Sunday, September 21, 2014

Week 3 Picks

I was lucky/unlucky enough to be in attendance for the Bucs-Falcons massacre. Goodness. I'm still not sure how good the Falcons are because the Bucs are terrible and the Saints are off to an 0-2 start as well. Both of the Falcons lines are suspect, but they were able to generate consistent pressure on McCown/Glennon on defense, and keep Matt Ryan upright on offense.

Either way. On to the picks.

Chargers over Bills- I'm not buying into this Bills team at all. I don't think they "lose 14 straight" fall off, but I do think they lose here by double digits.

Cowboys over Rams- I think if the Cowboys can just bide time until Romo gets in rhythm, they can run away with a terrible division. This is the first week he'll start to look like the Romo of old. The good Romo of old, I should clarify.

Eagles over Redskins- Kirk Cousins is going to turn back into a pumpkin.

Texans over Giants- Can nobody win the NFC East this year? Just throw three teams from the Cardinals in the playoffs.

Saints over Vikings- We're a mere three games away from the start of the Teddy Bridgewater era!

Bengals over Titans- The injury bug is on us hard and a Week 4 bye may actually work in our benefit. It's looking like AJ Green plays today and Vontaze Burfict doesn't (and I hope he doesn't. He looked a little too woozy out there last week after a week 1 concussion). The Titans pass rush worries me, but our offensive line has been great protecting Dalton so far. I think Gio and Hill will be able to gash the line like Demarco Murray did a week ago, and this defense will be able to force Jake Locker into some bad decisions. Another low scorer, but a victory for the Bengals.

Ravens over Browns- I don't think either of these teams are very good. The Ravens are on the road here, but had a week and a half to prepare for the Browns. I don't think either of these teams are very good, much to my delight.

Packers over Lions- I think/hope this is the week Eddie Lacy gets back on track after two bad games, and being a couple of weeks removed from that concussion. The Lions have stopped the run well so far, but they've played the Panthers and Giants, two teams not exactly known for their running games. Stafford hands over a freebie, and the Pack rolls to 2-1.

Colts over Jaguars- How did the Jaguars get this bad? Do they have five guys on a rookie contract you could point to as building blocks, Bortles excluded? Three?

Patriots over Raiders- Derek Carr leads the Raiders in passing and rushing. Derek Carr is not known as a dual threat QB.

49ers over Cardinals- Carson Palmer won't start again, and I guess that's a bad thing for Arizona? Drew Stanton had a bad game last week and escaped with a win against the Giants. Not the case this Sunday.

Broncos over Seahawks- Why? Why is this game on at 4:25 and not the SNF or MNF game? I want answers. Either way, I think Welkers returns helps the Broncos keep the chains moving against Seattle. And I refuse to believe they're held to another 8 point outing, even in Seattle.

Chiefs over Dolphins - I guess, man. Iono.

Panthers over Steelers- This a better choice for the primetime game than Broncos-Seahawks?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 2 NFL Picks

I was on the road and actually missed a good bit of the week 1 games. Not the case this week. I'm back and more than ready to make some terrible predictions.

After beating the Ravens in Baltimore, I was delighted to see them destroy Pittsburgh. Neither of these teams are very good. And that delights me to no end.

Miami over Buffalo- I don't trust the Bills at all, even coming off a victory. I'm counting the weeks until they hand the Browns a top eight pick in the draft from the Sammy Watkins trade.

Jigskins over Jaguars- You'll have to watch this game and tell me about it because I have zero plans on seeing any of it.

Titans over Cowboys- This Cowboys team is bad. That defense is terrible, and Romo didn't look healthy from what I saw. I think the Titans can contend for that division if Locker stays healthy, which he's had trouble doing.

Cardinals over Giants- That Cardinals defense is the real deal, even without Dockett and Washington. The defensive line gets off the line FAST and that secondary is dynamite, and they're still waiting for Tyrann Mathieu to return. Eli is good for two picks and a lost fumble here. Sidebar: I know Deone Buchanan projects to be a very nice addition to their backfield, I'd be sick if I was a Cardinals fan and they passed on Bridgewater.

