Thursday, December 21, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 16

As the playoffs get nearer I am starting to already getting cold sweats over the thought of a football season ending. I love and hate this time of year. Here's this week's picks:

^= home team
Packers^ over the Vikings
What should I expect out of Tarvaris Jackson as the Vikings new QB? It's a mystery. But I do know that the Vikes should have made this move 2 weeks ago. Brad Johnson has been awful the second half of the season and has solidified his washed-up status. Unfortunately, Brett Favre has officially joined Johnson in this sad category. Johnson's QB rating is 71.9 with 9 TDs and 15 picks. Favre has more TDs (17) but 15 INTs as well. And his QB rating is an abysmal 74.9. I'm a Favre fan but I've admitted the truth. Favre loyalists need to come clean as well and admit to themselves that if he was any other QB he would have probably been benched by now. Can he flash some of his old brilliance every now and again? Of course he can. In fact he might do it tonight. But that's all it will be: flashes. His last decent year was in 2004 and I don't see him being consistently good ever again. And please don't blame it on his supporting cast. I'm tired of hearing that one. While it has made it tougher, some of the silly decisions he's made over the past 2 years have nothing to do with who'son the field with him. Favre has flat out played bad. If you can't admit that then you're lying to yourself. Again, I root for Favre, but even if he is awesome tonight it won't change the fact that his season has been decidedly un-awesome. Sad, but true.

Chiefs over the Raiders^
Oakland can't score and thus they can't win.

Bears over the Lions^
Kitna is not a starting QB. Or at least he shouldn't be.

Bills^ over the Titans
I like the way Buffalo is playing. Losman and Evans continue to connect and their defense has been playing tough lately.

Falcons^ over the Panthers
I've lost faith in Carolina. Seems like they have too.

Colts over the Texans
If Manning plays well this should be a rout. Sad thing for the Texans is they have 4 wins so they are probably out of luck for Quinn or Troy Smith in the draft. They can't do another year of David Carr though.

Browns^ over the Bucs
For those who attend this game, I hope it ends up more exciting that it sounds.

Ravens over the Steelers^
Steve McNair hasn't been the difference this year for the Ravens, the defense has. It's again the best "D" in football. Having said that (and at the risk of contradicting myself) if Kyle Boller starts on Sunday this pick changes and goes in favor of the Steelers.

Patriots over the Jags^
The Jags are bi-polar but I I'll take Brady over Garrard any day. Garrard has once again failed to grab the starting QB job by the throat when he's had the chance. Leftwich may not be the answer in Jacksonville, but I don't think David Garrard is either.

Saints over the Giants^
Hopefully the Saints figured out what the Redskins did to them defensively and are prepared to counter-act it (cause you can bet the Giants were taking notes).

Rams^ over the Redskins
I'm mentally done with the Rams for the season, but if they play like they can, this should be a victory.

49ers^ over the Cardinals
Think about this: If Leinart had come out the year he won the Heisman he probably would be the 49ers starting QB in this game.

Seahawks over the Chargers
Not that the Seahawks are basement dwellers or anything but this will be the upset of the day.

Bengals over the Broncos^
Both need the win desperately. I just trust Palmer more than Cutler.

Cowboys^ over the Eagles
I'm as stunned as everyone else over Garcia and his resurrection, but I think the Cowboys at home will have an edge.

Dolphins^ over the Jets
It's over for NY but they sure suprised me (and probably you too) this year.

Happy Holidays everyone. Try not to puke at the in-laws house this year. Not that that's ever happened to me. I'm just saying..

Last week 10-6 (62%)
Overall: 144 -78 (63%)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Iverson to the Nuggets? Where was Isiah Thomas when I needed him?

So what do I (a Utah Jazz fan) think about the Allen Iverson trade? Frankly, it gives me the heebie jeebies. I'm nervous about it. Very nervous. I really didn't see the Jazz having a realistic shot at the division title this year before the season began. I thought Denver would take it and Utah might be able to make a late playoff spot. However, with the way the Jazz have started the season I began to rethink that idea. Then along comes this trade. Sure it might implode. I mean Iverson and Anthony aren't two of your more mature players in the league by any stretch of the imagination. Wildly talented? Yes. But can they co-exist? I hope not. Because like I said, the mere possibility that they can, scares the crap out of me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 15

The picks for this week:

Seahawks over the 49ers
This time last year the Hawks really kicked it into gear and that momentum propelled them to the Super Bowl. They have looked pretty average this year so I'm starting to wonder if they can regain that edge.

Cowboys over the Falcons
Dallas is the better team. Plus the Falcons backfield is decimated right now. They are going to rely on Vick's arm this week. That's usually not a good thing.

Jets over the Vikings
I'm really torn about this one. Both teams surprised me last week with their play (the Jets choked, the Vikes beat the Lions....wait...nix that part about me being surprised about the Vikings performance) . So basically I flipped a coin here.

Saints over the Redskins
I hope the Saints aren't taking this game lightly.

Patriots over the Texans
Exactly what the New England needs to get back on track.

Panthers over the Steelers
Another tough pick. I think Julius Peppers is going to harass Roethlisberger into some mistakes.

Bears over the Bucs
Unless Grossman give this one away, the Bears should rule.

Ravens over the Browns
Baltimore is just too tough.

Bills over the Dolphins
Losman and Evans are on a roll.

Packers over the Lions
I give up on the Lions. I've picked them several times to win and they always fail me. That's probably what Detroit fans say every week.

Jags over the Titans
This week the Vince Young magic is derailed.

Broncos over the Cardinals.
Because of the Broncos defense.

Giants over the Eagles
Garcia actually is playing better than Manning. But I'm going with the home team here.

Rams over the Raiders.
I'm depressed as hell over the Ram's season but I'm not yet willing to concede they're the worst team in the league. However, if they lose to the Raiders I'll be the first to announce the official news.

Chargers over the Chiefs
Bolts want revenge.

Bengals over the Colts
As long as they resist the temptation to win the game entirely through the air (I mean why not run all day long on the Colts?) Cincy should be able to expose what everyone else has.

Last Week: 7-9 (43%)
Overall: 134-72 (65%)

Monday, December 11, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 14

I was only able to catch 3 games this weekend. I saw the annihilation of the Colts defense, the dominance of Ladainian Tomlinson, and the near perfect performance from the Saints offense (flexible scheduling--what a novel idea!).

Saints 42 / Cowboys 17
It's a good thing Philip Rivers has turned out to be the real deal. If he had ended up being another Ryan Leaf the Charger's decision to let Brees go (with the way he is playing this year) would have been one of the worst personnel decisions in the past 10 years. Luckily for both the Saints and the Chargers, things have turned out nicely. In fact it would be pretty cool if these two teams could meet in the Super Bowl. And it would even provide us with a nice little story about QB mentoring. Except for the fact that the media would play that out within 3 days and then we would be ready to throw up at the mere mention of the Brees/Rivers relationship by gametime. But I digress. Anyway, Brees was awesome against the Cowboys and if his receivers are healthy he has a lot of weapons. I actually didn't think the Cowboys were that bad Sunday night. The Saints were just flat out good.

Giants 27 / Panthers 13
NY still has life but the Panthers are now in deep doo-doo.

Ravens 20 / Chiefs 10
I'm guessing that nobody wants to play the Ravens defense when it comes playoff time. As long as McNair can "manage" a game and not lose it for them, this team has to be seen as a legitimate championship threat.

Jaguars 44 / Colts 17
What a butt-whooping this was. This Colts defense is so bad against the run that I have no confidence at all in their playoff hopes. Watching this game you could sense Manning's frustration of knowing that he had to score on every possession or they weren't winning. It's almost a crime that the Colts have failed to significantly upgrade their defense in the past five years. Last year's defense was the closest they have had to something that could be called decent and they have taken a huge leap backwards this year. As far as the Jags go, they shouldn't get too excited about this win considering everything I just said about the Colts. Still, just I said in the pre-season, Maurice Drew is a huge talent and needs to see the ball as much as possible.

Falcons 17 / Bucs 6
I don't see the Falcons making the playoffs. I just don't. Especially if Dunn and Norwood don't recover quickly. Vick is capable of winning another game or two by himself but it's more likely that his usual 150 yards passing and 1-2 turnovers will doom them in the end.

