Greetings dear readers. After patching up the holes in the wall, icing up the knuckle bruises, replacing the bullet-ridden T.V., and spending the rent money on a "gift" to the Liver's unexpected guests from the Dallas Police Department in the bloody aftermath of last week s Longhorns and Cowboys games, it's time to get back to work.
Strangely enough, however, the Liver took Ohio State and Jacksonville to cover. Say what you will, the man is nothing if not a realist. It also made the Liver's insides slightly less inflamed to watch the human piss puddles that are Ohio State fans torch their cars and furniture after the game. Maybe if they win the national championship they can burn all of Columbus down.
But down to business: were it not for a useless field goal by the 49ers, the Liver would be sporting a .500 record on the season...but 7-9 will do for now. With double digit spreads in five games this week, a repeat of that subpar performance would be akin to Matthew McConnaughey NOT making a drunken whip out of himself on the Longhorns' sidelines. A noble thought but not likely.
As an aside, the Liver has still not completely accepted the fact that there is no NFL Primetime on ESPN between 6 and 7 p.m (CST) anymore. Damn you to hell NBC! The Liver misses watching his Berman and Tommy breaking down the highlights from the day's games while bopping his head to the highlight music. Somehow Rich Eisen, Deion Sanders, and Steve Mariucci on the NFL Network just don't turn the Liver on.
Of course, it goes without saying that these picks AGAINST THE SPREAD are for RECREATIONAL use only.
Only Paris Hilton, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Britney Spears' new baby boy, and mutilated Australian stingrays would be drunk enough to question the Esteemed Liver's picks.
2006 Record Against the Spread: 7-9
Sunday, September 17
Buffalo (+6 1⁄2) at Miami
The Liver must give credit to the Bills. In addition to covering the 8 1⁄2 against the Pats, they went for it on 4th and 1 at the Patriots 7 yard line in the third quarter and couldn't convert...and then lost the game on a safety in the fourth quarter. Brilliant. In Miami, meanwhile, Nick Saban has been practicing what is sure to be the new dance craze in America: throw it like ya mean it.
Carolina at Minnesota (+2)
Panthers WR Steve Smith says he's still questionable for the game and that his right hamstring doesn't feel any better. Strangely enough, he suits up after Coach John Fox puts a loaded gun to his head. Watching Vikings QB Brad Johnson play is like watching your grandfather throw horseshoes; it's ugly but strangely hypnotic.
Cleveland (+10 1⁄2) at Cincinnati
Whenever the Liver is feeling sad, he can always find solace in the fact that he is NOT a Cleveland Browns fan. In other news, Bengals WR Chad Johnson, who has a mouth that only a mother could love, is seen getting the shit kicked out of him prior to the game by an unruly group of Native Americans.
Detroit (+8 1⁄2) at Chicago
Lions WR and fellow Texas alum Roy Williams guaranteed a victory this week over the Bears and remarked that it was "scary" how close the Lions came to scoring 40 points last week. Uh, Roy your team scored 6 points against the Seahawks. The Liver is no genius when it comes to math, but there's a gap there. In other news, Williams was seen hanging out with Brett Favre in front of a Green Bay pharmacy that was suspiciously low on Vicodin. The Bears' defense is so good, they play the first half blindfolded and still sack Lions QB Jon Kitna five times.
Houston (+13 1⁄2) at Indianapolis
When the Liver sees a line this big, it can only mean one thing: the Houston Texans are on the road again. Texans Coach Gary Kubiak reportedly brings along a psychiatrist on road trips to stop him from having nervous breakdowns during running plays. Apparently Gary mouths the name "Reggie" and starts crying uncontrollably every time one of his backs takes a handoff. Colts DE Dwight Freeney politely saves the game statistician some finger work and pencils himself down for 4 sacks on Texans QB David Carr.
New Orleans at Green Bay (+2)
Brett Favre may have been showing signs of recovery from his Vicodin relapse when he was quoted after the Pack's shutout at the hands of the Bears saying, "Maybe we just suck." Have no fear Brett, Koren Robinson's stumbling in to save the day. Meanwhile, despite an impressive debut, Saints all-everything Reggie Bush said he was disappointed he didn't get in the end zone. Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, which is Swahili for "Score on me at will," politely assists Bush in for his first of three TDs.
Pick: New Orleans
N.Y. Giants (+3) at Philadelphia
Filthy, er Philly fans are so happy that Terrell Owens is gone that they accidentally cheer the Giants by mistake when they run out of the tunnel. In unrelated news, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin fines Michael Strahan for being 6.5 seconds late to a defensive meeting.
