Friday, October 5, 2012

week five: one last chance ...

“Deep in my soul,
I’ve been so lonely.
All of my hopes,
Are fading away.

I’ve longed for love,
Like everyone else does.
I know I’ll keep searching
Even after today.

So there it is girl.
I’ve said it all now.
And here we are babe,
What do you say?

We’ve got tonight.
Who needs tomorrow!
We’ve got tonight babe.
Why don’t you stay …”

"We've Got Tonight" originally done by Bob Seger, horrifically covered by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton, and beautifully mastered by Philip Phillips on "Top 3" night on "Idol" last ... what?  Say that again?  No I'm not linking the Youtube! videos this week!  My readers aren't a bunch of brain dead, lazy, deadbeat, unemployed, worthless, wastes of human life known as Obama supporters!  Let them use their Obama Phones and find the damned clips themselves!!! ...


Last Week SU: 6-9-0.
Season to Date SU: 33-30-0.

Last Week ATS: 5-9-1.
Season to Date ATS: 31-31-1.

Last Week’s “Screw You Pete King” Upset / Week: well, those five magical words are no longer undefeated.
Season to Date “Screw You Pete King” Upset / Week: 2-2-0 (both SU and ATS).
This Week’s “Screw You Pete King” Upset of the Week: Redskins (+3) over the “Shane Falco”ns.

The Non-Chiefs, Non-Jets … Wait, BOTH My Teams Are In Full On Meltdown Mode?!?!? … Projections:

* Byes: Cowboys, Lions, raiders, Bucs.

* Cardinals (-1 ½) 26, at Rams 23.  I really wanted to take the Rams here … but if the Cards win this, they’re highly probable to be 7-0 when the 49ers come to town in three weeks for a suddenly very huge Monday Nighter.

* at Redskins (+3) 38, Falcons 34.  OOH!  OOOOOOH!  Dammit, I’ll be at Arrowhead.  Son of a …!  This matchup should be eight layers of fun.

* Eagles (+3 ½) 31, at Steelers 30.  OOOOOOOOOOH!  Oh Heck Yes!!!  OOO … dammit.  Arrowhead.  If the NFL is putting two juicy showdowns like this in the 1pm window, I can’t wait to see what’s waiting for us in the national late afternoon slot!

* Packers (-7) 45, at Colts 10.  Here’s wishing the best to Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, diagnosed with leukemia earlier this week.  Get well soon coach.  I was really looking forward to watching your schemes here again in December.  Hopefully you’re back on the sidelines by then.  (Pagano was the Ravens defensive coordinator for the last five years.  If you were at the Chiefs / Ravens playoff game two years ago, you understand why I relish the chance to see genius at work.)

* at Vikings (-5 ½) 27, Titans 17.  It has been pointed out to me that (a) using “The Facts of Life” as the second worst game designation of the week is not allowable, because at least one “Facts of Life” star is still on our television screens every week.  And I have to admit … I agree with that.  So, for as long as the great Blair Warner (Lisa Whelchel) survives on, uuh, “Survivor”, the second worst game on the board gets changed to ...

wait for it ...

wait for it ...

wait for it ...

just one more time ...

My God, we need TV sitcom theme songs to make a comeback, and the sooner the better.

* at Bengals (-3 ½) 27, Dolphins 10.  Consider this: Bengals host a bad Dolphins team this week, visit a horrendous Cleveland team next week, then come home for a huge Sunday Nighter against the Steelers, before hitting their bye.  It’s not ridiculous to think the Bengals will be 6-1 when peyton and the donkeys come calling to close out October.

* at Panthers (-3) 35, Seahawks 27.  A sneaky good late afternoon FOX game that hopefully we get here in KC.  (We’ll either get this, or the game being picked next.)  That Falcons / Panthers contest last week was a war.  This is a virtual “must win” for Carolina, to hit 2-3 headed into their bye -- they come back with vs Cowboys / at Bears / at Redskins / vs broncos.

* Bears (-6) 31, at Jaguars 3.  Bears can get to 4-1 at the bye next week, with Detroit upcoming on a Monday Nighter at Soldier Field.  This is your NFC North favorite at this point.  And possibly my only shot of nailing a division championship pick before the season.

* at Patriots 31, broncos (+6 ½) 28 (OT).  OOH!  OOH!  OOH!  Normally, I hate the verbal fellating of the Patriots and of peyton manning … but in the words of Keyshawn Johnson: COME ON MAN!  This matchup is worth every effort you can exert to get in front of a television to watch it.  As a fan of the League, I PRAY this isn’t the last Brady / manning showdown.  If it is?  I hope it goes out on the high note it deserves.

* at 49ers 21, Bills (+10) 17.  I think this is gonna be a sneaky competitive game.  The Bills should be fired up after getting humiliated on their home field by their bitter rival.  The 49ers are coming off a 34-0 win at arguably the Bills biggest rival.  These two’s best game ever played has to be from either 1993 or 1994, I forget which.  Young v Kelly.  Bills win in the Bay in a game with no punts and no turnovers.  Each team scored every time they had the ball, save for kneel downs to end each half.  Would not complain one bit if they want to stage a replay of that on Sunday.