Chargers 48 / Broncos 20
The Broncos are prepping for next year. It's not a travesty this year if they don't make the playoffs. After all they were going nowhere even if they made the postseason with Plummer. It's good to get Cutler the experience and plan on possible run for 2007.
What can you say about Tomlinson this year? After a couple of sub-par years (for him anyway) he is back with a vengeance and is every fantasy owner's wet dream. Also, I think that Rivers is finally understanding how to use Antonio Gates (7 rec, 104 yards, 2 TDs). If the Colts can't make it to the Super Bowl, this is the AFC team I would want to see play for it all.

Dolphins 21 / Patriots 0
Probably the most shocking score of the day for me.

Eagles 21 / Redskins 19
Jeff Garcia has two good games in a row. When did that last happen? Probably back in the days before Terrell Owens was calling him gay and around the time we were wondering what a dude that looked like he came from Ireland was doing with a Latin name.

Titans 26 / Texans 20
-I 'm just imagining the average Houston fan today and their thoughts toward the previous draft. Most of the season we have talked about Bush not being drafted by the Texans but because of the huge popularity of the Longhorns (and Vince Young in particular) in the state of Texas we have probably underestimated how many people felt pissed about the Texans passing on Vince Young. This game only serves to twist that proverbial knife a little deeper.

Vikings 30 / Lions 20
I've got to quit picking the Lions. Why do I keep thinking they can improve? John Kitna was a backup in Cincy for a reason.

Cardinals 27 / Seahawks 21
This game just reinforces for me what a chance the Rams blew this season for a division title. Seattle has been injured, and less than stellar for much of the season. In fact if I think about this any longer I'm going to walk outside and throw myself into oncoming traffic.

Bengals 27 / Raiders 10
The Bengals are on must-win status for a playoff push and as long as they can avoid a 10 player arrest weekend (not out of the question though) they just might make it. By the way just imagine if Sebastian Janikowski had played for Bill Parcells. He probably wouldn't have made it out of pre-season.

Bills 31 / Jets 13
Buffalo is looking much improved the past few weeks. Losman isn't playing badly, Lee Evans is playing like a man on fire, and McGahee has been solid. That was bad news for the Jets who really needed this win. Pennington has got to play better in the remaining games or their postseason hopes are dead (if they aren't already).

Steelers 27 / Browns 7
It says a lot about the Steeler's season (and the Brown's) that they were the only NFL game of the day (Thursday) and they were probably the 3rd story on many sports newscasts that night.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

NFL picks: Week 14

Steelers over the Browns
I'm bored thinking about this game

Falcons over the Bucs
Can Atlanta run over Tampa? Tough game last time and I suspect this one will be close as well.

Redskins over the Eagles
Garcia surprised everyone with the Monday night game but if was a betting man I wouldn't lay anything on that magic happening twice in 6 days.

Giants over the Panthers
Both are desperate. Both of their QBs should be better than they are.

Colts over the Jags
Indy needs to get tough and this is the game to show it.

Patriots over the Dolphins
New England has struggled more than they should but they still are the king of their division.

Lions over the Vikings
Brad Johnson is in a tailspin. Detroit can often be a place to restore lost confidence. But I'm not seeing it this week.

Chiefs over the Ravens
The Ravens should win this but I think Green is healthy now and a field goal will win it.

Titans over the Texans
I believe Vince. I believe.

Bengals over the Raiders
The Raider's defense is much more respectable than their offense so maybe the Bengals won't get a blowout. They should still win comfortably.

Seahawks over the Cardinals
Despite the Cardinal win last week, they aren't fixed yet.

49ers over the Packers
Favre is just going through the motions. He doesn't really want to be there. If they win he's thinking about sticking around. If they lose he sounds really unsure about why he came back. Sounds to me like he needs to retire and end this self imposed roller coaster.

Chargers over the Broncos
The move to Cutler comes too late.

Jets over the Bills
Losman is playing better so even though this should be a win for NY, they can't take Buffalo lightly.

Cowboys over the Saints
I would love to see Brees and Bush dominate this game. But the Dallas D is playing well and Romo is a very confident QB right now.

Bears over the Rams
The Rams defense is the perfect cure for what ails Rex Grossman.

Last Week: 10-5 (66%)

Overall: 127-63 (67%)

Monday, December 04, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 13

You know I just want to make a quick observation about the BCS debacle this year. Even though I would rather watch a Florida/Ohio St. game just to see if the Gators can compete with the Buckeyes, it probably would have been better overall had Michigan got the 2nd slot. Then the SEC would howl again and a major conference like that getting really pissed is what we are going to need for a few years to push the NCAA and college presidents towards a playoff system.

Now for this past weekend's NFL observations:

Cowboys 23 / Giants 20
I can't believe the Cowboys look like the favorite in the NFC right now. I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me that a month and a half ago. But the Cowboys have something the Bears and Seahawks do not right now: Good QB play. Of course Romo is going to be overhyped now because he's on the Cowboys but for the most part QB ratings don't lie. And Romo's QB rating is 102.4 His pass that put the Cowboys in position to kick the go-ahead field goal was a beauty. It makes me want to puke just thinking about it. Martin Gramatica though? I can't believe Parcells thinks Gramatica would be better than Vanderjagt. I mean the "idiot kicker" missed a few kicks this year but there is a reason Gramatica hasn't been able to hold a job the past couple of years. I think Parcells just can't stomach the idea of a kicker making the amount of money Vanderjagt was making. Being an ex-high school kicker (and someone who had a Morten Anderson football card stuck inside my helmet for good luck) I would have to call him a prejudiced son of a bitch. Whew. Glad I got that out of my system. At any rate, even though it is painful for me to say this, the Cowboys look like the team to beat in the NFC right now.

Bengals 13 / Ravens 10
I sure hope the Bengals can make the playoffs. Lets face it, they will be much more interesting than the Chiefs, Jags or Jets. Unless you are a fan of those teams of course. But for the rest of us, the Bengals and possibly the Broncos would be much more entertaining as playoff options.

Chargers 24 / Bills 21
The Chargers are primed for the #1 seed and Tomlinson has solidified his standing as the #1 back in the nation again after sharing (or even losing that title in some people eyes--ok my eyes) to Tiki Barber the last couple of years. He is a TD machine. Merriman is back and his two sacks against the Bills prove there is no rust for him to shake off.

Jets 38 / Packers 10
If NY beats the teams they should (which is the rest of their schedule--Bills, Vikings, Dolphins, Raiders) they will be in the playoffs. That's amazing and a huge surprise for me this season. Mangini ought to be looked at for coach of the year without a doubt. And how about Jerricho Cotchery? The third year WR has made some great catches this season.

Bears 23 / Vikings 13
Wow. Brad Johnson and Rex Grossman had QB ratings of 10.3 and 1.3 respectively. Except that's hardly respectable. It just boggles your mind that both could play as bad as they did on Sunday. If Grossman plays anywhere close to what he did to start the season, the Bears would still be talked about as favorites for the Super Bowl. But if defense wins championships, offenses sure lose a lot of them as well. If Chicago wants to compete in January Grossman better get better in a hurry.

Seahawks 23 / Broncos 20
Damn that Josh Brown. He killed my Rams twice and then he goes and spoils Jay Cutler's debut. Not that he wasn't spoiling it himself. Because he was. He looked bad, cold (of course it was below 20 degrees) , nervous and pretty overwhelmed. We'll see in these next couple of weeks if he can help salvage Denver's season or not. On the other hand the Seahawks are lurking in the NFC. They haven't looked great but if Hasslebeck can take the next couple of games to get back to form then they could be dangerous again in the playoffs. He's the key regardless of how Alexander plays.

Browns 31 / Chiefs 28
I think this loss is going to doom their playoff chances but they could still spoil somebody else's plans. Decent game by Trent Green even in the loss.

Patriots 28 / Lions 21
This is why I think the Patriots can't be written off in the playoffs yet. Brady single handedly won this game with pass after pass in the last two drives. I think he was something like 14 of 15. I still want him on my team if I'm down in the 4th quarter. Of course since I'm a Brady and Patriot hater he'd have to go through some kind of bizarre hazing ritual if he was to join my team. Probably something involving leather dominatrix lingerie, duct tape, and a Barney the dinosaur costume.

Steelers 20 / Bucs 3
I wasn't even remotely interested in this game. Whatever happened to the Carnell "Cadillac" Williams? After an amazing 4 games to start his rookie year he's been non-existent since. I know he's struggled with injuries but still. He sure looks average.

Titans 20 / Colts 17
This would have been a jaw-dropper upset early in the season but the Titans (and Vince Young) have looked pretty decent lately. And we all know now that Indy can't stop anybody's rushing attack. It's going to be the death of them in the playoffs.

