Lurk Sports! Are you ready for some football!

sports_n_ish_with_lurk

Welcome back, you gambling degenerates! Ya boy the Lurkasaurus is back to give his indispensible opinion on the week’s upcoming football games (capslock of justice) FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. (That should keep the lawyers and leg-breakers at bay.) So, IF you were to spend coin of the realm on a football wager, I’d recommend you do it this way:

nfl week 1 2014Packers at Seahawks (-5) If you like an upset, do not look here. Seattle is bringing everyone back from the team that put an epic beatdown on the most prolific offense the NFL had ever seen in last year’s Super Bowl…and it sez so right here that they STILL feel disrespected. Green Bay is good…but good enough to beat the defending champs in the loudest stadium known to man? Take the Seahawks and give the points. SEAHAWKS

Vikings (+6.5) at Rams – The Rams will keep it close, because their defense is that good. Unfortunately, their offense was not all that good to begin with, and now they will have to soldier on without Sam Bradford. This is not to say that the Vikings are much better under center, but Matt Cassell is better than a corpse, and they still have Adrian Peterson to give the ball to on a regular basis. VIKINGS

Saints (-2.5) at Falcons – First team to 48 wins. There will be virtually no defense played in this game. That said, the Saints still have a better QB and better weapons than the Falcons, especially in rookie burner Brandin Cooks. SAINTS

Bengals (+1) at Ravens – The Ravens will be without Ray Rice for this game, putting everything on the dubious shoulders of Joe Flacco (seriously, the only difference between Flacco and Jay Cutler is the Super Bowl ring). Plus, it would not surprise me to watch this Ravens squad age in dog years while we watch. The Bengals, meanwhile, will feature not only the best receiver in the AFC in A.J. Green, but watch for a break-out, Matt Forte-esque turn by RB Giovani Bernard. BENGALS

Titans at Chiefs (-4.5) – Jake Locker is still the Titans QB. That’s pretty much everything you need to know right there. CHIEFS

Bills at Bears (-7) – This line is at 7 and it might go higher than that. Buffalo is awful, with the exception of Sammy Watkins. Watkins, a rookie, is trending toward spectacular, but his QB is still apt to line up behind left guard. Worse, there is not a single person on the Bills defense that can stop the Bears from turning this into a track meet. BEARS

WASHINGTON at Texans (-1.5) – WASHINGTON comes in with a fairly potent offense…except that they are facing perhaps the best defense in the NFL that is not playing in Seattle. It has been a long time since the NFL has seen a defensive line with as many great players as the Texans have…and I’m talking about since the ’85 Bears (Dent and Hampton), or the ’76 Steelers (Green and Greenwood), or the Fearsome Foursome Rams of Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones. Yes, J.J. Watt and Jadaveon Clowney are THAT good. Both will demand a double-team that the offense can’t possibly provide, which means that RGIII is going to spend the majority of his time running for his life…and failing. TEXANS

Raiders at Jets (-4.5) – The Raiders are a hot mess. Defensively, they are still sound, but their offense must be conducted by Moe, Larry, and Curley. Who brings in Maurice Jones-Drew when you already have Darren McFadden? I don’t care if McFadden has the injury bug, you do NOT bring in another Alpha male. You get him a backup, keep his confidence up , and ride. With MJD, they have an uncomfortable time-share situation that will work to no one’s advantage. Meanwhile, the Jets will actually show up with some new toys on offense…and there is also the fact that Geno Smith will NEVER be as bad as the San-Chize was. Plus, they are at home. JETS

Jaguars at Eagles (-11) – Normally, I would be scared of this number. Terrified, even. But the Jaguars are coming into this game stubbornly insisting on starting Chad Henne (!!) over Blake Bortles, and Bortles is the only thing that has given their offense a pulse in the preseason. By the time they realize their mistake, Nick Foles, Shady McCoy, and Darren Sproles will have run the score up over 40, and Bortles won’t be able to overcome that number in the fourth. EAGLES

Browns at Steelers (-7) – If this game were in Cleveland, the shouts for Johnny Football would begin right after Brian Hoyer throws a pick-6 in the first offensive series of the game. Since it’s in Pittsburgh, the Steeler faithful will be happy to let Hoyer cough up the job he “won.” Not having Josh Gordon is a huge blow to the Browns, and if Hoyer were the kind of playmaker that could win this game on the road, they would not have drafted Manziel. I normally hate betting sevens, but the Steelers crush the junior varsity in this one. STEELERS

Patriots (-4.5) at Dolphins – Lookit. The Patriots were winning this game, period. It doesn’t matter if they get Rob Gronkowski back or not (it sez so right here that he plays…and gets hurt). It doesn’t matter if Shane Vereen fumbles AGAIN. Tom Brady is still the QB. Bill Belichick is still the head coach. The Dolphins offense is still “meh.” Plus, the Pats can turn to rookie burner James White in the backfield if Vereen fails Darth Hoodie for the last time. PATRIOTS

49ers (-5.5) at Cowboys – There is nothing wrong with Dallas’ offense in the regular season, and there won’t be anything wrong with it this season. The problem is that they will be facing a 49ers team that is still looking up in the standings at their hated rivals, the Seattle Seahawks (and, as the saying goes, unless you’re the lead dog, the scenery never changes). The Niners do not want the Super Bowl; they want to beat the Seahawks, and Dallas is just in the way. For fantasy purposes, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and DeMarco Murray will be just fine…but the Niners will drop the hammer on them. NINERS

