“Do you like to gamble?” he asked in a thick eastern European accent, casually sliding a revolver and one single bullet into the middle of the table. The question was of course a ridiculous one; after all I was sitting in the darkened back room of a Pho restaurant at 1 o’clock in the morning and I’d just ordered the house special sight unseen. Of fucking course I liked to gamble. Unfortunately however, there was also the minor issue of a mutherfucking handgun sitting on the table a foot and half in front of me to consider. A little voice inside my head told me that this was not the time for direct honesty.
“Maybe” I replied, trying desperately to figure out a way out of the room. Something about the way the entire wait staff was slowly encircling me and chanting “di di mau, di di mau” was making me extremely fucking nervous. As the hostess locked the front door and started calling out odds numbers in Vietnamese, my entire life began to flash before my eyes – and frankly, it wasn’t very exciting.
Six hours later I staggered out into the sunlight with a fresh twenty dollar bill in my hands, bits of gore on my t-shirt and memories that would last a lifetime. For years afterwards I would be completely unable to eat bun cha without falling to the floor, whimpering and urinating on myself but the experience also left me with a profound, almost spiritual love for the art of gambling. Frankly, it was the best twelfth birthday a kid could ask for.
Wait, where was I again? Ah yes, gambling – the stake, the bet, the wager – an activity that combines the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat and the kindness of random strangers at the food bank after you’ve finished paying off your bookie. Indeed, it is a matter of scientific fact that the only activity on god’s green earth more enjoyable than gambling, is gambling against the line on professional football – and when it comes to pro football, the NFL is really the only game in town worth selling plasma for.
With these immutable truths in mind, please allow me to present my 2015 Week 1 NFL picks. Home teams are in caps with my picks to win listed first. The legal department here at IcePuckChic has asked me to remind you that these picks are for entertainment purposes only and some other shit about gambling potentially being a serious addiction. Hogwash I say, but the staff lawyer is a rabid pit-bull that knows six different kinds of Kung-Fu so, who the fuck am I to argue right? Just between you and me however, bet the entire fucking farm folks – my picks are so fire they could headline at Burning Man and then go on tour with Prince.
Steelers (+7) over PATRIOTS:
The most important thing to remember about this match-up is the phrase “plausible deniability.” So what if the game pits a guy who’s been publicly accused of sexual assault by two different women against a guy who’s entire legacy remains tarnished by illegal videotapes, destroyed evidence and the casual wearing of UGG ascots in public? What matters here is that both of these men are phenomenal football players and that football is the most American thing on earth. Besides, absolutely none of these charges have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in a court of law. What are you, some kinda fucking communist? New England will win the game but Pittsburgh will keep it close because Bill Belichick is a master troll who delights in failing to cover the spread just to ruin lives and piss people off. Watch for an appearance by heartwarming human interest story Mike Vick as the Pittsburgh back-up continues his inspiring and courageous comeback from killing a bunch of dogs for sport.
Packers (-6.5) over BEARS:
Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like a match-up between the Lion’s two most hated division rivals to make me question why ISIS never attacks people who truly deserve it – like Bears and Packers fans. Regardless, after thirty some odd years of praying for a massive stadium collapse to wipe out both teams and at least one set of supporters, I’ve come to accept that these match-ups have to be played so that someone, somewhere out there in the vast cow patch that is Midwestern America can gamble on them. With that in mind, expect the Packers to cover but don’t be surprised if the game is canceled by an act of divine retribution. The lord works in mysterious ways and I’ve still got three more days to pray for a localized meteor shower to obliterate Soldier Field on Sunday.
TEXANS (-1) over Chiefs:
Have you ever met someone you found completely enchanting and fallen madly in love, only to discover that the more you learned about them, the more you wanted to beat that someone to death with a rusty tire iron? Why am I asking? No reason – hey in completely unrelated news, did you know that JJ Watt once wrestled a fully grown polar bear into submission because it refused to rise for the national anthem on honor our troops day? Or that his favorite activity is helping blind old women across the street in between training sessions for the upcoming NFL season? Fine, but did you know that churches in the state of Texas close on Sundays during home games because when JJ Watt is popping pads and crippling quarterbacks, even Jesus has to stop and watch? It is utterly amazing to me how much street cred one bloody nose will buy you in the NFL; I mean it’s not like he had half a finger amputated or something. Now Ronny Lott, there was a bad mutherfucker worthy of adoration and praise, let me tell you. Where was I? Right, I am now contractually obligated to remind you that Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith is fucking terrible. Let’s move on.
JETS (-3.5) over Browns:
Oh my fucking god – quick, nuke this fucking travshammockery of a game from orbit! No seriously, somewhere in New York right now, someone is holding on to tickets for this match-up and questioning every single choice they’ve made in life up until this moment; don’t let that someone be you! In related news: I’ve been informed that the Cleveland Browns will be holding tryouts for a starting Wide Receiver in the parking lot before the game – Jets fans need not apply.
