Bill Liesse: Politics and football
The old formula is at play this week.
Washington Redskins win their final home game before an election? Incumbent party keeps the White House.
Redskins lose? Other party takes over.
Most people see the game result and think they know how the election will go. Too bad you can’t get odds on the latter in Vegas.
We, however, have to guess the election result, and try to pick the game accordingly.
Far be it from the NFL to schedule the Lions game this week for the Skins. No. We get an utter jumpball of a game — Skins -2 vs. visiting Pittsburgh.
For good measure, it’s on Monday night, thus ending maybe an hour before Election Day starts. (If we can even call it election day anymore; more like election season. Probably a third of the ballots will be cast by kickoff.)
You might be thinking, “I thought this streak was broken.”
It was. After 17 straight predicted outcomes, the Redskins lost on Halloween 2004 to the Packers, 28-14, yet George Bush was re-elected two days later.
Some say that renders the matter moot. The streak is over. I say it’s still rolling at 94 percent accuracy, and besides, we can’t expect the Redskins to know when Karl Rove’s GOP is going to rig an Ohio election.
Now we come to this year, with ACORN on one side and “Democrats, you vote on Nov. 5” flyers on the other. Now we don’t even know who’s going to steal the election better, much less legitimately get more votes.
Impossible, I say. At least it’s only one game.
BILLS -5 1/2 vs. Jets: Should the visitors win, they’d be tied for first place, provided the spread holds in the Pats-Colts game. That’s just too much to accept. Other than one silly half vs. Arizona, the Jets haven’t had a moment worth talking about. BUFFALO.
GIANTS -9 vs. Cowboys: If there has been a team worse in victory this year than Dallas last week, I can’t name it. The Pokes were so hard on the eyes, I spent most of my noon hour watching the why-would-they-give-us-this Chiefs at Jets offering. NEW YORK.
Like ’em, but I’m scared
Buccaneers -9 at CHIEFS: And, I must say, in watching those Chiefs, I felt really sorry for them to lose in the 59th minute after outplaying the Jets so clearly. This week, I expect to go back to simply feeling sorry for the Chiefs in general. TAMPA.
BRONCOS -3 1/2 vs. Dolphins: Why does the Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall combo not score anymore? DENVER.
I’ll know more Monday
COLTS -6 1/2 vs. Patriots: The sheen is off this heretofore-annual NFL highlight game. Many want to bury the Colts, but with Captain Sanders back at safety, we say they’ll cook up their original recipe. That’s good defense and Manning strikes. INDIANAPOLIS.
BEARS -12 1/2 vs. Lions: If I see Bears minus double digits, I’m going to be taking the other side. That little credo never has been as tested as right here. DETROIT.
VIKINGS -4 1/2 vs. Texans: This quiet little dietary supplement probe going on the last week isn’t all about the Saints. Vikings giants Kevin and Pat Williams were named as well. What a mess this team would be without those stellar D-tackles. For now, though, they’re in. MINNESOTA.
Eagles -6 1/2 at SEAHAWKS: Not saying losing to the Seahawks is embarrassing, but how often do you suppose Mike Singletary drops his pants? Watching Seneca Wallace score at will a week ago made Samaurai Mike go a little Animal House. Let’s say — and hope — normalcy again prevails and Andy Reid’s belt remains fastened. PHILADELPHIA.
Jaguars -7 1/2 at BENGALS: Nov. 2 is All Souls Day on the Catholic calendar. So if you can come off a bye, play the Cleveland Browns at home, and NOT WIN! ... you are far too heartless to get my pick. CINCINNATI.
I hate these games
TITANS -5 1/2 vs. Packers: Everyone is calling for a letdown out of the Titans, now on easy street in their division. One thing about letdowns: They seldom happen when expected. TENNESSEE.
Cardinals -3 at RAMS: Do you realize the Rams, history’s worst team through four weeks, are in full-fledged contention if they win here? Another standings anomaly that must be averted. ARIZONA.
BROWNS -1 1/2 vs. Ravens: Some games actually empower you, and this is one. This outcome is so bone-crushingly impossible to see, that I know I hold the power. Whoever I take, the other one is sure to win. BALTIMORE.
Falcons -3 at RAIDERS: For any NFL game, 90-plus guys run through the tunnel in helmets. If you can name more than 20 of them here, you play waaaaaay too much fantasy football. OAKLAND.
REDSKINS -2 vs. Steelers: So here it is. The bellwether game. With a bit of a twist. If a team from THE pivotal state in the electoral race is the one to knock off the Redskins, can the incumbent party win anyway? Probably not. But let’s find out. PITTSBURGH.
Last week: 6-7-1
Bill Liesse can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or call (309) 686-3213.