Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Pro Bowl Rosters- Offensive Skill Positions--What They Got Right & Wrong


QB: Brady and Manning were fantastic this season (again...we are spoiled to have 2 of the greatest QBs ever playing the position right now) and their spots need no explanation. However, due to what Manning has done in terms of switching teams and coming back from an even more horrific injury than Brady had to deal with (knee), it needs to be said that Manning's year is the most impressive of all the quarterbacks in the league. The selection of Schaub for the Pro Bowl could be debated but it's not a serious debate. Roethlisberger, Dalton, Flacco, and Andrew Luck are probably the only serious contenders for this position yet none have guided their team to as good as a record and really have no better numbers than Schaub. Luck has lots of interceptions but is in the picture because of his late game heroics, the fact that he is a rookie standout, and the impressive job he has done of guiding a terrible team to a playoff spot. Even with the interceptions, Luck probably has the best reason to feel snubbed. Palmer and Rivers have decent numbers but many of those numbers have been compiled in garbage time or in games without much meaning. Each have made critical mistakes that have cost their teams multiple games.
Analysis: They got all 3 selections right. 

RB: The only slam dunk in this conference is Jamaal Charles. If the Chiefs had a better team and if Adrian Peterson wasn't grabbing all the attention for coming back off injury with maybe the best year ever by a running back, Charles would be the story of the year at the position. He's probably going to end the year with over 1500 yards and with nearly a 5.5 yard per carry average His team has played from behind a lot and yet he still gets serious yards.  Arian Foster's spot on the all star roster is hard to argue with due to his TD numbers (14) and his yardage (1300 +) yet I think his numbers are bloated due to a better offensive team that puts him close to the goal line a lot and the numerous carries he gets. He has around 80 more carries than Chris Johnson and over 100 more carries than C.J. Spiller and yet they each have around 1100 yards compared to Foster's 1300 or so. Steven Ridley has great numbers as well for the Patriots and Ray Rice had another solid year with similar numbers to Ridley, Johnson. Still, C.J. Spiller is the guy who stands out after Charles and I believe he was robbed of a justified position on this Pro Bowl Roster. He has similar numbers in yards to Ray Rice (who was selected) but he has a 6.5 yard per carry average with twice the number of 20+ yard runs and only 3 fewer TDs. It seems Rice got in on reputation this year rather than production. He was no slouch to be sure, but after Charles, Spiller was the most feared back in the AFC this year and deserves the spot.
Analysis: 2 out 3 ok, but Spiller was robbed. 

Andre Johnson, A.J. Green, Reggie Wayne, and Wes Welker are all worthy picks. Johnson and Green are "no question" all stars but you could make a case for Demaryius Thomas over Welker or Wayne. But how do you leave off the team the guy (Welker) who led the conference in receptions (110)? Well, you ask which player was more impressive this season out of Welker, Thomas, and Wayne. Thomas and Wayne answer the bell in that category. In comparison to Welker, Thomas and Wayne both had more yards, a higher yard per catch average and over 20+ catches of 20 yards or more. Welker had 11.  Despite a stellar season again, Welker is only the 5th best receiver among this lot and should unfortunately be left off the roster.
Analysis: Switch Denver's Thomas for New England's Welker and all would be well. 

Brandon Myers, Dennis Pitta, Jermaine Gresham, and Owen Daniels all had solid years but the selections of Rob Gronkowski and Heath Miller are good ones. Gronkowski only played in 10 games and maybe that should disqualify him but despite that he had slightly overall better numbers than the other tight ends except Miller. Imagine what Gronk would have done with another 4 or 5 games on his resume.
Analysis: No arguments.


QB: Yards apparently don't mean as much this year. Drew Brees, Mathew Stafford, and Tony Romo lead the conference in yardage but none were selected. And I think it's true that Brees and Stafford really didn't have great years despite the yardage. They played from behind a lot and in the case of Brees I think not having his coach around and having to make up for a terrible defense led to a down year for him personally. Many QBs would kill for his down year. 4700+ yards passing, 39 TDs, 62% completions. Those are great numbers. And yet I'll bet Brees wouldn't argue that Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, and Robert Griffin III had better seasons.  Ryan had 4,400+ yards and 31 TDs and a passer rating of 100. Granted, passer rating isn't always the best measure for QBs (see Andrew Luck)  but check out who's at the top of the ratings each year and you'll notice most of the good QBs have high ratings. Rodgers has the highest rating this year with 106.2, with 3,900+ yards and 35 TDs. With teams that also did well, Rodgers and Ryan had great personal years. Griffin may be debatable for the Pro Bowl since Romo has led his team to the exact same record, has 7 more TDs than the rookie and 1,500 more yards passing. He does have more interceptions and a lower rating and it's really the excitement level that gives Griffin the edge. Romo and Griffin had comparable years in many ways but Griffin had the wow factor. In fact, rather than Romo it may be Russell Wilson that has more of an argument to challenge Griffin on the all-star roster. The Seattle rookie has done many of the things that Griffin has in terms of being new to the league and producing some great wins and memorable plays. Pete Carroll clearly made the right choice on his QB and Wilson may end up being the best rookie of the class down the road. It will be fun to watch what happens in the years to come.
Analysis: Good choices with Griffin slightly debatable. 

RB: Adrian Peterson has me setting my DVR each week just so I can watch him. I could care less about the Vikings but I figure Peterson will do something awesome each week. He didn't disappoint. He has nearly 1,900 yards with a chance for over 2,000 and the possibility of breaking Dickerson's record in his last game. That tells you all you need to know. He has had one of the best years ever for a running back. His TDs are down (11) but that's the result of an offense that doesn't get him close to the goal line much. He has to do his damage from afar. And boy did he. He has a 6 yard per carry average and and his number of 20+ yard runs is amazing. He had 23 of these type of runs. C.J. Spiller was 2nd with 12. He had 11 more than anyone else!
   Marshawn Lynch is a no brainer for the Pro Bowl as well. He's 2nd in yardage to Peterson (nearly 1,500 yards) and he just runs through and around defenders. They call him the Beast and it fits.
Frank Gore had a great year (1,100 yards, 4.8 yard per carry) but this is definitely a controversial pick. Alfred Morris had a fantastic rookie season with more yards than Gore (1,400+) and a yard per carry average that was similar (4.7). They both have 7 TDs and have been critical for the success of their team. Gore seems to get the nod due to experience and reputation. Even rookie Doug Martin has some better numbers (1,300+ yards, 9 TDs) and a respectable 4.5 yards per carry.
Analysis: Peterson and Lynch are obvious selections but Morris should get the call instead of Gore.

WR: Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the league and is pretty much unstoppable.  His numbers are ridiculous (1,800+ yards, 117 receptions). He has 39 receptions of over 20 yards. The next closest guy in the conference was Vincent Jackson with 23. If it wasn't for Megatron's year we would be talking about Brandon Marshall more (1,400+ yards, 11 TDs). Marshall is a great talent and if he has his head on straight (which he doesn't always have) he is one of the best in the business. Johnson and Marshall are easy to call for this roster but the next two selections of Victor Cruz (82 receptions, 1,040 yards, 9 TDs) and Julio Jones (76 receptions, 1,142 yards, 10 TDs) are more debatable. They had great years but Dez Bryant's season was better than both of these guys (88 receptions, 1,311 yards, 12 TDs). Next to Calvin Johnson, Bryant may be the most feared guy in the league when he's on. Even Roddy White has a better case than his teammate Julio Jones as White has more catches (87) and yards (1,309).  Vincent Jackson also has a case here as he is 3rd in the conference with 1,300+ yards. He didn't have as many receptions (66) due to a more inept offense but when he caught them, he caught them deep (19.3 yards per catch....3 more yards than his closest competition).
Analysis: Johnson and Marshall are automatic but Cruz and Jones should be replaced with Dez Bryant and Roddy white.  

TE: Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, and Jimmy Graham were the class of this conference. Witten had 103 receptions and over 900 yards. Gonzalez had over 800 yards and 88 catches. Jimmy Graham could make a case for the roster with nearly as many yards as Gonzalez and the same number of TDs (8) but he has about 10 receptions less. With nearly identical numbers to Gonzalez, Graham deserves consideration but not the nod. Tony Gonzalez has said he's done after this year. He's crazy. He should play at least a couple of years more and see if he can't get a ring.
Analysis: Good picks. 

Overall: Fun to debate the picks but the actual game is a joke and I won't be watching. A football all-star game doesn't work because to play it competitively and make it watchable you also create a game where the risk of injury is too great. Nobody wants to see Adrian re-injure his knee or Payton Manning end his career with another neck injury over a meaningless game. They should just do skill competitions and call it good.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 16

Falcons over the Lions
It's hard to pick Detroit these days as they finish up an absolute trainwreck of a season. Way too much talent for the results they've put up. They've been undisciplined and unorganized and that's amcoaching issue as much as it is the player's fault. Silver lining in Calvin Johnson who may not be the TD machine he was last year but he's still the best receiver in the league. He might break Jerry Rice's total receiving yardage record, and even in the pass happy NFL of today that's a fantastic accomplishment.

