Posts Tagged ‘Preview’
Already with the death threats.
Garrett Hartley, you better be glad these picks are for entertainment purposes only, because you cost me a win last night. Your two (not one, TWO!) easy misses last night created a push.
Which, if these picks were not for entertainment purposes, would have cost me money.
So, the next time I pick the Saints, and you cost me a win, you are DEAD TO ME.
So, anyway, with no further ado, and, I cannot emphasize this enough, for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY, Week One picks:
Green Bay at Philadelphia (+3): Know this now: I am going to be picking the Eagles every week. Even on weeks like this, when I know they are going to get pounded like Kim Kardashian at a chess match, I’m picking the Eagles. Sometimes I’ll justify it. Sometimes I won’t. Take it as read. Eagles cover here.
Carolina at N.Y. Giants (-6.5): Ah, the half point hanger. You know, when the late touchdown cutting the final score to 20-14 costs you? Except here, the Giants will be riding the emotion of The First Game Ever At Fake Giants Stadium(tm), while the Panthers will be riding the arm of some guy named Matt Moore. The Giants are better than you think. They win easy here, take the Giants less the points.
Miami at Buffalo (+3): Miami. Great city. Great beaches. Great clubs. The football team as of late? Eh. But they are playing a Buffalo team so bad that Chan Gailey is actually being paid to coach it. Buffalo has a chance to be historically terrible. Miami wins by a lot, give the three.
Atlanta at Pittsburgh (+2): When was the last time the Stillers got points at home in an opener? Look, I know Ben “She Can’t Say No If She’s Passed Out Drunk” Roethlisberger isn’t playing. But I also know that Mike Tomlin has never lost on opening day. Never. You know what else I know? You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask on the old Lone Ranger, and you don’t bet against Tomlin. On opening day. Take the Steelers and the points.
Detroit at Chicago (-7): These are not the Matt Millen Lions anymore. Combine that with the fact that these ARE the Jay Cutler Bears, and you have the UPSET SPECIAL OF THE WEEK. Detroit covers. Shoot, they might even win, starting the Lovie Smith Deathwatch(tm).
Cincinnati at New England (-4.5): Coach Belichick? Yeah, there’s a Lou Cifer on the phone, something about your deal with him being up. I’m so over New England. And I believe that Cincy is the third best team in the AFC, behind Baltimore and New York. Take the Bengals and the points.
Cleveland at Tampa Bay(-3): This game stinks. I mean peee-yooo. How many teams would be an underdog to Tampa Bay, which, for the second consecutive year, starts the season with me being unable to name three of their guys? (Is Doug Williams still there?) I’ll tell you how many: two. The only reason Cleveland isn’t the worst team in football is because Buffalo might be the worst team in football HISTORY. Cue the Eric Mangini Deathwatch(tm). Tampa rolls, give the three. *blinks* Did I just say that?
Denver at Jacksonville (-2.5): If a team stinks and no one shows up, does it make a sound? Only in Jacksonville, my friend. How in the world is Jacksonville favored here? Are you kidding? I would lock this one if not for the Sunday Night Bludgeoning we have this week. Denver wins by double digits. Who set this line, Jack Del Rio’s grandbaby?
Indianapolis at Houston (+2): Imma tell you something, Houston is for real. They are gonna win a lot of shootouts this year. The offense is ridiculous, and I have a huge man crush on both Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. Schaub is going for 5k this year, and it starts this week when he rings up Indy for 450 (that’s fo-fiddy) and four TD’s. Houston wins with some ridiculous Arena Bowl type score, like 68-65.
Tennessee at Oakland (+6): Will the last person off the Vince Young Bandwagon(tm) please turn out the lights? Oh, wait, that’s me. I still believe, Vince. But the Raiders are better than you think. Titans win a close one, but Raiders cover. Tom Cable hits Chris Johnson with a chair.
San Francisco at Seattle (+3): Say, did everybody suddenly forget that Pete Carroll is a lousy NFL coach? The world will be reminded Sunday. San Fran works them like those kids in The Temple of Doom, covering the three easily.
Arizona at St. Louis (+4): I am so tempted to pick against Arizona every time they are favored, especially on the road, but only Tampa Bay prevents the Rams from being the worst team in the NFC. Plus, now that they have a QB that doesn’t make me want to puke, Arizona might not be so crappy. Take the Cards, give the four.
