Thursday, November 8, 2012

NFL Picks Week Ten: Heading to my old (almost) Kentucky home

It's that time of year again folks: the time where I travel frequently in a brief span and all of you start telling me how I travel all the time. None of you seem to have picked up on the fact that all of my traveling comes in quick short bursts, but that's fine. I'm not one to get picky. Still, when it comes to football season I tend to make a few trips in a short span in hopes of knocking off a few stadiums and this weekend will be no exception as I make my first-ever trip to southern Ohio (and Kentucky!) to see the Giants face the Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

This comes right on the heels of my longer-than-expected stay in Chicago two weeks ago and about six weeks ahead of my planned trip to Baltimore to see the Giants play the Ravens. Once that one comes in late December I think I'll be sitting pat for a few months until I make another trip and all of you tell me I'm a jetsetter again. Until then, though, I'm getting ready to bask in the glory that is Cincinnati this weekend.

Really!

And not just because it was once the center of U.S. reform Judaism. No, there are plenty of reasons to be excited. For one, it's a whole new city I've never been to before ever. For another, I'll be hanging out with my buddy Isabel, whom I haven't seen in months and will now get her second sports-related trip with me in the books after she and I saw the Mets knock off the Braves two years ago in a game that didn't prove utterly meaningless at all. Other exciting plusses to the trip? Well, apparently Cincinnati is widely known for a concoction called Skyline Chili, so I suppose I'll have to be giving that a shot since it's famous and all.

And then there's the fact that for the first time ever in my life I'll actually get to be in Kentucky! Yes, I know, Cincinnati is actually in Ohio. But in a remarkably fun twist of geographic confusion, its airport isn't. Cincinnati's international airport is actually located across the river in the Bluegrass State, which is a bit weird, but it does give me an excuse to say I've been to Kentucky, a state that has long fascinated me for no real reason in particular. I'm probably just excited because it's a chance to knock another one off the list.

Oh, and speaking of knocking things off lists, that's probably the most exciting part about the weekend as a whole. The Cincinnati Bengals are a team that, in general, I have no real strong opinions about at all. They've never had a rivalry with teams I've cared about in any way, they've never been particularly good for any long stretch in my lifetime and they don't come from a city I hve any strong opinions about one way or the other.

In fact, when I first was learning abotu football, I had a strange infatuation with the Bengals because I thought their tiger-striped helmets were kind of awesome. This led to a strange fascination back in the day with Jeff Blake and Carl Pickens, but over time that faded. Now the Bengals are something of a nonentity to me and my football fandom, even if my former-fascination with Jeff Blake has led me to discover one of the most ridiculous, hilarious videos YouTube has ever seen.

Either way, even though I don't really care much for the Bengals -- or care much against them for that matter, I'm still looking forward to team No. 49.

After seeing the Bengals I will be just one team away from 50 of the 122, which is a nice round number and it means I'll only be 11 teams away from the vaunted halfway mark of 61, a number I'm set to hit in.... two years. In two whole years I'll only be halfway through to my goal. Super.

Sometimes, it's not a good idea to look too far into the future. I'll look to this weekend instead.

Last week: 11-3-0
Season: 66-63-4

Indianapolis (-4) over JACKSONVILLE
NY Giants (-4) over CINCINNATI
Tennessee (+6) over MIAMI
Detroit (-1) over MINNESOTA
NEW ENGLAND (-11) over Buffalo
NEW ORLEANS (+3) over Atlanta
San Diego (+3) over TAMPA BAY
Denver (-4) over CAROLINA
BALTIMORE (-8) over Oakland
SEATTLE (-6) over NY Jets
PHILADELPHIA (+1) over Dallas
SAN FRANCISCO (-11) over St. Louis
Houston (+1) over CHICAGO
PITTSBURGH (-12) over Kansas City

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