Friday, September 25, 2009

Aiding and A'Betting: Week Three

I'm going to pretend I'm posting this picture for a deeper purpose, and not because it makes me pee myself laughing.

We all knew this was coming. I said as much last April, in a post that's top-to-bottom looking damn prescient so far. Call it fate, call it destiny - but it was certain from the start.

I'm predicting the Atlanta Falcons will beat the New England Patriots.

Right, I know - you're shocked. There's a rub, though. While last year I would've had a twinge of "look, I'm making another outlandish prediction, har-har," this time I actually mean it. I really do think the Falcons will emerge victorious, that a second-year QB can face Tom Brady and come out a winner. Hell, a rookie QB just did it a few days ago. And I'm not the only one; Sports Illustrated's Peter King and ESPN's Mike Golic, among others, are also foreseeing an Atlanta victory. And I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that.

Let's travel back in time - not too long, just about 13 months. New England was riding into the 2008 season having gone 16-0 in their previous incarnation, losing only the Super Bowl on what can generously be called a fluke catch. Atlanta was shaking off the stench of Michael Vick, Joey Harrington and Bobby Petrino, and not supposed to win more than a couple of games the entire season. Yet just a year later, those same Falcons are only four-point dogs to the mighty Pats in Foxboro. I wish I could go back and bet on that.

Atlanta is looking up, the Patriots are looking wobbly, and the timing couldn't be better. Falcons 31, Patriots 27.

The picks:

Cleveland @ Baltimore (-13). My fantasy team is in trouble, guys. Save your wailing and teeth-gnashing, though; me and the boys are 2-0. But I'm starting Baltimore's Willis McGahee this week. Mario Manningham. DeAngelo Hall. It's like all jazzercise up in h'yuh, as much stretching as I'm doing. Without some longshots paying off, I'm looking at a severely disappointing season. Which, of course, means I'll lose a game. PICK: Baltimore

Jacksonville @ Houston (-3 1/2).
You know what's even less surprising than my picking Atlanta over New England? That X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucked. I finally saw it this week through the power of Netflix, and it was such a shoddy effort - bad effects, rushed plot, a couple good ideas introduced and discarded. And then (spoiler alert, spoiler alert, spoiler alert) the main character just forgets everything than happened? Because he gets shot with a "special" bullet? As they say in Patriot country, and as they are in Patriot country - how retahded. PICK: Houston

Washington (-6) @ Detroit.
Burn me 'Skins, and this is what you get: On Sunday, Matthew Stafford will lead the Detroit Lions to their first victory in two years. Nope, not just a cover, not just a moral victory - but a full-fledged, we-scored-more-points-than-you-did, capital-w Win. And really, who's going to waste breath arguing this, after Washington eked out a 9-7 win over the Rams, a team actually worse than everybody thought? Other than a couple of Snyderholic tailgate compadres, that is. (So I wrote that on Tuesday - before everybody and their fucking brother made the same upset pick. Eh, stickin' with it anyway). PICK: Detroit

San Francisco @ Minnesota (-6 1/2).
PICK: Minnesota

Atlanta @ New England (-4 1/2). Weather reports are saying there's a 90% chance of rain at gametime. Normally, this would be a marked disadvantage to a dome team, but the Patriots have zero run game. If the attack has to shift to the ground and out of Tom Brady's hands, Michael Turner and Co. will eat 'em up. PICK: Atlanta

Green Bay (-6 1/2) @ St. Louis. I'm in this "Suicide" fantasy league, in which you have to pick one winner every week. Not against the spread, just a straight up call of one team that will emerge victorious. One wrong call and you're out, and the last man standing takes all the glory. Well, I lasted an entirety of two weeks, trusting the Packers to take care of business against the shuffling Bengals. So that was fun. PICK: Green Bay

NY Giants (-6 1/2) @ Tampa Bay.
PICK: NY Giants

Kansas City @ Philadelphia (-?). As of Friday morning, the Gambling Wizards hadn't released a spread for this one - which is a bit odd, as the game's starting QBs (Matt Cassel, Kevin Kolb) have been known for awhile. But hey, the debut of Michael Vick in a green uniform can throw anything into a tizzy. I'll try to update this later with a pick against the actual spread, but for now let's just assume Eagles (-7). PICK: Philadelphia

Tennessee @ NY Jets (-2 1/2). PICK: NY Jets

Chicago (-2) @ Seattle. PICK: Chicago

New Orleans (-6) @ Buffalo. The recent rains in Atlanta have caused me to reflect on what the brave residents of New Orleans must have gone through in 2004. The rising waters, the lowering spirits, the lost dreams. My God, it is still so powerful. And hilarious. PICK: Buffalo

Pittsburgh (-4) @ Cincinnati.
Ugh, the Atlanta Braves are so frustrating. After an August rollercoaster of they're done/they're back/they're done/they're back, I finally bid adieu to Major League Baseball when they were swept at home by the Reds - the Cincinnati Reds - earlier this month. It conveniently coincided with football's kickoff (and my fantasy baseball team's disappearance), so all was good. But as Al Pacino so famously said, in Gigli or Simone or something, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull on my dick and make me go all 'ooh'." Suddenly, Atlanta sits at 3.5 games back, with a schedule chock full o' Nationals to end the season. And I'm starting to care again. Dammit. PICK: Cincinnati

Denver (-1 1/2) @ Oakland.
Everything's telling me the Broncos should roll - but this line opened at Oakland favored by 2 1/2, and swung wildly on Tuesday - meaning everybody is betting Denver. Know which way to run when that happens. PICK: Oakland

Miami @ San Diego (-6).
PICK: Miami

Indianapolis @ Arizona (-2 1/2). PICK: Indianapolis

Carolina @ Dallas (-8 1/2). As my friends love to point out, I whiffed on predicting Matt Ryan's dominance. Thank God I have people like Tony Romo, who I've called a scrub since day one, to pick me up. PICK: Carolina

Last week: 10-6-0
Overall: 18-14-0

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