Archive for the ‘Football’ Category
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
Is this awesome or what? I saw this and thought, I HAVE to make one of these for the Super Bowl. Bring people over and serve a stadium full of meat! Then I discovered that my wife had booked her flight back from Cuba, and that I have to pick her up at the airport. In the MIDDLE of the game! Cancel those plans. Oh well, maybe next year.
Thursday, October 27th, 2011
It’s been a bad year for straight-up picking. Still going fairly strong in my suicide pools, but a 68-39 record is weak. Better though is my 60-45-2 record against the spread. So here goes once more…this is of course more for me than for you.
Indianapolis at Tennessee (9) – Remember last Sunday night? When the Colts gave up 62 points? Or maybe you remember the Titans giving up 41. Will this be a high scoring game between two bad defenses? No…remember, both offenses managed only 7 last week. Unless you’ve blocked all that out. Titans, 16-10.
Real final score – Titans, 27-10. The Titans needed only one thing to break out of their offensive funk – the Colts defense. I can’t wait for the Luck-Manning controversy…only nine weeks to go!
Jacksonville at Houston (9) – Yeah, Houston ran it up last week against the Titans. But knowing the Texans, that means they’re due for a horrible performance this week. And the Jags had their best game of the year in that ugly, ugly Monday nighter, they will be down as well. Texans, 17-13.
Real final score – Texans, 24-14. The Jags were down more than the Texans. Houston could very easily win this division this season. They could also very easily finish at 8-8 again. Actually, they could very easily do both.
Minnesota at Carolina (3.5) – Christian Ponder had a remarkably good game against Green Bay, and looks to be coming into his own. Carolina remains only as good as Cam Newton can play – and I think he will play just barely well enough to win against the Vikings D. Panthers, 21-20.
Real final score – Vikings, 24-21. Cam Newton DID play just barely well enough to beat the Vikings D. One bad call and one missed field goal, and the Panthers manage to lose again. Isn’t it kinda strange that all of a sudden people (me included) expect them to win?
St. Louis at New Orleans (13) – We won’t see a repeat of the 62-7 beatdown of Sunday night here…even against the awful Rams. But we won’t see a close game either. Saints, 35-17.
Real final score – Rams, 31-21. Wait…what? My hat’s off to anyone who saw this one coming. Then again, anyone who predicted THIS outcome likely knows nothing about football. Or is a genius.
Arizona at Baltimore (13) – I don’t imagine the Ravens will have another stinker like they did on Monday night. But with their offense playing as badly as it did, and their passing game in tatters, how are they getting 13 points? Ravens, 16-10.
Real final score – Ravens, 30-27. It took the biggest comeback in Ravens history to win this one – and suddenly, the Ravens may not be the best team in their own division any more. Next week could decide.
Miami at New York Giants (10) – The Dolphins were THIS close to their first win of the season last week against the awful Broncos. I actually picked them to win that one…ouch. And the Giants are quietly getting healthier and setting their sights on the division title. Giants, 24-10.
Real final score – Giants, 20-17. The Dolphins, despite their winless record, have kept many a game close this year. They’ll win one soon.
Washington at (Toronto) Buffalo (6) – The Redskins are starting to remember that they are the Redskins. And Buffalo has had a week to think about their recent slide. I don’t think the Bills have remembered that they are the Bills quite yet – I still believe. But off the bye week, they will be a little rusty and the Skins will cover a too-large spread in what isn’t really a Buffalo home game. Bills, 23-20.
Real final score – Bills, 23-0. Well, I got the 23 part right…the Bills first win in Toronto, Mike Shanahan’s first shutout as head coach – the Bills may be the best team in their division – ahead of the Patriots! Would you believe?
Detroit (2.5) at Denver – The Lions get back on the winning track. Three minutes do not a QB make, and the Lions defense is vastly different than facing Miami. Tebow will look dreadful for three and a half quarters again, and any miraculous comeback attempt will fall short. Lions, 30-23.
Real final score – Lions, 45-10. Once again, Tim Tebow looked pretty darn good in the final 40 seconds of the game after looking like a high school QB in the first 59:20. His miraculous comeback attempt THIS week fell 35 points short. That Lions D has swagger. I love it.
New England (3) at Pittsburgh – The Steelers may have won three in a row, but they have not impressed me. I worry more about New England coming off a bye than I should, so I’ll chicken out. New England, 21-20.
Real final score – Steelers, 25-17. I’m actually more concerned about Bill Belicheck here than I am anything else. How could the Master not challenge the Gronkowski TD? It would have given the Pats an extra two minutes, and could have avoided that unpleasant, lame onside kick series. Weird.
Cleveland at San Francisco (9.5) – The Niners had their first real statement game of the year last week – I am predicting a letdown. Not a big enough letdown to LOSE to Cleveland…but a letdown nonetheless. Niners, 23-20.
Real final score – Niners, 20-10. Well, Cleveland’s a mess, and the Niners are for real. That’s it.
Cincinnati (3) at Seattle – Seattle is vastly different at home (still) than they are on the road. That stadium is LOUD, it’s raucous, and it will make things very difficult for rookie QB Andy Dalton. Bengals defense keeps them in this game – but I smell a small ”upset”. Seahawks, 24-21.