Falcons 24 / Redskins 14
The running game is back (256 yards) for Atlanta. It would be cool to see Vick get over 1000 rushing yards this season. He'll never be a complete QB but he's amazing to watch as he flys around the field. I hate to see Dunn get less carries but at his age and with how good Norwood is it's probably for the best.

Jags 24 / Dolphins 10
Jacksonville is the bi-polar team for 2006. They can't decide if they are good or average. It changes week to week and it's going to cost them a playoff spot. Fortunately for them this week they were good again.

Texans 23 / Raiders 14

Saints 34 / 49ers 10
Deuce McAllister had 136 yards, yet Bush gets the headlines. 4 TDs and 131 yards receiving help make that happen. I'm still disappointed with Bush the rusher but there is no denying Bush the receiver is making an impact.

Cardinals 34 / Rams 20
You know, I read Peter King's Monday Morning QB article today and he has some interesting Bill Belichick's quotes that detail the Patriot coach's observations of the Detroit Lion offense. Basically Belichick says it's scary playing a Mike Martz offense because you never know what they are going to do. Yesterday I found myself wishing at times that the Rams new offense had more of Martz in it. I know I have ripped Mike Martz quite a bit (and rightly so--as a head coach he drove me nuts) but he does have some innovative and effective elements of his offense that I think the Rams should try and recapture. And no I'm not talking about taking all 3 timeouts early in the 3rd quarter or leaving your QB unprotected the entire game. Those are things the Lions are welcome to. But the Ram offense is starting to look pretty stagnant and that's a crime with all the talent they have. And defensively? Let's not even go there. They gave up 34 points to the Cardinals. Enough said. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go staple my hand to my desk to ease the pain.

My name is Albert Pujols. I'm a dumb-ass and it's your fault

Albert Pujols is the latest example of an idiot athlete who does something stupid and then wants to point the finger elsewhere. How else to explain his classless and clueless recent comments regarding the MVP debate? As you know, Pujols told media in the Dominican Republic that he felt anybody who didn't go to the playoffs didn't deserve to win the MVP. Specifically he said this: "I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP."

So now that his own words have indicted him as a selfish dumb-ass, he of course is doing some damage control (and failing miserably at it I might add). Now he wants to apologize to Ryan Howard. For what I don't know. He apparently doesn't feel he needs to apologize for his words because even though he said them, he really didn't. Now he says, "I never said he didn't deserve the MVP. He is deserving of that award. He earned it. That's why he got it. I'm not trying to defend myself... ---Check the contradictions here. He said it, but he says he didn't. He's not trying to defend himself yet, he lays the blame for this whole mess at the feet of the media for having the audacity to report his actual words. Feeling he's been unfairly portrayed, he says "The way that came out hurt me big time," "I'm very angry about that." There you go Albert. Now you have Victimology 101 down to a science. Instead of taking responsibility for you own dipshit comments, you are now pissed that they were reported. Hey not only do you defend Barry Bonds (see more stupid comments made this past summer), you've been taking notes. Atta boy.

Friday, December 01, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 13

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we have a new baby in the house now, so my time is limited untill things settle a bit. Thus, I'm just posting picks minus the senseless banter and stupid comments included (stop clapping...I mean it). The only game I won't try to predict the outcome is the Bengal/Ravens game since it already happened (although honestly I would have picked the Bengals --barely because they were home).

Rams over the Cardinals

Bears over the Vikings

Browns over the Chiefs

Chargers over the Bills

Colts over the Titans

Packers over the Jets

Falcons over the Redskins

Patriots over the Lions

Saints over the 49ers

Raiders over the Texans

Jaguars over the Dolphins

Cowboys over the Giants

Steelers over the Bucs

Seahawks over the Broncos

Panthers over the Eagles

Last Week: 12-4 (75%)

Overall: 117-58 (67%)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Baby--Me Crazy!

Sorry about not having any NFL Thoughts posted this past week. My wife went into labor Sunday night and after a grueling 24 hours we finally got a kid to pop out. It's a pretty amazing/gross/exhausting experience. And oh was tough for the wife too. Now I've got 3 kids under 5 years old and I might just have to get on medication...soon. Anyway hopefully I can get some picks and thoughts posted for this coming week. No guarantees though, because Daddy daycare is in full effect right now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 12

I'm having Thanksgiving dinner with the in-law's extended family and I'm pretty sure they don't watch football at all that day. In fact it will be extremely awkward for me to try and turn their tv set on. If I didn't have Tivo I would probably go out and buy a min-set I could sneak in. Conversely, my wife just called to tell me that her friend's family tradition is to plan their whole meal around the day's football schedule. I guess my wife and her were chatting about how ridiculous that was. I said to my wife, "can you get me directions to their house?"

^= home team

Lions^over the Dolphins
Detroit doesn't want to lose to Joey Harrington

Cowboys^ over the Bucs
Lately, Dallas is looking too good to pick against them.

Chiefs^ over the Broncos
This may be the game where Cutler gets in.

Bengals over the Browns^
Palmer is looking much better.

Bills^ over the Jaguars
I shouldn't let last week's brilliant performance by Losman influence me. But maybe the magic will continue one more game. Plus the Jags have been so up and down all season I'm going to bet this is another off-week for them.

Steelers over the Ravens^
This pick doesn't make any sense. So be it.

Falcons^ over the Saints
This is the week that Vick performs well again. Afterwards he'll mock those who would ever question him again. Sorry Mike, I'm already questioning my prediction for your performance this week.

Panthers over the Redskins
Tough year for Washington.

Rams^ over the 49ers
San Fran has owned the Rams the last couple of years but this is desperation time in St. Louis.

Vikings^ over the Cardinals
I'm taking the Vikes because it's a home game. That's it. If they were on the road I'd take the Cardinals.

Jets^ over the Texans
This one will be close. A field goal wins it.

Chargers^ over the Raiders

Patriots^ over the Bears
Let's see how Brady does with decent field now.

Titans^ over the Giants
Tiki Barber has become a whiner. His latest shots aimed at Coughlin add another dimension to the whole "I'm retiring" saga. It's obvious he doesn't enjoy playing under a taskmaster like Coughlin and that probably fuels his desire to leave the game after this season. I wonder if he would be sticking around for another couple of years if he had a coach like Tony Dungy. Food for thought.

Colts^ over the Eagles
The Eagles won't lay down but without McNabb I just don't see a win for them.

Seahawks^ over the Packers
It will be close because Hasslebeck needs to get his timing back.

Last week: 13-3 (81%)

Overall 105-54 (66%)

Monday, November 20, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 11

This week's NFL observations:

Panthers 15 / Rams 0
I'm in denial right now. Lets move on.

49ers 20 / Seahawks 14
Ok I can't totally avoid my worst nightmare, namely the Ram's demise. Even though San Fran has given the Rams fits for the last couple of years I never thought I'd be calling the 49ers the better team just over halfway through the season. But sometimes the truth hurts (and I have the self-inflicted bite marks to prove it). Although I expected Seattle to take the division I really thought they could be challenged this season. I just figured Tory Holt and Mark Bulger would be leading the charge instead of Frank Gore and Alex Smith. Somebody shoot me. Please.

Bengals 31 / Saints 16
As good as Drew Brees is playing this year he had a couple of interceptions yesterday that absolutely killed the Saints. 510 yards is nice for fantasy points but when you throw the ball 52 times it's usually because your trying to come from behind. Meanwhile, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer are back in sync and I'm wondering does that mean "Ocho Cinco" talks more or less now?

Cowboys 21 / Colts 14
I continue to be underwhelmed by the Colts. I would love to see them represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year but it's games like this that just have me wondering if it's possible. Although I do agree with the idea that it's better to get a loss out of the way early rather than going late into the season undefeated. Grudgingly I have to accept that the Cowboy's Tony Romo is playing very well. Regardless of the "first year starter" tag, he's been one of the top QBs in the NFL for the past month and you have to wonder how many wins the Cowboys would have right now had Parcells started the season with him. To be fair though, I think Cowboy Nation and Jerry Jones in particular had to again see how pathetic Drew Bledsoe can be at times in order for everybody to mentally be ok with the switch. Now they're ready to stick with Romo even during his struggles. Even the Pro-Bledsoe camp (basically all the ESPN football analysts) can finally accept the limited ceiling Bledsoe has and believe in the potential of Romo. At any rate, I'm now going to need to stick my head in a toilet after giving this much thought to the plight of the Cowboys.