* at Saints 31, Chargers (+3 ½) 28.  The Saints have reached the fail-safe line.  So allow me to say this: if, and this is one gigantic “elephant in the room” if, IF the Chargers are the Super Bowl caliber team I think they are (they were Stevo’s Site Numero Dos’ preseason pick to win the Lombardi), they find a way to bury the Saints here.

The Jets “Well We’re Free!  Free Fallin’!!!” Prognostication:

Darrelle Revis?  Done-zo.
Santonio Holmes?  Done-zo.
Mark Sanchez?  Bench-zo (in all likelihood).
Stevo?  (bashing head on desk repeatedly until he passes out …)

Texans (-8) 41, at Jets 13.  (stevo fake enthusiasm voice) I am so looking forward to pissing away another top five pick on a USC quarterback in April …

The Chiefs Best Guess:

I can honestly say, I’m not sure I have ever entered a Chiefs home game as conflicted as I am entering this one.

On the one hand, can we just be honest?  If the Chiefs lose on Sunday, and considering they’re 6 ½ point underdogs, at least half of the gambling public believes they will not only lose, they’ll lose by a touchdown and an extra point as a bare minimum, then this season is over as we hit early October.

And yet …

If the Chiefs win this game?  With denver facing a tough national time slot at New England, with San Diego facing a tough Sunday Nighter in New Orleans as the Saints have formally hit the fail safe line?  If the Chiefs win this game?  They’re one back, with a very winnable second half schedule in front of them.

On the one hand, can we be honest?  Matt Cassel is everything I said he would be when he came here.  No, really – Saturday, February 28, 2009.  It snowed 6 inches in KC that morning.  I met Dusty and Kellie at Wild Wings on 350 for lunch and then an afternoon of bowling fun at the late, great Laurel Lanes.  (Also, in the interest of full disclosure: I have NEVER felt like more of a “third wheel”, than I did that day.  In a good way.)

So when the NFL Network started running the scroll that “Chiefs trade for Cassel”, I damned near came unhinged.  Cassel was the ONLY quarterback I did NOT want the Chiefs to pursue that offseason.  Now?  He’s ours.  For $60 million over 6 years and a second round draft pick.

And yet …

You can make a credible argument that new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli fleeced New England.  We got two solid seasons out of Mike Vrabel at MLB.  Matt Cassel may be a lot of things, but he was at least above-average in 2010 and for the last six games he played in 2011.  If you can trade a second rounder that amounts to nothing (the Pats took S Patrick Chung with the pick) into a QB who wins you a division, and has you leading the division when his season ends, in three season of play?  You make that deal every time, and twice on the day it goes down.

On the one hand, can we be honest?  The Chiefs have opened either 2-0 or 0-2 for the last NINE SEASONS!  By the last game in September, our season is either in “go for it” mode (2003, 2005, 2006, 2010), or “we probably done be screwed mode (2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, possibly / probably 2012).

And yet …

Can anyone doubt this team is better than when Scott Pioli arrived?  Yes, starting 0-2 or worse in three years is bad.  But the talent is there.  I know I’m the blinded by loyalty guy who’ll never turn his back on this franchise, no matter how pissed he is.  But for national writers like Matt Williamson (ESPN), Bill Williamson (ESPN AFC West Blogger), and even this site’s “good buddy”, our ol’ pal, Ol’ Pete King (Sports Illustrated), for THEM to pick the Chiefs to win at least ten games and the division (and in Ol’ Pete’s case, to actually win a playoff game for the first time since I was a junior in high school, and I’ll be 36 come wildcard weekend 2012), for THEM to pick the Chiefs to win the division? 

Is not blinded loyalty, its credible thought.

And so Sunday?  I have no clue what to expect.

Peter King predicted Brady Quinn will start the third quarter.  He also took the Ravens to (barely) cover, to win 24-17.  Nobody in the ESPN Experts picks took the Chiefs to even cover the 6 ½, let alone win.  Ditto CBS Sportsline. 

Even Arrowhead Nation’s great Joel Thorman, who makes SB Nation’s official picks each week, says this is a lost cause.  And trust me – if you think I’m biased about the Chiefs?  Read Arrowhead Pride.  I ain’t got NOTHING on Joel or Chris Thorman, BJ Kissel, NJChiefsFan, Craig in Calgary, and countless other great Chiefs fans.  (Joel took Baltimore 38-20.  No word though on how many of the Ravens’ 38 will be pick six / fumble recovery touchdowns by the Ravens D.)

The only – ONLY! – thing I know to expect from Sunday?  Is this.

We’ve got tonight.

This team is down.  Hell, they’re worse than down – last Sunday?  They looked defeated.  

