Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Shutupskis: First Annual Worst Sports Broadcaster Awards

Some would say it's a golden age for sports announcers right now. Those people would be wrong. Yes we still have the old pros like Al Michaels, Marv Albert, Jim "hello friends" Nantz, Brent Musberger and Bob Costas - guys that have been doing it for years, and eerily, don't seem to age. We'll give these guys a pass, as they are like our old friends that never go away no matter how many times we change our phone numbers. They will be broadcasting the galactic Olympics in 2613 as floating heads when we are all dead and buried. They are cyborgs (except for Costas, who's clearly a leprechaun).

But, on the whole, sports broadcasting has evolved to a point where they are all the same. These condescending robots spout the same cliches, tell you what you already know and try to make it sound transcendent, get all moralistic and rarely add anything to the enjoyment of watching a game. Something needs to be done. It might be time to clone Vin Scully and Keith Jackson and wake up Harry Caray (he's not dead, he's just extremely drunk and sleeping it off).

Without further ado, here are the five winners of the first annual Shutupski Awards.

5) Bob Carpenter: If you've never watched a Washington Nationals game (and really, why would you?), there's a chance you've never heard of Bob Carpenter. Count your lucky stars. When he's not complaining about how "his" team never gets a call, he's waxing poetic and trying to make horrible players like Rich Ankiel and Adam LaRoche out to be possible hall of famers. Carpenter is the ultimate homer, always saying things like "we need runs" and "we won!" He also has one of those fake announcer voices that cannot possibly be his natural voice. His trademark home run call is "See ... You ... Later". Later doesn't work for me, Bob. How... about... never?

4) Thom Brennaman: Brennaman once said during a college football game, "If you have the chance to spend 15 minutes alone with Tim Tebow, your life is better for it." Hey now! A classic broadcasting crutch is to mention how you sat down with a certain player during the week and how delightful he is. Thanks for that fascinating nugget, Thom, tell us more about your brunches with the stars! WERE THERE CREPES? For that Tebow comment alone, Brennaman could qualify for this list, but he's also terrible in every other facet. Our lives our not better for listening to this blowhard. And I don't care for that spelling of "Thom" either.

3) Chip Caray: Grandson of legendary Haray Caray, the apple fell far from the tree with this clown. It fell into a different orchard of unimaginable hell. Why must all sons of broadcasters try and become broadcasters? What is this, NASCAR? If you're looking for a broadcaster that reacts to infield pop ups as if they were Ruthian home runs, or has no sense of the moment, or understanding of the game whatsoever, Chip is your man.

2) Joe Buck: Also known as Prince Valium, Joe Buck has never gotten excited by anything. EVER.  Another son of a legend, he's even been quoted as saying he doesn't enjoy calling certain sports. THEN QUIT, JERK. He's like brussels sprouts - it's hard to find anyone who likes him. Spectacular plays bore him. Exciting games are tedious. Buck couldn't even bring himself to get excited over one of the most amazing plays of the decade. He called Tyree's catch like he was watching a bocce ball match at a home for the elderly. Now look at how Marv Albert called the same play. The difference there is night and day. Biting fetish or not, Marv Albert rules. Justin Timberlake hilariously made fun of Joe Buck during last year's All Star Game with subtle sarcasm. When an announcer can make you appreciate the comedic chops of Justin Timberlake, you know he's bad.

1) Chris Berman: Thankfully, this raving asshat isn't allowed to call many games anymore. It's rumored ESPN keeps him locked up in a rubber room deep in the bowels of its Bristol, CT headquarters. But, he'll occasionally be unleashed without fair warning for an ESPN baseball game, or to anchor SportsCenter and it's infuriating. Forced nicknames (like Tom "Heard it thru the" Glavine), inane stories with no point, clich├ęs and self-promotion – he's a quadruple threat. He's also a mainstay at the annual Home Run Derby, where his "back, back, back, back" calls (that were stupid 20 years ago) drive every viewer to the mute button... or to homicide. Feel free to retire anytime, Chris. We'll be okay, really.

Honorable mentions for people that almost made this list: Michael Kay (Yankees), Susan Waldman (Yankees), John Sterling (Yankees). I sense a theme here ...