Chargers 35 / Broncos 27
Isn't it uncanny how many times the Chargers have first and goal inside the 10. Tomlinson's TD records the last few weeks are amazing, but the way most of these touchdowns are coming about is very similar to Shaun Alexander's numerous TDs last year for Seattle. San Diego is consistently giving him opportunities to score shorter TD runs. I'm still dumbfounded by the fact that Gates and other receivers don't have more longer TD catches. The Chargers simply march down the field and then give it to LT. It's nice to have that weapon in your arsenal. And how about Philip Rivers and his very veteran-like performance? If you had to name the AFC's best team right now, many including myself would give that label to the Chargers. On the other hand, the Broncos are a pretty good team also. With the right QB they would be definite Super Bowl contenders. Unfortunately for Denver fans, Plummer isn't that guy. It's a little late to try get Cutler involved now isn't it? To me that's signaling preparation for a Super Bowl run next year. It's the right move but it won't be made.

Patriots 35 / Packers 0
Don't count out the Patriots based on a couple of mid-season losses. They are primed for a stretch run. Also after noticing 49er coach Mike Nolan wore a suit this week I wondered what would it take to get Belichick in one of those? I'm thinking hypnosis, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and some form of blackmail.

Bears 10 / Jets 0
I can't remember a week where this many teams got shut out. This was a fairly ugly game offensively. I know the Jets are a tough team to play this year but the Bear's quality of offense play over the last month has sure quieted the Super Bowl media hype that was coming their way. That's probably a good thing for them in the long run. In my mind they are still the team to beat in the NFC.

Ravens 24 / Falcons 10
At some point I'm going to have to give some credit to this Baltimore team. They're 8-2 and are going to be a threat in the playoffs. They've got some tough games coming up but if they can play the way they have been they could contend for the # 1 seed. They effectively shut down Michael Vick and the rest of Atlanta's rushing game and their offense is no joke anymore. Maybe Jamal Lewis isn't as washed up as I thought.

Bills 24 /Texans 10
Lee Evans was awesome! An amazing 265 yards receiving! Two TDs of 80+ yards in the first quarter! I really like exclamation marks!! So anyway, J.P. Losman looked like the guy they hoped they were getting in the draft (340 yards, 3 TDs). I guess he managed to get hold of some Flutie Flakes for breakfast on Sunday. It's been a while since a Bills QB and receiver had the kind of game Losman and Evans had. Also Losman ought to have a little extra motivation the next time they play the Texans. Texan cornerback, Dunta Robinson said of Losman, "If that had been Peyton Manning you'd expect it. But it was J.P. Losman. That's embarrassing. I hope he doesn't feel too good because we just shot ourselves in the foot." ---Totally true, but bulletin board material all the same.

Dolphins 24 / Vikings 20
What the hell happened to Miami's running game?(Ronnie Brown 12 carries, 2 yards). I know the Vikings are pretty good defensively against the run but that's ridiculous. Now Miami is relying on Joey Harrington's arm? Thing is, Joey is actually playing pretty decent and the Dolphin defense is making some big plays. I'm sure they are ready for a late season run now that will tease us all into thinking they have a chance next year.

Steelers 24 / Browns 20
The Browns just can't catch a break. They play everyone tough but can't make the big plays when needed. Roethlisberger still looks shaky even with the win. Pittsburgh will take it. It's been that kinda year.

Titans 31 / Eagles 13
McNabb's injury really bites on several levels. For one thing, I like the guy. It's hard to hate someone who informs me that soup is healthy and tastes good. Also, how are the Eagles going to keep the Cowboys out of the playoffs with Jeff Garcia steering the ship? It's hard to imagine them finishing over .500 now. Maybe Brian Westbrook cay carry them for a while.
-- Hey nice game by the Titan's Travis Henry (143 yards rushing). He's quietly having another decent season. By the way, how does the Titan's Albert Haynesworth get suspended 5 games for stepping on another players head and yet the Patriot's
Richard Seymour gets off with just a fine. I can't find any video of it and I don't remember any highlights being played so it probably wasn't as drastic as Haynesworth's stomp, but Seymour's comments indicate it was intentional and ultimately isn't that what Haynesworth was busted for?

Bucs 20 / Redskins 17
To be honest, I paid almost no attention to this game other than to check out how Jason Campbell did. And it appears he was not too shabby for a first start. Washington has to be somewhat optimistic about that. The Bucs on the other hand gave us the first sighting of Carnell "Cadillac" Williams in a while. I'm tempted to insert an automobile joke here but I'd hate myself afterward so I won't.

Cardinals 17 / Lions 10
Break out the bubbly. Edgerrin James almost had 100 yards (96) and he averaged over 4 yards a carry! That at least calls for another tooth to be capped in gold right?

Chiefs 17 / Raiders 13
Tell me you were surprised that Aaron Brooks threw that devastating and game ending interception in the endzone after an equally amazing pass that got them in position to score. Anyone? No? I was surfing the web to see if this type of thing is part of his personality. You know, does he alternate like this in all areas of his life? To his credit I found a website for an Aaronbrooks Family Foundation that promotes literacy, youth programs, and relief to hurricane Katrina victims. So kudos, Aaron, it just goes to show that even if you suck at your job, you don't always have to suck at life.

Friday, November 17, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 11

After 6 weeks of the NFL season I had correctly picked 74% of the winners. Since then I've been 28-29 and now sitting overall at 64%. To get back on track I thought about going opposites this week. But every time I attempt to pick the opposite of what I'd normally do I break down and start crying uncontrollably. I knew I shouldn't have gone to see Flags of Our Fathers last night.

^=home team

Panthers^ over the Rams
I've lost some faith in the Rams defense. Can you blame me?

Buccaneers^ over the Redskins
First start for Jason Campbell is on the road. The Bucs are struggling so it's not a bad decision.

Bengals^ over the Saints
I keep picking em and they keep losing. Your welcome New Orleans.

Eagles^ over the Titans
The Titans will play Philly tough.

Chicago over the Jets^
It's up to Rex to make sure the on again off again play doesn't continue this week.

Dolphins^ over the Vikings
According to Sport's Illustrated's Peter King, Nick Saban is a top 5 NFL coach. Apparently Peter doesn't let the whole wins versus losses thing affect his judgement.

Chiefs^ over the Raiders
With the Raiders offense coming to town the Trent Green gamble is easier to make.

Patriots over the Packers^
3 losses in a row? Nah. But I'll tell you this much, two losses in a row would have come a lot sooner had Tom Brady known that was all it took to get rid of the wasteland they called a field in Gillette Stadium (new turf installed this week).

Steelers over the Browns^
The Steelers aren't going to quit. Otherwise Bill Cowher spits in their faces. .....oh wait..

Ravens^over the Falcons
If Vick struggled against the Lion's and Brown's defenses what will happen against the Ravens? Maybe he'll surprise us again. I'm not holding my breath.

Texans^ over the Bills
Carr has a big day at home.

Cardinals^ over the Lions
Mild upset #1

49ers^ over the Seahawks
Mile upset #2. Okay this is one opposite pick I kept in. Everything points to this win for Seattle. It's killing me to do this but I have to make one completely crazy pick this week. Some would say the Cardinal pick is crazy too but we are talking about the Detroit Lions.

Colts over the Cowboys^
Should be a good game.

Chargers over the Broncos^
It's time for the Chargers to assert some division supremacy.

Jaguars^over the Giants
The roller coaster ride continues

Last week: 9-7 (56%)

Overall: 92-51 (64%)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Should I get excited about the Utah Jazz?

As a Utah Jazz fan I'm not quite sure how to take the team's 7-1 start. A couple of years ago they started 6-1 and then ended up having a season from hell. Admittedly, that season did help them land a nice draft pick spot (which they used to trade up to #3 and grab Illinois PG Deron Williams). So do I buy into this year's team or just take a wait and see attitude? I'm cynical by nature so you can probably guess which route I'll take. Not that it hasn't been fun to watch so far though. Okur, Williams and Boozer have been great. The offseason acquisition of Derek Fisher looks inspired. And rookies and other young players have shockingly been contributing. The stubborn and usually hard-headed head coach Jerry Sloan has actually been giving these young guys minutes and even starting them on certain nights (yes that sound you heard was ice cracking as hell just froze over). Rookie Ronnie Brewer started last night against the Clippers, and C.J. Miles, who came straight out of high school a couple of years ago has even started a couple of games.

