(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, December 20, 2015

1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Chicago @ MINNESOTA (-5) 43

…. Both these teams have betrayed us in recent weeks. However the Vikes have the extra rest after giving a good effort in their 23-20 Thursday loss in Arizona. This could be the week that Bears’ QB Jay Cutler mentally packs it as we have seen him do countless times in the past when games just don’t present themselves as meaningful.

…. also, thanks to global warming, there are plenty of tee times still available in Chicago area Country Clubs this week, so why risk injury?

Pick: VIKINGS (-5)
Atlanta @ JACKSONVILLE (-3) 48.5

….. Oh how far the Falcons have fallen. Matty Ice is now officially treading below the Mendoza Line for NFL Quarterbacks.

Pick: JAGUARS (-3)

Houston @ INDIANAPOLIS (-2) 41.5
…… The Colts will likely have to start resident hipster beatnik Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback, son of former Packer QB David Whitehurst.

…… “Clipboard Jesus” will face the tough task of quarterbacking this limping, sinking, swerving Colts’ team that looks like it will finally lose the AFC South Division.

….. Forty year old back-up Matt Hasselbeck is banged up, showing his age and proof that replacement human joints made in China do not guarantee athletic immortality.

….. Franchise QB Andrew Luck has been ruled out again, due to serious complications from his lacerated kidney & owner Jim Irsay’s fruitless attempts to acquire a black market replacement for the injured organ.

…. Despite this, some impatient Colts’ fans have flooded Indianapolis talk radio calling out Mr. Luck as a “wimp,” “malingerer” and “salary cap bloodsucker.”

…… Awwww, …… the enlightened attitudes of some Hoosiers, residents of America’s most southern northern state.

Pick: Texans (+2)
Carolina (-5.5) @ NEW YORK GIANTS 48

….. The Panthers are possibly headed for an undefeated season. Despite their schedule, which has them beating mostly patsies with non-winning records ( just like the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins).

…… Carolina had shown some cracks in their quest for the untarnished season recently, giving up more yardage, touchdowns and big plays. That was until last weeks’ total and complete collapse by the Atlanta Falcons who walked into Charlotte in a game with playoff implications/hopes and lost 38-0.

…… An undefeated season and/or Super Bowl win by the Panthers would be a real boost to the region. Like New England & Minnesota, the Carolina Panthers by definition are linked not just with a city, but an entire region.

….. and that region could use a morale boost. The Appalachia part of the Carolinas in the far west is generally regarded as the poorest in the nation. When bad times hit the country they hit Appalachia harder than anywhere else. The region has also been the slowest to recover. In a recent economic report it was determined to be just now coming out of the recession started from the 2008 financial crisis.

………. So we are pulling for the Appalachian State Mountaineers out of Asheville, North Carolina on Saturday as they face the Ohio Bobcats in their first FBS ( Division One? ….. still can’t remember these stupid acronyms) Bowl game in Montgomery, Alabama. Winning the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl will be the biggest thing to happen for the area since App. State went to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2007 and defeated the Wolverines 34-32 in an upset so great that it sealed the fate of Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr.

……. Unfortunately, not everything in the Carolinas is as enlightening as football stories.

….. Recently, the Woodland, North Carolina Town Council rejected a permit for a company to build a solar farm. There is nothing strange about that except for some of the reasons that residents gave for their objection.

…… Some said property values would plummet and others claimed the farms were ugly, would take away jobs & result in all the young people leaving the area because there would be nothing left to live for. They said that the population had been declining for 50 years because young people found the town to be so unattractive.

One resident declared that the farms would use up all the power from the sun.

….. Then a retired high school science teacher brought some rational calm to the proceedings by pointing out that the solar panels were denying trees and plants in their vicinity the ability to perform photosynthesis. She then proclaimed that solar energy causes cancer and nobody could convince her of otherwise.

….. The Town Council than voted 3-1 against giving the company a permit and put a moratorium on any future plants.

….. To be fair, the International media seized on this quickly without reporting there were three other solar farms already in the area and many suspicious residents were just sick of looking at them and felt they were being surrounded. However, all of the concerns reported were voiced at the meeting.
……. In South Carolina as well, there are signs that some enlightenment would be welcomed.

…. Recently, a member of the SC Legislature filed a bill requiring that men have to serve a 24 hour waiting period before filling a Viagra prescription. South Carolina Rep. Mia McLeod filed a motion to make a point about women’s reproductive rights. She proposed that it should be as hard for men to get erectile dysfunction drugs as it is for women to get an abortion. All of the following would have to be undertaken:

1.) …. A minimum 24 hour waiting period between the prescriptions’ issue and filling.