Cowboys over the Saints
The Saints are playing for pride now and won't lay down for anyone, But the Cowboys are still in the playoff hunt and that may give them the edge.

Packers over the Titans
I love Randall Cobb's moves and James Jones' hands. They've played well enough that injuries to Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings haven't been as as painful as expected (at least to the team...because I'm sure the actual injuries sucked pretty bad for the players). If they can get all of these guys going at the same time they could be unstoppable.

Colts over the Chiefs
Good test for Indy. Need to beat these types of teams. Handily.

Dolphins over the Bills
Middle of the road teams like this year after year in the AFC East are one of the reasons why the Patriots have no competition for the Division title....ever. The other reason would be Tom Brady.

Chargers over the Jets
If the Chargers can't beat the Jets with NY playing their 3rd string QB then they are truly hopeless.  On second thought though, this 3rd stringer could easily have been the 1st team QB all year long. And who am I kidding, the Chargers, win or lose this week are definitely hopeless.

Redskins over the Eagles
Very impressed with Alfred Morris this year. The Redskin rookie RB has been solid and at times very good. I also like the backup running back for the Eagles (Brown), who if he can hang onto the ball a little better, deserves some playing time even when McCoy gets back

Bengals over the Steelers
Never count out Pittsburgh---but the better looking team this year is certainly in Cincy.

Bucs over the Rams
Jeff Fisher has brought some respectability back to the Rams. The problems is he brought that to the Titans for years as well.... in mostly 8-8 and 9-7  type seasons. He had decent and almost never great teams. I'm not sold on the idea of him bring St. Louis back all the way but anything is an improvement of where they were..

Panthers over the Raiders
As goes Cam, so go the Panthers.

Patriots over the Jaguars
The only question is will the Pats score 40 in the first half or will it take 3 quarters to get there.

Texans over the Vikings
Very tough test for Adrian Peterson. He's facing a good defense and a team who has a guy that's pretty good at running back too. Still, although Arian Foster is no slouch, if he wants to see true greatness rarely seen at his position, he just needs to spot number 28 in purple. In my opinion he's the best to play the position since Emmit Smith and Barry Sanders hung up their cleats.

Broncos over the Browns
Even though Denver took out Baltimore last week pretty handily I'm still not sure how good they are. Their schedule has been light on quality opponents so the guesswork goes on.

Bears over the Cardinals
Finally a team to make the Bears look good. Too bad Dennis Green isn't around any more to let us know that the Bears are who we thought they were. ....Frauds.

Giants over the Ravens
I might be giving NY too much credit here.

Seahawks over the 49ers
Looks to be the best game of the day on paper.  Who knew Seattle would be this big of a threat in the West this year. During the offseason we had expectations that Matt Flynn would be running the offense but rookie Russell Wilson grabbed the job by the throat and has never let go. Doug Flutie is smiling somewhere on behalf of all sub-six footers.

Friday, December 14, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 15

Bengals over the Eagles '
Foles and Brown have shown some flashes of brilliance in their backup roles for Vick and McCoy but Cincy is definitely the more complete team. Philly is just auditioning players for next year at this point (I'm still shocked they let Babin go), but the Bengals have the capability to do damage in the playoffs if they can get in.

Giants over the Falcons
This may be knee jerk by me but after watching the Falcons the last six weeks I haven't been terribly impressed by this 11 win team. I'm not the only one either.

Rams over the Vikings
I would love to see Adrian Peterson get 2,000 yards.  He's grabbed back the title of best rusher in the game with a vengeance. The question is will their be any additional emphasis on stopping him by the Rams or future opponents? I can't imagine it would be much different than it's been all season, I mean it's not like you game plan around Christian Ponder. Peterson has been the focal point of defenses the entire season so maybe he's got chance  at 2K.

Dolphins over the Jags
Battle for Florida. Awesome.

Packers over the Bears
What's up with Chicago? Has it really been over a month ago when they were cracking on Tennessee (scoring 50 plus points) and we were declaring them a championship threat. Now? Not so much. Still, we've seen early December woes before from teams that went on runs as they neared the playoffs. The Steelers 2005 championship season would be an example. They lost in weeks 11-13 but then reeled off 4 straight. Could it happen for the Bears? Sure. Will it? I doubt it.

Browns over the Redskins
If Griffin plays will he be at his playmaking self? If he doesn't play can Cousins replicate his one play magic of last week? Perhaps I'm not giving the rest of the Skins enough credit here but the Browns are riding a 3 game winning streak and should not be taken lightly.

Ravens over the Broncos
This should be a good one. Manning has a lot of respect for Ed Reed and the Ravens defense (even if they are less potent than in previous years).

Texans over the Colts
Andrew Luck's interceptions are going to hurt them eventually. Maybe this week. The Texans are going to want to get some credibility back after last week's beatdown by the Pats.

Saints over the Bucs
I don't know how much gas the Saints have left in them this season. They are slightly off in every category of football and it's cost them too many games. Brees has pride though and even if he's had an off season maybe some of that pride will still rub off.

Lions over the Cardinals.
Speaking of pride, do the Cardinals have a shred of it left after the debacle against Seattle? I probably won't tune in live to find out.

Panthers over the Chargers
Good thing I've been starting Cam Newton in my fantasy league the past few weeks. His Superman crap was wearing thin while he was blowing chunks with his play, but he's found a phone booth somewhere and  found his cape.

Seahawks over the Bills
How about the play of that rookie on the Seahawks? Of course I'm talking about rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner out of Utah State. Doesn't get the publicity but he's been critical on that side of the ball.

Cowboys over the Steelers
I don't know how to read the Steelers. Their QB is coming off injury and they've looked flat on defense. Romo is a wildcard as usual so this game seems a toss up.

Raiders over the Chiefs
Imagine Jamaal Charles on a good team. He has a career 5.7 yard per carry average. Think about that.

Patriots over the 49ers
After a cupcake schedule to this point New England has finally hit some real meat. Their shelling of the Texans bodes well for them and ominous for the rest of us who would rather stick a fork in our eyes than see the Patriots go to the Super Bowl again. The 49ers may be the best in the NFC and this will be a good test for them prior to the playoff push.

Titans over the Jets
Monday night magic.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 13

Two things before the picks for Sunday:
1. The Chiefs player who took his girlfriend's life as well as his own--was a coward.  I realize that there are details to the story we don't know yet, however,  NFL players talk a lot about courage. Real bravery is working through problems instead of shooting through them.

2. I was determined not to watch the Alabama/Georgia game. So of course we went out to dinner as a family and tvs all over restaurant had it playing. We're in the West for hell's sake! Why is this place playing an  SEC title game? I could understand if USC, BYU, Oregon, or Boise State were playing, but Alabama? Please. It was a Mexican restaurant not a sports bar and grill. I was forced to choke on my enchilada as evil triumphed again. I will never root for a college team harder than I will for Notre Dame come January.

Falcons over the Saints
I thought Atlanta would win this but I didn't think the Saints would hand it to them like they did. A TD called back on a penalty. A TD pass dropped by a Saints receiver. Even with 5 picks this could have been a different game without those mistakes. The Falcons were talking trash after the previous game with the Saints. Now it's New Orlean's turn to complain that they just gifted a victory to Atlanta.

Jags over the Bills
Who cares?

Bears over the Seahawks
Injury bug hit Chicago the past few weeks but the hawks are less formidable when you get them outside of the Northwest.

49ers over the Rams
I'm feeling terrible for Alex Smith. And Harbough has not handled his QB situation with anything remotely resembling tact. But it's the right decision. If there is any chance that this could be a situation like Brady replacing Bledsoe in New England you have to take it. Smith has a ceiling and we have a pretty good idea of the parameters of that ceiling. It's ridiculous to say there is no way he could win the Superbowl, especially with how good the team is, but it does seem Kaepernick brings something to the table that you just have to try. It looks too good not to try. You just hope it goes down smooth and doesn't end up with an aftertaste.

Pats over the Dolphins
Have you looked at the Patriots scoring output this season? It's crazy good and reminds me of some previously good New England offensive teams. They're probably the best team in the AFC and maybe in the entire NFL. We won't know that for a bit though because they play the easiest damn schedule in the league (year after year) and their defense has been somewhat suspect.

Cardinals over the Jets
What happened to gregarious Rex? Ryan just isn't as fun when the Jets suck.

