About ten years ago or so, I decided to (temporarily, it turned out) drop out of college. There were many reasons, but they are not particularly important to set up this story, which isn’t even really a story, but more a set of anecdotes. When I did take my semester off to find myself or whatever dumb idea I had in my head (actual outcome: drink beer and play Tony Hawk) I worked the job I’d had the summer before, in the video department of a location of St. Louis’s pre-eminent grocery store chain, Schnuck’s.
It was a soul-deadening job, to be sure, but there were a few bright spots of amusement, which I shared with some other pals who also worked in video stores during days of college breaks, or right after graduation, or whatever. Those were, of course, when customers would get the names of the movies they wanted to rent incredibly wrong. My personal favorites were “Zero” instead of the Othello adaptation O (“So is that under Z or O?”), “Dude Where my Car At?” and, instead of Don’t Say a Word, “Don’t Be Tellin’ Nobody.”
My roommate at the time and I would always joke about others that we could imagine happening. One of our favorites that I don’t think ever really happened, though memories are hazy, is “Thirty” instead of the Vin Diesel action film XXX. It was very easy to imagine a dude walking in wearing a Pantera shirt, chain wallet and jean shorts and asking, “Hey, y’all got Thirty?”
What does any of this have to do with NFL picks? Absolutely nothing, but for the fact that this week’s Monday night game falls on the day I turn Vin Diesel’s XXX. “Y’all got Thirty?” I sure do. And I will, after this week’s picks come through, sip champagne when I’m thirstay:
Super Nintendo, Sega Genesisssssssss.
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time bets were made. Be sure to consult your very legitimate and legal sports book [cough] before making a bet of your own; lines move constantly due to the action on particular games. Also, gambling is illegal in many states. And watch out for those offshore betting sites, lest you end up like an online poker professional. Okay? Okay. Onward and upward.)
Week 5 Record: 7-6
My Record So Far: 36-38-3
Sunday Early Games (10/16 1PM ET)
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-4)
The narrative of the year so far for the Carolina Panthers has been that they were correct to take Cam Newton first overall, but that the team is so bad no matter what he does they’re rarely going to win. He’s been playing quite well, especially in fantasy leagues in which interceptions aren’t heavily punished, in his second year as a professional football player (see what I did there?). The Falcons are mediocre, but mediocre is better than bad, and since they’re playing at home, I’m picking the Falcons.
My Pick: Falcons (-4)
Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)
The Bengals don’t suck. The Colts do, and I’m going to continue picking against them. Since I don’t have a new Peyton Manning’s neck joke this week, I’ll share another repeat offender in wrong titles asked for at early-2000s video stores: “Hollywood Had it Coming” instead of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.
My Pick: Bengals (-7)
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions (-6)
I really hate to do this because I’m thoroughly enjoying the Lions this year and I will always sort of residually hate the 49ers due to my now-hopeless Rams fandom, but I think this game, against the surprisingly good Niners, is where Suh, Stafford, Megatron, and Jahvid “You Better You” Best stumble. I don’t necessarily think they’ll lose, but I think it’ll be close, so I’m taking those who 49 and the points.
My Pick: 49ers (+6)
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers (-15)
You know how sometimes an undefeated team loses to a winless team because they don’t take them seriously, and they’ve just come off an emotional victory or they’re looking ahead to the next game already? That won’t happen here.
My Pick: Packers (-15)
Buffalo Bills at New York Giants (-3.5)
The Bills are for real and the Giants are just confusing. When the Bills lost to the Bengals in Week 4, it seemed like their 3-0 start might be a fluke, but it just turns out that hey, the Bengals are better than we thought they’d be, and so are the Bills, who handed the Philadelphia Fast Skilled Guys Who Don’t Tackle Anyone yet another loss. Meanwhile, the New York Giants just lost to the Seahawks. In New York.
