(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…

(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, and it probably has something to do with those two facts. That’s all we’ve got. We used to spend a long time editing these things. This year, you’re getting them raw… so enjoy the Canadian “flavour.”)

Sunday, November 22, 2015
{ Bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh }
……………….. 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time ……………..

Hamilton Tiger Cats (11-8) @ OTTAWA REDBLACKS (12-6) (-6) 50.5

…… The Hamilton Tiger Cats looked like they would win the East easily at the start of the season & they were the favourites to return to the Grey Cup, only this time to win it. Everything went according to plan until disaster struck when QB Zach Collaros { University of Cincinnati } went down with a season ending ACL tear. At the time, the Tabbies were 8-3, Collaros led the League with 3,376 yards, 25 Touchdowns and was a favourite to win the MVP. Since then, Hamilton has gone 3-5, lost their second string quarterback Jeff Mathews { Cornell } and thus will have to count on third string signal caller Jason Masoli {Oregon}.

….. Last week, Masoli did lead them over the Toronto Argonauts in the Eastern semi-final with a decent fourth quarter, but mostly it was the Hamilton special teams that beat the Argos 25-22. For some strange reason, Toronto insisted on kicking to Brandon “Speedy” Banks {Kansas State} who piled up 198 yards in returns.

…. The Ottawa Redblacks are an expansion team in their second year of existence. They are the third professional team to play in the Nation’s Capital. The Rough Riders existed for 120 years till 1996. Then the Renegades briefly played from 2002 till 2005.

….. The Redblacks went 2-16 in their inaugural season in 2014 and many called for the firing of Head Coach Rick Campbell { son of legendary Edmonton Eskimo Coach High Campbell } and the release of 40 year old journeyman quarterback Henry Burris { Temple} who had a horrendous season behind a poor offensive line and a dearth of skill players. Their turnaround to 12-6 this year is nothing short of an unprecedented miracle for a true expansion team.

…. Most of this has been due to the Renaissance of Henry Burris. Although third all time in career passing yardage with 61,164 yards, Burris had won only one CFL Grey Cup as a starter in Calgary in 2008. However, many felt that the Stampeders were a stacked team that couldn’t fail. He has won many awards, but the overall perception of him is a quarterback who has been durable, good in the regular season but Andy Dalton disappointing in big games time and time again.

…. This year the team made some excellent additions through signings, draft picks & trades. The result had Burris starting all 18 regular season games, leading the league in passing yardage { 5,703 yards, a record for anyone in pro football over 40 } 26 touchdowns, 13 interceptions & setting the CFL record for completions in a single season with 481.

….. The Redblacks have just beaten the Tiger Cats in their last two regular season games before earning the Bye. On November 1st they went into a very windy Ivor Wynne and came away with a gritty 12-6 win. The next week they clinched the East with a very lopsided 44-28 pounding of Hamilton in Ottawa whose final score was actually flattering due to late fourth quarter back door Tiger Cat touchdowns.

…… The weather Sunday in TD Place should be cold with a good chance of snow. The Redblacks are 7-2 at home and many of their rabid fans are hoping for these conditions. Ottawa is more balanced in its attack & Burris likes to throw deep and test a secondary a lot, bad weather, wind, rain be damned. He usually comes away with success.

……..The two defences are close, with Hamilton having a slight edge in experience but Ottawa’s unheralded group led the entire league in fewest yards allowed (297.6 per game), rushing yards (70.8 per game), completions (20.2 per game) and in total sacks at 62.

…….. The special teams are with Hamilton, number one in the League, but in the last two regular season games Ottawa neutralized them with strategic kicking & their own big returns.

…… This game is all about the old guy. Henry Burris has just played one of the most outstanding seasons by a player in his twilight in professional sports history. He has conquered age, bad weather, fan disapproval and taken some hellacious cheap shots. He actually gained respect by many doubters after getting angry for one of the few times in his career. In the final game of the year he got up off the turf after a late hit & threatened a Tiger Cat player who was being ejected.