Panthers at Buccaneers (-1) – A LOT had to go right for the Panthers last season, which means that the Panthers get to meet my old friend “Regression To The Mean” this season. They will need Cam Newton to be Tom Brady (or even Russell Wilson) but he won’t be, which means their offense will likely only offend. Josh McCown is not a great QB, but he pays attention and he generally puts the ball into his own team’s hands…plus, it doesn’t hurt to have Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin on your offense. BUCCS

Colts at Broncos (-7.5) – I would have told you to take the Colts and take the points…except that I really think we are going to see the Evil Manning that Bill Simmons has predicted and dreaded. Manning is not just in mid-season form, he’s pissed about losing last season’s Super Bowl. How angry is he? Angry enough to drop an F-bomb on a defender in a preseason game…and when he got fined, did he make a typically-classy Manning apology for failing to be professional and letting his team down and putting his defense in a bad position? Nope. Quote: “I accept it. Money well spent.” (capslock of justice) MONEY WELL SPENT?! When did Peyton Manning turn heel on us? My goodness, for the majority of his career, Catholic priests used a picture of Manning drinking a glass of milk to exorcise demons! Now he’s cursing out defenders in preseason games? I’m kinda scared, actually…BRONCOS

Giants vs. Lions (-4.5) – The Giants will be better than they were last season because it would almost be impossible for them to be worse. The Lions will still have Calvin Johnson and a better offense, and the game is still in Detroit because apparently Syria was booked. LIONS

Chargers (+3) at Cardinals – It has only taken me this long to figure it out, but here it is: Philip Rivers is the AFC version of Tony Romo. He’ll be great during the regular season…but once the calendar flips over to January, he’ll turn into Caleb Hanie. The Cardinals are still running Carson Palmer’s corpse out to play quarterback, which means that if Larry Fitzgerald does catch any passes, it will be because he was bitten by a radioactive spider while visiting OsCorp. CHARGERS

…aaaaaand I’m OUT like Josh Gordon…

Sports and Ish with Lurk

sports_n_ish_with_lurkTwo Weeks Ago: 6-7

Season: 43 – 37

About Last Week: …wha?

About The Week BEFORE Last Week: See, what had happened…I mean…welp…gaaaaaaaaaaaaah! San Diego was getting seven points And Lost By 8. That, friends and neighbors, is how you build luxury resort hotels and casinos in the desert. One more friggin’ field goal from the home-standing Chargers and I take home a moral victory and add $40 to the pile. One more friggin’ field goal. But NOOOOOOOO. The Chargers can’t cover in a Fuggin’ CLASSIC Trap Game (Denver HAD to be looking ahead to this past week’s tilt with league- and division-leading KC) and now Vegas is into my pocket for $170.

Still Plenty of Seats Available: …on the Carolina Panthers (?!) bandwagon. Seriously, who saw this run coming? It was one thing when they were slapping around the teams already on the clock for next year’s draft, but beating San Francisco and New England in successive weeks has dramatically raised their profile. Looking back, that Week 1 game at Seattle (12-7 Seahawks) might have been more of a harbinger of good tidings than we might have realized.

But It Might Be Time To Bail On:…San Francisco and Detroit. As Mike Ditka once said, you are what your record says you are; in San Francisco’s case, that means they probably are the 5-seed that they have played like all season. For all of our wanting to anoint Colin Kaepernick, the fact is that this team has not beaten a good team all season. They have lost to Seattle, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Carolina while managing to beat no one of consequence. How long will it be before people start wondering out loud about whether Colin Kaepernick is a one-hit wonder?

Meanwhile, the Lions…? What is it about this team? For one 27-point quarter (!!) against Pittsburgh, they looked like Kurt Warner’s Rams, practically scoring at will…AND THEY STILL LOST THE GAME. They had a game in hand against division rival Chicago the week before, and didn’t wait seven days before giving it right back. Sure, they own the tie-breaker over my beloved Bears…but does anyone really think that the Lions won’t find a way to back out of the division lead before the end of December? In particular, if I’m a Lions fan, I’d be scared shytless of Jim Schwartz coaching this team down the stretch…cuz it sez so right here that if you’re going to fake a field goal deep in enemy territory, YOU THROW A JUMP BALL TO CALVIN BY-GOD JOHNSON. There STILL isn’t anyone that can guard Megatron at the goal line in Pittsburgh. What is it about Lions coaches suffering from rectal/cranial inversion at absolutely the worst times? The last time I saw a Lions coach make that big of an error, it was Marty Morninghweg – that time in Chicago, when the Lions and Bears were tied at the end of regulation, and the Lions won the toss…and Morninghweg elected to KICK OFF. Yeah. they lost. Immediately.

The Top of the AFC:…will be decided within the next couple of weeks. Denver plays at New England this weekend (more later), and then at Kansas City next weekend. The Donkeys are already 2-0 through this most brutal portion of their schedule (winning at San Diego and at home against KC); should they finish the next two weeks 3-1 or 4-0, they will have answered every question about their legitimacy as a Super Bowl contender. Again, like Carolina, it’s one thing to beat the weak sisters of the league; it’s quite another to run roughshod over the varsity.