Vikings over Patriots- My second team! Not really, but I love Mike Zimmer and want him to do well in Minnesota. That Minny defense feasted on a terrible Rams offense, and from what I hear, the Patriots offense didn't look much better last week. Cassel holds onto the ball, Peterson  Patterson make enough plays to keep the chains moving and the Vikes win a low scoring one.

Saints over Browns- I see another "almost" game for the Browns here, as they keep it close at home for three quarters before losing in the last couple of minutes. That great Saints defense of last season looked awful against Atlanta last week.

Bengals over Falcons- Our cornerbacks are my biggest concern here. Steve Smith made a mockery of our secondary last week, and I can only imagine what Julio Jones will do to it. The Saints only sacked Matt Ryan once, and he picked them apart. We got decent pressure on Flacco, and I'm hopeful Wallace Gilberry will be able to make things rough on rookie Jake Matthews. Otherwise, I think we'll be able to run the ball and sustain drives on this defense.

Panthers over Lions- That Panthers defense is still legit, they're at home and Cam Newton is back in action. A couple of Stafford turnovers helps their cause.

Bucs over Rams- Shouldn't the Rams try to make a move for Mike Glennon? Word is Shaun Hill got benched, though the Rams are claiming injury, and that team appears to be in good shape besides the QB position. Glennon had a solid rookie year but saw his job taken by a guy that had an anomaly of a season. I'd kick the tires on Glennon as a fill in this year, and maybe longer with Bradford trying to recover from both injury and mediocrity.

Seahawks over Chargers- I don't see that San Diego secondary being able to do much with Harvin and I damn sure don't see their defensive line stopping Lynch.

Texans over Raiders- Clowney hurt during his first game because everything stinks. The Texans win another low scoring affair as JJ Watt makes Derek Carr's life miserable.

Jets over Packers- I'm going upset here. I think between Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Geno the Great running the ball, the Jets will be able to control the clock and thus keep Geno Smith from airing it out. I kinda like the Jets this season and I really like Geno this season. *fast forward to Packers winning by six touchdowns*

Broncos over Chiefs- Things might go 100 to 0 for the Chiefs real quick. Two starting linebackers out for the year. A tough schedule to start the season (@ Denver, @ Miami, vs NE, @ San Francisco) and maybe the Chiefs defense that showed up the last half of the season is the real deal and the dominant unit from the first half was a mirage.

49ers over Bears- Another erratic QB for the 49ers to feast on?

Eagles over Colts- Ok, I get it. Andrew Luck has next. He's going to be the best quarterback of all time, and probable supreme overlord of the universe upon his retirement. I get it. I still don't wanna watch this Colts team in primetime for a second straight week. That team might be below average at every position except for quarterback and receiver. And the receivers might be doing a whole lot of nothing, because the quarterback is running for his life.

NFL Week 2 Picks

I did a write-up of the Packers/Seahawks game here.  Bottom line: it wasn't pretty, but it was just one game.  That's what I keep telling myself.  Cutting down on costly penalties will help them quite a bit.  Too  many defensive breakdowns, too.  AJ Hawk needs to not be a starter anymore.

It's worth noting that my picks last week were terrible.  Pure trash.  I don't know why I keep doing this to myself.

To the picks:

Dolphins over Bills
This seems like a toss-up, but I'll roll with Tannehill.

Redskins over Jaguars
Look for Griffin to have a better day than he did last week.  It'll be close, but some big plays for the Redskins in the second half will be the difference.

Titans over Cowboys
I didn't see any of the Titans game last week, but I saw enough of the Cowboys game to not feel comfortable picking them.

Cardinals over Giants
Even without Carson Palmer starting (Drew Stanton time!), I trust the Cards to win this game.  Really, I just think the defense will force a couple Eli Manning turnovers.  It'll be low scoring, but that kind of game favors the Cardinals.

Patriots over Vikings
No Peterson this week, so I'll go ahead and take the Pats here.

Saints over Browns
The Saints defense is better than it looked against the Falcons last week.  They'll be able to shut down the Browns offense.

Falcons over Bengals
You know how much I love Matt Ryan (well, maybe not him personally, but the way he plays).  The offense is healthy, and they'll make life really hard on the Bengals defense.  Something like 27-24 seems about right.