….. When his teammates saw the unflappable Burris show that kind of passion they rallied around him & in that moment maybe realized they were all riding a season of destiny. Often these Conference Final games aren’t as close as one would think. Hamilton has just finished playing their 19th football game of the year. The rest from achieving the Bye for Ottawa means more than in many other sports.

…. Or maybe this is just a game of destiny for all of us over 40.

Pick: REDBLACKS (-6)

Oakland @ DETROIT (Even) 47.5

….. The Lions won last week in Green Bay for the first time since 1991. That was 24 years, 14 quarterbacks 9 head coaches & 4 Presidents ago. The Lions did everything they could to give it back to the Pack, …… several missed extra points, bad play calls and flubbing an onside kick with Calvin Johnson’s hands turning to stone..

….. In the weeks before the game, the Lions had fired the Team President, the General Manager & most of the coaching staff. If the template is to be trusted than the logical next step is set. “Last Man Standing” head coach Jim Caldwell should be fired this week by 90 year old Martha “The Axe” Ford. The new Lions’ owner has been surprisingly ruthless since emerging from hibernation this past month and taking firm control of the team’s fortunes.

….. Even if Martha the Axe decapitates Caldwell & promotes new OC Jim Bob Cooter to head coach, the Lions’ won’t win this game.

… The Raiders lost last week in Oakland because the Vikings had the much better defense. Still the Raiders hung around and had a chance to win before falling 20-16. Coming into Motor City with 3 deep threats at wideout, on the fast turf of Ford Field against the Lions’ fair to middling to lousy ( due to injuries ) secondary favours Oakland enormously.
…… Also, this is a dangerous trap game for Detroit. They are far too high after their historic win last week in Green Bay & the look-ahead next week to Thanksgiving dinner which they usually seem to be more concerned with than their Turkey Day opponent.
….. The Raiders can still smell the playoffs & for the first time in decades are angry at their uneven play last week. Derek Carr told the Oakland media they will not make the same mistakes this week in Detroit.
….. These are not your father’s parole officer’s Raiders.

Pick: Raiders (Even)
Bob: Oakland Even

Indianapolis @ ATLANTA (-7.5) 47.5

…… Coming off the Bye week, the Colts will once again turn to their 21st Century version of George Blanda. Forty year old Matt Hasselbeck will take the snaps in “Hotlanta.” …… Andrew Luck is gone with a lacerated kidney. Rumours have Owner Jim Irsay flying to impoverished cities in the Far East with bags of money & briefcases full of prescription drugs searching for suitable organ donors in case drastic measures are needed.

Pick: Colts (+7.5)
Bob: Atlanta -7.5
New York Jets (-2.5) @ HOUSTON 41.5

….. Appraising the Offence of the Houston Texans reminds us of a critic who once commented on the Operas of Richard Wagner.

“They have their moments, …… but they also have their hours.”
…… But that sentiment is all about to change. After last week’s Monday night victory over Cincinnati, nothing it appears can stop the Texas Express. Recently resigned QB T. J. Yates came off the bench, threw a perfect, indefensible TD strike to WR DeAndre Hopkins who caught it with one hand late in the game. The Texans who always seem to have the Bengals’ number upset the tame tabbies 10-6.
….. Yates has the Bengals’ number, he beat them several years ago in the playoffs. We don’t believe he has a similar record against the Jets. HC Todd Bowles has had 10 days to prepare after the 22-17 loss last Thursday to the Buffalo Bills.

… Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick vows to play after surgery on his non throwing hand, which means first round backup Geno “The Chin” Smith is unlikely to play, ….. which is a good thing.

…… This also means Geno can go back to his half-assed approach to preparing to play quarterback for the Jets. He then can clandestinely continue full throttle training for his post NFL, MMA career. In about five years as their twin careers are in irreversible decline, he and the suddenly beatable Ronda Rousey can meet in a big payday cage match that would make Mickey Rourke, Danny Bonaduce & Tonya Harding proud.

…. The Jets’ defence is more aggressive than the Bengals. After all, Yates & the Texans only scored one touchdown and ten points against Cincinnati. New York rebounds off the 10 days’ rest to revive their playoff hopes.

