Mac's Picks - Week Thirteen (Part I)

I eagerly anticipated last week's premiere of live NFL games on the NFL Network. After all, who would know more about how best to present the NFL product than the league's very own network, right? Certainly they would know the best way, and could probably show things that the other networks can't. They are, after all, the National Football League, and they answer to no one.

So after a day of beer, turkey and two blowouts on the network, at 8pm I hunkered down and eagerly tuned in to the Chiefs-Broncos game…and I was asleep before halftime.

Now, I don't really know why I feel asleep. Was it the beer? Was it the copious amount of turkey? Was it because I skipped the after dinner cup of coffee?

Unfortunately, those weren't any of the reasons. The real reason I fell asleep is that I was "Gumbeled".

Why the NFL chose to hire the least dynamic sportscaster to call their Thursday night games is a decision I'll never understand. Retailers had to love the decision, as the lethal combination of booze, turkey and Gumbel probably had the few people who could actually watch the games (Many cable providers aren't willing to meet the NFLN's high price tag) in bed early enough so they could be at the stores for those 5am sales on "Black Friday", but for the rest of us, it was like weaponized tryptophan.

The NFL Network is going to "Gumbel" us 5 more times this season. I recommend keeping a pot of coffee (or some ammonia tablets if you're Jim Mora, Jr.) on stand-by tonight, just in case.

And now for this week's picks. I'm on a bit of a hot streak lately (21-11-1 in the last two weeks), but I still wouldn't recommend putting Junior's college fund on any of these picks.

Last Week: 11-5
2006 Season: 79-92-5

Baltimore at Cincinnati (-3) - Between Chris Henry, Ray Lewis, Eric Steinbach, Jamal Lewis and Steve McNair, tonight's game could easily be dubbed "The Longest Yard Bowl II". Baltimore won the 1st meeting earlier this year, and with a win, the Ravens would essentially clinch the AFC North. Baltimore might be the best team in the NFL right now, so I think they get it done. Pick: Ravens +3


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