(Editor’s note: Mixed into a rambling narrative about the current state of affairs in the NFL loaded with historical and pop culture references, Mr. Brutal makes some football picks. Why does he call it the “War of 1812 Football Prognostication”? He likes history, he’s Canadian, Bob Gaughan is American and includes his picks as well.)
SEASON TO DATE:
MR. BRUTAL 37-54
MR. BRUTAL 8-7
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Atlanta @ BALTIMORE (-6.5) 49.5
Falcons vs. Ravens in a battle of larger than average birds.
Ravens have larger brains. They are clearly more intelligent, more flexible in diet and behavioral adaptation than Falcons and by Darwinian supposition will last longer as a species… so this pick comes to you courtesy of real science without any Creationist pseudo-science artificial agents or additives.
Mr. Brutal: RAVENS (-6.5)
Bob: Atlanta +6.5
Tennessee @ WASHINGTON (-6) 46.5
The Titans were only one of two home teams to win last week. However, it was only a non-cover against the Jaguars. This week they head into the nation’s capital to face the woeful (1-5) “Ensanguined Reimbursements” of the pocket-sized potentate, Daniel Snyder.
The Washington owner has been fuming over his team’s miserable performance and just couldn’t resist ranting to the media about how this is RG III’s team and he expects great things from the Heisman winner whenever he returns. The future of current starting QB Kirk Cousins is probably not good.
In the ongoing saga of the team name controversy, the low-altitude Lilliputian really doubled down on his defense of the team name this week with another cloying example of why so many people despise him and his tenure of this once proud franchise.
Little Danny invited the head of the Navajo Nation and his wife to sit with him in his private box in Phoenix watching the Cardinals beat the Unmentionables while proudly wearing team clothing on national television.
To borrow a quote from currently suspended Colts safety and synthetic pharmacology pioneer LaRon Landry who once declared :
“Things are not always as they seem.”
No, they certainly aren’t, Mr. Trenbolone acetate 2014.
The man was Ben Shelley, president of the Navajo Nation. He is actually the “outgoing” president since he failed miserably in his attempt to win re-election this year and his term runs out in January.
The Nation recently voted to formally oppose the Washington football team name and classified it as racist. Mr. Shelley was not in favor of this and his unpopular stand on the issue was one of the main reasons he failed to win re-election.
Apparently/coincidentally, Mr. Shelley and his wife are involved in a business that manufactures and markets Navajo crafts and jewelery. What a surprise then that Danny Snyder announced after the game that the purpose of the little rendezvous was to expand a licensing agreement with the Shelleys’ company “Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise” to sell more of their merchandise at FedEx Field in Washington.
No word on whether the Dinky Despot offered up beads, whiskey or small pox-infected blankets as an initial offering during negotiations.
Public relations propaganda like this latest cynical ploy are a new low, even for an avatar troll of Snyder’s slight stature.
All of this took place while several hundred Native Americans protested Snyder and Washington’s visit to Arizona outside of University of Phoenix stadium last Sunday.
Mr. Brutal: Titans (+6)
Bob: Titans +6
Seattle (-7) @ SAINT LOUIS 43.5
The Rams had every chance to beat the Niners at home last Monday night, but the specter of Jeff Fisher once again changing the offensive game strategy after a two touchdown lead reared its ugly head and neutered QB Austin Davis and the Rams’ momentum. Stupid!
It didn’t work against the 49ers and it sure won’t work against the wounded Seahawks. Also, after looking good in their traditional deep yellow and mid-tone blue uniforms last Monday the Rams will switch back to their hideous gold lame` and navy uniforms that render them impotent and devoid of any residual super powers linked to the “Greatest Show on Turf.”
Mr. Brutal: Seahawks (-7)
Bob: RAMS +7
Cleveland (-7) @ JACKSONVILLE 45
Should be the start of an easy streak of three games for the surging Browns (Jax, Oakland and Tampa Bay) but the Hot Tubs lost a squeaker last week in Nashville. Could this be the week for the Jaguars first win?
Cleveland and Brian Hoyer might be distracted. QB Hoyer has shown his irritation with accused racketeer and Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslem that no long term contract extension has been forthcoming.
Hoyer is a Cleveland native and appeals to a lot of the blue collar fans more than frat-boy-on-the-bench Manziel. He has used up a lot of energy this week trying to be a good civic leader and has offered to try to recruit fair-weather Akron-Cleveland resident LeBron James into being a Browns’ fan.
Lebron just can’t stay away from being a front-runner in some form or another, even after coming back to the Cavaliers. Recently he has made sure that he has been strategically photographed numerous times in public sporting Dallas Cowboys gear.
