The noise was at once both sudden and oddly menacing; a dim drone of approaching shouts and honking horns all blaring out at irregular intervals. Just moments before, I’d been sitting quietly at my desk staring down an empty sheet of digital paper and wondering how long it would take me to escape the goddamn country with a suitcase full of drugs and a live, belligerent monkey. The situation was desperate – my editor had been ringing the phone for roughly three hours, screaming bloody fucking murder about a week six NFL picks column I hadn’t started yet and some gibberish about a multi-thousand dollar repair bill from a Motel Six I had no memory of visiting whatsoever. Complicating matters further, was the fact that I’d already spent my entire weekly advance on cheap drugs and alcohol; which in turn was the major reason I’d missed my fucking deadline and enraged my sociopathic, murderous employer. The lesson here was, of course, that editors are scum, but that certainly wasn’t going to help me when a gang of hired Oompa-Loompa thugs in goalie masks kicked in my goddamn door and started beating me to death with fucking skateboards and my own half empty bottles of hooch. With no money, no article and no physical means to fend off a horde of hipster hobbit hitmen, my only goddamn hope now was to sneak out of my apartment, steal a car that nobody from IcePuckChic would recognize and get the fuck out of Dodge as fast as humanly possible.
Unfortunately, the ominous, growing racket outside of my apartment seemed like it might present a serious fucking obstacle for my cunning escape plan. Peering past the caked layers of dust on my window, I could see hundreds, if not thousands of people teaming out into the streets – all marching in a steady, but terrifying pace up the road towards my goddamn building. Sweet mercy of god, how had he done it? How had my deranged, misanthropic editor managed to rally up an entire mob of angry villagers to seek righteous retribution on my delinquent junkie hide? I knew that sick son of a bitch had a lot of fingers in a lot of bloody pies, but to summon up a swarm of chanting rioters over a measly deadline was a bridge too far even for the kind of inhuman monster with a Miley Cyrus fucking ringtone on his phone – wasn’t it? Panicked beyond the grasp of reason, I immediately dropped to the floor and began scurrying around the room on all fours, shoving random illicit materials into the largest goddamn suitcase I owned. The monkey would have to fend for himself I thought; no doubt my editor was only concerned with shattering every mutherfucking bone in my body, so it was entirely probable that the poor primate would in fact be much safer as far as fucking possible from my personage anyway.
Finally, the awful, petrifying din of the crowd drew close enough that I realized I would have to make an immediate break for it if I had any hope of avoiding the savage, bodily violence my homicidal employer had in store for me. Pulling an oversized hoodie over my head and grabbing the bulging suitcase, I waddled and sloshed my way out the front door – leaving it open behind me to provide the monkey with a fighting chance to escape in the odd event my editor had put the hit out on his furry little ass as well. Huffing and puffing my way across the hall at an agonizingly listless pace, I shuddered in terror as the chanting and honking grew even louder; echoing throughout the building and up the nigh-impassable staircase I would have to navigate with a suitcase full of writing supplies, drugs and half-full bottles of alcohol in a matter of moments. The enraged posse couldn’t be more than a few hundred yards away – my god, there was no time! They would be on me long before I could even make it out of the parking lot at this rate. Abandoning even the precious suitcase, I bolted down the stairs and towards the front door; all the while cognizant of the dreaded horde getting closer by the motherfucking second. What on god’s green goddamn earth were they chanting and how the fuck were there so many people descending on my apartment?! It was too late to save myself I realized, but there was still hope for the monkey; “run you fuzzy bastard, the jig is up, I repeat the jig is fucking up” I yelled back at the top of my lungs. At once both crazed and frozen in panic, I prepared to meet my end like a proud daughter of Ferndale; spiting, kicking and fighting until the very bitter end against hopeless odds and the open scorn of unsympathetic onlookers.
It was only then, as my neighbors began to venture out of their tiny, overpriced hovels to investigate why I was screaming “come and get me mutherfuckers” in the stairwell, that I heard it. One slurred, ragged voice rising above the mob in the unmistakable sing song chant of a shit-talking sports fan reveling in the throes of an improbable, vindicating win – “Lets –Go, Blue – Jays!” The surging crowd immediately responded in kind, clapping their hands, stomping their feet in unison and replying “Lets go” as some cheeky bastard began to blare out “Oh Canada” on a bugle in the distance. Peering outside the building’s front door, I could see a field of blue baseball jerseys and well-to-do Torontonians staggering up the street not in homicidal anger, but in blissfully drunken joy.
