Sunday, December 26, 2010

NFL Week 16 Picks-The After Christmas Hangover

It's Sunday morning, but not just any Sunday morning. It's the day after Christmas. Since yesterday was such an awesome day, it's bound to be a letdown. All thats left is to enjoy your gifts more and watch football. Which isn't so bad after all.

Detroit at Miami (-3.5)

Props to NFL schedule makers who put the Lions in two straight games in Florida in the middle of December, letting the Lions escape winter in Detroit. The Dolphins are a mess, quite simply, with barely a semblance of an offense, with a good run defense and mediocre pass defense. With Shaun Hill starting, the Lions can actually put points on the board (they have a good passing game), and their defense should be able to contain the weak punches the Dolphins throw at them. Lions win outright.

Washington at Jacksonville (-7)

Jacksonville. at home, playing to stay alive in the AFC South, against the Rex Grossman led Redskins, with nothing at stake? Jaguars win and cover, even without Mojo D.

San Francisco at St.Louis(-2.5)

Oh god, I almost just threw up Christmas dinner thinking about this whole division. I've been doing "Hell Games" all year, but this is just a Hell division. I hope St.Louis makes it to the playoffs this year after coming off having the worst record in the league. So, Rams win and cover. 49ers finally die.

New England (-7.5) at Buffalo

This game was actually very exciting last time they played, and both teams have progressed hugely since then. While the Bills have made the jump from "awful" to "competitive", the Patriots have made the jump from "good" to "dominant". I'll take dominant to win and cover here. But, I really hope I'm wrong. Nothing would make this season better than seeing the Patriots lose in Buffalo. A Christmas miracle that would silence every Masshole...please, Santa/God, please, let me be wrong on this pick. But also let Brady have a good game (I'm in the fantasy championships, ok!)

NY Jets at Chicago (-2.5)

Mark Sanchez is injured, playing in cold weather, and against the Bears defense. As impressive as last weeks win over the Steelers was, I don't see it being two in a row. Bears will be able to move the ball and more importantly stop the Jets. Bears win and cover.

Baltimore (-3.5) at Cleveland

Seems like a low spread here. Baltimore is playing to stay in contention for the division crown, and coming off a huge win. The Browns are playing for pride, I guess, but not much else. I'll take the Ravens to win and cover, behind a big game from Ray Rice (the Browns couldn't stop Cedric Benson last week...).

Tennessee at Kansas City (-4)

Kansas City is also playing for a division crown against the enigmatic Titans. I think the Chiefs should be able to limit the Titan's offense (specifically Chris Johnson) enough to win the game, but it should be close. Chiefs win, Titans cover.

Indianapolis (-1.5) at Oakland

Both teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt, with the Raiders very much on the outside, needing a lot of help. The Colts just need to keep winning, and I can't see Peyton letting this one slip, so Colts win and cover.

Houston (-2.5) at Denver

Tim Tebow was better than expected last week, but still doesn't scream NFL Quarterback. A capable NFL defense should be able to shut him down, but, alas, the Texans are not that defense. Even so, I expect the Texans to just outscore the Broncos. Texans win, Broncos cover in a close one.

San Diego (-8) at Cincinnati

San Diego is playing for it's life here, and Cinci is just terrible, and without its top two Wide Receivers. San Diego stays alive with a win, and it hard to see them dropping this one-San Diego wins and cover, and Marvin Lewis gets closer to the unemployment line.

Seattle at Tampa Bay (-6.5)

Seattle also has a chance at the NFC West "crown" (maybe a toilet seat), but the Buccaneers also have an outside shot at the playoffs and are a better team overall. Seahawks are on the road, so I can't see them taking this one. Bucs win and cover.

NY Giants at Green Bay (-2)

Coming off one of the worst losses in franchise history, The Giants now face, basically, an elimination game against the Packers. Teams can either be galvanized by a loss or let it hang over them. Eli Manning doesn't seem like the kind of leader who could galvanize his team. The Packers almost beat the Patriots last week with Matt Flynn at the helm, and now return Aaron Rodgers against a worse team. Green Bay stays alive, winning and covering at Lambeau.

Minnesota at Philadelphia(-14)

Minnesota stumbles into Philadelphia with Joe Webb at QB. I think he'll be offering some Christmas gifts to the Eagles secondary. The Eagles offense is firing on all cylinders and the team is fired up after a huge win last week. I look for the momentum to continue-Philly wins and covers. And god, who picked this flex game?

New Orleans at Atlanta (-2.5)

Besides Packers-Giants, this might be the game of the week. These two are duking it out for the NFC South, and have looked like the best teams in the NFC recently. Unfortunately, the game is in Atlanta, where Matt Ryan and the Falcons are nearly untouchable. The Saints will keep it close and exciting, and cover, but the Falcons will win.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

UConn's Streak, and What it Means-And Steelers-Panthers/Cowboys-Cardinals

ESPN has officially decided to shove the UConn Womens Basketball's 89 game win streak into our collective conciousness. Yes, it breaks the record set by men's sports. Not to denigrate the talents of UConn's players, but its just not the same. The level of talent between UConn and the rest of the the Women's College Basketball field is huge, whereas UCLA played a lot more quality opponents (and had 14 more single digit wins-it wasn't always easy). So yes, it's impressive for them, but its not really a record breaker- its just a number. Its apples and oranges. They broke the record previously set by their own school at 70 games- that's what mattered. 89 is a number that means nothing, except that UConn is very, very good. There's no comparison besides those two teams being really good.

The most interesting thing I heard was during ESPN's forced "roundtable" discussion (Zzz) about the streak with former UConn players. Rebecca Lobo said it was "ridiculous" to say that this streak was "bad for women's basketball". She said that the streak got the sport more attention than ever- and that was good. But what she doesn't realize is that the streak has probably turned viewers away. People watch sports, and especially dominant teams, to see something that they don't expect, to see something amazing. They want the better team to be challenged. The Patriots in '07 were popular because they didn't blow everyone out- the streak they had was in jeopardy a lot of the times they stepped on the field- that's how good the quality of NFL teams are. The same cannot be said about UConn. Except against a couple of teams, it is a foregone conclusion that they will win every time- there is no challenge. This is boring to the average sports fan. No one wants to see the same thing every time; and that's what we have with UConn. Until they start getting challenged, or actually lose, the interest will remain minimal. Sure, they're a great team, but its so predictable, why watch?

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-14.5)

Even without Troy Polamalu, the Steelers defense is too good to be bested by Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen. Pittsburgh is coming off a tough loss to the Jets and will be looking to keep their division lead over the Ravens, so I see them being motivated enough to not even let this one stay close. Pittsburgh wins and covers. And nice job scheduling this game, NFL Network! My god they really screwed the pooch this week.

Dallas (-6.5) at Arizona

This would be a great matchup...last season. Now it's a battle of backup (or backup backups) on Christmas Day. Bleak for everyone involved. Arizona is officially out of it in the NFC West, so they don't have much to play for. Dallas also has nothing to play for but pride; they have more talent and more pride, so I expect them to cover and win.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Week 15 NFL a Winter Wonderland

Ahhh, wintertime. My toes are always cold, but I somehow love it. Mostly because school's off for a couple of weeks (so I can write more), you can go sledding, it's crunch time in the NFL, and, oh yeah, Christmas and New Years! But anyway, on to the picks. A lot of playoff deciding matchups this week, along with a lot of really awful ones. It's also the semi-finals for most fantasy playoffs (like mine!), which adds a level of excitement or heartbreak to the proceedings.

I already got my Chargers pick right, so, good start.

Kansas City at St.Louis (-3)

The Chiefs are in a precarious position, having to hold off the surging Chargers, and unsure of Matt Cassel's status after his appendectomy. He's a game time decision, which means Brodie Croyle, he of "0-10" fame, and leader of a scoreless offense (even with two great running backs) could be starting. If Croyle starts, the Chiefs lose, and St.Louis gains some footing in their pathetic division. And, you know what? I kind of like the Rams in this game even if Cassel plays. They're at home, battling for the playoffs, and play solid football. The Chiefs have gotten lucky a couple too many times this year, and here it runs out. Rams win, cover if Croyle starts. Chiefs cover if Cassel plays.

Houston at Tennessee (-1.5)

Yeech. Two teams who need new coaches and are fading fast. Both teams played it close last week against better opponents, but both showed in the end how far they are from being real contenders-every team can make it close, but not every team can win. I guess I like Houston here, because of their offense, whereas the Titans have Kerry Collins running the show. Houston covers and wins.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-4.5)

Peyton Manning finally turned it on last week, albeit against a weak Titans secondary. His team, though, is banged up and hanging by a thread. I like the Jaguars. This year is so wacky, so why not add "Colts miss the playoffs" to the list of crazy stories? The Jaguars run the ball well, and the Colts have a bad run defense; and I think they can match points with Peyton Manning. The Jaguars are a team of destiny (see the Mike Thomas hail mary). They feel like they're not getting any respect, and they can feel a playoff birth right in front of them. The Colts will be desperate, but the Jaguars aren't going to sit down for this one. Jags outright win. Goodbye Peyton! Love, The Playoffs. (At least I hope).

Arizona at Carolina (-2.5)

Ahhhhhh, here's your Hell Game! The only way this game could be worse is if the Panthers were in the NFC West. Your QB Matchup is Jimmy Clausen against John Skelton. The horrible-ness of this game can't be overstated. I hope my eyes never touch a highlight from this game. Forced to pick a "winner" to this game, I'll take the Cardinals. The Panthers are a bizzaro team of destiny. They are meant to get the number 1 pick, and losing this game will solidify that position. Cardinals win outright.

Cleveland at Cincinnati (-1)

Who knew Ohio could be so depressing? Oh wait, everyone. LeBron leaves, the Indians suck (at least the Reds made it to the playoffs-to get swept), and nobody cares about Hockey (shame). Cinci is terrible, and the Browns return Colt McCoy this week, which means good things for an offense stagnant behind Jake Delhomme. With that, I say Cleveland wins outright. Week 15 is feeling Upset-y! (Or, with my luck, it will be nothing like that).

