Good morning class. Today's word is schadenfreude. Can you say "schadenfreude"? (SHAH-den-froy-duh). Good!
Wikipedia, the Web-based bastion of infallible truth, defines schadenfreude as "pleasure derived from the misfortune of others."
You better believe that I'm currently enjoying a heaping spoonful of our word of the day when it comes to one Touraj Houshmandzadeh, Jr., better known as Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
My, how far we have come since early March. After Housh spent a couple of days toying with our emotions and eating free meals from our fanciest downtown steakhouses, he bolted for greener pastures. And by "greener", I mean this kind of green and this kind of green.
(Don't worry, I'll give you time to let your pupils readjust after seeing those neon-snot green monstrosities. You good? OK, let's continue.)
In the end, you can't blame a professional athlete for choosing a team that's offering more money and that's closer to home. But after it happened, Vikings fans were pretty bummed out about it. Take a look at my article and Gonzo's article--we were downright bitter and depressed. I even called T.J. a childish name (Housh-bag), which is totally out of character for me! (OK fine, so it isn't out of character. You got me.)
Now fast-forward to Week 11 of the 2009 NFL season. The Vikings are three games clear in the NFC North at 8-1. The Seahawks are three games behind the Arizona Cardinals at 3-6. Does all of this have to do with which team Houshmandzadeh joined? Of course not. But as Judd Zulgad intimated so well in his article earlier this week in the Star Tribune, Housh probably did the Vikings a favor by taking the money. If T.J. decided to set up shop in the Twin Cities, there's no way Minnesota drafts Percy Harvin, the overwhelming favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors. We probably would have taken someone like Michael Oher, who is doing just fine in Baltimore, but is he really doing much more than Phil Loadholt? Doubt it. I think Housh's decision set up the best possible draft for the Vikings, and it shows on the field this year.
When Houshandzadeh was with the Bengals, everyone assumed that he was he was the one good apple in a bushel of rotten ones. Popular opinion held that Housh just wanted to win, while teammates like Chad Ochocinco were more interested in jackassery. But after seeing Cincinnati flourish without him and T.J. already driving the waaahhhhhmbulance in Seattle, I'm not so sure.
But enough about Whosyourmomma--who's going to win on Sunday?
(More analysis and my Week 11 NFL picks after the jump.)
I sort of feel bad for Seattle lately. They had their basketball team ripped from the city by a greedy, heartless owner. Their baseball team has a huge payroll, but they haven't made the playoffs since 2001. It rains a lot. They're overpopulated with coffee-snob hipsters. And for the past two years, the injury report for their football team has been more crowded than the new Cowboys' Stadium "party plaza" on opening night.
I truly believe the Seahawks are a solid team, but they just can't stay healthy. Matt Hasselbeck is a great quarterback when he isn't fracturing various body parts. Their defense is solid when they aren't forced to start third stringers. Heck, even our old pal Nate Burleson has some good games from time to time. (But I'm still keeping Steve Hutchinson out of that poison pill battle, thankyouverymuch.)
That said, as it stands right now, I don't think even a solid, full-strength Seattle squad could beat this Vikings team in the Metrodome right now. The Vikings haven't actually put many complete games together this year, but the embarrassment of weapons they have always seem to do enough to win. I can see the 'Hawks keeping it close at first, but eventually a big play by one of our studs will break the game open. The only question is who will it be? A deep pass from Brett Favre to Sidney Rice? A huge kick return by Percy Harvin? A strip-sack by Jared Allen? A big play in the secondary from Antoine Winfield, who's slated to return on Sunday? A "no f---ing way did he just do that" run by Purple Jesus?
When you're asking who's going to make the big play rather than if you're going to make a big play, it's a good thing. Sorry Seattle. But hey, I hear Pearl Jam's new album is pretty good!
Prediction: Vikings 33, Seahawks 17
Here's the rest of my Week 11 NFL picks (home team in CAPS):
PANTHERS over Dolphins: I originally had the Fins here, but Ronnie Brown's injury really hurts them. You're high if you think Ricky Williams can smoke the defense by himself. Maybe if this was 2004, when Ricky was used to smoking all sorts of things by himself. Either way, I think the Panthers will be able to avoid passing more than Miami...because you do NOT want either of these teams passing very often.
