I’m snakebit. Am driving down the road Saturday afternoon listening to NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me when the first crushing blow occurs. The guest is CIA head honcho Michael Hayden, and the interview is actually superb. Seriously. Then I realize the dude has a great sense of humor; another blow to my world. Now comes the clincher; Hayden is from Pittsburgh and is a lifelong diehard Steelers fan. The host asks him what he thinks of Bill Belichick secretly taping other teams (Hayden is non-plussed by this) and then asks "Well, we know the NSA has secret tapes of everything, surely you must have some of the Patriots’ practices and plays, have you ever thought about covertly sending them to the Steelers"? Hayden quips back "Naw, the Steelers don’t need to cheat to whip the Patriots!" Now, between laughing my ass off and trying to grab my phone to obligatorily call Marcy and prick her with this nugget, I nearly run off the freaking road. Then, in all the inordinate joy of relating this wondrous story to EW, I blow by a photo radar setup. Go figure. Still, it all seems worth it.
Okay, enough hilarity; time to get down to business. Three weeks left in the season, it’s go time baby. There are teams that are going to solidify their hold on a playoff position, and there are teams that are going to start falling victim to the axe. Here’s the rundown:
Steelers at Ravens: Yep, the game of the week is the Chief Spook’s Stillers against the Baltimore Not Colts. Both teams are on strong late season rolls, and they have the top two defenses in the league with Pittsburgh number one and the Ravens number two. Rookie Joe Flacco has been excellent and the Ravens are uncharacteristically scoring a lot of points. Even though the Ravens have Ray Lewis, it is really hard to go against Ben Roethlisberger. But I’m going to. Ravens win at home.
Giants at Cowboys: In Dallas, Jerry Jones has finally got the sideshow freak circus he has been angling for all these years. As Condiliar would say, "Who could have imagined?" Yeah, well, they are going to have to take time off from the carnival to play Eli and the Gents, who have a little theater going themselves. I may be bat shit crazy, but I think the ‘Boys will win.
Broncos at Panthers: Another tilt where both teams are coming on strong at the end of the year. Denver certainly has the better quarterback, but Jake Delhomme has a knack for winning, and the Panthers can flat out matriculate the ball down the field on the ground. D’Angelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are probably the best tandem RBs in the league (the Titans’ Chris Johnson and Lendale White are a real close 1A there). I think the Panthers’ defense is better than the Broncs though and Carolina wins at home.
Vikings at Cardinals: Whoo doggie, that Adrian Peterson is something. The Cardinals could have drafted him, but passed him up. Yeah, I know, how shocking; a stupid move by the Cards. Who’d a thunk it? Well, the Vikes aren’t real clean there either, they could have used a real quarterback and, strangely, thought that Tavarius Jackson was it. Oops. Creaky old gus Frerotte is hurt and is doubtful; very bad news for the Norske. More bad news: Kurt Warner isn’t hurt, and neither are Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. Cards win and send the Vikes back north worse for the wear.
Buccaneers at Falcons: Man, the Falcons have had a magical season considering the disarray they were in last year. Matt Ryan looks like the real deal and Michael "The Burner" Turner is a speedy bowling ball on wheels. The Falcons have palyed with focus, skill and heart all season, and their record shows the results. But Jeff Garcia flat out quietly wins games when it counts and the Bucs historically have the Dirty Birds’ number. They will again. Tampa Bay wins on the road.
Bills at Jets: Well the glowing promise that Brett and the Jets showed mid season has been wearing off fast lately. The wheels are getting real wobbly after a loss to the Niners last week in Frisco. But the Bills are feinting on the couch even harder; in fact, they just have not been the same since Trent Edwards conked his head against the Cards a couple of months ago. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been running well lately either. Brett and the Jets, Jets, Jets get their mojo back and beat the Bills.
Lions at Colts: This here game is what I would call "Teh EW Special". It’s got her kittycats AND the really evil Manning brother. Let’s see here, hmmm Dan Orlovsky or Peyton? I think the Colts have a slight edge at QB. Aw, hell, the dolts have an edge everywhere and will dispatch the Lions to Oh and 14.
Rams bounce the Seahawks, Fish flip the Niners, Cheeseheads salvage a little respect and beat the sinking Jags, Marcy gets what she really wants and the Pats obliterate the Raiders, Texans have been cowboying up lately but not enough to fend off the Titans, Iggles claw the eyes out of the Brownies (and probably seal Romeo Crennel’s fate), Skins scalp the Bengals, and last, and really kind of least, the Bolts and Chiefs sputter to a 0-0 tie.
That is it for this week folks. It is getting cold out, suck up a few hot toddies, get yer swerve on and pitch some trash!