I regretfully announce that I have fired my greyhound.
The past two weeks I allowed Taz to pick my once heralded Lock of the Week. I created a card for the teams that would play Sunday or Monday, divided them into groups of four and five and stuck a treat on top of each. The team beneath the first treat Taz devoured won. The six winners advanced to two three-team playoffs, and two winners advanced to the finals.
But Taz missed his Lock two weeks ago when Detroit gave up a late touchdown and field goal in the last two minutes. Last week, he picked Buffalo, and the Bills predictably were handled by Indianapolis, which easily covered.
Taz finishes with a record of 2-2. Ours is a performance based business and 2-2 isn’t good enough. The truth is that I never should have hired him.
Taz can’t hold a job. He chased a mechanical rabbit around dog tracks in Florida, won several races yet was fired when he turned 4. From now on, he’s just a beloved, spoiled, sun-seeking pet.
Lastly, my system had repercussions. Greyhounds are built for speed, and since I began treat-based prognostication Taz has gained 17 pounds.
At the park the other day a corgi, which has legs the length of a business card, lapped him.
Last week: 9-7
Lock: Taz lost
Upset: Tampa Bay lost.
This week’s picks with the home team in CAPS:
Carolina 24 KANSAS CITY 16: I was impressed with Carolina’s work in its 30-22 victory Monday against Philadelphia. The offense was loose and creative and played as freely as it did in 2011. No reason the offense shouldn’t roll again. Teams that play a road game after a Monday night road game often struggle.
BALTIMORE 31, Pittsburgh 17: I respect the Pittsburgh organization. The team, however, is average.
DETROIT 31, Indianapolis 29: Is there a dirtier, more gag-worthy, underachieving group in football than the Lions?
N.Y. Giants 30, WASHINGTON 28: I love to watch RGIII move. The Giants won’t give him a choice.
N.Y. JETS 19, Arizona 14
Houston 26, TENNESSEE 20
BUFFALO 24, Jacksonville 21
GREEN BAY 33, Minnesota 27
New England 29, MIAMI 24
San Francisco 23, ST. LOUIS 20
DENVER 29, Tampa Bay 23
Cincinnati 29, SAN DIEGO 28
DALLAS 34, Philadelphia 16
Upset of the week
Cleveland (+ 1½) 24, Oakland 20: The Raiders play as if they no longer care. The Browns care.
Lock of the week
As picked by a human:
CHICAGO (-3½) 31, Seattle 23: The Seahawks are unbeaten at home but 1-6 on the road. The only team they beat is Carolina. The Bears have lost once at home, to Houston, on a miserable night on which they also lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion.
The Bears rarely look good. Yet they’re 8-3.