Coming tomorrow...the five worst analysts

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Worst Song Ever...Plus Week 12 NFL Picks!

Recently a song came on the radio that made me want to take a pair of pliers to my ears and rip them out. The crazy thing is, the song was a huge hit once upon a time. It could be argued that it was one of the biggest hits of the 90s, and it was indeed performed by one of the better bands of the 90s. It remains a minor tragedy that this song is a big part of the band's legacy. I would say almost everyone I've discussed this song with also hates it. But, someone out there likes it. So, I decided to try and listen to the whole song, and see if there was something I was missing lo these many years since it was omnipresent on the airwaves. The song I'm talking about is an abomination called "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden. Here it is once again, a five-minute and twenty-one second nightmarish assault upon our senses and all that we hold dear:

Let's break down the video and song section by section to see if there's anything at all redeeming. I hate this song with the white hot intensity of a 10,000 Black Hole Suns (whatever those are), so I'm not sure I'm going to make all the way through, but for the purposes of this post, I must endure:

00:00 - 00:17: I immediately regret this decision. Okay, well here's some nice scenery and some absurdly shaped hills that don't really exist, and the sky looks a bit ominous and apocalyptic. Was that in the forecast this week?  Overall though, it's not so bad...yet. A guitar whines like a dying puppy in the background, a little annoying, but trying to ignore it... 

00:17-00:45: Oh dear Lord, here come the lyrics. "In my eyes, indisposed..." I think your were indisposed while writing this song, Mr. Cornell. Like the tripping on mescaline and angel dust type of indisposed. We are 20 seconds in and I already need to hit the stop button. Some crazy man mows the lawn while 4 weirdly dressed men prance about, and act like they are in a Talking Heads video, but not ironically, in a blatant rip-off way. Get me out of here.

00:45-:1:30: A lady fondles a fish and a man feeds a baby goat what appears to be goat milk. That's just cruel. Don't show this to Tom Brady, it'd be like porn for him. And, yes, we get it, everyone smiles crazily in this video. Next, an old woman brandishes a chainsaw. I submit that no idea that was brought up was turned down during the making of this video. "Hey how about we throw in a weight lifter here, boss?" ..."Yes, he'll be doing push-ups...done!"

1:30-2:00: At the 1:32 mark you can tell that lead guitarist Kim Thayil does not want to be here. He knows this songs sucks, I truly believe that. That look is like, "I'm sorry folks, I didn't write this, I wrote 'Outshined', that was good, wasn't it?" He wants out of this hellish dreamscape where clouds travel way too fast. We all do, Kim. We all do.

2:00-2:45: Good God, we are only at the 2 minute mark? The wind seems to be picking up, there's a plethora of bugs, and a girl grills a Barbie doll on the barbecue. Get it? Barbie on the bar-b? It's a little on the nose for such a deep and profound video. I think what Soundgarden is really trying to say is that we are all barbie dolls being grilled by the little girl that is this song. Or perhaps, the grilled barbie is inside of us all, if we'd only have the courage look. This will make for some great discussions during Thanksgiving dinner, feel free to bring it up as you pass the grilled Barbies and mashed Kens.

2:45-3:20: The girl by the pool that appeared to be quite cute has a lizard tongue. Isn't that always the way? A face-melting solo by Kim sweeps a large portion of the world into the black-hole, while Cornell plays some disinterested rhythm guitar. If it meant I could make the song stop and never hear it again, I'd happily leap into that black hole, too. But nope, we have another verse. Screw water-boarding, we should use this song for interrogating terrorists.

3:20-4:30: More lyrics, "snakes in my shoes...a walking sleep...hang my head, drown my fear, till you all just disappear." You should hang your head Chris, you really should. Next up, a dalmatian bathes with a lady while a guy that looks like Chris Cornell's brother preens in the mirror. DON'T QUESTION IT, IT'S ART! Enjoy that bath while you can little doggie and perverted lady, because the black hole sun is coming to kill you. It's coming for us all.

4:30-5:10: Sometimes repeating the chorus 94 times in a row is not the best way to end a song....and finally, mercifully, it is over. Conclusions? Well for one, I'm never doing that again. Secondly, the sun was clearly coming all along for him, there was no need to ask "won't you come" so many times. It was a tad desperate. And finally, we've learned that during any impending solar apocalypse, it's a great idea to take care of some yard work, bathe with canines and smile.

