A year ago, my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to join his family’s NFL weekly pool–something they’ve done since the beginning of time, I gather–to which I said, “Are you bleeping kidding me?”
I love sports and I love my teams (Notre Dame, White Sox, Cardinals, Bulls, Bears, in that order), but I don’t approach athletics with the same sort of fervent dedication that I do entertainment and pop culture. I don’t read articles and previews for sporting events unless they involve my teams or are interesting in some other way (usually involving a compelling rivalry or something/someone I hate).
I figured I just didn’t have the knowledge to participate in a football pool, but then my boyfriend assured me that his mom made her picks by the team’s colors and whether the quarterback has been involved in a sexting scandal. So I figured I could at least hold my own.
So the NFL starts up again this weekend, and I’m participating in the pool for the second year in a row (for the record, I didn’t do terribly last year, but I also didn’t do great). The rules are pretty simple: for every game except the Thursday one, pick who you think is going to win and assign that game a point value between 1 and 15. Each pick must have a different value.
My general approach is this: Make the no-brainer picks (like New England beating Buffalo) and after that, go with your gut. Last year, I won a week by picking Minnesota when no one else did, and after that, I always picked them when it was reasonable because they had good karma with me.
So here are the picks, which are probably terrible. I don’t post them here so you can base anything off of them–I do it so you can laugh at me.
1. New England at Buffalo
Pick: New England
This is one of the no-brainers, as mentioned above.
2. Seattle at Carolina
I really don’t have a lot of reasoning behind this one. Seattle is favored, and I don’t really like Cam Newton. Meh.
3. Cincinnati at Chicago
The Bears are my team, so this is a good pick for me. Strategically, I tend to put less points on the Bears because everyone else in this pool picks them too, so if something goes south, at least I don’t lose as many points as everyone else. Is that good logic?
4. Miami at Cleveland
I really hate Miami. In all things. For a lot of reasons. But let’s just start with this:
5. Minnesota at Detroit
Also stated above, Minnesota has good karma for me. I’ll stick to that karma, even though Detroit is favored slightly and playing at home. It also helps that I also hate Detroit because I hate the entire state of Michigan with every fiber of my being (Go Irish!).
6. Oakland at Indianapolis
This one is also a no-brainer, but I also like Andrew Luck because I think Stanford is a classy program. Luck himself always conducted himself well and seemed like a smart kid.
7. Kansas City at Jacksonville
Yeah, yeah, the Chiefs are favored by 4, but I sort of have this policy about picking against the two Missouri teams just because people in my high school could be so obnoxious about their sports teams. It’s petty, I know, but I really enjoyed watching Missouri get rolled in their first SEC season last year after all the trash talk that went around the summer before.
8. Atlanta at New Orleans
OK, so New Orleans is at home and slightly favored. But I just can’t, Drew Brees. Not after that horrendous Pepsi commercial with One Direction. That last second of you singing on stage makes me cringe every time. Just no.
9. Tampa Bay at NY Jets
Pick: Tampa Bay
I am really not a fan of the Jets. It’s partially the Tim Tebow thing (although I realize a lot of that was with the Broncos and he’s a free agent now), and it’s partially because a girl in college who was a big Jets fan announced at a party that Jersey was “so much better than Chicago.” And I’ve kind of always held the Jets accountable for that comment.
10. Tennessee at Pittsburgh
Pretty much a no brainer, but I have family in Pittsburgh who are huge Steeler fans, so I can throw them this bone.
11. Arizona at St. Louis
Same principle as above–I don’t like to pick Missouri teams unless I have to. You may recall that I said above that I was a Cardinals fan, which doesn’t gel with this logic, and I assure you, that was a happy accident outside of my control.
12. Green Bay at San Francisco
Pick: San Francisco
Green Bay sucks.
13. NY Giants at Dallas
Pick: NY Giants
My college roommate was a huge Cowboys fan and a “Texas Forever” kind of girl without being annoying about it. For her sake, I root for Dallas when I can, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Manning brothers. I’ve loved Eli ever since this happened, which probably has a lot more to do with Justin Timberlake than anything football related:
14. Philadelphia at Washington
The Eagles are supposed to suck this year, and RG3 is a really intense human being. I don’t understand how anyone can be that athletic.
15. Houston at San Diego
I really, really wanted to pick San Diego. I did. I even had it written down on the sheet until my boyfriend’s little brother glanced at my picks and yelped, “You’re picking San Diego?!” like I had a mental problem. I want Manti Te’o to do really well in the NFL because, in spite of everything, I still thought he was the most outstanding football player I ever interviewed when I wrote a piece on him last year. But supposedly they’re really bad, so I had to go with Houston.
As I said before, this could go really, really poorly.