By Neil Keefe
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“Extending the season.” That’s what this time of the year is about. It’s about trying to win one game to get another game. It’s about trying to make sure the last game the Yankees play is a game they win. It’s about trying to keep the day that is today from ever happening.

Today I’m a cross between Mikey McD’s face in the opening scene of Rounders when Teddy KGB takes his three stacks of high society and the face of that guy in the Bridgestone commercial when he realizes he hit “Replay All” on the email he sent. Absolutely devastated.

Today sucks because baseball is over. Sure, there is a Game 5 in Philadelphia tonight and another one in Milwaukee. Yes, the Tigers will open the ALCS in Texas on Saturday night and the NLCS will begin on Sunday, but I don’t care. I won’t watch an inning of any baseball from here on out unless it’s by accident.

In the end, the Yankees weren’t good enough. They couldn’t solve Max Scherzer in Game 2 and they couldn’t beat Doug Fister at home in an elimination game. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher provided the worst 4-5-6 combination of the postseason and CC Sabathia failed in Game 3 and then again in relief in Game 5. The Tigers had one real threat in the lineup and one true front-end starter and they are moving on to the ALCS and the Yankees are going home until February. The season is over. (I’m not crying! Those aren’t tears! I have an eyelash in my eye!)

Every year the Yankees have three goals: 1. Win the division. 2. Win the American League. 3. Win the World Series. The one goal I have for them every year is: Prevent this day from happening. Is it an unrealistic goal? Sure. I am fully aware that winning a championship every year isn’t possibly. But I’m also aware that they were the better team the Tigers and that’s why this hurts. If they had lost to the Rangers, I would be hurt, but I could accept it. This … well, this is hard to accept.

Now today another season begins with hockey season. The Rangers open their season in overseas against the Kings. If we’re lucky, the Rangers will be playing long into April and May and even June. If we’re really lucky they will prevent this day from happening again in the spring.

But I will get into the Yankees on Monday and Tuesday in much more depth when I have had time to think about things with a clear mind and not have replays of Mark Teixeira swinging over changeups and popping up fastballs and Nick Swisher not coming up short again and again and again and again and again and again. Oh yeah, there’s A-Rod too. But like I said, we’ll get to that on Monday and Tuesday. For now…

Week 5 … let’s go!

(Home team in caps)

Kansas City +2 over INDIANAPOLIS
I will stop picking against the Colts when they give me a reason. So far they haven’t done that and I don’t expect them to in Week 5.

MINNESOTA -3 over Arizona
An NFC West team on the road? Why, I don’t mind if I do. The only problem here is that after last week’s debacle … scratch that. After every week’s debacle, I have told my self I will not pick the Vikings again. Here I am going against my own word. But can I really take the Cardinals on the road? Can I really do that? No I can’t.

Philadelphia -3 over BUFFALO
Here we have the Eagles who ruined my teaser in Week 4. And here we have the Bills who ruined my teaser in Week 3. Two teams that aren’t exactly on good terms with me right now going at it and I have to pick one. I’m going with the Eagles because even though Michael Vick told everyone to stop calling them the Dream Team, the Eagles are still good (I think) and are better than 1-3 (I think). But really I’m taking them here because if they don’t cover and go on to lose, they will be 1-4 and in need of at least a 9-2 finish to see the postseason. So, really it’s a win-win situation.

HOUSTON -6 over Oakland
I watched the Texans play the Steelers last week because FOX made me because it was the only game on before the Yankees’ Game 2 of the series I’m trying to forget about. The Texans dominated the Steelers despite winning by only seven. I can’t remember the last time I saw the Steelers get picked apart like that. Oh yeah, it was Week 1 against the Ravens. The Raiders are a good team, but the Texans are a great home team and a true contender. I think the Texans found out how to consistently win last week with the right game plan and by controlling the clock.

New Orleans -6.5 over CAROLINA
The Saints cover spreads. That’s what they do. They check the line and then make sure they go out and win by more than it. The Panthers might be good next year or the year after or the year after the year after, but they aren’t good right now, and they better not try and get in the way of the Saints winning by a touchdown.

JACKSONVILLE -2 over Cincinnati
What a weird game. I’m just glad my team (the Giants, obviously) aren’t one of the teams that no matter who they play you’re like, “This game is an effing disaster.” I would like to think people don’t look at the Giants like that. But people definitely look at these two teams like that along with the Chiefs and any game involving an NFC West team.

Tennessee +3 over PITTSBURGH
Did anyone see what Arian Foster did to the Steelers? Yeah, so did I. This is a tricky game because the Steelers basically have to win or their season is going to be hanging by a thread. If you believe in that “The More Desperate Team” theory then the Steelers are for you. Luckily, I don’t believe in that nonsense.

NEW YORK GIANTS -9.5 over Seattle
If you were surprised when Victor Cruz went to the ground untouched and left the ball there then maybe you haven’t the watch the Giants for the past decade. That is Giants football. Crazy plays, bad ideas and stupid penalties. Aside from the perfect and magical four-game playoff run in 2007, that is who the Giants are. So, when the refs went to the booth, I fully expected them to come back and tell me that it’s Cardinals ball and that the Giants would be 2-2. But the Giants caught a break, which is something they usually never catch and the refs either knew the rule, made up the rule or had no idea what happened. Or they just felt bad for Victor Cruz. Whatever it was, the New York Football Giants are 3-1 and have a chance to put together a serious winning streak with their weak schedule over the next few weeks. After Game 5, I could use some Giants dominance.

Tampa Bay +3 over SAN FRANCISCO
Vegas thinks the Buccaneers and 49ers are even and I can’t argue that. Remember three picks ago when I talked about “effing disasters?” Well, here’s another one. Who knows? I’m going Bucs because I can’t make a legitimate case for either team and they are getting three points.

NEW YORK JETS +9 over New England
Earlier in the week I was going to take the Patriots. After what the Raiders and Ravens did to the Jets how could I take them? More importantly after watching Monday Night Football, how could anyone take them? But Nick Mangold is back and the Jets’ season seems to be at a crossroads and Rex Ryan has had to do a lot of backtracking in the last two weeks. If they lose this game he will be in a very bad place, and Mr. T won’t be the smart “SOB” he called himself during last year’s Hard Knocks.

San Diego -4 over DENVER
What is with the AFC West? AFC West games are almost as bad as NFC West games. I don’t like the Chargers, but I have to take them here because they actually have the ability to play well. I’m not sure the Broncos do. But I’m taking the Chargers really because then I can root for the Mile High crowd to turn on Kyle Orton and start chanting “TE-BOW!” over and over. Because, you know, the third string quarterback is the answer to the Broncos’ problems. (I just hope Brady Quinn has his eye black on in the event that he gets into the game.)

GREEN BAY -6.5 over Atlanta
It’s going to be hard for me to ever go against the Packers. I’m riding this wave for as long as possible. And after Brett Favre’s weird comments about the Packers the other day, I have no choice but to think that Aaron Rodgers is going to be looking to hang a big number on the Falcons, who are battling the Eagles for most overrated preseason team.

Chicago +5 over DETROIT
It’s the Lions back on Monday Night Football with their 4-0 record. How confident do I feel taking Jay Cutler to cover at Ford Field with the city of Detroit going absolutely insane like the crowds at Guns N’ Roses concerts in 1989 that I watch on YouTube? About as confident as I felt the last week when Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira or Nick Swisher came to the plate. But five points in a division game is a lot whether Detroit Rock City is back or not.

LAST WEEK: 8-8-0
SEASON: 30-31-3

Follow Neil on Twitter @NeilKeefe

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