Now, let's all wash away this pain and get on to the NFL picks in a lightning round Jeopardy Q and A format:

Answer: Game you have a great interest in because you enjoy pain, failure and shattering disappointment.
Question: What is any game played by the Jets and Bills, Alex?
Alex: that is correct, and take the Bills to cover the 8.

Answer: The games you aren't going to watch, unless forced to at gunpoint.
Question: What are Tampa +3.5 at Tennessee; Washington +3.5 at Seattle and Cleveland +7.5 at Cincinnati because they make my eyes bleed, Alex?
Alex: Correct! Take the favorites in all three games.

Answer: The games you will sneak off and watch every minute of instead of helping out on Thanksgiving, because you're a bad person.
Question: What are Detroit +6 at Green Bay, San Fran +3.5 at Balt., Miami +7 at Dallas?
Alex: Righto! Take Detroit, Balt and Miami and now please tell me a useless anecdote about yourself that totally disrupts the flow of the game... 

Answer: Games you're only interested about for fantasy reasons, and will therefore refresh your computer screen 48 times a minute while watching other games, you cyber nerd.
Question: What are Carolina -3.5 at Indy, Minny +9 at Atlanta, Chicago +5 at Oakland, Pittsburgh -10.5 at K.C.?
Alex: You're on fire, plus take Carolina, Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh and did you know I'm Canadian?

Answer: Games you will watch because you also like to look at car crashes on the side of the road, sicko
Question: What are Arizona +3 at St. Louis & Houston -3.5 at Jacksonville?
Alex: Oui, Oui! Did you know I speak French and love to show it off? Take St. Louis and Houston and drive on by, rubbernecker.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Overall record: 68-43-6
Last week: 6-6-2 (hello, mediocrity!)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week 11 NFL Picks - All Tebow, All The Time

In Tebow we trust to never see a forward pass again. 
Jets -6.5 at Denver 
Hold on to your bibles and rosaries because the Tim Tebow show goes national tonight! Hand-off after exciting hand-off, and the thrills of the triple option await! And when you become bored with that (ha, not possible)? LOOK OUT, QB sneak! Praise jeebus! The Broncos ran the ball 680 times last week and completed 2 forward passes. This isn't even a joke. If leadership and intangibles were visible to the naked eye, Tebow would surely blind us all with his brilliance. How else are they winning, if not divine intervention? Perhaps because 2 of his 3 wins are against the Dolphins and Chiefs, you say? Wrong, Heathen! YOU SHALL BE SMOTE! By the way, Tebow does not approve of the rowdy friends you may have over to watch this game. He also frowns upon your unholy chips and dips selection. What, no hummus? Jets 20 Broncos 17.

Tampa Bay +14 at Green Bay
Jason Bay fondly remembers his 1 home run last year.
There's nothing better than a vintage "Battle of the Bays" to get the blood flowing. Sadly, BP settled the debate once and for all regarding which bay is better able to sustain marine life. If only the Bay of Fundy had an NFL team. Now that's a nice looking bay. In contrast, here's a terrible looking Bay.  Green Bay 28 Tampa 10

San Diego +3.5 at Chicago 
Impressive showing by the Bears last week in drubbing the Lions. The much softer Chargers come into town with something to prove - whether they are a 7 or 8 win team this year. I think it's 7. Bears 31 Chargers 24.

McCoy is hoping a new 'stache will distract people from his horrid play.
Cleveland PK vs. Jacksonville 
A classic pick-em game if there ever was one. It's an easily movable object vs. a very resistible force. Who knows which of these teams decides to show up and try in this one? Trying is hard and often not worth it. Quarterbacks Colt McCoy and Blaine Gabbert's cool sounding names are inversely proportional to how talented they are. Cleveland 20 Jacksonville 14 

Arizona +9.5 at San Fran 
Well it's official, the 49ers are really good. I'm as angry as you are about it, trust me. However, I still maintain they are lucky the Giants were stupid enough to keep running the ball last week when Eli was carving them up through the air. You know the bar is set low when Alex Smith throws for 200 yards for about the first time in his career and he's treated like a conquering god. 49ers 17 Cards 10

