Saturday, October 5, 2013

week five: the first gigantic test

"I can't say I was never wrong,
But some blame rests on you!
Work and play?  They're never ok,
To mix, the way we do.

All I can say?
I shouldn't say,

But can we take a ride?
Get out of this place
While we still have time?
You wanna take a ride,
And get out of this place
While we still have time?
While we still have time? ..."

-- "Work" by Jimmy Eat World.

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Unfortunately, there are going to be weeks like this, where I simply don't have the time to go all-out on the picks piece.  This thing I like to live in -- and prefer to deal with people who also live there -- called "reality", rose up this week and tore into my free time.

I'll try to make it up to you next week.

Or with the post going up after this one ... which quite frankly, I'm really looking forward to writing.

Last Week ATS: 10-5-0.
Season to Date ATS: 25-36-2.

Last Week SU: 11-4-0.
Season to Date SU: 36-27-0.

"The Voice of Reason" Last Week ATS: 6-9-0.
"The Voice of Reason" Season to Date ATS: 26-34-3.

(Note: Mr. Reason does not pick heads-up winners.)

Last Week "Screw You Pete King" Upset of the Week: I can only imagine the meltdown in my friend Ashley's living room, come about 3:12 to go.  It probably mirrored mine in section 317 at seeing the one game I did commit money to last week, blow up in my face.  Seriously Houston, WHAT WAS THAT?  No, really -- what in the mother loving hell was THAT?!?!?!?!
Season to Date "Screw You Pete King" Upset of the Week: 1-5.
This Week's "Screw You Pete King" Upset of the Week: Cowboys (+8 1/2) over "my little ponies".

The Non-Chiefs, Non-Jets Best Guesses:

(Note: as always, all lines pulled from Danny Sheridan via USA Today.)

* Bills (+4) 24, at Browns 20.  Note: both "The Voice of Reason" and I took Buffalo.  As Mr. Reason noted at lunch yesterday: "I'm now 0-5 on the Thursday nighters.  OH AND FIVE!  (slams fork in disgust)!"  Well then.  Glad we cleared that up.

* Ravens (+2 1/2) 27, at Dolphins 20.  If Miami wins this one, I might start paying attention.

* at Rams 31, Jaguars (+12 1/2) 20.  Your "Gordon Shumway Game O' The Week!"  And admit it readers -- you know you'd opt for a three hour / six episode minithon of "ALF" over even two seconds of live action of this contest.  For those of you stuck with this crapfest, here's a helpful link to a free airing of every single episode "ALF" ever aired.  (Pause).  Damned right they're welcome.

* Eagles (+1) 28, at Giants 17.  This Giants team is atrocious.

* at Bengals (pick) 31, Patriots 28.  Feels like a field goal finish either way.

* Seahawks (-2 1/2) 41, at Colts 20.  Gut feeling.  I think Seattle gets up early and cruises.

* at Packers (-9) 45, Lions 13.  The Lions haven't won at Lambeau since I was a freshman in high school, the first George Bush was President, and "SNL" was airing sketches about "The Race to Avoid Being the Guy Who Loses to Bush" regarding the 1992 Democrat primaries.  In the words of the famous Virginia Slims ad voice: "you've come a long way, baby!"

(Pause).

OK -- I know, I know: "SQUIRREL!" -- but seriously, who in the hell actually smokes Virginia Slims?  Seriously -- does ANYONE reading this know anyone who smokes Virginia Slims?  Because I have never in my life met someone who does.

Obviously, men don't.  When I smoked, I hit the Marlboro Red's pretty hard (because if you're going to kill yourself, you might as well go for the gold).  My brother was a pack a day Parliament guy for a long time.  My college roommate Vineet still downs a carton of Newport's a week.  (How he can afford it on Tri-State prices, I have no idea.)  The Champ is Camel menthols last time I checked.  But those are all dudes.  And no dude -- gay or straight -- would admit to smoking Virginia Slims.

The Chica prefers Marlboro Lights last time I checked.  The Ex is Pall Mall's.  (Ugh).  My bowling teammate is Decade (note: nastiest cigarettes ever).  Most of the Double folks are Winston.  I literally know noone -- now, or then -- who smokes/smoked Virginia Slims.  How can that be?

Did they kill off their entire clientele?  Surely somebody made it into the 2000s still addicted to that crap, right?  You'd think hard-core female smokers would flock to the Slims, because in theory, they're more tobacco for your buck, right?  They last longer, give you more of a trip to "Flavor Country", right?

Someone should look into this.  Stat.

* at Bears (pick) 31, Saints 28.  Another field goal finish in which I'll take the home team.  And when was the last time we had two pick 'ems on the board in the same week?  This is fun!  For entertainment purposes.  For gambling purposes, it forces you into the teaser.  You know, if gambling on athletic contests was legal and stuff.

* at Cardinals (+2) 34, Panthers 13.  Your "Good Times Game O' The Week"!!!!  If you need a "Good Times" episode to watch, I suggest the best one, "A Matter of Mothers", of which you can view and read my "live blog" of the episode, by clicking on this link.

* at Cowboys (+8 1/2) 34, unicorns 24.  After next week, the donkeys will be halfway through their home schedule ... and it'll only be week six.  That's a good thing.  Especially since coming out of the bye, they go KC / at NE / at KC, and have the final Thursday nighter of the season against the Chargers, to deal with in the second half.

