The best part? The game was on mute
This week will be different. I'm back in Massachusetts and will be watching the game from the living room. Still, having watched so many of these ESPN/MNF telecasts, I'm pretty sure the commentary in the booth will go something like this:
Mike Tirico: "Birthplace of jazz and jambalaya. We're coming to you live from New Orleans, where Drew Brees and the 5-5 New Orleans Saints take on Aaron Rodgers and the 5-5 Green Bay Packers."
Ron Jaworski: "Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees. Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees. Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees."
Tony Kornheiser: "Archie Manning. Hurricane Katrina. Mike Brown. Sean Payton. Drew Brees. NFC Championship Game. Brett Favre. Corey Webster. NFC Championship Game. Aaron Rodgers. StarCaps. Viagra. Suspensions. Jeremy Shockey. London."
Kornheiser: "Reggie Bush. Kim Kardashian."
Booth, in unison: (Nervous giggling)
Michele Tafoya: "Thanks, guys...."
ESPN execs high-five one another
Mac's Pick: Packers +2 ½
Philadelphia at Baltimore (-1) – Why is anyone surprised that Donovan McNabb didn't know that there was only one overtime? He's spent his whole career playing for Andy Reid, the league's worst clock management coach. Pick: Ravens -1
NY Jets at Tennessee (-5 ½) – Please win it outright, New York. I do not want my holidays ruined by the image of Mercury Morris on my television. Not again. Pick: Titans -5 ½
Tampa Bay (-9) at Detroit – Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli, a former Buccaneers assistant, has tried to emulate the Buccaneer Way in the Motor City. Unfortunately, his players are nowhere near capable of pulling it off. Pick: Buccaneers -9
Minnesota at Jacksonville (-2 ½) – Memo to Troy Williamson: The next time you challenge your former head coach to a fight at the 50-yard line, be healthy enough to actually play in the game and/or have more than 4 receptions for 27 yards on the season, m'kay? Pick: Jaguars -2 ½
Buffalo (-3) at Kansas City – Buffalo has dropped four straight. Kansas City has lost six in a row. No matter what happens on Sunday, one of these teams will either have or be tied for the longest current losing streak in the NFL. Pick: Bills -3
Chicago (-9) at St. Louis – In the last three weeks, the Rams have been outscored 99-10 in the 1st half. Now Rams guard Richie Incognito is blasting the fans, Jim Haslett blames Steven Jackson's thigh injury to his training camp holdout, and Jackson naturally disagrees. When do the Cardinals pitchers and catchers report? Pick: Bears -9
New England at Miami (-1 ½) – Dolphins Stadium has been a house of horrors at times for the Patriots, but you have to go back to Bill Belichick's 1st year in New England to find the last time the Patriots were swept in a season series by a division opponent. They'll be ready for the "Wildcat" this time around, and hey, that Matt Cassel guy ain't too shabby. Pick: Patriots +1 ½
San Francisco at Dallas (-10 ½) – Now that Tony Romo is back, and the Cowboys are playing at home against a bad football team, the offense may finally start to play up to its explosive potential. Pick: Cowboys -10 ½
Houston at Cleveland (-3) – We've seen Good Brady Quinn (23-35, 267 yards, 2 TDs in Week 10) and we've seen Bad Brady Quinn (14-36, 185 yards in Week 11). Which Brady Quinn will we see this week? Houston's pass defense isn't very good and Quinn is playing at home, so I'm going with the "Good Brady Quinn". Pick: Browns -3
Oakland at Denver (-10) – Mike Shanahan is 21-6 all-time against his former team, and the Broncos have won 9 of the last 11 meetings. This includes the 41-14 shellacking the Broncos administered to the Raiders in Week 1. Pick: Broncos -10
Carolina at Atlanta (-1) – Carolina can get to 9-2 for the first time in franchise history. For the Falcons, this is a must-win game. To fall to 6-5 in the NFC, and more importantly the NFC South, would be hazardous to their playoff chances. Pick: Panthers +1
NY Giants (-3) at Arizona – 13 months ago, I thought the Giants were one bad game away from firing Tom Coughlin. Today, they're the defending Super Bowl champs and the best team in the NFC. Thanks, guys. It's not like I needed any further proof that I'm an idiot. Pick: Giants -3
Washington (-3) at Seattle – Mike Holmgren won't go into his sabbatical season 0-1 against his former quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn. Pick: Seahawks +3
Indianapolis at San Diego (-3) – The last time Peyton Manning was in Qualcomm Stadium, he threw a career-high six interceptions. I doubt we'll see a repeat performance of that, but the Chargers are one of those teams that seems to have the Colts number Pick: Chargers -3
This week: 1-0
Last week: 7-9
2008 Season: 78-82-1
Brian McIntyre lives in the Boston area. In addition to writing for Seahawks.Net, Brian maintains his own blog (www.macsfootballblog.com) and charts games for Football Outsiders. If you'd like to e-mail Brian, you may do so here.