Lions over the Colts
Luck reminds me of Stafford in that sometimes the deep ball looks too enticing to both of them. This could be a good day for defensive backs. \

Packers over the Vikings
Green Bay needs to regroup after last week's drubbing. Watch out for Peterson though, the Packer defense gave up the farm last week in the run game.

Texans over the Titans
I'm tempted to go the other way on this just because Houston may overlook Tennessee. But no.

Panthers over the Chiefs
K.C. will still be in shock and it's not like they'll want to play for the memory of their teammate. Or at least they shouldn't. Dude's a murderer.

Broncos over the Bucs
Good test for Denver. Tampa is a plucky team. But Greg Shciano is still a douche.

Raiders over the Browns
I'd like to think that Cleveland could take Oakland, but the Raiders have enough talent to win this easily if they eliminate the mistakes.

Bengals over the Chargers.
Nor Turner. Dead man walking.

Ravens over the Steelers
Get well soon Ben.

Cowboys over the Eagles
Without McCoy or Vick I won't be watching.

Giants over the Reskins
To me this is the game of the week. I will be watching this one. Griffin vs. the Giant defensive line. It's go time baby!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 12

Lions over the Texans
The Texans are the better team but a little home cooking on Thanksgiving day should help the Lions.

Redskins over the Cowboys
I'm looking forward to watching a couple of mobile QBs run around and fling the ball all over the place.

Patriots over the Jets.
NY gave the Pats a close game back in October, and that was in New England. But I just can't see Brady and pals tested twice in one season by a team that has been so messy.

Vikings over the Bears
I may be reading too much into the offensive ineptitude of the Bears this past week. But if I'm not then that means the Bears defense needs to score again. And certainly they are capable of that but it seems more likely that if the Bears can't score the Vikings may be able to win an ugly game. Maybe something like 10-7.

Bengals over the Raiders
Did you see that amazing endzone grab by A.J. Green last week? Ridiculous.  Cincinnati is the better team but Oakland still can be dangerous if Palmer limits his mistakes. Occasionally he flashes the talent that made him one of the best QBs in the league for a couple of years. Sadly for Oakland he'll never be that guy full time again. This will be a fun game to check out based on bad blood between Palmer and the Bengals. He hated the losing ways of the Bengals so he becomes a Raider. Sounds about right.

Steelers over the Browns
It wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Steelers tough this one out and grab the win, even with their 3rd string QB Charlie Batch. I know Batch has moved around a bit but is it just me or does it seem like he's been a backup for the Steelers since the Jurassic age?

Colts over the Bills
I've been watching Luck each week and wondering about his penchant for throwing the ball down the field. The pundits in ESPNland are correct that he does it pretty well for a rookie. But he does throw it into traffic a lot (thus the 12 interceptions already) and his completion percentage is lower than it probably should be for a guy that is as talented as him. The comparisons with the Redskin's Griffin will never end as long as they are both in the league and it's true that Griffin throws a lot of short passes (helping his completion percentage), however, Griffin throws a nice deep ball as well as great intermediate pass and if they asked him to do it more I think he might do it as well as or better than Luck. I love the idea of watching these guys for the next decade.

Broncos over the Chiefs
McGahee's knee injury is a bummer for both him and the Broncos but this is Manning's show anyway so it shouldn't cripple their chances.

Seahawks over the Dolphins
I've given up on Miami.

Falcons over the Bucs
Tough one to pick since these guys usually have close games. The Bucs are a good team and even though Atlanta has only lost one game are we really sure they are a great team? This game will say a lot about that question.

Jags over the Titans
Maybe the Jags are showing signs of life. Justin Blackmon finally broke out last week, something I've been waiting for all season. When he was playing at O.K. State, he was unstoppable. Where the hell has he been?

Ravens over the Chargers
Phillip Rivers looks like he's in his late 30s rather than just barely turning 30.  He's slow, his arm strength seems down, and he's not moving very well in the pocket.  If this is the beginning of the end for him then I'd say we can close the book on the debate about whether or not it was the right move to draft him and push Drew Brees out in San Diego. I made up my mind about that long ago but Rivers has been just good enough over the last 6 years to at least make it an argument.

Cardinals over the Rams
Even having Ram loyalties, I'm not planning to watch this one.

49ers over the Saints. 
Pretty incredible that Alex Smith can play as well as he has the past season and a half and yet he's replaced after one good game from his backup. Well, to be fair it was a great game by Kaepernick against pretty much the best defense in the league this year. And as efficient as Smith has been he doesn't throw for a lot of yards very often. That's partly because the team doesn't game plan for that but it's also due to Smith's willingness to show throw shorter passes if his downfield receivers aren't wide open. He doesn't want to risk interceptions and I can't say I blame him since he was bound to have a short leash if he played badly under Harbough. I think we can see that has played true since the leash was shorter than even expected even with Smith playing very well. It seems that Smith was in a tough spot--- if he took more risks and ended up with more incompletions and interceptions he would have been pulled, but if he played it safe then that ultimately would open the door to a guy like Kaepernick. I personally think Alex Smith has it in him to be a better deep passer, but the shackles need to come off.  Smith himself needs to just go for it, and if he's pulled then so be it. At least he won't be yanked for not trying to be a more dynamic passer.  Some might say, Alex should just be who he is (ie. game manager) and don't try to change that. I think he can be more than that.  Having said that, I see why Harbough wants to check out the young kid at QB. Last week he looked like RG3, Aaron Rodgers, and Payton Manning all rolled up into one 49er holiday snowball.  For San Fran's sake they better hope it doesn't melt.

Giants over the Packers
Seems counter intuitive right? The Packers are playing well and NY is struggling. Each week though the NFL teaches us that the league is unpredictable. It's not that hard to see the Giants starting to kick it into gear again.

Panthers over the Eagles
It's starting to look like Philly is giving up now. That may lead to Andy Reid being fired before the season is out. When you aren't competitive, even in your effort, then the time has come.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 11

Dolphins over the Bills
Got this one wrong. I thought Miami had a little more offensive punch than what they've shown the past couple of weeks.

Falcons over the Cardinals
It's hard to see an inconsistent Arizona team being able to beat one of the best teams in the league at their own place.

Cowboys over the Browns
If Dallas loses this one Jerry Jones may actually hire fire himself  as general manager. Then he would hire Jerry Jones as the new G.M. because Jerry knows best.

Packers over the Lions
Could be a pretty good game. I know Calvin Johnson is not the TD machine he was last year but he still catches a lot of balls and Detroit is plenty dangerous.

Bengals over the Chiefs
I'm running out adjectives to describe A.J. Green. I'd watch the Bengals just to see him catch balls. Dalton's not bad but if Green had a top 5 QB, his numbers would be ridiculous.

Redskins over the Eagles.
Count me as one who doesn't believe in the rookie QB for the Eagles.

Bucs over the Panthers
After losing 3 of their first 4 games, Tampa has won 4 of their last 5. Their offense looks good and the rookie Doug Martin has been a big part of that. On the other hand, Cam Newton continues to underwhelm us.

Texans over the Jags
Perhaps the best team in the league against perhaps the worst team in the league. Although K.C. may have bone to pick with Jacksonville about that.

Rams over the Jets
Danny Amendola is back and Bradford couldn't be happier. Could the Rams actually be dangerous again?Might be too much to ask for. It would be nice to see them beat the Jets though. The weekly comedy show that has become NY Jet football is priceless.

Saints over the Raiders
This might be a bit of a stretch. The Raiders will be at home and the Saints still have no defense. But I would love to see the Saints continue to make people nervous.

Broncos over the Chargers
The Chargers used to give Payton Manning fits when he was with the Colts. He better hope that bit of history doesn't follow him to Denver.

Patriots over the Colts
The Luck story has been fun but Indy is visiting Tom Brady's house and that means another victory for the Pats.

Ravens over the Steelers
Leftwich at QB means the Steelers aren't favored at home.

Bears over the 49ers
I'm giving the Niners the edge in this one as well due to a backup QB. Jason Campbell is ok but in what looks to be a tight defensive battle, San Fran should have the edge.

Friday, November 02, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 9

Chargers over the Chiefs. 
I got this one right, but truly I just flipped a coin. They both looked so bad the previous week I couldn't imagine either one winning.

Broncos over the Bengals.
I'm not sold on the Broncos despite Manning playing well. They've beat up on bad teams and lost to good teams. And remember Cincy has A.J. Green who sometimes just pulls "amazing" out of his butt. However, the Bengals have not shown enough juice yet to go against Manning's hot hand.

Ravens over the Browns. 
Baltimore better win big or the doubters come back to harp on Flacco. the way, I'm a Flacco doubter. Sorry Joe. It's ok if you prove me wrong. I won't take it personally.

Packers over the Cardinals. 
With the early slip-ups in the season, Green Bay can't afford to take the Cardinals lightly.