* at 49ers (-7) 41, Texans 10.  Would you wager on Matt Schaub at this point?  No, really -- would YOU wager on Matt Schaub at this point?  Here's Houston (at 2-2) the next four weeks: at 49ers (SNF) / vs Rams / at Chiefs (CBS) / bye / vs Colts (SNF).  Three national TV games ... and I don't like them to win any of them at this point.

* Chargers ( -4 1/2) 34, at raiders 10.  Folks?  This one kicks off at 9:30pm LOCAL TIME.  You're giving every parolee in the California Penal System (hee hee, he said "penal") FOURTEEN HOURS to get their drink on ... BEFORE kickoff!  This game has THE greatest potential for riots in the stands since Dime Beer Night in Cleveland, or Disco Demolition Night in Chicago.

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(Note: there is no "Klassy" Kevin Keitzman Tweet O' The Week, no "The Poem", and no "The Flashback" this week due to time constraints.  These regularly scheduled features will return next week.)

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"The Voice of Reason"'s Reason:

To be uploaded if received.  (Note: Mr. Reason is just as swamped with real life this week as I am, so don't expect anything.)

Here's "Judgment Day With Judgment Ray"'s Week Five Selections:


(10/5/13 9:37pm: Mr. Reason's picks were received):

Not much to say because of the accident, but here are the picks:

Already took Buf and lost
Ten +2.5
Balt +2.5
Jax +11
NE pk
Sea -1
Det +7.5
NO pk
NYG pk
Arz +1.5
Oak +4.5
Dal +7
Hou +6
Atl -9.5

The Jets Prognostication:

If you had told me six weeks ago that only one of these teams would enter this game at .500 or better, I'd have agreed with you.

If you had told me six weeks ago that the .500 or better team entering this game would be the Jets, I'd have busted out in hysterical laughter for fifteen straight minutes, paused momentarily, looked at you ... and immediately resumed laughing hysterically for another fifteen minutes.

And yet, here we are, at the quarter pole, and the Jets are .500, the Falcons are already three behind the Saints (3 1/2 with tiebreakers), and both teams need this game badly.

But the Falcons need it worse ... and they're at home ... and a double digit favorite for a reason.

I suspect this one will get ugly early ... and stay ugly throughout.

* at Falcons (-10 1/2) 41, Jets 3.

The Chiefs Prediction:

I had lunch with "The Voice of Reason" yesterday.  (Note: that's the next post going up, hopefully by kickoff tomorrow -- the inaugural Stevo's Site Numero Dos Restaurant Review".)  And I raised the point that this is a statement game, a benchmark game, for the Chiefs.

Because let's be realistic.  If peyton manning stays upright, the Chiefs are playing for the five seed.  If denver stays healthy, they will win the AFC West, which means we're aiming for the top wildcard.

And if we get the five seed (or the six), this is the exact type of game we'll be facing on the first weekend in January: on the road, against a decent AFC South or AFC North squad.  We'll be visiting Houston, Indy, Tennessee, Cincinnati, or Baltimore.  (Or possibly Cleveland, who somehow is in first place in the AFC Norris right now.)

If the Chiefs are truly good enough to win their first playoff game since the Duke Blue Devils were gunning for their third straight national championship (falling just short to President Clinton's Arkansas Razorbacks in an epic title game), they will at least take this well into the fourth quarter with a decent chance to win.  That's what their worst case scenario needs to be, if they're going to make it to the second weekend in January.

What is weird, is that this is likely the only one of these games, the Chiefs will play this year.  We have six road games left.  Two of them (Washington, oakland) the Chiefs will be touchdown or better favorites at this point.  Two of them (Buffalo, San Diego) are toss-ups.  One of them (denver) I've had written off since the schedule was released in April.  (Although for what it's worth, the second half schedule really favors the Chiefs ... if they can take care of business getting to that point.)

This is the only true "statement" game we face on the road (unless you count denver, and I don't).  This might truly be the best chance all season to gauge what we've got.  And I am looking forward to it.

Personally, I'd have preferred to face Jake Locker.  We've faced Ryan Fitzpatrick three of the last four years.  He blew us out at The Ralph last year in week three.  He won by 40 at Arrowhead to open the 2011 season.  And he nearly cost the Chiefs the division in week eight of 2010.  (To say nothing of the Bills winning blowouts at Arrowhead against awful Chiefs squads in 2008 and 2009.)

But you have to play the hand you're dealt.  And we've been dealt Ryan Fitzpatrick.  So be it.

I believe in this team.  This season feels real in a way no season has in fifteen years.  If you experienced that fourth quarter last week, you understand what I'm saying.  If you didn't experience it live, then please -- show up the next three weeks.  You will NOT regret it.

I know this team has been down.  God knows I've had my moments when I've questioned why I flush thousands of dollars down the drain every season on this team.  (Hence my drawback to only flushing hundreds of dollars instead.)

I believe in this team.  A close, hard fought loss tomorrow won't change my opinion.  After all, the three best Chiefs teams of my lifetime (1993, 1995, 1997), all had suffered a loss by week four.  This team -- unlike every other Chiefs team save 1996 and 2003 -- emerged September unbeaten and untied.

I believe in this team.  This defense is the best I've seen wearing Red and Gold since 1997 ... and quite frankly, it might be better.  This offense doesn't beat itself, and comes through in the clutch.  And the special teams, my God.  Even Mike Stock's best season (1999) can't compare to what we've seen so far.  Hell, this is the best special teams we've had since Frank Gansz Sr.'s unit single handedly got the 1986 Chiefs into the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.

* Chiefs (-2 1/2) 27, at Titans 24.

(blackstreet voice) Play on, playa ...

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