2.) …… In that waiting period they must undergo an exam by a sex therapist to overrule “psychological conditions that might be causing the problem.

3.) ……. They also must undergo stress tests to see if they are healthy enough for sex.

4.) …… They must produce a notarized affidavit from a sex partner confirming their ED claims.

5.) …… Undergo at least three counseling sessions where they will be encouraged to “pursue celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”
…… Of course all of this is to counter the ridiculous, backward “War on Planned Parenthood and Women” that has spread to South Carolina as birth control clinics are being investigated, harassed, and closed thanks to right wing propaganda and doctored videos.

…. The path to enlightenment stops this week in Gotham. The Giants have motivation and a way of playing the top teams tough. Carolina has clinched everything pretty well required in the NFC except the flawless season.

…….. Giants at home need the win and are getting points. HC Rivera may be resting people by the third quarter, and not because the Panthers have a big lead.

Pick: GIANTS (+5.5)
Tennessee @ NEW ENGLAND (-16.5) 47
…… Tom Brady has been brushing off questions about his great admiration for Donald Trump again this week.

….. Tom doesn’t want to answer because he now realizes supporting Fascism may cost him some branding value. However, Tom can’t have it both ways ( or shouldn’t ). He is the one who brought Trump’s name up with reporters a few weeks ago. He is the one who could only articulate that the Donald would be a good choice to lead the country only because “He golfs with me and treats me right.”

…. and Tom, you are the one who has that ridiculous “Make America Great Again” hat strategically placed on your locker shelf to be seen by all the reporters.

….. Tom, we realize your dilemma. It is hard to defend your good friend when he releases a medical report this week that appears to have been written by Kim Jong-un’s personal doctor. …… And it must be really troubling to come to the conclusion that the Trump foreign and domestic policy appears to have been copied from the script of Borat.

….. Brady & Gronkowski didn’t practice this week, but are expected to play. We just never take the Patriots when they are given these huge spreads. With so many starters playing hurt or injured, Belichik may have to rest many late if New England is leading by double digits.

….. Therefore, the Back Door looms!

…… Titans QB Marcus Mariota will do just enough to cover this double digit spread.

Pick: Titans (+16.5)
Buffalo @ WASHINGTON (Even) 44
…… In a recent bizarre on-line poll, …. people were asked to pick suitable candidates who could temporarily replace Little Danny Snyder as interim owner of the Washington Aboriginal Body Parts and do a better job of running the team while simultaneously leading the fight against ISIS in the Middle East.

….. The top choices:

3.) Krampus the Eastern European Christmas Demon

2.) El Chapo Guzman the escaped Mexican Drug Cartel Boss

1.) The New York Pizza Rat

…… If Danny Snyder ever gets the Donald Sterling treatment for refusing to change the team nickname, we’ll know who to call.
….. Last chance for the Bills who need a miracle to make the playoffs. Washington has more to play for so, in an even game, we probably should take them.

…. But we just don’t trust them.

Pick: Bills (Even)
Kansas City (-8) @ BALTIMORE 43

….. For some reason this game scares us. Until last week, the Ravens, as bad as they are, lost close games. This was partly because teams may have played down to them. Then last week, the streaking Seahawks came into town and flattened Baltimore 35-6.

…. That accounts for this high number, way too high for the Chiefs.

Pick: RAVENS: (+8)

4:05 pm Eastern Standard Time
Green Bay (-3) @ OAKLAND 46.3

….. Could be one of the games of the day. Packers come in after beating the Cowboys and the Raiders are high off their upset win in the Mile High City over the Denver Broncos and their popgun offence.

…… The Pros and Whales in Las Vegas smell an upset, ….. we smell an upset, ….. and the Black Hole smells the vomit, urine, medical marijuana smoke and the neglected roach & vermin droppings that make up the fragrance of victory in the Coliseum.

Pick: RAIDERS (+3)

Cleveland @ SEATTLE (-16.5) 43.5

….. Good thing the Browns and Johnny “Nine Lives” Manziel won last week 24-10 over San Francisco. It temporarily iced an emergency protocol that would have been unprecedented in the NFL.

…… Rumours abounded that the NFL was ready to follow the lead of Commissioner Adam Silver of the NBA. The 1-26 { that’s right, one win in 2015 } Philadelphia 76r’s have been so inept that the embarrassment became too much. People started to question whether this team was tanking for reasons beyond just picking higher draft picks. The integrity of the League was being questioned. The NBA is very cautious about integrity of the game issues in light of the Tim Donaghy scandal.

