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.
Another week, another poor showing for your kid here. While I improved on last week by going 7-9 instead of 5-10-1, it’s obvious I still don’t have a handle on what the teams are doing this year, so to get things back on track, I’m going to turn to someone who obviously does, or else why would he be getting the big bucks?
That’s right, this week I’ve brought in an expert, Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden. Chucky brings you his picks, based on 18 hours of careful tape study each day, after the jump.
(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.)
Last Week’s Record: 7-9
My Record So Far: 12-19-1
Thursday Night Game (9/19 8:30PM ET)
Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)
I’ll tell you what, Jaws (I’m not Jaws, but he’ll occasionally call me that anyway–T), these Thursday Night games, I call them Christmas in July, because it’s football when we don’t expect it. Sad thing is, it’s like the teams don’t either. You see that Jets-Pats game last week? A travesty to offensive football. Back when I was with the Raiders, if Rich Gannon had a game like Tom Brady did last Thursday, he wouldn’t have been the one doing the yelling. I’d have had him in one of those Clockwork Orange setups watching game tape 24-7 until he understood the difference between Y-Wide-Right and X-Slot-Left, I’ll tell you what. THAT GUY Stanley Kubrick, I call him Buddy Ryan because I’ll never understand why everyone considered him a genius when he couldn’t win the big one. Anyway, on to this game. Andy Reid will be chompin’ at the bit to get revenge on the fans who called for his firing each and every year, chompin’ even harder than he does on the ribs at Arthur Bryant’s. And Chip Kelly will be lookin’ to show his first week success wasn’t a fluke. Gonna depend a lot on the quarterback play. This guy Alex Smith, I call him the Foo Fighters, he gets the job done but it’s not that exciting when he does. This guy Michael Vick, I call him Caligula cause he presided over rape and bloodshed. Hey, that guy from Clockwork Orange, he was in Caligula too.
My Pick: Chiefs +3
Sunday Early Games (9/22 1PM ET)
Houston Texans (-2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
Before the season, these two teams sure seemed like Super Bowl contenders, but now I’m not so sure. Took the Texans up to the last play to beat both the Titans and the Chargers. The Ravens, I call them Teen Girl Squad because their last win was the Ugly One. The Texans, I call them Emmy-nominated actors for best drama who aren’t Bryan Cranston, because they’re never going to be the best and get the big prize, no matter what they do. Favoring another team on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions, Vegas? You know me, I’ll always root for the underdog, like I was rooting for my man Dane Sanzenbacher to make the Bengals during Hard Knocks this year. SANZENBACHA!
My Pick: Ravens +2.5
Cleveland Browns at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5)
You know what I think, Mike (yeah, he calls me Mike too–T)? I think though this seems like a stinker of a game, that’s when it turns out the best. Get the real football lovers, separate them from the guys who just wanna watch the glamour games. People who want the big high scoring matchup with all the passing all over the place, the solid play, the game with flow, I call those people the dilettantes, because I just looked up that word in the dictionary to use when chastising Merril Hoge in the ESPN tape vault for only spending 16 hours a day watching game film. Brandon Weeden’s out, so I’m checking out Bryan Hoyer tape as we speak. What I can tell you is this, this guy Adrian Peterson, I call him latent herpes, because he’s ready to break out this game. Still takin’ the underdog, though.
My Pick: Browns +5.5
New York Giants at Carolina Panthers (-1.5)
This guy Eli Manning, I call him Bengals Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden, because he’s the less successful of two football siblings. How you like that, Jay? SANZENBACHA! Now this guy Cam Newton, I call him a girl on Facebook sending out invites for her birthday celebration, because he celebrates and makes it all about him.
My Pick: Giants +1.5
Green Bay Packers (-2) at Cincinnati Bengals
Now I tell you what, Jaws, this guy Aaron Rodgers, I call him the best quarterback in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE because he’s better at playing quarterback than other quarterbacks in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. He’s going up against Andy Dalton, THIS GUY Andy Dalton, I call him the Military Coup because he’s always overthrowing everyone. My brother Jay needs to form a Junta with AJ Green and get everyone back on the same page. And more underneath throws for SANZENBACHA!
My Pick: Packers +2
St. Louis Rams at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)
Now this guy Travis, normally writes these columns, I call him a Hopeless Romantic because he’s way too optimistic about the prospects of his here St. Louis Rams. But I don’t think these Cowboys are much better, especially with that quarterback situation. THIS GUY Tony Romo, I call him Misunderstanding the Lyrics to Wyclef Jean’s biggest hit, because he’s always GONE AFTER NOVEMBER. Don’t even know what to do with that.
