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.
Tragedy struck once again this past weekend, with one member of the Dallas Cowboys ending up behind bars after a drunk driving accident in which he killed his practice squad teammate. After the couple of weeks the NFL has had, writing a silly picks column full of bad puns and obscure references to terrible post-punk bands doesn’t really seem like the way to go, but once again I am at a loss for anything eloquent to say about these tragedies that hasn’t already been said elsewhere, and better.
What I know how to do is make jokes, so that’s what I’ll do. Onward and upward.
Last Week: 7-8
My Record So Far: 101-98-6
Thursday Night Football (12/13 8:25PM)
Cincinnati Bengals (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles
I have a number of friends from Cincinnati, and they were all banging their heads against the wall in frustration this past weekend. No, not just because they’re from Cincinnati, because the Bengals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and handed a December win to the Cowboys while hurting their own playoff chances. The Eagles have nothing left to play for, but the Bengals do. Will this be another case of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory? I’m gonna guess not. Tigers can kill small horses, and thus they will feast on Foals (or Foles).
My Pick: Bengals (-3)
Sunday Early Games (12/16 1PM ET)
Green Bay Packers (-2) at Chicago Bears
As a St. Louisan, I have an irrational hatred of Chicago which borders on the unreasonable. For me, I see it as the city where people from my hometown go because it’s bigger, the Mecca of the White Midwest, and then when people get there, they don’t seem to take advantage of the many ways that Chicago is, admittedly, better than St. Louis, or Des Moines, or Omaha, or wherever else. They just get there and complain about how expensive it is, how the public transportation sucks, and how no one is actually from there. Maybe that’s the problem.
My Pick: Packers (-2)
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons (-1.5)
The way I see it, the Giants are getting too much credit, and the Falcons not enough right now. The Falcons have had a better regular season, but no one will show them any love for that as long as they haven’t gutted out a playoff win. The Giants are a team everyone assumes will put it back together completely for the stretch run, because it seems like they do just that. Am I guilty of these exact same prejudices? Yes, which is why I’m taking the Giants in this game.
My Pick: Giants (+1.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-3)
After all the hubbub, hullabaloo, and other words beginning with the sound “huh,” the New Orleans Saints’ players involved in Bountygate have all been pardoned. Funny that they play this week against the coach most likely to be caught up in the next gigantic bounty scandal.
My Pick: Saints (-3)
Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams (-3)
Christian Ponder and Sam Bradford both have attractive girlfriends. Both play for teams that are doing better this year than people would have expected. Both depend a lot on workhorse backs. Christian Ponder depends on Adrian Peterson. Sam Bradford depends on Steven Jackson. Scales: tipped.
My Pick: Vikings (+3)
Washington Redskins (-3) at Cleveland Browns
Here goes my really really bad, obscure pun of the week: RG3 may not play this week due to a knee injury, so he will be replaced by more than one child of the aunt and uncle of the captain of the Starship Enterprise. Get it? Kirk Cousins.
My Pick: Redskins (-3)
Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins (-7.5)
Florida seems nice this time of year. Nice enough that if I were there, I would not attend this football game.
My Pick: Dolphins (-7.5)
Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos (-2.5)
The Ravens are the antithesis of hot right now, while the Broncos are the antithesis of not hot, which I guess would be hot. I was never really good at figuring that stuff out.
My Pick: Broncos (-2.5)
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (-8.5)
Andrew Luck, his neckbeard, and his weird Andre the Giant voice keep coming back. The Texans got demolished by the Patriots on Monday night, and while I think they’ll come back with a home win here, they won’t keep it close enough to cover that massive spread.
My Pick: Colts (+8.5)
Sunday Late Games (12/16 4:05PM ET)
Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers (-3)
It will be hilarious when the Chargers hire Andy Reid after this season’s end. It will be even more hilarious if the Panthers hire Gene Chizik, because hey, that pairing with Cam Newton worked once, why not again?
My Pick: Panthers (+3)
Seattle Seahawks (-4) at Buffalo Bills
When the Bills finally make their move to Canada, will they be known as the Toronto Trills? That would be pretty trill.
My Pick: Seahawks (-4)
Detroit Lions (-6) at Arizona Cardinals
I almost feel like I shouldn’t bet on this game, since for all I know I could be up next on the Cardinals’ QB depth chart. I think it goes Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Red Skelton, Erik the Red, Leif Eriksen, Joaquin (formerly Leaf) Phoenix, Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes, Wile E. Coyote, Scott Weiland, then me.
My Pick: Lions (-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys (PK) (4:25 start)
Should the Cowboys win this December matchup, they’ll be in good shape to end up in the playoffs. Should the Steelers lose, that would make my Cincinnati friends happy. Seeing how Cincinnati sports tend to go, I wouldn’t bet on that.
My Pick: Steelers
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (-2.5) (4:25 start)
My dad grew up a Raiders fan. He has been a Raiders fan for half a century. He will not be watching this game, and neither will anyone else.
My Pick: Chiefs (+2.5)
Sunday Night Game (12/16 8:20PM ET)
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots (-3)
After seeing what the Patriots did to the Texans last week, I have to take them again at home against another tough defensive team that is a potential postseason matchup. After all, the Patriots only lose after December 1 to the Giants in the Super Bowl.
My Pick: Patriots (-3)
Monday Night Football (12/17 8:30PM ET)
New York Jets at Tennessee Titans (-1)
My Pick: Jets (+1)
We’re heading into the home stretch. Knee you sexed week.