And amazingly, early season success has come with Andrei Kirilenko not even being able to get many opportunities to shoot the ball. He's only seventh on the team in scoring (less than 8 points a game). How will things change now that he is injured (again)? Who knows? Even though Kirilenko hasn't been scoring, his defense has been fantastic as usual. They'll miss that while his ankle heals. One thing's for sure though, the Jazz are deeper than they have been in years. Still, player health has been an issue in the past and will probably be again (Kirilenko seems destined to be banged up his entire career). Carlos Boozer most of all needs to stay healthy as his rebounding and scoring are critical. Also, I still stick with the belief that the Jazz should have taken Chris Paul ahead of Deron Williams but I am willing to admit that Williams just may become a star in his own right. He seems very much in control for a young guy and willing to take and make big shots.

So anyway, I'm cautiously optimistic about the team's playoff chances this year. If they continue to play like they have been it could be fun year and I just might have to go to a few games. If not then I'll just go back to being the lame fair-weather NBA fan that my wife has come to know and love.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 10

It's a weird world in the NFL. Crazy games. Crazy teams. It's sorta fun to speculate on who has a shot at the Super Bowl isn't it? And when I say fun, I mean I'd rather grab a hot coal from a bon-fire and shove it down my throat. Yep. I'm super excited about the league today. There is nothing like that week where you pull yourself out of your delusional fantasy world and face the ugly realization of A) knowing your team sucks, and B) knowing they won't be in the post-season.

So anyway, back to teams that could be Super Bowl bound (i.e. not my Rams). Nobody looks like a lock do they? The Colts are a good bet on any Sunday but they can't stop the run (and sometimes the pass); the Patriots look strangely vulnerable; the Bears looked good again today but the Cardinal and Dolphin games are still fresh in our minds; and the Chargers were fantastic on offense this week but for supposedly having a great defense they have shown some cracks (even when Merriman was playing). I guess this means the post-season should be entertaining huh? And when I say entertaining I guess I mean it.

I've got some abbreviated thoughts on today's action due to some work issues, so I'm not commenting on every game played. But I do have some senseless drivel that you ought to read anyway.

I'm pretty sure I know what Brady wants for Christmas.
-What's with the Patriot's home field? It's like a run-down high school field. I know the weather was bad today but that place looks crappy on a sunny day. So of course it's going to be a mud pit in wet weather (basically Oct-Dec in New England). What an embarrassment for an NFL team that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Owner Bob Kraft ought to be ashamed of that atrocity. And oh yeah his team has shocked me and now lost two in a row.

(jumping up and down wildly)

Also is Belichick serious with those cut off hoody sleeves? I just whined about some hypocrisy in college football the other day but then Pro Football's dress code double standard rears it's ugly (seriously, hideously ugly) head. So ......the league office will fine some player 5 grand for writing something on his shoes or not putting his socks on correctly but they'll go ahead and let Belichick wear this crap every week without a peep? He ought to be tarred and feathered. Actually that might inspire a new look for him. Never mind. ---Time for the NFL to institute the "Belichick rule" stating that their head coaches need to look better than a guy on the street looking for a 10 dollar hooker. Also are you with me yet that Belichick is a closet serial killer? Watch this guy for more than 5 minutes and tell me he's not chopping people into little bits. When they find his collection in his freezer someday, just remember I told you so.

On again, off again
- Inconsistency is killing several teams. Michael Vick has just got to drive Jim Mora nuts as coach. He single handedly wins and loses games for you. But the Falcons are not alone. The Lions, Jaguars, Packers, Jets, Cowboys, Eagles, Vikings, ---aww hell, just about the whole league---are alternating between looking great one week and looking like...uh....the Cardinals the next next week.

(Big Sigh)
My Rams are done. Or dumb. Either one works. They have had a perfect opportunity the past couple of weeks to make up ground on Seattle and they blew it. When the Seahawks get Hasslebeck and Alexander back they will be in the driver's seat and ready for cruise control until the playoffs. I'm just going to go kill myself now. Don't bother getting up.

Carpe Diem?
See the thing about the Kurt Warner story in 1999 is that when he had the opportunity to pull the rug out from Trent Green, he not only pulled it out but then wrapped Green up in it, tied some 50 pound weights on either end and then threw it in the lake. In other words he grabbed the opportunity and refused to give the coaching staff any other reason to not play him. On the other hand Damon Huard just opened up the Chiefs QB job again with less than inspired play against a scrappy but inferior Miami team. His overall play for the past month will buy some good will but if he does get to start again next week he needs to have a big game.

This point also applies to the situation in Jacksonville. And you know, this isn't the only year people have been clamoring for David Garrard in Jaguar land. Late last year he had a shot to show he was the guy--and didn't do it. Now again Jacksonville fans (and probably some team members and coaching staff) are ready to hand the reins over to him but Garrard has laid another egg--this time against a team they should beat. Houston has played some teams tough this year but Jacksonville is still the better team. If you are going to "Wally Pipp" someone you can't suck. That's the rule.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 10

It's been ugly here for a couple of weeks now in terms of prognostication. So why am I going with mostly favorites again when I keep getting burned by underdogs? Because I'm stupid. Haven't we already established that?

home team=^

Patriots^ over the Jets
New England just doesn't lose two in a row. Or at least they haven't for about 4 years. Plus they own the Jets.

Eagles^ over the Redskins
The Eagles keep disappointing me when I pick them to win. This is the week for them to suck up to me. Suck up but not suck. See the difference?

Falcons^ over the Browns
They're home and they've got a bad team coming to town. If they can't beat the Browns then they're in real trouble.

Chiefs over the Dolphins^
If Miami can beat the Bears they should be able to beat the Chiefs. But consistency hasn't exactly been a strength for Nick Saban's team.

Vikings^ over the Packers
Toss up game. Both quarterbacks have looked alternatively good and bad all season.

Lions^ over the 49ers
Detroit seems to have found their offense. Despite a stellar performance last week I'm pretty sure the 49ers haven't found their defense yet.

Colts^ over the Bills
This would be one of those games they call a "trap" ( I think I'm starting to hate that term). But I don't think Manning overlooks anybody. He's a football geek and reminds me of those nerds in class that want to study 5 hours for a quiz that the teacher already gave away half the answers to.

Ravens over the Titans^
I lived in Baltimore for a year so you'd think I would have developed some sort of affinity for the team. But I really don't like the Ravens and I'm not sure why. Could be because their offensive imagination for years has bordered on the Elmer Fudd level. Could be I just don't like head coach Brian Billick. Come to think of it, it's probably a bit of both. By the way their defense will score again this week and the Titans come up short.

Jaguars^ over the Texans
If the past couple of weeks are any indication , a team like the Texans should beat a decent team like the Jags. I mean they're are bound to be some surprises this week. Why not this one? Maybe because Leftwich isn't playing.

Bengals^ over the Chargers
Palmer will get heat again even with an injury plagued Charger defense. Still I've got to be right at some point when I pick Cincy. This is the week......Maybe.

Broncos over the Raiders^
Just not the rivalry it used to be. I'm pretty sure Shanahan thinks Al Davis is dead.

Cowboys over the Cardinals^
I'm glad Romo took over for Bledsoe. It cut down the T.O. coverage for a week or two to the point that when the Cowboys were discussed, Owens only came up 9 out of 10 times.

Seahawks^ over the Rams
I should be picking the Rams to win this. Hasslebeck's out, Alexander's out and Bulger is playing fantastic. Unfortunately the Ram defense is unfantasticismo.

Steelers^ over the Saints
Pittsburgh is another team I keep picking to win and they keep giving me the middle finger. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment.

Bears over the Giants^
It's a rebound week for Grossman and the Bear defense. Plus the Giants haven't looked good for a couple of weeks now.

Panthers^ over the Bucs
Steve Smith runs wild.

