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The Profit

So here's an e-mail I received this past week that I felt the need to respond to…

They don't pay you to make these picks, do they?

Well, that's difficult to answer. See, they do pay me to MAKE the picks. They just don't pay me to be correct on the picks. In fact, I make the same amount of money on this piece whether all of my picks are right or all of them are wrong. Someone once suggested that I'm paid to be entertaining, but I HIGHLY doubt that is the case.

See, I could choose to go the Brian Billick route and tell all of you that I'm getting my coin regardless, but I try to go above that. In fact, I've laid out a strategy for using my picks. I'd bet each of my four "best bets", with a little extra on the "lock of the week". I'd pretty much steer clear of the remaining games because A) I don't have as much confidence in them, and B) I would never lay out money for teams like the Saints under any circumstances. In fact, the only reason I pick every game on the slate is for those in weekly pools. Of course, anyone using my advice in a weekly pool probably had their chances end sometime in Week 8, so that's pretty much moot at this point.

Now getting back to the original question. "They" I assume refers to the owners of the site, Joe and David. While it is true that "they" cut the checks and send payment my way for the features, that money comes mostly from subscriber fees. And, since you read my article, I am going to have to assume you are a subscriber. And since you are a subscriber, technically that would mean that YOU are paying me to make these picks. And for that, I'd just like to thank you for sticking by me through the tough times I've had lately. It means a lot.

On to the picks…

Source: Yahoo.com

ARIZONA (-1) vs. PHILADELPHIA
I've been at the helm of the Kurt Warner express these past few weeks, and have loved what I've seen. Unfortunately, he was hurt last week (imagine that) and won't be returning until Brenda is another year younger. The Eagles plainly stink. I went shopping for one of my girlfriend's Christmas gifts earlier today and was met at the counter by a little old lady. She saw I had a Chargers hat on and told me she wished her husband rooted for a good team like San Diego. I asked who he liked, and she replied with, "Friggin Eagles. They STINK!" My, how things change quickly around here. Still, I think in this battle of STINK versus STINKOR, the team that has stunk forever is getting too much credit here. Sure they've got the WR combo, but now they don't have awesome Warner throwing them the ball.

On a side note, remember the He-Man character Stinkor? I used to love that toy. They made it so that the action figure (not doll) actually had a foul smell, if I remember correctly. I think they should try that with a Tara Reid doll. They could make it smell like whiskey and vomit, and it could come with detachable breasts. That'd be pretty sweet. PICK: Eagles

CAROLINA (-5) vs. DALLAS
In perusing the Pro Bowl rosters, I noticed that the AFC quarterbacks were Manning, Brady, and Palmer. The NFC had Delhomme, Hasselbeck, and Vick. Uhhh, right. The AFC's alternates would be easy starters on the NFC squad. Delhomme has especially been extremely shaky lately (3:5 TD:INT ratio his past 4 games), and I don't know that I fully trust him in the playoffs. On the other side of the equation, we have the Cowboys. Do you honestly think that a Parcells-coached team would dare show up unprepared for a must-win game? That they'd go into the game without planning ahead of time? That'd be like finding out you're going to meet Tom Cruise and Kevin Federline at the same party and leaving the saran gas on your bedroom dresser.

"You *$&*$ bastards! Look what you've done to them!"

In other words, be prepared and it'll all work out. Even if Dallas doesn't win, would anyone be shocked to see them holding a 3-point lead with 12 seconds to play…Dallas has the ball and kneeling out the clock at the 50 yard line. Just then, Drew Bledsoe is attacked by a pack of rabid hyenas while under center. The football is dislodged and Julius Peppers comes up with it. As he rumbles downfield and Bledsoe fights off the hyenas, Santa Claus swoops into the stadium and takes out the entire Dallas offense with a violent crash. Pepper waltzes into the end zone untouched. Dallas protests the game, but according to the league bylaws, attacks from hyena and/or fictional obese elves are judgment calls by the officials. Unfortunately, all of the officials missed the play because they were all hanging around the Panthers' locker room looking for lesbian cheerleaders. Dallas loses its protest, and the game. And whether that happens or not (and I consider it at least an 88% possibility), the Boys would still cover, thus ending their bizarre season. PICK: Cowboys

CINCINNATI (-13.5) vs. BUFFALO
I guess the lone remaining question is this: how in the heck did the Bills beat Kansas City a month ago? Man, the Bills are bad! Meanwhile, even though Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson laid a proverbial egg in my first round playoff matchup, I forgive them for it because of what they did last week. In my two total points leagues, those scores and yards helped out a ton. Now we hear that Chad is planning something even more spectacular involving a reindeer in the end zone and promising the greatest end zone celebration we've ever seen. Know what I think? I think he's going to get on a reindeer in the end zone, flying around the stadium and dropping $100 bills onto the fans below. What, you don't think he can do it? Perhaps you haven't been paying attention. Who's gonna stop 85?!? PICK: Bengals