The Top of the NFC:…is already decided. Seattle and New Orleans are the class of the conference, period. Carolina has the look of the team that no one wants to play in January. Aaaaaand that’s about it. No one from the Central division is raising any pulses, because both the Lions and the Bears are prone to self-destruction, and the Niners can’t get all of their oars rowing in the same direction. BTW, it’s worth noting that San Francisco’s record is exactly the same as Detroit’s, Chicago’s…and Arizona’s. The bottom half of the NFC bracket will bear a lot of watching in the next few weeks, because someone’s gotta fill those seeds, and the teams remaining are, ahh, competitively-challenged.

TO THE PICKS!!
2013-nfl-schedule-week-12-games

Carolina (-4.5) at Miami – At this point, how can any reasonable person pick against Carolina? They have already shown that they can beat bad teams. Now they have shown that they can beat good teams. The Dolphins are a bad team and they are in complete disarray after the Martin/Incognito taffy pull. Carolina is now playing for a home game in the playoffs. Miami just wants this nightmare to end. Carolina.

Chicago (PK) at St. Louis – Thank Gawd and Sweet Tax-Payin’ Baby Jeebus that this line is a pick-‘em, because I wouldn’t trust either team with points. This is probably one of the worst-played games of the year, but Josh McCown continues his Wally Pipp campaign and leads the Bears to an ugly-yet-important victory. Chicago.

New York Jets at Baltimore (-4) – The Jets are the greatest Jeckyll/Hyde team in recent NFL history. Look it up. They have alternated winning and losing every week. Win-loss-win-loss all the way to a sister-kissin’ 5-5 record. If recent history holds, they are supposed to win this weekend. Methinks that the whole win/loss thing is more of a statistical oddity than a predictor of behavior…AND they have serious quarterback issues. Baltimore exposes the Jets’ flaws this weekend. Baltimore.

Jacksonville (+10) at Houston – Both of these teams are utterly dreadful, but Houston isn’t ten points better than Jacksonville. This is not to say that Houston won’t win (they will), but they will not cover this ri-cock-ulous spread. Jacksonville.

Minnesota at Green Bay (-4.5) – If it weren’t for the fact that I like playing an odd number of games every week, I wouldn’t touch this dog with a ten-foot pole. Neither team has anyone that remotely resembles an actual NFL quarterback. Still, Green Bay has more working parts in other places than does Minnesota, and they are at home. Green Bay.

Pittsburgh (+1) at Cleveland – The Steelers have risen from the dead. They have put themselves into playoff contention in the AFC on the strength of one of the more improbable runs we’ve seen. Cleveland, on the other hand…well, even though the Steelers are actually a road dog in this one, just remember that God hates Cleveland. Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay (+9.5) at Detroit – I don’t trust the Lions. Not even a little. I’m not saying they won’t win. I am saying that this game will be a LOT more exciting than it should be. The Leos are about as threatening as shag carpet to sore feet, and Tampa Bay has improbably found their stride in the last couple of weeks, even though they are going through running backs like a fantasy football hack. The Lions win, but they keep it a lot closer than it should be. Tampa Bay.

San Diego at Kansas City (-5) – KC actually played well in their loss to Denver, and they are just methodical enough not to get caught in what would otherwise be a classic trap game (with Denver again next week, in Kansas City). San Diego isn’t good enough to win this game outright, and not good enough to cover. Kansas City.

Tennessee at Oakland (PK) – Tennessee lost AT HOME to Jacksonville. Oakland won with a quarterback from the practice squad. Again, since there are no points involved, and since Oakland’s at home…Oakland.

Indianapolis at Arizona (-1) – Arizona is better than you think. Indianapolis is what their record says they are. Zombie Carson Palmer and the former Honey Badger His Own Self (Mr. Tyrann Mathieu) are good enough to make enough plays to win what is essentially a pick-‘em. Arizona.

Dallas at New York Giants (-2.5) – Yes, I’m picking the G-Men. Why not? They have won four games in a row and STILL look like a Tabasco Fiasco. There ain’t a thing to trust about Dallas. Not one. This game only further muddies the waters in the already-confused NFC East (the Illadelph is on top?!), and the Giants continue to play like the NFL’s version of a bumblebee – on paper, it shouldn’t work, but there they are, defying the laws of physics and common sense. New York Giants.

Denver at New England (+2.5) – As strange as this may sound, THIS is the Classic Trap Game for Denver. They have little to play for, as they are two games better than New England in the conference standings, AND there is the matter of their visit next weekend to Kansas City (which will only impact the division AND the conference). More, Peyton Manning has never played particularly well in Foxborough. Either the cold weather or Bill Belichick’s underrated genius at finding new ways to stymie a future Hall-of-Famer are the reason, but Manning struggles against the Patriots. New England, on the other hand, is smarting from that loss to Carolina last weekend and needs this game a lot more than Denver does. The Pats will have a week of Belichick and Tom Brady crawling up their butts for the mistakes they made last weekend, AND they will be playing with a relatively full offensive deck. Great game to watch, methinks. New England.

San Francisco at Washington (+5.5) – Even if San Francisco wins this game, what does it tell us about them? Washington is not good, and now there is more news that RGIII and Shenanigans ain’t BFFs anymore, and that doesn’t even address Santana Moss popping off in the press about Robert Griffin III’s alleged failure to accept responsibility. The buzzards are circling the Beltway right about now. Niners win, but do NOT cover. Washington.

