Archive for September 2009
So I’m thinking I may just start flipping a coin.
I mean, after an 8-8 week (plus missing on the college pick), it can’t be any worse, right?
Well, I did hit on both the UPSET SPECIAL and STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm) again, so I’m still perfect, 4-0 on the season there. Maybe I’ll save the coin for next week if things don’t improve.
As usual, you are an idiot if you gamble with my picks. They are for recreational purposes only. Home team in CAPS:
Kansas City (+9) at PHILADELPHIA: I’m telling you right now, if the Eagles don’t beat Kansas City by three touchdowns, there will be riots in the streets. I don’t care who is starting at quarterback, I don’t care if Brian Westbrook doesn’t play. The Chiefs are an awful football team. I would take the University of Texas minus nine over Kansas City on the road. Eagles win big, STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm).
Tennessee (+2.5) at NY JETS: Rex Ryan gave a game ball to Fireman Ed (that one dude who sits on that other dude’s shoulders and leads the “J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS” chants) last week on behalf of the fans. It will be insane in the Meadowlands Sunday. Tennessee absolutely, positively HAS to win this game. They won’t. Buddy’s boy’s boys go to 3-0, take the Jets, give the points.
Jacksonville (+3.5) at HOUSTON: OK, Houston, which is it? Are you the team that beat Tennessee or the team that got worked by the Jets? What’s that you say? You’re playing Jacksonville this week so it doesn’t matter? Oh, alright, cool, we’ll check back next week, Houston beats J-ville by a WHOLE lot, give the points.
Cleveland (+13) at BALTIMORE: Only Kansas City prevents the Browns from being the worst team in the AFC. For the second time in three weeks, I’m gonna say something I rarely say: take the Ravens and give the THIRTEEN. Wow, that is a lot of points. Fortunately for me, Eric Mangini coaches the Browns, and he’s an idiot.
NY Giants (-6.5) at TAMPA BAY: Byron Leftwich. Cadillac Williams. Kellen Winslow Jr. OK, there, now I can name three guys on the Bucs. They still suck. Take the Giants, give the points.
Washington (-6.5) at DETROIT: Detroit has to beat somebody at some point, don’t they? Yeah, and it may even be this week. Take the Lions plus the points.
Green Bay (-6.5) at ST LOUIS: Look, don’t get me wrong here, the Rams are awful. AWFUL. But why is everybody so in love with the Packers now? They were 6-10 last year. I don’t get it. Take the Rams plus the points.
San Francisco (+6.5) at MINNESOTA: San Francisco is for real. Will they beat Minnesota in a battle of the NFC’s two best running backs so far? Well, let’s not go crazy here. But they will cover the nigh-touchdown spread, take the Niners and the points.
Atlanta (+4) at NEW ENGLAND: The Pats need to get it in gear. Losing to Atlanta at home will not sit well with Lord Vader, er, I mean Bill Belichick. Pats win and cover the four.
Chicago (-1.5) at SEATTLE: Really? The Bears? Jay Cutler? Really? Seattle, with Seneca Wallace at QB, beats the Bears. UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK.
New Orleans (-6) at BUFFALO: It is getting harder and harder to pick against The Greatest Show On Turf: Part Two, This Time, It’s Personal. But I am a sucker for home underdogs getting six or more. Grit your teeth and take the Bills to cover in a shootout.
Miami (+6) at SAN DIEGO: Two teams that are real close to being dead to me square off here. Miami needs this game badly. So do the Chargers. I believe the Chargers win and cover. I think. Yeah, take the Chargers. I think.
Pittsburgh (-4) at CINNCINNATI: So I’m listening to the NFL radio channel today, and everybody and their mom is picking the Bengals to not only cover, but beat the defending world champs. Uh, what? Mike Tomlin is 8-1 all time in the regular season the week after a loss. Those eight wins are by an average of nearly two touchdowns, and include two shutouts. This is what we call a “trend.” Take the Steelers to lay the smackdown on the Bengals, give the four. In fact, make it a bonus second STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm).
Denver (-1.5) at OAKLAND: The Raiders made me sweat it out against Kansas City last week. Is it possible that Josh McDaniel goes to 3-0? It sure is. It’s not LIKELY, but it’s possible. Equally unbelieveable, the Ray-dizz go to 2-1, take them plus the points.
Indianapolis (+2.5) at ARIZONA: Uh, is that a misprint? Peyton Manning is getting points? Against ARIZONA? Colts win big, people, stop with this Arizona nonsense, come on. Get a grip.