But they’ve still got tonight.  Or more specifically in this case, they’ve still got Sunday.

They’ve got sixty minutes to save the season.

So for what might be the last time this season, and if the housecleaning a 4-12 season would trigger occurs, for what might be the last time after the Home Opener next year until 2015 … we’ve got a job to do.

The gates open sometime between 7:30 and 8:30.  They were flung open at 7:50 last week.  Show up early.  Yes, it’s going to be cold.  So what?  So freaking what?  Look it, NOBODY hates the cold more than me.  NOBODY.  I literally shake when its 60 degrees outside from being chilled.  Anything below 70?  I prefer to hibernate.  Hell, anyone who’s ever been in my bedroom on a typical night from what, early November to mid March?  Knows that I sleep with three comforters AND a space heater cranked to 92 degrees, in addition to having the heat on.  My bedroom is a goddamned sauna five months out of the year.  That’s how much I hate the cold.

(cue "the ex" voice: sadly, pathetically ... he's telling the truth.  92 and balmy.  with three comforters to boot.  he needs a life, readers, he needs a -- (stevo voice) thanks, we're done here.)

Yet I’ll be there, when those gates fling wide open, to accommodate as many of you who need a place to park and/or tailgate as there are.

(Plus?  We have these neat things called "EZ Ups", that block the wind, and these really nifty things called "heaters" that run on propane that turn said EZ Up into a winter paradise if it's brutally cold!  You're damned right I have already confirmed we have enough propane to run those bastards.)

I am aware the team is 1-3, has trailed by at least 18 points in every game they’ve played, and has yet to hold a lead for a second of actual playing time.  So what?  So freaking what?  Do you really think a roster with this much talent is going to go leadless for the remaining 720 minutes they’re guaranteed to play?  Come on!  I honestly believe, and maybe I’m just stupidly optimistic, I genuinely believe that if this team can just GET a lead, they’re going to take off and not look back.  The proverbial “sleeping giant” – once it wakes up, look out.

Yes, our head coach is a fat f*cking baffoon.  So what?  So freaking what?  Sports is filled with teams that have overcome fat f*cking baffoons as their coach.  Why can’t we join that list?

All I’m saying is to not throw in the towel yet.  We’ve still got Sunday.  We’ve still got hope.  We’ve still got life, even if the damned breathing machine is starting to spark, the patient is gasping for breath, and the morphine drip is almost dry.

Despite it all folks, we’ve got tonight.

Be loud.  Do your part.  Tickets won’t be hard to come by.  Show up.  Act like a fan – which in case you don’t realize, is short for “fanatic”, meaning “die-hard”, “loyal”, “refuses to give up until all hope is lost”.

“I know it’s late.
I know you’re weary.
I know your plans
Don’t include me.

Still here we are,
Both of us lonely.
Longing for shelter,
From all that we see.

(boy, does that stanza apply to the 2012 Chiefs fanbase or what?)

Why should we worry?
Noone will care, girl!
Look at the stars
So far away.

We’ve got tonight.
Who needs tomorrow?
We’ve got tonight babe,
Why don’t you stay?”

I am making seven picks for this game.  First, I believe the Ravens will lead 17-7 at halftime.  Second, I believe the boos as the Chiefs leave the field at halftime will be heard in Olathe, they will be that loud, long, and earned.  Third, I believe Brady Quinn will start the second half.  Fourth, I believe a pick six by Stanford Routt on the Ravens first drive of the second half will ignite the comeback.  Fifth, I believe Brady Quinn will lead the comeback.  Sixth, at Chiefs (+6 ½) 28, Ravens 27, on a Ryan Succup 41 yarder as time expires.

(And if you read that paragraph and thought, "wait, we've seen a situation like this before ...", you're right.  2009.  Chiefs vs Steelers.  Only the field goal won it in overtime, not at the gun.  Because just like every game before this one, I'm projecting the Chiefs to trail for all sixty minutes of regulation.  Simply because how awesome would it be to be a credible playoff threat a third of the way through the season, and have 0:00 as your "time with the lead"?  I think that's neat.)

And seventh?

We’ve not only got tonight  ... come 3:15ish central time on Sunday, the Chiefs WILL need tomorrow. 

And since I’m feeling so generous with the freebie gambling projections, I’ll include an eighth.  When we stumble out of that stadium, pounding the columns, the Chop in full on effect.  That after the traditional postgame hugs, high fives, and mandatory raiding of a cooler for a bottle or three of something, that as "Dancin' On The Ceiling" is blaring in the background, someone is going to manage to corner me, and ask me what I thought of the game.

And I’m going to look at that person, shake my head with a “really?  You HAVE to ask what I thought” smirk of arrogance, and tell said person, in no uncertain terms:

“Season.  F*cking.  ON!”

See ya Sunday!  Sixty minutes to buy 660 more meaningful ones!  We CAN do this!  We HAVE the opportunity!  Now let’s TAKE IT!

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