Pick: Jets (-2.5)
Bob: Jets +2.5
Tampa Bay @ PHILADELPHIA (-7) 45.5

….. Well we knew it would happen. QB Sam Bradford would go down at some point this season because he is the “Dead Mummy Walking” of the NFL. He left the game against Miami with a concussion & shoulder injury. We were surprised he lasted this long.

….. The saddest thing is that Mad Scientist Chip Kelly had to send in backup Mark Sanchez, one of the worst high draft pick, high expectation, high level of dissapointment quarterbacks ever. He stunk the Linc out in leading the Eagles to predictable defeat at the hands of Troglodyte Head Coach Dan Campbell and the South Florida Sleeping Manatees.

….. Well stunk may be strong, ……Sanchez threw some nice balls, including a TD pass, but with 4 minutes left, trailing only 20-19 and in the red zone, Sanchez throws a skull cracking interception, costing the Eagles the game.
….. Sam Bradford could have signed a ridiculously generous 4 year extension with the Eagles in the pre-season with a huge guarantee. However he and/or his deluded advisers thought playing the season out would benefit them all more. We prophesied that this was a big mistake.

…… so is starting Mark Sanchez and hoping to cover 7 points.

Pick: Buccaneers (+7)
Bob: TB +7

Denver @ CHICAGO (Even) 43
……The Bears have awakened from their hibernation & a Sold Out Soldier Field could serve them well in the wind and cold this Sunday.

……. Denver’s Peyton Manning broke Brett Favre’s all time passing yardage record last Sunday in the embarrassing 29-13 home loss to Kansas City. He then was either rested and/or benched, forcibly put into real-time in-game rehabilitation/relaxation or eased into starting the final process of professional career euthanasia.

…. It all smelled like a Faustian Deal from the beginning with owner John Elway keeping Peyton Android starting this season just long enough to achieve that record.

…. That is until he is:

1.) ….. sent to the shop for a total refit, ….

2.) ….. the scrapyard, ….

3.) ….. or heading to retirement on the lost island of Misfit Toys.

….. Enter Paul Bunyan, QB Brock Osweiller, the 6’5″ tree from Arizona State. One could argue this will be the best quarterbacking the Broncos have received this year, barring Peyton’s one good game after the Bye.

…… This is the best the Bears have looked in two years and they are riding a two game winning streak coming home.

…… This is also the best Bears’ QB Jay Cutler has looked since he switched to filter tipped cigarettes. The Bears have awakened from their hibernation & a rowdy Soldier Field should serve them well in intimidating a young quarterback.
Pick: BEARS (Even)
Bob: Chicago Even

Saint Louis @ BALTIMORE (Even) 42.5

….. Both these teams gave away home games last week to underdogs they should have beaten.

….. Rams’ Head Coach Jeff Fisher made the decisive/random/desperate/clueless decision to bench Nick Foles and announce Case Keenum as the starting pivot.

….. We actually loved Keenum when he played at the University of Houston, breaking records left and right. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a great NFL arm. If you are going to go with Keenum you also need to tweek your offence to be more like the system he ran in college. It doesn’t have to be Oregon speed, but it should involve a semi no-huddle approach run with rhythm. You need multiple wide receiver sets & time to develop chemistry between the receivers and the quarterback.

….. Jeff Fisher will ignore that since he thinks it is still 1990 & just order OC Frank Cignetti to call more running plays to RB Todd Gurley, …. who has been great this year, but as a result of his success has made the Rams even more one dimensional than Ted Cruz talking about terrorist threats from refugees.

….. However, in this game against the Salmonella & Avian Encephalomyelitis ravaged flock of Ravens, running back Gurley will run free as Baltimore’s run defense is abominable. Keenum will at least be a personality boost from Nick Foles and the Rams won’t need to do much to keep this close and pull out a win.

Pick: Rams (Even)
Bob: Baltimore Even

Dallas @ MIAMI (Even) 47.5

…… The Dolphins got a great pass rush last week against the Eagles despite the loss of their best pass rusher, DE Cameron Wake for the season.

….. DT Ndamukong Suh has been mostly responsible with his improved play lately, but with his humongous contract his interest wanes.