“Did the Blue Jays play tonight” I asked, turning towards one of my startled neighbors with a sudden sense of overwhelming mortification.
“Yeah, they beat Texas and the umps to advance to the American League Championship – hey, how come you’re out here yelling about murder and shit? Are you the lady that owns the macaque?”
“No. Never mind” I snapped and calmly marched back up the stairs to collect my suitcase. “I was just testing how ready the denizens of this building were for a civil catastrophe” I called back as I dragged my luggage back across the floor to the sound of moving liquids and clattering bottles. “Frankly, you people are woefully unprepared for a real riot my good man, you should be fucking ashamed of yourselves – why if that had been a murderous mob of looting Oompa-Loompas you’d all be savagely beaten to death by now for fuck’s sake! Good day” I shouted, finally slamming the door and quickly locking all three deadbolts behind me.
Gasping for air, I stumbled towards my desk and tried to find some greater meaning in the madness I’d just experienced. On one hand, I’d just embarrassed myself in front of an entire building full of judgmental neighbors who were already getting annoyed by wailing visitors in Lions gear and my screeching pet monkey. On the other hand, the impromptu baseball celebration and resulting police presence would keep my editor’s thugs off my ass for at least the next couple of hours – long enough to finish my week 6 picks column and threaten that bastard with legal action if he didn’t reign in his emo killer dwarves posthaste. Marveling at the strange twists and stomach-lurching turns of the human condition, I began to clack away at the never ending struggle that has plagued us all for generations – how to beat Vegas against the spread while wagering on professional football.
(Week 6 NFL Picks: home teams are in caps with my choice to win listed first. As always, the legal department at IcePuckChic.com will have me mauled by rabid Canadian beavers if I don’t remind you that these picks are in fact, for entertainment purposes only and that gambling can be a serious addiction problem unless you’re doing it with absurdly large piles of other people’s money – in which case it’s called “working in the Financial Sector.”)
Falcons (-3.5) over SAINTS:
Just how close is New Orleans to dumping the entire bloody season and blatantly tanking for a top draft pick in 2016? Coach Sean Payton just openly floated the idea that he’d be prepared to talk to other teams in need of a head coach through a well known NFL insider – with two entire years left on his fucking contract with the Saints. If that doesn’t throw up a giant, blazing red warning sign in front of gamblers hoping a divisional game will inspire New Orleans to break such a manageable cover; well, they probably live in New Orleans and no amount of solid gambling advice can cure blind, stupid homerism or a Louisiana public school education. Folks, I’d be a liar if I told you I didn’t think Atlanta’s magical mystery tour bus wasn’t going to break down at some point in the middle of this season. The Falcons are winning games with miracle smoke and muddy mirrors; despite a defense that can’t stop anyone until the fourth fucking quarter and while running out Roddy White’s festering, bloated corpse at wide receiver. Now, it’s becoming clear that all-stratosphere receiver Julio Jones is suffering through the kind of lingering injury that turns a mutant lycanthrope serial killer into a limited decoy option on a rigid snap count – a phenomenon that will no doubt be all too familiar for Lions fans and people who’ve ever drafted Calvin Johnson in fantasy football. Atlanta will indeed get it’s comeuppance, probably sooner rather than later; but after last week’s staggering debacle against the near-equally incompetent Philadelphia Eagles, there is absolutely no reason whatso-fucking-ever to believe it’ll come at the hands of the Ain’ts.
Broncos (-4) over BROWNS:
Normally, a line like this would make you spit-take and speed dial your bookie in search of easy greenbacks, but an injury to Demarcus Ware and the sudden re-emergence of Josh fucking McCown of all damn people as a starting quarterback-like substance, has cast a shadow of lingering doubt over this match-up. Furthermore, the Broncos are on the road here, playing the dreaded 1PM East Coast contest wise gamblers instinctively avoid wagering big cheddar on because teams from out West are known to shit the bed in these scenarios with stupefying regularity. Despite these ominous signs however, I’m still going to pick Denver here. While there is indeed a certain diseased part of my mind that wants to take Cleveland and the points, the simple truth is that there is an entire goddamn galaxy of difference between putting up good numbers against a broken Ravens defense that’s a pathetic shell of itself without noted scumbag linebacker Terrell Suggs, and facing down an entire Broncos front seven that makes sport of torturing mediocre quarterbacks on a weekly basis – Josh McCown is about to discover that difference in the most jarringly painful and humiliating way possible this Sunday afternoon, which should lead to an easy-ish Denver victory and cover.
