Saturday, December 30, 2006

NFL Picks - Week 17

No time for thoughts this week, just the picks.

WASHINGTON 23 N.Y. Giants 17

St. Louis 21 MINNESOTA 16
Carolina 24 NEW ORLEANS 14
HOUSTON 27 Cleveland 20
DALLAS 30 Detroit 14
KANSAS CITY 24 Jacksonville 17
New England 23 Tennessee 13
N.Y. Jets 21 OAKLAND 6
CINCINNATI 28 Pittsburgh 20
Seattle 17 TAMPA BAY 10
PHILADELPHIA 27 Atlanta 15
BALTIMORE 22 Buffalo 14
SAN DIEGO 34 Arizona 20
DENVER 24 San Francisco 10
CHICAGO 27 Green Bay 16

Friday, December 22, 2006

NFL Picks - Week 16

NFL Picks – Week 16
Man, I’m getting worse and worse each week, and my once stellar record is going down the tubes. An ugly 6-10 mark last week has me doubting my ability to pick any game correctly, and the low level of confidence in the picks for Week 16 could sink me even further. That said, here you go:


GREEN BAY 17 Minnesota 10
I had this one picked by default, and lucked out as the Pack pulled it out with a late FG.

Kansas City 20 OAKLAND 10
Same old story for the Raiders: solid defense, zero offense. Reeling Chiefs will keep fading playoff hopes alive in what could be a stinker of a game.

Washington 21 ST. LOUIS 13
Skins looked tough on the road in beating Saints last week, should have no problem maintaining that level in another domw, against a weaker team.

Chicago 27 DETROIT 13
Bears let down late last week and allowed Bucs to force overtime before getting a Robbie Gould FG to escape. No way Lovie Smith allows that to happen again, so I look for renewed intesity by the Monsters of the Midway, and another W.

New Orleans 24 NY GIANTS 17
Saints suffered wake up call with hangonver loss at home, and look to bounce back, while Giants are a team on the brink. Hopes for January games are fading fast in Jersey, and this could be the final nail in the coffin.

Baltimore 17 PITTSBURGH 14
Steelers showing signs of life, too late of course, but Cowher would love to see his team finish on an upswing. Beating Ravens would be a sweet way to go out, but I can't see Baltimore losing steam now.

JACKSONVILLE 20 New England 16
I have no idea why, but it just seems like this is an "up" week for the up and down Jags. Pats have proven they can be had this season when faced with a tough spot, and despite the Pro Bowl snub for Tom Brady, I think Jacksonville has more to play for and will prevail.

Indianpolis 24 HOUSTON 10
Man, did Manning look good this past Monday in dismantling the Bengals or what? Texans can play tough at atimes, especially at home, but the Colts have had their lull and should be able to pick up some steam heading inot January.

ATLANTA 27 Carolina 10
Panthers look to have packed it in for the year, and crazy Falcons can move closer to playoffs with big home win. Chris Weinke will still be searching for his second win as a starter after this one.

BUFFALO 23 Tennessee 21
Surprisingly, this could be the best game of the week. Two red hot teams taht actually have playoff aspirations, whcih was unheard of just a few weeks ago. Love the Bills at home, as maybe some frigid temps could be the only thing that slows down Vince and Pacman.

CLEVELAND 30 Tampa Bay 17
Bucs staged nice comeback against soft Bear coverage last week, and almost pulled off miracle win. With a week to prepare for Tim Rattay, Romeo Crennel will have the Brownie defense ready to go, and the Dawgs will take a game that few will watch, and even less will care about.

SAN FRANCISCO 37 Arizona 28
Niners are still in the hunt, and by winning here can put more pressure on gaggin Seahawks. Cards are a bit more feisty of late, but have no answer for Frank Gore. Could be a wild one.

SEATTLE 23 San Diego 20
Mild upset here. If Seattle can't get motivated to win a game in which they have a ton more at stake than the Chargers, they should pack it up and stay home. Hawks have been way too inconsistent, but the tihkning here is SanDiego is due for some kind of letdown, and with the division clinched, it's not unlikely they could drop a non-conference matchup like this one.