Real final score – Bengals, 34-12. I still thought the Seahawks would pull out a win here until the final three minutes, when the Bengals blew it open. Dalton is the real deal, and the Bengals are good.
Dallas at Philadelphia (3.5) – The Cowboys are running hot and cold and have been all season. The Eagles needed that last win, and need this one just as much. I say they barely manage to get it. Eagles, 21-20.
Real final score – Eagles, 34-7. Yes, the Cowboys were awful. But the real story here is the Eagles are ON TRACK. I’ll be picking them from here on out. Except against the Packers.
San Diego (3.5) at Kansas City – One loss, against the Jets, and suddenly San Diego gets only three and a half at KC? Oh right…the Chiefs are riding three consecutive wins. That ends now. Chargers, 27-20.
Real final score – Chiefs, 23-20. Worst Day Ever, says Philip Rivers. Well, for him, it was certainly the Worst Play Ever. A snap? A snap? Just take it, fall over, and the game is won. The Chargers are just not impressive at all – yet. Of course they’re a second half team, but the Chiefs are in a tie for the division lead and are very hot.
8-5 straight up this week. Ugh. 76-44 overall. Ugh. 4-9 against the spread. Double ugh. 64-54-2 overall. Awful.
Friday, October 14th, 2011
So far this year I am a disappointing 42-26 straight up, but a decent 39-36-2 against the spread. And I have already won our workplace suicide pool after I took the Saints last week and everyone else took the Giants. Good thing I burned the Giants early, in Week 2! Here goes…
St. Louis at Green Bay (14.5) – Is any spread big enough for this game? The Packers go to 6-0 with ease against the banged-up, disappointing Rams. Packers, 42-13.
Real final score: Packers, 24-3. The real surprise here was that the defense managed to hold the Rams to just 3 points. End zone turnovers will do that.
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh (12) – I think the Steelers ought to win this game at home, but they haven’t shown me nearly enough this season yet to justify a twelve point spread. MJD will have a huge game again, and it’ll be a lot closer than this. Steelers, 23-20.
Real final score: Steelers, 17-13. It was a lot closer than 12 points. The Steelers truly don’t deserve any spreads this large, even against sub-par teams. Not right now.
Philadelphia (1.5) at Washington – Along with the Bills, the Skins have been the biggest surprise for me early in this season. And the Eagles are far and away the biggest disappointment thus far. That being said…I still think Washington will come back to earth, and I still think the Eagles will win this division. Of course, they have to win this game first. Eagles, 27-24.
Real final score: Eagles, 20-13. It begins.
San Francsico at Detroit (4) – The Niners proved me way, way wrong last week when I picked them to lose to the Bucs. How’d that turn out, anyway? I tuned out when they had a 37-point lead…I hate to pick against the Niners again, but…I just think the Lions match up too well on both lines to be denied. Yes, the Lions go to 6-0. Wow. Lions, 27-20.
Real final score: Niners, 24-19. Shouldn’t have picked against the Niners again. They are for REAL.
Carolina at Atlanta (4) – The Panthers have looked almost as good as the Falcons through the early going. Atlanta was an early Super Bowl favourite, now they are almost as disappointing as the Eagles. But at home, and against a rookie QB who’s still feeling out the NFL, they should be fine. And just squeak one out. Falcons, 30-27.
Real final score: Falcons, 31-17. It WAS in doubt until the final minutes…maybe Atlanta really has finally turned the corner.
Indianapolis at Cincinatti (7) – The Colts, still winless, ARE improving. And don’t let the Bengals’ top-rated defense fool you – they have yet to play ANY top-tier offenses. With Freeney and Mathis rushing a still-unproven rookie QB, I like Indy to at least keep it close. Bengals, 21-20.
Real final score: Bengals, 27-17. this was the most-winnable game I saw remaining on the Colts’ schedule. Could they go 0-16 without Peyton Manning? In a weird way, I kinda hope so!
Buffalo at New York Giants (3) – The Giants are favoured because they are at home, and people think the Bills are coming back down to earth. I disagree. I think there are still some serious flaws with New York, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and the Bills offense will have a great afternoon. Bills win outright. Bills, 33-30.
Real final score: Giants, 27-24. I really thought the Bills would come back to win after giving up only a FG in the closing minutes. Maybe the Giants defense is better than I thought?
Houston at Baltimore (8) – That loss to the Raiders – was it Houston playing down, Oakland playing up, or are the Raiders actually a better team? Or was it Al Davis? Like every other season, I don’t get the Texans at all, (or the Raiders for that matter) and I have no idea which team will show up anygiven week on their way to their customary disappointing 8-8 season. I’m guessing…the better Texans keep this one close. Ravens, 23-18.
Real final score: Ravens, 29-14. Bad Houston let this one get away quick in the second half.
Cleveland at Oakland (6.5) – Like I said, who frikkin’ knows which Raiders team shows up? Or which Browns team, for that matter. Here’s some total guessing – the Raiders will come down from their Al Davis-related high last week, the Browns will play well off the bye…and just barely lose. Raiders 27-26.
Real final score: Raiders, 24-17. It actually wasn’t even THIS close. The Raiders are, in fits and starts, putting together a pretty good team and could have a pretty good season.
Dallas at New England (7) – Remember last year? When Rob Ryan’s defense (he was with the Browns, remember) confused the hell out of Tom Brady and actually WON the New England game? Not that I have any confidence in Dallas or their offense, but this will be closer than 7. Patriots, 28-24.
