The Play Pen
Slack Lines II, Week 12
Betting advice by morons, for morons
Current Slack Lines standings:
The Improper's Nick "Leg Man" Altschuller: 17-15-1
Comcast's Rich "Dark Meat" Levine: 16-15-2
WEEI's Rory "Giblets" Duyon: 12-21
We're doing something a little different this week. As I'm sure you remember, in our last post, I preemptively named Bills running back Fred Jackson the Slack Lines MVP. He then promptly broke his leg.
But that's not going to stop us from playing with fate, because there are players out there that deserve to be recognized.
Players striving to overcome the odds.
Men who battle when all seems lost.
Guys who struggle to do their best, even when their best could charitably be called mediocre.
A true Slack Lines MVP.
Here's this season's ballot. Read of their glory; be inspired to go for that long jog you promised yourself you'd take, then make yourself a Thanksgiving sandwich the size of a Jonathan Franzen novel and fall asleep on the couch. Live the life of a true Slack Liner.
Growing up in Londonderry, N.H., I saw a lot of high school football games where there might have been fewer than 6 passing plays between the two teams. I feel like this game is going to bring me back to my days watching football at Lancer Park. The over/under for carries by Maurice Jones Drew, Deji Karim, Arian Foster and Ben Tate should be somewhere around 75.5.
Nobody wants to watch horrible quarterbacks turn around and hand the ball to somebody else all day, so here's what I propose to spice this game up. Have Nick and Rich suit up for the Texans and Jaguars rather than Matt Leinart and Blaine Gabbart. Slap some microphones on them and have them hand it 60 times. They can provide running commentary as they try not to get squashed from the best seat in the house. The rest of us can make bingo cards. We'll have spots for "Nick botches snap", "Rich lines up under left guard", "Nick gets laid out by defensive end as he tries to get the hell out of the way on a fumble return". Who will win if we actually do this? America.
Jacksonville is bad, but I'm not taking a team led by Matt Leinart giving points on the road. Rory's Pick: Jaguars
Denver at San Diego (-6)
Talk about playing with fire. I’m taking everything—that’s right, ALL THREE POINTS—and betting against Tim Tebow.
Why? Because this is the week when the wheels fly off; where he and the Broncos play in front of a real opposing crowd, a capable defense, and most importantly, against a legitimate NFL offense.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Have you watched the Chargers this year? Have you seen Philip Rivers' numbers? Noticed the five straight losses? Yes, but the Chargers can still score. Three weeks ago they put up 38 on the Packers; Denver couldn’t do that in 10 quarters. And as much as the Chargers offense has struggled, they’re still far more dangerous than Miami, Oakland, Kansas City and the Jets—the four teams Tebow has beat over this magical run, which will end Sunday in San Diego. Rich’s pick: ChargersNew England @ Philadelphia (+4)
I really want to back this pick up with more data, but after yesterday my blood is about 75 percent gravy right now. It's hard to craft a preview when you've got a wedge of pumpkin pie stuck in your temporal lobe. Now I know how Peter King feels. Nick's Pick: Patriots
Wells has been a rock in front of the man all these so-called "experts" are ready to crown as the league's Most Valuable Player. I'm here to tell you that Rodgers is nothing more than the man behind "The Man." Wells is a true rags to riches story after being drafted 251st in 2004 out of Tennessee. Now, he's playing for a new contract and enjoying a Pro Bowl season. The importance of his role is magnified by all the injuries the Packers front line has endured this season. Also notice how Wells tries to keep the peace as his backup, Evan Dietrich-Smith is getting pummled by that monster Ndamukong Suh. On top of being a good samaritan, he's my Slack Lines MVP.
There’s no such thing an automatic win. Nothing is ever “in the bag” (except me, after a few Sunday afternoon wine coolers). If there’s a way to blow it, we will. (That one extends into our social lives as well. Wait, I mean…)
Here at Slack Lines, we pride ourselves on finding new and exciting ways to lose.
And in that spirit, there can be only one Slack Lines MVP: Tony Romo: The slackiest quarterback in the NFL.
But here’s another thing about Mr. Tony. He’s also secretly and suddenly having a very solid season. Granted, thanks to Thanksgiving (HA! Get it?), he has a game advantage on most of the league, but through 12 weeks, Romo’s fourth in the league in passer rating (97.5), fifth in touchdowns (21) and yards (3,026). He’s thrown fewer interceptions than Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
And most importantly, he now has the Cowboys at 7-4 and in first place in the NFC East. Unfortunately, that impressive record is where Romo separates himself from your humble Improper slackers, but we can’t hold that against him.
Persevering in the face of unrelenting suck, my choice for Slack Lines MVP is MJD.
But he keeps getting up and keeps producing. Even though the his team stinks. Even though there's no way for them to make the playoffs. He's oblivious to the futility of his noble efforts, which makes him the perfect Slack Lines MVP. (And with my blessing, he's now headed straight to the IR. Relax and enjoy, buddy! You deserve it.)
Until next week.
Email Nick at email@example.com
Follow the Slack Lines team on Twitter: @altschuller, @rich_levine and @roryduyon