Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Week 3 NFL Notes, Sabres 'New' Jersey

Here goes. No orginization to this post, just going for it.

- Forgot to mention that the Sabres are finally ditching the BuffaSlug and going back to the awesome original logo, albeit with the jersey slightly altered (stripes at the bottom, navy blue color instead of the lighter blue). Either way, it looks so much better. I wish the Bills would follow this example.

-Speaking of which, The Bills actually looked half decent last Sunday! Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to escape the rush that the porous offensive line threw at him and make throws. Deep ones, at that. The touchdown to Steve Johnson was a highlight, along with his awesome celebration, in which he pretended to be a Patriots minuteman and then fell back from the gun's kickback. Flagged, but still awesome. CJ Spiller finally produced (as he sat on my fantasy bench), Marshawn looked good, and, most of all, the offense was able to consistently move the ball. 30 points is nothing to scoff at, and the Bills kept the game close throughout, even to a much better team. The defense does need to improve though if we want to win more than 3 or so games. Still, a step forward from the first two weeks. But the Jets are going to do terrible things to them.

-I'm going to have to eat crow about the Bears. They are a good team. Still, the Packers shot themselves in the foot with ill timed penalties. They also couldn't capitalize on the fact that Jay Cutler was playing in his vintage style, as they dropped a number of sure picks. Also, on the Bears final drive, there were about 3 Cutler interceptions negated by penalties. And the Packers should have let the Bears score in the end to get more time to try and tie the game at the end instead of hoping for a missed field goal...from PAT distance! All that being said, the Packers are better than the Bears, but just have to play more disciplined. And I hope the Bears start being bad soon since Chicago is collectively freaking out so far... there's Super Bowl talk already. AHHHHHHH!!! THE BEARS ARE STILL NOT THAT GOOD!

- The Dolphins may have lost to the Jets, but they obviously showed that they will be in the mix for the AFC East. I look forward to watching how the race unfolds.

- What the hell is happening in the NFC West? The Seahawks, as per usual, played well at home. The 49ers crapped the bed after a good performance against the Saints. The Rams, though they won, are not playoff quality. The Cardinals snuck away with a win against the Raiders. Does anyone want to win this division?

-Early line confusion- the Giants are favored by 4 at home against the Bears? Why? Do the bookies think the Giants will be playing with desperation? Or that the Bears are primed for a fall?

-Finally, a word about recently departed Quarterback Trent Edwards, who is now a Jacksonville Jaguars. I had this guy's jersey. I believed that he could be pretty good after his rookie season. After that concussion, though, he never really was the same (besides that one Chargers game). He is a tentative passer who freezes up with pressure. Maybe behind a good line, he could be good, but he needs to start taking chances downfield and moving around the pocket better. From what I've seen so far, though, he'll probably remain an NFL back up. Unless the Jaguars get desperate. Good luck with that, and good luck to Trent Edwards. For all the people who say that the Bills releasing him shows the disorganization of the team, I say, why keep a guy who's not talented and probably wasn't happy with his situation? The Bills believed in him and then saw he couldn't do it. At least they didn't stick with him for no reason

Friday, September 24, 2010


Finally, my first hockey post of the season. I love hockey, and so should everyone. There are so many awesome things in hockey. Sweet dangles, amazing saves, sick wrist shots, big hits, and fights. Especially fights. As I said, hockey is awesome. I'm glad people are starting to realize it.

Anyway, my favorite team is the Buffalo Sabres. It's depressing that they've never won, but they are still the most consistently good team that I like. Last year, behind Ryan Miller's amazing goaltending, they won the Northeastern Division. They then lost their best scorer in the second game of their first round series against the Boston Bruins, and couldn't find any offense for the next couple of games. Last year also marked the debut of Super Rookie Tyler Myers, who is sure to be a fixture of our defense for years to come. Oh yeah, Miller won the Vezina Trophy for best goalie and Myers got the Calder Cup for Best Rookie. Miller should've won MVP as well, but that's for another day. Let's look forward to this season.

The Sabres picked up some new personnel this summer, strengthening their Defense and grabbing a big center with veteran leadership. The new defensive players are Jordan Leopold and Shaone Morrisonn (what a ridiculous spelling) which adds some much needed depth. They shipped away Tallinder and Lydman, but picked up players as good or better than those two. On offense, the big acquisition was Rob Niedermayer. Sure, he's old. But he is a big Center who can play both ways, which is what the Sabres needed (and could use some more). Unfortunately, Tim Connolly is still on the team. He is a joke of a number one center. He is always injured, plays small, and chokes in the playoffs. He tries to make fancy plays instead of doing what is easy and will work more often. Also, the Sabres return Thomas Vanek, who, when healthy, is a great sniper and can go on wild scoring tears. He is the Sabres' biggest weapon (which is not a great thing, but we'll take what we can get).

And then there's Miller. He is ri-god-damned-diculously good at goalie, and kept the Sabres in a ton of games. Having him in net gives the Sabres a psychological edge, as they feel like they can score once or twice and win most games, and if things aren't going well offensively they know that they have Miller there to keep them in it.

So the Sabres got better this off season, but it remains to see how much better they get. Hopefully its past the first round of the playoffs. I'm not asking for too much.

The Week 3 NFL Preview

Week 3. Teams are getting desperate enough to switch quarterbacks (Ryan! Fitzpatrick!) and some face must win situations, like the Cowboys if Wade Phillips wants to keep his job. The week features a good but not great slate of games. Here come the picks. They've been decent so far. What, I never said I knew it all, ok?

