Chiefs getting whipped by Oakland - Oakland - last week and giving up 300 yards of rushing. The rushing numbers do, however, have something to do with my fantasy team starting both Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood this week. PICK: Atlanta

Oakland @ Buffalo (-9). Alright, I'm really starting to look pretty good on my non-Falcons predictions. Jacksonville is faltering, Seattle is piss-poor, and my Buffalo love of the past two weeks foresaw the team's somewhat surprising 2-0 start. I called them for the Super Bowl last week, and that actually wasn't a joke. Perhaps the reason I love this team so much? Running back Marshawn Lynch's profile picture on Yahoo. Would you want to tackle him? PICK: Buffalo

Houston @ Tennessee (-5). Every couple of years, I think it's wise to look back at this logo and say, "What the hell were they thinking?" So here ya go:

PICK: Houston

Cincinnati @ NY Giants (-13). Memo to the Bengals: Karma's a bitch, ain't it? PICK: NY Giants

Arizona @ Washington (-3). Washington seemed to right their ship just a bit on Sunday, but I can't pick against the Cardinals. Why? Because I'm going to be there tomorrow. See, that's the kind of keen insight and logic you get here at Martians Attacking Indianapolis. (Hey, I'm above .500, dammit). PICK: Arizona

Miami @ New England (-12 1/2). Let's channel Dwight Schrute a bit. FACT: Miami sucks. FACT: New England played above their heads last week. FACT: New England often struggles against Miami. FACT: Bill Parcells will really, really, really want the Dolphins to beat the Patriots. FACT: They won't. FACT: But they'll cover. PICK: Miami

Tampa Bay @ Chicago (-3). Not at all interested in discussing the Bucs, except to say I feel absolutely confidant the Falcons will pick them apart in their next meeting. Atlanta eliminates three bad plays, and they win by at least a touchdown. PICK: Chicago

Carolina @ Minnesota (-3 1/2). Don't care. PICK: Carolina

St. Louis @ Seattle (-10). Ah, the glory of patting my own back. Let me repeat what I said last week, while disparaging the Seahawks: "Ok, they are better than St. Louis, but I would put Arizona and San Francisco - San Franfuckingcisco - above them in the NFC West. And the 49ers will not only cover here, they're winning outright." That was a fairly bold prediction, mind you, as Seattle was a 7-point favorite. Final score: San Francisco 33, Seattle 30. PICK: St. Louis

Detroit @ San Francisco (-4).
Hello Mary Lou: Don't Care II. PICK: Detroit

Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (-3). Don't Care 3-D! Which is odd, I guess, considering it's easily the game of the week. But I'll probably be on a plane. Coming back from Arizona. From seeing UGA play. Have I mentioned that? PICK: Philadelphia

New Orleans @ Denver (-5). I'd write something here about Ed Hochuli's blown call last week, but I'm afraid he'd bust through my wall Kool-Aid Man-style and pop by head like a grape between his biceps. Just one time, I'd like to see him get overworked and just slam a free safety to the ground. There's be a two-foot safety-shaped indention in the turf, I shit you not. PICK: New Orleans

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-5). I've picked against the Jags (a slavishly overrated bunch) so far this year, and their 0-2 record certainly ain't gonna stop me from doin' it again. PICK: Indianapolis

Cleveland @ Baltimore (-2). Buried in this standard Hollywood Reporter business story is a kernel of knowledge so perfect, so enlightening, so powerful, that I think the recent hurricanes are God's angry response to it not becoming a bigger deal. Feast your butt: "On the development horizon are 'Warrior,' which Gavin O'Connor co-wrote and will direct; 'Conan,' a fast-tracked project with multiple scripts in the works; 'Severance Package,' with Brett Simon writing and directing; 'Rambo V,' to be written and directed by Sylvester Stallone; 'Korean Wedding' from writer Jason Filardi; and 'Kane & Lynch,' a video game adaptation that will star Bruce Willis." Did you pick up on what I wanted you to notice? PICK: Baltimore

Dallas (-3) @ Green Bay. Ok, ok - since you care so much, I'll update you on my fantasy team. And I do so here because I FRICKIN' LOVE AARON RODGERS. As you may recall, I was one of the squads that lost Tom Brady two minutes into the first week, but Rodgers has actually picked up that monumental slack. I'm now 2-0, and sittin' in the first place spot. Suck it, losers. PICK: Green Bay

NY Jets @ San Diego (-9)
. Alright, well I'm about off. Look for me at the UGA/Arizona State on Saturday night. I'll be the one in red. (Har har). PICK: NY Jets

Last week: 8-6-1
Overall: 17-13-1

Monday, September 15, 2008

Profanity? In a David Mamet movie? Well, I never!