Carolina (+9) at DALLAS: The day I give nine points with the Cowboys is the day I wear a Cowboys Jersey to Lincoln Financial Field. Not happening. Plus, Carolina is gonna win at least one game this year, why not here? Take the Panthers plus the nine.
Washington State (+45) at USC: Washington State is a bad team. They have lost 16 of their last 19. They haven’t beaten USC since 2002. They won’t beat them this week either, but 45 points is just a little ridiculous, don’t you think? Me too. Take the Cougars to lose by SIX TOUCHDOWNS and still cover. That’s just silly.
LAST WEEK: 8-8 NFL, including 1-0 STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm), 1-0 UPSET SPECIAL. College, 0-1.
STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm): 2-0
UPSET SPECIAL: 2-0
What a terrible start for the year. I was 7-8-1 last week versus the number (thank you, Brandon Stokely. Jerk.).
On the plus side, I did hit on both the STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm) and UPSET SPECIAL of the week.
Again, picks are for recreational purposes only. If you are trying to make money off my “expertise,” you are a moron. Home team in CAPS.
New Orleans (pick em) at PHILADELPHIA: Never again. Never again will I pick against my Eagles. I learned my lesson last week. So just know coming in that every week I will be picking the Eagles-what? Kevin Kolb is starting? Sigh. OK, let’s talk this out then.
NO was 2-6 on the road last year straight up, and this is a straight up game. Their two wins were over Kansas City and Detroit, who combined for 30 losses last year. The offense is prolific, but so is the Eagles defense. The Saints defense is awful, and the Eagles still have Brian Westbrook.
Hmmm. Now that I talk it out, Kevin Kolb doesn’t scare me as much as I thought here. As long as they keep the Saints below 20 points, Eagles win big. Take the Birds.
Oakland (+3) at KANSAS CITY: Remember when KC was the toughest place to win on the road? Yeah, not so much anymore. This is a team that lost by ten to Cincinnati and gave up 54 (yes, FIDDY FO) points to Buffalo last year, both at home. I like the Raiders a lot here, take them plus the three.
Houston (+6.5) at TENNESSEE: Houston is terrible. I still cannot believe anybody picked them to go to the Super Bowl. The 6.5 is going to get pounded, Tennessee wins big here, take them and the points.
New England (-3.5) at NY JETS: As an Eagles fan, I am having flashbacks to the Buddy Ryan era watching his son in New York. I love his attitude. I love how he has, like his father did with Dallas, decided to pick on the division bully. Also, the Pats did not look great last week in a game they should have dominated. Take the Jets and the points in the UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK.
Cincinnati (+9) at GREEN BAY: Whoo, that’s a big number. Chad Johnson (I’m not calling him the other name. It was cool when it wasn’t actually his name. Now it’s just dumb.) said this week that he would do the Lambeau Leap if he scores a TD. He’ll do it twice. Take the Bengals and the points.
P.S. Cincy, you burn me again this week, and you are DEAD to me. Do you hear me? DEAD.
Minnesota (-9.5) at DETROIT: Eighteen losses and counting. Detroit is really, really bad. But here’s something I bet you didn’t know: they were 7-9 versus the number last year. Against Minnesota, they covered twice. They do it again here. They might even win. Or they might give up three bills to Adrian Peterson. Either way, take the Lions and the points.
Carolina (+6) at ATLANTA: Carolina got worked like a Malaysian slave child last week. (You can use, that, it’s ok.) Atlanta covers the six with ease. AJ Feeley, come on down.
St. Louis (+9.5) at WASHINGTON: Remember when the Rams were “The Greatest Show On Turf?” Remember when Marc Bulger was a viable fantasy quarterback? Remember when Steven Jackson went number one in a lot of fantasy leagues? Sad. Oh, yeah, remember that the Redskins still have Jason Campbell? We will see Colt Brennan this week. Take the Rams and the points.
Arizona (+3) at JACKSONVILLE: I can admit when I’m wrong. Jacksonville looked a lot better last week than I thought they would. Arizona, on the other hand, didn’t. To quote their old coach, “THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE.” Take the Jags, give the three.
Seattle (+1.5) at SAN FRANCISCO: This will be a great game. Two teams that are better than you think will play down to the last minute. I like Seattle here with the points.
Tampa Bay (+5) at BUFFALO: Man, did Tampa stink it up last week or what? The Bills, on the other hand, should have beaten New England. Five is a lot here, but since I can’t name more than three guys on the Bucs, I’ll give the five and take the Bills, with a queasy feeling in my stomach.
