Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals. Both Ohio teams are 0-3, meaning the state of Ohio is winless in the NFL this year. Can it continue? I predict yes. Ohio begins and ends with a big fat O, so look for both Browns/Bengals match-ups this season to be scoreless ties, with each team finishing 0-14-2. To reiterate, that’s Cincinnati 0, Cleveland 0, and may God have mercy on Ohio pro football.
Minnesota Vikings at Tennessee Titans. Once again, those Norse explorers come raiding into action against Tennessee’s finest. Sadly, southern muscles are simply no match for a team famous for kicking the crap out of every man, woman and child, be they upper-crust or hobo. Big Red wins again. Vikings 19, Titans 7, Historical Explorers 16.
Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaargh, matey! I don’t even know what a packarrrgh is, so the Bucs will give the Packers a hook-handed uppercut to the jaw and use their deft skills to run circles around Tampa with their peg legs. Joke: I once had a sweet little lady who was kind and warm to me, but lately she’s been cold. I think I know why though. I took her out back and I “packer” in ice! Ouch! Hooks really hurt! Shiver me timbers! Tampa Bay 43, Green Bay 0. Now who wants to go watch Pirates of the Caribbean?
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders. What’s better, a Charger or a Raider? As an English teacher, I am passionate about precision of language. While a Charger can be defined as either one who charges or a horse for battle, a raider is someone who, well, raids, usually in close-range fighting, and without the need of equine support. While charging is important in the sport of football (all that running forward and then running into other sweaty piles of uniformed meat), the impetus is lost once the running is over. What do Chargers do after they’ve charged? I am unaware of any fighting, kicking or punting skills. It’s a cruel, double-edged sword: good charging skills + no other skill = loser. On the other hand, those who raid must be skilled in all that raiding entails. A good raid is comprised of much running; ninja-like positioning; and then the well-fought, close range fighting. Call me crazy, but I’ll put my money on the Raiders. Oakland 12, San Diego 3, and two cheers for English.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys. I hear they’re calling Ms. Simpson Yoko Romo these days. I haven’t seen her hovering around the Cowboys so much as infecting the populace with more bad music and cleavage. Sorry, that was ambiguous. The music is bad, the cleavage is up for debate. Plus, I’m bored with this storyline. What interests me is the fact that we have a grown up Cowboys and Indians fight on our hands. Does it strike anyone else as odd that, in 2008, we still have teams called Redskins? This isn’t about political correctness, and I’m all in favor of savoring tradition, but it’s a hard pill to swallow (a REALLY hard one, like that great saucer of a pill I took for two weeks straight during the colon cleanse) to see a name like Redskins go unchanged. If Miami University can do it, save for a few resistant naysayers from graduating classes past, so can Washington. Washington 22, Dallas 13, and Jessica Simpson I’ll let you win next time if you stop singing.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears. Chicago has a lot to offer aside from it’s lovable and furry football team. Consider the music. Chicago offers the following: Wilco, Andrew Bird, Buddy Guy, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, The Sea and Cake, not to mention a few old school classics — Survivor, Smashing Pumpkins, and of course Chicago itself. Also, if we’re venturing into movie territory, then The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford, might be the best movie ever set in the midwest. Ask Ben how many times I’ve watched The Fugitive on VHS after church to complete the best, most lazy Sunday afternoon ever. Philly on the other hand, while inherently less cool, still has some great tunes under its belt: Dr. Dog, The National, Will Smith/DJ Jazzy Jeff, Boyz II Men, and a slew of groups involved in the early evolution of East Coast hip hop like Schoolly D. Plus, the first National Treasure movie starring the one & only Nic Cage took place in Philadelphia. I’m not kidding when I say that just about everything I know — or think I know — about Benjamin Franklin, I can attribute to that movie. It’s a toss-up this week. Chicago 14, Philadelphia 14, The Arts 14.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers. What type of city would give their football team a name like Ravens? It’s horrible! It’s hideous! It’s so…mysterious? It’s also, as I suspected and Ben confirmed, because of Baltimore’s most famous poet, Edgar Allan Poe. I can’t think of anyone more antithetical to a professional sport than Mr. Raven himself. Football is all muscles, wings, and frat-boys gettin’ drunk. Poe’s all “I want to be mysterious, I want to write, I desperately want to marry a thirteen-year-old girl.” Where was Dateline with Tim Hansen back then? To Ben’s chagrin, the Steelers are going to have their way with the Ravens until they’re a wacked out sickly mess, and then leave the Ravens, like Poe before his death, in the proverbial gutter. Pittsburgh 18, Baltimore 6. Ben cries on my shoulder.
BYE WEEKS: Detroit, Indianapolis, Miami, New England, New York Giants, Seattle. Look for all of these teams not to suit up this weekend.
Record going into Week 4: 1-2