….. Obviously he needs motivation to play up to his abilities. We suggest planting internet stories quoting Cowboy officials saying that they didn’t want to sign him as a free agent in the off season due to his lackadaisical efforts in Detroit, …. also, that he hasn’t played as well as Cowboy DE Greg Hardy and doesn’t possess his elevated moral fibre that is required for a free agent to put on a Dallas jersey.

…. Speaking of Hardy, he was fined this week by the Cowboys for missing a team meeting. He also had another televised minor blowup on the sidelines with a teammate last week against the Buccaneers.

….. A Dallas spokesman explained the fine by saying that the football team has very high standards, ……… when it comes to team rules.

…. Tony Romo is back this week and that is why this game is even. Sorry not buying the hype that he alone will put them on an undefeated winning streak into the playoffs.

Pick: DOLPHINS (Even)
Bob: Dallas Even
Washington @ CAROLINA (-8.5) 45

….. We underestimated Washington in their game last week with New Orleans. Well actually we underestimated how bad the Saints defence truly is. For example, before last Sunday’s game, Beltway QB Kirk Cousins had not thrown a TD pass this year over 11 yards of his 14 total.

…… In this game he threw Touchdown passes of: 16, 11, 78, 8. he torched the very porous Saints secondary, going 20/25 for 324 yards & a QB rating of 158.3.
….. However, the Saints are usually the best week for all opposing quarterbacks.

…. This week won’t be as easy.

…. Still, that is a big spread.
Pick: Aboriginal Morgue Remains Trophies (+8.5)
Bob: Skins +8.5
……………….. 4:05 – 4:25 pm Eastern Standard Time …………..

Kansas City (-3) @ SAN DIEGO 45
…… The Kansas City offence has actually improved since they lost super HB/WR/H-Back/Slot Receiver Jamaal Charles for the year a month ago.

….. The Chiefs defense has also improved. They are now top five in pass rushing & DE Justin Houston is wreaking havoc on offensive lines. This is bad news for the Chargers who are dead last in pass protection and are still missing three starters on the offensive line and another wide receiver.

……. Usually the Chargers collapse late in the year and miss the playoffs. This year it won’t be necessary as they have already flat-lined.

Pick: Chiefs (-3)
Bob: SD +3

Green Bay @ MINNESOTA (Even) 45

….. Could the Packers drop four in a row? Green Bay needs an easy defence to prime Rodgers & the offense. Unfortunately the Vikings have a head coach in Mike Zimmer who has always had well above average defenses, whether they were in Dallas, Cincinnati or Minnesota.

…. Now news comes that Aaron Rodgers is injured and might not start. We don’t believe that, it’s just a management group trying to disrupt the Vikes’ preparation or they are running interference against the latest Kardashian quality journalism that is plaguing Wisconsin speculating as to the state of Aaron Rodgers’ “Living or dating in sin!” relationship with unrepentant hussy cougar actress Olivia Munn.

…. If Rodgers doesn’t start this week we have a suggestion. Quickly sign Brett Favre out of retirement & have him start this game. Oh, don’t let him play the whole thing, just long enough to retake his passing yardage record back from Peyton Manning. This will then force the Broncos to think about restarting Peyton to meet their Faustian obligations to Manning or sticking with trying to win games.

….. Then the Packers could continue to play Favre only when Manning retakes the record & this could go on all year and be a pleasant Grumpy Old Men distraction from the regular yearly mundane fabricated football stories. It sure will temporarily derail the Midwest population’s current distraction with Aaron Rodger’s private life.
Pick: VIKINGS (Even)
Bob: Vikes Even

San Francisco @ SEATTLE (-13) 40

….. Can Blaine Gabbert win again against the former scourges of the NFC West? Normally we’d say no, but after watching the Seahawks collapse last week at home against the Arizona Cardinals.

…. Oh what the hell are we thinking? …… one good game does not a career make over all the horrific video we have watched of Mr. Gabbert @ Missouri & Jacksonville.
Pick: SEATTLE (-13)
Bob: Seattle -13
………………… 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time ………………..
CFL Western Final:

Calgary Stampeders (15-4) @ EDMONTON ESKIMOS (14-4) (-2) 47.5
(15-4) (14-4)

….. The Battle of Alberta resumes. It’s the Provincial Capital in the North against the Oil City in the South. Very eerily analogous to Austin, Texas playing Houston, Texas in a cultural sense.