Cincinnati 19 DENVER 17
Benagls need this one too badly, and will find a way to score just enough in snowy Denver. Jay Cutler has shown some very positive signs recently, but I don't think the Broncos can overcome a team as talented as Cincy.

DALLAS 27 Philadelphia 21

Boys have too much to lose, and should have enough firepower to outlast resurgent Eagles. NFL is fortunate to have a meaningful game scheduled for the holiday spotlight, and this one shuold not disappoint.

N.Y. Jets 20 Miami 13
Jets can soldify playoff spot with big divisional road win, and are playing well enough to get the job done. Despite playing a bad schedule, Eric Mangini has his team prepared every week, and if there were no New Orleans Saints his Jets would be one of the league's biggest surprise stories of 2006.

Last week: 6-10
Season total: 133-91 (59.4%)

Again with this "War on Christmas"?

Please, can we finally put this ridiculous notion to bed? Honestly, just because some cashier at Wal-Mart doesn’t wish me a “Merry Christmas”, does that mean society is falling apart and becoming virulently anti-Christian ? Somehow I doubt it. The topic was covered here last year, and I really don’t know what else to add. I suppose self-proclaimed “Culture Warrior” Bill O’Reilly needed somewhere to vent his frustrations after just about every one of his other arguments fell by the wayside.

Enough already, here’s hoping you enjoy whatever you celebrate this season. Oh, and stop the senseless persecution of the Christian minority!

Roid Rage, if by "rage" you mean "whatever"

Let me see if I understand exactly how this works…..Major League Baseball , and those who cover it, were up in arms over allegations about steroid use. After a few names were revealed as having failed tests for banned substances, the proverbial poop hit the fan, and the topic dominated the airwaves, web, etc. Rafael Palmeiro, the biggest confirmed user so far, has not played an inning since the news came out, and his career is likely over, his accomplishments and possible his Hall of Fame candidacy clouded in doubt. The debate rages on now that alleged roider Mark McGwire is on the latest Hall of Fame ballot. We won’t even go into the coverage and controversy surrounding eventual Home Run King Barry Bonds. Congress, congress, called the big boys in for a public hearing last spring, and warned the sport to clean up its act or else. Commissioner Bud Selig implemented new levels of punishment for anyone caught, as public opinion swelled in favor enough that the mighty players union had no choice but to cave. It’s not a perfect system by any means, but suffice it to say the sport is running scared and attempting to keep itself clean.

Compare this to the National Football League, which seems to somehow operate inside its own bubble. A star player, Sand Diego’s Shawne Merriman, tested positive earlier this year for a banned substance, which turned out to be a steroid. The NFL responded in kind, suspending the star four games, which amounts to one quarter of a season (comparable to a 50 gamer from MLB). A stiff penalty, no doubt, but what struck me was the muted, “so what?” reaction from the press. Here was a star player on one of the leagues better teams, nailed for steroids! It would compare to say, Roy Oswalt getting nabbed in baseball. The reaction there would have been a huge outcry, with writers clamoring that his stats be flagged with an asterisk, etc. Why the double standard? Should we just assume that football players are juicing unless we know otherwise, or is that already the public perception? The impact on the Chargers was immediately obvious, as they underwent some rough weeks on the defensive side of the ball, seemingly falling way behind each game and hoping the electric offense could bail them out, which it did on several occasions. Since Merriman’s return a few weeks back, the defense has stepped up and once again become a dominant force, and San Diego has emerged as one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

Look, I know that in almost every case, the cheaters are always one or two steps ahead of the testers, and the odds are pretty good that a good portion of players in both sports are not completely above board. At the very least, players who are caught should be penalized for their stupidity alone. It just is mind boggling to me how the public perceives the same infractions in each sport.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

NFL Picks - Week 15

Back-to-back 8-8 weeks have me spinning my wheels here, and it's time to make the move toward the top. s has been stated previously on more than one occasion, several teams have proven next to impossible to pick. based on the from-the-gut picking methos, which I am sticking with, I submit the picks for the week, with a heavy emphasis on home teams for some reason. Note a subtle format change, as the predicted score will now be the heading for the choice as the old way seemed a bit redundant. This week also marks the return of Saturday games, though now they are shown only on the rarely seen NFL Network. Seriously, at what point do we just go to a seven day NFL schedule? Does anyone else think that diluting the product somehow makes it better?