Lions over Panthers
No Greg Hardy for the Panthers.  A cracked-rib Newton playing.  Add that to the Lions looking really good last week, and I kind of have to take them.  I don't like picking a Jim Caldwell team to win, but what other choice do I have?

Rams over Bucs
Not sure I'll be able to pick the Bucs while Josh McCown is the starter.  Free Glennon!

Seahawks over Chargers
The Chargers make their bones with running and short passing.  Those are two areas the Seahawks excel at stopping.  The Packers actually had a bit of success running up the middle on the Seahawks last week, but, with the undersized speed backs the Chargers have, they're built more to run outside.  This will not end well for San Diego, even if they are playing at home.

Texans over Raiders
I guess this looks right.

Packers over Jets
Green Bay comes out and takes out all their frustrations from last week out on the Jets.  They comes out of the gate hot and don't let up.

Broncos over Chiefs
Chiefs looked bad last week, and now they lost one of their best defenders and are heading into Denver.  This could get ugly really fast.

49ers over Bears
I was ready to pick the Bears here, but now it looks like Jeffery and Marshall won't be playing (if they do, they'll be greatly diminished).  They would have been huge against the undersized secondary of the Niners, but, without them, the Bears offense won't be able to do much.

Eagles over Colts
This could go either way, but I don't trust in the Colts defense.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

NFL Week 1 Picks

I've been M.I.A. and I apologize.  With football season back, it gives me a good point to come back to my at-least-once-a-week posting schedule.

The season is here.  So full of promise and hope and...the Packers are 0-1 already?  THE SEASON IS OVER.
I think they'll be fine.  I'm going to be looking at it a bit more in-depth this next week.  The Seahawks are tough, and the Packers looked a little off.  And they had a lot of penalties.  I'll still say 10 wins is more than fair.  I like how their defense looked, even if they were out of position from time to time (Shields biting hard on that zone-read was atrocious).  Loved how Clinton-Dix looked; he missed a couple tackles, but he seemed to have a pretty good read on plays as they developed.  I really liked what I saw out of him.

The Tigers are 2 games back and I'm pretty upset about it.  Let's drown away those sorrows with NFL picks!

Saints over Falcons
I like the Falcons this year.  I think they could have a nice rebound season/  The defense is going to be terrible, but the offense should be able to make up for some of that.  Still, the Saints pick up a win here.

Rams over Vikings
I'd be really excited about this game if Bridgewater was starting.  He's not.  I normally have a hard time picking a Cassel team to win anyway, but I have an even harder time when it's against a nasty pass rush like this.  Low-scoring, sloppy game.  Next.

Browns over Steelers
Hoyer comes out of the gate hot (or, lukewarm at least) and beats an already tired-looking Steelers squad.  

Eagles over Jaguars
Shady goes nuts.  Foles goes turnover-free.  Eagles by a lot.

Jets over Raiders
The Jets may have a secondary made up of duct tape and scrap metal, but I still trust a Rex Ryan defense to completely befuddle a middling rookie QB.

Bengals over Ravens
Dalton throws a couple picks, but Flacco throws at least one more.  Bernard Pierce should have a pretty decent day, though, leading to the Ravens feeling high-and-mighty when they sit Rice even after the suspension ends, even though it's really more of a performance issue.

Bears over Bills
Should be a close game, but the Bears will pull it out late.  Really, all Cutler has to do is throw high to his receivers against the very small Bills CBs.  Late touchdown to Marshall in the corner.

Redskins over Texans
Griffin looks like his old self.  Texans offense can't score more than 13 points (that might be generous).

Chiefs over Titans
I don't love the Chiefs this season, but the Titans will likely be terrible.

Patriots over Dolphins
It'll be close.  The Patriots are on their way down, and the Dolphins are on their way up.  Tannehill has a pretty good game, but gets hit a ton.

Bucs over Panthers
I was going to pick the Bucs anyway, but now it looks like Cam won't be playing today.  I really like the Bucs a lot this year, and I'll like them even more once Glennon takes over the starting role.

49ers over Dallas
It's going to be a struggle for the Cowboys to even get to 8 wins this year.  Their defense is terrible, and Romo's back is on the verge of disintegrating into ash, making Weeden the starting QB.  

Colts over Broncos
I keep saying, "This is the year Manning falls off," and I firmly believe it this year.  Sure, maybe he looks good  here, but it won't last.  He'll have a decent game, but the Colts win it late.