Watch out Bengals, Flacco is furious.
Cincy +7 at Baltimore 
The Ravens are sure to be angry over last week's defeat to the lowly Seahawks. And you won't like them when they're angry, because Joe Flacco's infuriated eyebrows unite to form a Unibrow of Terror. Baltimore 27 Cincy 23

Dallas -7.5 at Washington 
The Beck-Grossman QB controversy rages on, as each man continues to out-suck the other. Another candidate is needed desperately. It's not unlike the GOP race. ZING! That's right, I just went political up in here. Also, Miles Austin has the hamstrings of an octogenarian. Cowboys 27 Redskins 12

Oakland -1.5 at Minnesota  and Seattle +1 at St. Louis
Run, don't walk away from these games, it'll be ugly.....
What are you still doing here? I said run, this isn't a drill people! Oakland 21 Minny 16; St. Louis 9 Seattle 6
Chris Johnson likes running here.
Tennessee +6 at Atlanta 
Atlanta seemed to have turned a corner, until last week's 4th down debacle in OT. Perhaps the street they turned onto was Elm Street or a dead end? I think it was the right decision, but the wrong play call. NFL teams convert 4th and inches over 80 pct. of the time when they quarterback sneak it. The odds are lowered when you just hand off, which is what they chose to do. So called experts get all up in arms over calls like these, and it's quite silly. If Atlanta had converted and gone on to win those same idiots would have proclaimed it "the greatest call ever". Lawyered. Atlanta 24 Tennessee 16

Giants -4.5 vs. Eagles 
Vince Young may get to play a little bit for his "nightmare team" this week, as Mike Vick's ribs have been pummeled into a fine powder once again. He may as well get those things removed, supermodel style. Now is about the time the Giants start their annual 2nd half collapse so I'm calling the upset here: Eagles 30 Giants 26.

Marcellus' mysterious neck wound still bugs me.
Buffalo +2.5 at Miami
Two teams going in opposite directions, but Buffalo's season is on the line, while Miami is only playing for pride. And remember what the wise philosopher Marcellus Wallace said about pride? He got a little graphic about it, yes, but he's right. Did we ever figure out why he had that band aid on his neck? Was he hurt shaving? Was he missing a vital neck bone and that's what was in the case? It's been 17 years, can't Quentin let us know on that one? Buffalo 30 Miami 20

Kansas City +14.5 at New England 
2 more innocent victims of Tom Brady's goat trafficking ring came forward this week.
Another Monday night beauty is surely on the way. Rumor has it that Tom Brady once tried to pass his disturbing goat fetish onto Matt Cassel while Cassel was playing with the Pats. Brady went so far as to ask Cassel to go halvsies on his South American goat farm. TRUE STORY, but the lame stream media won't tell you about it.  Patriots 34 Chiefs 17

Carolina +7 at Detroit
The one good thing about the NBA strike? The PA announcer who says "DEEE-TROIT BASKET-BALL" is out of a job. That's sweet justice. God, I hated that guy. Detroit 27 Carolina 21

Overall Record 62-37-4
Last week: 6-7  (I'm human)

"I thought I told you to shut uh uh up...."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week 10 NFL Picks! Where Philip Rivers enjoys cheese with his whine.

Philip Rivers blames the sun for his poor performance.
It's Week 10, which means Thursday Night football is back! It's better than Monday Night football, because it's closer to the weekend (it's okay to drink!), and doesn't include Ron Jaworski and John Gruden shouting at you. Sadly, I was a little late on that, so I didn't get my pick in on last night's game. Let's assume I was going to pick the Raiders. Philip Rivers continues to disappoint, and Norv Turner's play-calling continues to have less backbone than a bowl of jello. Rivers is easily the biggest whiner in sports since Danny Ainge. He's the only QB I've ever seen that will still cry and moan even after throwing a TD. I bet he sends his meals back at restaurants constantly for being over- or undercooked. He's the NFL's Goldilocks, what a pleasure he must have been to raise.