Aaaaaaaand I’m OUT like every Tampa Bay running back of consequence…

Sports and ish with Lurk

sports_n_ish_with_lurkLast Week: 7-4

Season: 37 – 30

The Genius Is Back! – Nothing like a flat-footed azz-whuppin’ against the number to make a man feel like a MAN, ya heard? 7-4 Out. Tha. Door! That will give me a niiiice return on my $1100 investment. Think about it. If you knew you could invest $1100 and call it $1360 a week later (that’d be $260 in the black), you wouldn’t even think about not doing it (unless it involved Colombian drug cartels, in which case one had better be dam sure…). Probably a good thing real money wasn’t involved, because this sort of thing can go to a brotha’s head. Still, it does feel good to know that I’m picking better than people who get paid to do this.

But How Did You Beat The Number So Badly, Lurk? – There were two games that turned my entire week around for me in a good way. Both of them were of the come-from-behind variety. In the first one, the Steelers had somehow risen from the dead and were playing the Patriots to a friggin’ standstill. At one point, the game was tied at 24 apiece in the second half and I just stopped checking in because I just knew that I’d put 6.5 points on the wrong daggone team. I finish my class and open the browser to check the damage…and the Patriots won BY 24?

I’m starting to feel that “Vegas Is Takin’ A Beatin’” vibe right around now…until the Texans/Colts tilt.

Once again, the ‘dog had risen from the grave and was whuppin’ the stank off my 2.5-point favorites; at one point, the Texans had what I thought to be a pretty insurmountable double-digit lead and I was trying to be okay with going 6-5 against the spread. Once again, I go to class; I come back, check the score and YAHTZEE!! Colts win BY 3 to cover the number!

I ain’t gonna front. The last time I saw two covers that looked that nice, I was looking at an IKEA catalogue.

WTF NFL Factoids Of The Week – Here’s a few things for you to chew on (besides all that post-Halloween swag):

If you told me in August that the Cleveland Football Browns would be a game and a half ahead of Pittsburgh in the first week of November (two games up in the win column, one up in the loss column), I would not have believed you…nor would even the stoutest member of The Dawgpound…yet here we are. Them Brownies are 4-5, and them Steelers are 2-6.

If you told me last weekend that Greg Schiano would still be coaching this weekend, I’d have recommended you to psychiatric care. Turns out, the only crazy people are the ones that have not fired Schiano yet.

So Richie Incognito is getting the gate in Miami because he allegedly bullied a teammate (and possibly on the order of his coaches)? It sez so right here that if he were a player that mattered, he’d still be on the team. As it is, however, he’s not very good, and he makes too much money to be not very good. In fact, given his price tag, his relative worth, and the black eye he has given the organization, it is not surprising that he got pink-slipped. What will surprise me is how long it takes for him to catch on somewhere else. Methinks it might NOT be a long time, actually…

The NFC North might have three teams tied at 5-3, but only two of those teams have a prayer of playing in January. When Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone when “snap,” so did the Packers’ playoff chances. And if Seneca Wallace is the answer, the question has to be “How can we prove that Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t plan on Rodgers ever being hurt?”

As it stands right now, teams that have played Seattle are 1-7 in the week following their Seattle game (Arizona is the only team that won following playing the Seahawks), which suggests that the Seahawks are putting something REAL on their opponents every week. This week, the Suck-Aneers are on the spot after having played the Seahawks last weekend…heh heh heh, yeah, I’m liking the Seattle streak to continue, but how much? To find out, you’d better go…

TO THE PICKS!

week10

Raiders (+7.5) at Giants – I get favoring the Giants; after all, spread betting is not about which team is necessarily “better,” but about evening the betting out. I even get favoring the G-Men at home. But giving them 7.5 against the Uranium-235 offense of the Raiders? Don’t get it twisted, though…I am NOT saying the Raiders win. Buuuuut, like all fissionable materials, the Raiders are unstable and if they blow up, they blow up BIG. Besides, the Giants can’t get out of their own way this year. Raiders.

Seahawks at Falcons (+6) – Last weekend, the Seahawks were given a ri-cock-ulous line (16.5) at home vs. the Suck-Aneers. Sure, they won, but that didn’t help anyone that took them to actually cover that number (cough cough). This week, they get favored on the road by 6? Are the Falcons at home as bad as the Suck-Aneers on the road? I can’t believe that. Falcons.

Bills (+3) at Steelers – I can’t say it enough times. The Steelers are TURRIBLE. They played the Patriots to a flat-footed tie in Foxborough last weekend, and then just gave the fugg up…how else do you explain being tied at 24 in the third (!!) quarter, only to lose 55 (!!) to 31? Plus, the Bills get their unpredictable but electric rookie QB E.J. Manuel back from a sprained knee. Bills.

Bengals (-1.5) at Ravens – The Bengals are better than this. This line is practically like stealing. Sure, they are on the road, but they aren’t even getting a field goal? That many people like the Ravens? If the money weren’t a question, Andy Dalton vs. Joe Flacco would be a wash. The difference is that Ray Rice is really missing Anquan Boldin’s downfield blocking (and the whole offense is missing his tough-guy-over-the-middle attitude), while A.J. Green is nothing short of a poor man’s Calvin Johnson. Bengals.