I wasn't that crazy about David Mamet's Redbelt until I read this review of it on Netflix:

I looked forward to seeing this movie,but ten minutes into the movie the language was so bad I shut it down. To bad the writers felt the need to inject vulgarity instead of relying upon the actors' ability or the substance of the film. I'm tired of writers relying upon sex and vulgar language to "carry" the movie.True creceativity requires effort and thought.Think about it! What kind of respect do the writers and producers have for their audience? Surely movies of substance can still be made.Tyler Perry is one prime example of a writer who stuck to his principles despite the environment of Hollywood. I would have loved to see this movie if not for the language!

Seriously, Mr. Mamet. Why can't you be more like Tyler Perry? Madea certainly could have whipped those Glengarry Glen Ross boys into shape, and washed out their mouths too!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind

I wouldn't have thought it possible, but these signs look even sillier now.

Way to go, jackasses. See you on Wednesday.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wanna be on top

One of the few drawbacks to being in a committed relationship is the death of my television-viewing habits.

In my single existence, I wasn't missing any episodes of "The Shield," "Rescue Me," "The Sopranos," "Deadwood" - you know, man shows. Shows that would put hair on your chest, son.

These days, now that The Fiancee has a ring on her finger and run of the remote, I am far too intimately familiar with the daily goings of "Top Chef," "What Not To Wear," "Project Runway" and "America's Next Top Model." The sad thing, I've found out, is I really like the first two (I would kill for Clinton's wardrobe), and find myself completely comfortable watching the last couple for an hour stretch.

Hell, girlfriend, now I'm breaking gossip about the shows to HER. As soon as I saw it, I sent her the link about the big "Top Model" twist this season - a transgendered contestant! (For the record, as liberal as I am on most social issues - particularly gay rights - I am extremely squeamish with it comes to transgendered, transsexual, sex changes, etc. Gives me the willies. Sorry.)

But hey, it's something new for the show, so whatever. The problem? I have no idea which contestant it is.

This isn't a "they're all hot!" kind of problem, like I'm afraid I'll think one of them is cute only to find out she was born with a penis. No, actually none of them are cute (a common problem with this show, actually).

I mean, don't at least 75% of those chicks look like they were born a dude? I think the final episode's twist is that, gotcha, they were all transgender!

3:18 p.m. update: The Fiancee informs me that image is actually from a previous season of "Top Model." That means, of course, that all of those bulimic, daddy issue-having Twizzlers are 100% female. Even more frightening.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week Two

I think some of you believe my Atlanta Falcons fandom isn't genuine.

You say to yourself, "No one could be that big a fan of the Falcons. He might like 'em a little, having grown up in Atlanta and all, but he's clearly exaggerating. I mean, it's like when he constantly praised Joey Lawrence's show 'Brotherly Love' back in his college newspaper. He's just being ironic."

Ok, let's make this plain, because it's important: "Brotherly Love" was fucking hilarious. Joey was ok, but really it was Matthew and Andrew Lawrence who elevated that show - the fact that both of their characters are batshit crazy, like certifiably nutso, like one false move and this kiddie comedy becomes an institutional drama, was a brilliantly subversive move on the creators' part. I've already set up Amazon to alert me when the DVD release is finally, praise be to God, released.

But hey, we're not here to talk classic television. We're here to talk football, and specifically, the Atlanta Falcons. Because I most definitely am as big a fan as I let on. I haven't watched a game in 10 years without wearing a jersey (I'm still sporting the DJ Shockley one this year, a monumentally thoughtful gift from The Fiancee). I do scream at the TV, and occasionally, wet myself just a little. Also, and this is a tough one, I do get depressed for a few hours after a loss. Those hours add up.

There is one thing I've never done to prove my loyalty, however. Until now. The jerseys, shirts, hats, king-size sheets, toilet seat covers, dog sweaters, tattoos, logos shaved into my hair - those were all well and good. But I've just ponied up for the one thing I never have before.