I picked Seattle, and lost, before I had the chance to post the picks. Here's what I thought when making that rotten choice:

SEATTLE 24 San Francisco 10
Hawks tough at home, and by winning here take one step closer to locking up NFC West. While they've been up and down this season, typical of a post Super Bowl letdown, this is where they can out it into gear and make a late season run in the wide open NFC.

ATLANTA 27 Dallas 24
I haver no idea why I would take the Falcons here, as they are one of the prime examples of teams which offer no consistency, thus are impossible to rely on when picking. Cowboys coming off embarrassing loss at home to Saints last week, and perhaps were exposed there. Tony Romo has come back to Earth of late, and Atlanta might have enough to pull this one out late, but it also would not surprise me if Dallas ended up winning by 20.

MINNESOTA 21 N.Y. Jets 17
Vikings a bit tougher in the dome, and Jets might have blown their season by losing to Bills last week. Something tells me the Minny D will put together a big effort and force Chad Pennington into mistakes, resulting in a W.

TENNESSEE 27 Jacksonville 22
All aboard! Despite SI cover jinx, the Vince Young love train is leaving the station with room for more folks to hop on. Jags don't travel well, and have had trouble putting together decent back-to-back games. Blowing out Colts last week has to lead to a bit of a letdown, and the young exciting Titans will seize upon that and rock to a thrilling win.

GREEN BAY 30 Detroit 17
Pack showing some signs of life, at least when facing mediocre teams. Liions are perfect cannon fodder here, and Favre and Co. have shown the ability to put up some points against teams like this. Outside of the Favre TD pass watch, there really isn;t any other reason to pay attention to this one.

CHICAGO 30 Tampa Bay 3
Let's see, an offense which can;t move the ball going up against the toughest defense in the league. Sounds like an ugly, ugly day for the Bucs. Bears would love to boost Rex Grossman's confidence, and there was never a more perfect chance to do so. You can make book on the fact that the Bear D will outscore the Bucs, easily. Also, if John Gruden instructs his punter or kicker to kick the ball anywhere near Devin Hester, he is an idiot.

NEW ORLEANS 21 Washington 16
Classic opportunity for a big letdown for the Saints after last week, but they seem to be rolling here, and Sean Payton will not let things get away with the division title in sight. Redskins have been tough, but seem to play just well enough to come up short each week, which speaks to either a talent gap, or coaching, or both. Drew Brees can enhance his MVP candidacy with another mistake free game, while the McAlister/Bush combination will give Joe Gibbs fits.

CAROLINA 23 Pittsburgh 10
The Disappointment Bowl. Two teams who should have been much better that this, but have stumbled. Hard to choose Chris Weinke, but the Steelers have been so bad on the road, and Panthers have a tiny bit more to play for, so the pick here is Carolina.

BALTIMORE 27 Cleveland 10
Ravens back on track in KC last week, and should coast at home against rookie QB. As is the case with the Bears, I would not be shocked to see the Raven D outscore the Browns offense here. With home field advantage in their sights, Baltimore will not slip up here. Anyone else looking forward to a potential Ravens/Chargers playoff matchup?

NEW ENGLAND 19 Houston 10
Maybe, just maybe, the Pats just aren't that good this year. They seem to be getting by in a mediocre division, but it looks as if they're headed for an early playoff exit. Surprisingly tough Texans can keep this close, and there is a sentence I never thought I'd type.

BUFFALO 22 Miami 16
Bills have been a tough out all season, and despite the lack of severe typical December weather in the forecast, can get past the Fins. Miami did an amazing job bottling up Tom Brady last week in shutting out the Pats, but Rich Stadium has been a traditional House of Horrors for the franchise, and the gloom and doom continues here.