….. Edmonton put together the best last stretch of anyone in the League, winning their last 8 games to clinch the Bye over Calgary. This streak coincides with the return of Edmonton starting quarterback Mike Reilly from injury. Their last loss was September 7th against the Stampeders on Labour Day in Calgary when they dropped a very close, hard hitting game, 16-7. However, they rebounded just 5 days later with a more convincing 27-16 win in Edmonton, starting their undefeated streak to the end of the year. Then in their third meeting on October 10, back in Calgary, Edmonton won again in a tough one, 15-11 to win the season series 2-1.

…… In the same stretch of games, those two losses to the Eskimos are the only defeats that the Stampeders have experienced. Calgary are the Grey Cup defending champions who easily defeated British Columbia last week 35-9. This ruined the inaugural head coaching year of the Lions’ Jeff Tedford { HC California, OC Tampa Bay, OC Oregon }

…… This match-up of course, much like the NFL will be all about the quarterbacks. Mike Reilly { Central Washington} for Edmonton against Bo Levi Mitchell { Eastern Washington, SMU }. Reilly has made the Eskimos into a solid team since his return from injury. His leadership & scrambling skills have been the major difference in the victories over Calgary.

….. Mitchell may be the best QB in the league, but his team just couldn’t handle Edmonton like they did last year when they rolled over them on their way to the title. The Eskimo defence gives Mitchell and the offense a lot of trouble in all areas.

…. However, the biggest factor in this game could be the loss of two starting offensive linemen for the Stampeders, injured in last week’s win over the Lions. The team scrambled to sign two replacements this week.
…. All the karmic signs point to an Edmonton win. Oil continues to fall & hits $40 a barrel, depressing the drilling & pipeline sector and most importantly the inflated Calgary housing & condiminium market worse than in any other city. The recent Federal election even resulted in the victorious Liberals winning four seats in this the most conservative province in the country. Two of these were won in Calgary itself, the most conservative city in Canada and the home of just defeated Prime Minister Harper.

…. Last spring the Province of Alberta for the first time in their entire history elected a non right wing government to take power. The Socialist NDP won an unexpected majority and now sit in Edmonton governing a faltered Petrol State that bet everything on rising oil prices, low taxes & ignored/neglected other crucial areas of governance.
…… all the momentum is with the Edmonton Eskimos. The weather could dip to freezing, but the wind should be under 15 mph & precipitation should not be a factor.

…… In a game this tight we’ll take the team that has won eight straight, the season series 2-1, possesses the hotter quarterback, the one week’s rest, the home crowd, the healthier roster & karmic destiny.

Pick: ESKIMOS (-2)
………………… 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time …………………..
Cincinnati @ ARIZONA (-5) 48.5

…. If the Bengals were still undefeated, this might have had the feel of one of the best games of the year. Carson Palmer playing his old team. The Cardinals coming in off the decisive win in Seattle. Andy Dalton vying for NFL MVP. The tough Arizona secondary against the depth of the Cincinnati receiving corps.

….. But after one unfortunate albeit predictable loss last week to Houston, everybody is abandoning our “Team of Destiny,” the Cincinnati Bengals. We feel that the stink-bomb on Monday night was just bad karma that couldn’t be avoided.

…… Just the week before, the University of Cincinnati lost a tough 33-30 game to the University of Houston. This obviously unnerved the Bengals and reminded them of their own terrible past games against the Houston Texans.

….. We all now the Bengals’ terrible history in prime-time, non Thursday night games. However they have only lost once, by four points & only gave up one touchdown in that game, losing 10-6.

….. As good as Arizona is, we like this game to be close & the Bengals to cover the crooked number. That is if Andy Dalton can stop crying and put J.J. Watts’ oh-so-mean post game name calling behind him and TE Tyler Eifert doesn’t turn into Edward Scissorhands for the second week in a row.
Pick: Bengals (+5)
Bob: Arizona -5

Monday, November 20, 2015
………………… 8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time …………………..