Oakland (+11 1⁄2) at Baltimore
Oakland is so bad, diehard Raiders fans watch road games in their parents' basements with trash bags over their Darth Vader masks. Disgruntled Raiders receiver Jerry Porter, who reportedly was laughing on the sidelines as Raiders QB Aaron Brooks got sacked for the 20th time last week, defended himself by saying, "Come on. You can't blame me for laughing. It's Aaron Brooks." Raiders Coach Art Shell decides to hold open tryouts for starting QB. The Liver has his appointment after this weekend's loss. Ravens Coach Brian "I invented football" Billick is so sure of a win, he decides to rest Steve McNair and let Kyle Boller start at QB.
Tampa Bay (+5 1⁄2) at Atlanta
Tampa QB and (I'm ashamed to say) fellow Texas alum Chris Simms did not disappoint last weekend. Glare at him and he starts having Oklahoma flashbacks. Before you can say "Roy Williams," the football will magically find its way into a defender s hands. Luckily for Tampa, their defense starts to lick their chops at the prospect of one Michael Vick the way the Liver licks his at the prospect of Jessica Alba.
Pick: Tampa Bay
Arizona (+7) at Seattle
Cardinals QB Kurt Warner had a good day last week, throwing for 301 yards and 3 TDs in a victory over the Pac 10 team known as the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle RB and reigning MVP Shaun Alexander brings cheer to fantasy owners all over the country as he demonstrates that "Dennis Green" and "defense" together in the same sentence makes as much sense as "The Liver" and "sobriety.
St. Louis at San Francisco (+3)
St. Louis's season of dreams continues for today anyway. Rams Coach Scott Linehan overheard on the sidelines last week: If all the QBs suck like this Plummer kid, we might be pretty goddamn good this year." In other news, The Liver could be heard all across Texas cursing the name of 49ers kicker Joe Nedney, who drilled a meaningless 44-yarder at the end of the game last week, thus spoiling The Liver's pick for Arizona to cover the 7 1/2. For the Liver, place kickers are a lot like women: they both make him cry, cost him money, and drive him to drink.
Pick: St. Louis
Kansas City (+10 1⁄2) at Denver
Denver QB Jake "The Fake" Plummer arrives via armored car to the game. He quickly realizes upon entering the Broncos locker room that his security detail has abandoned him. The lights go out. A shot is fired. Denver fans rejoice as new starting QB Jay Cutler walks out of the tunnel. In other news, Chiefs QB Trent Green's head snapping back to the ground after being mauled by Bengals DE Robert Geathers last week looked so painful, The Liver had a concussion after watching the replay. In unrelated news, after another poor performance from Larry Johnson, several fantasy owners consider paying more attention to their day jobs for another week.
New England at New York Jets (+6)
Jets QB Chad Pennington administered the shocker by lasting the whole game last week and NOT getting injured. Strange, but whenever the Liver watches Pennington play, he sees a clock ticker identical to the one on 24 ticking above Pennington's body. Meanwhile, Pats QB Tom Brady is so upset at Bill Belichick for trading his friend Deion Branch away that he fumbles the ball on the Pats first play from scrimmage and the Jets defense takes it in for a score. Oh wait, that's how he started last week against the Bills.
Pick: New England
Tennessee (+11 1⁄2) at San Diego
After Philip Rivers' impressive debut last week, the question being asked was, "Are the Chargers that good or are the Raiders that bad?" Look for that question to be asked again this week, only replace Raiders with Titans. Titans Coach Jeff Fisher decides to start QB and (I'm proud to say) fellow Texas alum Vince Young after Kerry Collins is spotted smoking a cigar outside the locker room.
Washington (+6) at Dallas
Watching the first quarter of the Cowboys game last week was the most erotic moment the Liver has had in many years. We could taste Miami already. Then reality a.k.a. Drew Bledsoe set in. In unrelated news, after conversing with his good friend Jake "The Fake," Bledsoe has a full security detail escort him from the locker room and out onto the field before kickoff. Washington defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who coached Bledsoe at Buffalo and knows his tendencies, refers to these games as "Christmas." Washington head coach Joe Gibbs is caught off guard when he trips over a midget on his sideline and discovers that it's Tom Cruise.
Monday, September 18
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville (+1 1⁄2)
Big Ben is still questionable, but who the hell needs him when you have Charlie Batch? The Liver won't bet against him again. Jacksonville comes off an impressive come-from-behind win against The Liver's beloved Cowboys and is still a home dog. The Liver considered taking the Jags but then remembered that Mike "I love my pencil" Tice was brought onto the Jags staff to "help the Jags establish an offensive philosophy." No thanks. The Liver may be a drunk, but he's not a stupid drunk.