Real final score: Patriots, 20-16. I love it when I’m so right. It makes up for the games where I am SO wrong. Like…
New Orleans (4.5) at Tampa Bay – The Bucs will be looking for redemption after getting hammered last week. The Saints too, for that matter, after barely escaping with a win. Saints, 30-23.
Real final score: Buccaneers, 26-20. Redemption for Tampa Bay, questions for the Saints. Maybe they really missed Sean Payton?
Minnesota at Chicago (3) – It was almost a miracle that Jay Cutler was sacked only THREE times against Detroit. Look for the Bears to try running it a lot, and only quick-hit passes. Which works perfectly for the Vikings, who still have a great run defense and a very fast pass rush. Vikings in the upset. Vikings, 21-14.
Real final score: Bears, 39-10. Dropped passes. Penalties. Missed tackles. Then, when they finally appear to have some momentum…they kick to Devin Hester. Whatever is wrong with the Vikings, it goes WAY beyond Donovan McNabb.
Miami at New York Jets (7) – The Jets have NOT looked good in recent weeks. Miami still has it in them to surprise a team or two, I think. But their defense ought to be way too much for Miami’s offense, and New York WILL win. Jets, 24-21.
Friday, September 30th, 2011
So far I’m 33-16 straight up, but a weak 22-24-2 against the spread. Now, to improve on both…
Detroit at Dallas (1.5) – The Lions are top five in both offense and defense. The Cowboys have a banged up QB, banged up receievers and a complete inability to score in the red zone. They can’t stop the pass rush, and Detroit has one of the best in football. Dallas is of course much better at home, but Detroit is just a better team. They go 4-0. Lions, 23-20.
Real final score: Lions, 34-30. Was there ever any doubt? Okay…I mean…after Tony Romo threw that first pick-six, was there any doubt? I DO think that this says more about Romo and the Cowboys and their ability to blow a game than it does about the Lions, despite the two consecutive stellar comebacks.
New Orleans (7) at Jacksonville – I just don’t see a win in the near future for Jacksonville, who apparently threw in the towel on the season before it began. The Saints look to have begun a solid roll since that opening week loss to the Packers. Saints, 40-21.
Real final score: Saints, 23-10. Without MJD, I can’t see Jacksonville beating a good college team.
San Francisco at Philadelphia (9) – The Eagles are 1-2, a disconcerting start to a season where they are supposed to roll over the rest of the weakened NFC East. Starting 1-3 with a loss to the Niners would be a disaster. Eagles, 27-24.
Real final score: Niners, 24-23. And…we have a disaster. The Niners are NOT very good, but could easily win their terrible division if they keep beating weakened teams not playing their best.
Washington (2) at St. Louis – The Skins couldn’t put away a ripe-for-the-picking Cowboys team last week, and their 2-0 bubble to start the season may have burst. The Rams could still snap out of it, turn things around, and make a run for the NFC West title. But it won’t start here, as the Rams have looked awful, even at home. Redskins, 21-17.
Real final score: Skins, 17-10. The Rams really are terrible. Get them one good receiver and a healthy Steven Jackson though, and they’re not far off from being decent.
Tennessee at Cleveland (1) - Is there a less-appealing matchup of 2-1 teams this week? Both teams have serious flaws, and have had serious trouble with equally weak opponents. The Browns are going into a bye week, and are at home…I guess that’s the slight edge that makes them 1-point favourites. Browns, 17-14.
Real final score: Titans, 31-13. Without a doubt, my biggest miss of the week. The Titans are actually a sneaky 3-1, with a win over the Ravens in there – they could be for real, but I’m not sold yet.
Buffalo (3) at Cincinnati – The Bills have outscored opponents by 40 points, and have put up 113 on the season. The Bengals are 1-2 and have put up 57. And the line is 3 points? Come on. I’m buying the Bills. Bills, 33-20.
Real final score: Bengals, 23-20. I will chalk this up to a letdown after the Patriots game – the way the Ravens had a letdown after Pittsburgh. I still believe, I still buy. For now.
Minnesota (2) at Kansas City – The Chiefs really are awful. And eventually, the Vikings have to hold on to one of those big first-half leads…right? Donovan McNabb can get right against KC. Vikings, 27-21.
Real final score: Chiefs, 22-17. The Vikings are so bad in the second half they’ll need a 30-point lead to pull one out. Maybe. You’d think with AP they could grind one out?
Carolina at Chicago (6) – The Panthers have to be thinking they can actually make something of this season – strides, if nothing else. And in order to feel like they’re making progress, they have to do well on the road against good teams. It starts here. Expect a good showing from Carolina. Bears, 21-20.
Real final score: Bears, 34-29. This WAS a good showing from Cam Newton and Carolina, and the Bears barely escaped with a victory. This team is on its way back.
Pittsburgh at Houston (3.5) – The Texans must win this one before I start taking them seriously as a playoff contender. I’ve been burned by these guys too many times before. I think the Steelers are seriously weakened, and I’ll take the Texans here. But only marginally – I haven’t bought in yet. Texans, 24-23.
Real final score: Texans, 17-10. I AM taking the Texans seriously as a playoff team now. Not so much because of this victory, but because they are clearly, in my mind, the best team in their division this year.
