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Couch Groove’s NFL Week 7 Picks

Eli Manning, Tony RomoWhat’s the difference between “hurt” and “injure”?

I’m sure there’s a thin enough line between the two states of health, and apparently James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers knows it. Harrison openly came out after Sunday’s display of carnage created by himself, Dunta Robinson, and Brandon Meriweather that left Mohammad Massaquoi, DeSean Jackson, and Todd Heap, respectively, seriously injured, and he stated that he always tries to ‘hurt’ his opponent, and not ‘injure them’.

Line still seems pretty thin there, Jerome.

The three hitters in question were all fined at least $50,000 for their attempts at creating a real-life Madden “hit stick” moment, and the entire league is now on notice: any more blows to the head that look like they have the intent to injure could result in a suspension.

Harrison doesn’t like that.

In fact, he’s so miffed about the whole gosh-darn scenario, that he came out and said he would meet with head coach Mike Tomlin this week to discuss life after the season, namely whether or not he can continue to play in the NFL if he can’t use his signature style.

That signature style? You guessed it: attempting to shatter his opponent’s spinal cord.

I think I have a solution.

[adinserter block=”1″]A lot of NFL fans enjoy these bone-crunching hits, because in their troubled lives, seeing a player nearly decapitated and sustain memory loss is just the same as a stag film, so long as he’s not on their team when he just about keels over.

Since these fans are a good source of revenue stream, the type who buy jerseys for their bloodhounds, as well as four packs of foam beer-holders for the whole family, it’s important to keep their money circulating through the NFL.

So how do we cater to NFL fans who enjoy violence, cater to Harrison who can’t play without the allowance to kill somebody, and cater to Harrison’s opponents who would like to be able to play with his kids when he gets home?

I have a solution.

See, the whole problem with Harrison’s hits is that he never hits his opponent head on, and if he does, it’s when their hands are full with a football, or it’s in that split second after they’ve caught the pass and have juuuuuuust turned around.

So, basically, Harrison only gets these bone-crunching hits on vulnerable, unsuspecting opponents.

I’d talk about how disturbing it is that he doesn’t want to lose this privilege, but that’ll distract me from my next point.

Here’s my suggestion: When the Steelers are playing, and Harrison is suited up to play, their opponents are given a choice. Offensive playmakers (quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends), if they want to participate in my idea, are given a special colored insignia that they wear on their jerseys and helmet.

If a player has this insignia, Harrison can tackle them. If not, then Lawrence Timmons, Troy Polamalu, or another Steeler other than Harrison has to tackle them.

Now, with the players bearing this placard, Harrison is free to drill them, smash them, and borderline attempt to kill them within classic NFL rules.

However, if you wear the insignia, before the game, you are granted a switchblade.

This way, when you feel Harrison on your back, you have a split second to flick that blade and jam it into his neck. However, you CANNOT slit his throat. Just a simple stab, and you can’t go deeper than 1 inch into his neck.

After all, you’re just trying to HURT Harrison, not INJURE him.

But, on a lighter note, I had my best week of the season picking games, as I only had two wrong: the Bears got upset, and I was on the wrong end of a Chiefs/Texans pick ‘em. I search for the elusive “perfect week”, but that would just mean I would blow it with 35 seconds left to the Giants, and I really don’t want that.

WEEK 6: 12-2

14. New Orleans over Cleveland
They’re baaaaaaaaack! The champs finally figured out how to play like last year, even if it did come at the expense of the “three wins may be our limit” Buccaneers. New Orleans has struggled with some bad teams this year (San Francisco, Carolina), and Cleveland is certainly a cruddy one, but my gut says that against the Bucs, the Saints changed up the formula and made themselves less predictable. Whatever they have, I doubt the Browns are going to figure it out.
SCORE: Saints 31, Browns 10

13. Baltimore over Buffalo
That was quite the tough loss to the Pats, and it’s a shame the AFC is so overloaded with good teams, whereas in the NFC, the 49ers still find themselves a couple of gritty wins away from the #2 seed. I guess what I’m saying is the AFC’s more prone to have great match-ups at this point, whereas in the NFC, teams are up and down more than a license plate printer. And speaking of great AFC match-ups, this…isn’t one of them. Winless yet for Buffalo.
SCORE: Ravens 28, Bills 7

12. New England at San Diego
What’s up with the Chargers? Is it Antonio Gates dropping passes? Is it Shawne Merriman not playing after he mysteriously got smaller over the last few years? Is it because the offensive line is anemic? Or is it because Ryan Mathews could never, EVER, replace Ladainian Tomlinson? LT, by the way, is now thriving for the Jets after the Chargers just assumed he was old. The Patriots are on a roll at this point, and I’m sensing the Bill Belichick run-up-the-score special, just because it’s fun watching Philip Rivers stew in his own juices.
SCORE: Patriots 41, Chargers 13

11. Green Bay at Minnesota
Remember last year when the Vikings beat the Packers twice, and ESPN was quick to play up how Brett Favre beat his protégé, Aaron Rodgers? Well, times have changed. Since the game’s in Green Bay, I look forward to the colorful crowd chants and signs that will be on display for their former quarterback. I think a good show of humor would be to litter the field with overcooked, limp rotini noodles. I’m taking the Packers strictly on a defensive show of power, and Favre will have a lousy night at “home”
SCORE: Packers 24, Vikings 10

