There are things that some folks will never accept: Gay people in a Star Wars novel, Firefly never coming back to television, a female Thor…and the sudden, surprising competence of the Oakland Raiders. Or the Minnesota Vikings, for that matter.
But hey, what do you know — the Raiders and Vikings are decent teams. It’s taken me a few weeks to wrap my head around it, but I think I’m there. I’m also coming to accept that the New Orleans Saints are in serious trouble, and the Chicago Bears are really not a very good team right now.
But I still want more Firefly. On to this week’s picks. (Winners in italics.)
Baltimore at Pittsburgh: Is it too soon to say the Ravens are nevermore for this year? Because if they drop this one — winnable, certainly, with Roethlisberger out at QB — the season is pretty much done.
N.Y. Jets at Miami: The Bills exposed all of Miami’s weaknesses, and the Jets get to swoop in and take advantage. Thanks, Rex.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis: Why have we not replaced the logo on the Jags’ helmets with Hello Kitty yet?
N.Y. Giants at Buffalo: The Bills Awaken.
Carolina at Tampa Bay: Nice to see the Bucs once again reverting to drunken Jack Sparrow status.
Philadelphia at Washington: This could be delayed by Hurricane Joaquin. Put a beard and glasses on that storm and call it Hurricane Joaquin Phoenix.
Oakland at Chicago: This feels like picking the Empire to win the Battle of Endor. But hey, change is hard.
Houston at Atlanta: How far has Atlanta come? Last year, they were recruiting for players at DragonCon.
Kansas City at Cincinnati: Once again, the Bengals are setting up their fanbase for a flame-out in the playoffs.
Cleveland at San Diego: The Browncoats find their Serenity Valley weekly these days.
Green Bay at San Francisco: Aaron Rodgers is as smooth as Star-Lord, and twice as competent.
St. Louis at Arizona: In the NFC West race, the Rams are playing Mario Kart and the Cards are playing Grand Theft Auto.
Minnesota at Denver: If this were in Minnesota, the Vikes would have a shot. But here, they will not make their ancestors proud.
Dallas at New Orleans: There was a day when picking against the Saints at home was dumb. It is not this day.
Detroit at Seattle: The Lannisters are paying a lot of debts right now.
Last week’s record: 9-7, which is not great, but better than last week.
Season record: 27-21, and I have some catching up to do to keep up with these guys.