My Pick: Rams +3.5
Detroit Lions at Washington Redskins (-1.5)
This guy RG3, I call him Lockjaw because he’s so rusty he could give you Tetanus. And he might want to Lock his own Jaw, with all the talk before the season about being ready for Week 1, when he obviously wasn’t. You don’t need to study 18 hours of tape a day to realize his mechanics are off and he won’t be running. On the other hand, this guy Matt Stafford, I call him Jim Bouton later in his career when he became a knuckleballer and chronicled the ins and outs of baseball life in Ball Four, because you can’t stop him from throwing.
My Pick: Lions +1.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots (-7)
One time when I was coaching down in Tampa Tom Brady came down and I invited he and the wife, Gisele, to join me at Hooters and then head down to the vault to watch game tape. They weren’t into it—that lack of enthusiasm for tape is why he hasn’t won a Super Bowl in going on a decade. The New England Patriots now, this team, I call them Knots Landing because they sure as hell aren’t Dynasty anymore. And these Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I call them Dead to Me because they canned my ass.
My Pick: Buccaneers +7
Arizona Cardinals at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
These Arizona Cardinals, I call them America, because they’ve been searching for a leader since the last good one was gone years ago. Just kidding, me and Barack, we spent 19 hours in the Oval Office watching Bears tape when Dane Sanzenbacher was still on the team. I had to show him how real routes were run. SANZENBACHA! Now this guy Drew Brees, on the other hand, I call him the Matrix trilogy because the first year everyone got to see them go far in the playoffs, it was great, but the last couple have been quite a disappointment.
My Pick: Cardinals +7.5
San Diego Chargers at Tennessee Titans (-3)
These teams, I call them DJ Conner because they’re the teams that everyone forgets exists and waits for the better ones to come along. The Green Bay Packers, I call them Dan.
My Pick: Chargers +3
Sunday Late Games (9/22 4:05/4:25PM ET)
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins (-2)
You know what, Jaws, I was beginning to lose my momentum there, but back for the late games and I’m ready to go. This is gonna be a warm-weather clash and the Falcons look for their first road win. They’re gonna get it, because those Dolphins down there are gettin’ cocky. Atlanta’s quarterback Matt Ryan, this guy, I call him Matty Ice, because I’m a member of the media and we’ve all decided that’s his nickname. Jaws, did I ever tell you about the time I shotgunned Natty Ice with Merton Hanks? He could win because he had that long neck. That Merton Hanks, I call him periscope cause he can look around corners if you know what I mean.
My Pick: Falcons +2
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-2.5)
This guy EJ Manuel, I call him Russell Wilson, because he’s African-American but he isn’t loud or boisterous like RG3 or Cam Newton. I like this guy EJ Manuel, Mike. Fade route splitting the seam on a Y-Boot-Fyvush Finkel. These New York Jets, I call them the writers of Sons of Anarchy, because they can’t keep out of their own way.
My Pick: Bills +2.5
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers (-10.5)
These Indianapolis Colts, I call them Toronto hardcore band Fucked Up, because they’re mediocre now and it’s making me question if they were ever really that good. These 49ers on the other hand, they’re gonna be mad after that Seattle shellacking they just took, and they’re gonna take it out on the Colts. They’re gonna beat ‘em like dead horses. THAT JOKE, I call that joke a play on words because Colts are horses and the 49ers are going to kill them.
My Pick: 49ers -10.5
Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks (-19.5)
These Jacksonville Jaguars, I call them the end of Walter White’s money, because they’re the bottom of the barrel. These Seahawks, I call them World War II Russia, because they’ve got a hell of a home field advantage. This gimmick, I call it a dead horse that’s getting beaten like the Jaguars will be beaten.
My Pick: Seahawks -19.5
Sunday Night Game (9/22 8:25PM ET)
Chicago Bears (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
This game, I call this John Carter, because it must have seemed like a much bigger hit when it was scheduled months ago. The Steelers offense, I call it lacking in iron, because it’s anemic. The Bears’ll take the ball away. That defense could outscore the Steelers’ offense, I tell you what, Jaws.
My Pick: Bears -2.5
Monday Night Football (9/23 8:25PM ET)
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14.5)
I’m calling this game, so it would be bad form to make a pick. I’ll leave it up to you, the reader, to figure out the way I’m leaning. This me right now the way I’m leaning, I call me a baby boomer former college liberal, because now I’m leaning to the right.
My Pick: Broncos -14.5
Well, depending on how well I do, we’ll see if I’m invited back next week. Thanks for having me, Travis. You’re short, white, and slow, and I like that. Just like my favorite receivers.