Last week: 5-9 (36%)

Overall: 83-44 (65%)

Friday, November 10, 2006

College Football Hypocrisy

You know why I like the NFL better than College Football? Less Hypocrisy. Take the whole Louisville national championship debate for instance. And yes I'm aware they lost last night. But that only reinforces my point which I'll get to in a minute. Back to Louisville. Before they lost to a very good Rutgers team many people were up in arms with the thought of them playing someone like Michigan or Ohio St. for the title. As Mark Schlabach wrote in a good article on that detailed this hypocrisy , the West Virginia/Louisville game was lambasted for too much offense and not enough defense. Yet the high scoring title game between Texas and USC was an instant classic. Nobody talked about those teams as being less than worthy of being there. Also, a much praised Michigan team just allowed Ball St. to score 26 points on them. Ball St!. Last week, Florida barely beat Vanderbilt. Nobody wants to talk about how unimpressive these games were. Now if Louisville, West Virginia, or Rutgers had barely beat Ball St., then the cry would go out nationally, "they're not worthy"! It's complete crap and I'm sick of it. Even those that were willing to concede Louisville's right to the title game are less than kind about Rutger's right to play for the title. I ask why? If Louisville deserves to be there then if Rutgers beats W. Virginia and runs the table then why the hell shouldn't they get the same consideration? Perception that's why. No history. Not one of the big boys. The Big East doesn't have the same rep as the SEC, Big 12, Big 10, etc. It's all so maddening to me that I sometimes want to wash my hands of the whole thing. I always hear, "well if they were in the SEC there is no way they go undefeated", or "if Florida was in the Big East they wouldn't lose a game". Maybe. But there is no way to know for sure is there? Because college football allows computers and people's opinions to decide who plays for the championship there will never be a way to know! Which brings up another point. If the SEC claims they are penalized for being such a tough conference (meaning it's unlikely that a team will go undefeated), why do they not push for a playoff system? Even an Auburn team that went undefeated a couple of years ago got screwed. Until there is a playoff system that allows teams like Rutgers, Louisville, Boise St., etc. to show if they are worthy, and also lets teams in tough conferences like the SEC prove that they deserve a shot even with a loss , I will continue to treat College Football as an afterthought. Sure the NFL has it's problems. But at least the championship is decided on the field.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mid-Season NFL Thoughts: Part 2

With a decent first half finished, what's in store for the rest of the NFL season?

AFC Dominance
The Patriots will contend with the Colts for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I know the Pats already have two losses but take a look at their remaining schedule. It's cake. They might just go 7-1 or 8-0 the rest of the way. However, the Colts probably won't lose three and even if they do, they beat New England head to head. Bottom line is that these two teams are going to end up with the two best records in the AFC.

Best Division in Football?
-It's going to be a dog-fight finish for the AFC West. The Chargers and Broncos are now dealing with the fact that the Chiefs are nipping at their heels. The Broncos probably have the edge in the schedule from here on out but they still have to play the Chargers twice. It's conceivable that the two that don't win the division could be the Wild Card teams.

On the Ropes
-The Bengals have some serious work to do if they want to overtake the Ravens or even make a Wild Card spot. I think it will come down to the final game to see if that last playoff spot is saved for them or the Chiefs.

NFC--Besides the Bears who is going to step up?
Although it seems the Saints, Giants, and Seahawks have the inside track their with their divisions, the Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Rams, and Panthers are not going to go quietly. I have no idea how this will all turn out, but 5 of those teams are going to the post-season. Chicago seems to have the only lock on their division but if I had to guess I'd say Seattle was the other best bet (even with their injuries...and it pains me to say that as a Ram fan).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mid-Season NFL Thoughts: Part 1

So at the mid-point in this 2006 season what do we know? Well we know the NFL is hard to predict year to year. Take a few players away, add a few players, get some bad luck, have key players underperform, and next thing you know you've got a Super Bowl champ with as many wins as the Raiders. I love this game.

I didn't see that coming: The Buccaneers, Steelers, Bengals, Redskins, Cowboys, and Rams are all doing much worse than I thought they would to start the season. On the other hand the Chiefs and Saints are better than expected.

Disappointing RB: Reggie Bush. His 2.6 yards per carry (207 total rushing yards) without a single rush over 18 yards is not exactly what I envisioned. I figured he'd make more people miss than he has. Sure he's been a good receiver but that's only part of why he was drafted.

Surprising RB(s): On the other hand rookies Joseph Addai (490 yards and 4.7 avg.) and Laurence Maroney 458 yards, 4.3 avg) have been the class of the rookie runners. Maurice Drew (320, 4.6) and even Wali Lundy (309, 4.2) and Mike Bell (305, 4.4) are running better than Bush . Granted they all have been given more carries than Reggie but even so they are still look more impressive.

Disappointing receivers: Chad Johnson and Randy Moss. In Johnson's case, Palmer's struggles are contributing to his lackluster numbers. ---And Moss is maybe the most talented receiver in the game but has lost interest in being a top wideout.

Surprising Receivers: New Orlean's Marques Colston. He keeps this up he will run away with offensive Rookie of the Year. Detroit's Mike Furrey also came out of nowhere.

Surprising Quarterbacks
Damon Huard, and Philip Rivers.

Disappointing Quarterbacks
Roethlisberger, Plummer, Leftwich, & Delhomme have all played much more poorly than I thought they would to this point. Palmer and Culpepper should be on this list as well but I kinda figured one of them, if not both, might end up with injury problems. They did make seemingly miraculous recoveries. And if Palmer's knee is healed, his head certainly isn't.

Disappointing Defensive player:
I thought Dwight Freeney would be more of a force this year. He just isn't getting to the QBs like he used to.

Surprising Defensive player:
Green Bay's Aaron Kampman has 9.5 sacks. Maybe it's because I don't follow Green Bay religiously but I have no idea who this guy is. And he's been in the league 5 years.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

NFL Thoughts: Week 9

Another week in the NFL has baffled me. The Bears lose at home to a 1-win team. The Vikings allow less than 10 points to a 2-win team and still manage to lose the game. Umm...ok. Whatever. The motto for the league ought to be, "Don't bet on us"!

Thoughts for the week's action:

Chiefs 31 /Rams 17
Bulger played great again. The defense stunk again. How long must Ram fans suffer these defensive collapses? Also, despite Ram fumbles helping the Chiefs dominate the first half, the refs helped give away the game for good in the second half. Isaac Bruce was flagged for a bogus offensive pass interference that negated a 3rd down conversion as the Rams were driving to tie the game up. Next Chief possession, they flag the Rams defensive back for a bogus defensive pass interference. Both replays showed they were blown calls. Game, set, match. The Chiefs go on to score again and the game is over. It's tough enough to win when you dig your own hole but when the refs go ahead and shovel dirt on top of you it's impossible.

Redskins 22 /Cowboys 19
Bill Parcells said in a post-game interview (about their failed two point conversion attempt early in the game) that he goes by a chart to plan out his two point conversion attempts. Chart? I just want to know who this genius is that came up with this "chart". Probably the same guy that gave former Ram coach Mike Martz tips on calling time outs. Two point conversion chart? It's the most moronic thing I have ever heard of. Any sane person should know that you don't go for two points until the 4th quarter when you know you will need them. Still, the Cowboys lost partly because of this, so despite being bugged by the fact that a future hall of fame coach making millions of dollars should know better, I'm giddy with the thought that the Parcells might use the "chart" the rest of the season.
Dallas won't feel any better about it but it's a fluke win for the Skins. Terrell Owens, dropped a sure TD pass (keep em coming dorkwad) and Vanderjagt's blocked field goal at the end followed by a face mask penalty (another gift by the refs who should have awarded five yards for it but inexplicably gave them 15 yards---and the win) ensured another victory for a team that didn't deserve it. ---Somehow I'll fight through the injustice of this one.

Dolphins 31/ Bears 13
So I guess Chicago was teasing us last week with another blowout win and a great game by Grossman. Now we know the Cardinal game wasn't just a fluke. 2 out of the last 3 weeks the Bears defense has looked pretty average and Rex G. has looked like Aaron Brooks. It's not time to panic but it is time to stop printing those Bear Super Bowl champion t-shirts. For now.

Giants 14 / Texans 10
How do the Giants keep winning ugly like this? If style points were required for victories, NY would have as many losses as wins.

Colts 27 / Patriots 20
This was weird for me to watch. Pleasantly surprising-- but weird. I expected much more running from Dillon and Maroney. Oh sure they gashed the Colts for quite a few 5+yard runs but I kept expecting the 20 and 30 yard breakout runs. I also expected Brady to outplay Manning, but Payton showed that he is the reason Indy is 8-0. He is the MVP of the league. Nobody is more important to their team in my opinion. If he ever has a bad game they'll lose because their defense isn't good enough to bail him out. So considering that I'm a "glass is half empty" kind of guy when it comes to the Colts, I'm still skeptical that they can make it to the Super Bowl with that D. By the way how weird was that to see Vinatieri miss two field goals in a stadium where he made so many? What's up with that? Perhaps he is secretly still on Belichick's payroll. Or maybe Belichick did some Manchurian Candidate type brainwashing before he let him go. It's possible.