Atlanta (4.5) at Seattle – Both teams are vastly superior at home to the road. Seattle, for that reason, CAN win this game even though the Falcons are a much better team. It’ll be closer than it should be. Falcons, 33-30.
Real final score: Atlanta, 30-28. This was much closer than it should have been. Seattle has NO offensive line, very little defense, and no hope of the playoffs this season. Presumably. This says more about the Falcons, and their ability to play down to a crappy team, than it does about Seattle.
New York Giants (1) at Arizona – The Giants will be flying pretty high after that Eagles win. The Cardinals don’t scare anyone – even though they’re banged up, look for the Giants to build some confidence with a road win here. Giants, 26-18.
Real final score: Giants, 31-27. Okay. I’m with all you Cards fans out there, Arizona got absolutely hosed in this game. But the Giants are 3-1, they are tops in their division with Washington, and the NFC East is making less and less sense with every passing week. And EVERY week in the NFL this year has been a passing week.
Miami at San Diego (7) – The Chargers had some trouble with the easily-beatable Chiefs, and the Fish can still surprise a team or two this season. Not the Chargers though, who had that scare thrown into them last week and won’t let it happen again. In theory. Chargers, 30-20.
Real final score: Chargers, 26-16. The Dolphins did not surprise the Chargers. The Chargers are simply better. But early in the season, they can still fall to lesser teams, don’t get super-confident yet!
Denver at Green Bay (12.5) – The Packers go to 4-0 with ease, beating up on a very bad Broncos team. Theirs is a passing-only attack, against the best coverage in football, and their defense can’t stop Aaron Rodgers and the best receivers in the game. Packers, 42-10.
Real final score: Packers, 49-23. I am stunned that the Broncos managed 23 points! Packers need to tighten up on defense. Geez.
New England (4) at Oakland – Damn those Raiders! They simply can’t be predicted with any accuracy, just like last season. They can give away sure wins with penalties and miscues, then they can beat better teams by putting together the great pass rush and running game. Huge day here for McFadden against a bad rush defense, but that just keeps it close…probably. Patriots, 32-30.
Real final score: Patriots, 31-19. Or, not close. Were this game played again tomorrow, the other Raiders could show up and eke out a win. Who knows with that damn team?
New York Jets at Baltimore (3.5) – A great marquee matchup between the only two teams in football who seem to still want to play defense. The Ravens at home will be flying high after hammering St. Louis, and the Jets might be questioning themselves after their week 3 loss to Oakland. Either way, it’ll be a hard-fought game, and the spread is just about right. Ravens, 20-17.
Real final score: Ravens, 34-17. What an insane game! When the Jets offense was on the field, they were outscored 21-3. When their defense was on the field, they were outscored 13-7. At least they got that special teams TD…how else were they going to do this? A huge score for the only solid defensive game (on both sides of the ball) so far this season!
Indianapolis at Tampa Bay (10) – The Bucs are for real. This team is on a major upswing, after beating Atlanta, and they will need to beat the bad teams (like Indy) to keep the roll going. They will. Buccaneers, 24-13.
Real final score: Buccaneers, 24-17. The Colts actually made a pretty good game about this. The Bucs won ugly, but they won, and good teams will have to win a few ugly ones against bad teams in a season. The Bucs are a good team.
I went 12-4 this week, 35-20 overall. Things are looking up a little. Better though, was my record against the spread – 9-7, 31-31-2 overall. Back to .500!
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
After two weeks, I am a respectable 24-8 straight up, but a dreadful 12-18-2 against the spread. I already wrote this post and the system screwed up on me in the middle, so I’ll just be real quick with my picks while I have time.
San Francisco at Cincinnati (2.5) – I chickened out and pushed. Bengals, 21-20.
Real final score: Niners, 13-8. That win against the Browns was a fluke – the Bengal are as bad as we thought they were.
New England (8.5) at Buffalo – Too many points for a divisional game. Patriots, 35-30.
Real final score: Bills, 34-31. The Bills are 3-0. And their offense looks unstoppable. What a comeback! Gotta like this team.
Houston at New Orleans (4) – Saints D looks too good for 4 points. Saints, 30-23.
Real final score: Saints, 40-33. What was that I said about defense? I’m not sure any still exists in the NFL.
New York Giants at Philadelphia (7) – Vick or no Vick, the Giants are too banged up. Eagles, 28-17.
Real final score: Giants, 29-16. Even WITH Vick for most of the game, the Giants managed to take care of Philly pretty easily. The Eagles look a little lost here early in the season.
Miami at Cleveland (2.5) – The Dolphins can fix their problems faster than the Browns can. Dolphins, 23-20.
Real final score: Browns, 17-16. Or not. The Dolphins are in for a rough season.
Denver at Tennessee (6.5) – The Titans’ season has already peaked. Titans, 21-18.
Real final score: Titans, 17-14. Yep. Tennessee just isn’t that good. But of course, the Broncos ARE worse.
Detroit (3.5) at Minnesota – No team has looked better on both sides of the ball through 2 games than the Lions. Lions, 30-24.
Real final score: Lions, 26-23. You know who’s 3-0? The Lions. And the Bills. The Bills and the Lions.
Jacksonville at Carolina (3.5) – Cam Newton’s first win. Panthers, 24-20.