Lions at Bears (+2.5) – I don’t know if this is good news or not, but the Bears get Jay Cutler back this weekend. Whatever the case, the Lions don’t play well outside and there is still something fraudulent about them. Bear down, Chicago Bears.

Eagles (+1) at Packers – No Aaron Rodgers. Period. This line would be bigger for the Eagles if anyone trusted them, but no Aaron Rodgers? Eagles.

Rams (+9.5) at Colts – There’s only one reason for this line: bettors are taking the Colts no matter what. Vegas is only too happy to oblige fools and their money. The Rams are not a good team, but they are tough and though they might lose, it will be by less than 9.5. Rams.

Jag-Wires at Titans (-11) – There will be a Chris Johnson sighting this week. It sez so right here that he breaks off a run from scrimmage of over 60 yards…twice. Titans.

Panthers at Niners (-6) – The Panthers have made some noise lately, basically because they were Moe to a lot of bad teams’ Curley. The Niners ain’t anyone’s Curley. They are at home, and they are still trailing Seattle in their own division, which says that their foot is not off the gas pedal just yet. Niners.

Broncos at Chargers (+7) – This is what you will get from the 4-4 Chargers: they will play over their heads against good teams, and stink out loud against bad ones. This is what you will get from the Broncos: if it’s warm, Peyton Manning will conduct a clinic; if it’s cold, Peyton Manning will need a clinic. It will be warm in San Diego. This game will see a lot of points scored, and, before it’s over, the announcers will be raving about the “return” of Philip Rivers, conveniently ignoring the fact that Rivers has not won anything significant. Still, the Broncos will win, but the Chargers will cover. Chargers.

Texans at Cardinals (-2.5) – The Cardinals destroyed the Falcons in the desert. The Texans are not much better, and they have nothing to play for. Cardinals.

Cowboys at Saints (-6.5) – The fact is that the Cowboys should cover this number…or even win outright. But the real fact is that this team needs to take a trip down the yellow brick road to see the wizard and get a heart. The Saints let one get away last weekend, and they know it. Even without Marcus Colston, they should still have enough to get ‘er done against America’s Team. Saints.

Dolphins (-2.5) at Buccaneers – Maaaaaaan, if I didn’t like playing an odd number of games every week, I’d have left this dog ALONE. Miami is a hot mess because of the whole Richie Incognito thing, which HAS to have affected their preparation. Meanwhile, the corpse of the Suck-Aneers continues to lurch along, in spite of Greg Schiano. They managed to cover the number up in Seattle, and actually looked like a professional football team in the process. The Dolphins will play badly enough that the Sucks will keep it interesting, but this game will be decided by a field goal in favor of Miami. Take the Dolphins.

Aaaaaaaand I’m OUT like Fred Davis…again…dang…

Sports and Ish with Lurk

sports_n_ish_with_lurk

Last week: 6-6

Season: 30-26

Is 6-6 Better Than 5-6? Only to the uninitiated. While a 6-6 week against the number looks okay on paper, in reality it’s a loser…because of the juice. Remember, every losing bet is paying the house $10 on top of your Franklin. Thus, a 6-6 week means the house takes $660 of the $1200 pre-paid and hard-earned dollars you put down, and pays out $600 in ill-gotten gains supported by some other idiot’s gambling habit, which means that you actually LOST $60 bucks in what would appear to be a break-even week.

The 6-6 week is how Vegas built a paradise in the desert. If a thousand guys break even, the house STILL gets $60,000 for that day’s action, and that doesn’t count the rake from the clear losers (which are generally half of all bettors anyway), nor does that count the rake from college football lines, money lines, prop bets, World Series bets (that pickoff throw to first to end Game 4 probably swung a few million dollars by itself)…I swear, if I were thismuch less honest (or thismuch braver), I’d run a sports book of my own and retire in three years…

But I Did Call That Steeler Swoon – I even called Terrelle Pryor’s Randall Cunningham 2.0 transformation, but, really, who knew the man was going to break a Raider record (set by Bo Jackson His Own Self) AND an NFL record on that 93-yard touchdown sprint? Most folks agree that we have just witnessed one of the few records unlikely to fall…until some young buck with similar jets like Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick does it next weekend…Meanwhile, the Steelers are officially on the clock for next season. Yes, they have nine games left, but they already have five losses, and they still have to play the Patriots (in Foxborough), the Lions (whom I now firmly believe in), the Bengals (see: the Lions), the Packers (in Green Bay, in late December); that’s at least four more losses on the schedule, and I haven’t counted visiting Baltimore. If I were Steelers’ management, Ben Roethlisberger would appear on the injury report this week for something vague and painful and he wouldn’t play another significant down this season because there is nothing for him to play for except a career-ending injury.

And I Did Call That Bronco Beat-Down – …although ya boy was sweating it when the Racists were tryna make a game outta things. Then, there was a nice, quiet moment where the Broncos just kinda looked at themselves, looked across the field, remembered who was who, and then reeled off 38 (!!) unanswered points. Statement made, Broncos. Statement made.

The NFC Least Continues To Stink Out Loud – The Racists had the insensitivity stomped outta them in Denver. The Eagles and the Giants were a jello wrestling match between two fat cabbies with thick, curly back hair. And the Cowboys…lawd ha’mussy, uhm, how ‘bout them Cowboys?