Buffalo at Miami (-5)

Rivalry game (though no one outside of Buffalo/ old timers knows it)! Unfortunately, the game is not in Buffalo for the frigid conditions (damn you, NFL schedule makers!), so some level of advantage is given to the Dolphins. BUT they're only 1-5 at home (playing extremely quality opponents, though...). Either way, the Dolphins have a top 5 defense, so even if their offense falters, they should be able to, for the most part, bottle up my beloved Bills (they won again! Goodbye Andrew Luck...). Buffalo can play with anyone, but getting consistent production from either side of the ball has been a problem. I wouldn't be surprised to see a low score, which favors Buffalo covering. Miami wins, Bills cover.

Philadelphia at NY Giants (-3)

Now here's another good game this weekend- a battle for the top of the NFC East, for a home playoff game (basically). The Giants "contained" Michael Vick last time and still ended up losing, so I can't see them doing much better the second time around. The Giants offense, particularly Eli Manning, haven't been doing so well as of late, and the Eagles defense is no cake walk. The Eagles should take this one.

Washington at Dallas (-7)

Here's a question for you, Redskins fans...How much do you trust Rex "Sexy" Grossman? That's right, the guy who "led" a team to the Super Bowl and then lost his job returns to a starting job over Donovan McNabb (ok, he hasn't been great, but he hasn't been bench-worthy. Shanahan might be losing his touch...). Dallas is actually playing well, almost beat the Eagles last week, and hate the Redskins. This is the biggest game of their season. So yeah, Dallas wins and covers. Watch the Rex Grossman era begin and end in Washington.

Detroit at Tampa Bay (-4.5)

Tampa Bay needs a win to remain in the playoff hunt, Detroit is starting Drew Stanton. Bucs should be able to pass all over a weak secondary, Detroit might be able to take advantage of injuries in the Buc's secondary. Overall, it seems like Tampa has the advantage here, they'll win and cover. Another sad weekend for Detroit.

New Orleans at Baltimore (-1.5)

Another good game. Baltimore, though, hasn't looked all that impressive lately, while New Orleans seems to have hit a fifth gear. They're close to a #1 seed (one game back of Atlanta), and should be playing with some passion. Baltimore is also close to a division crown, but as I said, not playing so hot lately. Offense looks lost at times. Saints win outright.

Atlanta (-6) at Seattle

Even with Seattle's huge home field advantage, Atlanta is playing at a consistently high level, and for a #1 seed, so I don't see them losing this game. And Seattle never loses closely, so, Atlanta wins and covers.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh (-5.5)

What would be more delicious than the Jets sliding at the end of the season and maybe...missing...the playoffs! (ellipses for unbridled enthusiasm from the writer). Their fatalist fans certainly think its possible. The team hasn't scored a TD in two games. Mark Sanchez is playing horribly (put a California boy in cold weather...), and teams now know that they have to force him to make plays to beat the Jets. The Steelers defense is scary good, the team wants to clinch a first round bye, and can sense a weak opponent. The Steelers win and cover at home, and Jets fans start to sweat just a little bit more.

Denver at Oakland (-7.5)

This is a pretty high spread for a team that has yet to prove it can win on a consistent basis, but, they're also playing a team that lost (badly) to the John Skelton lead Cardinals. And Tim Tebow is expected to start this weekend. That's right, Jesus himself, less than a week till his birthday, will take the snaps for the Broncos. Oh wait, it's just an average at best NFL quarterback. Raiders win and cover behind another huge game from Darren McFadden.

Green Bay at New England (-14)

If Aaron Rodgers was playing, this game might be close. But it's Matt Flynn, who couldn't manage a touchdown against the Lions. Even with an extra week of prep, I still can't see him matching points with the juggernaut that is the Patriots right now. 14 would seem like a ridiculous spread in a normal circumstance, but the Patriots are on another level right now. Even against a quality Packers defense, I can see them scoring 35+. Patriots win and cover.

Chicago (-7.5) at Minnesota

Though it's awesome that Minnesota will be playing outdoors, they're starting Joe Webb at QB. The Bears want a division crown, and won't let Minnesota stay in it. It'll be a rude debut for Webb. Dangerous and icy turf or no, the Bears will win and cover.

In a non sports related note, here's my top 10 albums of the year. Sorry if these sail over your head, but you should check them out. Or ignore this whole item.

1.The National-High Violet
2.Arcade Fire-The Suburbs
3.Kanye West-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
4.LCD Soundsystem-This is Happening
5.Sufjan Stevens-The Age of Adz
6.Los Campesinos!-Romance is Boring
7.Beach House-Teen Dream
8.Titus Andronicus-The Monitor
9.Wild Nothing-Gemini
10. Vampire Weekend-Contra

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Useless Thursday Night Pick, and real rivalries

Ah, and this is when these Thursday Night games get horrible.

San Francisco at San Diego (-9)

Do you believe in Alex Smith? Only against terrible defenses like Seattle. With no running game to speak of following Frank Gore's injury, the 49ers will have to rely on Alex Smith to beat the Chargers. If Brodie Croyle couldn't do it, Alex Smith shouldn't do much better. Chargers are on a late season push to make it to the playoffs, and should win this one handily, lest they lose the positioning they gained by beating the Chiefs last week. Chargers win and cover.

Anyway, on to basketball. I know, I said I wouldn't write much about the NBA, but the Bulls are REALLY good. Derek Rose, without grammar ("we was rebounding the ball real good"), has started dominating games. He can even hit the three now. With Boozer returning from injury, the teams one consistent shooter (not Kyle Korver, who plays negative defense) from being truly elite. But they're up there in the East.

But onto the real point of why I was going to talk about the NBA. Celtics and Knicks is happening right now, and the various former NBA players/talking heads on ESPN were debating about whether the game is actually a rivalry. There's your answer right there. If you have to debate whether or not its a rivalry, it's not. You know it exactly when you see it. Celtics and Knicks? Sure, its Boston and New York, but the teams haven't been mutually good for quite some time, the key to any rivalry.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week 14 NFL Quick Picks

Sorry I missed Thursday's game, I would've picked Colts (-3). Of course they had to go and screw that up. But it was mighty suspicious of the Titans to not just run out the clock and instead score. MAYBE ITS ALL A SET UP!

Or nor. Anyway, onto the picks. It's the first week of fantasy football playoffs (for most leagues). Except if you're me and you have a bye week because you finished so well. (Bragging rights).

Oakland at Jacksonville (-3.5)

Both are fighting for a division crown, but I really like the way the Jaguars have been playing lately (a lot of Maurice Jones Drew). Oakland can be good (as evidenced by last week), but maybe not the most consistent. Jacksonville wins and covers, putting the pressure back on the Colts to win the division.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-8.5)

Though they almost beat the Saints last week, and kept it respectable, the Bengals are still really terrible. Pittsburgh is coming off the biggest win of their season so I look for them to keep it going. Steelers win and cover.

New England (-3) at Chicago

After watching Monday Night Football, I don't care how good everyone thinks the Bears Defense is. Tom Brady will be able to move the ball. Sorry Chicago, Patriots win and cover, and the Bears are exposed as really not that good. A man can dream.

Cleveland at Buffalo (PK)

The Battle for Lake Erie! This one can't be separated because both teams aren't as bad as their record shows. BUT the Browns have been able to win more close games, which I think is the mark of a better team. The Browns almost exclusively run the ball with Peyton Hillis, and the Bills can't stop the run, so I say that the Browns win.

Green Bay (-7) at Detroit

The Lions aren't bad, but they always find a way to lose. The Packers are on a roll, and it will continue. Packers win and cover.

Atlanta (-7.5) at Carolina

Atlanta beat a better opponent on the road last week, so this one should be easy. Falcons win and cover over the lowly Panthers. (But I really hope the pick is wrong/The Panthers trade for Kevin Kolb and don't take Andrew Luck. Just a thought).

Tampa Bay (-1) at Washington

Excuse me if I think the Redskins are one of the most overrated teams in the league, even when people rate them as decent. Tampa Bay kept it close with Atlanta last week, and I see no reason why they can't beat a lesser opponent. Tampa wins, covers.

St.Louis at New Orleans (-9.5)

St. Louis' little miracle run comes to an end against the surging Saints, who need every win they can get to secure a playoff birth (lots of worthy teams this year). Saints win and cover. The Rams would still be in their division race though! The NFC West- where parity just produces decency.

Seattle at San Francisco (-5)

Speaking of the NFC West, here's your hell game. The 49ers are so bad they turned back to Alex Smith, and even he doesn't know why. Meanwhile, the Seahawks either win or lose in a blowout. But here I think the Seahawks are able to win, so Seahawks cover and win. Something about this game just screams "fluky result", and the Seahawks are kings of those. And in hell, the game is being announced by a broadcast team of a Seattle Hipster and a San Francisco Hipster.

Miami at NY Jets (-5)

I expect the Jets to be royally pissed off after last week, and take it out on the merely decent Dolphins, who still have Chad Henne at quarterback (not Tom Brady). Jets win and cover.

Denver (-4) at Arizona

Interim coach? Check. Rookie Quarterback on the other side, making his first start? Check. Broncos win and cover, and the Jon Skelton era in Arizona begins poorly.

Kansas City at San Diego (-10)

Kansas City is without Matt Cassel, but I find it hard to believe that they're just going to fold playing in a game that is critical to the division race. The Chargers couldn't do stop the Raiders running game last week, so why could they do it against the Chiefs? The Chargers offense will be enough to pull out the game, though. Chargers win, Chiefs cover.

Philadelphia (-3.5) at Dallas

Dallas' defense isn't so great, and Michael Vick is still on a roll, along with LeSean McCoy. Dallas is a fun spoiler, but not a great one. They have glaring holes that an interim coach can't band-aid for too long. Philly wins and covers.

NY Giants (-3) at Minnesota *Ford Field, Detroit*

The Metrodome's roof partially collapsed, so this one's being played in Detroit. Now without homefield advantage AND without Brett Favre, the Vikings seem pretty doomed in this one. The Giants are fighting for the playoffs and have more talent on both sides of the ball (or more talent playing up to its level). Giants win and cover, and perhaps kill any dreams the Vikings have of a miracle playoff run.