Real final score: Panthers, 16-10. That was Cam Newton’s first win!
Kansas City at San Diego (14.5) – More about the Chiefs being awful than the Chargers being good. Chargers, 35-14.
Real final score: Chargers, 20-17. The Chargers are good, but they really can’t seem to put anyone away.
New York Jets (3.5) at Oakland – The Raiders can give away any sure win. Jets, 27-20.
Real final score: Raiders, 34-24. Damn Raiders are going to be super-tough to pick again this year. They can beat anyone. And lose to anyone.
Baltimore (3.5) at St. Louis – The Ravens are WAY better than they looked last week. Ravens, 27-17.
Real final score: Ravens, 37-7. The Ravens ARE this good. And the Rams ARE this bad, with their injuries and no Steven Jackson.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay (1.5) – Weirdest line of the week. Falcons are vastly superior. Falcons, 28-20.
Real final score: Buccaneers, 16-13. Maybe not. The world appears to know something I don’t.
Arizona (3.5) at Seattle – Seahawks are worst team of the first two games. ‘Zona only a little better. Cardinals, 24-23.
Real final score: Seahawks, 13-10. It might be a good idea to continue picking Seattle at home against other bad teams.
Green Bay (3.5) at Chicago – Packers beat the Saints, Saints decimated Chicago. Packers, 33-20.
Real final score: Packers, 27-17. Even as a Packers fan, I loved the Devin Hester misdirection on that last punt – what a play! Too bad it was called back on some phantom hold no one ever saw.
Pittsburgh (10.5) at Indianapolis – What an awful matchup for Sunday night! I guess no one expected Manning to be gone. Steelers, 35-14.
Real final score: Steelers, 23-20. Pittsburgh is not what they once were - they may have won, but Roethlisberger is going to be dreaming about Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney all week.
Washington at Dallas (5.5) – Washington is probably better at Dallas. Marginal at home for the Cowboys. Cowboys, 21-20.
Real final score: Cowboys, 18-16. Ugly, ugly game. Weaknesses exposed on both sides of the ball for both teams. Cowboys actually looked worse, but Washington let them into the red zone way too often.
This week, 9-7 straight up, 10-6 against the spread. That’s a bit better. 33-16 straight up now, 22-24-2 against the spread.
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
As always, I plan to win the football pool. You can sign up for this football pool at chez106.com/contests. Prizes this year include 25,000 CHEZ nation points every week, and massive, amazing Totem speakers from Stereo Plus & Design as the grand prize. All you have to do to WIN this grand prize is enter. Winning the pool provides nothing more than bragging rights, and possibly some great national prizes. Here’s how to win this week:
Saints at Packers (4) Thursday night: The Packers won the Super Bowl with 16 starters going down to injury at some point last season. You have to think that healthy, they are still far and away the class of the league. But with shortened training camps, the beginning of this season is anything but certain. And the Saints have been training longer and harder than anyone else in the offseason thanks to Drew Brees. Look for them to at least cover the spread. Packers, 27-24.
Real final score: Packers, 42-34. Well, the Saints were inches away from covering the spread. What a game! As a Packer fan who scratched his head over the selection of Randall Cobb in the second round this year (the Pack already has the best recieving corps in the league – why one more?), I would now suggest that there was nothing wrong with the selection of Randall Cobb in the second round of this year’s draft.
Pittsburgh at Baltimore (2) – What a way to kick off a Sunday! Two top teams with a healthy hatred of each other and a couple of badass defenses. I think that kicking off the season, the Ravens have more to prove. And they are monsters at home. Ravens, 23-20.
Real final score: Ravens, 35-7. What a disappointing way to kick off a Sunday! Every time in the past decade the Steelers have made it to the Super Bowl, they have missed the playoffs the following year. Could it happen again? The Ravens clearly think so.
Detroit at Tampa Bay (1.5) – Really? Only 1.5 points here? I get it – Detroit is the feel-good pick of the year. Some say they may even make it to the postseason (not me). But where is the love for the Bucs? They went 10-6 last year with easily the youngest team in football. They are still the youngest team in the league, and likely to be improved. And still much better than the Lions. Buccaneers, 30-21.
Real final score: Lions, 27-20. Okay. The Lions are better than the Bucs. Maybe Tampa Bay is backsliding here – and maybe the Lions are for real. If Stafford is actually this good, and Calvin Johnson stays healthy, those two plus that D-line will put Detroit in the playoffs. I have reconsidered.
Atlanta (3) at Chicago – Peter King of Sports Illustrated picked the Falcons to win the Super Bowl. Over the Chargers. Wait…Chargers? Really? Well, he DID predict a Green Bay-Pittsburgh Super Bowl last year. The Bears will NOT be as good as they were last year, Atlanta will be better. Falcons, 28-17.
Real final score: Bears, 30-12. Or things could be totally upside-down. Jay Cutler looked as good as he ever has, and Matty Ice looked dreadful for most of the game. It may be that Atlanta just needs a few games to get into rhythm. The problem for them is that by then, it may be too late.
Buffalo at Kansas City (6) – The Bills are, yes, dreadful. Despite their coach’s assertion that he “expects” to go undefeated. And I expect to have a three-way with Hilary Swank and Eliza Dushku. AND I expect my wife to be OK with it. The Chiefs are better, but they’re not going to win their divsion again. The difference here is that KC is at home, where they are MUCH better. Chiefs, 33-24.