10. Kansas City over Jacksonville
It’s not looking good for David Garrard playing on Sunday, so it looks like Trent Edwards will be matched up with the Chiefs defense that somehow folded in the fourth quarter against Houston. Won’t happen twice. Edwards is going to get his head spun all the way back to the UFL, and the Thomas/Charles Express is going to weaken the defense to continue justifying Matt Cassel as a starter. I smell a breakout week for Dexter McCluster, who has “faster Brian Westbrook” written all over him.
SCORE: Chiefs 27, Jaguars 12

9. Pittsburgh at Miami
I hate to show such confidence against the Dolphins, but this is more just having confidence in the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger quelled some early jitters against Cleveland, and finished strong behind a total team effort. The Dolphins have a tough defense, so I think the Steelers D forces Chad Henne to make mistakes. After the game, Roethlisberger will be tased, subdued, and put on the team charter plane so as to not let him get mixed up with the Miami nightlife.
SCORE: Steelers 27, Dolphins 14

8. Denver over Oakland
Can it be a Shanahan Bowl without Shanahan? On paper, there’s actually a fun match-up with with the Orton/Lloyd as the (very) poor man’s “Brady/Moss” vs. Oakland’s understated tight defense. This game would be so much fun if positioning in the “AFC Worst” wasn’t at stake. Denver’s due for a win after they gave the Jets all they could handle, and Oakland likes to hand out wins, so this works out for everybody.
SCORE: Broncos 21, Raiders 10

[adinserter block=”2″]7. Philadelphia over Tennessee
The Eagles already shellacked the Falcons, who came into the game with their starters healthy, and Kevin Kolb excellent, save for the batted pass that was tipped four times before becoming a pick (though Kolb DID show great form on that horse-collar tackle). It’s a toss-up between Kerry Collins and a banged-up Vince Young for the start, but it really comes down to Tennessee’s run. Chris Johnson hasn’t been as effective this season, and the Eagles are coming off two games where they shut down Frank Gore and Michael Turner completely. I see a tight game, with the Eagles taking off in the fourth.
SCORE: Eagles 30, Titans 17

6. New York Giants over Dallas
The slide continues. Miles Austin and Sam Hurd felt the need to celebrate a first quarter touchdown against a 1-3 opponent with a leap frog and a hook’em horns gesture. Really? In that case, lemme just take the Giants defense here to keep these happy-go-sucky bottomfeeders from pressing. As long as Eli Manning doesn’t make mistakes, this should be a fairly easy win.
SCORE: Giants 24, Cowboys 14

5. Arizona over Seattle
Max Hall is undefeated when coming off of a bye. It’s fact, you know. Seattle, you’re never sure which Seahawks are going to show up, as proven Sunday when they jaw-smacked the Bears in an upset. This could actually prove to be a fun game, much like Denver-Oakland, if it wasn’t between two teams who the media largely ignores (and thus everyone overlooks). I think Hall continues to be an enigma, and Larry Fitzgerald has a career day, in an otherwise close contest.
SCORE: Cardinals 27, Seahawks 21

4. Chicago over Washington
Welcome home, Donovan. As an Eagles fan, I enjoy watching the Redskins games from an “opponent” perspective, and seeing what fans of other teams got to laugh at most about McNabb. This was especially true on Sunday night against the Colts, as I watched McNabb botch a potential winning drive with a bad pass and a pick on the first play. My heart, it bleeds no more. Bears will take their rebound-game opportunity more seriously, and win a closer-than-it-should-be one.
SCORE: Bears 24, Redskins 17

3. San Francisco over Carolina
Predicition: if the 49ers win this game by at least ten points, John Fox will be cleaning out his desk come Tuesday morning. Fox has flipped-flopped back to Matt Moore after Jimmy Clausen failed to set the night on fire, and lord knows what kind of psychological damage that’s done to his blue-chipper. I think San Fran wins a close one, and Fox remains, but it’s going to be harder to keep his job as time goes on. Jon Gruden, phone call on line one?
SCORE: 49ers 20, Panthers 13

2. Tampa Bay over St. Louis
Speaking of Gruden, his former team is an unlikely 3-2, and their opponents, the trash of the league a year ago, are an unlikely 3-3. I’m really looking forward to this, because the Rams offense is exciting, even with Mark Clayton done for the season, and Tampa’s got an exceptional secondary that everyone ignores. I’m taking Tampa, even though I think Sam Bradford is better than Josh Freeman. I just think the aforementioned secondary will wreak havoc on Bradford’s throws, and keep him from completing his drives.
SCORE: Buccaneers 16, Rams 13

1. Cincinnati over Atlanta
My officially stamped “upset pick” is the Bengals in a desperation game. They’re coming off a bye, and the once dream combo of T-Ocho hasn’t paid off, mostly thanks to Carson Palmer proving that he’s “just not that guy”. The Falcons rarely lose two in a row, but I’ll make an exception for this instance. Expectations are high in Cincinnati, especially with the reality show atmosphere that surrounds the team, so the offense has to buckle down and get things right. Philadelphia showed that you can throw on the Falcons, so I think the template is set for an aerial game that goes down to the wire.
SCORE: Bengals 27, Falcons 24

Justin Henry is the owner and (currently) sole writer of Couch Groove Football. He can be found on and Twitter –

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