Baltimore (-3) at Houston

Baltimore is going to be angry after losing Sunday Night's game, and will take it out on the terrible Texans defense. Ravens win and cover.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Red Sox Throw Down the Gauntlet

That's right, it's THE HOT STOVE. The Red Sox followed the trade for Adrian Gonzalez (why couldn't the Cubs get him? AAAARGH) with a huge deal for free agent left fielder Carl Crawford (once again, come on Cubs!), bolstering the defense, speed, and offense of the whole team. The offense will now have Crawford, an elite leadoff hitter with gamebreaking spead, join Gonzalez, an amazing left handed power hitter, along with Pedroia, Ellsbury, Drew, Youkilis and the corpse of David Ortiz. Either way, the Red Sox sent a message to the rest of the league AND the Yankees. They will not be missing the playoffs next year. The Yankees are usually the big spenders (and may get Cliff Lee, the best pitcher on the market), but the Red Sox blew them away with this one.

Last year, the Red Sox tried the sabremetricians new "thing", great defensive metrics. It didn't work. Now, they've kept their defense intact AND added great offense. Watch out.

What makes it all more depressing is that the Cubs, who could've used either of those players, instead end up with Carlos Pena. Yes, Carlos Pena who hit .196. .196! That guy will be batting near cleanup in the lineup. I can only hope that the switch to NL will improve his game, along with returning to hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo. But it's frustrating to see the Cubs sit on their hands while teams like the Red Sox, who are in a comparative market, make great moves.

If the Cubs can trade for Matt Garza, though, I would love that. AL pitcher to the NL? Instant improvement. Either way, the Cubs need more improvements. Last year's team is not gonna cut it. A nucleus of Colvin, Castro, Byrd, Soriano and Pena (the last two are pretty iffy) is not playoff worthy, barring any huge improvements from the supporting cast. An improved pitching staff (i.e. with Garza on it, or Lee, if one can dream big for a second) could really improve the Cubs chances. Look what happened to the Giants. Pitching can win you games even with a decent offense. The Cubs just need to do something to inspire hope. And Carlos Pena is not that something.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Week 13 NFL Picks, and RIP Ron Santo

As was widely reported yesterday, Ron Santo, Cubs legend, died at age 70. While the older generation may remember him for his 15 year stint with the Cubs back in the 60s, my memories of him will always be for his announcing. Pat Hughes and Ron Santo made it seem like you were watching Cubs games with your grandfathers. Especially if one of your grandfathers couldn't stand to see the Cubs lose. Ron's histrionics in the booth were what every fan was thinking when the Cubs inevitably messed up. Sure, he was a homer. He couldn't contain himself. But that was exactly what we need from an announcer- someone to match our emotions pitch perfectly. I'm going to miss the cries of anguish when we lose in the bottom of the ninth, or the wild, jubilant cheers when the Cubs manage to pull it out when all hope seems lost, when they had made Ron's day absolutely perfect.

Also, he played at a high level in the MLB WITH DIABETES. What a man.

On that somber note, Week 13 of the NFL season. There are two great matchups, both in PRIMETIME. Wonderful. Finally, NFL scheduling gets it right!

Buffalo at Minnesota (-5.5)

Another week, another Bills heartbreak. Stevie Johnson, one week after a career game, makes himself more famous...for the wrong reasons. 5 drops, including the game winner, will do that for ya. It's ok to have fun when you're doing well, but Stevie's gotta make sure he focuses enough to do his job before he gets goofy. Anyway, the Bills impressed me in staying in the game against the Steelers, and now face a weaker opponent. The Vikings, now under Leslie Frazier, seem committed to the run game (big time), and that only spells doom for the Bills. Smart teams would just run the ball every down against the Bills. The Vikings should be able to move the ball, Brett Favre will probably be limited by his coach to protect the team, and the Vikings can grind out a win. Will the Bills keep it close? Yes, that's what they have a knack for. Finishing is a whole 'nother story. Bills cover, Vikings win.

Cleveland at Miami (-5)

Chad Henne's return to the Dolphins really threw a wrench into my Raiders pick last week, and now they face off against Cleveland, who are starting Jake Delhomme once again. The Browns could barely get past the Panthers last week (Panthers missed a field goal to win) even though Peyton Hillis had 3 touchdowns in the FIRST HALF. The Dolphins are still hanging on in the playoff hunt, so they should be playing harder in this game than the Browns. Plus, Jake Delhomme loves a good pick-six. Miami wins and covers.

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3)

Tennessee returns QB Kerry Collins, which would have fans complaining if he were replacing anyone other than Rusty Smith. In addition to terrible quarterbacking, the Titans also gave up on the run early, even though Chris Johnson is their best weapon. So, suffice to say, I have no confidence in them. Jacksonville's been playing decently-to-well, and I think they have enough firepower with MOJO D to take this one. Jags cover and win.

Denver at Kansas City (-8.5)

Sure, three weeks ago, Denver ran it up against the Chiefs and beat them 49-29. But since that game, the Chiefs have exploded offensively, mostly behind the ridiculous production of Dwayne Bowe. Meanwhile the Broncos, under Josh McDaniels, are fading fast. Sure they put up points and passing yards, but they don't do much else well. Kansas City is going to be motivated to put a beating on the Broncos this time, but I don't quite see it happening. Broncos cover this big spread, Chiefs win. And maybe Todd Haley will shake McDaniel's hand. Maybe.

Washington at NY Giants (-7)

Washington must be the most mediocre team in the league. They instantly render all matchups uninteresting to me. The Giants took care of business last week after a slow start and should take this one handily. Giants cover and win. God, I almost fell asleep writing that because of the Redskins.

Chicago (-5) at Detroit

Detroit is starting Drew Stanton, so, even though the Bears abused a rule to win their last game against Detroit, it won't quite be the same this time. Bears win and cover, and Bears fans get more and more hyped up. I cannot wait for them to bomb in the playoffs.

San Francisco at Green Bay (-9.5)

Green Bay lost a close one to a great team, and now face off against the mediocrity of the NFC West. God that division is horrible. They really need to not guarantee division champs playoff spots. Anyway, Green Bay recovers from a close loss by taking it out on the hapless 49ers. Packers win and cover.

New Orleans (-6.5) at Cincinnati

The Bengals are so, so, so bad. Carson Palmer is a joke at quarterback, Cedric Benson never gets any chances to get more than 10 carries (and, sometimes, if he does, he gets like 1.8 yards per carry), and the defense fell off a cliff compared to last year. New Orleans has regained its form, and I expect them to make this one a laugher. Saints win and cover.

Atlanta (-3) at Tampa Bay

Atlanta is legit, even if they're away from home. Great run game and QB who can make throws in the clutch, along with a stingy enough defense that held the Packers to 17. The Bucs beat bad teams, and sometimes keep it close with the elite. They're about a year away. I don't think they can quite keep up with the Falcons, though, and that's why I'm confident in saying that the Falcons win and cover.

Oakland at San Diego (-13)

San Diego has gone on their patented late season run, leaving scorched earth in their path. The hapless Raiders, with Jason Campbell, are their next victim. Although the Raiders beat them a while back 35-27, they had two punt blocks, and the Chargers seem to have shored up their special teams, and their offense is clicking on all cylinders. They've been a new team the last couple of weeks in decimating the Broncos and Colts. Chargers win and cover.

Carolina at Seattle (-5)

Carolina played with my heart last week when they were oh so close to winning a second game and helping the Bills get back to the first pick. No dice, though. Kickers missing field goals is just another sign of a cursed season. Now they face off in the Game of the Week in Hell against Seattle. I am dying of apathy for this game. I hope the highlights never hit my retinas. But, I do want Carolina to win, so I'll pick them to cover? Yeah. Carolina covers and Seattle wins (because of homefield). But hopefully Jimmy Clausen goes OFF and leads them to victory. Sorry, maybe I was just dreaming there. In hell, this game is being shown on mute with bad subtitles and a mashup of Carolina Bluegrass and Seattle Grunge playing over it.

Dallas at Indianapolis (-5)

Dallas once again showed that they were a competitive team in keeping it close against the Saints. Now they play the other team from last year's Super Bowl. Peyton Manning is probably furious with himself after the last two games, and I can see him going wild on the crappy Dallas secondary, and the Colts defense stifling Jon Kitna. Indy wins and covers.

St. Louis (-3.5) at Arizona

Sam Bradford has shown the effect that an elite QB can have on a franchise in putting the Rams in the drivers seat for the worst division in football, and, miraculously, a playoff spot. The Cardinals are falling apart, and Derek Anderson's tirade after the Monday Night game, suffice to say, will not inspire them to do any better. St. Louis wins and covers.

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-3)

Ah, here's the 2nd best game of the weekend, in a glorious prime time spot. I don't think either team has looked particularly dominant the past few weeks; and both these teams were taken to overtime by the Bills. Still, there is some genuine HATE between these two sides, and these games often turn into displays of near thuggery (even though James Harrison will claim everything he does is legal). The Steelers were barely impressive last Sunday on offense, whereas the Ravens have shown a lot of ability on offense. With the defenses being almost equal, I give the advantage to the Ravens. But it will be close. Ravens win, Steelers cover.

NY Jets at New England (-3.5)

Ah, here's the primo matchup, in the primo Monday Night slot. The king of the AFC East this decade, is challenged by the loud upstart. Tom Brady has been playing out of his mind lately against quality opponents (Steelers, Colts), whereas the Jets have been unconvincingly escaping against decent teams (Browns, Texans). The Patriots will be playing for revenge after the 28-14 loss in week 2, and I expect them to beat the Jets and cover.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Night Pick

Big sports night, what with the Heat playing the Cavs (some ultimate legacy points on the line here), and a Thursday Night Football game that may not be close, but should feature some offense. And my favorite night of comedic television (Community, 30 Rock, Always Sunny, The League). So the remote will be HOT tonight.

Anyway, here's the pick for tonight.

Houston at Philadelphia (-8)

Philadelphia hit their first road block in their recent hot streak, as a red zone interception by Michael Vick turned the tide of the game. Yet, the Eagles managed to stay in the game until the end, and had a chance to win if they had recovered an onside kick. Houston took care of a shambling Titans team led by Rusty Smith, so, it wasn't quite the most impressive win. Houston has an atrocious pass defense that any decent quarterback should be able to light up, and I fully expect Michael Vick to light them up. The Eagles defense isn't amazing, but I think they can bottle up some of the offense. These Thursday Night games, coming on short rest, are always close games, so I think Houston can cover the spread while Philadelphia wins.

Also... watch the MJ-LeBron commercial mashup on youtube. It says everything I've tried to say.

Monday, November 29, 2010

TCU is East of...something

TCU today announced they would join the Big East in 2012. That's right, a team deep in the heart of Texas will now play every year against the likes of UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, West Virginia, Louisville, etc. I can feel the excitement already. Really, what TCU decided to do here was simple; if you can't beat 'em, join em. Though the Big East is hardly a respected football conference (No. 24 is their highest rank), they, being a big name conference, have an automatic bid. As long as the Big East stays crappy, and TCU stays good, TCU will be punching their tickets to a BCS game every year, along with making a lot more money. It's a brilliant move, but it's also a capitulation. The BCS has won, pretty much. Boise State, unless it joins a power conference (which would be awesome), will be the only team left to challenge the system, to maybe inspire some real changes to the post season system. It just got lonelier in non-AQ land.

Also, it's frustrating that the BCS had to create a failsafe system where high ranked non AQs automatically get put into one of the BCS bowls (this year its the Rose Bowl), preventing an awesome Wisconsin-Stanford matchup. TCU-Wisconsin might be fun, but, to be honest, now I'm rooting for plum match ups (having given up on BCS anarchy). Whatever. I'll be watching the Championship and the Rose Bowl, but you won't suck me in with anything else, BCS! And really, wouldn't you watch every game of a BCS playoff? AHHHH the potential awesomeness makes it so much worse that something so crappy exists in its place.

I don't just want this to be a football blog; or a BCS hate blog. So here are some quick other thoughts.

-I have something of a soft spot for Real Madrid this year (because Mesuit Ozil is on the team, making the roster even awesome-r), but the highlights of Barcelona's 5-0 win over Real are still fun to watch. Good luck to the rest of the Champions League.

- The Bulls without Carlos Boozer are actually really good. Derrick Rose is playing on another level right now. When Boozer returns (soon!), I think the team will be among the elite. The Heat have dropped out of that level, so the Bulls will be happy to take that spot.

-Speaking of the Heat (if that hasn't been done enough), I think the fans in Cleveland have it all wrong. The way to really affect LeBron is if no one went to the game Thursday. That would show LeBron that he isn't the center of the Earth, as opposed to booing him, which would only fuel his ego. "I'm so good, I turned a whole city on me by leaving". So if no one made any big deal about it, he would seem meaningless. Some humble pie. But really, that's not going to happen, so I just hope that the Cavaliers beat up on the heat. With Mo Williams having a huge game or something.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

NFL Week 12 Picks, RIP BCS Turmoil

Last night was the BCS version of The Empire Strikes Back. With Alabama up 24-7 at half, the Death Star, as it seemed, had been destroyed, and the stage was set to see Boise or TCU (but at that point, probably Boise if they won) in the national championship. But then Alabama squandered their lead in historic fashion, Auburn came back and took the game 28-27. That was Hoth, to continue this strained Star Wars analogy. There was a chance for real change, but it was lost. The night continued with #1 Oregon handling their business impressively against a game Arizona team. Then came Boise St.-Nevada. Nevada fell behind early, and then burst back in the fourth quarter to tie the game with :13 seconds left. Kellen Moore made an amazing throw, a miracle as it seemed, to set Boise up for a win that would propel them to at least #3, to at least the Rose Bowl. Here's your Lando Carlissian moment, though. (You know, the guy who betrays Han Solo, Luke and Leia, and gives them to Vader?). Boise's kicker misses the kick. And then misses again in overtime. Nevada wins. Boise, you ain't a going nowhere (here's your Luke, I am your father moment. NO! THAT CAN'T BE TRUE!). So all that remains is TCU, who have to hope that Arkansas beats LSU this week AND that South Carolina beats Auburn next week/ Oregon loses to Oregon State to get to the championship game, but, barring a loss to UNM (1-10), they'll be in the Rose Bowl, at least. Does TCU have a Death Star run in them? The Force isn't so strong with this one.

To put it simply, I'm fine with an Oregon-Auburn Championship. It would be a great game. Both teams have great offenses that would make for a compelling game. But what really annoys me is that an undefeated TCU won't be given a chance to prove if they're among the best. They'll get a Rose Bowl birth. Who remembers the Rose Bowl winner? Besides fans of the team, they are usually forgotten after a couple of years. The other BCS bowls may be the best teams, but they mean less than a championship. Why not turn them into playoff games, and watch the money roll in?

And for all those who say that this proved Boise wasn't a top flight team, that is ridiculous. They barely lost to a RANKED team in overtime. If they were in the Big East, they would have won pretty handily. They could compete in the Big Ten (Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, even Penn St. this year have been wholly decent. Not exactly a murderers row). This is a good team, and non AQ programs can't be further degraded. A playoff would prove it once and for all.

Onto the professionals. I went 2-1 in my Thanksgiving Picks, just barely missing out on the Saints pick. So hooray me.

Minnesota (-1) at Washington

An interim coach's first game? Yes, please. The Vikings hated Childress, so I'm sure they'll be excited to play under anyone else. And play well. If it worked for the Cowboys, masking their deficiencies for a couple of weeks, it can work for a talented Vikings team. Look for a lot of Adrian Peterson (probably to keep the ball out of Favre's hands) and the defense to handle the Redskins. Vikings win and cover.

Pittsburgh (-6.5) at Buffalo

I thought this spread would be much higher. Buffalo's been hanging around with teams all season- but worse teams than this. Even when they kept it close against the Patriots, that was against a team with a worse defense than the Steelers. The Steelers will be able to run all over the Bills, and be able to stop most of what the Bills throw at them. Maybe Fitzpatrick will get some good plays off, but it won't be as easy as it recently has been. Steelers win and cover. On the subject, Fitzpatrick has been good, but I don't see him as the QB of the future (Tyler Thigpen did similarly well under Chan Gailey, and he's not so good now), so please Bills, if you have the opportunity, TAKE ANDREW LUCK. And here's my naive self thinking that Chan Gailey saying that Fitzpatrick will be the QB next year is just to keep his confidence up. Please be just that. And go Jimmy Clausen! MAKE SOME MIRACLES FOR CAROLINA!

Tennessee at Houston (-6)

Oy. If I had money to bet on this game, I wouldn't touch this with any amount. Can Rusty Smith, new QB for the Titans (and winner of the Best QB Name Ever) carve up the terrible Texans pass defense? I'm thinking that Chris Johnson will more likely tear up their bad run defense. So yeah, I think the Titans win, or at least cover, and Gary Kubiak moves closer and closer to the unemployment line. Texans are on a sliiiiiiiiide.

Jacksonville at NY Giants (-7)

Both teams are hanging around in their divisions next to seemingly superior teams (the Eagles and the Colts). The Giants haven't even been playing that well lately, whereas the Jaguars are finding ways to win. I think their luck stops here, though, and they lose to the Giants, BUT the Jaguars cover.

Carolina at Cleveland (-9.5)

With Colt McCoy playing, I would've called this an easy Cleveland win, but, instead, it's Jake Delhomme, who epitomizes shaky Quarterback play. The Panthers have been bad, but I think they have it in them to keep this one close with Jimmy Clausen back (Right? RIGHT? RIGHT?!?!?). Browns win and Panthers cover. Look for the Great White Hope Peyton Hillis to keep his good season going.

Tampa Bay at Baltimore (-7.5)

Ok, so the Buccaneers only beat bad teams. Do I think they can stay with a team that almost lose to the Bills? Yes. Bucs cover, Ravens win.

Philadelphia (-3) at Chicago

It seems like its high time for the Bears to start disappointing their melodramatic fan base, and what better way than to lay an egg against a quality opponent? Mike Vick is on fire at the moment (IF you haven't noticed), and I don't see the Bears doing anything about it. I'm sure Asante Samuel is licking his chops at the prospect of playing Jay Cutler. Eagles win and cover.

Green Bay at Atlanta (-2)

This is the best game of the weekend. Both teams have been playing at a very high level for the past few weeks. I can't figure out any way to separate these two teams talent wise, offense or defense wise, so I'll take the Falcons at home, where they are almost unbeatable under Matt Ryan. But its gonna be close. Falcons win, Green Bay covers.

Miami at Oakland(-2.5)

Yeuch. I couldn't be less interested in this game, unless it was Arizona-San Francisco. Ba dum pshhhhh! Anyway, Miami has no QB and no offense. The Raiders have a semblance of a running game, so I'm looking for them to take this one. Raiders win and cover.

Kansas City (-2.5) at Seattle

Seattle's home field advantage allows them to stay in the game against a team that doesn't play well on the road. Chiefs can still win though, behind a strong running game and Dwayne Bowe. Chiefs win, cover, but it won't be easy.

St. Louis at Denver (-3.5)

NFC West vs. AFC West? Snooze. Denver wins and covers, I guess? It's hard to care. I bet Denver puts up a lot of points and St. Louis can't keep up. So yeah, Denver wins and covers.

San Diego at Indianapolis (-2.5)

Who have the Chargers beat this year? No one really that good. Peyton Manning's gonna be pissed after last weeks game against the Patriots, and take it out on the bad Chargers pass defense, even with all of his players injured. Philip Rivers will continue to be a whiny little jerk, with great stats, who also fails in the clutch. Indy wins and covers.

San Francisco (-1) at Arizona

Monday Night Football is dead. Who at ESPN POSSIBLY thought that this could be a good game. It's this weeks hell game, thats for sure. Down there, Jon Gruden is announcing the game with two clones of himself. "THISGUYTHISGUYTHISGUYTHISGUY" is all you can hear. God save us all. I guess I'll take the point and say Arizona covers, and SF wins.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkey Day Picks + College Football Armageddon

Thanksgiving Football! As always, these games are pretty terrible. Even the addition of an NFL network game hasn't come through. This season has been so wacky, basically, that almost everyone's predictions are way off, so we get nationally televised stinkers like Bengals-Jets. Plus, the NFL has to shoehorn the Lions and the Cowboys into every Thanksgiving, even though I stretch to imagine many people would be so offended if those games were replaced with GOOD games, besides some self righteous Cowboys fans. Still, most people will end up watching them. It's football, it's thanksgiving, and thats how it works.

New England (-6.5) at Detroit

New England is on a roll, having beat Pittsburgh and Indianapolis in successive weeks. Tom Brady has looked very impressive in spreading the ball around, the offense is back to it's old devilishly good ways, and the defense is steadily improving. Meanwhile, the Lions can't beat the Bills. So I'll give the edge to the Patriots, who should take this one easily. Pats win and cover.

New Orleans (-3.5) at Dallas

Why is the spread so low? Sorry that I'm not quite buying into the Dallas revival at this point-2 games does not make a brand new team. The Saints seem to have gotten back on track after a rough start to the season, and I foresee them ripping up Dallas' terrible pass defense. Saints win and cover.

Cincinnati at NY Jets (-9)

I watched Cincinnati last week, and any team that gives up 35 unanswered to the Bills stands no chance of staying with the Jets. The Jets have been playing close games lately, but I can't see this one being close with the total ineptitude of the Bengals. Jets win and cover.

Onto College Football. With 2 weeks remaining in the season, (one of which is conference championships), the BCS has reached a critical point. A loss by Auburn this week (against Alabama, so it is very possible) or Oregon (less likely) would vault one of the non-AQs into the championship game. A loss by LSU in the next two weeks would virtually guarantee that a non-AQ (Boise or TCU) would play for the final. This is so exciting. Money is what keeps the ridiculous BCS system in place. A championship game involving one or TWO (dream situation) non-AQs would likely draw the least amount of money in the history of the BCS. And that might be the catalyst for playoffs in college football. If you want that at all to happen, Auburn or Oregon AND LSU must lose. (I say LSU because I'm sure if Auburn/Oregon lost that LSU might vault Boise/TCU...never doubt the BCS in being able to get a big name team in the finals). The fan side of me, though, is rooting for Oregon to stay in, because Oregon is the most exciting team in football. So, a Boise-Oregon showdown would a) be a great game and b) not draw much money. Perfect. As long as the BCS's pocketbook is hit, real change is possible.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Ultimate Dilemma

Well, the Bills surprised me and actually won another game. Or, more realistically, the Bengals surprised me by showing how inept and fatalist they are in giving up a 28-7 lead after the first quarter. Unbelievable how fast they folded and how resigned they were to losing. Still, awesome to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick, he of the Civil War General beard, and Steve Johnson light up the Bengals secondary. Johnson's "Joker" persona was also awesome. He was pretty committed to the act, as he had 'Why so Serious?" written on his undershirt (hello, fine), and had eye black around his mouth like the Joker. T.O and Ochocinco, Batman and Robin, were really shut down by the Joker and the Bills. But the win was unsettling. Or, my response was unsettling. I was happy that the Bills had won, yet... I want Andrew Luck. I want the Bills to have the first pick in the draft. But how do you root for your own team to lose? It is so intrinsically wrong. Its impossible to watch the game and NOT want them to win, even if it ruins their draft stock. So I face a dilemma every time I watch; I want them to lose in my head, but I want them to win in my heart. With our next six games being very lose-able (Steelers, Vikings, Browns, once more through the division), it may be easier. But that internal conflict will still churn within me.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Back on Board with Week 11 NFL Picks

So sorry I missed last week, to my loyal readers (if they exist). I was in Jacksonville last weekend, and actually got to see the ridiculous hail mary game winner LIVE. I think I heard Gus Johnson's head explode. Anyway, lost in all that was my NFL picks, and it probably is better that they're not published because I got wrecked. Also, I picked the Dolphins Thursday. I'm an idiot.

Week 11! No Byes!

Oakland at Pittsburgh (-7.5)

Pittsburgh, from what I saw of their game last Sunday (was flying during most of it), was getting ripped up through the air, especially through the middle with Tight Ends. Oakland has been wholly decent this year, but I don't know if they have the talent the Patriots have. Pittsburgh, if they are really an elite team, will win this game. I think Oakland, though, covers the spread.

Houston at NY Jets (-6.5)

After seeing Houston last week, I have no confidence left in them. They looked sluggish to start the game, were terrible against the run, couldn't run the ball themselves, and just looked resigned to losing. The last play was fluky, but they really didn't deserve to win anyway. The Jest should be able to run all over them and defend the passing attack. Jets win and cover.

Baltimore(-11) at Carolina

Carolina is terrible. Terrible terrible terrible, as Charles Barkley would say. And now they're starting Brian St. Pierre at Quarterback. That's how desperate they are. The Ravens have had 10 days off to recover from their heartbreaking loss to the Falcons and will probably take it out on the Panthers. Baltimore wins and covers.

Washington at Tennessee (-7)

Still perplexed as to how the Titans lost to the Dolphins playing against the terrible Tyler Thigpen. That makes me scared to pick them with much confidence, but then again, they're playing the Redskins, who the Eagles just desecrated. I think Washington will bounce back to be their decent selves, and Tennessee will do enough to win, but not cover.

Detroit at Dallas (-6)

Can Jason Garret's boys keep it up? For some reason, I think that they're gonna have to come down to Earth eventually. How long can you mask terrible fundamentals? I think they can win this one, but I think Detroit can cover, because their offense is pretty high powered, and Dallas can't stop anyone. So Boys win, Lions cover.

Green Bay (-3) at Minnesota

Green Bay seems to be over their early season troubles and rounding into form, whereas the Vikings keep slipping up. Brett Favre is back into 'vintage' form with his back breaking interceptions, and the defense isn't doing them any favors. Green Bay will win and cover.

Buffalo at Cincinnati(-5)

BILLIEVE!!! BILLIEVE! That's right, the Buffalo Bills have one victory. Now begins the hand wringing in my household on whether a) The Bills will have the first pick and b) whether Andrew Luck will come out or not. Luck has to choose between possibly going to Buffalo or Carolina (please be Buffalo) or going back to school and possibly hurting his draft status. So there's that to worry about, which has caused some to hope that the Bills...lose out. Terrible, terrible ethical quandary. Anyway, on to this game. The Bengals are pretty bad, but I think they can manage to beat the Bills. But the Bills will stay feisty and stay in the game, so they'll cover. Also, this is your hell game. In hell, the game is running with T.O talking about his boring life over the footage.

Cleveland at Jacksonville (-2.5)

I watched Jacksonville last week, and I left feeling 'meh' about the team. Sure, they have some talent, but I don't think they can play with the best. Cleveland took the Jets to OT and beat the Patriots, so I'm leaning towards them. They have a great run game and Colt McCoy can make plays when needed. Cleveland wins outright.

Arizona at Kansas City (-8)

I didn't see it coming when Kansas City got stomped on by Denver. Arizona is no Denver, though. The passing game is just not as good as Denver's, so I think KC will take this one, and cover. Look for Jamaal Charles to do something awesome. No reason for saying that except for the fact that Jamaal Charles is so awesome and so underutilized.

Seattle at New Orleans (-11.5)

New Orleans, off a bye, against a terrible pass defense? Please and thank you, Saints win and cover.

Atlanta (-3) at St. Louis

Atlanta was pretty impressive in beating the Ravens, and now they have 10 days of rest. St. Louis is better than expected, but I still think Atlanta wins and covers. If they really are the NFC's best, they should at least be able to put away the Rams comfortably.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco (-3.5)

I have no confidence in the Troy Smith led 49ers, and I have a fair amount in the Josh Freeman led Buccaneers. So I'm looking for Tampa Bay to win this one outright. The Buccaneers- PURE EXCITEMENT.

Indianapolis at New England (-4)

Ah, finally, the best regular season game of the last 10 years returns. Watching these two all time greats at Quarterback is just awesome. Last year's Fourth and Two Game will be tough to top, but it still should be a great game. New England has looked very impressive as of late, whereas the Colts have been semi-coasting. I know Peyton Manning will get up for this game, so I can't say I see New England winning by more than 4, so the Colts will cover and the Pats will win. Either way, I can't wait.

NY Giants at Philadelphia (-3)

This is also a great game. The Eagles and Giants have been lighting it up recently, and not against shoddy opposition. This week, though, both teams have to face decent/good defenses on the other side. I foresee Michael Vick continuing to light it up, while the Giants will keep it close behind Eli. The Eagles, though, are more 'explosive', and I think they'll take this one at home, while the Giants cover.

Denver at San Diego (-9.5)

Snoooooooooooze. San Diego will probably keep their little streak going and end up winning this divison. Denver will probably keep scoring a lot of points but not being really all that good. So San Diego wins, but Denver covers.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ravens-Falcons Thursday Night Pick

So begins Thursday Night Football, and they actually picked a good game! Thursday Night football is always good, though, because it spreads out the total amount of football you watch over one week. Instead of it being crammed into a Sunday, and maybe not seeing it, you get to watch one more game per week (unless you are blessed with the RedZone). Also, it screws up fantasy matchups. You can have a big Thursday Night and feel oh so excited for your week, or get hosed on Thursday and suddenly your team isn't looking so hot. But anyways, on to the game.

Baltimore at Atlanta (-1)

I can see why Atlanta's favored, seeing how good they usually play at the Georgia Dome. The overall quality of the AFC compared to the NFC, though, sways me to take the Ravens to cover and win. Baltimore's got a stingy defense and plenty of weapons on offense, and I don't think Atlanta can say they have an advantage on either side of the ball. I think it will still be close, but the Ravens cement their status as one of the NFL's best with a road win.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekend Sports Thoughts

Well this sucks. The Bills once again choked away a perfectly winnable game. In fact, it might have been the last winnable game of the schedule. Up next on the schedule- Detroit, at Cinci, Pittsburgh, at Minnesota, Cleveland, at Miami, New England and the Jets. Honestly, after this week, I can't see us winning any of those games. Detroit can put up points (though they might be without Matthew Stafford next week, which is a plus for the Bills. But Calvin Johnson will probably still dominate them). Cleveland looks to be a matchup nightmare for the Bills, as they are really good at running the football. Cinci may be overrated, but they still have a good enough defense and running game to beat the Bills. Maybe the Patriots and Jets will be resting their starters the last two weeks, and the Bills MIGHT be able to eek out a win against the backups. But that's a big if, because those two teams could be playing for playoff positioning. The futures pretty bleak.

What else did I learn? Despite some gaudy stats, Ryan Fitzpatrick is NOT the quarterback of the future. He can occasionally make good throws, but too often he loses his accuracy and makes bad choices. His ineffectiveness on the drives that counted really killed the Bills today. Also, can we get CJ Spiller more involved? He had a nice 17 yard run in the second half and ended up leading the team in rushing despite getting less carries. What do the Bills have to lose in playing their first round draft pick in more game situations? He needs carries to make plays, clear and simple.

-On to the rest of the NFL. Once again, nothing was cleared up. Everyone who thought the Patriots and Colts were the cream of the AFC (or near it) were given a huge shock when both teams lost winnable games, especially the Patriots. The Browns bulldozed the Patriots today, putting a pretty serious dent in their 'best team in the NFL' status. Meanwhile, The Eagles showed how good they can be (or how comparatively mediocre the Colts are this year) with Mike Vick, winning a close one against the Colts. The Giants staked a claim to being the best team in the NFC, but it was pretty hollow, as they beat an overrated Seahawks team. Wherever you look, its muddled in the NFL. Should be great to see who makes the playoffs, and who plays consistenly enough to make the Super Bowl.

-Got into another LeBron argument this weekend. The main point of the pro-LeBron side was that LeBron is physically the best NBA player of all time, a new type of player unlike Jordan or Kobe. He also claimed that LeBron wanted to go to South Beach, win a championship, and have a good time. But, the fact is, no one is going to remember LeBron as the greatest of all time if he won 7 championships in Miami. He's playing on a super team (so his wins seem less impressive), becoming more of a distributor and letting Wade dominate for some games, and overall just not being 'The Guy'. Jordan wouldn't have accepted being anything but the number one option on his team. LeBron ruined his legacy, plain and simple. He could win championships, but he'll never be known as the best of all time unless he carries his team. Thats what we expect in the post-Jordan era. (Despite the fact Jordan played with Pippen. Still, Pippen never was the option over Jordan, Jordan didn't play a 'distributor' role for a majority of his career, '91 finals against the Lakers notwithstanding, and no one ever questioned his drive).

-That Zenyatta race was awesome, but that's probably the last time I'll care about Horse Racing for a while. The Derby is kind of cool, but once the Triple Crown is unattainable (usually after the second race), I lose interest. Horse Racing is dead besides the Derby and the Breeders Cup (and only sometimes the Breeders Cup).

-The Bulls are going to be good once Boozer gets back, but right now the team is playing bad defense and allowing themselves to go down a ton early in games, digging themselves into a hole they can never get out of. Once Boozer gets back, Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah will hopefully not take as many shots, the offense will be more balanced, and maybe the defense can be more focused for 48 minutes. I'm also excited to see Derrick Rose against the Heat, because the Heat have been victimized by good PG play (Rondo and Paul). Don't sleep on the Bulls.

-The Sabres are still doing woefully bad. They need a kick in the butt if they hope to contend for anything this season.

All I want for Christmas, or earlier, is ONE Bills win. Come on God, you're overdue on this one.

Week 9 NFL Picks- My Super Bowl

Yes, this is the most important week of the NFL Season for me. This week, The Cheecago Bears take on the Buffalo Bills, while I reside in the heart of Bears country. If the Bills lose, I face a week (or more) of ridicule from pretty much everyone I know. If they win, I will be giving a personal middle finger to all of Chicago by wearing my Bills gears ALL WEEK. So its a big Sunday, to be sure.

Speaking of which...

Chicago (-3) "at" Buffalo (in Toronto)

I have to Bill-ieve. I have to. They've come close the last two weeks against teams better than the Bears (and also kept it close against the Patriots). The offense is moving the ball effectively,and the defense is kind of improving. Jay Cutler seems primed to give the Buffalo secondary their first interceptions of the season. The Bears offensive line is so bad that even though Buffalo can't stop the run or rush the passer, the Bears won't be able to get a good ground game going and the Bills will get some sacks. I have to Bill-ieve. I have to Bill-ieve. Bills win outright, covering the spread. Full disclosure: I would not be surprised at all if the Bills lost horribly, condemning me to weeks of hell. But they have to. For my sake. Just this one time.

Note: If I were an impartial observer, this would be your hell game. In hell, it'll be shown with Canadian announcers to match the setting. DON'T YA KNOW DER, THAT WAS A GOOD PLAY, EH? (Canadian stereotypes...gotta love 'em.)

San Diego (-3) at Houston

San Diego finally looked to be (a little) on track in beating the Titans last week, whereas the Texans looked pretty flat in a big game against the Colts. The Chargers look primed for another late season run, so I'll take them to cover on the road against the fading Texans.

New Orleans (-6.5) at Carolina

New Orleans woke up last week and delivered an impressive win over the Steelers, who some thought to be the best team in the NFL. Carolina, meanwhile, might be the least interesting team of this season. They can't decide whether to start Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen, which is like deciding between Nickelback and Kid Rock. Anyway, the Saints cover this pretty easily.

Arizona at Minnesota (-7.5)

Minnesota seems to be in turmoil, with a decrepit quarterback, a coach on the scalding hot seat, an owner with a hilarious stereotypical Tycoon moustache who hates his coach, and having just cut the mercurial Randy Moss. It shows how bad Arizona is that Minnesota is still favored by seven and a half. I think, just like last week against the Bucs, Arizona keeps it close and covers, but Minnesota wins, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Or, if they lose, maybe beginning the T-Jax era. MEDIOCRITY: GET USED TO IT.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-9)

I like Tampa Bay too much to think they won't cover. They're fun to watch, with Josh Freeman slinging it to Mike Williams and a turnover oriented defense. Atlanta has been inconsistent all year, but mostly good. I don't think, though, that they're good enough to win by 2+ scores against a Bucs team hungry to prove they're legit. So the Bucs cover but Atlanta wins.

NY Jets (-5) at Detroit

The New York Jets were shut up this week after they came out flat after their bye week and crapped the bed against the Packers. They should do better this week, but I see the Lions covering because they put up points no matter what, especially in garbage time. Lions keep it close and cover, Jets win and keep talking. Ugh.

Miami at Baltimore (-5.5)

Miami is tough to figure, but they do play well on the road. Last week they barely got by Cinci, a not great team. Now they face the Ravens, who are coming off the bye. I'll believe in the Dolphins if they can win this game, but I think they'll only cover while the Ravens win. Flacco and the offense always find a way to score when they need to, and the defense is capable of bottling up the Miami offense.

New England (-4) at Cleveland

The Patriots are BACK, according to Bill Simmons, and nothing could be more annoying. Because now Patriots fans are BACK to being even bigger jerks who love the way the "old Patriots teams" played, before they got Moss. Now they're back to being annoyingly good without the talent, using their "superior intellect" or whatever. So much arrogance coming from the Massholes, and I'm having trouble dealing with it. The Patriots will probably win this one by 10, because they'll make less mistakes than the Browns and have one big play. The Browns will try to keep pace, but Peyton Hillis can only do so much, and the defense will be overmatched. Patriots cover.

NY Giants (-7) at Seattle

The Giants have a good team with a healthy offense and a stingy defense. I strongly believe in Seattles home field advantage, though, and their propensity to stay in games they shouldn't, so I say the Seahawks cover but the Giants win. Hope it's low scoring. Fantasy wise.

Kansas City at Oakland (PK)

PICK EM! I watched the Chiefs backslide into a victory last week, so I'm going with the team with all the momentum. THE OAKLAND RAIDERS JUST WIN FOOTBALL GAMES! Watch for Darren McFadden to light it up, and for Matt Cassel to still be an ineffective NFL Quarterback.

Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-3)

Philly is always great off the bye week. That is completely clouding my judgement here, but I think the Eagles win a close win, as the always good Colts keep it close, but Mike Vick is able to make it happen against a weak Colts D.

Dallas at Green Bay (-7)

Dallas is "playing for pride" (as NBC is putting it), but I really think they've just given up. The Packers played one of the most impressive games of the season last week in shutting out the Jets in Jersey, so I see no reason why they can't light up a Cowboys team that gave up 35 to the Jaguars. Packers win and cover.
Also, one solace to this winless Bills season is that the Cowboys suck as well.

Pittsburgh (-5) at Cincinnati

I think the Steelers are going to be very angry at the fact that they lost last week, and will take it out on the woefully overrated Bengals. Carson Palmer, as stated before, is not really a good QB and the Steelers D will feast on him. Roethlisberger and the Steelers O should be able to move the ball vs. a decent Bengals defense. Pittsburgh wins and covers.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week 8 NFL Picks

What a spooooooky week of football action we have this week! Not. I hate Halloween gimmick columns, so I'm gonna stay away from that. Do love the holiday, though, because I am still five years old and love candy (especially Reese's). Anyway, it's like halfway through the season, and the teams are starting to separate into the good and bad (I'll do a column on that later), except in the NFC, where everyone is mediocre.

Denver vs San Francisco (-2) (IN LONDON)

The NFL always thinks they've scheduled a real doozy for this game, and yet, I don't think its ever turned out well. San Francisco is really, really bad, and Denver just laid an egg last week. I think Denver is pissed off and will rebound well against the 49ers, who seem to sort of be quitting on their coach. How many times can you get berated and have it still mean something? Denver covers and wins.

Jacksonville at Dallas (-6.5)

Jon Kitna takes over for Dallas, who are mow just playing for pride after Tony Romo was destroyed. That was so lovely to see. Jacksonville is pretty hopeless, and is just good enough to stay in most games but never good enough to win. I'll take Dallas to win, because even with their bad pass defense I think they can stop Garrard, but I'll take the Jags to cover. Though I'm iffy on it.

Washington at Detroit (-2.5)

Detroit is one of the most fun teams to watch. They love to chuck the ball to Calvin Johnson whenever possible so he can do awesome things (like save my fantasy team). On the other hand, I saw Washington live last week. Snooze. Detroit wins and covers.

Green Bay at NY Jets (-6.5)

The Jets, fresh off a bye, against a team that constantly shoots itself in the foot and has trouble stopping people on defense? Yeah, I'll take them to win and cover. The Jets are legit, whereas the Packers are failing to live up to the hype.

Carolina at St.Louis (-2.5)

St. Louis is another fun team to watch, mostly because of the level of play Sam Bradford has come out with. He's gonna be very good, barring injury, of course. Carolina is pretty bad,has Matt Moore starting at QB, can't get a good running game going, and almost lost to the 49ers last week. St. Louis wins and covers.

Miami (-1) at Cincinnati

Sorry, I'm not believing the Cinci hype. Not enough for the spread to be this low. Miami has a great defense, some playmakers on offense, and have only lost to some very good teams. They're gonna win and cover, and maybe show everyone that Cinci is just not that good.

Buffalo at Kansas City (-7)

As much as I'd like to say last week was a sign of things to come for the Bills, my expect the worst instincts are telling me that the Bills are going to come out and crap the bed. They just won't be able to stop the Chiefs running game. Still,I think they might be able to put up a decent amount of points, so I'll say Chiefs win but Bills cover.

Tennessee at San Diego(-5)

Tough game here, because San Diego SHOULD be really good, but have consistently found ways to lose. Whereas Tennessee hasn't looked good enough to get them favored against the Chargers. I think San Diego wakes up and wins, but the Titans cover behind some Chris Johnson wizardry.

Tampa Bay at Arizona (-3)

I like Tampa Bay. Fun, young team thats doing decently this year. The Cardinals are toiling under Max Hall, and Larry Fitzgerald is starting to die very slowly every time he's underutilized. So Tampa covers and wins.

Seattle at Oakland (-3)

Welcome to your hell game! I couldn't care less about either of these teams, and both only have playoff hopes because of their crappy divisions. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Raiders are very due for a letdown, whereas Seattle has played decently on the road. It goes against my instincts, but I'll take Seattle to cover and win. Also, Dennis Miller, a Jewish Mother, Tony Kornheiser, and Forrest Gump are doing a four person booth for this one. Welcome to your doom!

Minnesota at New England (-5.5)

Randy Moss returns, and he's probably wishing now that he wasn't such a cock, or else he'd still be on a contender. If he was anything like a normal person, that is. We'll see Brett Favre tough it out this game, and totally ham up his injury for pity points and more attention. Ugh. The Patriots have returned to their annoying winning ways in which they dink and dunk down the field and somehow manage to win. They'll beat the Vikings and cover, and continue to annoy the hell out of me.

Piitsburgh at New Orleans (-1.5)

Did anyone not see how the Saints played last week? And some of the weeks before? They're just not as consistently good as they were last season. Pittsburgh is a juggernaut right now, even if they had to get extremely lucky last week. Pittsburgh is a top 3 team in the league, maybe THE top team, so its not hard for me to say they'll win and cover.

Houston at Indianapolis (-5.5)

Indianapolis is going to be out for blood this game. I don't think they're gonna let Arian Foster sneak up on them this time. Plus they're at home, on Monday Night. Peyton always elevates his game on Monday Night. Plus, they need to show that they're still the kings of the AFC South. All signs point towards Indy winning and covering.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NFL Week 7, A Return to Depressive-ness, sort of

And by sort of, I mean I get to go the Bears game Sunday, at 'beautiful' Soldier Field, and ignore the Bills getting abused by the Ravens. Bear Down? On to the picks. I had a good weekend last week. I think. Whatever.

Pittsburgh (-3) at Miami

Big Ben is back, really, and still unleashing miraculous throws while halfway to the ground. His balance is amazing. The Dolphins have been merely good this season, beating some other good teams but also faltering. I see the Steelers, one of the great teams this year, winning and covering on the road.

Cincinnati at Atlanta (-3.5)

Two of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL face off. Once again, Carson Palmer has yet to prove to anyone that he's a bonafide top 10 quarterback in this league. I say Atlanta takes it at home, but Cinci covers with some gnarly defense and a whole lotta Cedric Benson. I hope (fantasy wise...)

Jacksonville at Kansas City (-9.5)

Jacksonville finds themselves with Todd Bouman at quarterback, who was literally picked up this week. Yeah, I'll take the Chiefs to win and cover at Arrowhead against a QB who's learning the system.

Philadelphia at Tennessee (-3)

The Titans won a pretty ugly game last week, and I remain confused about how good they really are. On the flipside, Kevin Kolb and the Eagles lit it up last week against a good Atlanta team. I'll take Philly to win, or at least cover.

Washington at Chicago(-3)

This is the game I'm going to! And a doozy at that. Chicago has a militantly bad offensive line; I don't know how Jay Cutler hasn't murdered his tackle yet. The Redskins are, to borrow a term, whelming. Not over or under. I still think they keep it close and cover the spread while the Bears win on some special teams or defensive play.

Cleveland at New Orleans (-13)

The Saints finally took an advil and woke up from their Super Bowl hangover, putting a licking on the Bucs. Cleveland played decently against Pittsburgh with a rookie in his debut start. I think New Orleans has another big game in them, and they win and cover. But its not too hard for me to see Cleveland cover. Call me shaky.

Buffalo at Baltimore (-13)

Call me not shaky. The Bills have absolutely no shot in this game. I'd be surprised if they kept it within 21. Ravens win and cover while Ray Rice goes roughshod over the whole defense. Oh yeah, free CJ Spiller! Cmon Chan!

San Francisco (-3) at Carolina

Here's your hell game. Euch. I could not be less interested in either of these teams. Both have pretty terrible quarterbacks. Both just seem to be going nowhere this season. I'll take Carolina to cover against the crappiness of Alex Smith. And this game is being shown with the audio of the best game of the weekend, so you know something awesome is happening on another channel that you just can't switch to. This is all in hell, of course.

St. Louis at Tampa Bay(-3)

Two exciting, wholly decent teams face off. I like Sam Bradford, I like Josh Freeman. I think it'll be a fun one, and I see St. Louis continuing to be plucky and covering while the Bucs end up winning. Look for a high score.

Arizona at Seattle (-7)

Seattle managed to play well on the road last week against the Bears, so I feel like they could play really good at home against a rookie QB. The Pete Carrol era: AN ADVENTURE IN SEATTLE! Seattle wins and covers. Sorry Max Hall, you crazy Mormon you.

New England at San Diego (-2.5)

Sorry, I trust San Diego's depleted roster as much as I trust my friends if I passed out at a party (only from being tired, of course). San Diego is just a mess, while the Patriots are starting to revert back to the mid 2000s, non-flashy style of play that got them three super bowls. New England wins outright.

Oakland at Denver (-7.5)

Kyle Orton will throw the ball, there will be a lot of points for the Broncos, and the defense will be stout enough to limit the Raiders 'high powered' attack. Broncos win and cover.

Minnesota at Green Bay (-2.5)

Green Bay is so aggressive on defense that they are constantly getting flagged; it's like the players have a quota in their contracts to fill, that's how dumb they are. Brett Favre is going to show up in this game, I have a feeling, and Green Bay will keep falling apart. Vikings win and cover.

NY Giants at Dallas (-3)

Dallas enters "must win" mode, and I die of enjoyment at seeing them continue to suffer. America's Team, my ass. Dallas is overhyped and has a weak running game and general playcalling. Giants are going to win, and maybe fatty Wade Phillips will get fired.

Friday, October 22, 2010

BCS Ridiculousness

Sure, this happened last Sunday, and yet I'm still stewing over it. When the BCS Standings were released last Sunday, I was shocked. ESPN Projections had called for Boise State to be in first, Oregon second, and the current #1 Ohio State at fifth. Well, Ohio State lost, and I was very ready to see Oregon and Boise State atop the polls. And yet, Oklahoma becomes #1 in the BCS polls, ALL from the computers, as they are not ranked #1 in either the AP or coaches poll, the other 2/3rds of the equation. And I was even more surprised that the mainstream media took this news so easily. Oklahoma at #1? Why? They all seemed to be okay with this, saying it had been because of their 'tough early season schedule'. Are you kidding me? This team beat Utah State (!) by seven, Cincinnati by 2 (!) and a decent Texas team by eight. Their other wins came against even worse opponents. I fail to see how that schedule is any better than Oregon, who has beat a top ten team (at the time) in Stanford, or Boise St, which beat Virginia Tech AND Oregon State, two quality teams. No, Oklahoma is number one because of the ridiculousness of a system that was created to try and end the arguments over who should be the national champion. The computer systems that create the BCS formula are not even supported by the statisticians who run the computers (as this New York Times story shows). One ranker, in fact, uses LAST SEASON'S RANKINGS as a factor in his computations. Because Alabama finished #1 in last years poll, they have an advantage over plenty of other teams. Same with Florida.

I hate to sound like some wackjob conspiracy theorist, but the system is broken and slides heavily in the favor of the conferences that created it. The BCS guarantees that major conference teams will always be seen as the best and play for the championship, shutting out non AQs like Boise State and TCU. The media, particularly those who broadcast the games, agree to the major conference bias because they know they will get more money from Oklahoma being in the title game rather than Boise State. So yeah, Oklahoma is the #1 team according to a system designed to have Oklahoma and another big money NCAA team play for the championship, at the expense of good football.

So now all I have to hope for is that Oklahoma loses. And most major teams lose or lose again (I'm looking at you Alabama). Maybe if the BCS becomes trapped in a situation where all it can spit out is Boise State vs. Oregon or Boise State vs. TCU, it might make all the big wigs crap their pants enough to inspire real change in the system. If their very system is corrupted from the inside, they might just have to change it in order to keep the money rolling in. Somehow these people don't realize that a playoff system would a)increase interest in the college football postseason and b)make tons of money. Imagine if at the end of the year, eight teams were selected by a committee not unlike the NCAA basketball tournament (with major conference champions-ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC, Pac-10,and Big East plus two "at large teams"), seeded, and thus a three or four week bonanza begins. It would be March Madness in December. And March Madness is one of the most popular and money making operations in sports. To keep the Bowls happy, the games can be played at their stadiums- you could have a "Fiesta Bowl regional", "Sugar Bowl regional", etc. Then, the fans are happy because we see more football between the best teams, and we see who the true champion is. Hell, maybe to appease the Rose Bowl, their regional could always feature the Pac 10 and Big 10.

Sure, some deserving teams would be left out, but isn't that a reality of the NCAA basketball tournament? Or make it 16, and add an extra week. Either way, a playoff system could only help NCAA Football, instead of angering fans when the BCS invariably screws over someone.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Guess I'll Write About the NBA

Of the four "major" sports (major because hockey has lost its foothold), the NBA is my least favorite to watch. I care about it as much as the players do throughout most of the season, which is not much. And that's the main issue. The season is 82 games, and the players don't really start caring till maybe the last month, or so it seems. The league has wildly disparate teams talent wise- out of thirty teams, I count about six or seven title contenders, and within that group, some are barely contenders. Over a whole season, it turns into the big dogs winning a lot, solidifying their spots, while some crappy teams in the East luck into a playoff spot, and some team in the West gets shafted. Either way, there's no excitement through the season. Also, the games aren't very exciting, as the players don't really put up an effort until the last two minutes for most of the season. I do enjoy playing NBA 2k11, but the game is not quite like the real game.

I do, though, enjoy watching the best players for a little. Seeing LeBron, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo and Kobe play is a lot of fun when they decide to turn it on for a little bit. Basically, I'm a light weight NBA fan. I like the amazing moments and the stars, but going deeper, meh.

But on to the season. The huge free agent summer has passed, and now the season has to match the hype. The Heat come in as the biggest story in the NBA, with their new super team. Then there's the rest of the East, which features the last stand Celtics (aka The Old Heat), the Magic, and the new and improved Bulls, even though Boozer was dumb enough to break his hand. In the West, the Lakers go for three in a row, the Thunder try and unseat them with their young, awesome team, Chris Paul carrying the Hornets, Dirk carrying the Mavericks, the Nuggets trying to appease Carmelo, the Jazz being their usual consistent self, and Steve Nash running on his last legs in Phoenix. These are all interesting subplots, but they all play out over such a long time, that I can't be interested in it until the playoffs.

Finally, a note about the whole LeBron James deal. The whole backlash comes from our expectations of what The Best Player in Basketball should be, ever since Michael Jordan. Jordan didn't win a championship for the first seven years of his career, yet he never was so self absorbed (or more media conscious) to create a huge stink over his own free agency, and build it up so much that he would end up disappointing a large amount of people. Jordan stuck with his team, let them build around him (Scottie Pippen anyone?), and willed his team to victory. He would not allow himself to appear as if he had given up and taken the easy way out. He's seen as such a heroic figure because he stuck with one team and made them into champions, along with some help from the front office. LeBron got some help from his front office in Cleveland, who honestly tried the last couple of years (and haven't been lucky to get a Pippen-like player). The idea that society now has about a sports hero is one who goes through adversity and eventually comes out on top out of sheer will. LeBron, by going to a Super-Team, appears to have taken the easy way out. It may win him some championships, but he will always have that "yeah, but he was playing with another top 5 guy (Wade) AND a great low post player (Bosh).

No one finds James' new decision heroic in the traditional sense. He's betrayed his original team and took the easiest path to the championship. And not many, besides Heat fans, find that at all heroic. He's now just a special player surrounded by more special players. He's going to coast to the playoffs and then might be tested a little, but nothing like Jordan. He's not living up to our expectations. Somehow all this escaped him. It'll be the most interesting plot of the season to see how public reaction changes, if it does at all.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Week 6 NFL Picks, AKA The Week of Football I Actually Enjoy

And why is that? Because the Bills are on a bye!!! I am going to park myself on the couch and watch RedZone all day, get a Redzone-r (say it out loud), and watch good football without having aneurysm watching the Bills screw up again. It will be glorious. Also, I got this picks in before Sunday! BEAST MODE. (Oh yes, I miss Marshawn Lynch very much)

San Diego (-8.5) at St.Louis

The Rams were cute with their first back to back wins in about two years, and then they went and laid an egg against the Lions. Speaking of laying an egg, that's exactly what the Chargers did last week against the Raiders, leading some kid to cry, a lot. Still, I can't see the Chargers losing this one, but I'll take the points and say the Rams cover while the Chargers win.

Kansas City at Houston (-4.5)

Hard to figure this one. Houston crapped the bed last week, getting rocked by the Giants. While good for my fantasy matchup, it wasn't a great idea to stop giving Arian Foster the ball, even when they were down. Kansas City kept it close against the Colts, never letting them get too far ahead and limiting Peyton Manning. The Chiefs are pretty good against the run and decent against the pass, so I think they can keep it close if they get some pressure on Matt Schaub. I'll take them to cover, but the Texans to win. But its shaky.

Baltimore at New England (-2.5)

Another tough one, and possibly the best game of the week. We get to see the Patriots without Randy Moss and the Ravens try to find some consistency on offense, as it has been bits and pieces this season. I think the Patriots Defense is not going to be able to contain the myriad weapons the Ravens possess, and the Ravens upset the Patriots.

New Orleans (-4) at Tampa Bay

New Orleans got beat by ARIZONA and a rookie quarterback just last week, while Tampa is coming off an emotional win over the Bengals. Something's off with the Saints. I think they'll get back their mojo, but I'm not sure when. But I think Tampa covers and wins. Week 5 was upset week, so now I'm probably overcompensating, but the Bucs are kinda good.

Atlanta at Philadelphia(-2.5)

This game would be so much better with Mike Vick squaring off against his old team, but instead we get...Kevin Kolb. Kolb has been by no means impressive, but the Eagles have managed with a strong running game with LeSean McCoy, almost unheard of in an Andy Reid system. Atlanta's got a good offense and a pretty good offense, so even on the road I think they beat the Iggles.

Detroit at NY Giants (-10)

That is a hiiiiigh spread there. The Lions simply put up points, but it will be interesting to see how they face off against the number one defense in the league. The Giants have been riding an overwhelming pass rush to two straight victories, and I think they'll keep going here, but the Lions will cover.

Seattle at Chicago (-6)

Is Seattle away from home? Easy. They'll lose. Bears get Cutler back, the defense will play well, they'll win and cover. Never ever trust the Seahawks away from home.

Miami at Green Bay (-3)

Another good game! The Pakcers have been just a bit underwhelming so far and have failed to live up to expectations, while the Dolphins are coming off a bye. The Dolphins are fighting in a tough AFC East division and will make this one close, and will win if Aaron Rodgers sits. If he's in, I think Green Bay wins but Miami covers.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-14)

Cleveland comes into Big Ben's first game back with a rookie quarterback who almost got cut in the preseason and an injured starting running back. Big Ben is probably salivating (well, more than usual) at the prospect of having this as his first game back. The Steelers will shut down Colt McCoy and harass him, and their offense will get it done in a big way. Steelers win and cover.

NY Jets (-3.5) at Denver

Kyle Orton and the Broncos simply chuck the ball up (usually to Brandon Lloyd) and score some points. I'm not sure how they'll fair against the Jets D. The Broncos are bad against the run, and the Jets looooove to run. So the Jets will control the ball, take some shots deep, and shut down the Broncos. Jets win and cover.

Oakland at San Francisco (-7)

Now THIS is your hell game. Two bad, West Coast teams. I think San Francisco will win, but not cover. The Raiders did, after all, beat the Chargers. In hell, this game is on every screen, and there's a little Picture in Picture box of the Red Zone channel, and you can see that it's the Red Zone, but not what's happening. Also, two pretentious rich people are manning the booth, who don't quite understand football, like what you might see in a luxury box.

Dallas at Minnesota (-1.5)

The two most overhyped/underwhelming teams of the season finally get to face off, and we are lucky enough to either see Brett Favre lose or the Cowboys lose. Besides his game ending pick-six (who didn't see that coming), Brett Favre woke up in the second half of last weeks game. I think the Vikings win and cover, with a big game from Adrian Peterson. He is playing me in fantasy after all.

Indianapolis (-3) at Washington

NBC is marketing this one as "ALL BUSINESS" (as it's not the Manning bowl or the McNabb returns to Philly game), which is pretty idiotic. This is one of the least interesting games, as I can summon no excitement for seeing Washington play. I'll be watching Mad Men as Indianapolis wins and covers.

Tennessee (-3) at Jaguars

Wooooooooo! Monday Night in JACKSONVILLE (My Jaguars fan friend is going buck wild)! Well, meh. The Titans did well for themselves last week in beating the Cowboys and showed a good commitment to getting Chris Johnson the ball frequently, whereas the Jags beat up on the Bills, who are still learning the fundamentals of defense (Cover the receivers! How novel). Titans win and cover.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sabres can't score

With NHL Center Ice, I've been able to watch more Sabres games than ever, and it's awesome to even be able to watch. BUT, the Sabres have been playing really badly to start the year. They can muster no offense, especially not on the power play. This has been an issue since about 2006, and yet the team has found no way to fix it. Every player tries to do some dipsy doodle fancy play to get on Sportscenter, and it never works. They could just focus on doing it right, but instead they get all fancy and mess up. This basically applies to our regular offense as well. Miller and the defense are playing well, though, besides bad showings against the Rangers and Blackhawks. The Sabres can't expect to have Miller be on fire every night- they need to support him. If the team can muster up some kind of offensive effort, they'd be dangerous. But right now, they're just a scrappy team that will win a lot of 2-1, 1-0, overtime/shootout wins.

P.S. Tyler Ennis is really good, thankfully.

The Bills March Towards Infamy

I cannot stand this anymore. The Bills had a winnable game and completely pissed it away this week against the Jaguars. I swear to God we have someone with no knowledge of the NFL as our defensive coordinator. Isn't it common sense TO GUARD THE NUMBER ONE RECEIVER ON THE OTHER TEAM? No, instead, George Edwards (I had to look up his name we've heard so little about this guy), calls plays that leave Mike Sims-Walker WIDE open at all times, or covered by a linebacker. Also, covering the tight end in the red zone is usually a good idea, but instead we have him covered with a lineman or having our DB's get absolutely burned. Leodis McKelvin, a top 15 draft pick at corner back, is terrible. The guy shouldn't even exist he's been burnt so much. And our new 3-4 defense, which has none of the right personnel, can't get a semblance of a rush on the quarterback. For god's sake, we made David Garrard and the Jaguars look like a semi-good team.

The offense looked okay again, but they were killed, as I have become accustomed to, by bad penalties. The Bills had the ball in the red zone three times in THE FIRST QUARTER and managed one touchdown, because there were dumb holding penalties the other two times. So instead of going up 21-3, we went up 13-3 and then promptly lost that lead. And I could tell from about the second quarter that that was going to happen. Thank god there is a bye week this week so I don't have to watch this wreck. Looking at the schedule, the Bills don't play a winnable game until the Lions game (and that's barely winnable), and then the Browns game, and the Bills lost to them 6-0 or 6-3 to them last year. I know this is hard to believe, but I can see this team going 0-16. I know it's hard to not win ONE game, but this team has just the right amount of ineptitude to do it.

Also, free CJ Spiller! Can we please just hand off to this guy 30 times a day and see what happens?