Without Ida there is … madness!

The regularly scheduled column is being preempted this week because our pigskin pontificator Ida Eisenstein is 50 miles off the coast of the village of Vestbygda, studying population decline in Scomber scombrus, the Atlantic mackerel, for the Institute of Marine Research.

As her closest friends know, Eisenstein and mackerel have long had a complicated relationship, and her time in the North Sea makes her both tranquil, and ornery as a polecat.

We found that out when we caught up with Eisensetin, who promised us tales of a great fish as long as 20 horses, and then threatened to pierce our dinghy with an ivory-tipped harpoon.

It all made perfect sense, given her inspiration of the week, courtesy of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev: “If one cannot catch a bird of paradise, better take a wet hen.”

Ida’s picks:

Giants (+4), Raiders (+12), Lions (-7.5), Saints (-5.5), Dolphins (-3.5), Patriots (-8), Panthers (+3.5), Jaguars (+1), 49ers (-4), Bills (+6), Seahawks (-6.5), Steelers (-13.5).

Ida’s breakouts:

Jets (-9.5) over Chiefs:

“They’re working hard.”

Ravens (-15) over Colts:

“I feel bad for the Colts.”

Texans (+2.5) over Bengals:

“They lost five players and they’re still hanging in there.”

Ida’s Kryptonite Lock of the Week:

Broncos (-3.5) over Bears:

“That guy Tebow keeps winning.”

98-87-6, 9-4 on Kryptonite Lock of the Week.