Bears over the Titans.
When the Bears defense is tough why do we glamorize them more than other equally tough defenses? It's got to be the history right? Butkus, 86 Bear defense, etc. Will later Raven defenses' get the same nod when they're good since they have a solid decade or more now with a defensive reputation?

Colts over the Dolphins
The Miami defense may give Luck problems but the Colts are at home and Tannehill will either be sidelined or playing hurt.

Redskins over the Panthers.
Insert your favorite Cam Newton/Robert Griffin comparison here.  Leaving body shape and skin color aside (which they are unalike and alike), there are some valid comparisons. Both can run well, and both have strong arms. Both can be exciting. But that may be where it ends. Griffin seems more mature and has some nice accurate touches to his thrown balls.  Cam seems to be forcing a lot of throws and while he wasn't wildly accurate last season (60% with 17 interceptions) he seemed to have a better feel for when and where to throw the ball.  Newton needs his runners to help him. Why have two highly paid running backs on your team if you won't run the ball? Of course that has to be established early because if you get behind too much, it's stupid to insist the Panthers should be running. They have to throw to stay in the game or attempt to come back on teams. Still, Newton's first and second half passer ratings this season are nearly identical (75.7 and 74.7)...which is to say they both suck. He's not paying well in the beginning or the end of games. Carolina's defense gives up too much and their offense is mistake prone. I don't see it getting fixed this week.

Lions over the Jaguars.
Sounds like a National Geographic Channel program. Detroit better hope Calvin Johnson rediscovers his inner beast.

Texans over the Bills.
Never say never, but this one seems over before it starts.

Seahawks over the Vikings.
Minnesota is going the wrong way and Seattle is always a tough road game.

Bucs over the Raiders.
I need Mike Williams to score TDs for me this week in fantasy.  I feel like one of those guys in the NFL commercials where people in their homes or offices talk to players in their NFL settings.  Speak to me Mike. Speak to me. I need your focus this week. Okay? Thanks. I'm glad we had this talk.

Steelers over the Giants.
Hard to pick against the Giants in NY. Especially with the emotional tie in from the storm. The Steelers won't be sentimental when the game starts though.

Falcons over the Cowboys.
Major upset if Dallas could pull this off. But I don't see it happening. Atlanta has been impressive. I'm not totally sold yet but the body of work  so far is compelling if not convincing.  

Saints over the Eagles. 
Last game for Vick as a Eagle starter? That alone warrants a spot on the dvr for the night.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Hate the Heat.

So the Heat are raising the championship banner and putting their rings on as they get ready to roll through the weak Eastern Conference this year. Yay.  I simply hate this team.    
Used to love Dwyane Wade. Hate him now.  
 Didn't care about Chris Bosh before. Hate him now.
Hated LeBron before. Really hate him now.
. My Miami Heat hate is 100 times stronger than my New England Patriots hate. And that's saying something. LeBron seems like many athletes and like most of us at home,.....namely, he has some positive and some negative personal traits. He's not Terrell Owens, Barry Bonds, Jeff George, Alex Rodriguez, or Tony Stewart. In other words LeBron's not a dick most of the time. I still can't stand him.
It's not logical or rational. It's hate.

Friday, October 26, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 8

  • Vikings over the Bucs.  
    Unfortunately I was still buying into the Vikings (at least at home) when I picked this game
  • Bears over the Panthers.
    My fantasy team would love to see Cam Newton have a great day. I'm not holding my breath.
  • Chargers over the Browns.
    Cleveland's first win was nice and they want another. Phillip Rivers and Norv Turner might just be accommodating enough. However, my guess is the bi-polar Chargers might show up this week.
  • Seahawks over the Lions.
    The Seattle pass-rush should give Stafford fits. He'll need to get rid of it quick and locate Calvin Johnson. But lets be real here; the Lions are a mess. I'm convinced they are badly coached and will be better if/when Schwartz is gone.
  • Patriots over the Rams.
    So a football game again in London. American football that is. Bloody brilliant.   The Brits have it right that their game is properly named football and our game is the most mis-named sport in history. Of course the name is rooted in the murky origins of the game and its links to British rugby.....which was originally linked to British football (soccer).  If only our gridiron forbearers could have thought up a name that was cool enough and distinct enough so that it didn't confuse the hell out of foreign sports brothers. Then again, should we care what the Brits and others think? This game is uniquely American and I don't think we will ever export the interest in it in any great numbers.  Still I'm curious as to the level of interest (however small) that the Brits (or Europeans in general) have in our game.  If they're smart, our English cousins will bet on the Pats for this game.
  • Jets over the Dolphins
    I would love to see Reggie Bush run on the Jets Defense. Interesting that the Jets are upset with him for running his mouth. Pot, meet kettle.
  • Eagles over the Falcons
    Crazy, right? I don't know if Michael Vick has any magic left. He might be a "has been" at this point but the Falcons will lose at some point this season and it would be a little weird if Vick was the one that helped hand them that loss.
  • Steelers over the Redskins. 
     The Steelers need this game and perhaps desperation will breed good play. Rothlisberger will need to shake off a few guys like he has been known to do a time or two. The Steelers will need to control Griffin better than the Giants did last week. I like the accuracy of Griffin and he is quickly becoming an automatic record on my dvr. Not too many guys get that spot if they're on a team I don't like. But like Vick in the mid 2000s, Griffin does amazing things with his legs and arm.  However, Griffin is more accurate and has some touch. Vick, even at his best, always had the arm but lacked the touch that could keep drives going. Comparing Vick and Griffin is less about comparing black QBs and more about comparing mobile QBs with strong arms. Comparing guys based on skin color is lazy. If Aaron Rodgers ran more (which he could if he wanted to) we could throw him into the conversation with Griffin, Vick and Cam Newton. Andrew Luck is showing some athletic ability as well.  However, Vick, Newton and Griffin are the only QBs with over 200 rushing yards this season. It's not about race, it's about stats. Anyway, Griffin has the wow factor so he'll be on the record list for awhile.
  • Packers over the Jaguars
    Jags are without Jones-Drew as well as their QB Gabbert and added to that is the fact that Rodgers is looking more like his 2011 self.  Shouldn't be close.
  • Colts over the Titans
    Titans run game has woken up. Chris Johnson is alive!  Still, I don't trust him yet. I like the Colts in this game though even though I think they'll give up some rushing yards.
  • Chiefs over the Raiders. 
    Always an interesting game between these two old rivals. But probably a bit hard to watch. This game is not on my to-do list on Sunday.
  • Giants over the Cowboys. 
    There are no guarantees with this game no matter how much better one team is compared to the other. And make no mistake, the Giants are a much better team here despite the early season loss they took against the Cowboys.
  • Saints over the Broncos
    I'm thinking shootout. The Broncos defense is better but the Saints are still playing for their lives. I don't think they'll have 9 lives but maybe they get lucky a couple more times.
  • 49ers over the Cardinals. 
    Alex Smith has a had a couple of sub-par offensive games and everybody's ready to throw him under the bus again. He's not turning into Aaron Rodgers (ever) but with a good defense and a good running game he's still  a valuable QB. I don't know if he can be a championship QB but San Fran is still ok and it's not time to start burning Smith in effigy.  Actually it's never time to do that. I mean they only do that kind of thing at Raider games right? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 7

49ers over the Seahawks:  
Great work by Seattle to take down New England last week. I was mildly shocked. I'm not sure how sold I am on Wilson at QB but that defense has been beastly so far and you have to give the Seattle brass and coaching staff some credit for assembling the parts. Bobby Wagner, from my alma mater Utah State, has been awesome so far at linebacker. Alex Smith should keep his head on a swivel on Thursday night.

Bills over the Titans.
 Inconsistency is the word to describe these two teams.

Giants over the Redskins
a marquee matchup with Griffin coming to NY. Can the Giant's defensive line keep him contained? They have a better shot at accomplishing the feat than most.

Saints over the Bucs
With no defense, the question for New Orleans is can their offense be powerful enough to outscore the other guys? So far it's been "iffy" but I'll roll the dice one more time with them. And one thought on the Bounty scandal that has helped de-rail the Saint's season so far:  own up to your mistakes and move on! I'm tired of Saints players using the classic strategy of creating another story so their own guilt is not the story. They are using the incompetence of how Goodell has handled the situation to move the focus away from what they did. Vilma and others on the team contributed to a culture and climate of removing players from the field through injury. Period. Watch the playoff game with the Vikings when Favre was QB. I was not even rooting for the Vikes that day and I was shocked at how often they were targeting him after he threw the ball. It was completely ridiculous but not all that shocking. Other teams may have been doing this for years as well. But we know the Saints did. Stop with the whining about Roger Goodell. You did it. Take your medicine

Panthers over the Cowboys.  
Dallas is as much of a soap opera as the tv show by the same name that was famous for years.  So is Tony Romo Bobby Ewing? Jerry Jones reminds me of JR Ewing in the creepy department.
 Dez Bryant got ripped last week for missing a catch on a two point conversion but he actually had a pretty decent day. He's in no-win territory right now. He can never do enough to justify the headache he is for the team.