On Monday, September 8, 2008, I became an Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder.

It was an impulse buy, and not a very expensive one. Seven home games left in the season, one against Chicago I can probably scalp for half of what I spent, and seats so high I can hear Sean Taylor's play-by-play - all for $25 a game. More importantly, I am now an official member of FalcoNation, a word I just made up.

By the way, I have two tickets, so if you want to go let me know. Shockingly, The Fiancee didn't immediately claim all of them. Or any of them.

The picks:

Oakland @ Kansas City (-3 1/2). I mean, my God, this is what we start off with? I didn't see much of the KC game last week - except that play, of course - but I did catch Oakland on Monday night. And holy cow, am I happy to see DeAngelo Hall now on the west coast. He started Atlanta's season off last year by handing Carolina a couple back-to-back personal fouls en route to a loss, and he turned around and did the same thing for his new team against Denver. And that wasn't even the most brutal stretch of that game for Oakland. They are just a horrible, horrible team, and if they can't pull out a win against the hapless Chiefs, I'm not sure who they can get one against. PICK: Kansas City

Tennessee @ Cincinnati (-1). Oh, the heralded quarterback class of 2006. How many debates raged about the big three: Vince Young, Matt Leinart, and Jay Cutler? Even the second tier - Tavaris Jackson, Kellen Clemens, Charlie Whitehurst and Brodie Croyle - inspired an absurd amount of conversation. Out of that group, only Cutler has looked like he deserves to be a starter, and Young is looking more and more like a bust each week. Just in the last few days, he refused to go into the Jacksonville game until his coach forced him, sprained his MCL and will be out up to a month, disappeared so long his coach called the police to help find him, and apparently told his mother he doesn't even want to play football anymore. He was the third overall pick in the draft, by the way. PICK: Cincinnati

Indianapolis (-2) @ Minnesota. Both of these teams looked pretty horrible in their first game. But here's a hint: only one of them truly is. PICK: Indianapolis

New Orleans @ Washington (PICK). Here's the first "WTF" spread of the year. I mean, away game or no, you just know the Saints are going to trample the 'Skins here. Right? I mean, too easy. So why is it a pick? Because, as usual, Vegas is smarter than we are. Well, near the end of the season, when I've relearned all my old lessons, I'll be smart enough to take Washington here. I'm not there yet, though. PICK: New Orleans

Green Bay (-3) @ Detroit. "Who: Aaron Rodgers Fan Club. When: Every Sunday from here on out. Where: My house." This is as good a place to talk about it as anywhere, I guess. I went through a crisis of conscience on Sunday night, to be sure. When I heard Tom Brady was out for the season, my immediate thoughts went out to what I truly care for: my fantasy team. My defending championship squad took Brady with its first pick - seventh overall - and he was the biggest reason I can call myself a "defending champion." Because I am, again, the "defending champion." You hear that, Gillett (aka "Not Defending Champion")? Anyway, so Brady is done, and I'm panicking - until. Until I realize that, hey, Tom Brady is done. Ignore the fantasy implications for as long as I can, three or four seconds, and realize the Patriots are freaking toast. I mean, my most hated team in any sport, from my most hated sports town, in my most hated part of the country that's not north Florida; I mean, this is great news. And it became a helluva lot easier to swallow when my team's backup, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers, lit up a supposedly stellar Minnesota defense on Monday night. So I'm thinking losing my starter but having a capable backup combined with that tampon of a team not making the playoffs is more than fair. PICK: Green Bay

Chicago @ Carolina (-3). One of my few deflating moments last weekend was Jake Delhomme's literally last second toss to Dante Rosario to beat San Diego. I mean, the Falcons are going 16-0 and don't need help in the division - but hey, a little insurance wouldn't hurt. PICK: Carolina

New York Giants (-8 1/2) @ St. Louis. Looking at some of these posts from a year ago, I was just killing Eli Manning. Killing him. It's a wonder what one playoff run can do for a guy's reputation. But now I'm curious - did Eli turn a corner, or are we still looking at the guy who I first called a bust way back when I saw him between the hedges? Last week's barely-above-50%, no TD, one pick performance isn't enough to paint him with a pink brush just yet, but Eli, ah gat mah eye on yew. PICK: New York