DENVER (-13) vs. OAKLAND
Perhaps it's my wishful thinking that has gotten the better of me. It might just be that I want the Raiders to win so badly that I'm letting it cloud my judgment. That's entirely possible. Of course, the very fact that I'm pulling hard for the Raiders should clue you in that I'm not all right in the head. It's a very bizarre feeling to root FOR Oakland, seeing as how they are my third-most hated team in all of sport (after the Red Sox and Duke basketball). I just don't see Denver piling the points on against the Raiders. And if they do, they'll be coming right back at them just as quickly. With Collins back at the helm, the Raiders gain a measure of respectability. Now I know what you're going to say: no LaMont Jordan for Oakland, either. Hey, I'll give you that one. It's a big loss, I know. Then again, Jordan hasn't really had much success against 3-4 defenses anyway so he likely wasn't going to make-or-break this game anyway. I've said this many times already, but I don't think that the AFC West teams should be favored by more than ten against one another under just about any circumstances. If there was ever a case where they SHOULD, it's probably this week. I just have a problem laying nearly two touchdowns to a team that still has the potential to score with anyone. PICK: Raiders

MIAMI (-5.5) vs. TENNESSEE
The Dolphins are a weird one. They should welcome a team like Tennessee with open arms so that they can beat up on them. But with the season having gone the way it is, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see a huge letdown after being mathematically eliminated. I'm still taking Miami because they are far more talented and are just as well-coached; I just wouldn't be shocked to see it go the other way is all. PICK: Dolphins

NEW ORLEANS (-3) vs. DETROIT
Choosing the winner of this game is like playing F, Marry, Kill with Oprah, Rosie O'Donnell, and Queen Latifah.

Neither of these teams is a reliable option whatsoever, though the Saints are considered to be home. Additionally, the Lions are on the road. Not only that, but Aaron Brooks has been secretly given a lobotomy so he'll stop his stupid grinning with his team down 76 points. I can't say I like the Saints, but whatever. PICK: Saints

(oh and for the record, F-Queen, M-Oprah, K-Rosie)

PITTSBURGH (-7) vs. CLEVELAND
Again, this may be simply wishful thinking on my part to hope that Cleveland can hang with the Steelers for a full 60 minutes. As a matter of fact, the Steelers have said and done all the right things this week in preparation of this game. They know that they cannot afford a slip-up against anyone, and this week is sort of their lone potentially scary game. I would think that Cowher and company would be ready to go. On the other hand, you just know Romeo Crennel wants to go out with a bang in his first season, and what better way to do so than to knock the rival Steelers out of the playoffs? He's come up with terrific game plans for several other good teams, and he's no doubt been planning this game like a madman. Now the concern for me is that there's no reason for Pittsburgh to look ahead. If they played even a marginally decent team in Week 17, then you could make the case that they would take the Browns lightly this week. However, the Browns are their tough game. This is the week when you expect them to show up focused. So sure, that's a little worrisome. But I'm comforted in the knowledge that the Steelers don't generally blow anyone out. I think they'll win the game, but maybe a field goal or something late does the job. Thus, keeping San Diego's playoff hopes alive just long enough before finally squashing them. PICK: Browns

SEATTLE (-8) vs. INDIANAPOLIS

  • Let's see, here. The Colts have home field sewn up? Check
  • The Colts can no longer go undefeated? Check
  • The Colts suffered several significant injuries last week to Marvin Harrison and Ryan Diem, and several other scary situations? Check
  • The oddsmakers are setting the line at Seattle -8 despite the fact that the Colts are 13-1? Check

Right well here's the thing. The Colts starters WILL NOT be playing in the game for any meaningful time. How do we know? Because Vegas tells us so. They've got more insider information than any of us could ever hope for. If they're setting it at -8, it's because the Colts will be running second-unit guys out there by the end of the second quarter, if not sooner. Do yourself a favor. Buy yourself something nice with your winnings this holiday season. PICK: Seahawks

Writer's note: I felt compelled to make an addition here after hearing about the death of Coach Dungy's son. My heart goes out to the entire Dungy family.

SAINT LOUIS (-9) vs. SAN FRANCISCO
As long as we're talking about the Rams, and as long as I already made one He-man reference this week, can we discuss the character of Ram-Man? Considering he was friends with the self-proclaimed "Most Power Man In the Universe", was it REALLY necessary to dive headfirst into rock piles so everyone could walk through? Let's see if I've got this right. He-man has the power to lift entire aircraft, fight off 13 villains at a time, and has this magic lady watching over his every move. Buuuuuut he can't move a few rocks to save his good buddy from a lifetime of post-concussion syndrome? What a friggin jerk! He Man is, in essence, the "Fonzie" of Eternia. You think the Fonz would've had Richie go up and talk to girls for him? No way, he did the heavy lifting himself! Hey He-man, grow a pair!