Ravens over the Texans. 
Now that their defense has taken a few key injuries (Webb, Lewis, etc.) Baltimore is going to go into the "no one believes in us" mode and perhaps this will provide a mild upset with the Texans who are at home.

Colts over the Browns. 
This one is close though I think. Despite one of the worst QB games ever played in his first NFL start, Brandon Wheedon has been respectable since then and the Browns have been competitive.

Packers over the Rams.
It was fun to watch Green Bay last week. The Packers, when "on" offensively, cannot be beat.

Vikings over the Cardinals. 
No idea what to think of these guys. Are they good or not?

Patriots over the Jets
This used to be a scary game for the Patriots. Not anymore. The Pats hurry up offense should destroy the Jets defense. Don't let the 3 losses fool you. This is still quite possibly the best team in the AFC.

Raiders over the Jags.
Most disappointing player this season to date might be Darren McFadden. He's healthy and yet he's 24th in the league in rushing yards (271), and 41st in yards per attempt (3.2). I did not see that coming. Is it his offensive line? Or is he just that bad this season? A victory here is probably going to depend on their defense and Carson Palmer.

Steelers over the Bengals.
I think these guys are pretty evenly matched but the desperation factor might be more of an incentive for the Steelers who at 2-3 need to win to give them any hope in their division.

Bears over the Lions
The Chicago D has their swagger back and if Jay Cutler doesn't implode they should be able to take down Detroit  (who even with a victory last week, have been their own worst enemy).

Last Week: 7-6
Overall: 46-43

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 6

No time for thoughts on these games. Here's the picks for the week

Steelers over the Titans
Falcons over the Raiders
Bengals over the Browns
Dolphins over the Rams
Colts over the Jets
Lions over the Eagles
Buccaneers over the Chiefs
Ravens over the Cowboys
Patriots over the Seahawks
Cardinals over the Bills
49ers over the Giants
Redskins over the Vikings
Packers over the Texans

Last week:8-6
Overall: 39-37

Friday, October 05, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 5

Some good games on tap for the weekend:

Cardinals over the Rams (Thurs).  St. Louis surprised me. Maybe they'll be better than I thought. I'm not holding my breath. though.  I did pick up the rookie Ram kicker for my fantasy league. Kid's got a leg.

Bengals over the Dolphins. I've been overlooking the Bengals for several years now.  Consider yourself respected Cincy.

Packers over the Colts.  Even without Greg Jennings, G.B has enough WR talent that Rodgers shouldn't have to look hard to find a receiver open.

Ravens over the Chiefs. I finally watched the Ray Lewis doc "a Football Life" on the NFL channel. Watching it, you get a sense of how he's still playing quality LB in the NFL at his age and how he has dominated for so long. He's obsessed. Most of the great ones are. They don't let up. Ever. Outside of football, Ray Lewis would drive me nuts.

Redskins over the Falcons. A mild upset watch. Rookie QB and rookie RB...and both are good. Morris is a seriously under the radar quality RB this season. If he keeps it up we'll be hearing more about him. .and soon.

Giants over the Browns.  Browns are scrappy this year but they don't have enough talent.

Steelers over the Eagles. Philly can't sustain the success if they don't play better offensively.

Panthers over the Seahawks. Time for Cam "baby" Newton to grow up and play up to the talent level he has.

Bears over the Jags. This Chicago defense devours QBs. Shouldn't be pretty for Blaine Gabbert.

Titans over the Vikings. I'm not sold on Minnesota.  Meanwhile, the Titan's Matt Hasselbeck has something left doesn't he?   I mean, hair... no. But his arm is still solid. Right.?  Perhaps I should  rethink this.

Patriots over the Broncos. This smells like a blowout. Belichick has to be looking at the weak arm of Manning and planning all kinds of ways to jump those routs. Pick Six could be a theme.

49ers over the Bills.  Despite the loss on their resume already, San Fran is still a top team. Shockingly, Buffalo is not.

Saints over the Chargers. Make the bleeding stop Drew Brees. Please.

Texans over the Jets.   Sanchez, Tebow, Sanchez, Tebow. Enie, menie, miny, moe, please don't pick mr. Tebow.  ...Wow that sucked. I promise to never do that again.

Last week: 9-6
Overall: 31-31 (50%)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NFL Picks Week 4

Picks for the week: 

Will this be the first time referees are actually cheered? (at least until the first call goes against Baltimore)

Ravens over the Browns.   Congrats to Baltimore for taking down the Patriots last week.  Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, last season in the playoffs.   Though 2011 is not truly avenged until you can take them out in the postseason. Then I'l be ready to bow to my Joe Flacco Bobblehead. (wait....I have a Flacco bobblehead?.  How did that happen?).

Falcons over the Panthers.  I have seen nothing so far this season out of Cam Newton and the Panthers to make me want to pick them in this game. Atlanta looks good.

Patriots over the Bills.  This game is usually an automatic win on their schedule every season. Of course The Pats have already lost a couple that I thought they would win. A weird season so far.

Lions over the Vikings. Minnesota has looked more consistent and steady than the Lions have. Discipline and consistency has plagued this team for a bit now. Schwarz better right that ship or they'll be starting to talk problems at the top soon. This team has too much talent to be wasting it.

Chiefs over the Chargers. One of my favorite running backs in the league, Jamaal Charles, had a breakout game last week. Give this guy a crease and he can exploit it fast.

Seahawks over the Rams.  Imagine if somehow a wildcard playoff spot came down to the last week between Seattle and Green Bay, and because of the win last week the Seahawks grabbed that spot. This ref debacle is not over yet due to the implications down the road.

49ers over the Jets.  San Fran was great last year on the road on the East Coast. I think they do it again. The Jets are a mess (what's new huh?).

Texans over the Titans. Last week Tennessee was part of one of the more interesting games of the season (maybe of the decade so far). Crazy plays over 50-60 yards won it for them but that's not sustainable so they are going to need to show that they can grind it out down the field as well. Tough opponent to do that with this week.

Bengals over the Jags. A.J. Green is a beast.

Dolphins over the Cardinals. Upset of the week. Seems weird to say that about the Cardinals.

Broncos over the Raiders. Rivalry game that's lost its fire since Al Davis has died. His son seems a lot more level headed.

Packers over the Saints. This game blows. I like both of these teams and don't want either one to fall into a hole they can't climb out of for the season. Who do I root for? I think that hole gets deeper for the Saints.
One note on the call from Monday night's game. Although it was a bad call, it wasn't the worst call of all time in terms of the play itself.  What made it egregious was the terrible timing. The point in the game that it happened (deciding the outcome) and the culmination of bad calls from replacement referees gave the call and aftermath an apocalyptic feeling.   And ultimately it gave us regular referees back a week or two earlier (or maybe more).  But the call sucked.

Bucs over the Redskins.  Not sure what to think of either of these teams. Talented yes. Trustworthy no.

Giants over the Eagles.  If I'm Michael Vick, I'm already hurting as I think about the hits I'll take in this game.

Bears over the Cowboys. These two teams (perhaps more than any other two) represent the Jeckyll and Hyde syndrome that some many franchises suffer from. I like Tony Romo and I dislike Jay Cutler so I hope this one goes different than my prediction.

What are we going to whine about this weekend without the replacement referees?.....Oh right.....we'll whine about the real referees.

Last Week: 6-9
Overall: 22-25 (47%)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 3


Bears over the Rams
Chicago is feeling pretty good about themselves this week after getting Michael Bush in the off-season as another option in the backfield. Forte is injury prone and as much as he resented the Bush signing and the touches Bush will take from him, it was a good move for the Bears. I like Bush; he runs hard and is shiftier than you might think.

Browns over the Bills
I was impressed by Brandon Wheedon's ability to bounce back from a dreadful first start in week 1. He was more than respectable, he was actually pretty good. However, Trent Richardson was more than pretty good; he was awesome and gives Brown fans hope that they've got a star in the backfield.  Hope those knees of his are ok.

Cowboys over the Bucs
Which Cowboy team shows up?

Jets over the Dolphins
We don't really have any idea after 2 weeks if these teams are actually any good.  They look like probable 7-9 or 6-10 teams. It was nice to see Reggie Bush flash some old moves this past week. Maybe he's right and he just needed the chance and the right situation to thrive.

49ers over the Vikings
San Fran looks like the team to beat early on.

Saints over the Chiefs
What's that odor? ...oh yeah ...that's desperation in the air.

Bengals over the Redskins
They're in D.C. this week and everyone loves Griffin, but maybe Andy Dalton shows last year wasn't a total fluke.

