I'm a popular guy this week.
Things have been going well at work, with some public recognition coming my way. I've volunteered to stay at the tailgate Saturday and protect our pricey items, so a lot of "thank you" e-mails have found their way to my inbox. And, whatthefuckdoyouknow, all of a sudden people are interested in my Atlanta Falcons season tickets.
Five weeks ago in this space, I wrote about my bestest purchase ever. Nary a nibble. Not a comment. No questions. I was coming to the conclusion I'd be going to the games by myself. Well, what a difference a 4-2 record makes. Since one of the bestest wins ever, I've gotten no less than five calls that all sound eerily the same.
"Hey man, I've been meaning to call you. We should really hang out. So, like, what are you doing on November 9th, November 16th, November 23rd, December 14th and/or December 28th?"
It should be said that The Fiancee has not made any such queries. She's a much harder sell. I might get her to the Super Bowl. Might.
Tennessee (-8) @ Kansas City. And my mighty Atlanta Falcons are off this week. I'm not handling it well. It would be one thing if I could hang my hat on a UGA-LSU matchup, or maybe a Florida. Hell, even a lowly, bottom-of-the-barrel, circling-the-drain Auburn. But my prime football viewing this weekend will involve the Vanderbilt Commodores, which just isn't sufficient. Oh right, I know, they always play us close, and they're pretty good this year, they're ranked, and they have a good quarterbSNOOOOOOOORRRREEE. Let's just say it's not all that heroic I'm staying at the tailgate. A comfy chair, remote in hand, my trusty cooler by my side, sorta-nature - plus, Die Hard or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants might be on TV. And face value is free. PICK: Tennessee
San Diego @ Buffalo (-1). I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but somehow Facebook got around the social stigma that attached itself to MySpace. Having a MySpace page was always something you admitted under your breath. Even if you had one, somebody in their late 20s or early 30s always felt a bit out of place. It was - and I guess still is - a ghetto for dumbass teenagers. Facebook, on the other hand, is more universally beloved by the day. The convert holdouts are few. I have new friend requests waiting for me every afternoon, and from increasingly random people. People I haven't seen since high school. People I haven't seen since elementary school. On Tuesday, I actually got a friend request from my kindergarten girlfriend, who I last saw in 1983. And that's where it gets weird. I last saw some of these people when they were seven, 10, 16, 18, 21. Now I click on their photos and see this odd, older person looking back at me, often with kids the same age as I picture them being. Now my friends have held up surprisingly well. Lots of good lookin' folks in there. However, if they look so much different to me, I must look just that different to them. And dammit, I don't want to look old. PICK: Buffalo
Pittsburgh (-9 1/2) @ Cincinnati. That said, just this week I injured by neck by drying my hair, continued taking my blood pressure and cholesterol medication, and have picked up a weird clicking in my left knee. Oh, and told some damned pesky neighborhood rugrats to get off'a my lawn. But my point is I don't want to look old. PICK: Pittsburgh
Dallas (-7) @ St. Louis. Can I go ahead and stand tall on the "Tony Romo Sucks" bandwagon? Ok, "sucks" is strong - he doesn't suck. But he's absolutely not one of the best 10 quarterbacks in the league right now, much less top five as the media would have us believe. He turns it over all the time, he makes dumb passes, and this false macho front he's put up this week has been embarrassing. The Cowboys are lucky as hell, however, to have the Rams on their schedule this week. With the way they've been reeling, just about any other NFL team would pick them apart Sunday. PICK: Dallas
Baltimore @ Miami (-3). Driving to work this morning, I saw unleaded for $2.76 a gallon - and my first thought was "How cheap!" So yes, we've gotten to the point where $2.76 sounds ilke a great deal. Those gas guys are freaking marketing geniuses, I tells ya. PICK: Baltimore
Minnesota @ Chicago (-3). My brother, in his unending quest to never see another commercial, records games as they are playing. Last week, he was actually sitting on the couch during the Atlanta-Chicago game, but spent most of his time watching old "That '70s Show" episodes he had previously DVRed. Every half hour or so, he'd click onto the game, skip past the commercials, and then go back to Topher Grace once he'd caught up with the live feed. It was monumentally infuriating, so I went downstairs. That said, I'm glad to have the recording, and have already laid down the law that we're never deleting it. I've watched the last five minutes of that game - no exaggeration - 30 times this week. Each time, of course, I'm fearful something different is going to happen, but I do get extreme enjoyment out of watching the Bears pat themselves on the back, practically calling in their dinner reservations, with 11 seconds still on the clock. PICK: Chicago
New Orleans @ Carolina (-3). Well, the Falcons will pick up a game on at least one of their NFC South opponents. PICK: New Orleans
San Francisco @ NY Giants (-10 1/2). It was nice to see the Eli Manning I know and love last week. Three interceptions, all of them completely his fault. I've missed that guy. PICK: San Francisco
Detroit @ Houston (-9 1/2). And Detroit's season hits its nadir here. They are almost double-digit dogs to a team that was winless six days ago. PICK: Houston
NY Jets (-3) @ Oakland. There is only one reason I'm a bit upset to be missing tomorrow's UGA/Vanderbilt game, and it's this. I'm a sucker for history of the "long lost" variety. PICK: NY Jets
Cleveland @ Washington (-7 1/2). PICK: Washington
Indianapolis (-1 1/2) @ Green Bay. Calling this my "upset special" doesn't mean much when the spread is so small, but Aaron Rodgers is going to make Peyton Manning look like - well, Eli. My faith in him, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact he's starting for my fantasy team. (Oh, and Reggie Wayne is going to have a great game here too. A great one.). PICK: Green Bay
Seattle @ Tampa Bay (-10 1/2). Tent City trivia code phrase: "I'm gay for Josh!" (Again, inside if you don't tailgate with me. Suck it up.). PICK: Seattle
Denver @ New England (-3). You know the reason al Qaida didn't attack Boston? Because nobody would have cared. (Yes, I'm bitter and tired after staying up until 12:30 last night to see my behated Red Sox win). PICK: Denver
Last week: 7-7