….. Commish Adam Silver, with the other owners blessing decided to appoint former Phoenix Suns boss Jerry Colangelo to the new position of “Chairman of Basketball Operations” for the Philadelphia 76r’s.

…. This is to ostensibly babysit the pathetic Bozos in Philly from running the franchise right off the map.

….. The only problem with the NFL doing anything that would help the situation in Cleveland was the majority of owners wanted the Browns to continually suck, …… damn the optics. The final nail in the protocol proposal was the preseance of Jerry Jones on the emergency committee.

….. He continually lobbied hard that him becoming “Chairman of Football Operations for the Cleveland Browns” would not be a conflict of interest with his duties running the Dallas Cowboys.

….. He argued that his plans for the Cowboys attaining Johnny Manziel for Matt Cassell in a straight up trade could only help Cleveland and throwing in Cleveland TE Gary Barnidge just so he could observe him close up to assess him for his billionaire’s fantasy football league team did not present any ethical dilemma.

…… Browns’ coach Mike Pettine inadvertently took the focus off Johnny “All Nighter” Manziel for this game by omitting Seattle QB Russell Wilson from his list of elite quarterbacks during a radio interview. He probably didn’t mean anything by it, but the 12th man will consume it like rocket fuel for this otherwise motivation-less game.

…. As good as Wilson is playing, he will suffer eventually like Tom Brady did earlier in the month with so many skill players out.

….. The “Dancing Gnome from Tyler, Texas” finds a way to cover again.

Pick: Browns (+16.5)
4:15 pm Eastern Standard Time

Denver @ PITTSBURGH (-7) 45

….. We voiced concern for QB Brock Bunyan’s recent leadership of the Broncos and their sputtering offence. Coach Gary Kubiak tried to quell the possibility of a rising upswell of support to reinstate Peyton Android by announcing that Human Oak Tree Osweiller will continue to start.

…. The Steelers are the team that most emulates the Patriots when it comes to the quarterback hitting those quick crossing routes that beat linebackers in coverage. A few weeks ago, the Broncos stopped that practice by tough man to man bumping at the line of scrimmage and beating the Patriots.

….. The Steelers have better receivers right now than the injured Pats did for that game. However, this is a tough Denver defence that wins a lot of games with or without the offence putting up points.

…… The Public pushed this line all week because of their love affair with the Steelers. Vegas finally had to bump it, but they were reluctant to move this line from (-6.5) to (-7), knowing the Sharps would jump on the Broncos at (+7) or more.

…… and so we will leap, …..

Pick: Broncos (+7)

Miami @ SAN DIEGO (-1) 46

unnamed (2)

….. This seemingly meaningless match-up brings back Memories of the great RB and all around super athlete Chuck Muncie. Muncie was originally a scholarship basketball player and became a Heisman Trophy runner-up for the University of California Golden Bears football team. At University, unlike many other athletes, he actually attended classes and graduated with a degree in Social Studies.

…….. He played the bulk of his NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers. He left New Orleans in the midst of a team drug scandal and ended up as the main running back in the “Air Coryell” offense led by QB Dan Fouts in 1980.

…… He was a unique combination. A tough physical ball carrier with elusiveness and speed and could catch the ball when required. He didn’t have the benefit of a fullback very often, like most other runners of that era because of the nature of the Charger offense. He set all kinds of team records for the Saints and Chargers during his time on their rosters.

…… However, Chuck really enjoyed tripping and partying when he wasn’t playing football. He spent the entire off season, … uhhh, …. indulging.

…… Teammate and WR John Jefferson once recalled a first day of training camp with the Chargers.

…… “Chuck Muncie walked in, and just one look at him told you that he had not even walked around the block once during the off season. He was at least 15-20 pounds overweight, had a five day growth of beard, saggy skin rings under his eyes and smelled of cigarettes and last night’s whiskey. Guys didn’t work out that much away from football back then, but Chuck took it to another level.

……. The first drills they did were wind sprints and 40 yard dashes. I was convinced that the coaches were partly doing this to teach Muncie a lesson and have him puking his guts out on the field.

…… Despite his condition he beat every single Charger easily. Not once, but every time on every speed drill. When the first break was called, he walked over to the stands and lit up a smoke. Some of the corner backs, safeties and other wide receivers looked at each other in disbelief. How great could this guy be if he even gave a nodding acknowledgment to professional responsibility in the post season?”