Lions over the Titans
I just want Chris Johnson to shut up.

Colts over the Jags
Where was rookie receiver Blackmon last week? They need to target those insanely huge hands of his.

Eagles over the Cardinals
Am I crazy to think that the Eagles can't play much worse than they have the past two weeks? They don't have to give back their ugly wins. But they should.

Falcons over the Chargers
Norv Turner is 2 and 0 to start the season. Is the apocalypse next?

Texans over the Broncos
Took us only a week to declare Manning old and armless. Should be a roller coaster with him this season as he tries to get the old magic back.  I've been watching Manning closely for many years and the criticism of his arm strength and inability to throw effectively past 15-20 yards is a valid one. However, the deep pass has not been his strength for awhile now. His previous two seasons before the injury the Colt offense was essentially a grind it out down the field type team. Albeit that grinding was with 5 yard receiver screens, 10 yard outs, and 15 yard slants instead of a running game, but to rip on Manning for not throwing the deep ball well is to misunderstand where he is as a QB in his career. Yes the neck injury has robbed him of arm strength but I think he would have been done throwing deep effectively regardless. Don't count him out though. Manning will figure out what he can and can't do soon enough and there will be an adjustment. He'll want to do what works. If that's 10 yard hooks then so be it.

Steelers over the Raiders
Biggest surprise of the season for me so far:  An ineffective Darren McFadden. He's not injured is he? Because that wouldn't be a surprise.

Patriots over the Ravens
What a pleasant gift it was to see the Cardinals take down the Pats at home last week. How the hell did that happen?  In this game it will be the QB who says he's the best in the game (Flacco) against the QB who could legitimately make that claim.

Packers over the Seahawks
I did like how the Pack got Cedric Benson involved last week but it's definitely time for some Green Bay explosiveness don't you think? Nobody throws a prettier deep ball than Aaron Rodgers.

Last Week: 10-6
Overall: 16-16 (.500)

Friday, September 14, 2012

NFL Picks: Week 2

NFL Picks: Week 2
  • Packers over the Bears
    I saw this one coming. Or at least I've convinced myself of that by now. Good to see the Packers haven't abandoned the run entirely. Cedric Benson got some work in and though Rodgers had to work for it, he looked reasonably good throwing the ball. Not razor sharp but certainly not close to the seeping pile of QB sewage that Cutler was that night. Ouch. Too harsh?.......Nah, it's Jay Cutler.
  • Bills over the Chiefs
    Rebound opportunity for someone here. Both need it bad after giving their fan bases glimpses of hope over the last couple of years and then snatching that hope away with inconsistent play and by being plagued with  untimely injuries.  I'm interested if C.J. Spiller can replicate even on a modest scale what he did last week. Both Fitzpatrick and Cassel need to play significantly better or calls for their heads begin Sunday night. They are in Buffalo and it's a toss up for me so I'm going with the home team.
  • Bengals over the Browns

    speaking of QBs on the hot seat, Brandon Wheedon, the vet of 1 game, is already being thrown under the bus. A passer rating under 10 as well as being eaten by a giant American flag will do that for you. His flag incident  was an ironic and unfortunate metaphor for being swallowed by the opposing defense and expectations of week 1. I'm rooting for you Brandon. You're an older rookie due to your failed baseball career (look for that to be brought up each week till we need to vomit), but hey you took a shot and that's commendable and when it didn't work out you went back to school, got some education and had a great college football career.  I like the attitude. Plus you've got  a hot wife,  What's not to root for?
  • Vikings over the Colts.
    I really want the Colts to win this. I'll admit it. I'm drinking the kool-aid and I like Andrew Luck. He's humble, hardworking, athletic, and although Jim Irsay doesn't deserve him, I wish him success in Indy. However, I'll concur with my wife that the neckbeard needs to be avoided at all costs this year. Keep that razor handy Andrew. If your significant other is like mine, that crap's got to be shaved before your getting "any".
    --Hallelujah for the return of Adrian Peterson. We need the good old days again. 60 yard runs with guys hanging off's not too much to ask for right?
  • Panthers over the Saints. 

    Dangerous game for New Orleans. All these stats are being thrown around right now about 0-2  teams and their lack of success in making the playoffs. Starting off that way is disappointing but if anybody could resurrect a season after that it would be Drew Brees. I've got Cam Newton as a fantasy QB this week so I'm hoping a little home cooking can help him capture some of that rookie 2011 magic.
  • Texans at Jags
    I'm not sure how good their defense is yet, but if Foster, Schaub, and Johnson are healthy and in sync this should be a Texan victory.
  • Raiders over the Dolphins
    Oakland without Al Davis isn't as fun to mock. No more Weekend at Bernie Jokes.  Maybe we can make fun of the arm that Carson Palmer used to have. He and the Raiders looked sluggish last week.
    If the Dolphins weren't breaking in a rookie QB that was mildly heralded during the off-season then they would be about as irrelevant as possible. And that's after spending training camp on HBO's Hard Knocks. Think about it, your every move is watched for weeks on cable and still we don't care. Man do I pine for the glory days of the 80s when I was kid and watching Marino torch defenses with Duper and Clayton as sidekicks.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about you need to hit youtube right now and see the 80s version of the 2011 Packers.
  • Pats over the CardinalWhat's the line on this? 40 points? Shouldn't be that close.
  • Giants over the Bucs
    Nice win last week for Tampa but the defending champs are at home and they are still good. At least I think they are. Josh Freeman will be sacked.
  • Ravens over the Eagles
    Vick and Philly were lucky last week and they know it. They run into Ed Reed and a proud defense this weekend and it will take more than luck to score on them. And is it just me or has Ed Reed looked the same since he came into the league?  When healthy he plays the same as he always has.which is to say, freakishly awesome! Far and away my favorite defensive back of all time.
  • Redskins over the Rams
    Prepare for non-stop RG3 hype. If he starts of with a couple of wins in dominating fashion there will be no end to it.  D.C. is due though right? First the Nationals and now the Skins. Griffin is just what they need and he looks to be damn good. Now the Rams get an up close and personal look at what they could have drafted.
  • Cowboys over the SeahawksDo I start Jason Witten at TE for my fantasy team? Whats up with his spleen? Of course I'm concerned for his health and not just my fantasy stats. So anyway, could you please score two TDs this week Jason? Thanks. Break a leg....I mean.....
  • Steelers over the JetsI saw an article this week that read "Jets and Tebow to take on the Steelers". Wow. Disrespect Mark Sanchez like that at your own risk. He may just dare to have another good game.
  •   Chargers over the TitansSan Diego's kicker won their game for them last week (with some help from the defense as well) and now they take on a team I have absolutely no feel for. At least with Jeff Fisher I could count on 8-8 most years. These Titans are an enigma to me. I'm banking on less than .500 based on their QB situation, but we'll see.
  • 49ers over the Lions
    Hard to pick against San Fran right now. Based on the last season and the first game of this season they look good. Real good.  Good thing Detroit has Megatron because they'll need somebody freaky like him to beat that defense. I don't think it will happen this week. My biggest excitement over this game is the coach's handshake. Hugs? Punches? Look away while barely touching palms? Can I bet on this?
  • Falcons over the BroncosThe Manning hype takes a bit of a dip this week as Atlanta continues with their new offense that Santa left in their stocking this past off-season. Why weren't they targeting Julio Jones more last season??

    Sorry for the formatting. I hate the formating tool on this blog. I can't get the spacing right between bullet points. It messes with it when publishing. 
Last Season: 154-98 (61%)
Last Week: 6-10.  Yikes.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

NFL 2012: Finally

NFL 2012: Finally

I'm back and so is Football! The sweet smell of pigskin and perspiration is in the air (the latter being not so sweet). I always wonder how I survive the long dreary and dry months between seasons.  NFL news and the draft just don't do it for me especially when the news is full of concussion related stuff (the scary reality of the nature of this sport is too much for me. I want blissful ignorance).  Anyway, I'm ready for some football and I have some things I'll be watching out for in this coming NFL season.


