Thursday, October 23, 2014

NFL Picks Week Eight: What the hell am I going to do this weekend?

It's that time of year again. I have discussed more than once just how dull and mind-numbing it is to endure the annual bye week of the New York Giants. After all, fall is my favorite season because it carries with it the promise that even if the Giants are bad, at the very least they're giving me something to watch. But once over that 17-week stretch of entertainment that is the NFL season, the Giants take a weekend off. Often it leaves me wondering what I should do with my time and how I can kill the next 14 days until I see them play again, but usually there is one carrot that gets me through the drudgery. At least on Saturday I can watch Northwestern play, even if it also delivers its special brand of frustration and disappointment.

2014, however, is an entirely new kind of manufactured disappointment. This time around, in a cruel aligning of the stars, my cure for boredom is also talking the weekend off. And I have no idea what to do with myself.

That's right. This weekend both the New York Giants and the Northwestern Wildcats will be on their respective bye weeks.

This particular set of circumstances hasn't occurred in 10 years, when both Northwestern and the Giants took off the weekend of October 16-17. Of course, that was during my sophomore year of college, and considering the late-autumn chill had not yet set in in Evanston by that point I at least had drinking to help occupy my time. I could do the same now, but as a 29-year-old professional I should probably have a more responsible and socially acceptable solution to the problem.

 I'm honestly not sure I do. Football is such a heavily integrated part of American fall weekends -- or at least my fall weekends -- that not having my go-to drugs at the ready leaves me feeling aimless and confused. How will I fill that time? Do I exercise? Force myself to do the writing I keep saying I'll do in my free time? Do I visit my nine-month-old nephew? Do I watch tapes of old Northwestern and Giants games?

You all think the last one is what I'm going to pick, don't you? You're probably right.

It is rare that I feel so hopeless, victim to brutal strains of withdrawal, but this weekend I'm going to find out just how well I can keep it together as football happens all around me and I see my favorite teams participating in none of it. Luckily these bye weeks happen to fall during the World Series (which is actually a series after last night), so even though I'm not particularly invested there is a major event to distract me even if it still leaves my afternoons empty. Plus, I'll be able to wake up to the other football across the pond.

Perhaps it isn't all that bad, but either way, I will feel lost for a solid 48 hours. Then again, I suppose that's a slight upgrade to feeling lost when they are playing.

Last week: 7-8-0
Season: 46-59-0

DENVER (-8.5) over San Diego
Detroit (-3.5) over ATLANTA
CINCINNATI (-1) over Baltimore
Houston (-1.5) over TENNESSEE
KANSAS CITY (-7) over St. Louis
NEW ENGLAND (-6) over Chicago
Buffalo (+3) over NY JETS
Minnesota (+3) over TAMPA BAY
Seattle (-5) over CAROLINA
JACKSONVILLE (+6) over Miami
ARIZONA (-2.5) over Philadelphia
CLEVELAND (-7) over Oakland
Indianapolis (-3) over PITTSBURGH
Green Bay (+1.5) over NEW ORLEANS
DALLAS (-9.5) over Washington

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