Tennessee at NY Giants (-3)

The Giants completely crapped the bed against the Colts on National TV. Not pretty. Tennessee played a rough game against the Steelers last week, and will look for Vince Young to show some of his Week 1 form instead of whatever happened last week. The Giants got destroyed by the run last week, and now face the best running back in football. It just feels like one of those ridiculous Chris Johnson games, so I'll take the Titans to cover and win.

Buffalo at New England (-14.5)

I am currently in the land of Massholes (well, we drove through it to get to New Hampshire), and Dad and I listened to Boston sports radio for a while. The hosts were interviewing Stephen Neal, an offensive lineman, trying to bait him into saying the Bills sucked. Neal didn't fall for it, and said the Bills were a "great team". When the interview ended, one host called it the 2nd most ridiculous thing he'd heard in two weeks (only behind Trent Dilfer saying that Philip Rivers is the QB he'd most want in a clutch situation) and they both had a good laugh. Sadly enough they were right. Tom Brady and the Patriots will be angry after last week and just kill the Bills. They'll cover that spread. But watch out for the RYAN FITZPATRICK ERA to begin. Such excitement. He's a GUNSLINGER. With a brain! aaaaand just as bad as Trent Edwards.

Cleveland at Baltimore (-10.5)

Like the Pats- Bills game, the Ravens will be looking for some redemption after last week's debacle against the Bengals, and their stifling defense will pillage Seneca Wallace. On ESPN tonight I saw that the football talking heads were discussing who was more likely to go 0-16- the Browns or Bills. And you know what? It's a legitimate question. Both these cities are just going to commit mass suicide. Oh yeah, Baltimore wins and covers.

Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Tampa Bay

Not sure what to think of Tampa Bay so far, but I also haven't watched a minute of either of their games. I do know Josh Freeman and Mike Williams have done well so far. That should run out against Pittsburgh's great defense, and I see the Steelers scraping out a victory with Charlie Batch at quarterback. Steelers win and cover.

Cincinnati (-3) at Carolina

Another road favorite, but it makes a lot of sense. The Bengals showed how stingy their defense can be last week in dismantling Joe Flacco. The Panthers are starting a punky rookie QB, Jimmy Clausen, making his NFL debut. It's not a great first opponent for him. The Bengals offense will be good enough (Carson Palmer should be decent, at least), the defense will frustrate Clausen and stop the running game, and the Bengals win and cover.

Atlanta at New Orleans (-3.5)

I have conflicting feelings over this. The Falcons have played badly against a good opponent and well against a bad opponent, so it's tough to properly place them. Matt Ryan still seems shaky to me in important situations and away from home. The Saints have looked merely decent and have been able to barely win in both games. Still, it's the defending Super Bowl champions at home. You have to believe they're going to come out with some fire and show that they own the NFC South. The Saints win and cover (I'm feeling a 7 point victory.

San Francisco (-3) at Kansas City

San Francisco showed they are better than what they showed in week 1 in their Monday Night game against the Saints. Still, they also showed that they aren't ready to be contenders as they couldn't finish that game, a mark of good teams. Kansas City escaped against Cleveland and looked a little less explosive than week 1. I think the Niners win but Kansas City covers.

Detroit at Minnesota (-11.5)

ELEVEN AND A HALF POINTS? I take the Lions to cover in a heartbeat. They can score points and they have kept both their games close. The Vikings look like they have lost all their steam from last year and are limping along. The only way I see Minnesota winning by more than 11 is if Adrian Peterson goes buck wild, but I think Detroit will keep it close while Minnesota gets the victory.

Dallas at Houston (-2.5)

It's go time for the Cowboys, who need a win here to set a statement that they are actually contenders, and not just super hyped up like they always are. The Texans showed resiliency last week with a come back win against the Redskins, another mark of a good team. I think the Texans will feed off the home crowd and try and show that they are the new team to beat in Texas, and they'll cover the spread. Cowboys will keep it close and play desperately though.

Washington (-3.5) at St. Louis

Yep, St. Louis is still terrible. Washington is coming off a tough loss and will savor the opportunity to feast on a rookie quarterback and a weak defense. Also, any game featuring the Rams is approaching "hell game" territory.

Philadelphia (-2.5) at Jacksonville

Jacksonville played like they usually do on the road in the West- terribly. For Philadelphia, it's the beginning of the controversial Vick era. My Eagles fan friend, who "bleeds Green" and makes embarrassing facebook statuses about DeSean Jackson, went on a rant about how the Eagles traded McNabb so that Kolb could play and now they're abandoning him. That is a good point. Vick's only played well against the Lions, and his stats against the Packers were in garbage time. This is his first test, and I think he manages to get by with a win and the Eagles cover.

Indianapolis (-5.5) at Denver

Indianapolis demonstrated that they weren't quite done yet with a shellacking of the Giants on Sunday Night, while the Broncos ran up a number on the Seahawks. I'd say the Colts look better, and they'll shut down the Broncos, win, and cover the spread.

San Diego (-5) at Seattle

Despite what happened in week 1, the Seahawks looked bad against the Broncos. San Diego ripped up the groggy Jaguars and may be back in their form after a weak performance against the Chiefs. The Chargers will win and cover. Damn the NFC West is bad. I can't think of anything to say about the Seahawks... They have ugly uniforms?

