We’re just about a quarter through the season already — how time flies! — and already Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin has been shown the door, Vader-style. Well, OK, nobody force choked him, but four games in? That’s Dark-Side cold, man.
The Dolphins are, of course, just one of many teams underperforming so far this year. I would add the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers to that list. Seriously, if you’re sporting as good a record as the Jaguars and Bucs — or worse, if you’re the Lions — you’re pretty much in the Sarlacc’s belly, my friend.
On the upside, the Bengals are 4-0 and really primed for an epic post-season meltdown, which everyone outside of Cincinnati is looking forward to. And hey, look at Carolina and Atlanta! They can play after all. Though the next time Cam Newton does his Superman schtick in the end zone, I wanna see him fly.
On with the picks. (Winners in italics.)
Indianapolis at Houston: It’s time for the Texans to saddle up and ride for Rohan…er…victory. Whatever. The Colts are weakened. Pounce now before Luck comes back.
Chicago at Kansas City: I have no doubt John Fox can turn the Bears around. But he’s gonna have to suffer through a bad season first — like how we all weathered season 2 of Sleepy Hollow.
Seattle at Cincinnati: Speaking of weathering, the shine’s off the Seahawks for the first time in a while. The lull won’t last, but the Bengals are burning bright.
Washington at Atlanta: In all seriousness, when are the Washington fans going to rise up, Hunger Games-style, and rebel against this team’s ownership? May the odds be ever in your favor, yo.
Jacksonville at Tampa Bay: There will be, like, three televisions tuned to this game, all in the state of Florida. It would be karmically epic if it ended in a 7-7 tie.
New Orleans at Philadelphia: “Coach Kelly, how do we play if our O-line is a sieve?” “I dunno. Fly casual.” Thankfully, the Saints are in worse shape.
Cleveland at Baltimore: Another week, another Serenity Valley for the Browncoats. Scrappy only gets you so far.
St. Louis at Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers…he’s more machine now than man…but not twisted nor evil. Just frighteningly efficient.
Buffalo at Tennessee: If the Bills can’t win here, they have no right being in the playoff conversation. And for Buffalo…Winter is Coming. (No seriously, it’s a chore playing in Buffalo in November and December.)
Arizona at Detroit: A stunning loss last week means the Angry Birds will take it out on the hapless Lannisters, whose debts are mounting.
New England at Dallas: No Romo, no Dez, no worries for the Pats.
Denver at Oakland: We’re definitely seeing Manning diminished this year, but a solid run game, his immense football intelligence, and his pact with Satan still count toward victory.
San Francisco at N.Y. Giants: Jim Harbaugh will watch this game in his volcano lair in Michigan and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Pittsburgh at San Diego: Two teams, both evenly matched most days. Edge to the Chargers because Vick is in for Roethlisberger. Plus, it’s a classier place, San Diego.
Last week’s record: A frustrating 9-6.
Season record: An equally-frustrating, mediocre 36-27. For the first time in 2.25 seasons, most of these guys are beating me.