Let me say this about that: The Cowboys won 59:59 of the game in Detroit. The Lions won 0:01 and gave the Cowboys a gut-punch loss that might (!!) be worse than letting Denver off the hook in Dallas. Y’know what? Now that I think about it, this IS worse. The Lions turned over the football FOUR FRIGGIN’ TIMES AND THE COWBOYS STILL LOST. That, friends and neighbors, practically defines “snake-bitten,” a term which the Cowboys have become intimate with. The worst part is that you can’t hang this loss on Tony Romo, a/k/a Ol’ Unreliable…no, blame this loss on a coaching staff that deliberately, intentionally, and on purpose decided to single-cover Calvin Johnson. That decision by itself took the Lions offense from formidable to unstoppable. Maybe if the ‘Boys had fed Dez Bryant the way that the Lions were feeding Megatron, the outcome is different. I don’t know. But I do know that 329 yards of receiving from one guy is a clear indication that the plan has FAILED.

Lurk Is Startin’ To HATE The Undefeated Chiefs – That’s two blown covers in a row against teams they should have EASILY covered the number against. I get that maybe, just maybe, Houston shows up with a little pride and makes a game out of it, but Cleveland? Why are the Brownies within as much as a touchdown of the best defensive team in the AFC? I know the Chiefs are still undefeated in the real NFL, and I know that they will likely make hay in the playoffs…but the playa in me is starting to give their lines the serious side-eye.

To The Picks!

week 9

Chiefs (-3) vs. Bills – I hate the Chiefs. Hate ‘em, hate ‘em, hate ‘em. But I can NOT pass up this line versus the jayvees in Buffalo. It’s probably another suck-out from the Chiefs; I probably get screwed without the benefit of a reach-around when they win by exactly three in the last minute of the game, but I gotta believe that they should win this game by no fewer than two field goals. Once more into the breach, dear friends…take the Chiefs.

Titans vs. Rams (+3) – The Rams Showed. Up. versus Seattle last week. Not only did they cover the number, it took a Herculean goal-line stand to stop them from winning the whole stinking thing outright. The Titans ain’t Seattle, and the game is in The Lou. Rams definitely cover (and probably win).

Saints (-6) vs. Jets – Remember all that nice stuff I was saying about how Rex Ryan was getting such a great effort out of his guys? Funny how giving up 49 on the road without so much as a complaint will change one’s views. The Saints have a better offense than the Bengals, more receivers than A.J. Green (the only guy catching passes for KC that you have to game-plan for…and, apparently, the guy the Jets forgot to game-plan for), and a better QB in Drew Brees. Oh, and Rex’s twin brother Rob is the Saints’ defensive coordinator, so he’s probably got a pretty good idea about what is doppleganger’s tendencies are. SAINTS.

Chargers vs. Racists (+1) – The Racists showed some fight in Denver last weekend before getting avalanched in Colorado (see what I did there?). The Chargers aren’t as good as the Broncos, and the Racists are at home, and I like RGIII and Alfred Morris this week. Unmentionable Nicknames!

Vikings (+10) vs. Cowboys – Seriously…how do the Cowboys move on from last week’s last second evisceration? I do not think the Vikings win, unless Adrian Peterson can return to his pre-tragedy form…but if he is something close to that, the Vikings cover if they do not win. Vikings.

Falcons vs. Panthers (-7.5) – The Panthers are destroying all bad football teams this season. The Falcons? Bad football team. Good teams don’t go into the desert and let the rotting corpse of Carson Palmer post a 116.6 QB rating against them. It sez so right here that Cam Newton is better than the putrefying lich of Carson Palmer, and it sez so right here that he’s playing at home, and it sez so right here that everyone in the stadium is afraid (and rightly so) of Panthers WR Steve Smith. Panthers.

Suck-Aneers vs. Seahawks (-16.5) – In this week’s “You Can’t Make This Up,” alleged head coach Greg Schiano decides that, for the first time this season, he’s going to use Darelle Revis in one-on-one coverage against the other team’s best receiver. This would be the same Darelle Revis who was mentioned in the same breath as Deion Sanders as the best man-to-man cover corner in this game’s history…the same Revis for whom they named “Revis Island,” the place where star receivers went into the Witness Protection Program for 60 minutes. Imagine that…actually using the best cover corner in the game to…wait for it…cover someone. Okay, I’ll stop now. Seahawks.

Eagles vs. Raiders (-2.5) – The Eagles ain’t any good (see getting whupped at home last week by They Might Be Giants), and they are on the road to a team that has what Bill Simmons would call “irrational confidence.” Terrelle Pryor is just starting to believe in himself at this level, and that could be a scary thing indeed. Take the Pride and Poise boys at home.

Steelers at Patriots (-6.5) – Remember what I said about the Patriots not feeling as inevitable as an Imperial Star Destroyer last weekend? I’m feeling the inevitability this weekend. If the Steelers were any good, they’d have beaten a flawed but interesting Raiders team last weekend in Oak-Town, but they got Pryor’ed in a loss. Yeah, I’mma go with Tom Brady being better than Terrelle Pryor…and I’m REALLY liking Tom Brady waking up next to Giselle Bundchen in his own bed as opposed to Ben Roethlisberger going to bed at 2 with a 10 and waking up at 10 with a 2 in the team hotel. Patriots.