Cleveland -3 vs. St. Louis 
Oh, sweet baby Jesus, no, don't let these two "football teams" meet. This week has been tough enough. No need to analyze this one, so let's move on to other items. Whatever happened to the uncatchable call on pass interference penalties? It's never called anymore, and it used to be with some frequency. Remember how you'd be really angry when your team would be flagged for a PI, but then out of nowhere the ref would do that signal of waving his arm over his head, which looked like he was telling you how tall he wanted to be? The ruling signified the pass couldn't be caught by any human being alive, so there was no flag on the play. And you'd thank your lucky stars your QB had an arm like Olive Oil (looking at you, Chad Pennington). It was a glorious call, like being pardoned by the Governor. I miss that call. Are we now supposed to believe that a receiver can leap 8 stories high, and bend backwards on a dime like a cross between Spiderman and Neo from the Matrix ? Sorry, no one in the known Universe is catching some of these passes from Colt McCoy. I DON'T BUY THAT NFL, AND YOU SHOULDN'T BE SELLING IT! St. Louis 17 Cleveland 14

Giants +3.5 at 49ers 
Coughlin surprisingly shanked Belichick in the gut during this post-game greeting.
The Giants just made Tom Brady wish he had retired to his baby goat farm permanently, you think Alex Smith will fare better? Also, Tom Coughlin has a got a little surprise for Jim Harbaugh for the post-game coaches "hand shake". He's planning a post-game drop kick, followed by nunchucks to the groin and a trident through the heart. He's taking it up a notch. Lock of the Week: Giants 24 49ers 17 

Carolina -3.5 vs. Tennessee 
Hoooo doggie, when these bitter Southern rivals meet, you best throw out the records, and put the grits on the grill, Daddy-o! Or, you can keep the records and decide Tennessee looks done. Let's do that. But, it's fun talking like a Southerner every now and again, I reckon. Carolina 34 Tennessee 14.

Washington +4 at Miami 
Miami finally got on the board with a W last week, and Vegas has overreacted about as badly as that Double Rainbow guy. Yes, Washington is terrible, but a 1-win team should not be a 4-point favorite in November. Miami 21 Skins 20

Minnesota +13.5 at Green Bay 
These numbers for Rogers should all read "infinity".
Running out of words to describe Aaron Rodgers. I already said he went from ludicrous to plaid a couple weeks ago. When a player in a video game was unstoppable (like Bo Jackson or Lawrence Taylor in Super Tecmo Bowl) we used to call them "ridiculi," because they were beyond ridiculous and unfairly good. That's what Rodgers is right now, ridiculi and also in "Excellent" condition. A deadly combination. Green Bay 38 Minny 21

Let's hope Cutler's head stops growing.

Chicago +3 vs. Detroit 
Jay Cutler's head is getting really fat, and no one wants to discuss it. The rest of his body seems okay, but his head seems to be expanding, and it's a bit alarming.  Maybe he's storing acorns in those chubby cheeks for the winter, who knows? Detroit 28 Chicago 27

Pittsburgh -3 at Cincy 
The Bengals have had some fun this year with their easy schedule, but the bill comes due this week as big bad Pitt comes to town. There's been some rumors that ginger-haired Andy Dalton may put black streaks into his hair, so that his head would resemble the actual Bengal helmet. I speak for everyone when I say, AWESOME, LET THY WILL BE DONE, ANDY. Steelers 27 Cincy 17

Jets -1.5 vs. Pats 
Dare I say the game of the week, or perhaps game of the Millennium? I'm so fired up for this one I just tackled a stranger on the sidewalk. Sorry little old lady, but not in my house, you gotta bring it stronger than that on 4th and 1! And, here's your walker back, my bad. Complete homer pick: Jets 30 Pats 27

Jacksonville -3 at Indy 
The Colts new defensive strategy on display.
This may be the last chance for Indy to get a win this year. The Colts should redesign their helmet to incorporate a raised white flag. Jacksonville 24 Indy 20

New Orleans -1 at Atlanta
I think the Saints will pull this out, but it won't be easy. It'll have to get done Cajun style. New Orleans 33 - Atlanta 31

Bonus College Pick! 
Oregon +3.5 at Stanford
I nailed last week's college pick, so let's let it ride on this great matchup between top 10 teams. Speaking of college, Penn State's rioting students reminded everyone this week that college students are idiots and will literally take to the streets for anything, no matter how ill-advised. I don't even believe they were all protesting for Paterno. Most were just procrastinating from their papers, looking for free beer, and hoping for a passionate, riot-inspired hook-up. "It's us against the world, baby, but we've got tonight." It's a classic college move. Stanford 45 Oregon 38.

