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Butler! Beno! How Can We Lose?

3-10 vs. the spread? 3-10 vs. the spread? How is this possible? Do I have any oxygen flowing into my brain? Was that odor that I assumed was emanating from my fridge actually the inevitable smell of my head up my ass? This is horrible. The only times my whole life I've felt this stupid before involved women. Football I thought I knew a little about. This is so depressing.

Just ponder these moments of genius from last week...

"Unless Cadillac goes nuts, Cincy will get this game, and rather easily. Bengals to win and cover." Final score Tampa Bay 14, Cincinnati 13.

"Titans blew their wad last week methinks and Vince Young and co. will have a rough go of it against a run defense that's usually pretty stingy." Final Score Tennessee 25, Washington 22. Redskins give up 193 rushing yards.

"Damon Huard is the 2nd highest ranked QB in football, Larry Johnson is playing, and the Steelers all kinds of suck. What am I missing here? Chiefs to win and cover." Final Score Pittsburgh 45-7. Guh.

I guess this is what happens when I try to make picks while watching jiggly cheerleaders. Or maybe it was stress from the school week. The 13 hours I'd slept all week may have been a factor. And looking back on it, snorting a whole kilo of coke was probably a mistake.

I shall endeavor to do better this week. I really have no choice. My fibula is in one piece and I'd prefer it to stay that way. And...and...I've lost my train of thought. Holy shit. The Dolphins are bringing a lot of quality to these cheerleader playoffs. Oh dammit, I'm gonna bugger it up again.

But before all of that, here's the obligatory Spurs reference... John Hollinger of ESPN released his annual player efficiency ratings. He says we've got three of the top 25 players in the Association (no arguments here) with Frenchie McWonderbutt the 5th best point guard, The Hustlemaker the 4th best shooting guard, and Mr. Excitement as the 7th best power forward. That's not a surprise. Actually Tim's rating is a couple notches too low in my opinion, but whatever.

What was a shocker is his evaluation of one Jackie Butler. According to Hollinger our backup (possibly 3rd string) center is the 6th most productive big man in the world, on a per 40 minutes basis. However he did average only 13.5 minutes a night last year for a woeful Knicks team that nobody, including their own roster, took seriously so it might be foolish to extrapolate his numbers too much. I get the feeling the more he plays, the less impressive his PER rating will look.

Not to say I'm down on the guy. So far in two preseason games against NBA squads he's combined for 42 minutes, 15 points (on 7 for 11 shooting) and 7 rebounds. However he had 4 fouls in the first game and 5 in the second, so it might be tough for him to see more than 20 minutes a night for Pop, no matter how well he can score. There is also the matter of him being a bit on the tubby side. I found it a bit alarming that in a recent Johnny Ludden column, it was revealed that Butler couldn't even run a suicide sprint in under 18 seconds. I don't know what a suicide sprint is, but that can't be good.

One thing's for sure though is that he'll lose some tonnage if his butt is on the floor 20+ minutes for 82 games. I'll be ecstatic if Butler finishes as one of the 15 best centers this year when all is said and done, and I bet Pop would be too. I'll admit, the prospect of making Isiah look like a doofus for letting this guy go for relative peanuts does have me giddy.

Another thing to take into consideration is that according to these same rankings, Beno is the 23rd best point guard in the NBA. Apparently he averaged 18 points and 6 dimes per 40 minutes last year. Just splendid considering it'll be an upset if he cracks the 40 minutes plateau by the end of November. I'm kind of suspicious of any stat that says we need more Jackie and Beno, and less Findog and Bones. Stay tuned, I guess.

Okay, enough of that. Got the next eight months to talk about hoops. Let's see how the other dopes did picking last week games. Cowboy fan Peter King went 6-7 (a good week for him) to bring his record to 37-44-6 so far. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/peter_king/10/11/week6/index.html

Meanwhile the Sports Couple had another mediocre weekend as well. The Patriots homer finished 7-6 to creep up to 44-40-3 while the missus (with the expanding fan base) slumped through a 5-8 week to drop her to 47-37-3, still well out in front of everybody. Did I mention that she doesn't watch the games or know anything? http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/nfl/061020

My lobotomy worthy 3-10 brings me crashing back to .500 at 42-42-3, with an overall record of 62-25 picking the winners. The disparity between those two is way too large and something has to give sooner or later. Pretty soon I'm just going to start flipping coins (which will tie in nicely with my future career of flipping burgers).

Onto the picks...

San Diego at Kansas City (+5.5) A tough one right off the bat. On one hand, the Chargers are the much better team. On the other hand, Herman Edwards has a history of being lucky against Marty and the Chiefs are always tough at Arrowhead. They intimidated the hell out of Alex Smith, a young QB there a couple of weeks ago. So of course, I'll take the wussy way out. Chargers to win, Chiefs to cover. (Picks like this explain that disparity I was just talking about).