Saints 31
/ Bucs 14
Drew Brees is perfect for a "west coast" attack. He excels in the short to mid-range throws and he manages a game really well. Sometimes that west coast style can bug me but when it works how can you knock it? No rushing attack? No problem if your passing game doubles as a running game as well.

Chargers 32 / Browns 25
Not as close as the score indicates but still not a banner game for the Bolts. Too many penalties and too many stalled drives. Still Tomlinson was awesome. Again. And Rivers was efficient enough for the win. Considering how several good teams lost when they shouldn't have over the last two weeks, I'm ready to cut San Diego some slack.

Broncos 31 / Steelers 20
Did you hear that? That was the sound of a Super Bowl champion team crashing and burning. Also in the distant background you can make out the faint sounds of a QB controversy. Listen, it's kind of catchy. Charlie. Charlie. Charlie. When the call goes out for Charlie Batch to start for your team you know it's time to throw in the terrible towel. Pittsburgh might scrape back to .500 by the end of the year, they may even go on a bit of a winning streak for 4 or 5 games, but there is not a chance in hell they catch the breaks like they did last year and make the playoffs.

Lions 31
/ Falcons 14
I recorded this one to see if Vick could keep up his all-world play on the ground and the air. He got half of it right. Still he didn't lose this game by himself. The Falcon defense got shredded by Kitna and Kevin Jones. Quit cackling Mike Martz. I mean it. Stop it. Anybody have a shotgun?

Bills 24 / Packers 10
When Green Bay turns the ball over a lot they always lose. End of story. Favre has to have mistake free games from himself and his teamates to win. Nice game though by Ahman Green and Donald Driver.

49ers 9 /Vikings 3
Yeah. Capture the magic.

Jaguars 37 / Titans 7
Vince Young throwing the ball 36 times doesn't bode well for Tennessee. Meanwhile Jags QB, David Garrard played well enough that he should probably start the next game. And Byron Leftwich should keep his trap shut and realize that he's in a good spot. He's recovering from injury and the backup guy is always liked more. So as soon as Garrard struggles, he's sitting pretty. Unless Garrard doesn't struggle. Then he's screwed.

Ravens 26 / Bengals 20
Second straight week Palmer is outplayed by an inferior passer. That's embarrassing. The Bengals are bad on defense, bad on offense and receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh did act like a little baby out there on that final 4th down play for Cincy. But to be fair it was absolutely a pass interference that should have been called and it did cost them the game. Another blown one by the refs. That's at least two games today possibly decided by a referee messing up calls on pass interference plays. Still, just like the Rams, the Bengals really should be playing better than this and if they really want to point the finger they better pull out a mirror. They've sucked.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 9 & a rant about Louisville

Just a quick note about last night's West Virginia/Louisville game. Great game. Loved it. Tons of offense and very exciting players. Pat White, Steve Slaton, Brian Brohm are future NFL players and are as good as anybody in the country. The two team's defenses? Not so much. But to say Louisville couldn't compete or even beat Michigan or Ohio St. is flat out stupid. I would think it would be a game just like this where both offenses march up and down the field at will. If Louisville wins out they deserve to be playing for the national title. Ok then. Now that I've said my peace here's the NFL picks for the week:

^= home team
Rams^ over the Chiefs
Sure the Chiefs and Larry Johnson are playing well lately, but the Rams are at home and that's the kicker for me. They'll get shredded again against the run but Bulger is playing well enough that the Rams will outscore the Chiefs.

Giants^over the Texans
It's time to stop talking about Tiki Barber's retirement and start talking about how well he's playing. He and Brandon Jacobs are enough of threat that Eli Manning can occasionally hit a receiver.

Jaguars^ over the Titans
Leftwich or Garrard? Doesn't matter because the defense will win this game.

Bucs^ over the Saints
Tampa will surprise another team. This time it will be Brees and the boys.

Cowboys over the Redskins^
I really want to pick against the Cowboys on the road this week but the Redskins haven't given much reason for optimism this year.

Bears^ over the Dolphins
Another mauling.

Bills^ over the Packers
Tough one to call. I'm going with Buffalo at home.

Bengals over the Ravens^
The Bengals get back on track by beating a tough defense.

Falcons over the Lions^
Does Vick continue to impress? Against the Lions I say yes.

Vikings over the 49ers^
I want to say the 49er defense is going to improve. But that would be stupid.

Steelers^ over the Broncos
A week more to clear the cobwebs and Roethlisberger ends up giving the Broncos their second straight loss.

Chargers^over the Browns
Over before it starts.

Patriots^ over the Colts
Game of the week of course. It's the Colt's run defense that will finally kill them. Maroney and Dillon will rack up huge yardage and Brady will get the best of Manning again.

Seahawks^ over the Raiders
Raider resurgence? Maybe not.

Last week: 8-6 (57%)

Overall: 78-35 (69%)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

NFL Thoughts:Week 8

Here's what I thought about this week's action:

Chargers 38 / Rams 24
As a Ram fan this game was a painful reminder that their defense is still an Achilles heel. They couldn't stop the run at all and Rivers passed the ball effectively when he needed to. Still, despite my team getting spanked, I'm strangely optimistic. I consider the Chargers one of the better teams in the league and yet the Rams were able to still move the ball on them. And you know who Bulger reminds me of? Drew Bledsoe. No not the dude in the visor that's standing on Dallas' sidelines, but the early version in New England that picked apart defenses. Like that younger Bledsoe, Bulger is immobile but fairly accurate and a has good pocket presence. Which means of course the Rams better enjoy his production while it lasts. Charge QB Philip Rivers has that same feel behind center but obviously has more mobility. I continue to be impressed with him.

Colts 34 / Broncos 31
I'm sure all of Denver was saying the same thing I was when the Bronco's Mike Bell broke that big run and they went down and scored their last TD in this game. --- "Scored too fast, left too much time for Manning". So of course Manning carved them up and set Vinatieri up for the game winner. Best game of the day to watch in my opinion. Plenty of Manning to Reggie Wayne (10 rec, 138 yards 3 Tds) --which is nice to see because he really is nearly equal to Harrison in talent---plus like Harrison he seems like a nice guy. Also plenty of camera shots of Mike Shanahan giving us the usual creepy eyes --- an added bonus during Halloween time. The Broncos have to kick themselves over this one because Plummer played great (for the first time all season), and their running game shredded the Colt defense (not a shocker). Had their defense played up to par they win this in a laugher.

Falcons 29 / Bengals 27
If Vick keeps this up he and his Falcons may just be back on my "must Tivo" list. I don't think it's a stretch to say that Vick is on fire. He has never had two weeks like this his entire career (7 passing TDs). This is the QB we thought we were getting when the hype began 5 years ago. He was going to revolutionize the position as a threat with his legs and arm. Somewhere between balls being thrown at guy's feet or overthrown by 15 yards that promise got a bit waylaid. Now it's back and what are we to think? Is it all just a big tease before he crashes back to his one-dimensional self? Since I'm really not a Falcon guy, I don't give a crap. But as a football fan I'll enjoy it while it lasts.
Seriously though would you have bet Vick would have a better passing day than Palmer?

Cowboys 35 / Panthers 14
We would be silly to write the Panthers off this season but they sure are a weird team so far aren't they? They gave the Cowboys a little help with all their mistakes but still I'm mildly impressed with the performance of Tony Romo. He's mobile and made some nice throws. If he turns out to be decent the rest of the season and helps send Dallas to the playoffs I may just have to stick my head in a blender.

Ravens 35 / Saints 22
It's no surprise that Reggie Bush didn't break out against the Baltimore defense. Still his rushing stats for the season are a real disappointment so far. If he ends up as just a receiving threat from here on out then he won't be quite the steal of the draft that New Orleans thought he was. The worst thing about this win is that now Raven coach Brian Billick's already inflated ego just got bigger. I'm not buying the offensive genius tag he got years ago in Minnesota. His Baltimore years have effectively popped that balloon. So the fact that they scored 35 this week doesn't exactly have me quaking in my boots if I'm playing them next. Also, if you tell me that you think Jamal Lewis is back to his old self then I'd have to call you a liar. Not to your face of course.

