The Electric Commentary

Friday, October 15, 2004

Fisk Bill, Volume One

Every week Bill Simmons picks games against the spread. His little stories justifying each pick are often strangely compelling, but there are two sides to every spread. The other side starts now. Home team in caps, of course.

Bill says: Packers (+2) over LIONS

When did the "Holy Crap, I totally forgot Mike Sherman is a terrible coach!" light bulb start flickering over your head? For me, it was the second quarter of the Monday night game.
Unfortunately ...
I can't pick against them with Joey Harrington, Artose Pinner, Tai Streets and Az Hakim prominently involved. I just can't do it. I tried. Really, I did. Even typed it out and everything.

Paul says: I can. Notice Bill doesn't mention any defensive players, and unlike the Packers, the Lions actually have a few. I'm not picking the Pack until they show me something on defense (and Artose may be "sucky" he does hang on to the ball). I'll be rooting for my Pack, but I pick with my head. Jason Hanson for three.

Bill says: Seahawks (+4) over PATRIOTS

Scary game for the banged-up Pats, between the injuries, Brady's S.I. cover, the weight of the streak, and a good Seahawks team that will be desperate after last week's debacle (and those things happen -- remember, it almost happened to the Pats last year against Indy). I don't feel good about this game at all. And that's not even a reverse jinx.

Paul says: You call last week a debacle, I'll call it an exposure. The Seahawks beat up on losers (Saints, Buc, Niners) and finally played a good team and lost. Well, the Pats are the best team. They may be banged up, but it never matters for the Patriots. Another blowout and 20 in a row. (But Bill was right to rip on Peter King for making Jake Plummer his pre-season MVP. I mean, it's Jake Plummer!)

Bill says: BEARS (-1) over Redskins

No justification offered up, though he does refer to the Bears QB as Dr. Jonathan Quinn.

Paul says: The Bears best players are all hurt. The Redskins have a good defense and a pathetic offense. But still, a good defense. The Bears have the medicine woman, DT, and nobody on defense. When the line is close, take the better defense.

Bill says: JAGUARS (+2) over Chiefs

Shhhhhhhhhh ...
(Can you hear that sound?)
Shhhhhhhhhh ...
(Wait a second ...)
I think that's the sound of the Fred Taylor Roto Breakout Week ...
(Just stay perfectly quiet for two seconds ...)

Paul says: Yeah, it's hard to argue with this logic, as it's the Chiefs and all. As always, the Chiefs will have to outscore their opponents, so why will they do it here? Simple, the Jags defense is not as good as it has looked. In fact, it is wore than the Chiefs! (I love Outsiders for stats like this). Priest will run all over these guys, and Trent will finally not commit a stupid turnover. A blowout.

Bill says: Bengals (+3) over BROWNS

Question: When Jeff Garcia and Butch Davis are feuding, are Browns fans expected to choose sides? Is it like the Bush-Kerry thing where you just keep listening to the quotes and the petty barbs and thinking, "One of these days, I'll probably have to form an opinion about this?" Or do you just root for them to fight to the death? I'd love to know how this works.

Paul says: This one is simple. Sure the Browns have looked occasionally repugnant. Sure their coach is an idiot. But Lee Suggs is all you need. He's a star in the making, and as long as his neck stays firmly attached to his shoulders, he'll run all over these Bengals, who haven't embraced Marvin Lewis's system so much this year (Curtis Martin - 196 yards, Jamal Lewis - 186 yards, Duce Staley - 123 yards. The only team they stopped was Miami, and let's just say that in the Miami playbook, when you get to the part labeled "opponent's territory," inside you'll find the following sentence written in calligraphy: Here there be dragons.) Look for Lee to crack 175, and Carson to continue his regression.

Bill says: JETS (-10) over Niners

This Jets team shouldn't be favored by 10 points over anybody. I can't say that strongly enough. And yet I feel like last week's Niners win has all the makings of being the final scene in their 2004 Highlight Video. You know how those babies come on ESPN2 at 3 a.m., and you're watching one of the crappy teams, and they'll show highlights from a comeback win like that as the announcer says, "Even though the Niners went on to lose their last 10 games by a combined 370 points, the comeback win against the Cardinals would endure for them and their fans ..."