Oakland at Arizona (-4.5)

Ok, so this is the hell game of the week. Dennis Miller is announcing this one WITH Tony Kornheiser, and Lucifer is serving you warm beer (Schmiddts) and Bit O Honeys. I actually think the Raiders, with Gradkowski at QB, will at least cover the spread and may just win. SILVER AND BLACK IS...DECENT ENOUGH TO WIN AGAINST BAD TEAMS!!! That's right, that's just how bad the Cardinals looked last week.

NY Jets at Miami (-2.5)

I think Miami has barely scraped by two not great teams (Bills and Vikings). The Jets broke out last week, revealing that they actually did possess an offense. Even without Revis and Braylon ".16" Edwards, I think the Jets will come in pissed off that Miami beat them so badly last year, and will try to prove they are the team to beat in the AFC East. They win and cover, as much as it pains me to say it.

Green Bay (-3) at Chicago

After last week's win against the Cowboys, it seems as if literally everyone in Chicago will not shut the hell up about the Bears. I have heard legitimate Super Bowl predictions already. Hey, here's a thought. The Bears escaped with a win against the Lions and beat a way overrated Cowboys team. Meanwhile, the Packers have not played two very good teams either, but I still think they have a better offense AND a better defense, so they'll win and cover.

So yeah. Not a lot of love for the underdogs, and a lot of love for the road favorites.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baseball is now irrelevant

At least in Chicago, no one could give a damn about baseball. I have received some complaints about not writing about baseball, so here goes.

In Chicago, with the Bears season started and both teams out of contention, pretty much everyone has tuned out. The White Sox acquisition of Manny Ramirez was big for about a day, and then the White Sox dropped out of the division race.

I support the Cubs, as you would expect, and what else can I say but what a forgetful season. Besides the emergence of Marlon Byrd, Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin, this team has been dreadful. The pitching completely fell apart, as Zambrano reverted back to his basket case form, Randy Wells completely regressed, Ted Lily was traded after a good start, Silva faded after his great start, and Ryan Dempster couldn't carry the rotation. The offense, besides those three aforementioned players (and sometimes Alfonso Soriano, the most frustrating player in the bigs), has been nothing special since Derek Lee was traded. Aramis Ramirez completely stumped, Theriot is not a Major League lead off hitter, and Kosuke Fukudome is one of the worst personnel decisions the Cubs have made in the 2000s. And of course Sweet Lou just gave up, leading to a big show about who will be the new manager.

All I can say is that the Cubs should a) try and get Joe Torre or Joe Girardi and b) get rid of almost everyone on the team. Keep Marmol, Dempster, Colvin, Castro, DeWitt, Byrd, and Soriano (because of the contract) and try to improve almost every other position. Zambrano will stay until his contract expires, and then he can be jettisoned. A great improvement to the team would be a left handed hitter, a lead off hitter, and some more quality starters. With those pieces, they could contend. And it's a long way till that. Till then, the Cubs will be Chicago afterthoughts heading into October.

The NFL Week 2 Preview/ Picks

Week 1, as I've said, has given us a pretty muddled view of the NFL, but there are still some conclusions to be drawn, and the picture is at least a little clearer than right before the season started. Still, I find myself confused by some lines. Well, here goes with the picks. I did pretty well last week, besides missing the Texans, Chiefs, and the Seahawks COMPLETELY. You live and you learn.

Kansas City at Cleveland (-3)

Wait, how is Cleveland favored again? They completely choked away a game against the Buccaneers, and Jake Delhomme was his normal, erratic self. Meanwhile, the Chiefs looked like they had an explosive offense and pretty good defense in a Monday Night win over the Chargers. I find it pretty easy to say that KC will win this game. Unless the oddsmakers know something everyone else doesn't, I don't think the Browns home field will make that much of a difference.

Buffalo at Green Bay (-13)

Now this is a spread I can go with! The Bills are going to have inappropriate things done to them by the Packers on both side of the ball. If you own Packers on your fantasy team, start them. If you have Bills on your team, you're dumb (like me). If the Bills cover this spread I will be amazed. The only bet I felt comfortable making with my Packers fan friend was a 21 point spread. And I'm pretty sure I'll lose 5 dollars on that. The Buffalo Bills- we've been rebuilding since 1999!

Cincinnati at Baltimore (-2.5)

Interesting game here. The Bengals got shut down in the first half against the Patriots, and then started scoring in the 2nd half when it didn't quite matter as much. The Ravens played a rough, defensive battle against the Jets and came out on top. I'd like to see how the Ravens defense plays against a better offense, and if the Bengals can put up points when they're not in garbage time. The Ravens offense looks like it could be Patriots-esque, so the normally good Bengals defense will need to step up. I like the Ravens to win by more than a field goal, and cover that spread at home.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee (-5)

Sure, Pittsburgh barley beat Atlanta in a defensive, overtime clash, but how are they giving up 5 points, even on the road? Tennessee just beat up on the Raiders, who are still terrible. This is Tennessee's first real test, and I think they won't do quite as well against a competent defense. I think Pittsburgh covers the spread and Tennessee wins (hey, Chris Johnson is still really good against any defense).

Philadelphia (-6.5) at Detroit

The triumphant return of Michael Vick! It sure has been a long time, and last week we got to see a little slice of classic Vick, rushing and passing for over 100 yards. The Eagles have enough weapons surrounding Vick so that they can beat the Lions and cover the spread. (Another note: I think the Lions D, having a week to prepare, will be able to stop Vick from running. But still, he's a decent passer, and the Eagles D is good enough to beat up a Matt Stafford-less Lions.)