Ravens at Browns (+2.5) – God hates Cleveland. He hates Cleveland so much, He occasionally gives them little rays of hope…just so that the misery looks that much more miserable by comparison. I kid, I kid…but I don’t know…something about this game just won’t let me pick the former Browns over the current Browns. Screw it: Willis McGahee has a throwback moment, Brandon Weeden hits his head really hard and believes he’s a competent NFL QB for a whole game, the Dawg Pound loses its mind…sure, why not? Browns (current, not former) for the win!

Colts (-2.5) at Houston – My spidey senses are tingling on this game, and I do NOT like what they are tryna tell me (Princess Leia: “It’s a trap!”). Why are the Colts only getting two-and-a-hook against the virtually lifeless Texans? The Texans have dropped five (!!) straight games, and the Colts are 4-1 in their last 5, including being the only team to beat Denver this season. I know it’s a road favorite…but the Saints are giving 6 on the road to the friggin’ Jets, and the Jets at least have a pulse (albeit a faint one after last weekend). Still, I can’t be bothered with picking Houston, because the Texans are legitimately awful. Gonna take the Colts…and probably hate myself in the morning.

DO NOT PLAY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES

Bears vs. Packers – I don’t care what the line is. I don’t care where the game is being played. I don’t care about any of that. This is Bears/Packers, the oldest rivalry in the NFL, going all the way back to when Papa Bear Halas shot Curley Lambeau in the face when Lambeau tried to crawfish on a card debt. I don’t care that that didn’t actually happen, you gat dam GEENIUS, because it SHOULD HAVE! The only way this rivalry could be any better is if Curley Lambeau caught Papa Bear Halas putting Mrs. Lambeau’s feet in the air on the 50-yard-line of what is now Lambeau Field and yelling “Bear down, baby! BEAR DOWN!” I have No Semblance of Normalcy where my beloved Bears and those cheese-reeking scoundrels from Wisconsin are concerned (true fact: we keep trying to re-draw the map so that ‘Sconsin ends up in Canada…but those wily Canadians are onto us and they add territory to Idaho whenever we do it…and no one wants to live in a world where Idaho suddenly consumes all of Alberta and only stops at Lake Hottah in the Northwest Territories…not even the werewolves). Yeah, I don’t trust myself to give this game anything like the calm, logical examinations I’ve given the previous games (gigglesnort).

…aaaaaaand I’m OUT like Kolten Wong…BWA-HAA-HAA-HAA-HAAA-HAA-HAA-HAAA!!!

Sports and ish with Lurk

sports_n_ish_with_lurkLast week: 5-6 (again)

Season: 24 – 20

Another Losing Week, Lurk? – Maaaan, I TOLE y’all this was for entertainment purposes, gat dammit! Don’t get at me when Deebo ‘n’nem come round ya house lookin’ for juice that compounds daily!
A’ight then, I admit I was WRONG about Dallas and Philly…who saw a defensive struggle out of them? But Miami SCREWED me…a daggone field goal puts me on the left side of the ledger and now I’M the one goin’ around behind the barber shop lookin’ for my money.

But You Did Call That Colts Victory – The AFC contender field is beginning to shape up nicely. We already know about Denver…but I suspect we are still sleeping on Kansas City. Let’s not forget that Denver is now looking UP at KC in their own division, and a bye week and a home game in the playoffs might go a long way to helping a QB on the wrong side of 35 with four (!!) neck surgeries recuperate. Meanwhile, the Colts now look like a mortal lock for a home game in the playoffs, and possibly a bye as well. If only the schedule didn’t favor New England so much…

Speaking Of New England – Here’s what the rest of their schedule looks like: home against both Miami and Pittsburgh (two more wins); bye week; road against Carolina (win); home against Denver (pick ’em); road against Houston (win); home against Cleveland (win); road against Miami and Baltimore (split); home against Buffalo (win). By my count, that gives the Patriots at least seven (7) more wins to go with the five (5) they already have, and I didn’t put anything on the home game with Denver. 12-4 guarantees them at least one home game in the playoffs. They still trail KC and Denver for the conference’s best record, but give them a home game and wait for one of either Denver or KC to get beaten…

But What About The NFC, Bruh? – Seattle, San Francisco, and New Orleans (in that order) are the class of the conference. However, consider this: Seattle will host Tampa Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, Arizona and St. Louis. That’s at LEAST four (4) more wins right there. If they split their remaining roadies (including trips to St. Louis and the New York Football Giants), that’s 12 wins and they already own a tie-breaker over San Francisco, pending their next meeting. It sez so right here that Seattle might redefine the term “home field advantage” if they finish with the conference’s best record.

Any Other Interesting NFC Storylines? – You heard it here first: the Bears are going to win every game that Josh McCown starts in place of Jay Cutler. This situation has been RIPE for a QB controversy ever since Cutler threw his first WTF?! interception in Bear blue. McCown is a veteran who understands the opportunity before him: he gets to play for an offensive-minded coach, in an offense that features two (!!) legitimate receivers, a brute of a tight end, and a great running game. We will see what head coach Marc Trestman is made of when Groin Injury Cutler becomes eligible to take first team reps after a three game winning streak in his absence…

The Lions have five (5) home games left. They will only win three. They will finish 8-8 and it will feel like 6-10.