                                                                         Baltimore -7 at Seattle 
Ray Lewis shows off his bug-stomping technique.
Can any road team cover the spread in Seattle this year? Will Ray Lewis ever not celebrate every single play he makes or doesn't make? Which Marshawn Lynch will show up? The guy who runs over 8 players for 150 yards, or the Lynch we all know that runs like he's carrying his 10 kids on his back? Are these questions all rhetorical? Perhaps? Baltimore 20 Seattle 6

Arizona vs. Philly (off the board) 
I'm not sure exactly why this off the board, but my sources tell me it's because Andy Reid ate the spread.

Houston -3 at Tampa 
The winner of this can claim Gulf Coast Supremacy, which really means everything to two teams that never win anything. Houston 27 Tampa 20.

Enjoy the games!  

Last Week: 11-3
Overall Record: 56-30-4 (it's a gift)
Locks of the week: 6-2

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week 9 NFL Picks! We Got a Shooter With Shoes!

Red Stripe + plantains = undefeated.
We've reached the mid-point of the season, and my picks are getting so good that I may have to purchase some gold chains and start unbuttoning my shirts down to the navel like the real sharks do. Two weeks ago I went 9-4. Last week, even though I was in a different country, I overcame third world odds and went 5-0. I am undefeated when picking games in the Caribbean. My secret.... Red Stripe with a side of fried plantains. Take it to your grave, gents.

This doofus went 4-9 last week.
It's true I didn't pick every game, but I was on island time, mon, don't get all crazy baldhead on me. Meanwhile, supposed "experts" like Bill Simmons went 4-9. How about a 30 for 30 episode on how my picks kick your Boston ass, Billy boy? Full disclosure, even though I went 5-0, I somehow lost money on the actual bets I made (legal bets all, I assure you). That takes a special kind of skill. It also takes Philip Rivers forgetting how to handle a routine snap with his freakishly tiny carny hands. Let's get to the picks:

New England -9 vs Giants 
The mighty Patsies are showing some chinks the armor right now. Big Ben treated them like one his southern girls last week, and the Giants could have similar success with their Hicks, Manningham and Cruz trifecta. This spread is too high. The Giants pass rush is good enough to disrupt Brady's precious hair a little bit. He may have to wear a bonnet under his helmet this week. I don't put it past him. New England 30 Giants 24 (Lock of the week)

Oakland -7.5 vs. Team Tebow
It's like his right hand is trying to tell him, "stop, please don't throw this!"
Wow, did the Tebow express derail last week in horrific fashion. I wish I watched it. I ran an offense during my 4th grade recess that was more complex than what the Broncos do right now. It's 5 days later and Tebow is still trying to throw that last pass attempt of the game against the Lions, let's give him a few more seconds....good god, that delivery that can be measured with a sun dial.........and we're back. Was it completed? Cheerleaders catching the pass don't count. Raiders/Autumn Wind 20 Broncos 9

Miami +4 at K.C. 
Every week I think this will be the game the Dolphins get their first win, but they just excel at being terrible. And they lose in epic fashion each week, it's really magnificent. Perhaps inspired by his ex Kim Kardashian's divorce, Reggie Bush regained some of his Heisman form last week, breaking the 100 yard barrier. That should surely makes up for 5 disappointing seasons. Miami 24 - Kansas City 17

Bonus College pick!
The benefits of an SEC education on display.
Alabama -5 vs. LSU
It's number 1 vs. number 2, so you are required by law to watch this, despite having no real rooting interest whatsoever. I've never been to Alabama, and that's not by accident. I once traveled from Georgia to Mississippi via medieval catapult just to avoid 'Bama. And I also had to consult a map to make sure that previous sentence was geographically correct (it is!). It's kind of annoying that both these colleges' fan bases and SEC zealots are already arguing that whoever loses this game should still have a chance at the national title game. There's only about 19 other undefeated teams still, so I say that's crap. To the future losers of this game: YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE AND YOU BLEW IT! Take the points in this one, the team that's #1 always has more pressure on them: Alabama 27 - LSU 23