Cleveland (+3) at DENVER: Stinker of the week. Denver, somehow, goes to 2-0 here. I wonder when Josh McDaniels’ deal with the devil expires. Take Denver and give the three.
Baltimore (+3) at SAN DIEGO: This is a possible AFC Championship preview. (Calm down, Steeler fans, I said possible, not likely). I really like San Diego a lot. I think they could go to the Super Bowl. The three points is a gift. If not for the next game, I might be locking this one up. Give the three, take the Chargers. They win bigger than you think.
NY Giants (+2.5) at DALLAS: Really? Dallas is favored here? The Giants were 3-1 against the number as underdogs last year. Yes, the one loss was at Dallas, but man, the Giants are the best team in the NFC. I’m not drinking that Cowboys Kool-aid, sorry. Giants win here, STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm) of the week.
Pittsburgh (-3) at CHICAGO: Jay Cutler sucks. Period. Chicago got robbed like a Prada store with Winona Ryder in it. Steelers win, Steeler style, like 10-6, with two field goals and two safeties. Give the three.
Indianapolis (-3) at MIAMI: Miami is as close to a must win here as you can be in week 2. They will definitely cover the three, so take them and the points.
COLLEGE SPECIAL OF THE WEEK:
Texas Tech (+17.5) at TEXAS: The Red Raiders cost Texas dearly last year with their upset in Lubbock. The Longhorns and Colt McCoy get revenge here, Texas wins HUGE, three touchdowns huge.
The NFL is back!
Here are some predictions for the year. All picks are for recreational purposes only:
NFC East champ: Giants (Number one seed)
NFC North champ: Vikings (Number two seed)
NFC South champ: Saints
NFC West champ: Seattle
NFC Wild Cards: Eagles and Packers
NFC Champ: Eagles over Giants
AFC East champ: Patriots (Number two seed)
AFC North champ: Steelers (Number one seed)
AFC South champ: Colts
AFC West champ: Chargers
AFC Wild Cards: Dolphins and Ravens
AFC Champ: Steelers over Ravens
Super Bowl Champ: Eagles over Steelers
MVP and Comeback Player of the Year: Tom Brady
Offensive ROY: Knowshon Moreno
Defensive ROY: Brian Orakpo
Not that it will happen, but the team with the best chance to go undefeated: Steelers
Not that it will happen, but the team with the best chance to go winless: Chiefs
Team that is better than you think: Raiders
Team that is not as good as you think: Colts
Team that is exactly as bad as you think: Chiefs
Best team to miss the playoffs: Bears
Worst team to make the playoffs: Saints
Week Terrell Owens goes off on Trent Edwards: Four
Week Eagles fans call for Andy Reid to get fired and Donovan McNabb to get cut: Two
Week Jim Zorn, Wade Phillips or gets the dreaded “vote of confidence:” Eight
Week Brian Westbrook gets hurt: Two
Week Vikings fans regret having Brett Favre because he just threw three of those “God-why-did-he-throw-that, head-in-your-hands” interceptions: Six
Week Norv Turner has that deer in the headlights look: one
Week the Cowboys lose a game because of their scoreboard: Seven
Week I stop doing these picks because I’m lazy: Five
This week’s games (Home team in CAPS):
Tennessee (+6) at PITTSBURGH: The Steelers are going to win a lot of games this year. None will be by a lot. Except this one. Opening night, Super Bowl presentation, crowd in a frenzy. Steelers win big here, take them and give the six.
Philadelphia (-1) at CAROLINA: Somebody explain to me how the Eagles are favored here. The offensive line has not played together yet, we don’t know how the defense is gonna look, and Jonathan Stewart is going to play for Carolina. The Birds are notoriously slow starters under Reid, he is 4-6 in his career on opening day. This will be a good year, but not a good day. Take the Panthers and the point at home.
Miami (+4) at ATLANTA: A battle of two teams that are better than you think, unlike the Chiefs, who are who we thought they were. I like Atlanta to win a close game. Take the Fins and the points though.
Kansas City (+13) at BALTIMORE: I normally stay away from double digit favorites in the NFL. But Baltmore is awfully good, and the University of Florida would beat KC three times out of ten. The Chiefs won’t go winless, but it will be close, and they will get blown out a lot, including this week. Take the Ravens and give the thirteen. I can promise that you won’t be hearing “give the thirteen” a lot from me this season.
Denver (+4) at CINCINNATI: I don’t like this game. These are two bad teams. Cincinnati is slightly less bad and is at home. The key will be the Cincy running game, if anybody cares, and if you do, you need counseling. Take the Bengals and give the four, you won’t be hearing THAT a lot this year, either.