Real final score: Bills, 41-7. The Bills are…not?…dreadful? I didn’t get to watch this game, but it certainly seems like Buffalo is on a mission. A mission to six, maybe seven wins? Kansas City is in real trouble – last year they won their division losing to the good teams and beating the bad ones. With a first-place schedule this year, they are in danger of slipping away quickly.
Indianapolis at Houston (9) – Every year, people think Houston will be vastly improved and will make the playoffs. Some years, those people have included me. Not this year. And then…wait, what? Houston, who has never made the playoffs and was 6-10 last year, plays the first-place 10-6 Colts and they’re favoured by NINE? I think Peyton Manning is the greatest QB of all time. But does he warrant an 18-point swing just by not playing? No. The Colts are still as good as the Texans, Manning or no Manning. In Houston though, I’ll take the Texans in a squeaker. Texans, 21-20.
Real final score: Texans, 34-7. Okay. Maybe Peyton Manning does represent an 18-point swing. Or, which might be more likely, Kerry Collins represents a 39-point swing.
Philadelphia (5) at St. Louis – St. Louis is on an upswing. They are getting better and better after missing the playoffs by a hair last season. For me, the Eagles are a more unknown quantity – are they the all-star team they appear to be? Can the new pieces gel right now, and play great from day one? Will the Eagles continue to be road warriors or can they find more balance? I don’t know. But I DO think the Rams will be very good at home, and until I see the Eagles, in a real game, at least once, I won’t be taking them to cover any 5-point spreads on the road. Eagles, 23-21.
Real final score: Eagles, 31-13. So far so good for Michael Vick…it took him one half, but once he found his rhythm and started reading the defense, he absolutely picked apart the Rams. Injuries (however slight they may be) to Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson could spell doom to what otherwise was a promising season for St. Louis.
Cincinnatti at Cleveland (6.5) – This might be a good game to take if you’re in an eliminator pool. I usually make it a rule never to pick a divisional game as an eliminator pick, but…if you can use Cleveland and get them out of the way early it might be worth that risk. The Bengals should be, without Palmer and Ochocinco et al, far and away the worst team in football. Browns, 35-13.
Real final score: Bengals, 27-17. This would have been a terrible game to take in an eliminator pool. Any given Sunday, divisional game, cliche cliche. At least now, I think I can safely say there will be NO winless team in football this season.
Tennessee at Jacksonville (2) – The Jags seem to have thrown in the towel before the season even begins, releasing key components of their 8-8 team last year. And Chris Johnson will run wild in week one against this D. Titans, 24-20.
Real final score: Jaguars, 16-14. Chris Johnson ran WILD for 24 yards. That was all the difference. Matt Hasselbeck looked decent, but it was Luke McCown who surprised me – did the Jaguars actually see something GOOD in this guy before releasing Garrard? I guess so!
New York Giants (3) at Washington – The Skins will be abysmal this season, especially playing the Eagles and Giants twice each. The pain starts in week one. Giants, 31-26.
Real final score: Redskins, 28-14. Wow. Those injuries hurt the Giants more than I thought they would. And Rex Grossman looked…good? I don’t think the Skins will be any better now than I did before, but I DO think the Giants will be worse.
Carolina at Arizona (7) – The only team that might give the Bengals a run for their money as the Worst Team In Football this season is the Panthers. Then again, the Cardinals are truly bad as well. Cardinals are average at home, Panthers are abysmal on the road. This spread is about right. Cardinals, 26-17.
Real final score: Cardinals, 28-21. The spread was exactly right. There was a bright spot here for the Cards – rookie Cam Newton, in his first start ever, looked like the real deal. The Panthers will still be bad, but there’s a silver lining.
Seattle at San Francisco (5.5) – Yes, the Seahawks were the worst team to make the playoffs last year. But remember what they did to the Saints once they got there? The power of home field. Seattle will remain scary at home, useless on the road. Niners need to make their move in this division early, if they hope to keep pace with the improved Rams. Then again, 8-8 could well win this division in 2011. Niners, 27-21.
Real final score: Niners, 33-17. This division will likely come down to the Niners and Cards, unless the Rams can fight through their early injuries and remain within striking distance. Seahawks remain useless on the road.
Minnesota at San Diego (8.5) – The biggest spread of week one – but don’t be fooled. And I would seriously recommend staying away from this game in any eliminator pools. The Chargers may be stacked, and talented as hell, and might well be a Super Bowl contender. But never, since they began to be good, have they started a season quickly. Notoriously slow starters, up against a healthy, rested, hungry Adrian Peterson in week one? For me it’s a coin-flip. Chargers, 24-23.
Real final score: Chargers, 24-17. A healthy, rested Adrian Peterson killed the Chargers. And a healthy, rested Donovan McNabb killed the Vikings. 6 yards per carry for AP. 39 yards TOTAL for McNabb in the air. Including that interception…brutal. The Vikings could be a pretty good team, still, if McNabb turns it around. But it looks awful right now.
Dallas at New York Jets (4.5) – I’m taking this one as my eliminator pick in my pools this week. Far more likely that the Jets start fast and Dallas starts slow – then the Jets will continue to be good, while the Cowboys will continue to suck. Jets, 33-20.
