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Thursday, October 30, 2003

Pro Picks, Week 9: Testy, Testy

It often amazes me that the NFL is the greatest sports league we have, it brings in tons of money, and yet there's so much bitching and moaning about every little thing all the time. In a way it's fortunate because it all gives me plenty of fodder for a silly NFL picks column.

For example, Vikings owner Red McCombs called his team an embarrassment after their loss on Sunday. Minnesota is still 6-1. (Realizing his stupidity, McCombs backpedaled from the comments on Monday.) Meanwhile in Atlanta, Dan Reeves is complaining that Michael Vick should come back from injury sooner than he plans. Reeves was hired by previous ownership and may not be long for the Falcons job.

And in Cincinnati, where the team is finally winning some games after an eternity as a league laughingstock (they are seriously one game out in the weak AFC North division), there is now acrimony over pampered running back Corey Dillon. Last week I mocked Dillon in this space for saying he was unhappy and wanted a trade following a big win for the team. Then guess what happens Sunday? Dillon is in a minor car accident, doesn't play, and some guy named Rudi Johnson runs for 100 yards in a win over Seattle. Oops! Looks like you may get your wish, Corey.

And then there's been my incessant bitching about the NFL local TV situation in Boston. The next few weeks, however, promise to be great because we have the Patriots on Monday night, followed by a bye, followed by a Sunday night Pats game. That leaves the Sunday afternoons open to more rational game selections by Fox and CBS. May they choose wisely (I think we get Dolphins-Colts, Redskins-Cowboys and Giants-Jets--not bad).

As always, the following picks are for recreational purposes only.

San Diego at Chicago

Hey, I think Drew Brees just threw another interception!

Pick: Bears

NY Giants at NY Jets

Technically, the Giants are the away team in this game. Still, the location of the game is "Giants Stadium." This is really too confusing, so let's move on.

Pick: Jets

Oakland at Detroit

Marques Tuiasosopo makes his first start at quarterback for the Raiders. His name has six syllables and only ten letters. Discuss.

Pick: Raiders

Green Bay at Minnesota

At the risk of being too QB-centric, I'll note that Brett Favre is bad in domes. At least this time around he'll have a hairline fracture in his thumb to blame. That is, unless McCombs' team is just too "humiliated" to show up. I have a feeling they will show, buoyed by the expected return of running back Michael Bennett. (Yes, running backs! Cleveland has a bye, but feel free to make up your own William Green marijuana joke here. Perhaps he was smoking up to soothe the pain of his separated shoulder, which kept him out of the New England game last week?)

Pick: Vikings

New England at Denver

I have bad memories of Monday night games for the Patriots in Denver. Specifically, I remember hurrying to get my homework done so I could enjoy the first game of the post-Super Bowl appearance year in 1997. Drew Bledsoe threw an interception that John Mobley returned for a TD. Nowadays, Drew is doing such things for the Bills, Mobley is out after suffering a scary neck injury last week, and Danny Kanell is being forced to start at QB for Denver due to injury (doesn't Brian Griese look good right about now, Broncos fans?). The Denver injury report actually includes more players than New England's! This could be a bad omen, though, seeing as how the Pats have thrived despite injuries themselves this season.

Pick: Broncos

Cincinnati at Arizona

During the Monday Night Football game in Arizona that was moved there due to the fires in southern California, a fan held a sign up for TV that read, "Any team but the Cardinals" in order to spell out "ABC." This was on the day after Arizona won in overtime against the division-winning team of the last two years, San Francisco. No love in the desert! What a fitting end to this week's catalogue of complaints and bickering in pro football.

Pick: Bengals

Other Games

Miami over Indianapolis, Tampa Bay over New Orleans, Baltimore over Jacksonville, Carolina over Houston, Seattle over Pittsburgh, St. Louis over San Francisco, Philadelphia over Atlanta, Dallas over Washington.

Last week: 10-4
Season Record: 74-42