Colts (-2.5) over BILLS:
This should be one of the most intriguing match-ups in the NFL during week one. On one side you have the NFL’s poster boy – glamorous star QB Andrew Luck and his constantly evolving, but always on point facial hair game. On the other side you have an arrogant, loud-mouthed, toe fetishist who also happens to be a defensive mastermind and knows exactly how to extract unreasonable levels of loyalty from grown men based on his father’s reputation. Unfortunately for Buffalo, only one of these two men is actually playing in the game on Sunday – advantage Colts.
Dolphins (-3.5) over A FLAMING PILE OF DOG FECES AKA DAN SNYDER
The only things you need to know about this game are that Dan Snyder is a piece of human excrement, Kirk Cousins is what would happen if you scientifically engineered a bio-mechanical robot to do nothing but throw interceptions and Jay Gruden couldn’t coach a squad full of lemmings off the end of a motherfucking cliff. I will be picking against Washington every week this year regardless of opponent, I will absolutely never type the word “Redskins” in this column (okay, just this once, fuck you Snyder) and yes, I think it’s utterly fucking shameful that in 2015 there’s an NFL team named after a racial slur. I’m sorry folks; I can’t even make that funny. Fuck Dan Snyder and his fucking train wreck NFL Franchise who I will only refer to as Washington from here on out.
JAGUARS (+3) over Panthers:
When attempting to figure out who’s going to win a match-up between two teams you couldn’t give a rat’s ass about, it sometimes becomes necessary to dig deeper and ask the questions other analysts are too afraid to ask. Questions like who would win in a fight between a real jaguar and a real panther? What about between a real jaguar and Cam Newton? Is it really reasonable for a grown man to wear a comfort blanket wrapped around his head on the sideline? Why doesn’t Cam Newton smile more? Would people like Cam Newton better if he was Caucasian, how about if he was made of cheese? Just who in the fuck are these people listed at WR for the Panthers and how exactly will they help Cam Newton? You could also ask some questions that weren’t about Cam Newton, but why would anyone even fucking care about the answers? God bless Cam Newton.
Seahawks (-4) over RAMS:
The Seattle Seahawks begin the defense of their 2014 Superbowl title on the road week 1 against the Los Angeles Rams. Although star safety and human cruise missile Kam Chancellor is out with a severe case of iwannagetpaidmutherfucker-itis, the Seahawks still have Superbowl MVP and resident plow horse Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch at tailback. After scoring the game winning touchdown on the last offensive play of the Superbowl, you just know he’s going to be primed to continue right where he left off behind the brilliant play calling of coach and noted 9/11 scholar Pete Carroll. It’s going to be a long, long day for fans in Los Angeles this Sunday – especially since the game is being played in Saint Louis, Missouri for reasons nobody actually understands.
CARDINALS (-2.5) over Saints:
Week 1 also brings fans a match-up in Arizona between an offense that couldn’t score at a Juggalette party if you spotted them the first three bases and a defense that hasn’t stopped anyone since Tha Carter III went triple platinum. Who wins? Who fucking cares – by week 10 both starting QBs in this game will be on IR and Brees will be negotiating an under the table contract restructure that will allow him to join the New York Jets in 2016. As a random side note – are you aware that 2015 is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and that the Saints have a special relationship with the still rebuilding city of New Orleans? Don’t worry; you’ll be reminded of these facts at least a million times on Sunday while watching a game hosted literally in the middle of a fucking desert.
Lions (+3) over CHARGERS:
Finally, we arrive at the premier week 1 match-up of the 2015 NFL season. The Lions begin their inexorable march to 16-0 in San Diego on Sunday and I have a pretty good feeling that America is about to learn just how overrated former star defensive tackle and current loud-mouthed, cheating greedbag Ndamukong Suh is. Oh sure, he’s a future Hall of Famer, requires constant triple teams along the offensive line and swallows guards whole so the defenders behind him can make plays but what kind of person was he, really? Could you imagine having a beer with Suh? Hell, I’ve never even seen a beer in the same picture as Suh – whereas there’s photographic evidence all over TMZ that Matty Stafford drinks like a goddamn fish in the offseason. In the end, Suh was a great player but he just wasn’t a Detroit kind of guy. When the chips were down, that greedy son of a bitch took the first opportunity available to escape the crushing vortex of failure that is Lions GM Martin Mayhew. A real Motown hero would have stuck it out until his early thirties and then retired suddenly in abject frustration, a broken shell of his former self. His loss tho, we’re going all the way this year and that dipshit is gonna miss the party. I’d almost feel bad for him but I’m too busy thinking about how Zack Zenner is going to revolutionize the NFL this season after leading the league in pre-season rushing this August. Yep, everything is coming up Lions this year; I don’t even know why San Diego is even bothering to field a team on Sunday frankly.