Buffalo @ Jacksonville (-5 1/2). Last week, I warned 'ya about Buffalo, that they are the team to watch in the AFC. And whaddaya know, they go out and dismantle the supposedly playoff-bound Seahawks 34-10. Of course, now with Brady out of the picture, things look even better for the Bills. So I'll make the call now, if you don't mind: Atlanta vs. Buffalo in the Super Bowl. Stranger things haven't happened. PICK: Buffalo

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-8). Minus eight? Can that be right? Didn't the oddsmakers see the unqualified brilliance of Atlanta last week? Or, more to the point, didn't they see how inept Tampa looked against New Orleans? The Bucs' offense only managed 13 points, or less than Atlanta managed in the first nine minutes against Detroit. Atlanta Falcons, Offensive Powerhouse. I like the sound of that. PICK: Atlanta

San Francisco @ Seattle (-7).
Alright, let's lay out the differences between "hate" and "hate." There are teams I hate, like New England and Dallas, who I want to see go 0-7 before going down in a Marshall University-style plane crash. Then there are the teams I hate, meaning I might technically like or dislike them, I just hate their chances to get anything done this year. And it fits more with teams that other people believe are going to do well. In that vein, I hate Jacksonville. Everybody's predicting big things, I don't see it. I hate Minnesota. And probably most of all, I hate Seattle. Most experts have them earmarked for a playoff spot mostly because of their easy division. Ok, they are better than St. Louis, but I would put Arizona and San Francisco - San Franfuckingcisco - above them in the NFC West. And the 49ers will not only cover here, they're winning outright. PICK: San Francisco

Miami @ Arizona (-6 1/2). In five days, guess who else will be @ Arizona? Yours truly, bitches. The Fiancee and I have a hard and fast rule about not taking vacations unless football is involved, so we will squeeze some time in between pool lounging and botanical garden-seeing (not my idea) for the UGA/ASU game next Saturday. Sadly, we will not be there in time to see this 10-3 affair. PICK: Arizona

New England @ New York Jets (-1 1/2). The Patriots will win this one, which gives me mixed emotions. I hate seeing the Pats win anything, but I do love that it will give their swissdick fans false hope before the inevitable losing streak. PICK: New England

Baltimore @ Houston (-4 1/2). I hate Houston. The second kind of hate. PICK: Baltimore

San Diego (-1 1/2) @ Denver. Well, it's September 11th. And I think we all know where our minds are today. I, for one, can't stop thinking about that infamous American tragedy, that point where our national psyche shifted, and was perhaps fractured forever. I would be interested in knowing how you are getting through the day. We can all benefit from sharing our feelings. I mean, really, can you believe today marks the 38th anniversary of the Ford Pinto's introduction? PICK: Denver

Pittsburgh (-6) @ Cleveland. Yeah, yeah - I know. Ha-ha. Take a national tragedy, lead you to believe I am a caring soul, and then make a stupid joke about a car. I know, I'm an ass. Seriously, though, I would like to take a moment to reflect on an event that took place on this day, one that caused the deaths of thousands of people, and continues to terrorize us today. Yes, this is the 16th anniversary of the release of Wind, starring Jennifer Grey and Matthew Modine. I still have nightmares. PICK: Pittsburgh

Philadelphia @ Dallas (-7). Monday night! Dallas Cowboys! Philadephia Eagles! Brutal rivalry! Playoff implications! And yet the majority of this game's media coverage surrounds Jessica Simpson. Which is better than T.O., I suppose. PICK: Dallas

Last week: 9-7
Overall: 9-7

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Ctrap. I speilleid Cokei on muy keiuyboatrd.

The heat must be getting to 'em

In eight days, I board a plane to Phoenix to see my Georgia Bulldogs take on the Arizona State Whateverthehells.

It's a big game, no doubt - Georgia's first regular season game west of the Miss' since the '60s. Heck, it must be a big game for myself, The Fiancee, and a few friends to make a cross-country trip.

And bless their little hearts, the Arizona State students have done their part to make it a little bigger. Check them out on Saturday as they dismantled big, bad, tough Stanford:

Oh, that's beautiful. Beautiful.

"Kicking a hornet's nest" is too much of a cliche, and actually probably an understatement. This is akin to kicking a nest of rabid, starving wolverines when you're wearing nothing but a pair of steakpants.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The choice is yours

Pick one:

1) Your favorite team wins the 2008 BCS Championship game, your candidate loses the presidency.