Buffalo @ NEW ENGLAND (-9) 49

…… One hundred and sixty six years ago this week in 1849 Fyodor Dostoyevsky first started writing the outline for his epic “Crime & Punishment” while imprisoned in a Siberian gulag. Fyodor was arrested because he was a member of a secret sect of liberal Utopians who were imprisoned because they threatened the reign of Czar Nicholas I. While being lined up for the firing squad, they were mysteriously spared at the last moment by a note from the Czar himself that commuted all the condemned men to 10 years in the worst prisons on earth.

….. After six years as a guest of the Czar’s generosity in Central Asia, he was forced into military service to finish his sentence in another part of Siberia. His health was permanently ruined, he almost died like countless others, but it motivated him to start writing all the ideas that swirled about in his tortured mind before he died.

…. In 1866 “Crime & Punishment” had its first segments published in Russian periodicals. From then to the Russian Revolution during WWI, Bolshevik, Menshevik and even Monarchist opponents of the Romanov Dynasty cited it as a rallying cry to inspire the eventual overthrow of the Russian royal family. At worst, the Romanovs were criminal despots who oversaw the slaughter, starvation & neglect of millions of Russians. At best they were criminally ignorant & detached monarchs who had hopelessly lost touch with the peasant masses.

….. The lasting legacy of the Dostoyevsky literature is that it has motivated intellectuals & revolutionaries of all political stripes to counter tyranny all over the world, even to this very day.

…… It hasn’t been 166 years since the Buffalo Bills last won in Massachusetts, but it isn’t too late to stand up against the Tyranny of Patriot Despotism. In fact the Bills won a game in Gillette Stadium last year, but that doesn’t really count. It was a meaningless end of season game that the Patriots used like a preseason contest to prepare for the playoffs. No, the last real win was in 2000 when the Bills beat them 16-13 in OT, …. only to lose the rematch a month later 13-10, also in OT back in Buffalo.

…… Since then, the rise of the despicable Patriot regime has continued ostensibly unabated. Seemingly borne of immoral behaviour, underhanded administrative techniques, altered drug tests, the employment of sleazy private investigators [ some who may have previously worked for Central American Juntas, the Russian FSB or as Watergate burglars ] voodoo witch doctors, in depth utilization of the dark net, blatant in-game cheating & unparalleled success on the football field.

……. All this has done is cause everyone to believe the phrase “Nice guys finish Last” is a scientific fact and that the existence of a benevolent Football God of Judgment is very much in doubt.
…… That all ends Monday Night. Even though we doubt that any current Buffalo Bill player or coach has read “Crime & Punishment”

…. [ Intellectuals Marv Levy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Turk Schonert & Billy Joe Gun-rack Hobert are no longer with the team ] ……

……. it still isn’t too late to apply its inherent literary metaphors & stand up against the Dictatorship of Patriot Despotism against the Proletariat.

……They haven’t been this vulnerable since Drew Bledsoe was starting. We know injuries haven’t affected the Patriots much in the past, but sooner or later they will.

….. RB Dion Lewis is gone for the year….. “Better Results through Prescriptions” WR Julian Edelman looks like his season might be over. He went down last week with a broken foot. If he returns before the playoffs, we will just have to attribute it to another Patriot medical miracle or confirm our suspicions that this team is obviously the favourite of the rumoured Almighty.

………. At least so far as it looks right now, neither Edelman’s new “miracle” training methods, his personal hyperbaric sleeping chamber, his visits to the on-line Oracle of Delphi, his special access to Tom Brady’s Holistic Life coach or his totally organically built Scott Steiner biceps will be able to bring him back to the football field for this Monday night.
……. WR Danny Ammendola cannot run the same quick slants as precisely or consistently as Edelman. Golden Boy Brady has continued to take more hits, including last week from the Washington football club of the forbidden name.

…… If the Bills play the same basic game plan as last week, don’t turn it over & Tyrod Taylor runs without reluctance the overthrow of Czar Belichik and the Kraftonov regime can commence.
Pick: Buffalo (+9)
Bob: Bills +9


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