Real final score: Jets, 27-24. Nail-biter! For those of you who thought the return of Tony Romo would right the Cowboys ship – obviously, it won’t. I do like Romo though – when he’s playing, he makes sure he keeps both teams in the game.
Monday – Miami at New England (7) – The Patriots should win this in a walk (but again, I wouldn’t take this one in any eliminators – it’s a division game, and New England has a lot of new pieces). I’m most interestered in Albert Haynesworth, who I think will have a monster season. That’s what I’ll be watching for. Patriots, 28-24.
Real final score: Patriots, 38-24. If I’m New England, I’m worried. Imagine, for a second, that Bess had stretched out just three inches further on that goal-line dive. Then Chad Henne wouldn’t have had to make a terrible decision, the Fish would have been down by 7, and Brady wouldn’t have turned right around and thrown that 99 1/2 yard TD to Welker. Whole different ball game. Yeah, the Pats look unstoppable on offense. But that’s against a weak Dolphins D. And could the Pats’ defense stop Chad Henne? Nope. Brandon Marshall looks amazing.
Also Monday night – Oakland at Denver (3) – I know that Denver is at home here, but really? Remember Oakland handing it to Denver last year? I think the Raiders are still better than the Broncos. Raiders, 23-20.
Real final score: Raiders, 23-20. At least I close out the week with a perfect prediction. The Raiders have now won their last EIGHT in a row against division opponents. What an ugly, ugly game. Fumbles galore, and the plays without penalties were more rare than those with penalties. The Raiders D-line looks very impressive, their running game is good, but their QB is passable at best and their discipline is dreadful. If they can improve THAT part of their game, they have a shot at contending this year.
Week 1…I am 10-6 straight up, which I’ll accept in a strange first week. However, I’m a dreadful 4-10-2 against the spread, which I will NOT accept. Ouch! Bad way to start the season!
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Boxing is over. I decided this on the weekend as Bernard Hopkins became the oldest champion in boxing history with his light-heavyweight victory over Jean Pascal in Montreal. 46 years old, and he’s the champion. Any sport where a 46-year-old can be the best in the world is no longer a “sport”. There are now six “sports” I can think of where a 46-year-old can be the “best”. Curling. Golf. Archery. Chess. Croquet. And now boxing. It isn’t the fault of Hopkins who, much as I dislike him, is still a good fighter in great shape with solid skills. It’s that there are no more decent boxers in the world. There’s Manny Pacquiao and a million jars of mayonnaise. It’s over, boxing.
I LOVED the Red Sox-Cubs series over the weekend. Well, except for the results of the games, which didn’t favour my BoSox. But what other sport can see two teams play each other for the first time since 1918, and they play in…the same stadium in which they met 93 years ago? No arena in the world has the history of Fenway Park, and no sport has the incredible history of baseball. That being said, the “throwback” uniforms really showed that in some ways, baseball has improved a LOT over the years. I could barely tell who was who. The team in the potato sacks beat the team in the cut-up bedsheets, I think.
It’s too bad Canadians are paying little or no attention to baseball these days. Toronto isn’t going to win anything this year, or any year, but they have the best hitter in the bigs and the best reason to watch game in game out – Jose Bautista is a monster. 19 homers already? In the low-production post-steroid era? Ridiculous.
What’s Tim Thomas thinking, guaranteeing the Bruins win in the series? That’s just asking for trouble. If I’m a defenseman, I’m not even trying any more. We’ll just go ahead and win this one – the goalie’s got it. I’ll just skate around a little to make it look good.
Why is it even news when someone else gets drawn out to tell the world he saw Lance Armstrong using steroids? Is there a single person left in the universe who believes Armstrong, the greatest performer in the dirtiest sport in the world, was clean? And if you give him the “benefit of the doubt”, and say “innocent until proven guilty”, and all that crap, aren’t you just being soft-headed and a little hypocritical? Would you extend the same suspension of disbelief to Barry Bonds? Michael Vick? Mike Tyson? Or are you willing to ignore the mountain of evidence because Armstrong is such a good guy and has a great story? Snap out of it people – the entire myth of Armstrong, the great story, and his feel-good impact on the world is all based on a lie. All of it. Bite me Lance Armstrong.
There is, however, some good news in sports. And that is, the Badminton World Federation is mandating skirts for female badminton players. This might well have the effect of boosting ratings for televised badminton to maybe half the take of beach volleyball, after that federation mandated two-piece bathing suits.
Thursday, February 10th, 2011
I realized earlier in the playoffs this year that I hate watching games where MY team is playing. It’s too nerve-racking. It’s not the same as having money on a game, or picking a given team in the pool. I also realized that I can never pick a game where my Packers are playing, because I am too coloured by my fanaticism to make an accurate and logical decision. I’m either overly confident in their abilities to overcome injuries and emerge victorious, or I am too worried about those injuries to have confidence.
And so it went during the Super Bowl. Normally, I like to go to a party and drink beer and hang out with the guys during the Super Bowl. I don’t really have much invested in the game, I cheer for one team a little more than the other, but in the end it matters little to me whether the Colts or Saints come out on top. Not so with Green Bay. Even up 21-3 in the second quarter, my nerves were frayed. Every exuberant expression of joy I let out did not serve to calm me down, but rather to jack up my tension to an almost unbearable level.