Jets +2 at Buffalo
Recent history shows the Jets have owned Buffalo, winning 5 of their last 6 against their neighbors to the north. Fun fact: Did you know that the sentence "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is considered a valid sentence? Check here for an explanation (and to have your mind blown!). Is that not the funnest fact you have ever read in your life? Work that tidbit in with the boss this week, and you're looking at a raise! Jets 23 Bills 21

The 49ers new wide receiver is 350 pounds of sweetness.
San Francisco -3.5 at Washington 
It's unsettling that this very average 49ers team has one of the best records in the league, and it speaks to the importance of a cake schedule. Teams ride easy schedules to the playoffs all the time. The Jets had a system of doing that every other year. Then they get crushed when it counts. I never do this, but I'm taking the Skins this week. Washington 24 San Fran 14

Cleve +10.5 at Houston 
The Peyton Hillis saga drags into its 8th week. First there was his strep throat, then contract squabbles, then a bad hammy, and last week he got married. It must be sweeps week. It's a storyline that at least 4 people in the world are following. Does the Madden cover jinx explain it all? Perhaps, but the Madden cover never featured someone this average and meat-headed before, so it's hard to tell. Houston 31 Cleveland 17

"I'm counting my money, baby."
Cincinnati +3 at Tennessee 
Despite these teams decent records, this will be an eyesore of a game featuring -1 and -2 yard runs into a cloud of dust (mostly by Chris Johnson, of course). I should have known that when I met Chris Johnson at a club in Vegas during the off-season a couple years ago that he would eventually ruin my 2011 fantasy team. THE SIGNS WERE THERE IN HIS BLOODSHOT EYES. Whoever goes backward the least shall win. I say Cincy wins by 2 safeties. Bengals 16 Tennessee 12

Seattle +11.5 at Dallas 
I've given Seattle no quarter all year, and I'll be damned if I'm going to start now. The plastic face of Jerry Jones will come as close as it possibly can to smiling this week. Dallas 33 Seattle 14.

Baltimore +3.5 at Pitt
Warning: this man is about to annoy you.
Damn, didn't these teams play on like Tuesday? Are they courting? Perhaps an announcement of impending nuptuals is in order. Prepare to hear lots more stuff from Chris effing Berman about their bitter rivalry, and how Ray Lewis has still got it, and the Steelers are now a passing team, blah, blah, blah. The AFC North is a cold sore that will never go away, just like the Swame. Baltimore 13 Pitt 10 (upset special!)

Philly -8 vs. Chicago
Remember when Mike Ditka traded his entire draft for Ricky Williams? Of course you do, because that's all people talk about when Ditka is mentioned now. He also caught 58 passes his rookie year after catching 12 passes his senior year in college. THAT'S A DRAFT STEAL, PLEASE HIRE THAT PRESCIENT SCOUT, JETS. Ditka also chewed gum ferociously, spat whenever he talked, and had an enjoyable turn in Will Ferrell's "Kicking and Screaming" but sadly, no one remembers any of that. Eagles 30 Bears 23

Green Bay -5.5 at San Diego
I'm not sure Rivers tiny hands can handle this tough task. The Gaslamp area better prepare for an infusion of Cheeseheads this weekend. The wholesome and portly Midwest meets Southern Cal debauchery. I don't like where this might lead. Green Bay 38 Chargers 31.

St. Louis +2.5 vs. Arizona 
Not worth anyone's time to break this one down: Arizona 28 St. Louis 21

Even refugees would prefer to avoid the RCA Dome.
Atlanta -7 at Indy
There's nothing like a classic battle between two underachieving dome teams - the fans in the stands at the RCA Dome this week may actually be real refugees from foreign countries that were duped into attending with the promise of food and shelter. Atlanta is coming off a nice win at Detroit, another dome team. Cabin fever may be setting in for the Falcons, that's the only concern for them in this one. For the Colts, it's pretty outrageous that they could get Andrew Luck after 13 years of Peyton Manning. Only Shirley Jackson could appreciate that kind of sick lottery system. Atlanta 27 Indy 16

Last week: 5-0
Overall: 45-27-4
Locks of the week: 5-2
Enjoy the games! This song is worth it for the solo at the 3 minute mark alone: