I write these words 26 hours before I gain somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds. Mrs. Maclone has brined the turkey, the green bean casserole is being prepped, as is the stuffing (turkey sausage and mushrooms make it awesome). There’s a couple of bottles of wine in the fridge, and I believe we’ll have some Guinness, Stella Artois and a variety of sodas.
Thanksgiving is at my house this year, and I’m pretty pumped. I’ll be covering Sandwich-Mashpee in the AM, which I think could be a fantastic football game. After that I’ll behind this computer, in this cubicle, pounding out a 26-inch story about what I hope is a classic contest. I’ll edit a couple of stories as well, the Falmouth-Barnstable, Bourne-Wareham and UCT-CCT games, and should be outta here somewhere around 4.
Somewhere around 5 me, Lyra, Rye, Leanna, my M-I-L, her boyfriend and my brother-in-law will sit down to a feast, of both food and the normal holiday dysfunction.
The tryptophan will kick in around 6, and I’ll set the alarm for 8:15, for Pats-Jets. That sounds like a pretty good Thanksgiving to me.
You my reader, should be thankful for the prose and picks that Matt and I bestow upon you each week. There’s usually one or two serviceable jokes, and some quality picks. Ol’ Eagle One knocked it outta the park last week, going 13-1. I didn’t do too shabbily myself, going 12-2. Good times.
So let’s look at the first completely full slate of games we’ve had in some time. No more bye weeks, the home stretch for the playoffs begins now.
Rich: 109-49-1 (.689)
Matt: 100-58-1 (.632)
Houston at Detroit: This is a really tough spot for the Texans. They’re coming off a crazy come-from-behind shootout win over the Jaguars that saw Matt Shaub have a fantasy game for the ages (67 points in our league). The Lions lost a heart-breaker to the Pack, at home. Rule No. 1 when choosing a winner for short-week games, which team is better. The Texans are clearly the better team, and that’s why I’m picking them.
Rich’s Pick: Texans
Matt’s Pick: Texans
Washington at Dallas: Which team is better? Now that’s a really good question, isn’t it. The best player in the game is RG3, he’s been awesome and is getting better and better. The Cowboys are just plain weird. They probably should have lost to the Browns at home, and in my estimation are among the most disappointing teams this year. They just underachieve. With a national stage, I’m looking for big things from Griffin, and that’s why I’m going Skins.
Rich’s Pick: Redskins
Matt’s Pick: Redskins
Patriots at Jets: After your feast, dessert. A lot has been made of the Gronk situation and him being on the PAT team, and that’s just dumb. Every NFL team has starters on those teams, that’s how they run things. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt, but you have to move on. They can win without him, especially this game. The addition of Talib certainly helps the Patriots defense, it doesn’t make them very good, but better, certainly better enough to keep Mark Sanchez from having another stellar game against them. New York should have won the first game, and didn’t. This time I think the Patriots win an easy one.
Rich’s Pick: Patriots
Matt’s Pick: Patriots
Buffalo at Indianapolis: Indy is a good home team, and Buffalo is an ugly road team. After getting embarrassed last week, I think the Colts bounce back and keep pace for a playoff spot. Andrew Luck won’t be awful like that two games in a row.
Rich’s Pick: Colts
Matt’s Pick: Colts
Tennessee at Jacksonville: What has gotten into Chad Henne? He comes off the bench and becomes a full-fledged gunslinger and makes, dare I say it, the Jaguars fun to watch. This one has video game potential, like 42-38. Tennessee still has an outside shot at the playoffs, and beats teams they should beat most of the time. I’m going to take them, because it’s the smart play, even though I have a feeling that the Jags will score a ton.
Rich’s Pick: Titans
Matt’s Pick: Titans
Denver at Kansas City: KC fans wore black in protest of the Pioli era last weekend. At least they have a cause to rally around, because the Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL. Denver, even sans McGahee, has too much firepower.
Rich’s Pick: Broncos
Matt’s Pick: Broncos
Oakland at Cincinnati: The Raiders are allowing nearly 33 points per game. AJ Green has scored in 9 straight. The Bengals are fighting for the last playoff spot, and this helps their cause quite a bit. The orange and black are going to have a fun day at home.
Rich’s Pick: Bengals
Matt’s Pick: Bengals
Seattle at Miami: Tell me how the Dolphins are going to move the ball against the Seahawks. Teams have figured out Brian Hartline and Ryan Tannehill and Reggie Bush is nicked up. The Seahawks play ugly football, but there’s nothing ugly about winning ballgames, and they do that more than lose. Give me the Seahawks.
Rich’s Pick: Seahawks
Matt’s Pick: Dolphins
Atlanta at Tampa Bay: This might be the tastiest match-up of the weekend. These are two very good football teams, with plenty to prove. Atlanta is trying to bounce back from their first loss, and the Bucs are trying to show that they’re for real. I don’t believe Matt Ryan will be anywhere nearly as bad as he was last week, but still I like this Tampa team and they’re out to make a statement. Give me the mild upset.
Rich’s Pick: Bucs
Matt’s Pick: Falcons
Minnesota at Chicago: I hate picking this one not knowing if Jay Cutler is going to play. I will guess that he is, and the Bears bounce back from Monday night’s shellacking.
Rich’s Pick: Bears
Pittsburgh at Cleveland: The Steelers are down to their third-string QB, Charlie Batch. Just how bad must Charlie Batch be if Mike Tomlin wouldn’t bring him to relieve a clearly battered, bruised and beaten down Byron Leftwich on Sunday night. Leftwich looked like he was passing kidney stones after each play. The Browns are not that bad, and this is the type of game that they can sneak out.
Rich’s Pick: Browns
Matt’s Pick: Steelers
Baltimore at San Diego: The Ravens are going to be the No. 2 seed in the AFC, and they’re just not that good. The schedule gods seem to love them, though. Every week they seem to be handed a gift, and this week’s comes in the form of a Chargers team that looks ready to quit.
Rich’s Pick: Ravens
Matt’s Pick: Ravens
St. Louis at Arizona: Just when we all had written off the Cardinals, they played some downright inspired football last weekend against the Falcons. The Rams looked horrid against the Jets. So why am I picking the Rams then? Simple reasoning. The Cardinals will have a letdown, the Rams will bounce back. That seems to be how things work.
Rich’s Pick: Rams
Matt’s Pick: Rams
San Francisco at New Orleans: I love the dimension that Colin Kaepernick brings to the 49ers offense. He’s fun to watch, and brings a high level of athleticism to the game. The Saints have been playing well, but will they be able to fend off that 49ers defense? San Fran showed me something on Monday Night. That defense is really, really something, and I think they’re going to put a temporary halt to the Saints’ run.
Rich’s Pick: 49ers
Matt’s Pick: Saints
Green Bay at NY Giants: If you can figure out the Giants, please explain them to me. They’re just schizo. But, I’m picking them to win this game because they’re coming off of a bye and I think they’re finally in a place where they know that they need to pick it up.
Rich’s Pick: Giants
Matt’s Pick: Packers
Carolina at Philadelphia: Cam Newton’s Monday Night debut, and Nick Foles’ as well. I made the mistake of picking the Eagles last week, even though I knew that their offensive line was in shambles and they were starting a rookie QB that was clearly overmatched. Not going to make that mistake again.
Rich’s Pick: Panthers
Matt’s Pick: Panthers