Bengals (-3) over BILLS:
Ladies and gentlemen – cash in your savings bonds, hug your loved ones tightly and make your time because the Andy Dalton-led Cincinnati Bengals are about to hit 6-0 this season and I can think of no surer sign that the mutherfucking apocalypse is upon our heathen asses. Are we absolutely fucking certain the guy under that uniform is even Dalton folks? Isn’t it at least theoretically possible that the Bengals have Kenny Anderson holed up in bloody broom closest somewhere, operating a remote controlled robot built to simply look like Dalton? What dark powers has Cincy bargained with to make their freckled field marshal look like an elite quarterback? How many innocent souls did they sacrifice to transform Marvin Lewis into a barely competent professional football coach? The world may never know the answers to these foul questions, but you can know with total certainty that I’m completely done with the Buffalo Bills and their fat, loudmouthed coach who doesn’t even have the common fucking decency to cover the spread during a season-saving win over the hapless Titans. I’m sorry Rex, it’s not me, it’s most definitely you.
VIKINGS (-4) over Chiefs:
Yes, I’m aware that this will be the fourth consecutive time we’ve picked favorites this week and yes I know that laying points like a pregnant toad spitting tadpoles out in a county ditch is no way to beat Vegas on a regular basis. Furthermore, despite being a much better team at home, the Vikings are coming off an early bye that could certainly make an already mediocre goddamn offense look like a steaming pile of dogshit for a quarter or two. With all that having been noted however, it is important to realize that the Kansas City Chiefs are completely fucking incapable of scoring touchdowns without injured swiss-army back Jamaal Charles and the two guys slated to take his place have combined for a Detroit Lions-esque total of just seventy-five rushing yards so far this season. This puts the arduous task of generating big plays on Alex Smith’s significantly less than capable shoulders, and we all saw how well that worked out for KC last week – when Chicago erased a fourteen point deficit and pushed the Chiefs around like a rented fucking mule after Charles went down. In short, the Vikings are a much, much better goddamn football team than the Bears and I suspect Chicago might have won last week’s game by more than twenty points if Charles hadn’t played the first three quarters – betting against the pathetic Chiefs offense is going to be both fun and profitable for the next little while my friends.
Texans (+1) over JAGUARS:
Perhaps the nicest thing that can be said about this contest is that it is, in fact, a game of professional football that will be played as part of the larger 2015 NFL season – despite containing two teams that would struggle to qualify for the fucking Conference USA Championship Game. Both of these squads are equally fetid, but the Texans have the distinct advantage of starting a healthy Brian Hoyer who seems motivated and shockingly effective after enduring a humiliating four game benching in favor of physically perfect, automated turnover machine Ryan Mallett. I know what you’re thinking, how the hell can starting Brian goddamn Hoyer behind center be an advantage when Hoyer himself has no talent whatsoever for the quarterback position? Easy – Jags regular starter Blake Bortles is dealing with a severe shoulder sprain, setting up the possibility that Jacksonville will forced to release a drooling Chad Henne from the cage under the stands they keep him in so he won’t shit all over the locker room floor, and actually fucking start him at quarterback. Frankly, with the way Jacksonville’s pathetic excuse for an offensive line is playing, there’s a damn good chance we’ll see Henne anyway, even if Bortles starts the game. Regardless of which Jags quarterback lines up across from him however, enraged berserker and suspected mutant Avenger JJ Watt is due for a three sack, multiple-fatality game at some point this season; I suspect it’ll come this week against a team that would struggle to keep you or I from ringing their QB’s bell at least once on Sunday.