….. Off course after a few more years of burning the candle at both ends, drug problems, missing team meetings and flights Chuck was traded to Miami in 1984. He looked 10 years older than his age.

….. As it turned out, the Dolphins were short running backs that season and in desperation traded for Muncie. They didn’t sign him. Insiders said it was a close call for Don Shula and the management. He was impressive in the workout they gave him, but his appearance and attitude warned them off along with failing the urinalysis test.

…… Later we remember seeing a Miami reporter interview Mr. Muncie outside the crappy Motel he was vacating before heading out of town right after the tryout. Chuck was chain smoking through the whole conversation, was obviously carrying 10 extra pounds around the middle and looked like a NIck Nolte mugshot.

……. “I don’t know what the hell they want, I beat all their players’ best times in the 40 and the sprints. Do they want help or a male model?”

……. Chuck tried a few more comebacks but his drug problems persisted. He ended up in prison, homeless on the street and near death. Then somehow, he turned his life around by the end of the eighties. For 20 years, he worked with youth, gave speeches and ran several successful businesses.

….. Sadly, he died at age 60 from a heart attack in 2013. His previous lifestyle was a major contributor to his early departure.

…… Many say Chuck Muncie could have been the greatest running back of all time, including Jim Brown. His human weaknesses prevented that. Many said he had to be Superman to play the way he did under the constant abuse he gave his body.
….. The Chargers and the Dolphins, either team could use a running back half as good as Chuck Muncie right now as they are lacking in that department. We can’t trust the Dolphins who barely beat the Ravens two weeks ago and lost to the giants on Monday night.

…. The Chargers offense again betrayed them as they sputtered at the one yard line in the final seconds after a lengthy drive that should have tied the game against Kansas City. Instead, a tough 10-3 loss.

…. Short week for the Dolphins, the long flight to Lotusland and a team with some bad actors on defense who didn’t even attempt to hit or tackle New York receivers or running backs last week puts us in the San Diego camp.

Pick: CHARGERS (-1)

Cincinnati (-4) @ SAN FRANCISCO 40.5

unnamed (3)….. A curse has descended upon the Queen City and our “Team of Destiny”. The Bengals lost more than the game to the Steelers last Sunday. QB Andy Dalton with a broken thumb gone for the season (more than likely), Number One Touchdown Machine TE Tyler Eifert with a concussion and slightly crazy/dirty/top defender LB Vontaze Burfict to concussion/neck injury knocked out of the game.

…. Eifert and Burfict should both play against the Forty Niners, but these lingering head traumas have happened to both of them before, so they are susceptible to being knocked out early again this week.

…. Then to double down on the downers for the city, Cincinnati Reds’ legend and all time hits leader Pete Rose was again denied acceptance back into the world of baseball. This subsequently means any reasonable chance that Peter Edward Rose will achieve his life long goal of admittance into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is kaput.

…… MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred ruled that Rose “Still wasn’t suitable to be formally associated with MLB and had not sufficiently changed in his lifestyle to convince him of otherwise.”

….. Spare Me, …..

….. The sanctimonious arrogance of Baseball’s upper echelon is always something to behold. Hopefully the League and the Baseball Hall of Fame will one day focus on the accomplishments of the players on the diamond and not the Public Relations risk of their image being tarnished by associating their product with people who are less than virgin pure of soul.

…… This from a League that had/has countless steroid/PED cheats and criminal owners residing in throughout their history, present rosters and even in their hallowed edifice of divine righteousness in Cooperstown.

…….. Many of the admitted owners to the Hall made a lot of their money through gambling associations, under-handed land deals, union busting, hostile business takeovers, stock fraud and numerous other Wall Street scams.

….. Ty Cobb, the man whose many hits records Rose eclipsed was a real piece of work, ……. but he is in the Hall. An avowed racist, the volatile Cobb probably killed at least one person in his lifetime fully out of spite. He bragged about this, so he could just have been lying and bragging. However, evidence from his many teammates, associates, opponents & journalists over the years tells us this may have been just the tip of the iceberg of his copious transgressions.

…… Shoeless Joe Jackson still isn’t in the Hall. Forever associated with the “Black Sox” scandal of 1919, where the Chicago White Sox threw the World Series for money mostly because of the hatred/contempt many of them had for their greedy/cheapskate/dictatorial/millionaire owner Charles Comiskey.

