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.