  • Will Payton Manning's neck snap and will his head fall off? This is the most cringeworthy story to watch. Every game he gets hit I'll be watching for signs of problems. Now that he's in Denver I'll see more of his games since I'm in the Mountain time zone. I used to be upset that my AFC Sunday afternoon game was always  Denver. Now I'll be morbidly interested in these games.
  • Which rookie quarterbacks will play well and which ones will be yanked or knocked out the fastest? I like Wilson in Seattle.Reminds me of Drew Brees.  I'm interested in Luck and Griffin.Will the talent we saw last year in those guys shine this year? The speed of the NFL often turns good looking college QBs into sniveling piles of crappy signal callers. Think back to the fantastic college careers of Vince Young and Matt Leinart. Now think of their NFL careers. Yikes. The two that I'm guessing will crash and burn the fastest are Tannehill and Weeden. But the games have yet to be played and maybe they'll surprise me.
  • Will 5,000 yards be as easy as it was last year? Brady, Stafford, Brees all got there and others came close. I like the passing game a lot but it is getting ridiculous out there.
  • How fast will my Rams regret not taking Griffin III once Sam Bradford takes the field. One game? Two? The idea on passing on Griffin was that Bradford just needs a team around him and that last year was an anomaly. But have you watched him pass the ball in the past year and a half? It's ugly. He's inaccurate and skittish. I'm doubtful that he can become what he's hope to be. 
  • Will Justin Blackmon become a TD beast or a TD bust? Some of the most amazing catches I've ever seen in college came from this guy. He's not super tall but his arms are freakishly long. He'll play longer than he is.
  • Can Austin Collie stay on the field? Not a major story for all, but since I've followed him since college I'm on the Austin Collie head watch as well. That guy has the worst luck with the angle of hits. He was on his way to being a breakout receiver for Manning two years ago and then the Colt horseshoe became unlucky for him. Manning was done in Indy just as he was becoming his favorite target and then concussions came one after another. Now he's one head shot away from retirement in his 20s.
Running Backs
  • Who will claim title as best back this year? It's gone back and forth past few years. Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, Maurice Jones Drew. Most of the time rushing yards can tell you who had the best year but it's not necessarily the rushing champion who always has the best year. If the Back has lots of yards and blows everyone away with yards per average and TDs then that's a better indication of his prowess. Lots of contenders this year. The group mentioned above of course as well as Jamaal Charles (high yds per carry), Matt Forte, Steven Jackson, Murray, Lynch, and some other sleepers could make a run for it. I think Foster and Charles if they stay healthy have the best shot this season. 
Tight Ends
  • Is it another monster season for Tight Ends? Gronkowski and Graham had breakout years last year with wide receiver numbers.  Those two firmly yanked the title of best tight ends in the game from Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, and Tony Gonzalez (who are still good but are a bit older and show some signs of fading). 
  • Will Revis Island still rule in NY? Revis is the best corner I've seen in a long time but their window for dominance is short unless your name is Deion Sanders or Darrell Green.
  • Will this be a weird year where the Baltimore offense is better than their defense? I'm not sure how long Lewis and Reed can anchor that defense and keep it dominant.
  • Will Ndamukong Suh avoid the wrong kind of headlines this year? That guy was the definition of bad press last year. 
Should be fun again this year.

Picks for the first week:
Giants over Cowboys (oops)
Bears over the Colts
Lions over the Rams
Eagles over the Browns
Patriots over the Titans  (the Pats have a ridiculously easy schedule.....Again.!) 
Chiefs over the Falcons
Vikings over the Jags
Saints over the Redskins
Bills over the Jets
Texans over the Dolphins
Packers over the 49ers
Seahawks over the Cardinals
Panthers over the Bucs
Steelers over the Brocos
Bengals over the Ravens
Raiders over the Chargers

Predictions for the year.  It will be funny to look at these a few months from now. 
NFC East: Giants 
NFC North: Packers
NFC South: Saints
NFC West: 49ers
AFC East: Patriots 
AFC North: Steelers
AFC South: Houston
AFC West: Denver (if Manning's healthy, if not this is the worst pick of the bunch). 

NFC Wild Cards: Cowboys, Bears
AFC Wild Cards: Ravens, Raiders
Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Packers. Packers the winner. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

NFL Super Bowl Review

Other than a nice catch by Mario Manningham and a powerful Giants time eating drive to get the game winning score I thought the Super Bowl was pretty boring. Still, I'll take boring if it means Belichik and Brady go down in flames.

Keys to the game.

  • The acrobatic Manningham catch. Was a great catch. It helped move the Giants down the field for a score.  Now I get that we want to compare it to the Tyree catch in the last Pats/Giants Super Bowl , and it does have a wow factor to it,  but let's not get carried away here. It wasn't 3rd down or even 4th down. It was 1st down. No desperation in this throw or catch like the Tyree catch. Don't get me wrong......Great catch....just not as great as Chris Collinsworth was making it out to be. It didn't win the Super Bowl, it was just part of the win. 
  • Welker dropping a tough but catchable ball deep into the 4th quarter. Ouch. He usually makes those catches. I hate that little bastard. 
  • To me the biggest keys to the game were the 2 NY fumbles that were recovered by Giants players. If those are lost fumbles, the Patriots win this game, especially since the one by Bradshaw came in the 4th quarter inside the 20 yard line. That's a short field for the Patriots and sure score. 
    • The bounces didn't go the Patriots way this time and I'm not sure if the universe was trying to correct itself due to the breaks going New England's way in the AFC Championship game (when Baltimore should have won that game) or if it was because I spent a little extra time on the details for my matching set of Brady and Belichick voodoo dolls. It's all in the details.....and the right kind of pins. 

So now we get to hear a ton of debate about whether Eli is better than Payton Manning. Please. Eli was pretty good in this game. Not great. Pretty good, and really good on the final drive. But for his career? I don't buy it. Payton Manning kept the Colts in the Super Bowl hunt for years....pretty much all by himself. His owner never surrounded him with any kind of defense. Eli has won 2 Super Bowls where his defense has been critical for the success of the team. Give Payton some of those Giant defenses and we'd be talking multiple rings for him too. Now I'm not saying that Eli can't still surpass his big brother. He has time. H'e'll never have the passing records Payton has but as you saw this past season, younger brother can throw the ball pretty well when he's asked to do it a lot. He seems to be getting better and if he wins more championships then it will be fair to ask this question again. 

I was prepared to mope and mourn again after a Patriot win but thankfully the football gods decided otherwise. I'm happy for the Giants but I would much rather have seen the Saints or the Packers win the whole thing. That's the only downer for me in this playoff season. However, from now on if New England is is ever in the Super Bowl again, I know who I want facing them. NY has their number. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFL Conference Championship Review

A fairly good Baltimore defensive effort was wasted by a terrible field goal try. I'm a former high school kicker (keep that on the down low though will you....chicks never dig the kicker) and I could not believe how bad he hooked that thing. Everything was set up for a Raven win. They kept the Pats under 24 points, forced Brady and others into turnovers and was not to be. Patriot luck is back. A touchdown catch that should have been secured by the Ravens to end the game....a missed kick in to send it to overtime....aghhh.. I can't stand the idea of the Patriots in another Super Bowl. This is a team that played mostly losing or .500 teams the entire season and post-season. They had to be giggling like school girls when the Steelers went down to the Broncos. Year after year they have almost no competition in their division, so the playoffs are almost automatic.....and it's driving me crazy.  It's up to the Giants to take these guys down. Speaking of which....

Were the defenses that good or were the offenses unusually bad?  I think it was the defense. Lots of sacks; coverages were tight. Other than a few good runs and two deep balls to Davis, Alex Smith was a bit disappointing. An no I'm not going to say it. ---I'm not. You want me to say, "what do you expect, it was Alex Smith" don't you?  But I'm giving Smith props for his year and if he played well in the season, and in his first playoff game, why shouldn't I expect it again?  But I'll admit I thought Smith blew some throws in the last few minutes. and he wasn't great. Not terrible, but nothing to whistle about.  The guy who is going to need therapy though is that back-up kick returner. Blew the game. No doubt about it. Two turnovers equaling 10 points for the Giants means he's the goat.

So now we got Eli against Brady for all the marbles. But I'm not expecting another miracle catch this time around. The Giant defense is going to have to do what the Ravens did today (make Brady average) and Eli is going to have to play much better. I think the Giants will need at least 27 points to beat the Patriots, ...more if the defense falters.

I'll check the score after the game. I never watch Patriot Super Bowl games live. I'm chicken that way. If the Pats win I won't be forced to watch ....and if the Giants win I'll happily watch the recorded game without stress. I wish I could say I'm better than that. I"m not.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

NFL Divisional Playoffs Review

Well........I guess that's why don't crown anyone in November eh?

The two most dominant teams before Christmas, the Saints and the Packers went down in flames this weekend. And I'm bummed. The tantalizing re-match between those two teams was not to be and that sucks.

Turnovers were the bane of both Green Bay and New Orleans. These are very different games (and I think outcomes) if the Saints and Packers don't give the other team essentially free points. The Giants defense was tough but the Packers killed themselves. They are going to be sick about this one all winter. They were one of the most dominant regular season teams I have seen in the last two decades of  watching football. It felt like the 85 Bears, and a couple of the Cowboy teams in the 90s. .....And now they're a footnote. Like the 07 Patriots. Except these guys didn't even make it past their first playoff game. I don't care that NY is a good team and peaking at the right time. The Packers roasted teams all season long! They didn't just get a nice schedule and win a bunch of close games.....They killed their opponents.  They should not have looked this bad against anybody. Rodgers looked rusty and so did his receivers. The defense was shaky at times (just like during the season) but without turnovers of their own (which were surprisingly absent) an no offense to bail them out, the result was bad  Lambeau loss. This is the most disappointing playoff game I've seen in a long time. Well....maybe not a long time...maybe just since Saturday when the Saints lost.

