Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Predictions: Falcons (real ones) over Saints


Before getting to this week’s lox -- oh, you thought I meant locks last week? Uh, no – here’s an update from the programming department at HBO. In this week’s episode of, “Jonah From Tonga,” Fobba-lisicious and Kool Kris pick up a triumphant Jonah from prison, just in time to take part in the Feel Da Beat dance competition with their song “Don't Be A Bully.” While Jonah has been locked up, everything seems to have changed and Jonah is forced to make some real adjustments.

I’m not sure -- because the lines between real and unbelievably-stupid-and-scripted-made-for-TV-verbal-undressings-of-characters often seem to get blurred these days -- but I think Jonah From Tonga is not real. As in, he was made up. Jonah From Tonga might as well be “Green Eggs And Ham,” because while Dr. Seuss might be the greatest writer ever, as well as a doctor, I’m not expecting anybody named Sam-I-Am to knock on my door this weekend with a strange-looking breakfast.

It is written in the stars: Take the Falcons and 3.

The Falcons are going to rip your head off!

They are Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire reincarnated!

We know this because it was on TV! A premium channel!

We’ve read and heard the sound bites for months about how tough the Falcons are going to be this season from interviews and that amusing HBO creation, “Hard Knocks.”

Are you scared? I know I’m scared. Did you see assistant coach Keith Armstrong terrorize that guy in that special teams meeting? I was waiting for seas to boil.

Really, somebody needed to splice in some old Muhammad Ali clips: “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail!”

Of course, Ali could back it up. The Falcons? We'll see.

Lights off? Cameras gone? All of those Ra’shede Hageman-you’re-as-soft-as-a-mutant-baby-hamster diatribes over now? Because now we find out if fiction morphs into reality.

New Orleans has won 13 of the last 16 meetings. They laugh at you, Mongol Horde.

But the Falcons are healthy. Julio Jones and Roddy White are upright. Steven Jackson “tweaked” his hamstring in camp and didn’t play a preseason game but the team says he’s fine and didn’t even put him on the injury report. (Was he examined by Dr. Seuss?)

Nobody nationally is even picking the Falcons to make the playoffs. But if they’re healthy they can score, and if they can score they can win. This game, they can score, and win. Saints are favored by 3. Take the points but the Birds win straight up.

Give it to me, Muhammad

Here’s what tough looks like

SIS-BOOM-BLAH

(It's Crummy Game Week)

Georgia Tech at Tulane: This falls under the heading, “Games they should win.” But after leading Wofford by one point at halftime and five with nine minutes left, can we be sure of anything? At least the Jackets won’t need to pack hazmat suits, which are required for any game in the New Orleans SuperDump. Tulane has a new stadium. Rich punks. Hiccups gone, Techies? Jackets cover 10.

Georgia Tech players will not need to wear these against Tulane.

North of Mexico St. at Ga. State: The Panthers won last week. Somehow, they did not crack the top 25. Politics. This week, it’s New Mexico State. I always get confused: Which crummy New Mexico team is in the Sun Belt and which is in the Mountain West? State covers 1.

Eastern Michigan at Florida: The Gators’ opener against Idaho was canceled because of the worst thunder and lightning in Gainesville since somebody asked Urban Meyer how many felonies it would take for him to suspend a player. The Idaho game will be played in a few years, and the words, “You get to play Idaho in 2017,” may have just became part of a post-season interview job search. Gators win but take the EMUs and 38.

East Carolina at South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ defense allowed 52 points and 680 yards at home against Texas A&M, and Steve Spurrier couldn’t even blame Jadeveon Clowney for being lazy. But it’s East Carolina this week. Poultry covers 16½.

South Carolina St. at Clemson: Finally, a “South Carolina” that Dabo Swinney can beat. Tigers cover 35.

Flotsam at Alabama: Alabama’s next two opponents, Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss, lost last week by a combined 104-7. Don’t get sucked in by the candy line: Alabama covers 40.

Bambi (FAU) meets Godzilla (Alabama) (Never gets old)

NFL SIX-PACK

49ers at Cowboys: The 49ers have had four arrests this year and 10 since 2012, which means either Jim Harbaugh is channeling Barry Switzer or this is an orchestrated attempt to make Alcatraz an active penitentiary again. Chris Culliver: hit-and-run, felony possession of brass knuckles. Aldon Smith: drunk-and-stupid and threatening to blow up an airport. Ray McDonald: alleged domestic abuse of his pregnant fiancée. Funny. Enabling, Inc., hasn’t said if McDonald will benched Sunday. He’s really a good kid, you know? Niners win but take Dallas and 5.

“Hard Knocks 2015”: 49ers camp

Bengals at Ravens: Speaking of ex-cons, a Ray Lewis statue was unveiled outside of the Ravens’ stadium this week. He's depicted running to a limo and throwing away his white suit. Take Cincinnati and 2 -- and in a straight upset.

The PETA-approved Washington "Redskin" potato logo offends nobody.

Browns at Steelers: Brian Hoyer is the Cleveland starting quarterback and Johnny Manziel is “a juvenile punk,” according to Merrill Hoge. I’m trying to figure out which is worse. Steelers cover 6½.

Washington “Team” at Texans: A coalition of Native American groups sent letters to thousands of TV and radio broadcasters asking them to follow Tony Dungy’s lead and not to use the “R” word. What’s the big deal? In a few weeks, nobody will be talking about the “R’s” anyway. Houston covers 3.

Bills at Bears: Chicago’s Lance Briggs took off practice Monday so he could attend the opening of his restaurant in California. Welcome to the Tony Gonzalez School of Leadership. Chicago covers 7.

Colts at Broncos: Wes Welker failed a drug test and is out four games. Now he’s claiming somebody at the Kentucky Derby spiked his drink. Because, you know, mixing with Buffy and Thurston on the club level at Churchill Downs is one step from a street corner on “The Wire.” Watch out for Mr. Ed: He’ll shiv you. Denver covers 7½.

Horses are smarter than you think (Mr. Ed crushes Koufax)

CHIP COUNT

free-bets-are-profitable

“The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.” -- Kin Hubbard

Last week (don’t panic, it’s early): 11-1 straight up, 5-7 against the line.

This week: Much better. I think.

Sack Schultz 2014: YES, you can still play, even with one week in the books. Weekly and grand prizes are on the table. Go to AJC.com/go/sackschultz2014 . I went 14-1 in contest picks. A bunch of folks went 15-0. Mazel Tov. Local winner, via tiebreaker, was Justin Fort of Gastonia, N.C., and sits in first among 4,100-plus entries.

NFL Pro Pick’em 2014: YES, it’s another contest. Go to AJC.com/go/propickem2014 for a chance to win prizes, including a trip for two to Hawaii. Pick NFL games against me, WSB’s Zach Klein and AJC’s Mark Bradley.

Lilly Pick of the Week: She’s 0-1 after picking Clemson last week and is in danger of being waived. The choices of cheese’d pictures this week: Matt Ryan (Falcons) vs. Drew Brees (Saints). Lilly went right and picked the Falcons.

Lilly is trying to make amends for her Georgia-Clemson pick.

Last week's episode: Predictions (no lies): Dogs over Clemson


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.