Giants over Lions
The Giants could very well be terrible this year, but it's hard to pick a Jim Caldwell coached team to win.

Chargers over Cardinals
I will be asleep by halftime.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wade, Lance, SWAGGY

Miami Heat re-sign G Dwyane Wade: 2 years, $31.1 million

There is also a player option for year 2 of this deal. Wade opted out of 2 years/$42 million so he's losing about $11 million. Still, $15 million is a nice paycheck and I'm sure the Heat will take care of Wade beyond that year for his sacrifice. I like this deal for both sides. Wade gets his money and comes out as a "good guy" for giving up money (Wade is teflon). The Heat stay competitive now and keep cap space open for the summer of 2016 when Kevin Durant and LeBron James (Ha!) can become free agents.

Charlotte Hornets sign G Lance Stephenson: 3 years, $27 million. 

"Larry, dis Lance..."
I love everything about this deal. Everybody wins here, except the Pacers. They lose pretty badly. The Hornets fill a need on the wing. They get a 24 year old with considerable upside stepping out of what was commonly known as the Pacers """""""offense"""""". Stephenson gives the Hornets a secondary ball handler and another great perimeter defender, alongside beside Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist respectively. A two year deal also isn't long enough for Lance Stephenson to kick up his feet and do Lance like things. If he has a nice three year run, he can hit unrestricted free agency again at age 26 and really lockup a long term deal. As Zach Lowe has pointed out multiple times, guys as good as Lance Stephenson don't hit unrestricted free agency at that age. He has a chance to do it twice by age 26. He's not without his risks, but I absolutely think the upside is worth the risk on what could be a two year deal.

Los Angeles Lakers re-sign G Swaggy: 4 years, $21.5 million
                                   re-sign C Jordan Hill: 2 years, $18 million

Very kind of Swaggy to take less than the max to help bring other talent to Los Angeles. Very kind indeed.
Jordan Hill had a very solid year in LA last season. He averaged nearly 10 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1 BPG  in only 21 MPG. He played mostly PF with Pau Gasol in town, but I figure he will transition back to center with Gasol in Chicago. He and Julius Randle should form a solid frontcourt for the Lakers. A two year deal also keeps LA's cap space alive for the summer of 2016.

Cleveland Cavaliers sign F Mike Miller: 2 years, $5.5 million

The Cavs shot 35% from 3P last season, just short of the 36% league average. Miller hit 46% of his triples in Memphis last season, AND played in 82 games. You can do a lot worse than a rotation of wings that includes LeBron James, Andrew Wiggins, Dion Waiters and Mike Miller. A very nice move for a Cavs team that could compete for the East now, even without acquiring Kevin Love, due to the Pacers and Heat being forced to shake up their starting lineup.

Washington Wizards sign F Kris Humphries: 3 years, $13 million

The Wiz are having a very good offseason. They retained Gortat, signed Pierce for cheap, picked up a trade exception for a fleeing Ariza and now, Humphries. Humphries came off the bench for the Celtics last year and gave them a 8/6 on 50% FG shooting in only 20 MPG.  He'll be a great first big off of the bench and very valuable when Nene misses his annual 15 games. I really like what the Wizards have going on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mo' Free Agency

Dallas signs F Chandler Parsons: 3 years, $46 million.

I like Chandler Parsons game. I don't like his $15 million dollars per year of his game. He's a young wing with a very nice all around game, and a three year deal for a 25 year old isn't terrible. But if you give me a choice of $15 million a year of Chandler Parsons or what Houston did to replace him, I think I like how the Rockets came out. Part of me thinks this was Dallas attempting to drive up Parsons price, knowing that Houston was going to match and now they have to pay him.

Houston Rockets sign F Trevor Ariza: 4 years, $32 million

Check the per 36 MPG numbers. Ariza shot better from 3P, FT, grabbed more boards and is a better defender. He's also 28 and just finished his 10th season so this is probably what he is at this point. Parsons shot better from 2P, dished more assists and is only going into season 4 at 25. There's still some upside, but would you rather pay $8 mill for Ariza or nearly double that for Parsons? I'd take Ariza.

