Ahh, Thanksgiving Weekend. Four days off of work and school. The word "tryptophan" makes its annual journey into our vocabulary for a few days. Taking midday naps with your pants unbuttoned is less frowned upon. Mild-mannered grandmothers wake up at ungodly hours and turn into bloodthirsty lunatics to get that amazing deal from the Target flier they saw in the paper.
And then there's the food. Oh eff yes, the food. Turkey. Stuffing. Corn. Turkey. Potatoes. Cranberries. Turkey. Green beans. Yams. And turkey. All covered in enough gravy to flood Lake Superior. Mmmmm.
I did two Thanksgivings on Thursday this year. I had my family's celebration over at my sister's place at noon, followed by my girlfriend's family gathering at her brother's place that evening. I had full meals at both places, which almost certainly did irreparable damage to my gastrointestinal system. But damned if I didn't have that piece of apple crisp at the end of the night just to ensure that my time spent at the gym during the month of November was all but negated.
I'm sure most of you also added some winter weight this weekend by gorging yourselves on all sorts of delicious treats. I just hope you left room for dessert tomorrow.
Because just when you thought you couldn't possibly handle any more turkey...here come Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears!
Sure, calling someone a "turkey" is a tired theme for a column written right after Thanksgiving. It's been done a million times. But cut me some slack--it's tough to be creative when you've spent the majority of the weekend doing nothing more than laying around wondering if you just broke a one-day personal record for caloric intake. Besides, doesn't our pal Jay fit the "turkey" bill perfectly?
In case you haven't noticed, things haven't exactly gone as planned over in Chi-town this year. After being a popular preseason pick to win the NFC North, the Bears are off to a rousing 4-6 start. Cutler was supposed to be the missing link in a Chicago championship push. But as Gonzo has already pointed out, Jay Cutler is simply continuing to be Jay Cutler this season. You know how analysts love to say "this guy wins everywhere he goes" about certain players and coaches? Cutler is basically the exact opposite of that.
But I don't intend for this to be a slam piece on Cutler. I had some fun at the expense of T.J. Houshmandzadeh last week and people got all cranky with me. So before you Bears fans go buck wild in the comments section whining that it isn't all Cutler's fault, I totally agree with you. He isn't exactly surrounded by future Hall of Famers on that offense. (Well, I guess Orlando Pace is probably going to end up in the Hall, but I can guarantee you he won't be going in as a Bear.) Lovie Smith's approval rating isn't through the roof this year either. You also have to take Urlacher's absence along with injuries other key pieces of the defense into account when you look at the Bears being under .500 this year.
Having said that, the guy has still thrown 18 picks this year--tied for the lead league and 15 more than Brett Favre if you're keeping track at home. Plus he's a whiny brat that pouted his way out of Denver.
So yes, the blame for Chicago's woes doesn't fall completely on #6, but he isn't really helping his own cause either. The Bears just aren't that good this year for a vast array of reasons. For instance, they don't even have cheerleaders! Since the Bears are depriving us of sideline eye candy, I submit to you the following cheerleader eye candy to fill this horrible void Chicago has left:
Unless the Bears play out of their minds and the Vikes lay a stinker for the first time in 2009, Minnesota should win this game pretty handily. Even the folks over at Windy City Gridiron aren't giving the Bears much of a chance. Although Devin Hester seems to enjoy adding to his highlight reel against the Vikings, Chicago just doesn't have the firepower to keep up with a Minnesota team that can kill you in nearly any way.
(By the way, if you see Matt Forte tomorrow, be sure to warn him that he should probably watch out for his safety. There are millions of people that want to kill him for absolutely destroying their fantasy teams.)
Prediction: Vikings 30, Bears 17
Let's take a look at the rest of the Week 12 NFL slate (home teams in CAPS):
FALCONS over Buccaneers: The Falcons are 5-1 against teams at or below .500 this season and 0-4 against teams over .500. Doesn't get much simpler than that does it?
Dolphins over BILLS: Wait, yes it does get simpler! The Bills haven't scored over 20 points since Week 2. If you don't score points, you can't win. Now THAT is simple.
TITANS over Cardinals: The Titans are on fire, and this just seems like one of those "Oh who the hell cares, we're already running away with the NFC West title, we don't have to try every week" games for the Cardinals.
RAMS over Seahawks: You saw the game at the Metrodome last week didn't you? The Seahawks are bad. I think Steven Jackson does enough to cover Kyle Boller's stench and double the Rams' win total.
EAGLES over Redskins: You know how when a long-time coach or player is about to retire, he gets quirky little gifts from teams during his Farewell Tour? Wouldn't it be awesome if they did that for Jim "Dead Man Walkin" Zorn? "Jim, since we all know this is your last time coaching in Philadelphia, here's a boxed set of the 'Rocky' DVDs." Would anyone be opposed to this? I sure wouldn't.
Panthers over JETS: I'm not picking the Jets to win a game until Mark Sanchez is cured of that nasty strain of Dellhomeitis he contracted.
BENGALS over Cleveland: The Bengals choked away a win last week in Oakland, and I guarantee you the Browns took notice. Cleveland doesn't like to have the competition in the choking department. They practically invented choking. I expect the Browns to choke harder than they've ever choked before to send notice to the rest of the league that nobody chokes like Cleveland chokes. NOBODY!
Colts over TEXANS: Shame on me for being allured by Vegas to pick against the Colts last week. For punishment, I'll watch 500 Peyton Manning commercials in order to remember how good he and his team are. The nice thing is that I can just serve the punishment by watching an NFL broadcast for a couple of hours.
CHARGERS over Chiefs: The Chiefs beat the defending Super Bowl champions the week after they got rid of Larry Johnson. The Bengals lost to the laughingstock of the NFL after acquiring Larry Johnson. There's no way KC beats the Chargers in San Diego, but I'm just sayin'.
Jaguars over 49ERS: Wait...the Jags are 6-4? They aren't actually good, are they? Doesn't it seem like they're 4-6? Oh wait, that's the Niners that are 4-6. My bad. I'll go with Jacksonville then.
RAVENS over Steelers: I had the Ravens winning this game before Big Ben was ruled out, so you best believe I'm picking the Ravens to usher in the Dennis Dixon Era with a victory over the banged-up champs.
SAINTS over Patriots: Great MNF game this week. Think this will be ESPN's second highest rated show ever, only behind Favregeddon? Lots of people are picking New England to win this one. Enough for me to stay away from joining them. If this was in New England I'd probably pick the Pats, but the Superdome may be a wee bit noisy come Monday evening.
Last week: 12-4
Season so far: 114-49 (including going 2-1 on Thanksgiving)