ARIZONA 27 Denver 24
Wow, what the hell am I thinking with this one? Here's what: Cards have been playing much better lately, as Matt Leinart has made some nice adjustments to his game after the league seemed to catch up to him. That, coupled with the Jay Cutler experiment going on in Denver, leaves just enough wiggle room for the home team to pull off the upset. I'm still having trouble understanding why Mike Shanahan would cash in the season by starting Cutler when his team was 7-4 and headed for the playoffs. Then again, I;m just a stupid internet blogger, while he is a genius.

N.Y. GIANTS 27 Philadelphia 21
Wow, this game actually has large playoff implications, which didn;t seem possible as revently as two weeks ago. Eagles have surged with Jeff Garcia at the helm, but the defense is nowhere near the fearsome unit it once was. G-Men have returned to a more conservative approach on offense, trying to minimize mistakes by Eli Manning, and it's worked. Giants, with Tiki Barber carrying the load in a windy Meadowlands, prevail.

Kansas City 31 SAN DIEGO 24
One of only two road teams I'm picking this week is my beloved Chiefs. The rationale is simple, KC desperatley needs the game to keep any playoff hopes alive, while San Diego clinched the division last week. LDT already has the touchdown record, which should lead to him sitting out large parts of the second half no matter the score. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Chiefs lost their owner, Lamar Hunt, this week, and should be inspired to go all out and leave everything on the field. Chargers would love to have this one to maintain the edge for home field advantage, but the factors above point to Kansas City pulling one out on national TV. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I'm holding out hope that KC can run the table and win the Super Bowl as a tribute to Mr. Hunt. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Cincinnati 31 INDIANAPOLIS 24
...and here is my other road selection. Colts were absolutely horrid in losing at Jacksonville last week, as the run defense finally imploded. Make no mistake, it's been bad all year, but that was cover-your-eyes awful. Cincy is one team that can exploit that with Rudi Johnson capable of carrying the rock 30 times and pounding away at that porous front. Should that not be enough, the passing game is one of the league's best, and I honestly don;t see how INdy can keep them under 30 pts. Bengals have been much improved on defense of late, but even with a sub-par week they can still get out of here with a win.

Last week: 8-8
Season total: 127-81 (61.1%)

Friday, December 08, 2006

P.T. Barnum Continues to Be Right

I had almost forgotten it still existed until hearing a radio add the other day, but there is actually an International Star Registry. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Morons, click away!

It’s on one hand hard to imagine, yet on another easy to understand the combined levels of arrogance and stupidity associated with this group. To think for one minute that not only can a company come along and claim to “own” a celestial entity which has been around for thousands of years, is just plain dumb. Dumber still are the idiots who shell out good money to receive a nice certificate stating that such and such has been registered to them. “Oooh, what an amazing, eternal gesture, having a star registered in my name!” C’mre kid, wanna buy a bridge?

Do me a favor, save your money and buy me….well, anything else. Alcohol comes immediately to mind for some reason.

Better yet, if you’re one of those who feel that this is a good thing, have I got a deal for you. Send your $40 to me (I will beat my competitor’s prices, guaranteed!), and I will send you a nice, crisp, fresh, official electronic message signifying that the star of your choice has been renamed in your honor!

This week I’m running a special on pre-owned constellations. For the budget minded consumer, there are some soon to burn out models available for only $19.95! Currently, a twinkly little number I like to call “Bucky2544” (pictured above – isn’t it just precious?) is our Star of the Week, and can be yours for the low, low price of $14.95!

Act now, before it’s gone forever, literally!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

NFL Picks - Week 14

I knew I was in trouble last week, and a couple of ugly games resulted in an 8-8 week. After correctly picking the Steeler romp on Thursday (running my Thursday record to 5-0), I submit the Sunday selctions below....

PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
Steelers still awful, and beating up Bucs is not that great a feat. But, c'mon, Derek Anderson? I'm still reeling after seeing this nobody rally the Browns over my beloved Chiefs last week, and something tells me the Steelers will blitz the crap out of this guy and leave a quivering mass of jelly on the grass by about 11:30 tonight.
Pittsburgh 24 Cleveland 9

KANSAS CITY over Baltimore
Chiefs back home against tough Raven D, but since I'm a believer in Herm, I think they'll find a way to grind out a tough win. After the collapse in Cleveland last week, I just can;t see KC returning to Arrowhead and dropping this one.
Kansas City 19 Baltimore 13

Tennessee over HOUSTON
That's it, I'm finally jumping on the Vince Young bandwagon. This Titan team should be a ton of fun in 2007.
Tennessee 21 Houston 17

CAROLINA over N.Y. Giants
Panthers are another tough team to pick, and losing Jake Delhomme would seem like a recipe for disaster, but I'm banking on Coach Fox to rally around Chris Weinke and put the Giamts away for '06.
Carolina 23 NY Giants 20

CINCINNATI over Oakland
Bengals defense is red hot, and non-existent Oakland O should pose no threat at all. Cincy cruises at home despite having yet another player arrested this week.
Cincinnati 30 Oakland 13

WASHINGTON over Philadelphia
Reverse logic pick, since the whole world is suddenly in love with Jeff Garcia. I look at this and see an Eagle defense which allows a ton of yardage, suffering a letdown after a big win and a short week.
Washington 24 Philadelphia 20

Atlanta over TAMPA BAY
The only reason I would take Atlanta is that the Bucs have become perhaps the worst team in the NFL. Honestly, Jon Gruden, has it come to this? Kicking a field goal on the last play of the game, from within the 5 yd line, just to avoid the shutout? That is pathetic.
Atlanta 27 Tampa Bay 6

Indianapolis over JACKSONVILLE
Can't see Colts losing two in a row, despite facing Jags in Jax. Could be tight, but Manning and Co. will find a way.
Indianapolis 20 Jacksonville 16

DETROIT over Minnesota
Lions showed a little spunk in nearly knocking off Pats in Foxboro last week, while Vikes continue the downward slide.
Detroit 24 Minnesota 14

New England over MIAMI
Pats just do not look like one of the elite teams any more, but should still find a way to rattle and smack around Joey Harringotn. Dolphins without Ronnie Brown, which negates ground attack.
New England 28 Miami 10

SAN FRANCISCO over Green Bay
Always like the Niners better at home, while the Pack have played about one good quarter in the last two weeks. If Alex Smith can keep down the turnovers, San Fran could romp.
San Francisco 31 Green Bay 17

Seattle over ARIZONA
Hawks had no business winning in Mile High last week, and nearly blew it, so let's assume that was a wake up call which will prevent the Cardinals from pulling off an upset here.
Seattle 27 Arizona 14

N.Y. JETS over Buffalo
Perfect chance for a letdown here, as the expectations are going up, but it seems that Coach Mangini will not allow that to happen. Jets won't romp, but should be able to pick up a solid win against the resilient Bills.
N.Y. Jets 20 Buffalo 17

SAN DIEGO over Denver
Mr. Cutler, meet Mr. Merriman. Bolts are cruising to division title, while Broncos appear to have mailed in the season. Absolutely no way in hell Denver wins here. Book it.
San Diego 24 Denver 10

New Orleans over DALLAS
..and here is where the suddenly lofty expectations take a hit. Everyone loves the Cowboys now, and are openly speculating who they will meet in the NFC title game. Not so fast - Drew Brees and Reggie Bush can generate offense in a hurry, and despite defense lapses, could win a shootout in Big D.
New Orleans 34 Dallas 31

Chicago over ST. LOUIS
Here's my gameplan for Lovie Smith this week: on offense, kneel three times, then punt. Your defense should score more than enough points to take you to 11-2. Rams are in disarray, and offensive line will take a beating against this defense. Only a few untimely Rex Grossman mistakes will keep this one close.
Chicago 17 St. Louis 6

Last week: 8-8
Season total: 119-73 (61.9%)