Lots of people complained about Christina Aguilera screwing up the words to the National Anthem before the game. Not me. I didn’t even notice. I was barely paying attention and jumping around my living room on edge. I DID notice that she seemed angry and upset about the anthem for some reason. I assume she is a Jets fan. She might need a cuddle.
I somehow got the American commercials this year for the first time ever. I really liked the one where the kitchen was “renovated” by the addition of a bucket of Bud Light. Most of the other commercials were lost on me as I vibrated in my chair and waited for the play to resume. I was told the Black Eyed Peas sucked at half time. I wouldn’t know, I was in the kitchen and going outside and obsessively chopping up vegetables to occupy my shaky hands.
That last-minute touchdown by the Steelers in the first half worried me. Yeah, it was still an eleven point halftime lead, but Charles Woodson was out. Now the Steelers could actually throw on the Green Bay defense. And with Donald Driver out, the Pack was missing that key third-down possession receiver who could move the chains and keep the drive going and keep the Steelers offense off the field. I was asking my wife and kids all kinds of questions – do you think Clay Matthews can come up big in the second half to shut them down? Will the Steelers throw it away from Tramon Williams? They looked at me blankly, like I was talking Portugese. Which, to them, I probably was.
The second half saw me shoveling chili into myself, then Doritos and Pepsi (some of those commercials must work), then vegetables, then cookies. I never thought before that I was a nervous eater. But then, I may never have been that nervous. In the end, I held my breath for much of the fourth quarter. And when that Pittsburgh pass fell short on fourth down with 45 seconds left, I was purple and choking and almost incapacitated. I probably should have had beer.
At any rate, now that the NFL season is finally over, I can turn my attention to another sport at last. I haven’t been paying any attention to the NHL, because my Packers were doing well and required all of my attention. Now, my team is the Senators. Anyone know how they’re doing?
Friday, January 21st, 2011
Green Bay (3.5) at Chicago – I think it says more about the way the Packers are playing than it does about the Bears that Green Bay is favoured at all. Remember that final game of the season, where the Bears kept all their starters in, did a bang-up job on defense against Aaron Rodgers, and still managed to lose while scoring only three points in a meaningless game for Chicago? Well, I guess it wasn’t that meaningless, since it was clear the Bears wanted to prevent the Pack from making the playoffs, simply so they could prevent today’s game from taking place. They failed. Packers, 24-17.
Real final score – Packers, 21-14. I’m SO RIGHT!
New York Jets at Pittsburgh (3.5) – I don’t trust Ben Roethlisberger. And I don’t mean just in social situations, I mean on the field as well. The day will come when a jacked-up defense will hammer him, harass him and he’ll stand in too long until he makes mistakes. Then again, I trust Mark Sanchez even less. He starts out making mistakes, then settles down in the third quarter. Against Pittsburgh, that may be too late. I think this game comes down to the defenses almost entirely. If Polamalu stays healthy throughout the game, the Steelers win, if not the Jets do. Steelers, 21-20.
Real final score – 24-19. I was ALMOST exactly right.
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
Went 2-2 last week. But 3-1 against the spread, which is OK. Now it gets even tougher, I think.
Baltimore at Pittsburgh (3) – Pittsburgh is scary good. With Polamalu running around back there causing all kinds of havoc, Flacco will not have a good game. But then, I really don’t buy into the Pittsburgh offense. And if Baltimore’s defense plays like it did against KC (you know, like they’re supposed to play), the Steelers offense will have fits also. I said earlier in the season that Baltimore was better than Pittsburgh. I still think they are. Ravens, 17-14.
Real final score – Steelers, 31-24. What promised to be a hard-hitting powerful thriller ended up being a sloppy, painful dud. Steelers were just awful in the first half, Ravens stunk it up even worse in the third quarter.
Green Bay at Atlanta (2) – The lowest point spread of the weekend – are people really that convinced by Green Bay that they can take out the class of the NFC in the Georgia Dome, where they hardly ever lose? Well, yes. And so am I. The Packers are a VERY scary team, and will be scaring their opponents right up to and including the Super Bowl. Packers, 33-28.
Real final score – Packers, 48-21. The Pack is Super Bowl-bound. Bet on it.
Seattle at Chicago (10) – I don’t trust Jay Cutler in the playoffs at ALL. I trust the Bears defense and special teams. This could be a very exciting game, as two of the best kick returners in the world go head to head. It will be closer than the ten. But not much closer. Bears, 23-14.
Real final score – Bears, 35-24. Okay, it was just barely MORE than ten. Still. Seahawks weren’t going any further than this.
New York Jets at New England (8.5) – I said earlier in the year that the Jets were built solely to beat the Patriots. And I still believe they were. They just didn’t do a very good building job. This spread is solely a result, I think, of that humiliating beatdown handed to the Jets earlier this season. And I would say the chances of that happening again are zero. Patriots, 23-20.
Real final score – Jets, 28-21. Belichick was so conscious of providing bulletin board fodder for the Jets that he benched Wes Welker for the beginning of the game. And yet – the Jets can provide their own bulletin board fodder with the best of them. Cromartie had to live up to all that pre-game trash talk. And boy, did he ever. Built. To. Beat. The. Patriots.
2-2 on the week again. 2-2 against the spread again. Weak!