Raiders 20 / Pittsburgh 13
So that's a little weird. Oakland just beat the Super Bowl champs. The Raiders starting QB, Andrew Walter, was 5 for 14 and an interception. That's right. 5 complete passes. Stew on that one for a minute Pittsburgh. After looking fantastic last week (at least until he looked not so fantastic being carried off the field) Roethlisberger played like he couldn't remember his own name let alone the playbook. Yes that was the Raiders you lost to Ben. No I didn't stutter. Yep, the one with Art Shell coaching.

Bears 41 / 49ers 10
I guess Grossman is not one to dwell on the past is he? After one of the worst QB performances I've ever seen (last week), Rex returned to his 06 form and torched the 49er defense. That is if you want to call what they had out there as 'defense'. The 49er offense is slowly coming along but their defense is definitely a long way from competing. Chicago meanwhile still boasts a ferocious "D" and as a team they are the class of the NFC.

Giants 17 / Bucs 3
Plaxico Burress and his one handed TD snag was the catch of the day. Everything else about this game was forgettable.

Packers 31 / Cardinals 14
So when does Dennis Green get canned? Soon? The end of the season? Leinart's game against Chicago was such a tease. Now he's had two straight crapola games. Bummer for him. Meanwhile, I love that Packer RB Ahman Green had another good game. And who the hell is Vernand Morency? All he did for the Packers was average 9 yards a carry on his way to 101 yards. If Favre can get that kind of running game consistantly then the Packers are back in business. ----Of course it was Arizona. And they suck.

Chiefs 35 / Seahawks 28
Gracias K.C. That was a much needed Seattle loss for Ram playoff hopes. They kept me guessing though after they decided to make it interesting in the 4th quarter. Still, how about the backups QBs in this game? Huard's been playing like a starter this year (continues to amaze me) but Seneca Wallace showed some good instincts out there as well. He made some dumb mistakes but overall Seattle has to be encouraged by his play. They will need that in the next few weeks. Seattle is still a very good team. They are hurting with injuries right now but I'm not counting them out yet. If they can survive a couple of game without their stars they'll be primed for a stretch run. Damn them.

Jaguars 13 / Eagles 6
Was this as ugly as that score sounds? How have the Eagles fallen so low after a great start to the season? I'm baffled by their poor play. I know Garrard is going to get support to supplant Leftwich as the Jags QB but I'm not convinced he would be the answer either. He's had plenty of opportunity to impress before and he just seems to have valuable backup written all over him. But if your backup is better than your starter ( a real possibility in Jacksonville) then what do you do? Anyway, nice game by Fred Taylor (15 carries 103 yards) and another great game by the Jags' defense.

Titans 28 / Texans 22
Didn't watch a lick of this but apparently the Sage Rosenfel era has started in Houston. I mean has David Carr ever thrown 3 TDs in 17 minutes before? Start looking over your shoulder dude.

Browns 20 / Jets 13
Maybe I was wrong when I called Plaxico Burress' grab the catch of the day. The Jet's Chris Baker sure made a heck of reception at the end of this game. And I do think it was a reception. He would have come down in bounds in the endzone if he hadn't been pushed out. Terrible call by the refs that screwed the Jets. This is one of those stupid things that need to be fixed in the rulebook. Because it's a judgment call it's not reviewable. Say what? This seems like a classic example of what should be reviewable. What the hell is replay for if not to help calls like this. Time for a rule change.

Friday, October 27, 2006

NFL Picks: Week 8

Lots of games I'm interested in this week. Bengals/Falcons, Saints/Ravens, Chargers/Rams, Colts/Broncos are the ones that will be "must watch" status for me. Last week's picks didn't turn out so well (under 50% right) but I'm ready for a comeback. Without further adieu then:

^=home team

Bears^ over the 49ers
Was last week's game a hiccup for Grossman? The Bears should now know that you can't take any team lightly.

Bengals^ over the Falcons
Vick looked good last week but I'm taking Cincy at home.

Packers^over the Cardinals
So which Cardinal team will we see this week, the one that should have beat the Bears or the one that made the Raiders look playoff worthy? I'm going with something in between.

Titans^ over the Texans
Vince gets his revenge for draft day snubbing.

Seahawks over the Chiefs^
I never thought whether or not Damon Huard started would affect how I picked a game. I was wrong. If Huard plays I'm going with the Chiefs. But if it's Croyle as the starter against Seneca Wallace for the "Hawks" then is Larry Johnson the deciding factor? I say no. Seattle wins in the battle of the backup versus the backup to the backup. Still I'll check in on Saturday and see if Huard's status has been updated. If he plays this pick changes Saturday night.

Saints^ over the Ravens
This will be another tough test for the Saints. Brees can't make mistakes or this will be a battle of field goals that they may lose.

Giants^ over the Bucs
I don't think Tampa's luck continues this week.

Eagles^ over the Jags
Speaking of luck, the Eagle's mojo has to change right? How do they keep losing on the last play of the game? The Jags have been decimated by injuries and it's going to hurt them again.

Chargers^ over the Rams
Why am I picking against my team this week? Merriman wants to work out some roid rage frustration, that's why.

Steelers over the Raiders^
Even if Charlie Batch were to play I'd still make this pick.

Jets over the Browns^
I haven't seen anything in the Browns this year to make me believe in them.

Colts over the Broncos^
Defense versus offense. Considering the Colts are on the road I should probably go with the defense. But I won't.

Panthers^over the Cowboys
It's a good time to play the Cowboys. They are still a good team but it will take a few games for Romo to get settled.

Patriots over the Vikings^
The Vikings came through for me last week against the Seahawks. Can they do it again against another team I despise? I hope so but I just don't pick against the Patriots very often. It's easier on my psyche.

Last week: 6-7 (46%)

Overall: 70-29 (70%)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mid-Week NFL Thoughts

Random thoughts floating around in my noggin:

--Romo over Bledsoe? Who cares. As long as the "Boys" lose and I get more camera shots of Jerry Jones ready to cut his own fingers off, I'm good. A nervous and distraught Jerry Jones is much less creepy than a giddy Jerry Jones. Trust me on this one.

--I'm a semi-Charger fan but even so, Shawne Merriman's steroid defense is sounding lame. Aren't you sick of the "I didn't read the label on my supplement" defense? Can somebody please be a man and just admit they cheated and got caught? It's not hard. I mean I admit it when I get caught doing something stupid. On Sunday I snuck out of a church meeting and caught the second half of the Colts game. I got busted by the wife and totally took the heat like a man...or at least I didn't buckle at the knees and break into tears. That came later. Still you get the point. I told her the truth-- " I like football more than church". I even felt better after saying it. See Shawne, other than the fact that millions of dollars are on the line, our situations aren't so different. Come clean brother, come clean.

--I don't agree with or even want to read everything Peter King writes (anyone remember the dissertation on his bowel movements?) but Mr. Starbucks does occasionally write something that strikes a harmonious chord with me. His article on Monday discusses Giant Running Back Tiki Barber in detail. Specifically he calls Barber the best back in the land since 2004 and lays out a statistical chart to prove it. The Ladainian Tomlinson apologists are up in arms I'm sure over this. You hear over and over L.T. being called the best running back in football. It's sacrilege to suggest otherwise. After all, every announcer including Joe Theismann declares it to be so. Now I'm a big fan of Tomlinson and I agree that he is a great one, and even was the best back in football for a couple of years. Those years being 2002 and 2003. But bottom line, Barber is just as multi-talented, just as important to his team and statistics aside (although they are better too) he has been the better RB since 2004. So I think Peter King is right when he talks about Barber's place in football. But as alluded to earlier, I also think Peter King needs to lay off the Triple Grandes a bit more. Not only do I not want to know where he took his last dookie while he was on a plane but I also don't really care for his opinion that it makes sense for Tiki Barber to retire after this season. The idea is that we should all respect somebody's decision to walk away at the top of their game especially if that someone happens to be a banner human being with limitless potential in other areas. Screw that. It upset me when Barry Sanders retired, it angered me when Michael Jordan retired (the first time) and I'm pretty sure it would have pissed me off if I had been alive when Jim Brown retired. So while I don't put Tiki Barber up with those guys in terms of talent or career impact, he's still too damn good to retire. Some guys hang on too long and it's sad to see but I think it's a sin to leave when you're the best. At his age he's got another season or two left in him and then a whole life of living rich and sipping coffee on the broadcast set with King Latte.
---Of course I'm a selfish football fan and admittedly not worried about his health in those years ahead of him. Damn him for being so concerned about how he's going to get out of bed in ten years. I hate you Tiki Barber.......And I love you. -----I promised myself I wouldn't cry about this. Where are those freaking tissues when you need one?