Dallas at Washington (+3.5): As if I didn’t hate Dan Snyder enough, I have to listen to Redskins commercials (since I live in the DC area) talking about Donovan McNabb (who for the rest of the season shall, in this space, be referred to as He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned, or HWNSNBM, for I am lazy) USING THE VOICE OF LEGENDARY EAGLES RADIO ANNOUNCER MERRILL REESE. I wanted to vomit. Now, I am forced to root for the FREAKING COWBOYS, because I hate the Redskins so much. Daniel Snyder, I hate you with the fire of a thousand suns. I hope you get leprosy. Cowboys by THREE TOUCHDOWNS. STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCK(tm).
Baltimore at N.Y. Jets (-2.5): I so want to say, “People, slow your roll. The Jets are a fine team, but come on, this is a little silly. Aren’t we getting just a little carried away?” But I can’t. I love, love, LOVE this team. I love the swagger, I love the coach, I love that dude with the fireman’s hat. They win an instant classic on a last second field goal, but Baltimore covers the tight 2.5 in this AFC Championship game preview. Must See TV.
San Diego at Kansas City (+4.5): Quick, name five guys on the Chiefs. No, sorry, Tony Gonzalez isn’t there anymore. Yeah, anyway, so, take the Chargers and give the points. This one is like stealing.
Penn State at Alabama (-12): Penn State shocks the world and covers the 12. If this column is missing next week, it’s because Nick Saban had me wacked for putting the Hoodoo Jinx(tm) on his Crimson Tide. WE ARE!
The optimist says that the Eagles won’t miss QB Donovan McNabb at all, the defense will be greatly improved with the return of MLB Stewart Bradley and they will win the division.
The pessimist says that the optimist is on crack, they are one of the worst – if not the worst – teams in the NFC, and that only Kansas City, Buffalo and Cleveland are worse in the AFC. Kevin Kolb is a candy armed coward, and defensive coordinator Opie Cunningham, er, I mean, Sean McDermott was lost last year and will be even worse this year. Shoulda taken Earl Thomas in the draft and NEVER should have traded McNabb.
The realist says that they are both right.
And both wrong.
Let’s all look at the Eagles position by position, shall we?
Optimist – “Kolb is ready. He was ready last year. He is a perfect fit for this offense. His calm, poise, professionalism and natural leadership will take this team to new heights this year. If he gets hurt, we have a back up in Mike Vick who is experienced with the West Coast Offense.”
Pessimist – “WhatEVER, dude, Kolb is hot garbage. They should have traded him, not McNabb, and Vick needs to go. He’s done, and anyway, he sucked as a West Coast QB. If you were keeping Kolb, you should trade Vick and bring in Jeff Garcia. Why can’t this team ever do anything right? They should trade for Tom Brady.”
Realist – “This team has some issues. QB is not one of them. Kolb will be fine. He will have some growing pains, just like any first year starter. Nobody wanted Vick, that’s why he’s still here. He’s a serviceable backup. McNabb is gone, get over it. It’s over.”
Optimist – “I got one word for you: Shady. HB LeSean “Shady” McCoy is a clone of Brian Westbrook. He is gonna have a breakout second year. FB Leonard Weaver is one of the best fullbacks in the league. Mike Bell brings a championship attitude from the Saints.”
Pessimist – “Call me when Shady learns how to pick up the blitz and Weaver stays healthy. The only reason he’s one of the best FB in the league is because most of them suck. Mike Bell? Really? They should trade for Chris Johnson.”
Realist – “Weaver is one of the best FB in the league because he’s good. Shady is better than average and does need to pick up blitzes better. We will miss Bryan Westbrook more than you think. Mike Bell is a good backup.”
Optimist – “Jason Peters is one of the best LT in football. William Justice is good also, and the interior line, once C Jamaal Jackson comes, is very good. They pass block exceptionally well and should give Kolb lots of time.”
Pessimist – “Jason Peters is one of the best at what, false starts? He is a drive killer. Justice is average at best, Jackson is 8 months removed from shredding his knee and Stacy Andrews is just garbage. Todd Herremans is good. They should trade for Leonard Davis.”