My Pick: Bills +3.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12.5)
Rookie quarterback plays against Steelers team with something to prove. Unless Jack Del Rio busts out a suit, this will be one of those 35-7 shellackings that CBS abandons in the middle of the fourth to show a closer game.
My Pick: Steelers (-12.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-1)
Every week I think the Eagles are going to turn it around. Every week, I am incorrect. It’s starting to be like my trademark, so let’s keep this going. I don’t know why, but I think the Eagles will turn it around this week against the Redskins, maybe because the Redskins’ quarterback is Rex Grossmember.
My Pick: Eagles (+1)
Sunday Late Games (10/16 4:05/4:15PM ET)
Cleveland Browns at Oakland Raiders (-5.5)
It was really weird reading all the positive things people had to say about Al Davis after his death this past weekend. I knew at one point he had been the mastermind behind some good, scary Raider teams, my dad being a lifelong Raider fan, but since I’ve been cognizant of football in any sense, the Raiders have mostly been terrible, and when they haven’t been terrible, they’ve been unlucky (see, the Tuck Rule Game, also known as the fallacy that helped build the most unlikeable dynasty in sports history), and Al Davis, in his advanced age, has been resoundingly mocked as the guy who took JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick. See, I had no idea he’d hired the first Hispanic head coach, or the first African-American head coach. All of that was nice to learn. I also like the Raiders team this year—they hit hard, take a lot of penalties, throw the ball deep, and run right through people. Just win (by at least 6), baby.
My Pick: Raiders (-5.5)
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7)
In going with last week’s theme, I will be picking against the Texans until Andre Johnson, their best player (yeah, I know Arian Foster exists, and I even like him; I found his “anti-awesomeness” tweets funny, but this is a passing league) is fully healthy. Since I don’t really have much to say about this game other than that, here’s the final favorite film title mistake from the video store days, which comes from yet another friend who did time in video store college summer break prison. “Y’all got that movie Legend?” “You mean with Tom Cruise?” “No, he ain’t in it. It’s like new, it’s a western.” “Sorry, the only movie we have called Legend is the fantasy film from the eighties with Tom Cruise and Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend in it.” “I saw it before, I’ll find it.” Customer returns, setting the movie on the counter. “See, told you I’d find it.” The movie? The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
My Pick: Ravens (-7)
Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots (-7)
Is Tony Romo the greatest quarterback ever or the worst quarterback ever this week? The world’s Romosexuals need to know. Also, fuck you, New England Patriots for beating the Jets by nine when the spread was 9.5. You know what, just because of that, I’m picking the Cowboys to spite you (and probably myself).
My Pick: Cowboys (+7)
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5)
So yeah, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the San Francisco 49ers 48-3 this past weekend. That happened. Who has two thumbs and picked the Bucs to win that game? This guy (at least until I lose enough of these games that I will no longer have two thumbs).
My Pick: Saints (-4.5)
Sunday Night Game (10/16 8:25PM ET)
Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears (-4)
When I was a little kid, I lived on a street called Des Peres. In the St. Louis area, where French is butchered each and every minute in the pronunciation of a street name or suburb, that’s pronounced “Duh Pair.” At the time I lived on that street, the whole Chicago Bears Superfans thing was the new hotness on Saturday Night Live. So everyone said my street name like they were saying “Da Bears.”
My Pick: Des Peres (-4)
Monday Night Football (10/17 8:35PM ET)
Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-7.5)
Another winner, Monday Night Football on ESPN.
My Pick: Jets (-7.5)
So that’s that, the NFL picks for the week that your boy turns thirty, which is apparently the new twenty or something like that? Well if it is indeed the new twenty, I will be asking my friend with the fake ID to buy some Jack Daniel’s, which we will then drink in my dorm room while listening to Pet Sounds and being depressed that neither of us have girlfriends. Wait a minute, can thirty be the new forty instead? I’ll bet I’m gonna kick ass when I’m forty.
Knee you sexed week.