Minnesota (-4) at CLEVELAND: I hate Eric Mangini. The Browns have no chance of keeping Adrian Peterson under 150 yards. Farve will only throw two picks. THIS IS THE STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm) OF THE WEEK. Take the Vikings minus four in a blowout.
NY Jets (+5) at HOUSTON: Houston, somehow, has become a sexy dark horse Super Bowl pick this year, kind of like the Vikings last year. And we know how well that worked out for Minnesota. Take the Jets and the five and laugh all the way to the bank. Quick, before somebody sees you.
Jacksonville (+7) at INDIANAPOLIS: I hate Peyton Manning. However, the difference between him and Eric Mangini is that Manning is actually good at what he does. Jack Del Rio may not make it through the entire season in Jacksonville. Take the Colts, give the seven.
Detroit (+13) at NEW ORLEANS: Detroit has lost a staggering 17 games in a row. I smell the UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK(tm). But not here. Take the Saints, they win big, give the points.
San Francisco (+6.5) at ARIZONA: Ah, here it is, I knew I smelled the UPSET SPE-never mind. Arizona? Your fairy godmother called, she wants her glass slipper back. Take the Niners and the points.
Dallas (-6) at TAMPA BAY: Ah, the home underdog. The six is tempting. If it was seven, I would take it in a heart beat. Then again, I’m not sure I can name three guys on Tampa’s team. Is Doug Williams still there? Take the Cowboys minus six. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Washington (+6) at NY GIANTS: The Redskins have lost four of the last five in the Meadowlands by an average of almost 17 points. This is what we call in the business the “ka-ching trend(tm).” The Giants are the best team in the NFC. Take the Giants, give the six, and be glad you are only giving six.
St. Louis (+8.5) at SEATTLE: The Jim Mora era will be ushered in with a close win over an awful Rams team. The 8.5 is too big a number, take the Rams and the points.
Chicago (+3.5) at GREEN BAY: This just in: Aaron Rodgers is really good. Packers win an instant classic by a field goal. Don’t get caught by the half point, take the Bears and the points.
Buffalo (+10.5) at NEW ENGLAND: The Patriots are going to struggle this year. Buffalo will play well until TO goes off on somebody. I like Buff-what? Tom Brady is back? And Marshawn Lynch is not playing? Oh, never mind, take the Pats at home and give the points.
San Diego (-9.5) at OAKLAND: Eagles fans everywhere owe the Silver and Black a debt of gratitude for helping put them in the playoffs last year. I’m gonna be honest, the spread here annoys me, because I love nothing better that the double digit home dog. Still, Chargers win, but Raiders cover, take the Raiders and the points.
It’s gonna be a great year. LET’S GIT IT ON!
I am already on record predicting the Eagles to win Super Bowl XLIV. Since that prediction, the Eagles have lost Jim Johnson, Stewart Bradley and Cornelius Ingram. They have added Michael Vick, and may be starting a rookie at free safety.
A rookie may be replacing Brian Dawkins.
So, naturally, I will not be cutting them an inch of slack. I will not be changing my prediction. Super Bowl or bust.
SI’s Don Banks disagrees. He thinks the Eagles will miss the playoffs. But he is a mook, who cares what he thinks?
I believe that the Eagles are a top five team. Here, in order, are the four teams I believe pose the greatest threat to the Eagles Super Bowl chances.
1. New York Giants
The Giants are not the best team in the NFL. But they may be the best team in the NFC, and they are in the same division as the Eagles, making them the biggest threat.
They have a great defense, a great running game and a Manning at quarterback. (Yeah, I know its the wrong Manning, so what?) They have championship experience. They know how to win. They will not have the Plaxico Burress issue distracting them this season.
In fact, I think that it is highly likely that they will win the division with the Eagles getting in as a wild card.
But the Giants have not beaten the Eagles in the playoffs since Bill Clinton was in office. The Eagles are 2-0 versus the Giants in the playoffs, having beaten them at the Linc in 2006 and in the Meadowlands last year. Since 2001, including the playoffs, the Eagles are 12-6 versus the Giants.
They also lost their defensive coordinator. All Pro DE Osi Umenyiora recently walked out of camp for a day because he felt that new defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan was disrespecting him. How long until Tom Coughlin goes off on somebody for showing up five minutes early for a meeting instead of ten minutes early?
The Giants are a great team. They may have a better regular season than the Eagles. But the Eagles will beat them in the playoffs. Again.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The defending champs are still the best team in football. They return intact, plus get Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall for the entire season. They should avoid the slow start they had last year. This is a ridiculously good football team.