Realist – “Um, I gotta go with the pessimist here, excpt that Herremans is more than good, and Andrews and Jackson can be good if healthy. If.”
Optimist – “This is the best young receiving corps in the league. DeSean Jackson keeps coordinators up at night, Jeremy Maclin was fourth in rookie receiving yards last year, Jason Avant never drops anything and Brent Celek is a top five TE in the league. These guys are awesome.”
Pessimist – “Fraction Jackson is a smurf, he is going to get hurt. Maclin is alright, nothing special. Avant is a TE in a WR body (read: slower than molasses on a cold winter’s day). Celek is good. They should trade for Andre Johnson.”
Realist – “Jackson is a legit star and Maclin has that potential. Avant is as reliable a possession receiver as you could ask for, and Celek is a legit stud. This unit is the class of this team, which is ironic, since it was the weak link for many years.”
Optimist – “I’m calling it now: Brandon Graham, defensive rookie of the year. He will add to the amazing speed that the Eagles have coming off the edge in waves because of their philosophy of rotating linemen constantly. DE Trent Cole is a star. Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson are studs in the middle.”
Pessimist – “I’m calling it now: Brandon Graham = Mike Mamula Jr. This is the NFC East, not the Big Ten. Of course they’re all fast, they are all tiny. They will get thrown around by teams like the Cowboys again and again. Andy Reid has been feeding us that, “We like to throw fastballs on the D Line,” garbage forever. Andy, you rotate guys because none of them are great. They should trade for Anthony Spencer and convert him to lineman. Oh, wait, they could have drafted him but they traded down to get Kevin Kolb.”
Realist – “Graham will be good. Cole is legit and the tackles are underrated. Strong unit.”
Optimist – “Stewart Bradley’s return is key, he makes this unit, in fact, the whole defense, great. Ernie Sims is a beast. This is the year he begins to live up to his potential, and Akeem Jordan is very good.”
Pessimist – “Bradley is a year removed from an ACL tear. Sims is such a beast that the Lions gave up on him, and you know Jordan is no good. Come on. They should trade for Brian Orakpo.”
Realist – “Bradley’s knee is fine. Sims has beast talent, no question. Where his head is will determine this unit’s worth. They could do, and have done, worse than Jordan. I’m not sure I’d use the word great though. Good, yeah.”
Optimist – “The Eagles now boast, in Ellis Hobbs and Asante Samuel, the same exact starting CB as the Patriots team that was undefeated in the regular season. Quintin Mikell is a calming veteran presence and Nate Allen is the replacement for Brian Dawkins we have been looking for.”
Pessimist – “You know that Patriots team lost in the Super Bowl right? To the Giants? The Giants that we play twice and have the same QB that beat those corners? You also know that those corners can’t tackle, right? Mikell was only good when he had Dawkins covering his back, and nobody – NOBODY – will ever replace Brian Dawkins. They should trade for Darelle Revis.”
Realist – “The biggest signing of the off season may turn out to be secondary coach Dick Jauron. If he can keep these guys from getting killed on bubble screens and teach them how to tackle, this defense could be good. If not, well, that’s what has been keeping me up at night, much more so than Kevin Kolb.”
Optimist – “DeSean Jackson returning punts. Quintin Demps and Ellis Hobbs returning kicks. David Akers is one of the best kickers in the business. Sav Rocca is solid. And Bobby April is the best special teams coach in football. Special teams will win us a game or two.”
Pessimist – “You don’t really think starters will be returning punts and kicks, do you? Try a steamy hot mug of Chad Hall. David Akers is 60 years old. Sav Rocca is terrible. And Bobby April’s schemes are passe. Special teams will cost us at least three games. They should trade for Josh Cribbs.”
Realist – “Demps is a very good kick returner. And we most certainly will see Jackson and some Maclin even returning punts. Akers is a great kicker, and April is still a great coach. Rocca is ok. Special teams will not be a problem and may steal a game this year.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
Optimist – “This team is finally ready to take that next step. Kevin Kolb is a great leader with great weapons at his disposal. The defense is much improved, and the team cannot wait to get back at Dallas for what they did last year. 13-3 and a long awaited Super Bowl win.”
