Friday, November 13, 2009

Degenerate Friday!! Week 10 - The Muppets

There is a reason the casinos are so large in Vegas. The guys in Vegas that put out the spreads know what they’re doing. There have been 128 games in the NFL this season (not including last night’s SF-Chi game), and there have been 2 “pick ‘em” spreads. Of the other 126 games, there have been 63 times when the favorites have covered the spread, and 63 times when the underdog covered. A perfect 63-63 record. Impressive. Not as impressive was my record last week, going 6-7 for my second consecutive under .500 week. Time to regroup and have a better week.

Quick – someone get Jay Cutler to an eye doctor. No, he didn’t get hit in the eye last night, but he must be color blind. 5 Interceptions, including 2 in the red zone? Ouch. In the past 2 seasons, he has 9 INTs in the red zone, more than double the next closest QB. He makes more poor decisions than Shawn Kemp and Travis Henry combined.

But before I get to the, Sesame Street had its 40th anniversary this week. I wanted to break the games out by characters, until I started to realize how many of those crazy sesame street muppets are out there! I mean, in addition to the major characters like Bert & Ernie, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Elmo, and Cookie Monster, there is Count von Count, Snuffleupagus, Barkley the Dog, Telly, Guy Smiley, Herry Monster, The Honkers and Mumford the Magician. And I’m not even mentioning the humans on the show, Mr. Hooper, Susan, Gordon, Luis or Maria.

So before getting to this week’s picks, I have to put a clip to my personal favorite Sesame Street skit, with Grover explaining the meaning of “near” and “far.” I’m not really sure why it sticks in my head, it originally aired before I was even born, but it still makes me laugh. Maybe it just reminds me of how we used to tire my little brother out by challenging him to run around the house while we timed him to see if he could beat his own “personal record” – mind you, we didn’t have a stop watch, and weren’t really timing him. We just wanted him to get tired and leave us alone. He was 16.

So while thinking of kids programs, it led me to The Muppets Show. This week’s games are broken down to muppets characters, and there are a lot of characters, so I had to leave some out, like Scooter, Beaker, Dr. Bunsen, the Swedish Chef, and Rizzo the Rat.

Standard weekly disclosures…….recreational use, home team in CAPS, spreads from the NY Post, etc.

The Miss Piggy Category
Did anyone ever realize that the most popular female on the show was a portly pig!!?!? What is up with that? Also reminds me of a story……we were going out for a friend’s older brother’s bachelor party. I was the youngest guy there, and lost a bet before we went out resulting in whenever the bachelor finished his drink, I had to yell out “I wanna meet Miss Piggy tonight!” Amazingly, that didn’t work very well as a pick up line. I’d say it ranks right below another line I heard slurred once by my brother-in-law….. “Are you leaving?” To which the girl said, “Yes.” And she walked out.

Chiefs (+1.5) over RAIDERS
No matter how much lipstick you put on this pig of a game, it’s not attractive. Raiders beat the Chiefs in Kansas City, but the Chiefs are no longer dealing with the Larry Johnson distraction and have added Chris Chambers to pair up with Dwayne Bowe. How long can the Raiders continue to dance with Tom Cable? Until he punches Al Davis? As long as they continue to believe that JaMarcus Russell is a bonafide NFL quarterback, they will not be able to string together any sort of consistent play. His QB rating is equal to his completion percentage, and neither is above 49 - that is absolutely horrendous. He is the pig, and Al Davis continues to try and pile on the lipstick. The Raiders will likely get Darren McFadden back this week, but it won’t be enough to mask Jamarcus Russell.

The Statler & Waldorf Category (the old guys in the theatre)
These are my favorite muppets characters, just sitting back and ridiculing everyone. These are a couple games that will give them plenty of things to watch, mock and then laugh histerically. Great job to start teaching kids at an early age that old people are crazy and can say whatever they want. What is the age when it becomes okay to just say the most ridiculous things? I can’t wait to get to that age, so I can just spew idiocy all the time……….wait, I basically do that now.

Buccaneers (+10) over DOLPHINS
This is just too many points for an offensively challenged team like the Dolphins to cover. I still think the Bucs have not turned the corner despite beating the Packers last week. They stink, but they are a little better now that Josh Freeman brings some athletic ability and moxy to the offense. Unless Ted Ginn returns a couple more kicks, the Dolphins won’t be able to blow out the Bucs.

TITANS (-6.5) over Bills (LOCK OF THE WEEK)
The Bills get Trent Edwards back, but lose T.O. for the game. Not that it matters, as the Bills offense is pathetic. The Titans have turned things around since getting blown out by the Patriots. Chris Johnson leads the league in rushing and gets another weak opponent to show off his “running from the cops speed!” (thanks Gus Johnson for that call).

The Fozzie Bear Category
Fozzie was the stand-up comedian, yelling “wakka-wakka-wakka” after every bombing joke. He was there for laughs, and not just at that stupid hat and bow-tie he always wore. These games should be laughers as well, pitting some of the top teams against the worst teams in the league.

VIKINGS (-16.5) over Lions
The Vikings are coming off their bye, and the Lions are coming off blowing a 17 point lead on the road. Brett Favre said he spent the bye week hunting and doing his daughter’s homework. The homework was probably more difficult than putting up points on the Lions. Coach Childress will likely have plenty of time to rest Favre’s balky groin in the second half of this one.

Saints (-13.5) over RAMS
The Rams are coming off of their bye and the Saints are coming off another game where they let an inferior team build a lead before blowing them out. This one has the potential to be more of a laugher than any of Fozzie’s jokes. The Rams best chance is that the Saints are looking forward to their week 10 match up with the Patriots.

CARDINALS (-8.5) over Seahawks
The Cardinals have quietly looked pretty impressive since their slow start, and with the exception of that game against the Panthers, their passing offense has been very efficient. The Seahawks don’t do anything well, but aren’t extremely poor either. They have been outscored by their opponents 95-44 in their 3 road games this year.

The Gonzo Category
Gonzo was known as a weirdo and regularly referred to as a “whatever” because no one ever knew what species he was. He was basically a stunt lunatic, always trying to perform amazing feats and making a fool of himself. These games also don’t fit squarely into any other category as they have some decent teams and some teams that are not very good.

Ravens (-11) over BROWNS
The old Browns come to Cleveland to take on the new Browns on Monday night, and the fans in Cleveland have threatened to show up late as a protest to the pathetic nature of the new Browns franchise. Cleveland has scored 5 offensive touchdowns all season, which is only 2 less than the Saints DEFENSE has scored. The Ravens secondary has been weak, but the Browns can’t take advantage of it.

Broncos (-3.5) over REDSKINS
The Redskins couldn’t score with Clinton Portis, what are they going to do without him? The Broncos get to take a breather after losing two tough games against good teams in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Jim Zorn continues to be a muppet on the sidelines.

Falcons (-1.5) over PANTHERS
The Panthers have reestablished their running game, which has led to a minor revival – at least as much as you can when you’re 3-5. Carolina has the second-best rushing attack in the league, but will need some pass plays to be able to keep up with the Falcons offense. The Falcons have lost 3 respectable games (at New Orleans, at New England, and at Dallas) and are the better team.

The Kermit the Frog Category
Kermit was the love interest of Miss Piggy, and was always the sympathetic, intelligent leader of the group. I’m not really sure why a group that included a dog, a bear, a pig, etc. decided to all follow a skinny little frog. Anyway, in these games, the question is whether it’s easy being green.

JETS (-7) over Jaguars
Gang Green is coming off a bye week, and Rex gave the team 6 days off to regroup, which will be questioned if they don’t come out with fire. It hasn’t been easy to be green lately, but the Jets have the best rushing offense in the league and the Jags have given up almost 120 ypg, the fifth-worst in the AFC. Other than MJD, who leads the league with 11 TDs, the Jags have not played with any urgency or fire, and yet they are sitting at 4-4 and on the edge of the playoff picture.

CHARGERS (-1.5) over Eagles
Neither team has been very consistent, and even with getting Westbrook back, the Eagles will come up short after the cross country trip. The Chargers have seen the door open a crack for the NFC West title after the Broncos have lost 2 straight and know they need this game to keep up. Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb might be green with sickness after dropping another big game.

Rowlf the Dog
Rowlf was the classical pianist dog with the big floppy ears, always tagging along with the rest of the crew. Rowlf was originally performed by Jim Henson himself, and started as a sidekick on the Jimmy Dean show in the 60’s. I have no idea, but is that the same dude who now has those breakfast sausage links? The guy goes from having his own show to making breakfast sausages…….interesting. Anyway…..this game is the Barking Dog game of the week.

PACKERS (+3) over Cowboys
The Packers continue to have one of the worst offensive lines in history. The Cowboys are playing extremely well, coming off a win in Philadelphia. This game opened as a pick ‘em, and the Cowboy money has piled in, moving the line 3 points. When that much public money is running one way, I say run the other way. Woodson should be able to shadow Miles Austin (with safety help), and Al Harris and Roy Williams have the same speed – none. The Packers have their backs firmly against the wall, and they are lining up Mike McCarthy for execution. At home, they should come out firing.

The Animal Category
Animal was the lunatic drummer of the group that needed to chain himself to the drum set during performances because he got so out of hand. I’m not sure he could actually speak, just making grunts and yells, yet somehow everyone understood him. Animal’s performances remind me of one of my roommates in college after a rough patch with a girlfriend, when he came home, headed down to the basement (where Squirrel had a drum set), and proceeded to belt out the most anger-filled, stress-relieving drum solos in the history of music, followed by a primal scream to let everyone know he was done. These are the best games of the week, and will likely have similar emotional outbursts.

Bengals (+7) over Steelers
The Steelers are rounding into their championship form, having won 5 straight, and need this game to take control of the division. At the beginning of the year, what would have been the odds that the Bengals would sweep the Ravens and Steelers? 40-1? 50-1? Well, they are a win over the Steelers away from pulling off the feat, and putting a sleeper hold on the AFC North division. The Bengals won in Cincy when the Steelers didn’t have Troy Polamalu, and I think their defense will keep this one close enough to get the cover.

Patriots (+3) over COLTS
Another chapter in the Manning-Brady battle. These two teams seem to play every November in an epic game that will go a long way to determine the home field advantage in the AFC. The Colts are unbeaten, but have gotten a few breaks the past two weeks to stay that way. The Patriots started slowly, but are now looking like an offensive juggernaut. With the Colts secondary banged up – missing Bob Sanders, the Pats will spread the field and throw it all over the field. The Colts have found a way each week, but Brady will continue his mastery of Manning and the Colts – he’s 7-3 already.

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