This was just like his previous baseball snub of the hometown Cleveland Indians. Seeking publicity, favor and even more endorsements, James publicly declared his New York Yankee preference to the press. Lebron then appeared numerous times in public wearing a multitude of their putrid overpriced pinstripe accessories stitched together by some eight year old indentured servant in Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.
Just being passively involved with this walking, dribbling, dunking turncoat of expediency is bound to put Hoyer and, by extension, the Browns off their game this week.
Mr. Brutal: JAGUARS (+7)
Bob: JAGUARS +7
Cincinnati @ INDIANAPOLIS (-3.5) 49.5
The Bengals have not as of yet fired their field goal kicker. After missing that 36 yard field goal on Sunday in that horrible 37-37 tie with Carolina, many Bengals’ fans expected Mike “Wango Tango” Nugent to hit the bricks. Although his personal safety has not yet entered the Mitch Williams vs. Philadelphia Phillies’ fans level of concern, Mike felt measures should be taken. In a surprise move, he contacted distant relative, civil rights enthusiast and hand artillery expert Ted Nugent on possible measures to improve his personal security.
In other Bengal news, linebacker and best defender on the team Vontaze Burfict has been fined $25,000 for dirty play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. He gave Panther wide receiver and top draft pick Kelvin Benjamin a concussion and his post-whistle ankle twisting of Cam Newton and Greg Olson was cited by the league as excessive. Burfict maintains he was concerned for their orthopedic health and was only applying unsolicited curative chiropractic procedures.
Although we take the oft-concussed Vontaze at his word, this is just the type of odd freelance behavior that caused the once highly-rated and recruited Burfict to go undrafted out of Arizona State.
The Colts are cruising. Ten leisurely days off since their Thursday Night win in Houston. Andrew Luck looks like the best young quarterback in the league and owner Jim Irsay has served his six game suspension and amazingly has not violated his parole by going on a midnight pill run wearing a 1980’s Urban Cowboy shirt with bags of loose cash and empty plastic prescription painkiller bottles spilled all over the interior of his automobile.
Mr. Brutal: Bengals (+3.5)
Bob: COLTS -3.5
Minnesota @ BUFFALO (-5.5) 42.5
A great week for ex-Viking Adrian Peterson. Evidence has emerged that Adrian and friends were involved in some sort of expensive orgy that was paid for with AP’s personal corporate credit card assigned to his charitable foundation. Then the running back was universally mocked for his stupidity last week for announcing to the court officer drug testing him in Texas that he had just smoked a little weed. This is troubling for many reasons, not the least of which is the inane concept of the measure itself, as well as the hypocrisy and the invasion of privacy issues involved.
First of all, Adrian obviously felt the need to relax to better handle the stress of the legal, social media, personal and professional crisis that has enveloped him. We have no problem with that. It is obviously a better solution to calming one’s nerves than fraudulently financing reckless Plato’s Retreat style get-togethers at compliant hotels. These might involve unsafe sex, the passage of STD’s, and the possibility of unwanted pregnancies with more little Adrians running around the planet in need of corrective tree branch discipline.
Secondly, Adrian obviously isn’t a regular enough user of the maximum-calm cannabis varietals. If he was, his father-mode demeanor would have been more emotionally balanced and he would have understood that “Fifty Shades of Gray” is a work of adult escapist fiction and not a manual for child rearing.
Third, Mr. Peterson passed his drug test! So maybe he should have a word with his current dealer as per regard to the quality of his product.
The Buffalo Bills have been put on notice by their new owners. The Pegulas have stated everything and everyone is under review. Good, because the Bills’ coaching staff has yet to explain their counterintuitive game plan of not having your best defenders and offensive weapons on the field last Sunday at crucial times and how this was somehow conducive to beating the Patriots.
Mr. Brutal: BILLS (-5.5)
Bob: BILLS -5.5
Miami @ CHICAGO (-3) 49
Pick games involving the Bears and QB Jeff George, errrr, Jay Cutler at your own peril!!!!
Mr. Brutal: BEARS (-3)
Bob: BEARS -3
New Orleans @ DETROIT (-3) 48.5
Injuries to all their offensive weapons finally catch up to the Lions. Their pretty good defense can’t shut down this Saints offense totally. Our team of destiny Detroit Lions will have to wait until next week to resume their quest to the Super Bowl.
Mr. Brutal: Saints (+3)
Bob: SAINTS +3
Carolina @ GREEN BAY (-6.5) 49
Packers cruise. Three key players (Newton, Olson and Benjamin) for the Panthers were maimed by Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict last week who has now replaced Ndamukong Suh as the new John Dillinger poster in the NFL offices.
Mr. Brutal: PACKERS (-6.5)
Bob: Panthers +6.5
4:05 – 4:25 pm
Kansas City @ SAN DIEGO (-4) 45.5
The Chiefs have looked a lot better the last few weeks. It all started with that 41-14 beat down of the Patriots three weeks ago. They lost a close game they should have won in San Francisco the next week and then got a much deserved bye last week.