Pessimist – “Super Bo – what are you SMOKING? This is, at best a team in transition with a brutal – BRUTAL – schedule. They play eight games against teams with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, ten if you count delusional Chicago and San Francisco. The defensive secondary is terrible, the linebackers are shaky, and the QB is a first year starter. Don’t be fooled by the 2-1 start that will include wins on the road over Detroit and Jacksonville. Those will be the only two wins this year. 2-14.”
Realist – “This is a solid football team in a tough division in a tough conference. They are just not good enought this year. Dallas, New York, Green Bay, Minnesota, and New Orleans are all clearly better. Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, and Arizona are probably better. They are not demonstrably better than Washington, Carolina or Detroit. The Eagles are a year away. This year? 7-9. And that’s gonna require a little luck. 5-11 is a real possibility.”
The goal today will be to not take any cheap shots at the New York Choking Dogs Mets.
The Phillies are going to repeat. Let’s get that out of the way now. Of course, I say they are going to win it all every year, but this time I have actual facts to back it up.
PITCHING: Cole Hamels is clutch. He is as cool as that hotel in Sweden made totally out of ice. Yeah, yeah, I know about Johan Santana. Let’s see him throw a changeup in the middle of a typhoon in the World Series. That is clutch. That is Cole Hamels. Also, his wife is hot.
Brett Myers is an angry dude. He channels that anger into striking out a lot of people. Oh, and he figured out how to hit in the postseason too. For Mets fans, the postseason is what other teams do after your team has its annual September meltdown.
Joe Blanton is the other guy. I think he hit a home run or something in the World Series. For Mets fans, the World Series is…ah, never mind, ask your cousin, the Yankee fan. Wait, he might not remember either, it’s been a while for them, too. Look it up.
Jamie Moyer is old. Somehow he continues to get people out with his 43 MPH fastball.
Chan Ho Park (really?) is the fifth starter.
I never thought I’d say this: The Phillies starters are scary good. For the first time in, well, ever, they are not the weak link on the team. I know, I know, I have been looking for pigs over head all winter, but it’s true.
The bullpen took a hit with JC Romero being suspended for 50 games for taking an over the counter supplement that he bought at GNC and that the players union said it was cool for him to take. Seriously. Why do they even have a union? Other than that, they are money. JA Happ is available for long and middle relief, and can fill in if a starter gets hurt, or has to leave early to get back to the old folks home in the case of Moyer.
The Mets got Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez from Anaheim, along with JJ Putz from Seatlle to bolster their bullpen, as it was a big reason they choked like George Bush on a pretzel finished second to the Phils the last two years running. K-Rod broke the single season save record last year, and Putz was great for Seattle.
K-Rod was outstanding. He had 62 saves with a 2.24 ERA. It was a year for the ages, which is why he won the Relief Man of the year award. Oh, wait, no he didn’t, that was the Phillies’ BRAD LIDGE.
Lidge was perfect last year, 48 for 48 in save opportunities including the postseason. Ryan Madsen, the heir apparent to the closer job, flirts with triple digits on the radar gun. Romero gets back in June. Scott Eyre can hold it down till then.
K-Rod broke Bobby Thigpen’s save record. How about this? Both were 26 years old at the time. Thigpen never saved more than thirty games again. His ERA almost doubled the next year. He was out of baseball 3 years after saving 57 games.
I’m just sayin’.
OFFENSE: The first baseman has one MVP, and finished second in the MVP voting last year. The shortstop has an MVP, and stole 47 bases on a bad ankle last year. The second baseman hit 33 home runs with a bad hip, and has played in 3 straight all star games. Raul Ibanez is much, much better than you think, a significant upgrade over Pat Burrell. Shane Victorino was a Gold Glove centerfielder last year. Jayson Werth is no longer looking over his shoulder for a platoon. The bench is so strong that they cut Geoff Jenkins and ate $8 million dollars on his contract.
This team is deep. It is primed for a long run. They have an arrogant swagger that I would like to say comes with winning, but frankly, they had it before. It is why they win while the Mets don’t.
The Mets have added some big guns to their bullpen. They think they now have what it takes to beat the Phillies.
The Phillies know they have what it takes to beat the Mets.