Paul says: He had it correct after the first sentence. This Niners team, when it has a healthy Tim Rattay (it does too matter) will not get blown out. Why?
1. They can run the ball.
2. Even without poor Julian, they can still play defense.

The Jets this year are not high scoring (as all of us Justin McCareins fantasy owners know all too well), and to win by 10,they will need to play a perfect game. The Niners may/will lose, but not by that much.

Bill says: SAINTS (+3.5) over Vikings

When in doubt, take the points.
(And yes -- I know the Saints are terrible and they can't be trusted. But that's the thing about them. Just when you zig, they zag. When you zag, they zig. So you have to guess the zig before they zig, and you have to guess the zag before they zag. This makes a lot more sense when you're drunk.)

Paul says: I have a better rule: Never bet on the Saints. If you think the Saints might win, just don't bet anything.

The Vikings will score a lot, that we know. And the Saints will screw up a lot, that we also know. What more do you need to know? (OK, this one scares me too. The real book on the Saints is that they play to the level of their competition. Actually forget about the line on this one and just take the "over.")

Bill says: Chargers (+4.5) over FALCONS

The Chargers are like Chris and Rory on "Survivor." In other words, I have no idea how they're in the playoff hunt, nobody else does, it defies all logic .. and yet every week, those guys are still plugging away. I give up.

Paul says: I don't know who those people are, but I know that the Falcons defense is quite good (Ed Donatell and all) and that the Chargers start Drew Brees. Oh, and LT is banged up (no, not Lawrence Tynes, Ladanian Tomlinson). As long as Vick is free to roam, take the Falcons and home.

Bill says: BILLS (-6) over Dolphins

(By the way, I like this stretch for the Bills right now: Home for the Dolphins; at Baltimore; then home for the Cards and Jets. Couldn't you see them putting a little streak together, then losing the next eight games by a total of 9 points?)

Paul says: Hmm, a reason to actually place money on the Dolphins. How about this:
1. The Dolphins are still good on defense.
2. The Bills, while better than the Dolphins on offense, still suck.
3. If these teams combine to score more than 6 points, I'll be shocked. You can't cover by 6 if you don't score 6.
4. Isn't it sad that this is the first meeting between the two best Wisconsin receivers since Al Toon and some other guy who's way worse than Al Toon?

Bill says: TITANS (-6.5) over Texans

Starting next week: The whole "I'm telling you, I wouldn't count out this Titans team just yet" bandwagon. I can almost hear Cris Carter saying the words ... as Collinsworth and Costas look on with those "We can edit this thing down after the taping, right?" looks.

Paul says: The Titans defense is suspect, and Houston can score points. The Titans lost a lot on defense in the offseason, Tyrone Calico is probably gone for the year, and McNair is banged up (duh). Andre Johnson is unstoppable. As long as Davis doesn't do his Ahman Green impression (or Jonathan Wells plays) the Texans can compete with anyone. And 6.5 is a lot to be getting.

Bill says: EAGLES (-9) over Panthers

Read the whole thing. This is the story of Bill taking Steve Smith over TO in his fantasy league. Heh.

Paul says: OK, I confess, I got nothing here. This is the "duh" play of the week. Maybe the Eagles are looking past the Panthers, after all, it's not like they were in the Super Bowl last ye...or maybe the Panthers will have a big "Ewing Effect" from losing Davis and Foster and Smith and Jenkins...or maybe TO will pull an oblique muscle doing situps...

C'mon, cut me some slack. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's earwax.

Bill says: COWBOYS (-3) over Steelers

The Roethlisberger Wakeup Call Game.

Paul says: The Testaverde Wakeup Call Game.

Besides, Ben is the real deal, and you're getting points. Oh, and the Cowboy RB is still Eddie George.

Bill says: Broncos (-3) over RAIDERS

Paul says: Jake Plummer. Once again, Jake Plummer.


Bill says: Bucs (+6) over RAMS

(This worked well last week, so let's try it again.)
Quick impersonation of the Rams fans on Monday night:

Paul says: A new QB for the Bucs, a solid defense, and Mike Martz is involved. Even if the Rams are winning by 28 with 5 minutes left, you know they'll let the Bucs back within striking distance. Plus when Bulger gets rattled he makes mistakes.

Of course, your guess is as good as mine (Note: This means you will be wrong).



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