2) Your candidate wins the presidency, your favorite team loses to its three most hated rivals and is stuck in a pre-Christmas bowl game.

Be honest.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Turner's field

"The Atlanta Falcons will go 16-0 this year."
- Josh Massey, September 4, 2008

You scoffed. You made fun. You called me a pathetic, ugly, unlikable loser. Which was a little harsh. However, the Atlanta Falcons - heretofore known as "we" - didn't listen. And we believed.

The Atlanta Falcons are now one-sixteenth of the way toward making my prediction come true. It's, like, basically a sure thing at this point.

In fact, I'm ready to rename the Georgia Dome this evening. I'm thinking Turner Field is an appropriate moniker after today's 220-yard rushing performance by Michael Turner (who single-handedly saved my fantasy team as well, after Tom Brady went down). I don't think that name is taken, but I can't be sure - the existence of any other Atlanta-based sports team officially disappeared from my brain at kickoff today.

"A liiiiiitle to the right..."

It's just nice to have the feeling, for the first time in years, that the team might not better off with me as its general manager. Although I like him as an owner, Arthur Blank and I have rarely agreed on personnel moves, all the way back to the firing of Dan Reeves as head coach. And in nearly every instance, I was eventually proven correct.

New GM Thomas Dimitroff is something different, however. I completely agreed with his signing of Turner, calling it "an exceptional move". And though I haven't been on-board with a few things since then (the selection of Ryan, for instance), I'm beginning to feel the team is actually in capable hands. Maybe, just maybe, I - with my zero professional football experience - might know less than the guy with Super Bowl rings on his fingers.

Ok, it's one game, I realize that. But Ryan and Turner could not have been more impressive. And I think I mean that literally. Maybe if one of them had given the Heimlich to a choking child at halftime, or stumbled onto a cure for AIDS during the two-minute warning. Other than that, however, I couldn't be more thrilled.

It looked like a team out there. Guys having fun, guys perhaps playing a bit above their heads, guys not worried about having to answer another dog-fighting question in the locker room. Sure, the opponent was the Detroit Lions, but hell, they won three more games than we did last year. We were underdogs, we won, and sometimes that's all that's needed to start something unexpected.

From here, we go to Tampa Bay, have Kansas City at home, and then go to Carolina. All are winnable. All are possible. And all will be afterthoughts once Matt Ryan hoists the Lombardi Trophy in February, having finished the first completely undefeated season since 1972.

16-0, baby. 16-0.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Betcha Bottom Dollar: Week One

What you’re about to read is the result of months of close analysis. It involved an extremely difficult transition on my part, to take off my Atlanta Falcons "fan" cap and look at this year’s team as an impartial, clear-eyed football expert.

I had spreadsheets. Charts. At least 40 pages of hand-written notes for each position, including long-snapper. It was an exhausting exercise, but one that left me with, I believe, a keener insight into this team than ever before.

The Atlanta Falcons are not just "my team" now, but they are a living organism, a collection of men fused together for a common purpose. And I understand this, finally with a set of unbiased eyes. A clear viewpoint, buoyed by education and unharnessed by favoritism. I see this group for what it truly is.

The Atlanta Falcons will go 16-0 this year.

Now I realize this isn’t a popular opinion. People will scoff, or just assume I’m writing it to make you giggle. But no, it’s as clear to me as the fact you should refinance your car with State Farm Bank (great rates, free gap insurance, e-mail me for details!).

I’ve written an equation. A math equation. The roots of it were taught to me during my days as a statistics major minoring in football equations at the University of Georgia. It’s complicated – far too complicated for me to reveal here, to the plebes – but suffice it to say that math never lies. And it tells me that Atlanta will not lose a single game, mostly due to, you know, the integer fraction and its ratio quotient (there’s much more to it, trust me).

It’s math, people. Recognize. When two plus two equals 47, the Falcons will hang one in the L column.

Ok, so true, I didn’t exactly support the Falcons drafting Matt Ryan. Or releasing Alge Crumpler. Or, I guess, signing Michael Turner to that huge contract a year before Knowshon Moreno declares for the pros (just bein' realz).