Chicago at Dallas (-7.5)

The Bears are terrible, and got away with a cheap victory. Now Bears fans begin their "apocalypse" phase, where they start predicting 4-12 seasons and calling for Lovie Smith's head. The Bears offensive line was bad enough to not get a touchdown with four chances from the 1 yard line. I do see them putting up some points though behind the Mike Martz offense (just not with the running game). The Cowboys shot themselves in the foot enough to lose to a not great Redskins team on Sunday Night, and now return home pissed off. I see them winning but the Bears cover the spread with some garbage time points.

Tampa Bay at Carolina (-3.5)

A stunning lack of interest is suddenly taking me over. The Panthers are probably better than the Buccaneers, but neither team is going to do anything special this season, not with Matt Moore and Josh Freeman as the quarterbacks. The Panthers will run the ball a lot and win this game, and Tampa won't cover. Snoooooooze.

Arizona at Atlanta (-6.5)

Arizona looked wholly decent last week, and Atlanta took Pittsburgh to overtime. The Falcons should have more offense in this game, and they are at home. If the Falcons are really a playoff caliber team, they'll win this game handily. I don't think they are, but I do still think they'll win and Arizona won't cover in the 2nd game of the Derek Anderson era.

Miami at Minnesota (-5.5)

These teams both played pretty badly last week. The Vikings, though, did keep it close versus the defending Super Bowl champions, while the Dolphins couldn't shake the Bills and kept them in the game. The Vikings will be able to move the ball against the Dolphins and should win this game. Miami is going to have trouble running the ball against the Vikings Defense, so it will come down to Chad Henne. And when you put the game in his hand... oy. I'll take the Vikings to win and cover.

St. Louis at Oakland (-3.5)

Welcome to this week's "hell game". If you have to watch this game, may God have mercy on your soul. Both teams are shaping up to have pretty atrocious seasons (and that's not what was expected for the Raiders). However, I was impressed that the Rams kept it close with the Cardinals, and I think they'll do the same against the Raiders, covering the spread. And I guess the Raiders will actually win it (but I'm feeling iffy on that).

Seattle at Denver (-3.5)

Never thought I'd say this, but intriguing match up here. The Seahawks ran over the 49ers last week, and Denver had a close loss to the Jaguars. Now we can see each teams "relative quality"- i.e. how good the Seahawks are (as opposed to the 49ers being very bad) and how good the Broncos are (if they played a good game against a decent team in the Jaguars). The Broncos have the home field advantage, so I'll take them to win and to cover, but it will hardly be an easy game for them.

Washington at Houston (-3)

Wait. Wait. A team that just beat the Colts by 10 points is only getting 3 at home against the Redskins? The Redskins snatched victory from the jaws of defeat last week. Not convincing. The Texans made a statement last week that they should be considered playoff caliber. I take them to win and cover, no problem.

Jacksonville at San Diego (-7)

This is a high spread for a team that lost last week against a team that looked pretty good last weekend. I think the Jaguars will be a competitive team, and San Diego is not going to be quite as good as previous years. The Jaguars cover the spread here, and San Diego wins, but it won't be impressive.

New England (-3) at NY Jets

It's come to the point where I actually like the Patriots slightly more than the Jets. Until I see evidence that Mark Sanchez has improved at all, I can't trust the Jets against quality opponents. Their defense is still pretty good, but not impenetrable. The Patriots looked really, really good last week. The Patriots will further shut up the Jets with a win and they'll cover the spread. (Yes, there is still Jets hate clouding these picks).

NY Giants at Indianapolis (-5)

The Colts are going into this game with a lot to prove. They are going to want to show the nation that they're not done yet. The Giants are no slouch, but I don't know if they are on the Colts level. Peyton will be able to outduel his younger brother on offense, and hopefully the Colts D has fixed some of it's holes. I see the Colts winning and covering- it's Monday Night, and Peyton is unstoppable on Sunday Nights.

New Orleans (-5) at San Francisco

Alex Smith is not an NFL Quarterback and the Defense can't stop the Seahawks. How does that bode well at all against the Saints? The Saints win pretty easily, cover the spread. Another "great" Monday Night game after ESPN trusts that SF hype.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Haters Bowl

Intriguing ideas that come up while watching sports, pt. 1.

While I was watching Michigan vs. Notre Dame, I struggled to think of which team I was rooting more against. Both teams are completely overhyped by the media EVERY season, given too much attention because of prior success, and their fans are completely obnoxious. Both schools have a sense of entitlement that they no longer deserve.

To become interested in a game in which you have no rooting interest, I usually take up a rooting interest. In this case, though, how was I to pick? The popular choice, via the internet (Deadspin commenters, perhaps), is to root for a giant meteor to strike the stadium, INCINERATING everyone. Still, you have to pick someone to root for in the meantime. When you pick the lesser of two evils, it still feels pretty dirty. There's no enjoyment brought from that. And that is why I fear a Cowboys-Jets Superbowl (which the Sporting News predicted). What would I watch the game for? It would be hard for me to watch either of those teams win anything. It would ruin the Superbowl for me. I can only hope these Sophie's Choice decisions come up when the stakes are low.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 1 Musings

The first weekend of football is always pretty strange; no one really knows why, but there are certain teams everyone thinks will be good, and teams everyone thinks will be terrible. Without having played a single snap of regular season football. So we enter the season with this preconceived notion of how things should be. The Colts should be good. The 49ers look like they're a potential division winner. The Cardinals are doomed. Kevin Kolb can step in for the Eagles! It's like we've played out the season before it's even started. And that's why its crazy to actually watch what happens. The world where all these things are true comes crumbling down one by one, until we're left with this jumbled mass of teams. We still can't even get a definitive read on every team- one team that looked impressive could've just been playing a bad team. Or that team that didn't look great could've been playing a definite playoff team. Still, there are somethings that can be taken from this week. I'll save the Bills for last.

-Could this be the year the Colts are just merely decent? Or are the Texans that good? The Colts defense, which was supposed to be improved against the run, got completely destroyed by Arian Foster to the tune of 231 yards and 3 touchdowns rushing. Even though Peyton Manning had a ridiculous day passing, the offense couldn't keep up with what the defense gave up. Perhaps the Colts will become a shoot out team, but you can't really win a Super Bowl with such a suspect defense. We'll see how they respond next week vs. the Giants, who have some quality backs.

-The 49ers really shit the bed. The supposed new "champs" of the NFC West, worst division in Football, were dominated by the Seahawks 31-6. The Alex Smith led offense could get nothing going, and the teams supposed great defense, their backbone, let them down. A game against the Saints next week spells trouble for the 49ers. Like the Raiders, this is another pre season sleeper/ media darling that looks like it will fail. How many times are NFL experts gonna pick these dumb sleeper teams and just absolutely fall on their face?

- The Patriots, who many thought might break down with old age, made a pretty big statement against the Bengals (and Tawmmy fahckin Brady made a pretty big statement fantasy wise). The Jets, contrary to popular belief, haven't quite won the division yet.

- Mike Vick kinda went Beast Mode today. That scramble for a near touchdown was pretty sweet. Sure, he's still not a great decision maker, but he's exciting. I'm glad I'm not rooting for him, though. Kevin Kolb will be welcomed back with open arms I'm sure... unless those great Philly fans turn on him.

-The Cardinals showed what a different team they are with their narrow win over one of the worst teams in the NFL. Have fun this season returning to complete irrelevancy. It's too bad- they were a pretty exciting team.

-The Calvin Johnson situation. Can the NFL change this rule now? You know a rule is bad when the only defense is "yeah, it should've been a touchdown, but that's the way the rule is written". Plus those fantasy points would've been nice. Speaking of fantasy and the Bears-Lions game, Matt Forte decided to be a good player this season. I swear to God that guy is my mortal enemy. I hope he gets a good amount of venereal diseases. Also, the Bears are going to be somewhere around 6-10 this year. They could only beat the Lions (with their backup QB) off of a terrible rule.

-The Cowboys. Uh oh. Maybe those home Super Bowl projections were a little early.

- Aaron Rodgers called his team's performance 'terrible'. They are going to violate the Bills next week.

- So, the Bills. Since the DirecTV box in the house didn't work (DAMN YOU DIRECTV!!!), I was only able to listen to the game on the radio and watch highlights later. It was typical Bills. They played decently enough to stay in the game for most of it, and ended up losing. I'll be honest, I had some youthful naivete about this team before the game started. It has quickly been pushed out. The defense was merely decent, and seemed almost to back into stops. There were barely any three and outs and gave up a lot of field position in letting the Dolphins move down the field before actually stopping them. On offense, the Bills could do nothing besides 2 drives. The running game was literally non existent. If CJ Spiller is the biggest weapon on the team, I have no idea why he's getting 7 carries. He also tried a little too hard and ended up only getting 6 yards because of his backwards style. It will lead to big plays, but it will also back up the Bills a good amount. Trent Edwards was his normal decent self. He couldn't do much on third downs, had a good gain negated by a penalty (CLASSIC BILLS), and couldn't get it done in crunch time. Still, his touchdown throw to Roscoe Parrish was a thing of beauty. If he has time, something the offensive line was not providing, he can make plays. He also needs some help from his wide outs, but maybe he'll gain more chemistry with those guys. All together, the Dolphins are not that great (contrary to what I was thinking earlier), and the Bills squandered a chance for a win, which could be pretty scarce this year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where was Maurice Clarret during the OSU-Miami game?

As the Miami-OSU game was in it's early stages, the ESPN cameras flashed upon famous people that were on the sidelines, mostly former players from that 2003 Title Game, but also other notable alums. Missing, of course, or not shown, was Maurice Clarett.

Can I just remind everyone how dumb it was to sue the NFL to try and enter the draft? My god. Did they (him and Mike Williams) really think they would win that one? That has to rank among the worst decisions in sports and legal history.

And now he's playing in the UFL, after a stint in jail. What a guy.

Some thoughts from the US Open

Sometimes I enjoy watching Tennis majors, so today I watched the fifth set of the Djokovic- Federer match. Epic. Some random thoughts-

-Wow, those ball boys look like idiots in their specially designed polo shirts. Polo took the US Mens National Soccer Team jersey and put a big, stupid, yellow horse on it. Tennis is a preppy sport, we get it. Do we also need the ballboys to look like they're hanging out at the country club while mother spas?

-Federer, even though not on his best today, managed to stay in it throughout. He was completely dominated in the sets where he didn't have the first serve (sorry if my tennis lingo is off), losing 1-6, 2-6. When he was serving first, he still had to win with extra games, 7-5 in the first and third. His first serve was absolutely off, and Djokovic was able to capitalize on the second serve. Federer's trademark precision on his forehands and backhands was also just not there. Still, he was on match point twice. He almost had it, but his lack of precision eventually let him down. After Djokovic had fought off those match points, he seized momentum with his gutsy play (shredding forehands across court, on the line, like it was nobody's business).

-Djokovic's Dad- great shirt. Dad wouldn't commit to wearing a shirt with me on it.

- As much as people wanted a Federer-Nadal final, this one is actually more compelling (to me at least). I love Federer, but he's pretty much met his match in Nadal- he's 7-14 against Nadal. Djokovic is also 7-14 against Nadal, but he's also won his past three vs. Nadal. Plus, Djokovic was killing it today. He played with so much intensity and ballsiness, especially in that last set. Hopefully he's not too tired from the five setter to give Nadal a run for his money.

Aaaaaand that'll be the last time I write about tennis (well, maybe after the final) until the Australian. If I even write about that.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

NFL Week One Preview

After 7 excruciatingly long months, where the draft was the best football related event, the NFL is finally back to playing games. And now I feel like previewing those!

Vikings at Saints

The Saints begin their Super Bowl defense in a rematch of the NFC Championship game from last year, a thriller in which Brett Favre predictably threw another game ending interception in overtime. Since these two teams finished in the top 8 teams (i.e. were conference finalists), the collective bargaining agreement prevented either team from making any major free agent acquisitions. Not like the Saints really needed anyone. Frankly, the Saints return Drew Brees and pretty much everyone from their overpowering offense (except, I guess, Mike Bell?) and their ballhawking defense (according to Peter King, Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams showed his players videos of animals attacking their pray, hoping his players would emulate that in attacking the Quarterback. Now that's awesome), and that should be enough for another successful season. The Vikings, however, might need some help shoring up the pass defense (not great without Antoine Winfield) and other defensive holes. There's also some question marks on the offense, as Brett Favre seems to have a lingering ankle injury, Sidney Rice is out for at least half the season, and Percy Harvin is all whacked out with migraines. With all that taken in, I think the Saints will come out strong at home and keep on rolling. They'll win and cover the spread as 5.5 point favorites. Not that the Vikings will look bad, but they need some time to jell.

Panthers at Giants
The Giants come off a disappointing season two years removed from their amazing Super Bowl victory (and a playoff appearance the year before). The main issues plauging that team were the poor defense (especially pass defense) and merely decent running game. Eli Manning is simply not on his brother, or Brees', or Bradys' level where he can carry a game with only his play. Eli needs a pretty good running game. In response, the Giants brought in Antrel Rolle to shore up the pass defense and have put Ahmad Bradshaw, more of a game breaker at running back than Brandon Jacobs, into a bigger role. Meanwhile, the Panthers got rid of most of what most people remember about the Panthers- Jake Delhomme and Julius Peppers. Now the focus of the team is mostly on the running back duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart, while Matt Moore takes over QB duties full time while Jimmy Clausen breathes down his back. To be honest, I don't see Carolina being anything better than 7-9 or 8-8, while I do see the Giants contending in the NFC East. I can see the Giants winning this one by about ten, and in that case covering the spread as 6.5 point favorites.

Miami at Buffalo
Ohhhhhhhh boy. Here's the gem of a game I'll be watching on Sunday. My Buffalo Bills face off against their biggest rival, the Miami Dolphins. At the Ralph. As a Bills fan, even in a rivalry game, I think the spread (Miami -3) is too low. As much as I hate to say it, the Bills would be lucky to be 6-10 or 7-9 this year. The defense is overrated against the pass (teams always had leads late and would run the ball instead of pass, so the numbers are flawed. Plus, Jairus Byrd isn't playing), and atrocious vs. the run. New coach Chan Gailey's new 3-4 system is mismatched for Buffalo's personnel at this point. On offense, the Bills still have Captain Checkdown Trent Edwards at Quarterback and only one good wide receiver, Lee Evans. One of the only things to be excited about is the three headed monster at RB, with rookie CJ Spiller, the fastest football player I have ever seen and some amazing moves, going along with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch (my favorite, most gangster football player of all time). Still, prospects are bleak. The best most people can say is that the team will be exciting with Chan Gailey calling the plays and CJ Spiller running the ball. Not good, but entertaining at least! As for the Dolphins, I think the addition of Brandon Marshall will greatly improve this team. Now they have a legitimate passing threat to go along with the wildcat. The defense is pretty good as well (i.e. I hate the Dolphins and have a hard time complimenting them specifically). It really comes down to how good Chad Henne is, but Brandon Marshall made Kyle Orton look pretty good in Denver. Anyway, I hope the Bills cover the spread or win, but I say the Dolphins should win by 13 points or so.

Atlanta at Pittsburgh
This is one of the most intriguing games of the first weekend. Atlanta has become a sexy pick for a Super Bowl contender, while Pittsburgh is caught in a flux after a decent, non-playoff season last year. For Pittsburgh, it will be interesting to see how Dennis Dixon steps into the starter role for the first of his four games, and how the team responds to Peter King's pick of them as Super Bowl champions. Oh wait, just kidding, Peter King picked that on a "gut feeling" and is full of crap! Otherwise, Pittsburgh's defense is slightly overrated. As for Atlanta, I don't quite believe the hype. Matt Ryan was pretty mediocre last season, as with Michael Turner, and the defense is nothing to write home about. So really, this game features a lot of questions that could be solved in this first game. Eh, I'll pull a Peter King and go with my gut (on a much smaller scale) and take the Steelers in an upset, or at least to cover the 2.5 point spread.

Detroit at Chicago
Since I live in Chicago, I will not escape the build up to this game, even though it is one of the least interesting games of the week. (DA BEARS BEGIN THEIR MARCH TO ANOTHER SUPER BOWL!!!, so sez Chicago fans) The Bears spent a ton of money this offseason on Julius Peppers to shore up the defense, and brought in Mike Martz, the genius of 11 years ago, to ignite the offense, which last year, under Ron Turner, was often stagnant. Jay Cutler, the supposed savior of Chicago, was a huge disappointment last year, leading the league in interceptions and sulky faces. Matt Forte also blew hard last year, pretty much ruining my fantasy team. Asshole. The Bears still don't have any wide recievers (Bears fans have a weird boner over Devin Aromashadu, a third string wide out). And the defense is merely decent, Peppers or not. In their tough division, they will probably go like 7-9. Meanwhile, the Lions are slowing building after their disastrous 0-16 season a couple years back with shrewd draft picks. I think Matthew Stafford is good and he has a big weapon in Calvin Johnson. The defense has the rookie Suh (not even gonna try the first name) and EJ Henderson, but thats about it. They still have some work to do. Still, they're not atrocious. They'll just miss out on covering a 6.5 point spread against the Bears.

Cincinnati at New England
The Patriots are basically those same old Patriots, the emphasis now on "old". This is still a good team, but nothing like the dominating teams of the mid 2000s. Tom Brady is still Tom Brady (a good quarterback), there's still a weird committee of running backs, and they'll have a good offense. On defense, they're pretty banged up on the D-line and weren't great against the pass last year. Also, Randy Moss is already sulking and discontent. I'm sure they'll contend for the AFC East, but it won't be easy. As for Cincinnati, they need to prove that last season was no fluke. Now that T.O. is on the team, along with talented rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham, QB Carson Palmer should have more weapons to throw to and hopefully spur what was a run focused, stagnant offense. Their stingy defense remains from last year. Cedric Benson needs to follow up on his unexpected breakout season to keep the offense balanced. So this is an interesting game, just to see how good the Bengals still are and how the Patriots are holding up. I'll take the Patriots to win by 3, so the Bengals cover the spread.

Cleveland at Tampa Bay
Sorry, did I say Bears-Lions was the least interesting game of the week? I must've been mistaken. This is the worst. The Browns brought in Jake Delhomme as their new QB, so you know things are bad. There is nothing distinctive about this team. Similarly, the Bucs have the same deal. In hell, this game is showing on every TV and Tony Kornheiser is announcing it solo! Anyway, I guess I think the Browns are in a slightly more stable position than the Bucs (I really don't know why), so I'll pick them to win in the upset, or at least cover that 3 point spread.

Denver at Jacksonville
I'm mildly intrigued by this game, not because I think either team will be anything special, but just to see how these teams look. Denver has lost Brandon Marshall to free agency, Elvis Dumervil to injury, and damn good defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, and I don't buy the hype on Josh McDaniels as some boy genius. Jacksonville is a few years removed from being a pretty good team- they have a great running back, an up and comer at WR with Mike Sims-Walker and David Garrard has shown flashes of being a more than competent quarterback. The defense was not great last year, but seem decent enough to stay in games and make some stops. So I'll take the Jaguars to win by more than a field goal, covering the spread.

Indianapolis at Houston
Houston has become everyone's sleeper pick for the playoffs, as they have been for maybe the last 3 years. The defense still doesn't impress me. Still, the offense is very, very explosive, even with only a decent running back in Arian Foster. The Colts are still, year after year, very good. Peyton Manning was fantastic last season (until the 2nd half of the Super Bowl) and seems flustered by almost anything. Their defense is also less than impressive, but still better than the Texans and, with Peyton Manning, they don't have to be that good. I think the spread on this game is wildly low (Colts as 2 point favorites) even with Indy on the road (I'm sure the Texans have a huge home field advantage...not). I'll take the Colts to win by at least a TD.

Oakland at Tennessee
Oakland is another sexy sleeper to be better than awful this year, and there's one I just can't believe. Just because they replaced JaMarcus Sizzyrup Russell with Jason Perfect Average Campbell, does not mean they will win more games. People bring up the fact that they beat something like 4 or 5 teams with winning records. Here's an explanation- those teams played down for a week and weren't expecting the Raiders to be halfway decent. They can't be surprising too many people this year. The Titans were scorching down the stretch last year after a disastrous start to last year and will look to keep that going. With CJ2K and Vince Young, they have an exciting offense (albeit one without a great wide out). On defense, they can be iffy, but they are usually very good. I see them winning this one and covering the 6.5 spread.

Green Bay at Philadelphia
Green Bay is yet another hot pick for a Super Bowl contender, and this is one pick I can believe. Aaron Rodgers is very, very good, and has become an elite QB. He has good receivers and a solid running back in Ryan Grant. The defense is improving by the year, and creates plenty of turnovers (similar to Philadelphia's). Philly, meanwhile, has pulled a Green Bay-ish move by jettisoning Donovan McNabb and putting in Kevin Kolb at QB. He's unproven and hasn't looked good in the preseason (if that matters.... Trent Edwards has looked great!). Still, the offense is full of weapons, and the Defense can create points. Still, I like the Packers in a close game. The Eagles will cover the 3 point spread.