On the one hand, I've been a fan of Alex Smith since his Utah Ute days so I was happy to see him do well. On the other hand Alex just tore the heart out of one my favorite teams in the league. Brees had another killer season with nothing to show for it. Stupid turnovers and a defense that can't stop anything were a recipe for disaster. It was crazy how I sat and watched the Saints last score and said to my wife (who could care less of course) "too soon.. Too soon. They left too much time on the clock for Smith. That defense won't stop em".  Those were my words and I was calm as I prophesied. Having watched this defense all season, I knew their risk-taking style worked against bad teams and bad quarterbacks but on this day they were playing neither. I know that's weird to say about Smith. But he was "on" all day. His passes were crisp and especially when Vernon Davis was manned up, he didn't miss him. I wish them good luck against the Giants. They'll need it and a lot more of the mojo they displayed Saturday with the way NY is playing.  As for New Orleans, they had better get themselves a defense or they'll waste the prime years of Drew Brees' career. It's got to be frustrating for him to sit on the sidelines knowing that he has to match another team's offense as they score on his defense at will. He knows his offense can make no mistakes or it's over. Unfortunately for him, they did indeed shoot themselves in the foot. They've got lots of time to think about it now.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..z.............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..huh...zzzzz. huh....oh, yeah, there was a game on earlier on Sunday wasn't there. As expected, this game sucked. The one watchable aspect of it was the defense of Ed Reed. I've a big fan of Ed Reed and his human flytrap hands. The guy is one those defensive backs that could have been a receiver. He doesn't drop much if it comes his way. Ball hawk!  The Ravens are the opposite of the Saints. Their offense is frustrating to watch and is something they never seem to get fixed. They have their spots. There have been games where Flacco has played very well. And Ray Rice has had numerous games where he has played like a stude. But do you trust that to happen against the Patriots? Even with a shaky defense and having watched two great offenses go down this weekend, I still wouldn't bet on the Raven offense getting it together. It will have to be the defense that wins the game against New England. As much as like the Ravens defense I'm not optimistic about it.

Some people actually believed this was going to give us some more Tebow magic. Not me. The Broncos have some comeback wins to be sure but when they were down 3 touchdowns in the blink of an eye you knew it was over. It wasn't a Tebow miracle that was needed, it was a Denver defensive show that should have been on the menu. But it wasn't and so we'll have to wait until next season to ride the Tebow train again. As much as I like Tim, I think the time in between will do us both some good.

I'm torn on who will win the NFC championship. It's a "pick-em" game for me but I'm leaning towards the Giants. They should meet the wicked kingdom of Belichick and Brady for the big game.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

NFL Wild-Card Weekend Review

I'm absolutely sick about the Bronco win against the Steelers. I felt like Pittsburgh was the only team that could possibly block the Patriots march to the Super Bowl.  Now the team that the Pats demolished in New England a few weeks back is heading back for more punishment. It will take more than a good game by Tebow to do the trick. Denver will need to force turnovers by Brady.

Not too surprising of a result. Dalton is a rookie and he made some rookie mistakes. Arian Foster was a beast. If he can keep healthy next year he could challenge for the rushing title.  I think this is it though for the Texans but would love to see them surprise me and a few others.

For my money this was the most entertaining game. Stafford had it right that they need to get home field advantage next year to increase their odds of going far in the playoffs. They are much better in Detroit. Still, Brees is hot and not much can slow the Saints down except themselves. It's been turnovers that have killed them in the playoffs before so they need to watch out for that in the next game. Their defense is very suspect so they'll need to continue to put up a lot of points and hang onto the ball.

Another Falcon meltdown in the playoffs. Matt Ryan is a big part of their regular season success, but he's been a huge part of their playoff disappointments as well. He just hasn't looked good when it counts.  Until he does, the Falcons will continue with the early exits in the post-season.  And how about the Falcons inability to convert "must-have" fourth and short and third and short in this game?  Atalanta needs  a lot more ingenuity on those plays. And I don't want to hear the old "if we can't convert 1 yard then we don't deserve to win" crap. That's the biggest douchebag rationalization I've ever heard. It would be more accurate to say "if your coaches are less creative in their play-calling than a block of wood" then you deserve to lose.

I'm looking forward to next week's games. By the way, DVRs are saving my marriage. Live games are still better if I can swing it and I have to be more careful to not hear the results of games but I love the digital world we live in.

Monday, January 02, 2012

NFL: Playoff Preview

 In terms of picks, I finished the season 11-5, and overall 154-98 (61%)  Not great, but not terrible either. Of course I don't pick the spread which is much more difficult. But I don't gamble so I could care less about final scores.

Some thoughts about next week. I'm bummed that the Saints aren't a 2 seed. I would have loved the potential for a championship game and rematch between the Saints and Packers. The 49ers have been great this year but I don't remember a single game where they were on TV (and they were on a lot here in the West) that I said, "I've got to see that game".  I don't have anything against them. I like Alex Smith, I like Frank Gore, I like Patrick Willis. They just don't excite me.  
 --Having said that, although the Saints were exciting and very good last year they choked to the Seahawks, so nothing is guaranteed even if Brees and company had grabbed the 2 spot this year. Thankfully there is no Seahawk type team in the NFC this year that can come in, ruin things and give us a crappy playoff championship matchup. Although the Falcons are sometimes boring, I think any of the NFC teams that can play there way to the Super Bowl would be fine with me. My preference would be the Saints, followed by the Lions, Packers, 49ers, Giants and Falcons. Initially my prediction is that it will be the Packers and the Giants in the NFC Championship, with the Pack heading back to the Super Bowl.

Over in the AFC it gets much more ugly. You've got your annual team that shouldn't be in the playoffs. This year's Seattle Seahawks would be the Denver Broncos who finished 8-8 with 3 straight terrible losses. If you didn't know the name of the QB in Denver, and you were just looking at statistics for the past 3 games, there is no way in your right mind you start him for the playoffs right? But that's the polarizing aspect of Tebow. He will start and for the sake of the quality of play for the rest of the playoffs I hope he sucks again and the Broncos go down ( I'm jumping out of the way of the lightning bolt right now). I like Tebow. I hope my 2 daughters grow up to marry a guy just like him. I just wish he could throw the damn ball.

The Chargers are the best team in the AFC West, but once again they are missing the playoffs. How is Norv Turner still a coach?  They have to be one of the most glaring underachieving groups in the past 5 years. In his first season in San Diego, Turner gave hope to San Diego as he led the Chargers to the AFC championship game. The next season they finished a disappointing 8-8. They did get  into the playoffs and upset the Colts in the first round (damn you Darren Sproles) but it was not the year they had expected. In 09 they had a great regular season but were bounced in their playoff game by the Jets.   The next year they started slow again (a trend under Turner, finished fairly strong but missed the playoffs. They do the same in 2011. Time for Turner to get the boot. The Chargers are consistently inconsistent. That's coaching.

The Bengals could definitely win a game against the Texans (who seem to be anticipating a one and done themselves) but this division should end up with New England and Baltimore in the championship game. However, I don't know that this would be a great game.   Do you trust Joe Flacco in the playoffs? I don't. If I were New England I'd load up on Ray Rice and dare Flacco to beat you. If it's a shootout between Brady and Flacco, I'll take the Hall of Famer.  I would rather see the Steelers in the championship game but I do think it will be Baltimore and the Patriots with New England going to the Super Bowl. I know I pick the Pats every year and they've blown it every year since the Super Bowl debacle against the Giants in 08,.....and I know their defense has holes everywhere,.....but Brady has looked as good as I've seen him since 07. As much as it pains me, I think Belichick and Brady are headed back to the big game. Now that fantasy season is over and Brady is no longer my fantasy QB, I can return to loathing him and focusing my time on Patriot hate, a hate that has defined my very existence since they beat my Rams in the Super Bowl. ("defined my existence" may be a bit strong....but Brady, his coach and his team take up a unhealthy amount of my negative energy that I usually reserve for evil dictators, that bald spot growing on the top of my head, Bill Maher, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Lebron James, the cast of Jersey Shore, and that damn little neighbor dog that keeps pooping on my lawn).   But I digress.....I will hope the Steelers can take care of business with the Broncos, upset the Patriots, beat the Ravens or Bengals and head to the big game. I like the idea of a Steeler/Saints, Steerlers/Lions or Steelers/Packers Super Bowl.