Bears (+3) over LIONS:
If I’m being completely honest here, I’m at least somewhat terrified that the Detroit Lions will find a way to actually fucking win this goddamn game on Sunday – after all, registering a meaningless victory against a hated divisional rival immediately after the entire fan base starts looking forward to the 2016 draft would be just about the most ridiculously absurd, self defeating and completely “that’s so Lions” thing Detroit could possibly do. Despite a general belief that the Lions exist only to cause me debilitating emotional pain however, the Bears are on a two game winning streak and Jay Culter is playing like he’s auditioning for the fucking Broncos job in 2016 – which he just might be, unless John Elway seriously believes that Brock Osweiler is the answer to any question besides “who’s going to wash my car this week,” that is. At this point, Culter and verified man-beast running back Matt Forte are basically willing the sad sack Bears to victory on Sundays but that should be more than enough to beat a Lions team that’s clearly quit on its bumbling, emotionless coach and a sarcastic, vocally disappointed fanbase. When in doubt, take the points and the quarterback who’s not in serious danger of being benched for a scrub mutherfucker like Dan Orlovsky my friends.
JETS (-6) over Racial Slurs:
Beware, ominous shades of déjà voodoo surround this game my fellow disciples of the blessed wager. Much like last week, the Washington Racial Slurs are facing down a match-up I am at least 90% certain that they will lose outright, but not necessarily by more than six points. Is Vegas taking advantage of the fact that it just feels good to bet against Washington? Yes, probably. Does that bother me? Not in the fucking slightest; rooting against Dan Synder and open bigotry will be worth the price of a betting slip every single goddamn week until they stop parading a football team-like substance named after a racial slur out in front of thousands of neanderthal, self-entitled fans all done up in redface! In light of the fact that I wouldn’t bet on Washington even if I actually fucking thought they were going to win a given game, I’d like to devote this portion of the column to reprinting a single, indisputable fact about what a pinhead, shitheel scumbag Dan Synder is. My thinking is that since Snyder never runs out of shitty things to do and say, I’ll never run out of ways to point out what a festering boil on the ass of humanity he is each and every week. Are you ready? This week’s fun fact about Dan Snyder is that he once tried to charge spectators $10 each to watch open training camp practices and an additional $10 to park their cars while doing so. When questioned about this incredibly irregular display of craven greed, Snyder had his team president emphatically claim the charge was comparable to that of other teams – naturally, it wasn’t and eventually Dan was forced to admit he’d made a mistake and apologize for blatantly trying to screw his own fans out of twenty bucks a head to watch a god awful fucking football team run drills in the stifling, oppressive heat of a Virginia summer. Tune in next week for another fun fact about the most hated team owner in a league full of greedy, arrogant billionaires with virtually no redeeming qualities whatsoever – Danny Snyder.
Cardinals (-3.5) over STEELERS:
Alright, will someone, somewhere tell me what the Cardinals have done to earn the ire of bookmakers everywhere; aside from losing a close game against a talented young Rams team that decided not to shoot itself in the fucking foot for once that is? Yes, the Steelers somehow managed to overcome another ghastly performance by reformed pit-bull Thunderdome enthusiast Michael Vick, to pull out a dramatic as hell, last second win on Monday night football. The caveat of course being, that they did it against the Los Angeles Chargers; a squad apparently comprised entirely of conscientious objectors to the fine art of tackling. To say that the Cardinals have a better defense than the Chargers however, would be a lot like saying Lebron James is a better bloody basketball player than the forty-nine year old hack artist accountant who plays in your recreational seniors league at the YMCA – it’s unquestionably true, but also so fucking obvious that you look like a complete goddamn idiot for bothering to bring the subject up in the first place. Sure, Le’Veon Bell is an absolute homicidal assassin at halfback, but Arizona counters with an offense that is now throwing up a mind blowing thirty-eight mutherfucking points per game over its first five contests. While I’m not quite as confident as I was about last week’s shellacking in Detroit, the Cards are simply a better overall football team than Pittsburgh right now and the Steelers are at least a week away from returning injured quarterback Jabba the Rapistburger to the starting lineup.
