THERE ARE VERY few things I'm completely dead-set against when it comes to the NFL.
Like most of you, I can probably do without the prevent defense; coaches intent on icing the kicker; fools who feel the need to tweak the overtime format; and the Denver Broncos.
But the No. 1 thing that kills me are these Thursday night games.
Specifically, Thursday night games like the one in Cleveland this week.
Yup, cold-weather cities in December ... kick-offs scheduled for late at night ... home teams going into the game with 1-11 records ... that's about as big a formula for success as if Notre Dame had hired Nicolas Cage as its coach.
I mean, I appreciate the concept of "football weather." But when the phrase "subzero wind chills" is worth prominent mention in the game recap, don't you feel a little bad for the loyal spectators who have to freeze their ticket stubs off?
My evil twin brother Orville says I have no reason to complain. "There are twice as many Sunday night and Monday games this time of year, and those have been known to take place during snowstorms. Why don't you feel sorry for people at those games?"
I admit, maybe some of it is a psychological barrier. Thursday night games haven't existed long enough for me to have warmed to the concept.
But at least night games on Sunday and Monday (and the occasional Saturday) take place during a collective football weekend. A full slate of football games give everyone warm and fuzzy feelings.
These Thursday games take place in their own orbit, so they feel like they might as well take place in some place remote and inhospitable. You know, like Antarctica, or, well ... Cleveland.
Orville, as usual, knows that it all comes down to someone getting paid.
"Thursday night games in freezing Cleveland are part of a conspiracy theory by the jokers who work in the league merchandising department to sell more team-licensed parkas."
Makes sense to me. To the picks!
Guesspert's Glad Tidings
QB: Did you know Alex Smith has thrown a combined seven TDs in the past three games for the 49ers? And I mean thrown to his own team.
RB: Chris Johnson has an ankle injury against St. Louis. Just hop and one foot, Chris, and you'll be OK.
WR: Donald Driver has been running hot and cold the past few weeks, but he'll warm up in Chicago to keep the Packers in the wild card race.
DEF: Ravens in Detroit? The Lions don't have a snowball's chance in ... well, you know.
Evilpert's Bad News
QB: Chad Henne threw an insane 335 yards against the Patriots. Against the Jaguars, he might do something insane like throw paper airplanes.
RB: Jerry Jones has started chiming in on how Marion Barber should be used. Abandon all hope, Cowboys fans.
WR: I've tried holding out on saying something nasty about Michael Crabtree, but consider the holdout as ending.
DEF: The line on the Bills at Chiefs game is listed as "Pick 'em" ... on second thought, do not pick anyone having anything to do with this game.
LAST WEEK: Greg 2-2, Orville 2-2
SEASON TO DATE: Greg 37-14, Orville 28-23
ORVILLE'S LAST WORD
"Uh-oh ... if all the pro athletes who have cheated on their wives are going to quit playing sports, the only thing left to watch on TV will be reruns of 'Alf.'"