However, they kept D.J. Shockley and painted the Georgia Dome red and black, so owner Arthur Blank could declare a "Cynthia McKinney Appreciation Day" or insist that all fat dudes goes pantsless, and I’d be at the Georgia Dome eyes wide open, singing the Venezuelan national anthem and cuppin’ sweaty ballsack all the way to victory.

So yeah, in an example of perfect timing, mine biased orbs hath returned. Post-study, it is time to shun the coat of objectivity. I am back. And so are the picks.

Washington @ New York Giants (-4 1/2). I’ve never been able to muster hate for the Giants like all other New York teams, so that’s probably why I’m suddenly their biggest athletic supporter (yeah, I know what I said). I mean, they took down the Malignant Behemoth that is the Patriots, so what’s not to love? Especially now that Jeremy Shockey is gone. I apologize to my tailgating brethren who are big Redskin fans, but I’m not buying this team as a contender as long as owner Francis Buxton is in charge. PICK: New York

(-1 1/2) @ Baltimore. The Ravens have done themselves no favors in my eyes over the past week, and I know they’re worried sick about it. First, they send my beloved former Bulldog Thomas Brown to the IR with a dirty preseason move, then they refuse to sign my beliked former Falcon Joey Harrington to a deal, then they can’t arrange for another season of "The Wire." Of course, the Bengals took their sole remaining teardrop of good will and dropped into a lake of rancid rat feces by resigning Chris Henry, a move which even pissed off their die-hard fans. Can al Qaida win this one? PICK: Cincinnati

New York
Jets (-3) @ Miami. I’m not typing his name. You know, that new Jets quarterback. I’ve read his name enough, you’ve read his name enough. Nope, not typing it. I will say this, though: nobody seems to remember he pretty much sucked three out of the past four years. I’m in the camp that says last year was the aberration, not the bad years previous. So I expect the Jets to fall short of the playoffs, even though they’ll likely emerge victorious here. PICK: New York

Kansas City
@ New England (-16). For the second year in a row, I’ve sold my soul to the chowder-eating diablo: Tom Brady is again my starting fantasy QB. That said, I won the championship with his record-breaking ass last year, so I thought, what the hell, I might as well get some enjoyment out of New England’s grotesque existence (and I mean the entire New England area, not just the team). Of course, the first game hasn’t even started, and I already want to punch Bill Belichick – with a Buick at high speed – for his will-he-or-won’t-he-play shenanigans. PICK: New England

@ Pittsburgh (-6). I don’t care about this game at all, so let me tell you about something else I don’t care about at all: direct-to-video sequels. I’ve tried 'em before, because I’m an irrational completist. "Oh, I’ve seen all the American Pie movies, I should see American Pie Presents Band Camp!" "Will I truly be a part of the Walking Tall universe without seeing Kevin Sorbo in Walking Tall II: Payback?" "What if there is something in Road House II: Last Call that will enhance my understanding of Road House?" Well, no more. I could let 'em slide before, because I respect a pure, unadulterated money grab as much as the next fiscal conservative. But oh no, they messed with a classic. They were given a responsibility, and they bitched it. They were handed an honor, and treated it like it was a dog fart, and not just any dog fart, but one where something comes out and your damn dog wipes it on the carpet. Let me put it this way: you have no understanding of how many times, when I was 11 years old, I devised the perfect sequel to The Lost Boys. True, most of them involved me playing Corey Haim’s stepbrother who just moved to town, but I had it worked out. The mythology, the characters, the various "death-by-(insert electronic equipment here)" gags that would take place. And I, a 1987 preteen, came up with so many cooler ideas than those douchebags did with the recent Lost Boys: the Tribe. I mean, utter garbage. I understand the budget isn’t high, the effects guys didn’t exactly work with James Cameron recently, and the biggest stars you can afford are Corey Feldman and the 8th main character from "The O.C." I get it. But that doesn’t mean the script has to be so goddamn dumb, without a hint of wit, creativity, and only tenuous stretched connections to the first film. I mean, you could give me a million dollars and a silly task like "Make Robocop IV," and though I couldn’t get decent effects or actors, I could still mine something out of it that wasn’t completely embarrassing. Nobody expected a classic, but I fucking expected some effort. PICK: Houston

St. Louis
@ Philadelphia (-7 1/2). I want to hear the previous rant read by Lou Holtz. I’d pay $1,000 for it, to tell you the truth. PICK: Philadelphia