In that Patriots game, Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah returned an interception for a touchdown. He then was flagged for an illegal celebration when he knelt down and kissed the ground in the end zone.
The NFL reacted quickly to avoid yet another public relations embarrassment. The next day, the league said any future display of his patented post-score Muslim prayer celebration from that Monday Night game will not be scorned, frowned upon or penalized.
Well, no, not by the referees, game officials, the mostly tolerant San Diego fans in the stands this Sunday and the vast majority of sane, reasonable people watching across the planet… but the league has to know this display is stroke-inducing to the majority of Tim Tebow devotees across the non-secular universe.
When they initially saw Husain Abdullah’s little jubilee that Monday night on their televisions, many dropped their Pat Robertson marital advice pamphlets and checked the back yard for United Nations Black Ops Helicopters. They also swore their graphic living room statues and paintings portraying the gory crucifixion of Jesus actually started to bleed real blood and weep real tears.
However, people of the Christian evangelical bent should take heart. At least atheists and agnostics will not be treated equally or allowed the same latitude and tolerance by the National Football League, who thank goodness do not understand the concept of a totally non-aligned secular organization.
The NFL has actually ruled that any post-touchdown celebration that involves a player(s) squatting and assuming the approximate pose of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” should be viewed by on-the-field officials as offensive, excessive, inappropriate and provocative. It is not seen as a legitimate prayer and the referee shall penalize the offending team 15 yards after the kickoff for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The league subsequently ruled that the Alfred E. Neuman “What Me Worry” pose with both arms extended, palms up facing the sky has also been ruled as non-religious and shall also be penalized along with the patented “Tricky Dick” Nixon double peace sign .
The Chargers escaped the “Black Hole” and the dark side of the San Francisco Bay last week in Oakland and eked out a 31-28 win. This week they get another AFC West rival with Kansas City coming to Navy Town. The well-rested Chiefs should make this tight in what could be the game of the day. They also have the recent success of the Kansas City Royals to feed off in this game.
Mr. Brutal: Chiefs (+4)
Bob: SAN DIEGO -4
Arizona (-4) @ OAKLAND 44
Big news in Arizona– Bruce Arians has let perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald out of the Witness Protection Program. Last week he had his best game of the year. This may be occurring simply because it is now too late in the year for Fitz to realistically reach many of the generous performance bonuses written into his contract.
When owner Bill Bidwell had the Cardinals in St. Louis, he was notorious around the league for being the biggest cheapskate in the NFL. In terms of the attitudes/logistics of the 1960’s-70’s-80’s NFL, that is really saying something. He reneged and skimped on all manner of big and picayune issues: contracts, bonuses, solemn promises, team meal allowances, adequate laundry and practice facilities and used broken down twenty year old team buses.
Even though the Cardinals had huge fan support in St. Louis, he moved them to Phoenix in 1988 but vowed to push for the St. Louis fans to get their own team in the next round of expansion.
In a move of typical cynicism, he then backed Jacksonville and Carolina instead of St. Louis for expansion and initially opposed the Rams moving from L.A. to St. Louis. Of course, short-term financial gain was also involved in all of these decisions.
Now Bill is well into his eighties, and the day-to-day operations are overseen by his sons, Michael and Bill Jr. For a while, things looked better– the new stadium, better facilities and bigger contracts. But as seen by this Larry Fitzgerald situation:
“You can take the Cardinals out of St. Louis, but you can’t take the miser out of the Bidwell.”
Mr. Brutal: RAIDERS (+4)
Bob: Arizona -4
New York Football Giants @ DALLAS (-7) 48.5
Backup Cowboys’ running back Joseph Randle was arrested this week for stealing underwear and a perfume tester bottle at a Dillard’s Department store. His explanation was that he just couldn’t wait in the long line and was anxious to get home and change into the fresh underwear. While this is embarrassing on a personal level for Mr. Randle, it is also revealing as regarding other facts.
Maybe Jerry Jones is not dishing out quite the same generous “incentives” outside the salary cap that he was famous for a few years ago, at least not to the second stringers. Also, T. Boone Pickens better also review his recruiting inducements at Oklahoma State. It doesn’t look good for future recruiting prospects to see a second year NFL player and ex-OSU Cowboy so broke and wanting that he feels he has to steal drawers just to make ends meet.
What is it with Dillard’s? Fifteen years ago, FSU Heisman candidate WR Peter Warrick was caught in a shoplifting caper while playing for the Seminoles. In a typical example of Bobby Bowden justice, Warrick was suspended for only two games while co-flunky, grand-master thief, teammate, fellow WR, but third stringer Laveranues Coles was made the fall guy and kicked off the team.
