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Commentary From the Edge - Week 12
Kevin Ratterree
November 20, 2007

Here’s the story,
Of a grumpy Randy,
Who was playing on a football team of girls,
The owner was so old,
And a real mother,
Randy’s brow was furrowed.

Here’s the story,
Of a man named Brady,
Who was busy with three rings of his own.
He was one man,
With some receivers, but they weren’t big play prone-.

‘Til the one day when the Brady met this fellow,
and they knew they was much more than a hunch.
That this group,
Could bring the NFL to its knees.
That’s the way they all became the Brady Bunch,
The Brady Bunch- the Brady Bunch
That’s the way- they became the Brady Bunch.

Yes, the brutality continues in the form of weekly Patriot beat downs and disturbing hokie Brady Bunch parody songs. Remember the good old days…..like last year, when being ranked #2 in college football wasn’t the kiss of death, and the NFL was the personification of parity? Remember when Missouri and Kansas were basketball teams? I only wish my world made sense like it did then.

I can’t tell you who will be the BCS champion, or even who will be in the game. But I sure can tell you who will be the champ of the NFL. The only questions to me are how many records will they break, how much self loathing will they inspire along the way, and whose sorry NFC hide they will be kicking in the championship game.

Yeah, this season has all the intrigue of the election returns in a banana republic.

How depressing it must be to have the Patriots on your schedule about now? Opponents of the Patriots know they are not going to win. There is not going to be a contest. It is going to be the incoming freshmen against the seniors in a scrimmage. Teams playing the Patriots are going to look bad. Real bad. They are going to be embarrassed. Dignity will be sacrificed at the alter of Brady & Belichick. It is not a question of winning or losing. That is all but decided. The only question is how far down they will reach down your orifices, and how much of your entrails they will rip out and throw down on the turf.

How much of your manhood can they steal on any given Sunday?

My question is, what will Vegas do about this situation? Are they up against the wall here? The Patriots have routinely beaten the huge double digit spreads the books have hung on them. They have beaten every single opening spread this season except the game against the Colts in which they opened a 4 1/2 point favorite. They won by 4.

If you had started with a hundred dollar play on the Pats in week one, and let it ride all the way up to the Indy game, you would have made around $10,000 over that seven week run. Assuming you sidestepped the Colts game, you were right back on the money train this week as they blasted the Bills. The Patriots are a money printing press. Does anybody see that changing in the foreseeable future? How high will Vegas need to move the line as reality sets in? And how much might they lose over the next 3 months if the Patriots keep breaking them up with these paltry 16 point spreads?

To me, this is a fascinating situation. The reality of the Vegas spread vs. the fantasy that is the Patriots weekly offensive scrimmage against air. The old school gamblers mentality denouncing double digit NFL spreads as a fools paradise, versus the reality that the Patriots are routinely pounding those numbers.

Will we see a 25 point spread in the Patriots game against the Dolphins or Jets? When will the constrictions and norms that Vegas and players are currently operating under get blown out in the face of incontrovertible evidence that deem them extinct?

I am no longer questioning whether or not the Patriots will go undefeated. I am pondering whether they will fail to cover a spread the rest of the way.

I think I may have found a way not to hate the Patriots.

I happened to be watching ESPN when resident Fantasy Football Expert Matthew Berry answered this week’s hand picked start / bench questions. I jotted down his answers. Far be it from me to point fingers at inaccurate predictions. But here is a guy ESPN hand picked out of the fantasy world to do their bidding. I think it is fair to give a progress report.

Here is how he did: (points scored)

Q) McNabb(4) or Warner (16) A) McNabb. Berry noted that McNabb was the “safer” play. Is there a really a “safe” play when dealing with two broken down quarterbacks? WRONG

Q). Pick 2 Graham (17) Chatman (8) Taylor (41) A) Chatman and Taylor. 1 RIGHT 1 WRONG. Okay, Taylor against the Raiders at home was a gimme. He shouldn’t even get credit for this one.

Q) Evans (8) Coles (6) or Chambers (13) A) Coles. Not only WRONG but as wrong as you could have possibly been.

Yeah, I know. A couple of those guys got injured. But still.

Dear ESPN. I’ll work for half the salary and I can be just as wrong. Check out my Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week, and preseason predictions for Randy Moss for my credentials. I do not have a TV guy hairpiece, but will wear one if provided. I have a big time phony TV laugh I learned from Sam Champion all lined up too, so I’m ready to go.

Keyshawn’s golden gem of the week was when he told the viewers that “Wade Phillips was going to cash in on a Super Bowl ala Barry Switzer.”

The best line of the week though belonged to Tom Jackson. The question was: Which QB is most responsible for where his team is right now. TJ’s answer: Mike Vick.

True.

Crazy As Hell Pick of the Week

Last week I gave you two picks I liked a lot and they both crashed and burned. That leaves me 6-5-2 for the season. My shame this week has reached new depths. Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg has a better record than me for the season. That is how far I have sunk. Looking up at Hammerin’ Hank. And it isn’t pretty. I am as useless as a Kornheiser in a football booth.