Oh, I have no analysis for this game. Your guess is as good as mine. And since I just spent the last 2 ½ hours smashing my head into a door so my brother could get to the laundry room, I'm not sure you want to be taking my advice. PICK: Niners

TAMPA BAY (-3) vs. ATLANTA
Atlanta just looks bad. Awful. The Bucs, while they don't look a whole lot better, at least have a defense they can rely upon. PICK: Bucs

BALTIMORE (-3) vs. MINNESOTA
OK, so even though they lost last week, maybe I'm going to be off on my 8-8 prediction. Even though Minnesota lost last week and sit at 8-6, I can't see them rolling over against Baltimore. The Ravens effort last week pretty much was their Ron Jeremy moment of the season. (Just think about it; you'll get it after awhile). The Vikings aren't exactly what I'd call a good team, but they are at least competing and beating up on the garbage of the league. Oh, and the Ravens are most definitely part of said garbage. PICK: Vikings

NEW ENGLAND (-5) at NEW YORK JETS
Yeah, so Belichick says his starters are playing the whole game. And I believe him too, because we all know how honest and forthcoming he is with regard to the playing status of his players, right? Listen, here's the thing. I don't care if the starters play for New England. Know why? Because the Jets second unit is already in there, and the Pats' backups are better than a few Jets' starters with a couple of newbies sprinkled in. PICK: Patriots

BEST BETS

JACKSONVILLE (-6) at HOUSTON
So here's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking the Texans DID, in fact, try to lose that game two weeks ago. Then all week they heard from the locals that they were an embarrassment, and how could they try to lose a game, and on and on. They became so worked up about it that they wanted to shut everyone up who said they were trying to lose. So, they went out and they won. Now typically, this line would be 10+ points even in Texas. But the Jags are coming off a narrow win over a bad Niners team, while the Texans are coming off a win at all. Those two factors have led to this line being dropped a bit. But honestly, you don't see the Texans winning this game, do you? No, of course not. And what are the chances that the final score is determined by fewer than five points considering the unknown stats of Domanick Davis and the all-around much betterness of the Jags? PICK: Jags

KANSAS CITY (-1) vs. SAN DIEGO
Not only will the Chargers cover the spread - they'll win outright. Yeah I know, if they cover it means they must have won. Unless of course the refs institute the little-known "poor sport" violation and deduct a half a point from their score resulting in a 30-29.5 point victory for the Chiefs. OK I have no idea where this is going, I'll be honest. Whaddya say we just end it here with the following: Larry Johnson will be able to have some success on San Diego. Trent Green's ineptitude facing the pass rush will be their downfall, however. If you can't pass on San Diego, you cannot beat them. PICK: Chargers

WASHINGTON (-3) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS
I'm dumbfounded by this line. The Giants are a far better team than the Redskins. I realize the game is in Washington, but is anyone aware of how very close the G-Men are to 13-1? This is an excellent team, folks. PICK: Giants

CHICAGO (-6.5) at GREEN BAY
I was amazed last Sunday night listening to the ESPN crew talk about the QB switch. I mean, honestly at this point not much they say should warrant amazement, but this did. They were talking about how unfair it is to Kyle Orton and how he's never done anything to warrant being benched.

Now pretend I'm standing here with my jaw touching my feet.

I ask you, them, anyone - what the heck has he done to warrant KEEPING the job?!? He 'gotten by' and did a solid job in his rookie year. It has given him some much-needed experience for the next time Grossman goes down. Which should be any second now. In fact, I'm watching the ESPN ticker as we speak and they're reporting that Grossman has become the first human being ever infected with the dreaded face-falling-off disease. Apparently, he woke up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water and all of his skin simply crumbled off of him. True story.

So anyway back to my serious analysis. Come on, stop laughing. I'm not going to continue until you stop laughing. OK, now…these announcers are going on about how it's Orton's job and all this other b.s. Well, you all saw what happened next. Let me tell you. I like Rex Grossman. (Cue Lloyd Christmas voice) Ah lock him ah lott. And I think he may well be the piece that turns the Bears from a "nice story" into a real-life Super Bowl contender. And this week? Things could get real ugly, real fast. PICK: Bears

LOCK OF THE WEEK: New York Giants


LAST WEEK

  • OVERALL: : 6-10
  • BEST BETS: 3-1
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 1-0

SEASON TOTALS

  • OVERALL: 105-114-5 (47.9%)
  • BEST BETS: 32-27-1 (54.2%)
  • LOCK OF WEEK: 7-8 (46.7%)
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