“I remember a discussion that several of us had with Tom Landry one afternoon. The subject was field position, a term you hear more frequently from college coaches than professional coaches. The concept of the game of football is attack and retreat, the same as war. The ultimate object is to capture the opponent=s goal, but a secondary consideration is keeping the ball as far as possible from your own goal line. Professional teams with their superior striking power are less cautious about field position, but no less concerned, as Landry was explaining. After taking some time to ferment his question, Harold Ratliff cornered Landry and asked, “Tell us, Tom, what you consider the best field position?” I looked at Landry. He didn’t need anyone to remind him to answer with care. He said, “Harold, I am personally attracted to my opponent’s one inch line.”
From Confessions of a Washed Up Sportswriter by Gary Cartwright.
And that my friends, was as close as Tom Landry ever came to telling a joke.
Red Rates Himself – Last week 2-4. For the season 36-18. Affect hangdog look.
Your Tom Landry Pick of the Week: Buccaneers over Cowboys. Red thinks this may be the most even match up of the entire season – at least on a statistical basis. Both teams are have similarly mediocre offenses ranking smack in the middle of the pack with equally inept passing games bolstered by reasonably strong running attacks. The main difference is the Buccaneers slightly less mediocre defense. But this game comes down to Red’s long hoped for desire to see an 8 game Cowboy losing streak. If they can just blow this one, then only one more game stands between Red and happiness. So once again, Red invokes the Red Rule (score 13 points and beat the Cowboys). It is hard to see how the Cowboys are not completely dead if they lose this one, but stranger things . . . Red likes the under at 43.5. Tampa Bay 20 Arlington 10.
Your One Inch Pick of the Week: Cardinals over Seahawks. The Cardinals are the most balanced team in the league so far. They have a top 3 offense and a top 3 defense. Only a slightly underperforming rushing game keeps them in check. About right now, Red is wondering why he did not pick the Cards to make the Superb Owl – especially in light of the troubles brewing in Northern Wisconsin. Meanwhile, this is as close to a must-win game as there is for the defending NFC Champion Seahawks. A loss and they are 3 full games behind the Cards with 7 to play. Not an impossible hill to climb, but definitely a demanding task for an underperforming offense that has scored almost 100 points less than the explosive Cardinal attack. Despite the seeming disparity, Red thinks this is Your NFL Game of the Week. Too close to call on the money line, but solid on the over at 44.5. Arizona 29 Seattle 28.
Your Field Position Pick of the Week: Bengals over Texans. Forgive Red for stating the obvious, but the undefeated Bengals are undefeated at home with a 4-0 record. The 3-5 Texans have an expected 1-3 road record having only beaten the Jags on the road. Yet, the Texans are still in the hunt in the pathetic excuse for a professional football division (PEFPFD) that is the AFC South. The hunt is likely to come up empty as the Texans are looking at 3-5 in the second half of the season at best. Red just can’t see the Texans beating the Bengals, or the Patriots, or the Jets, or the Saints, or Bills, or the Colts for that matter. It was nice while it didn’t last. Red is done with betting on Texans’ games. Cincinnati 35 Houston 17.
You’re Asinine Question Pick of the Week: Patriots over Giants. The question here is, “Red, how can the Giants possibly be 5-4 and leading their division when they have the worst defense in the entire NFL and a sub-par offense?” Well, Timmy, it’s called the “luck of the draw.” You see, Billy, the Giants play in the festering swamp that goes by the name of the NFC East Division. It is filled with teams led by megalomaniac owners, college coaches in over their heads, and quarterbacks that are, in the words of the eloquent fraternity of professional sportswriters, “really, really bad.” So Jimmy, even though the Giants are only 2-2 against the dregs of the NFL (see festering swamp supra) and have an offense that at times seems incapable of advancing the ball more than about ¾ of a yard at a time, they have managed to somehow score 247 points which ranks only behind the “real NFL teams” called the Patriots and the Cardinals. Thus Willy, Red believes that smoke and mirrors must be somehow involved in the Giants having actually won 5 games. That can work, Lenny, until you meet up with a team that smashes mirrors with a sledgehammer and puts sugar in the gas tank of your smoke machine. Red will take the Pats giving up 7 on the road and take it all day, every day, at least 3 times a day. New England 57 New Jersey 16.
Your Washed Up Sportswriter Pick of the Week: Packers over Lions. Somewhere on Red’s list was becoming a “Washed Up Sportswriter.” Unfortunately, this weekly ranting about NFL games is about as close as Red is ever going to make it. Red is somewhat mystified by the Packers 6-2 record – he would be more mystified if the Pack had not gotten slaughtered by what we call “Really Good Teams” in the Panthers and the Broncos the last two weeks. Other than beating a fast-fading Seahawks team in Week 2, the Packers really do not have a quality win yet this season and have yet to really dominate a game. So when they faced quality opposition coming off the “bye” week, it was not a real surprise that they stumbled. As it stands, the Pack has not won a game in almost a month, and that is just not something that fits well in to the order of Red’s universe. Take the Pack and given up whatever points you have to give up (probably at least 11), the Packers will be taking out a month’s worth of frustration on the hapless Lions. Green Bay 35 Detroit 16.
Your Dumbshit Pick of the Week: Jaguars over Ravens. Red keeps picking the Jags. The Jags keep losing. Red rewards the Jags by putting them in the Shit Bowl for the third time this season. Sixteen games these teams have played and 4 times they have emerged victorious. It really don’t get no shittier than that. Put the lock on the Glock and hide the key in a place you will forget before you dare to tune in to watch this beastly bowel battle, lest ye be tempted to empty a clip into your brand new 86 incher. Oh, you wanted Red to give you a recommendation so that you could bet on this one? Call Gamblers Anonymous right now. Jacksonville 17 Baltimore 13.