Dolphins (+2) over TITANS:
Oh sweet mother of god; someone has to murder this game with righteous, cleansing fire before thousands of innocent spectators gouge their eyes out just to escape the sanity-destroying level of god awful football that will no doubt be on display! This craptacular contest of flailing futility will be waged between two teams that have each lost three consecutive games and have shown virtually no sign of actually winning anytime in the near future; the difference of course is that nearly everyone thought the Titans would be relatively putrid this year, but expectations were much higher for the Dolphins after the front office went on a spectacularly short-sighted spending spree this offseason. Shockingly, trying to shove expensive square pegs into round holes didn’t work out very well, so Miami fed head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to the fishes during the bye. Enter former tight ends coach Dan Campbell, who frankly looks more like he should be teaching gym at a local high school, than running a professional football team. Like most first time coaches thrust into an interim situation, it’s blatantly obvious that Campbell doesn’t have a god damn clue what he’s doing; relying on classic canards about intensity and passion while instituting bush league, high school football nonsense like the utterly psychopathic Oklahoma drill. The plus side is, he’s listening to his players and shifting Miami back to a one gap defensive scheme; which should allow Suh to play a little bit more like the bloodthirsty mutant wrecking ball he was brought in to be at such an astronomically large expense. Will any of it work? Your guess is as good as mine, but on paper Miami has the superior roster and even if all Campbell accomplishes is forcing the Dolphins to give a shit about football again, the resulting performance will already be miles better than what we saw under the genuinely hated Philbin. I’ll take a chance on the Dolphins, hoping for a dead coach bounce and at least partially inspired by getting free points against a genuinely goddamn rancid Titans squad.
Panthers (+7) over SEAHAWKS:
If you were somehow questioning whether or not Cam Newton is finally getting the respect he deserves as an elite mutherfucking quarterback in the NFL, the line on this game makes it abundantly clear that the answer is no. How on god’s green earth any sane person who’s watched the Seahawks last five games can believe they should be a seven point favorite over a 4-0 team is beyond even my drug-enhanced capacity to imagine. The offensive line is a flaming fucking dumpster fire that can’t block anyone and suddenly midget, fundie wonder-QB Russell Wilson is coughing up a poorly timed turnover in virtually every game – which is probably related to the fact that he’s been sacked twenty-two goddamn times this season already. Furthermore, the defense hasn’t really looked like the “Legion of Boom” all season, even after the return of hellacious monsterback Kam Chancellor. Now, cerebral free safety Earl Thomas is openly admitting that he wasn’t prepared during the disastrous fucking fourth quarter collapse against Cincy last week and the unit’s most important player, rangy, all-universe middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, may be out with a strained pectoral muscle – an injury that will almost certainly make it extremely fucking difficult to tackle people even if he does start. Is it entirely possible that the Seahawks can find a way to actually win this game, with their season likely hanging in the balance? Sure – the game is in Seattle, where the Hawks are light years better than they are on the road, Cam Newton has an established, multi-season history of shitting the bed against the Legion of Boom and the home team welcomes back Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch; although that might not mean much if Seattle’s inept offensive line can’t open any fucking holes for him against a decent enough Carolina front seven. There is however a significant difference between eking out a tough win against an overconfident, undefeated opponent and covering a goddamn seven point spread in the National Football League folks – my money says Carolina breaks the cover at a minimum and could theoretically run away with the contest if Wilson doesn’t stop spitting up the ball like some kind of diseased, feral cat dislodging a massive, snot-covered hairball.
PACKERS (-10.5) over Chargers:
In a match-up of two teams that managed to cost me money last weekend, we see the Packers hosting a Los Angeles Chargers squad that’s coming off an unforgettably epic fucking choke job against Mike Vick and the Steelers on Monday night. While I’m normally pretty leery about taking the favorite against a double-digit line, there’s really no reason whatsoever to believe that the Chargers will even keep this game close in the first half, let alone through four fucking quarters. Injuries on the offensive line made it almost impossible for LA to keep Rivers standing last week and you could park a mutherfucking aircraft carrier in the talent gap between Pittsburgh’s defense and the pack of psycho, fucked-up butchers the Packers will unleash this game. On the other side of the ball, Green Bay’s offense is understandably pissed off about failing to light up San Francisco and the Rams; now they’re looking forward to a match-up against a Chargers defense that can’t stop the fucking pass to save it’s life and can’t tackle worth a shit once the pass is completed either. For a modified West Coast offense that actively attempts to create big yardage after the catch from all of its receivers, this is a mouth-watering opportunity to embarrass the fuck out of lesser athletes on national television and accrue free stats toward season-long performance bonuses.