They are well coached. They are battle tested, having won two of the last four Super Bowls. They have the most clutch quarterback in football not named Tom Brady, and an otherworldly great defense.
For some reason, the Eagles own them. The Birds are 46-27-3 all time versus the Steelers. They even won the only postseason meeting between the two. (OK, it was in 1947. I’m just sayin’.) They are 2-1 versus the Steelers since 2000.
I’m not saying the Eagles are better. I’m saying the Eagles can beat them. If they meet in Super Bowl XLIV, they will.
3. New England Patriots
The most analyzed knee in the NFL is back to wreak havoc on the league. Tom Brady’s return makes the Patriots a Super Bowl threat. They have the best coach in the NFL over the last decade in Bill Belichick. They have the best receiving corps in football outside of Arizona. And their defense is always tough.
Granted they have questions at running back, but they always have questions at running back. Laurence Maroney is listed as the starter, but BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Fred Taylor will see time there as well. Brady’s knee was shredded less than 12 months ago, and as of now they have only undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer as a backup. They are rumored to be looking at AJ Feeley, but ESPN”S Adam Schefter reports that deal is unlikely to happen.
If Brady’s knee holds up, they will be dangerous. If not, they will be beatable. Either way, in the tougher AFC, they will be battered and bruised by the time they get to play the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
4. Baltimore Ravens
They have their usual ferocious defense, and Joe Flacco now has a year under his belt at QB. They are very well coached and well assembled by GM Ozzie Newsome. The offensive line may be one of the league’s best. Did I mention the defense? It’s pretty good.
But they have major questions at RB and WR. Derrick Mason changed his mind about retirement, but one has to wonder how enthusiastic he’ll be by, say, week eight. The defense is good enough to win a lot of games by itself, but can that propel them to the Super Bowl? They did it before in 2000, but this defense is not as good as that one, which was arguably the best ever. This offense is better than that one also. Do they have enough to get by the Steelers and Patriots? Maybe. Do they have enough to win it all? I think not.
Green Bay and Minnesota are sexy picks this year. San Diego and Indianapolis are always in the mix, and should be this year as well. But all four are all in the next tier of teams behind the four mentioned above.
My official prediction? In a game for the ages, the Eagles beat the Steelers, 20-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.
Stone Cold Lead Pipe Lock(tm).
OK, maybe not yet. But after he leads the Gators to their first ever undefeated season, wins his third national title and wins his second Heisman Trophy, he will remove all doubt.
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
The list of my favorite college football players of the last 25 years that are not Seminoles is short. These are the guys I loved to see play, even against my beloved Noles.
Tommie Frazier. Eric Crouch. Reggie Bush. Vince Young.
I am obliged to now add a Gator (gasp) to that list.
Fact is, he would make my favorite list even with the Seminoles included.
We’ve heard all the lines about Superman wearing Tim Tebow underwear, he was asked to be Pope, but was too modest to take it, etc. He is a phenomenal human being, which certainly counts for a lot. But when his college career is remembered, it will be, at least in my mind, for what he said after the Gators most recent loss to Mississippi:
“You will never see any player in the entire country who will play harder than I will play the rest of the season. And you will not see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody for the rest of the season, and you will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season.”
Then he did it.
I mean, guys SAY crap like this all the time. And surely, Tim Tebow was not the only Gator who elevated his game after that one point loss last year. But the guy basically called HIMSELF out. In this age of zero accountability, he took accountability, put his team on his back and carried it to the National Championship.
In my mind, he should have won the Heisman for that speech (and his subsequent backing up of the speech) alone. Forget the stats, which are impressive alone. This year he will become the SEC’s all time leader in yards, passing TD’s and rushing TD’s. He is already the all-time conference leader in passing efficiency.
Not enough to convince you? The guy is a winner and a natural born leader. He knows how to handle himself with the press and in public. He recently acquitted himself very well in a press conference when he was asked a ridiculous question about his virginity.
Will he be a great NFL player? Probably not. But that is not the question here. He embodies what makes college football superior to the pro game. The passion these young men have is unrivaled.
And Tim Tebow will go down as the best of them all. Ever.
I bleed garnet and gold. I remember with glee the Choke at The Doak and with horror Wide Right I, II and III (and Wide Left, too). I love the Florida State Seminoles.
But the truth is the truth. It is what it is. And after this season, it will be three National Titles, two Heisman trophies and the first undefeated season in the storied history of the University of Florida football program.
If he does it, he deserves the title of G. O. A. T. Greatest Of All Time.
And he will top my list as favorite of all time. Sorry, Charlie (Ward).