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Times dog hopes to repeat perfect picks for NFL's Week 5

October 9, 2009 |  7:34 pm

DjangopicksA few weeks ago, we embarked on an admittedly unorthodox project: To see just how well dogs could predict the outcomes of professional football games. 

Our dogs didn't do so well at first -- our two terrier mixes, Django and Gimlet, predicted an upset in Dallas and guessed that the Cowboys would lose to the Carolina Panthers.  They guessed wrong, and the Cowboys beat the Panthers handily.

Oh well.

Django decided to give it another go.  He and a new competitor named Oscar (the rescued chow-mix pal of The Times' online managing editor, Sean Gallagher) predicted the outcomes of three games held last weekend -- the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Denver Broncos; the Baltimore Ravens vs. the New England Patriots; and the Buffalo Bills vs. the Miami Dolphins.

Intriguingly, Django and Oscar made the same predictions, picking the Broncos over the Cowboys (man, Django really wants the Cowboys to lose), the Patriots over the Ravens and the Dolphins over the Bills.  (Gimlet opted to sit out the round, choosing instead to observe the action from the relative safety of the underside of a nearby desk.)

We wondered: Could these dogs be onto something?  The results of the games seemed to give credence to this theory, since all of Django's and Oscar's picks proved accurate.

This week, Django is at it again, trying his prognosticating paw at three weekend games:

  • Cleveland Browns vs. Buffalo Bills
  • Washington Redskins vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks

The little guy's picks, according to certain in-the-know football fans we associate with, aren't too shabby: He opted for the Bills over the Browns, the Redskins over the Panthers (perhaps he's still feeling burned by his initial support of the team) and the Jaguars over the Hawks.  (Oscar is on hiatus this week, and our own Gimlet seems to have taken an indefinite hiatus from this game -- when given the chance to make his selections, he once again chose instead to hang out under a table.  He's a rescue, and although we don't know too much about his background, we certainly know that he's a sensitive soul.)

Since Django has had so much fun in his new career as a "sporting dog," we thought your pets might want to get in on the action as well.  Starting now, we're asking for your photos and videos of your own pets picking the winners -- you can submit them here, and we'll follow up to let you know how they did.  Sound like fun?  It is!

Our selections method is not exactly scientific: We write the names of the opposing teams on Post-It notes and affix them to each of our hands, then place one of our dog's favorite treats in each hand.  The hand the dog sniffs or licks first is his choice to win the game.  (The method is the brainchild of John Bergmann, general manager of New Jersey's Popcorn Park Zoo, who uses it to great success with a resident camel named Princess.  Taking another cue from Bergmann and Princess, our dogs will refrain from picking any games in which Michael Vick's team, the Philadelphia Eagles, plays.)

Want to play along with Django?  Send your submissions to us before kickoff Sunday.  Good luck and happy picking!


-- Lindsay Barnett

Top photo: Django with his picks.
Bottom photo: Gimlet hiding under the table.

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