RAVENS over Colts: I know, this pick doesn't make much sense, and I said I wouldn't go against the Colts or Saints until they lost. But the spread for this game opened as a pick 'em. How can a 9-0 team not be favored against a 5-4 team coming off a short week? I have no idea, but Vegas sure does. I'm going with Vegas on this one.
COWBOYS over Redskins: How can a coach of a 6-3 team be on the hot seat? Just take a look at the lowlights from the sh*t sandwich that Dallas turned in last week at Green Bay. One garbage time touchdown against a team that gave up 38 points to Tampa the week before?! I'm still going with the Cowboys here because Dan Snyder's Redskins obviously enjoy eating sh*t sandwiches.
LIONS over Browns: That's right boys and girls, the Lions have been favored TWICE this year!! Break out the champagne and confetti! Hopefully they don't screw this up again, like when they were favored against the Rams and handed them their only win of the season thus far. As for the Browns...if you ever watch "The Soup", this is the part where they'd show the Billy Bush clip simply saying "It's gross."
PACKERS over 49ers: Meh, who cares. We're 3-0 this season against these two piles of suck anyway.
JAGUARS over Bills: Congratulations to everyone who had Dick Jauron in their "first coach fired" pool. What I don't get is why Jauron said he was surprised. That's like being surprised that the serial killer that lived in your building was a "quiet guy that usually kept to himself".
GIANTS over Falcons: No way the Giants lose coming off a bye week against a Turner-less Atlanta team. But if I'm wrong, let's hope Fox shows a ton of what my girlfriend likes to call the Eli Manning "Stupid Face":
Saints over BUCCANEERS: I feel a big "Oh really, you were concerned about me turning the ball over and putting up mediocre numbers the past few weeks? How's 400 yards and 4 TDs sound?" game from Drew Brees. Not like the Bucs can do much to stop Brees if he wants to have one of those games. (Please Drew, my 6-4 fantasy team on the edge of playoff contention implores you!)
Cardinals over RAMS: Another NFC West "thriller". Can you imagine the numbers Stephen Jackson would be putting up on even a mediocre team? He's having an outstanding year, and his team has to abandon the run by halftime most games. Speaking of Arizona, our buddy ArizonaVikingsFan sent me a nice Vikings picture he'd like posted. Apparently it's a "friend of a friend" of his on Facebook. Well AVF, you asked, and you shall receive:
Chargers over BRONCOS: That's nice that Denver is giving up their huge division lead to the Chargers earlier this year. Less stressful for both sides, don't you think? By the way, Kyle Orton got hurt the first game after he shaved his neckbeard. That was NOT a coincidence. Kyle, grow it back or suffer the consequences!
PATRIOTS over Jets: Oh you poor Jets. You're going to be the latest victim of a classic Bill Belichick "Eff You" game. The Titans will think they got off easy earlier this year. The Patriots might go for it on every fourth down and go for every two point conversion on Sunday. Then in the press conference, Belichick will say "how about you critics go suck on that" in his always-monotone voice and just walk off the stage.
Bengals over RAIDERS: Cincy's next 3 games: at Oakland, then home against Cleveland and Detroit. Are you ready for a world where the Bengals are 10-2? I know I'm not. Maybe "2012" should have been called "2009", because this is surely a sign of the apocalypse.
Eagles over BEARS: I wish the Bears could play every game on national television. They're 0-3 this year with everyone watching, and Jay Cutler has thrown ELEVEN interceptions in those three games. So um, yeah, I'm not going to pick the Bears here on a Sunday night game, regardless of how bad Philly has looked the past couple weeks.
Titans over TEXANS: Simple steps to victory for Tennessee: 1) Hand off to Chris Johnson. A lot. 2) When not handing off to Chris Johnson, throw to him in the flat. 3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until time has expired.
Last week: 10-5
Season so far: 100-44