And this week looks tough to me. I am having a hard time finding many plays that strike me. That must mean I am about to get back on track. The Patriots game isn’t posted yet, but I’m pretty sure I am taking them regardless the number, so there is one right for next week already.

I have been wildly unsuccessful at picking against home dogs in this column. You might think that would deter me from making such a crazy as hell pick again, but you would be wrong. I never learn my lesson. While I am looking at a tough board this week, there is one game that is calling like the siren. And you guessed it, it is our old nemesis, the road favorite.

The Packers will be featured against the hometown Lions on this Thanksgiving day classic. The Packers have only one loss and have been rolling through the NFC. They have exceeded most everybody’s expectations. The Lions meanwhile come off two losses in a row and seem to be heading in the wrong direction. The Packers are a 3 point favorite in this game, and while I am tempting fate with another push, I don’t think the Lions will be able to keep it that close. The Packers can match the Lions firepower offensively, and as long as they hang onto the ball, they should win and cover. Favre has had some disastrous games indoors, but the perception that he is historically bad in domes is simply not true.

The Lions are facing some serious self doubt just about now, and the superior Packers should be able to feed off that. I they get up early, it could get ugly. Yeah, that sound you hear is me getting off the Lions bandwagon. Sorry Lions, it just isn’t working out between us and I have decided to see other teams.

My picks Detroit +3 and Eagles +whatever.

Misery Index

10) Lions: Why put a 6-4 team in the Miser Index? Well, first of all it’s the Lions. We have missed them. They had gone astray. The good news is that the Lions will play the first meaningful Thanksgiving game for quite some time. The bad news is that they look poised to lose it, along with any remaining realistic hope of hanging with the upper crust of the NFC. To me, the game against the Giants was telling. That is not a game you lose if you are serious about a championship. Kitna melted down after their game admitted as much. Kitna claims that the Giants were not a better team than the Lions. Apparently the voices in his head told him so. The reality is they are about to go from 6-2 to 6-5, and the schedule beyond is not so kind.

9) Rams: Alright, alright. You won two in a row on the road. Very disappointing. You were right in this thing. I guess it isn’t your fault the Saints and 49ers stink worse than you.

8) Saints: Let’s see what we have here. Four losses. Then four wins. Now two losses. Hmmm. I have a prediction. The Saints are going 8-8.

7) Ravens: The Ravens scored a season high 30 points. Unfortunately only two of their touchdowns was scored by the offense. Against the Browns. Two offensive touchdowns. The Browns spot every team 2 offensive touchdowns so pardon me if I don’t do cartwheels that you almost scored enough to beat the Browns. Ravens fans were treated to a Browns game ending field goal miss with time running out. The stadium cleared. The players left the field. Then the officials didn’t review the play (since that is against the rules for some bizarre reason) and suddenly decided that the kick was good. The Browns won the coin flip for overtime, so most of the fans got back in the stadium just in time to watch the Browns drive the field and kick the game winner. That was close. Bet you would have kicked yourself if you had missed that.

6) Panthers: Wow, what a nice crash and burn. Losers of 4 in a row. They have pulled this kind of stuff before, then ended up in the playoffs. But with David Carr and Testaverde playing injury tag the rest of the year? John Fox might start looking over his shoulder for Bill Cowher any time now.

5) Bengals: These guys just aren’t serious about winning. You can tell when you watch them play. In his head, CJ is already gone. And when he physically leaves, and Henry gets another gift certificate to the Steel Bars Motel, it will just be Palmer throwing to a triple covered Housh, 2 yard Rudi runs, and more blown defensive coverage’s and stupid penalties. Other than all that, the future looks bright.

4) Raiders: Culpepper may have been excited to go back to Minnesota. Maybe he hoped it would fuel some of the old magic. But his helmet was silver not purple. He was throwing to Curry and not Moss. And the only magic Culpepper can conjur up at this point resembles the kind bumbling Aunt Esmerelda did on Bewitched.

3) 49ers: We found out what we need to find out about the ‘Niners. They actually lost to the Rams at home. If only the Dolphins were on the schedule the 49ers might get a chance to prove beyond a doubt how horrible they are. But that isn’t going to happen. In any other season, this team would definitely be bad enough to grab some Misery Index glory. This year they are just simply outclassed by superior putrid performances. Always a bridesmaid.

2) Falcons: Joey Harrington found himself benched after guiding the team to two straight wins. A very curious move that was explained by Fox’s Jay Glazer. Apparently Joey is having the same problem he had in Detroit and Miami. He just isn’t accepted in the locker room. According to the head coach, he felt the team would go to war for the popular Leftwich. Not so much for Joey. That logic led to a near shutout at the hands of the Buccaneers, averted by a junk time touchdown by Harrington in relief of the popular Leftwich. The popular Leftwich put up this stat line: 15/28 106 2 INT. I hear that Charles Manson was very popular among his peers as well. That turned out well.

1) Dolphins: John Beck did a missionary trip in between his high school and college careers. If he sticks around with this organization he will be ready for another one sooner than he may have anticipated.

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