Crystal Ball

WEEK SEVEN CRYSTAL BALL: GURU Prepares for Long-Awaited Road Trip with THE CHIEF   

My friends, THE GURU is ready for Eagles’ week but, more importantly (gasp) I’m preparing for a week with THE CHIEF.

As you know, THE CHIEF is my dad, my guy, the man who set so many great examples for me as a young man, and continues to do so to this day. Honor God, love your family, respect women, be honest and be accountable. Always have the antacid at the ready when the Skins are playing. Wear apparel matching the color of your snack dips, lest you spill a bit.

The week is going to be eventful. We’ll begin with a reunion of my dad’s side of the family in Virginia on Saturday and then head up to NYC before striking out for West Point, Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Safe Bet Dept.: The old man, a big seafood lover, will yell “Lobster!” so much that any passersby will think he’s selling them.

The trip is a fulfillment of a promise made to each other 24 years ago when, with yours truly fresh out of college, we decided to travel westward from our home in Illinois before I found a job. Unfortunately for the vacation’s sake, Dow Jones called with an employment offer so I had to call my father with what I thought was bad news.

GURU: Dad, I hate to tell you this but I got a call from Dow Jones in New York and they want me to start a job in two weeks. I don’t think we can take our road trip if I accept it. What should I do?

(Sounds of loud, celebratory music in the background, coupled with the popping of a champagne cork)

CHIEF: Are you kidding me, son?!? Take the job!

(Sounds of French horns and a gospel choir)

CHIEF: You’re off the books, baby!!!

So I accepted the role at DJ, the best job out of school that I could’ve wanted. But we never got around to the trip. Over the years, we talked about it, and talked about it, and nothing came of it. Life, as they say, got in the way.

Truth be told, trips like this are exactly why I’m not working right now, exactly why I elected to take extended time away from the corporate world instead of sticking with a great organization. Life only goes by once and, at the end of my days, would I rather have had this opportunity to travel with THE CHIEF or added a few dollars to my bank account?

The Week Six record was 7-7 and the season mark is now 54-37 (.591). Let’s move on to the games with Dee-troit (3-3) and Houston (3-3) on the bye and, FYI that next week will be THE GURU’s annual bye as I travel with my pops.



8:25 PM, NFL Network/CBS

Kansas City (5-1) at Oakland (2-4). This is one of the great rivalries in football but those of us in the northeast know as little about it as we do of the culinary greatness of Steak n’ Shake.

When I think of this matchup I imagine the Hatfields and the McCoys. Of Marcus Allen leaving the Raiders for KC after feuding with Al Davis and exacting his revenge for five years running. It’s all a rivalry should be. CHIEFS, 35-22.



Carolina (4-2) at Chicago (2-4).Don’t look now but this Bears team is NOT bad, beating a second AFC North team by laying waste to a flagging Ravens squad. And that’s without much of a contribution yet from The Big Trubisky. PANTHERS, 22-20…

…Jacksonville (3-3) at Indianapolis (2-3). If the Jags had great quarterbacking…if OBNOXIOUS MIKE had a spotless criminal record…if broccoli tasted like corn dogs…if, if, if. JAGS, 31-24

…Baltimore (3-3) at Minnesota (4-2). It seems crazy to think but Harbaugh, the former Super Bowl champ, could be on the skids. Imagine BATTLESHIP BARTELLE slipping on a banana peel while out for a climb in the Swiss Alps. Has the Flacco contract truly crippled this team, preventing it from adding other quality players? VIKINGS, 23-20

…Tennessee (2-3) at Cleveland (0-6). Ok, I’m losing my admiration for Hue Jackson but even more so for the Browns’ personnel department. Carson Wentz, pass. Deshaun Watson, pass. These guys couldn’t spot greatness if it smacked them in the face. Heck, they might even find chinks in the armor of THE FAIR CLAUDINE. TITANS, 30-27.



Tampa Bay (2-3) at Buffalo (3-2).
If Jameis Winston can’t play, the Bucs might cancel the season. But would anyone besides HONG KONG MIKE, who watches games on a 48-hour delay, notice? BILLS, 30-19…

…New Orleans (3-2) at Green Bay (4-2). Aaron Rodgers is done for the year but it says here that the Pack isn’t out of it. Why? Because Mike McCarthy is one heck of a football coach. In fact, he is one of only four head coaches to lead a team to eight consecutive playoff appearances, joining Messrs. Noll, Landry and Belichick. That’s only bad company if you’re at a cocktail party. PACKERS, 27-20…

…Arizona (3-3) at Los Angeles Rams (4-2).Is Adrian Peterson the salve for the Cardinals’ wounds? Sure, which defensive position will he be playing? RAMS, 34-26…

…New York Jets (3-3) at Miami (3-2). Cutler. Came. Through. Say that again, 10 more times. Right it down and then read it to yourself. This one’s a tossup. DOLPHINS, 20-18.


4:05 PM, FOX

Dallas (2-3) at San Francisco (0-6). Is Ezekiel Elliot suspended or not? I can’t remember. There have been appeals, stays and stays of appeals and, I believe, appeals of stays. Wake me when it’s over. As for the Niners, losers of a record five straight games by three points or less, their day is coming. NINERS, 33-30

4:25 PM, CBS

Cincinnati (2-3) at Pittsburgh (4-2). The Steelers look like the class of the AFC to me, along with New England. That’s part defense, part Roethlisberger and part Mike Tomlin. Cincy, meanwhile, better win this week or the Marvin Lewis Watch will be in full effect. STEELERS, 27-17…

…Denver (3-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (2-4).The Chargers, hard luck kids in the first four games, are on a two-game winning streak, playing in a Division III stadium with a red-hot quarterback. Denver, on the other hand, is coming off a tough loss to the Jints last week, a defeat no one saw coming. CHARGERS, 23-20

…Seattle (3-2) at New York Giants (1-5). The Giants are back on the board and, if they play defense like they did last week, it could be tough for the Seahawks in the Meadowlands. Is this the time Pete Carroll & Co. make a move or has their window to win another championship closed tightly, like FATBACK’s lips around a stray kielbasa? GIANTS, 19-17.

8:30 PM, NBC

Atlanta (3-2) at New England (4-2). This may be a rematch of Super Bowl LI but neither of these teams is the club they were a year ago. Matt Ryan is playing like Blake Bortles and the Pats are struggling to cover anyone. Heck, last week they let a Jets tight end with a hyphenated last name catch balls at will. PATS, 37-31.


8:30 PM, ESPN

Washington (3-2) at Philadelphia (5-1).I’ll be watching this one with THE CHIEF which means that, at the very least, some good one-liners – plus the remote control and likely some cutlery – will be thrown around. I like the moxie of my squad. Let’s get a big win on the road. SKINS, 27-24.

That’s it for this week, all. Enjoy the games and God bless!

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