…… There was no doubt the World Series was corrupted that year, but the eight players accused won in court and there is some question as to how many of the players actually participated. At the top of that list was Buck Weaver and Jackson, whose statistics for the Series were outstanding and showed no evidence of guys who were in the bag.

…. Of course, Major League Baseball couldn’t afford the image problem. They appointed the first Baseball Commissioner “Kenesaw Mountain Landis” who was given autocratic powers and banned all the players for life. Landis was a controversial figure himself. He was appointed partly because of the massive publicity and image he attained in helping to break up the Standard Oil Trust of John D. Rockefeller. He was perceived to be incorruptible.

….. Well time passes and his image has been tarnished somewhat. He resisted the integration of baseball right till his death in 1944, but his apologists say he was considered a liberal on the race question in that time and brought much needed stability to a sport that had to distance itself from gambling.

….. His critics point out how he avoided exposing various corruption & collusion scandals amongst the owners, how he would never even consider reviewing any of his decisions ( like the Black Sox lifetime bans ), that he was a stooge for the big, rich teams and that he was a racist himself who delayed the erasure of the colour line in the sport by publicly acting like Pontius Pilate while privately putting up roadblocks to progress because he didn’t want to rock the gravy train and because that was what the majority of the owners wanted.

…… Of course, Judge Landis is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was admitted after a “Special Committee” vote just two weeks after his sudden death in 1944.

….. Look, Pete Rose is a slippery, less than honest individual who paints a pathetic picture sitting patiently with his puffy face, his over dyed hair, signing overpriced memorabilia in a Las Vegas shopping mall all day long. At least he got all his records without steroids.

…… But in this shades of grey moral universe, day and age, can’t we just acknowledge his checkered past, his numerous transgressions, his lack of honesty, …….. along with his incredible statistics, …… put them all together on a plaque and hang that below his bust in Cooperstown and let people read and judge it for themselves.
….. Kind of scared to take the Bengals here with a young Alabama quarterback starting. The last member of a Crimson Tide team to start and win an NFL football game was Jeff Rutledge in 1988 for the New York Giants, …. and he was a ten year veteran.

…. Alabama once gave the League star signal callers like Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler and Richard Todd. In the last 40 years, they’ve given zilch to the cause. Obviously we can’t blame all of that on Tricky Nicky Saban, …. but we’d like to.

…… The Bengals are the far better team with far more talent. They are far deeper in the skill positions. The return of CB/KR/PR Adam (don’t call me Pac Man) Jones should be a boost.

…… QB A.J. McCarron actually looked pretty good in the pre-season and last week put up good stats ( except for the two interceptions ) when he was thrown into the Steeler game already well behind.

….. Here’s predicting that the trend ends Sunday and our 2015 “Team of Destiny” gets back on track.

Pick: Bengals (-4)

8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
Arizona (-3.5) @ PHILADELPHIA 50.5

unnamed (4)….. Pretty good Sunday match up if the Eagles play their best. They’ll have to play that well at least to derail the Bruce Arians express.
…… for a long time this year, we thought Eagles’ Head Coach Chip Kelly was behaving like Union General Henry Halleck during the Civil War. Halleck was a documented and qualified leader, but when he became General in Chief of the Union Army his ego warped his thinking and he resorted to petty jealousy.

…. After subordinate General Ulysses S. Grant won the Battle of Shiloh, Halleck started rumours and reported to Lincoln that Grant was drinking again and had squandered a chance at a much larger victory. [ none of this was true]

…. Grant was demoted, but eventually, Grant replaced Halleck because Lincoln wasn’t a fool and looked into the matter. The rest is history.

…. By running Nick Foles, DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy out of town, Kelly showed a lot of the same tendencies.

…… However, Kelly and the Eagles have found their groove and are Marching to the Sea, Appomattox and the NFC East title.

….. We’ll take the home team and the hook.

Pick: EAGLES (+3.5)

Monday, December 21, 2015

8:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
Detroit @ NEW ORLEANS (-3) 51
……. Even the threat of 90 year old Detroit owner Martha “The Guillotine” Ford performing more sudden Executive cleavage to the Lions’ management & coaching probably won’t help them any more this season. Although we’d like to see the useless HC Jim Caldwell turfed out as soon as possible, his future in the Motor City is likely short anyway. Seeing him head this team next year would only prove that Mrs. Ford is understandably suffering from some degree of senility.

…… The Saints went into Tampa last week and beat the four point favourite Buccaneers in a result we predicted. Drew Brees always plays hard, despite the team’s record. One can’t say the same for Detroit QB Stafford.

Pick: SAINTS (-3)


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