San Francisco at Seattle
Now that Arizona has lost Kurt Warner and likely won't be great, the NFC West is wide open. Most of the experts have pegged the 49ers as the most likely successors of kings of the NFLs weakest division. They have a stingy defense and some weapons on Offense. The major problem I have is Alex Smith at QB. He hasn't shown much of anything yet. They should be good enough to scrape through to a division title. Seattle, however, still seems like a pretty crappy team, even with Pete Carroll as coach. The offense has very few weapons and a not great offensive line. The defense is just as decent. I'll take San Fran to win and cover that spread of 3.

Arizona at St. Louis
Continuing on with the worst division in football, the NFC West, Arizona takes on St.Louis. Poor Larry Fitzgerald. I can't see him being as dominant with Derek Anderson at QB. In fact, this whole offense will probably be pretty decent without Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin. The defense will once again make some plays, but will be nothing special. Still, it should be enough to better the Rams. Sam Bradford has a lot of potential and should be fun to watch, but has not a lot around him, save Stephen Jackson, who just keeps chugging. And the defense will be real bad. So the Cardinals will win and cover.

Dallas at Washington
Dallas is overhyped, once again, so I don't want to spend more time talking about them. They have pretty good offense and defense (NOT SUPER BOWL WINNING QUALITY). Tony Romo puts up big stats in most games, but will throw up a stinker pretty often. Washington has Donovan McNabb but no running game, decent receivers, and an ok defense. When London Fletcher is the anchor of your defense, its not the best sign. The Cowboys will probably roll in this game and get every annoying person to talk them up until they inevitably choke. Dallas wins and covers.

Baltimore at NY Jets
Let me just preface this. I hate the Patriots, Dolphins and Cowboys. But I have a special hate for the Jets. No team is so continually overhyped and talked up than the Jets. And no team is full of such douchebags. Although I will admit that Rex Ryan is fuckin' hilarious. Still, people seem to forget that the Jets backed into the playoffs last year and had Mark Sanchez on a "red light- green light" system before every passing play. He was bad enough to choke away a game against THE BILLS. So let's calm down here. Although the defense is scary good, especially with Darrelle Revis. On the flipside, I really like the Ravens this year. The offense should be prolific with Ray Rice, Joe Flacco and new additions Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmanzadeh. The defense should be good against the run and hopefully better against the pass. While I think the Jets will compete for the AFC East title, they aren't THAT good. The Ravens pull off the win! (Maybe my bias clouds that one a little bit).

San Diego at Kansas City
Ahhh, the late game on Monday Night. I'll probably be able to catch this one after the PAVEMENT CONCERT (!). Anyway, the Chargers will still have their pretty good offense, even without LT and Vincent Jackson, as Ryan Matthews filling in quite nicely. The defense should continue to be opportunistic as usual. As for KC, I think they will be better than people think. While the defense is not great, the offense has some weapons, like Jamaal Charles, who has some serious speed and moves. If Matt Cassel can play competently, they can win some games. In this game, though, I see the Chargers winning, but KC covering the -4.5 spread as underdogs.

So that's that. ITS FOOTBALL TIME.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thank god for balls in college football

As one looks over the slate of games during the first week of College Football season, it cannot be ignored how many cup cakes the big names of college football schedule. For instance, here's just some of the top 10's first week opponents:
1 Alabama vs San Jose State U
2. Ohio State vs Marshall
4. Florida vs. Miami of Ohio
5 Texas vs Rice

and so on and so forth. So it's refreshing to see a team like Boise State, no. 3 in the country, schedule no. 10 Virginia Tech for it's first week game, in Washington DC (close to Virginia Tech) no less. Finally, some balls in college football. While most teams are too scared to schedule quality opponents in non conference play, for fear of dropping in the polls and ruining their chances in the BCS. Boise State, instead, decided to challenge a major conference team in their first week. With this win, they can now be seen as legitimate title contenders. They proved something with their close victory tonight. They are a force to be reckoned with, and deserve to play in the BCS championship in the end, if they can keep up this pace. The major conference teams will have to go through their own conference schedules and survive till then. Even though they started against cupcakes.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Super Cursed, I reckon

I decided to start writing all this blog as a goal set during my senior retreat (class of 2011... having some trouble with something catchy to say with that...) to write every day. So here goes. For some background information, I'm a fan of the Bills, Cubs, and Sabres. I guess I like the Bulls, but the NBA ain't quite my cup of tea. If you don't know, these three teams have won no championships, collectively, since 1908. In my whole 17 years of life, and my dads 53, they have won nothing besides the Bills mid-60s AFL championships. Not only have they never won, these teams are fantastic at making a person believe that they are close. Whether it's Bills-Patriots in last years first Monday Night Football game (or the Scott Norwood Superbowl debacle), the Cubs and the Bartman incident, or the Sabres in the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals (NO GOAL!!! HIS FOOT WAS IN THE CREASE AHHHHHH!!!!!!), these teams know how to lose in such a way that you might just want to give up on these teams. Somehow, I haven't. But one thing is for sure. I have never experienced the ultimate joy of seeing one of my teams win. The Bulls 6 championships? A hazy memory, at best, for me. And that's what I'm waiting for. Till then, I'll keep watching, because I know that feeling will be probably the best of my life. It's long overdue, after all.