Coles got his revenge however, and had a much more productive and financially-rewarding NFL career than Warrick.
Dillard’s should cash in on this by designing an advertising campaign to appeal to the easily-convinced younger demographics who will buy absolutely anything if there are even vague connections that link the product or service with athletes, actors, pop stars and the ephemeral concept of 21st Century celebrity.
“Come to Dillard’s, where even rich athletes can’t wait to get home and show off their purchases.”
“Dillard’s! Our stuff is so great, it’s worth risking grand theft felony charges just to possess the merchandise.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he now doesn’t really mind all those Dallas season ticket-holders selling off their tickets at a profit but would prefer if Cowboys’ fans actually attended all the games in the schedule.
He may get his wish. The hype and hysteria regarding the Ebola virus in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is bound to temper the rate of ticket repurchasing by Giants’ fans this week and other visiting teams fans later in the schedule. While this may bring a tight smile to the even tighter trampoline visage of Jerry Jones, it is unfortunate news for the Dallas/Greater Fort Worth Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Board.
The Crystal Palace that the Earl of Texas had built to house his Cowboys has made the stadium and city not just a journey’s end objective for football fans. It has made the bucket list, group tour, must-see destination agenda of tens of thousands of regular Americans. This panic over Ebola could stall the recent positive uptick in tourist traffic and subsequent improvement in the reputation of the city.
Until this monstrosity was built in 2009, Dallas had experienced a negative visitor image and mostly declining visitation numbers over a 46 year period that coincidentally commenced with the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin is bound to use the Ebola situation as an inspiration for his waffling warriors . We hear that the team was briefed on the situation by health professionals this week in preparation for their visit to “Big D.”
To inspire his charges and counter any anxiety the team may have preventing them from staying focused on the division-leading Cowboys, Coughlin plans on delivering a special pregame speech on Sunday. Commander Tom plans on entering the dressing room wearing a Haz-Mat suit. After delivering a fiery speech, he will disrobe, throw the suit against the wall, produce a Carcano Carbine rifle and shoot three (not four) bullets through it and declare:
“That is what I think of this situation, this city and those stinking Cowboys! Now let’s go out there and take our division back!”
Mr. Brutal: Giants (+7)
Bob: Giants +7
San Francisco @ DENVER (-7) 51.5
Great News! In a recent poll the Denver Broncos were declared “America’s Team.” This shouldn’t be a surprise. As we become more accepting of drones, driver-less Google cars, automaton baseball umpires and phone apps to perform even the simplest daily functions, it can’t be cause for bewilderment that the football team lead by Peyton Android would become the nation’s favorite.
While annoying to Jerry Jones that his Cowboys have lost the honor and were fifth in the poll, it should be remembered that this was always a self-imposed title, much like Michael Jackson anointing himself the “King of Pop.”
Colin Kaepernick declared himself redeemed this week when he got his fine for foul language on the field reduced in half after convincing the NFL brass that he didn’t utter a racial slur. This leaves the NFL, its officials, referees and players totally at a loss to define, understand and enforce this new rule. We haven’t seen such a convoluted mess concerning speech since Quebec passed Bill 101.
Unnamed sources say the NFL told referees to adopt the Potter Stewart Protocol regarding enforcement.
“You’ll know it when you hear it.”
This is hardly a definitive guideline for officials to follow in heated games between competitive and vocal athletes.
The original quote of the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was probably easier to ascertain regarding its subject matter, the delineation of hard core pornography.
“I know it when I see it.”
Although the 49ers defense is probably not healthy enough yet to stop Peyton and his quest for the all-time touchdown pass record, they should cause him some trouble. Contrarily, the Broncos defenwe probably can’t contain Colin Kaepernick and the Niners will have long drives which will keep this game close and Cylon Peyton off the field enough to at least attain a cover.
Mr. Brutal: Niners (+7)
Bob: Niners +7
Monday, October 20, 2014
Houston @ Pittsburgh (-4) 45
Another stellar Monday Night match-up courtesy of the Junior Varsity ESPN NFL Television Contract.
Texans’ top pick DE Jadeveon Clowney’s return status is iffy for this game– great news for the myriad of ex-jocks, pseudo-journalists and NFL shills that constitute the 12 hour Monday Night pregame show. How many different ways can you analyze the possible effect of having a bookend to J.J. Watt on the other end of the defensive line for this game? Binge watch the pregame preliminaries and find out for yourself.
The Steelers are old. Aging 33 year old safety Troy Polamalu’s freelancing is seldom effective anymore and his overall speed exposed when he is required to line up in a conventional base position in 77 year old Dick LeBeau’s fallback scheme.
Also of note– Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau has been signed on as a spokesman for AARP even though he isn’t actually retired.
Mr. Brutal: Texans (+4)
Bob: PITTSBURGH -4