If the Suck-Aneers have not fired Greg Schiano by the time this goes up to the site, he will coach the rest of this forgettable season. That would give Florida two of the sorriest NFL franchises that have ever made fans dress like empty seats. It sez so right here that Famous Jameis Winston and the Number 3 Florida State Seminoles could whup the stank off of a squad combined of the best players from BOTH Jacksonville and Tampa Bay.

Oh, and someone from the NFC Least, er, East, will win six games in a row. No, I don’t know who…but if not six games, one of those four teams is going to go on a major four-to-five game tear and fool people into thinking that they are a contender finally finding their way.

week 8
TO THE PICK-MOBILE, ROBIN!!

Giants (+5) vs. Eagles – I don’t know that the G-Men win this game…but I think they cover and lose by a field goal or less. Neither team is very good, but the Eagles are at home and they will get Michael Vick back…and that might be enough to get them the “W,” but nothing more. Giants to cover.

Niners (-15) vs. Jag-Wires – See: Chargers (-16) vs. Jag-Wires last week. The Niners won’t even turn the bus engines off when they come to play this game.

Cowboys (+3) vs. Lions – Dallas won’t just cover this game; they will win it outright. Yes, there is a lot to like about this Lion offense…but I was there when that offense featured Scott Mitchell at QB, Herman Moore and Brett Perriman at the WRs, and a fella named Barry Sanders at RB, and if that crew couldn’t get ‘er done, this one won’t. How ’bout them Cowboys!

Browns vs. Chiefs (-7.5) – Yes, I know that I’m the guy that told you the Chiefs would cover a big line against a bad team last weekend, only to watch in horror as the Chiefs barely won by a friggin’ point. Houston is a bad team, but they have some nice pieces. The same can’t be said of Cleveland. While they aren’t quite at Jacksonville/Tampa Bay levels of bad, they are still as bad as any Cleveland team since this benighted franchise was un-aborted in 1999. Plus, the Chiefs will have had a week of Andy Reid up their rear ends about nearly letting a gimme slip away to Houston? Take the Chiefs.

Dolphins (+6) vs. Patriots – Again, I don’t think I’m picking the Fins to win, although it would not make me angry if they did…but I do think they are good enough to hang around with New England for the better part of the game before Tom Brady does some of that Hall-Of-Fame stuff and drives his team to the winning field goal with seconds remaining. This line just feels three points too big to me. I get that it’s a Patriot team at home, but this Patriot team (while good) doesn’t have that Imperial Star Destroyer feeling of inevitability that past Patriot teams have had. They win, but not by six. Take the Dolphins.

Bills vs. Saints (-11) – The Bills are sneaky good. The Saints, however, are a legitimate NFC contender for the Big Game. The Saints not only have better weapons, they have more of them, and they are at home. Saints in a laugher.

Steelers vs. Raiders (+1.5) – The Raiders are at home and they are a 1.5 dog? Pittsburgh is not that much better than anyone this season, especially a team that is virtually the same. If either of these teams were running 11-on-0 offensive drills, it would still take them seven plays to score.That said, the Raiders get Run DMC back, and I ain’t too sure that Terrelle Pryor doesn’t do a reasonable Randall Cunningham impression in this game. Take the Raiders and the points.

Jets (+5.5) vs. Bengals – I remain impressed with the way that Rex Ryan has rallied his guys and gotten them to give maximum effort this season, especially with everyone predicting nothing but gloom and doom for this franchise. Remember, in August, it was Ryan’s head on the chopping block, not Greg Schiano’s. Still, while they will play hard and while Geno Smith continues his somewhat improbable maturation into a decent NFL QB, they will be playing a better team on the road. I don’t expect them to win, but I think this line is 2.5 points too big to pass up. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

Racists vs. Broncos (-11.5) – Remember how I told you that Denver would get mollywhomped in Indianapolis last week…and they did? Mark it down: they will mollywhomp the native American slurs out of the Racists at Mile High this weekend. This will be a Statement Game for Denver. They will stomp a mudhole in the Insulting Stereotypes as a way to say “Last week was a blip; THIS week is who we really are.” And I suspect we might get a Kirk Cousins sighting in this game, one way or another…just sayin’…

Falcons (+2.5) vs. Cardinals – The Falcons are getting two-and-a-hook from a team quarterbacked by the ghost of Carson Palmer? This is what happens when everyone on your team who matters is broken. Oh, and Larry Fitzgerald woke up this morning and was taken to breakfast by a Falcons double-team. Falcons!

Packers (-9) vs. Vikings – While watching Christian Ponder line up behind the tight end and wonder why the hell everyone is looking at him all funny, please remember that the Vikings spent, er, wasted $3 million on a quarterback who wasn’t good enough to play for Greg Schiano. The Packers waste the Vikings in the Metrodome, period.

Seahawks (-11.5) vs. Rams – The Rams are starting Kellen Clemens this week, only because they couldn’t convince Brett By God Favre to get off the tractor and ride to the rescue. I am not making that up. Their QB situation is soooo bad…(how bad is it?)…it’s so bad that a beat-up 44-year-old last seen throwing 7-up plays to 14-year-olds is considered an upgrade. If this line rose any faster, CAPCOM Houston would be guiding it into its parabolic arc around the moon so that it can come in behind the asteroid…If the Rams cover this, atheists everywhere would be searching for a handle on the moment. Seahawks.

…aaaaand I’m OUT like Wally Pipp, er, Jay Cutler…yeah, I said it…