Organized Sports is a recurring sports column named for a seminal DC avant-hardcore song by the equally stupid and brilliant (to me, “equally stupid and brilliant” pretty much just means “brilliant”) band Void. Take from that what you will.
For a long time, I’ve been a hockey fan. When the lockout hit this year, erasing the first month of the season, I found myself not caring. The NBA lost two months of its season last year and the result was great. And there was still football to be watched, and postseason baseball. The beginning of November came around, and the NHL cancelled its flagship event, the Winter Classic, the New Year’s Day outdoor game that’s helped bring the game to a wider audience. Again, I didn’t care. My hometown Blues weren’t playing in that game, and never will.
It was then I resigned myself not to care if the whole season was lost. Both the owners and players are selfish, hockey is at best the fourth major sport in America and realistically actually behind NASCAR, golf, and the US Women’s National Soccer Team. They’re doing nothing but hurting themselves, and I’m resolving not to care whether or not the game does come back.
Until it does come back, anyway. On to the NFL picks.
(Note: All point spreads listed here are the lines at the time picks 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.)
Last Week: 7-7
My Record So Far: 70-72-4
Thursday Night Game (11/15 8:20PM ET)
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-1.5)
The fact that a hockey team, the Florida Panthers, plays in the Miami area, makes no sense, and that expansion into warm weather states has been one of the league’s, and weasel-faced Commissioner Gary Bettman’s, biggest mistakes. Hockey should be played in cold weather cities like Buffalo.
My Pick: Dolphins (+1.5)
Sunday Early Games (11/18 1PM ET)
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (-3)
The Philadelphia Flyers are one of the teams blocking the revenue sharing that could save the small market teams in the NHL and end the lockout, which is more a battle between small market teams that lose money and the big market teams, like the Flyers, Rangers, Maple Leafs and Canucks that bring in money hand over fist. The Capitals have also been doing pretty darn good since they got Alexander Ovechkin.
My Pick: Redskins (-3)
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
The Detroit Red Wings are another one of those perennially successful hockey franchises, not just because they make money, but because they consistently win. As a Blues fan, I hate them, and would like the Packers to beat the Lions as a result.
My Pick: Packers (-3.5)
Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons (-10)
Atlanta was another one of those expansion franchises that did not belong in the southern states, and now they’ve moved rightfully to Winnipeg, giving them back the Jets that were stolen to put a hockey franchise in the same locale as the Arizona Cardinals. I can’t think of how many times I’ve wanted to travel down to Phoenix for that burgeoning hockey scene.
My Pick: Falcons (-10)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) at Carolina Panthers
Two more southern hockey franchises, and both of them have won a Stanley Cup, and the Blues have not. They can both kiss my ass.
My Pick: Buccaneers (-1.5)
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys (-7.5)
Cleveland does not have a hockey team. If they did, they’d have drafted Sidney Crosby, and then he’d have “taken his talents” to the Detroit Red Wings.
My Pick: Cowboys (-7.5)
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams (-3)
It’s hard to say which New York area hockey franchise is the equivalent of the Jets, seeing as the Islanders, though recently terrible, were the best team of the late seventies, and the Rangers and New Jersey Devils have both won the Cup in the past twenty years. Meanwhile, the Rams are much like the Blues: cheap, and with perennially shitty ownership, yet I can’t quit them. Why, Rams? Why, Blues? Why, St. Louis? Goddammit.
My Pick: Rams (-3)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-16)
Neither Houston nor Jacksonville has an NHL team, which is surprising with how stupid Gary Bettman has been in his three-labor-stoppages reign. This point spread is really high.
My Pick: Jaguars (+16)
Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
Two more cities without NHL franchises, though Kansas City built a great arena for basketball and hockey that currently sits empty, possibly because Kansas City is not even the best city in a state that most people consider awful. Hey, I can say that since I’m from here. Missouri loves company.
My Pick: Bengals (-3.5)
Sunday Late Games (11/18 4:05PM ET)
New Orleans Saints (-4.5) at Oakland Raiders
When I was little, I had a San Jose Sharks Starter jacket because I thought it was cool. It, like Raiders Starter jackets, was apparently gang-related apparel. My sixth grade self did not know this—I guess I was just ahead of my time in representing.
My Pick: Saints (-4.5)
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-4.5) (4:25 start)
Denver hockey fans are the most spoiled of all, getting a south-moving hockey team from a Canadian city (the Quebec Nordiques) and winning the Cup in their first year. And now they have Peyton Manning, and he seems back to his old self? NO FAIR.
My Pick: Broncos (-4.5)
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-9) (4:25 start)
I lived in Boston for a little while, and I can testify that absolutely no one gave a shit about the Bruins OR the Patriots, because they were still getting misery boners about the Red Sox curse. Since then, the Bruins have won the Cup and the Patriots three Super Bowls, but everyone’s still waiting until pitchers and catchers report.
My Pick: Colts (+9)
Sunday Night Game (11/18 8:20PM ET)
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)
Remember how I mentioned Sidney Crosby before? Fuck that guy.
My Pick: Ravens (+3.5)
Monday Night Football (11/19 8:30PM ET)
Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (-5)
Hockey and football are both facing major concussion problems. Idiots who cover football are chalking it up to helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless players, when research shows that the real problem is the millions of tiny impacts that happen in every single game, even when everyone’s playing as clean as possible. Idiots who cover hockey want to eliminate fighting, even though most of the high-profile concussions over the past few years came in the course of regular play. This is a long way of getting to that concussions have both QBs out in this game, giving us a battle between Jason Campbell and Colin Kaepernick.
My Pick: Bears (+5)
Sorry about the ranting everyone. I’ll never bring up hockey again.