Jacksonville at Texas (+8) The fellas at NFL network are making a big stink about Leftwich's ankle history and they're not sure if he'll start or it'll be Garrard. Who cares? They're both equally good. Jaguars to win, Texans to cover.

New England at Buffalo (+5.5) I hate this bullshit division. Goddamn lucky ass Patriots. Why not just place the Raiders in the AFC East while they're at it? Good for nothing arrogant pricks. I hope I'm wrong about this pick. I really do. Patriots to win and cover. Grrrr.

Pittsburgh at Atlanta (+2.5) As bad as last week went, it does make me feel just a little bit smarter that just now the folks in Bristol are starting to wake up to the fact that Mr. Vick is to quarterbacking what Mr. Cuban is to haircuts. Maybe in December the worldwide lea-duh will have an epiphany about Shaq being a poor free throw shooter. He can't suck any worse, it's not possible. So of course he goes on Inside the NFL and throws his whole team under the bus. He actually had the nerve to say that he's good as Brady, Manning, and McNabb. Sure Mike. It's all everybody else's fault. If there is a God, one day him and T.O. will be teammates. They deserve each other. Did I mention that he looks like a gay pirate? Steelers to win and cover.

Green Bay at Miami (-5) Brett Favre's team is so respected that he's a five point underdog to a 1-5 Miami team that's quarterbacked by Joey Harrington. What a slap in the face. They'll cover this spread unless he throws three picks. In other words, I have no idea if they'll cover this spread. One of these days I'm going to get a Dolphins game right, dammit. Dolphins to win, Packers to cover.

Philadelphia at Tampa Bay (+5.5) If defensive coordinator Jim Johnson of my beloved Eagles doesn't blitz this rookie QB at least 20 times, I'm going to be mighty grumpy on Monday. I'm dead serious when I say Philly can kiss the NFC East title good bye with a loss here, so it's time to man the fuck up. Eagles to win and cover.

Detroit at NY Jets (-3.5) I have no idea what's going on with the Jets. Most weeks they play hard and show some spirit, but I can't quite get that 41-0 thumping at Jacksonville out of my head. It's really not fair they're the 2nd best team in the AFC East. It's just not. Jets to win and cover.

Carolina at Cincinnati (-3) The Panthers have won all their games since Steve Smith returned to the lineup, and their defensive line, led by Julius Peppers, has been destroying people. Somehow they've managed to stay under the radar because Chicago is 6-0 and ESPN can't shut the hell up about T.O. The Bengals on the other hand have dropped two straight and are back to their usual soft selves vs. the run. Also their o-line is totally decimated, so it might be a rough day for Carson Palmer. I can't believe I'm picking Carolina to win their second straight AFC North road game, but here we are. Panthers to win and cover.

Denver at Cleveland (+4.5) God help me I might bet some money on Jake Plummer on the road this week. Somebody please stop me before it's too late. You have ten hours. For some reason the fact that Denver only scores like 12 points a game isn't alarming at all. Clearly I just dislike having money. Broncos to win and cover.

Washington at Indianapolis (-8.5) Will a man named Booger make any difference? Only for the Tri-Lams I'm afraid. The desperate Redskins give the ball to Portis a bunch and hang tough in Indy. Colts to win, Redskins to cover. But really, a Colts blowout wouldn't bother me at all. In fact, I'd be delighted.

Minnesota at Seattle (-6.5) Common sense tells me that with Hutchinson pumped up to stick it to his ex-mates and the Vikes not being shy at all about running it 35 times a game, coupled with Alexander being out for the Hawks, that I should pick Minny to cover here. However a) I have no sense, common or otherwise and b) I'm not picking against the Hawks at home. Nuh uh. Not happening. Seahawks to win and cover.

Arizona at Oakland (+3) How bad are the Raiders? Well Arizona is 1-5, on the road, coming off as depressing a loss as a team could possibly have, their offensive coordinator just got fired, and if their running game sucked any more it'd be invited to the Playboy mansion. And they're still my lock of the week. Cardinals to win and cover. As an aside, I feel genuinely sad about this whole Edge James thing. It looks like a lose-lose situation for both sides. He's been terrible for the Cards, and the Colts haven't been able to adequately replace him. This is why I could never be a GM. I'm just way too sentimental. I'd have done something stupid like re-sign him to a monster contract so he'd be a Colt for life and stumbling around like Willie Mays on the Mets by the time he's 33.

NY Giants at Dallas (-3) Get ready for some twisted logic. The Cowboys are only 3 point favorites. You get three just for being the home team, so the oddsmakers think if the game was played in Omaha or Beirut, the two teams would be equal. Since I think the Giants would win the neutral games, and most likely win them by more than 3, well then they can overcome the spread at Dallas, right? I've just confused myself. Giants to win and cover.

If this week doesn't go better than the last, I'll be able to qualify for those really close parking spots. Wheelchair or IQ, either way.