Titans (+3) over BUCCANEERS:
Ahh yes – the rookie bowl, the battle of the blue chip quarterbacks, the number one and number two overall picks of the 2015 NFL draft. This exciting week 1 match-up pits the flying Hawaiian vs a guy who stood up on a table in the student lounge to yell “fucked her right in the pussy” and tried to shoplift 30 bucks worth of crab legs, on camera, in a town where everyone knew his name. At first I had no clue how to properly evaluate this match-up between god’s own gift to quarterback prospects and a man who was accused of sexual assault in college under murky enough circumstances that he might not actually be guilty – for once, maybe. Then I saw Tampa QB Jameis Winston on TV struggling to enunciate a comparison between his match-up with Marcus Mariota and horse racing. I immediately thought to myself, “holy shit this kid is even dumber than they said he was – football is nothing like horse racing because there’s no fucking way a horse could even throw a forward pass you fool!” Simply put, Mariota seems to have a better grasp of how the QB position is not horse racing and I refuse to put my faith in a guy who spells James with an I. There is no I in team, Jameis.
Bengals (-3.5) over RAIDERS:
In the grand cosmic scheme of things, there are some questions that you’re simply better off not asking yourself – especially if you’re alone and near any sharp objects. These questions include:
- How the fuck is Andy Dalton so bad at football?
- How the fuck has Andy Dalton failed to get any better in four complete seasons?
- Will Andy Dalton ever figure out how to recognize the blitz?
- Is there any phrase in the English language more jarring than “Andy Dalton, 2-time Pro Bowler?”
- Why the fuck am I taking Andy Dalton on the road and against the spread?
- Who exactly is this Derek Carr dipshit and why isn’t he working at the snack bar?
- Did I erase the German scheizer porn off my hard drive before I took it in for servicing?
Can you answer these questions? Can anyone? I didn’t think so, let’s move on.
BRONCOS (-4.5) over Ravens:
Before each and every Broncos game these past few years, I like to show solidarity with Denver fans by fervently praying that this will not be the day someone separates Peyton Manning’s ginormous cranium from his surgically fused neck vertebrae on national television. That would be a terrible way to die and likely extremely traumatic for children watching the carnage unfold in real time. I would definitely prefer that Manning be euthanized humanely in the privacy of his own home as punishment for the now billions of hours worth of TV ads he’s foisted on America over the years instead. I mean, fuck people – I have a heart ya know?
Giants (+6) over COWBOYS:
Am I bitterly taking the Giants because I’m still not over the pass interference call that wasn’t in last year’s Wild Card playoff match-up between Detroit and Dallas? Maaaaaaaybe. I curse you Dallas Cowboys, I curse each and every one of you to failure, misery and physical harm – except you Dez Bryant because you’re on my fantasy football team this year. Most of all however, I curse you Jerry Jones. May you forever be outwitted by hookers attempting to blackmail you because you’re too shitfaced to realize how cameras work. The reckoning begins this Sunday night. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr shall be the instruments of Detroit’s righteous retribution and the Cowboys will suffer humiliating defeat; preferably while still feeding the ball to Bryant in garbage time so I can defeat YD0nchUBlowMe69 in the ESPN fantasy league this week. Wow, that actually looks even more pathetic on paper than it sounded in my head- let’s never discuss this again, okay? Thanks.
Eagles (-3) over FALCONS:
The waiting is over, this Monday night America finally gets to learn if Chip Kelly is insane or if Chip Kelly is, well, insane but in a good way that might let him win an actual playoff game at the NFL level. Wait, ladies and gentlemen – oh my god, I’m being told that Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford has slipped on a wet towel in the Philadelphia locker room and torn every ligament in both his legs! He is officially out for the season, I repeat Sam Bradford now out for the season with a torn everything below the waist muscle! Haha, just kidding but let’s be honest – you had to Google it just to be sure. Actually, so did I. I have a bad feeling that this all going to end very poorly for Eagles fans but at least they have the Phillies, Flyers and the 76ers right? Mental Note: do not walk too close to high buildings in Philadelphia this fall… I’m just saying.
Vikings (-2.5) over 49ERS:
Our final game of the Week 1, 2015 NFL schedule brings up two important questions about the San Francisco 49ers:
How happy do you think team owner Jed York is that this game is being held at 10:20 Eastern and therefore most of the country will already be in bed by the time it becomes obvious that the new head coach is an idiot and York’s ego has completely gutted the franchise?
- This of course begs the follow-up question – how happy do you think the 49ers are that the franchise in Washington is such a raging tire fire that nobody has noticed they fired the best coach they’ve had since Bill Walsh, thereby pissing their own players off so much that half the defense snap retired?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the 2015 San Francisco 49ers – truly and finally, Jed York’s team.
Well, there you have it folks, a game by game definitive guide to how things will shake out during week 1 of the National Football League. While “The Law” won’t let me promise you that these predictions will win you money, I can basically imply that they absolutely will win you money but I’m not responsible if they don’t – in a legal sense. Go forth and profit, my sweet but gullible friends.
- Nina Illingworth