Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra plays in the background. A
few chimps toss bones in the air, while a giant black slab of an HD TV plays Jimmy, James, Boomer, Coach Cowher, Deion, Mike Florio, and the Fat Guy from Sports Illustrated yaking and yaking away.
Suddenly, one chimp hits the other in the head with a football, and starts rubbing his newly opposable thumb against his first two fingers.
Yes, it's the Stanley Kubrick version of the biggest moment in football's history of mankind ever, or at least since Tim Tebow entered an exhibition game for the Pats.
Then the chimp on the screen morphs into a grinning player in a Browns jersey and Jack Nicholson steps in from another Kubrick movie to yell: HEEEEEERRRRRRRREEEEEE'S JOHNNY!Yes, Johnny Manziel, Johnny Football, gets his first start in the NFL.
I see some disappointment in the football future, but the possibility of Manziel and Josh Gordon, neither of whom can execute the everyday second and eights you need to convert in order to win consistently, connecting on two big plays to pull out a win while Marvin Lewis looks on stone-faced after calling Manziel a midget this week, still exists.
I recommend the Bengals below, but if you worship at the slab of Manziel feel free to ignore me (even though I did have a hell of a good week last week!).
BEST BET: GREEN BAY (-4 at 1.92) at Buffalo:
Yes the Bills have a good defense, spearheaded by a great front four.
So figure they may slow the Packers down. But the Bills' offense, led by Kyle Orton, has trouble extending drives and putting points on the board, and the Packers can run with a lead or even to build one.
Weather conditions, if they go all arctic, shouldn't bother the Packers either.
If you worry about this I'll give to two other spreads I think will crack: NYGIANTS (-6.5 at 1.87) vs Washington—because who's going to quarterback the Skins who you would feel is a threat.
VALUE BET: INDIANAPOLIS (-7 AT 2.05) vs Houston:
The Texans can stop you, but this is kind of like the Green Bay situation; quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is streaky, and when it's a bad streak it can get ugly quickly.
If Indy get a couple of quick scores, which they are capable of doing, the Texans may have trouble keeping up, even with DeAndre Hopkins so effective.
I've picked the Bengals and Falcons straight up, and with Cincy getting a point in Cleveland (at 1.92) and Atlanta getting two at home to Pittsburgh (also at 1.92) these may be worth a flutter.
The worry in Atlanta would be that the Steelers keep it close and give Mike Smith a chance to botch his clock management and let them win it.
But Julio Jones has been crunchy as a corn dog for the past two weeks (21 catches 448 yards) and lawd amighty there's no one in the Steelers' secondary who can cover him.
OUTSIDE BET: San Francisco (+9.5 at 2.00) at Seattle:
I have no expectation the Niners will win this game, but it is possible that they cover, because their defense is strong, and Ahmad Brooks is back, and the Seahawk offense is really challenged at the moment: it is Marshawn Lynch in Beast Mode for a few carries each game and then Russell Wilson scrambling around for long enough to get one of a subpar receiving corps free.
The Niners will try to turn Wilson into Colin Kaepernick, but Wilson seems to have one thing CK doesn't: an understanding of where plays are supposed to go and why.
TAMPA BAY (+3 at 2.08) at Carolina is another tempting line; the Panthers will start Derek Anderson at quarterback, which isn't a bad thing, but without much in the way of receiving targets, they could let the Bucs stay in the game.
ONE TO AVOID: New York Jets at Tennessee (-2.5 at 1.80):
This is the kind of game that even the fans in Nashville will likely skip to re-primer the fenders on their fourth-string pickup truck, the one sitting in the neighbour's backyard.
Both teams are 2-11, both are awful at quarterback, and the reason the Titans are home dogs is that the remnant of respect for Rex Ryan as a defensive coach keeps the odds from self-destructing.
This is an acid trip kind of a bet, and if you do take the trip don't be surprised if you wind up like Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda at the end of Easy Rider. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Lessen you wear a Jest helmet on your motorsickle up Johnson City way.
Bet on the weekend's NFL action.