49ERS (+2.5) over Ravens:
Ladies and gentlemen; it’s only six weeks into the goddamn 2015 NFL Season and we’ve already hit peak, stark-raving gambling madness – I am betting on Colin fucking Kaepernick for the second consecutive bloody week and this time I don’t even have West Coast voodoo or a full touchdown line to excuse my terrifying insanity. Unfortunately for both the Ravens and my mental stability however, I just can’t see them winning this game because injuries have absolutely decimated an already spurious Baltimore defense; to the point that I seriously question their ability to stop even one of the worst fucking quarterbacks in the NFL – so basically, Colin Kaepernick. With at least one, and likely two starting corners out of commission, it should be virtually impossible for the Ravens to contain either one of San Francisco’s superhuman, yardage chewing wide receivers. Further complicating things for Baltimore is a potentially debilitating injury to their lone remaining pass-rushing lycanthrope – if Elvis Dumervil can’t play, or is too limited by stabbing goddamn groin pain to generate pressure on passing downs, even a scrub mutherfucker like Kaep will have an easy time lighting up the backups and future street free agents playing in Baltimore’s secondary. Finally, as if all that weren’t enough, the Ravens will also have to account for belligerent tight end Vernon Davis, who while a noticeably pathetic shadow of his formerly monstrous self; is still good for two or three key first downs a game and can absolutely destroy bad defenses that are preoccupied with other threats in the 9ers attack – so basically, the fucking Baltimore Ravens.
Patriots (-10) over COLTS:
After scratching and clawing their way to three surprisingly difficult victories against some of the most comically inept franchises in the NFL, the Colts find themselves directly in the fiery path of the Tom Brady revenge train this Sunday night – facing down a furious Pats signal caller who will probably be extra motivated to completely obliterate the fucking team that ratted him out for (possibly) deflating footballs in the first goddamn place. Rumor has it that Luck practiced this week and might even start the game, but after the verbal diarrhea Chuck Pagano has spewed about his franchise QB’s playing status the past couple of weeks, I certainly wouldn’t advise betting the mutherfucking farm on it. The real question of course is; does it even fucking matter who takes snaps for the Colts? The Patriots just do essentially everything fucking better than they do; whether it’s offense, defense, special teams or coaching, there is not one, single facet of the game where Indianapolis can confidently claim to have an exploitable edge over New England. Furthermore, these two teams have been moving in completely opposite directions since that fateful day in January; which by the way saw the Pats hang a thirty-eight point ass whipping on a Colts squad that was objectively outperforming this year’s iteration in every conceivable bloody way you can measure success in football. Things will probably get harder for New England as the year drags on now that mauling left tackle Nat Solder’s season is over. It won’t happen this week however as Brady blows the Colts out of their own building, while gunning off blundering, would-be dictator Roger Goodell through the TV cameras at every available opportunity.
Giants (+4) over EAGLES:
Well, it’s finally happened folks; last week was officially the moment when the Eagles moved from bemusing, lovable punch line, to the organization I’d singularly most like to die in a raging goddamn fire – preferably immediately. When I bet on Philadelphia to cover a manageable spread against a team seriously starting Kirk fucking Cousins at quarterback, they find a way to lose outright. When I decide their failure to stop a mediocre turnover machine probably means they’ll struggle against a cold-blooded killer like Drew Brees, they lay a mutherfucking twenty-two point beating on the shell-shocked Saints. Is everything suddenly fine in Philly? Fuck no – when your head coach has to call a fucking Thursday press conference to emphatically deny he’s interested in the Texas or USC jobs, you have some serious bloody problems as a football team. On paper, the Giants have the better quarterback (unbelievably) and should be able to take away the run, forcing Sam Bradford to actually win a game with his arm; something even the most die-hard Eagles fan would admit is not fucking likely if New York can generate even the most minimal pass rush against the obviously skittish Eagles quarterback. With all that having been said however, I will be in no way surprised if Bradford and the Eagles lay a twenty-seven point curbstomping on the Giants either. We’ve now entered the Chip Kelly zone and that weird little son of a bitch is the only man on this earth who has a clue whether or not he’s fucked the Eagles up beyond all recognition.
Last Week: 8 – 5 – 1
Season: 41 – 34 – 2
- Nina Illingworth