Gang, you guys have been excellent this week, and thanks to all of you who have offered congratulations on last week's award. It means a bunch.
We are on the road today, so we'll try to be quick. It's fall break for the kids, which begs the question when in the world did fall break become a thing? And while in the name of Captain Kirk's phaser are we sending them back the first week of August to take the first week of October off?
Hope you were properly entertained on last night's win by home underdog N.C. State. Good times.
Here, before we get rolling, are this week's NFL picks. Last week's 4-0-1 showing counting the Thursday night win with the Packers pushes us to 9-8-1. Which on the entertaining scale is like going to your aunt's house and watching their vacation film, but they have a stocked bar. It's barely entertaining, but there's a glimmer of hope now.
Two quick NFL points before we get to the picks.
First, we are in a place that the Rams are favored over the Seahawks — and rightly so — and if you want a side tangent to the dipping NFL ratings, check out some of these heavyweight quarterbacking showdowns this weekend:
Hoyer vs. Brissett; Cassel vs. Cutler; Keenum vs. Trubisky; Flacco vs. Manuel; McCown vs. Kizer. NFL action. It's fantastic. Or not.
Miami plus-3 over Tennessee. Yes, we'll buy the half, and yes, we're backing the side that has scored one meaningless TD in the last eight quarters. But (pause for dramatic effect) Miami is playing its first home game. Miami has been pretty stout against the run. And Miami is getting the chance to play against Matt Cassel. Home underdog getting more than a field goal while storming the Cassel? Yes, please.
Detroit minus-2.5 over Carolina. The Lions defensively are very good. They force turnovers and their secondary is excellent. Been a trying week for the Panthers, with Cam stepping on his tongue — again — and all the fallout that comes with that. Here's betting last week's big numbers against the Patriots will be tougher to replicate against the Lions. (And how's that for a sentence you never expected to read and we never expected to type.)
L.A. Rams minus-1 over Seattle. Not sure when it happened, but the Rams have the most complete offense in the division and have the game's best defensive player you may not know about. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is an absolute wrecking ball, and the Seahawks' offensive front is in shambles. We like that edge.
Philadelphia minus-6.5 over Arizona. The Cardinals are bagged up on offense and needed a Larry Fitzgerald overtime TD catch to beat the dreadful 49ers. The Eagles are good and playing better than you may realize — they are third in total yards — and their lone loss was a one possession game at Kansas City. Now remember that the Cardinals are coming across the country for a 1 p.m. Eastern kick.
This week's Rushmores and today in history
Rushmore of rock and roll bands — Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin, Queen. (And this one is different for everyone.)
Rushmore of bucket list (team) sports venues — Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Notre Dame Stadium, and while we would lean toward Jordan-Hare, we'll go Lambeau Field. (Bucket list of sports venue, non-team sports variety: Augusta National, Churchill Downs, Indy Motor Speedway, St. Andrew's.)
Rushmore of movie/TV queens. Cersei, the chick from Frozen, Helen Mirren in The Queen, and the King of Queens.
Rushmore of newspaper comic strips: Charlie Brown, Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side and Garfield.
Anwar Sadat was murdered by Islamic extremists in 1981.
A tavern owner who bought a World Series ticket for his goat in Chicago was asked to leave and issued the goat curse on the Cubs in 1945.
LeBron James Jr. is 12 today.
Elisabeth Shue of Karate Kid and Adventures in Babysitting fame is 53.
Jerry Heller, who was played by Paul Giamatti in Straight Outta Compton, is 75 today.
Yes, slow day.
AP fought AGAINST the United States. Of course after the CSA lost the war old AP wanted to get back in good graces.
I put the Daughters of the Confederacy in the same box with the rednecks in the Sons of Confederates.
You should have spent that wasted hour with a man of color on the street.
OMG. Did I hear that you were named the best columnist/reporter?
HOW??????? Were you the only one in the election?