Jacksonville (-3) @ Tennessee.
Some say the Jags have a shot this year, but I think that's jumping the gun. There are a lot of things critical about this year's team, but I suggest somebody take a drive by their practice field. They're not as fast as a bullet; they're just a gang riddled with holes. That quarterback David Garrard sure is a pistol, though. He won’t be enough, though, to shield the Jags from Tennessee’s weaponry. PICK: Tennessee

Detroit (-3) @ Atlanta.
You know my thoughts. I’m just glad RB Tatum Bell has already been cut from the Lions. I'd hate to have to hide my luggage. (Seriously, what a mope). Pick: Atlanta

Seattle @ Buffalo (-1). On November 2nd of last year, I wrote: "The Bills could be dangerous next year. You heard it here first. (Unless it doesn't happen, then you didn't hear it at all)." Well, you’re hearing it here second. The Bills are going to be capital-T Tough this year, and will not only make the playoffs, but WIN at least one playoff game. What is it about the team that perks my pee-pee so prominently? Couldn't tell ya. It’s just an instinct, a gut thing, and that part of my anatomy has a far better track record than my brain. Pick: Buffalo

Bay @ New Orleans (-3). Anybody else see Street Kings? The new Keanu Reeves movie? I just want to know if anybody else felt it was the dumbest, most obvious piece of crap they've ever seen? It centers around Reeves' character being in the middle of a gangland shooting. The two bad guys enter a convenience store, machine guns blazing, scarves and glasses covering their entire faces. And before the shooting even stops, you know who it is. I mean, just know. No doubt. Yet the rest of the movie – some 90 minutes – is about Keanu's character going after the wrong guys, trying to put the pieces together, and then acting surprised when the movie reveals its big "secret." I mean, this is a "secret" on the level of George Michael coming out of the closet. Like, no fucking duh. How Hugh Laurie, Forest Whitaker, and even Keanu ended up in this I have no idea. Pick: New Orleans

Dallas (-5 1/2) @ Cleveland. I spent the offseason honestly scared the Falcons would make a trade for Browns QB Brady Quinn. I mean, I really expected to see a big headline every time I clicked on I think I even DID see that headline in a couple of fever-induced dreams around March. So Matt Ryan, I love you. Pick: Dallas

Carolina @ San Diego (-9). Reading Facebook status updates today has been a joy. No less than 20 friends have some kind of Sarah Palin-related comment, and it's clear Democrats are suddenly scared pooless about her but too afraid to admit it (much the way Republicans have been about Obama for the past few months). Want proof? Obama has been receiving donations (mostly change, har-har) hand-over-raised-fist today. Now I’m not voting for either major party, but watching this transparent hand-wringing has definitely been fun. Pick: San Diego

Arizona (-2 1/2) @ San Francisco.
I know it doesn’t suck to be Matt Leinart, but, well, sometimes it's gotta suck a little. If he had come out after his junior year at USC, he would likely have been the first pick of the draft and starting this game for the 49ers. However, he waited one year, dropped to #10, and is now backing up 68-year-old Kurt Warner. Of course, being Matt Leinart for one year on the USC campus might have been worth it. Pick: Arizona

Chicago @ Indianapolis (-9 1/2). In the football offseason, around February, I made my very first trip to Chicago. My wein just thawed. (God, I’m crass today. Sorry.). Pick: Indianapolis

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-2 1/2). This is the game Brett Favre really wanted to pl – son of a cocknuts! I typed his name! That is one sneaky pill-snorting drunkard. Pick: Minnesota

Denver (-3) @ Oakland. So yeah, I landed Tom Brady as my fantasy QB. Evil, but necessary. I’m not sure how I ended up with Oakland RB Darren McFadden on my team. The so-called experts claim running back is the most important position in fantasy football, but I’m out to prove them wrong. Well, I sorta have to, with McFadden and Michael Turner as my starters (my bigger names were Brady and Reggie Wayne, taken in the first two rounds). C’mon, McFadden – let’s see another Adrian Peterson, pretty please! Um - I mean, now. Now. Dammit. Yeah. Pick: Oakland

Oh, and I’m not keeping a fake wagering total this year. It’s strictly a wins-and-losses game. I’m all mathed out from the Falcons affair.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Sounds of silence

Don LaFontaine died today.

And while you may not heard of him, you've definitely heard him.