Utah Jazz re-sign F Gordon Hayward: 4 years, $63 million

I don't want to pay $15 mill a season for Hayward either and I'm sure the Jazz agree, but you have to overpay to get/keep young talent to Utah so I get it. I really liked the potential fit of Hayward in Charlotte, but Utah is not in a position to let assets walk and get nothing in return. I also think Hayward's poor shooting year (41% FG, 30% 3P) was the exception and not the rule. I think he'll get those numbers up this season.

Charlotte Hornets sign F Marvin Williams: 2 years, $14 million:

I do NOT like this move for Charlotte. For what man? I won't pretend I watched a whole hell of a lot of Jazz games last year, but I also won't pretend that Marvin Williams is bringing $7 million dollars worth of veteran leadership of whatever it is the Hornets are using to justify this move. If they were looking to take a chance on a UNC guy that hasn't lived up to draft night expectations, I would have rather them signed Ed Davis and hoped he figured it out.

Memphis Grizzlies sign F Vince Carter: 3 years, $12 million

Another solid move. A shooter for a team that sorely needs shooting. I imagine that he and Jordan Adams will help lead the bench unit for the Grizz, though VC gives some versatility. He can start at SF over Tayshaun Prince, slide to the 2 and play alongside Prince, or go back to SF with Tony Allen occupying SG.

Detroit Pistons: sign G DJ Augustin: 2 years, $6 million
                            sign F Caron Butler: 2 years, $9 million

Augustin and Butler both had solid years in reserve roles for the Bulls and Thunder, respectively. I'm skeptical Augustin can duplicate what he did under the mask of Tom Thibodeau's system (sidebar: In the past three seasons, Thibs has gotten career years out of DJ Augustin, Nate Robinson, John Lucas and CJ Watson. Perhaps it's the system that makes the point guard and Derr...ah nevermind), but he should be solid off the bench for the Pistons. There's a team option on the second year of Butler's deal, so they won't be on the hook long if he can't provide much.

Phoenix Suns sign G Isaiah Thomas: 4 years, $27 million

The Suns are just going to run out Alex Len and four PG's next season. They have Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Tyler Ennis and just gave $27 million to Thomas. Dragic has a player option after next summer that he will almost certainly turn down in search for big money. Bledsoe is waiting for an offer in restricted free agency. Ennis is just a rook. This may just be the Suns collecting assets and figuring it out later, as $7 mill per for a 25 year old fresh off a 20 PPG/6 APG season is a steal. They have a ton of cap space so they may just run this season with Bledsoe/Dragic starting and Thomas as a supersub. If Dragic gets a crazy offer, they let him walk. If they can bring him back reasonably, they have Thomas as a trade chip.

San Antonio Spurs re-sign G Patrick Mills: 3 years, $12 million

I missed that one. I love this deal, even if Mills is expected to miss the first half of the season due to shoulder surgery. I would have loved for Orlando to throw this money at him. $4 million for half a season of Mills still seems like a better deal than $4.5 million for an entire season of Ben Gordon. Mills will get to take his time during rehab, work his way back into the rotation and pick right up where he left off as a spark off the Spurs bench.

Oklahoma City Thunder sign G Anthony Morrow: 3 years, $10 million

Morrow played nearly 19 MPG last year for the Pelicans and knocked down 45% of his triples. The anti-Sefolosha. Great move by the Thunder, as he'll have more than his fair share of open looks spotting up around Kendrick Perkins and Nicholas Collison.

Monday, July 14, 2014

LeBron and Some Other Guys!

Cleveland Cavaliers sign F LeBron James: 2 years, $42 million

I think that I, and a majority of the basketball world, are still reeling over the shock from this one. I will try to keep this brief, as I imagine that nearly everybody everywhere has said everything about this move. I think it was a good move for LeBron, life wise and basketball wise. It's a big risk as this Cleveland roster is not without fault. Varejao is old. Kyrie has played 60+ games just once in his three years. Wiggins is unproven. Thompson, Waiters and Bennett have been underwhelming. And still.

I think LeBron on his own adds 20 wins to any roster in the NBA. That would put a Cavs team that won 33 games last year in the 50s, and that's before you add in Wiggins value. I've heard talk of trading Wiggins for Love, or Waiters to clear space to sign Ray Allen and/or Mike Miller, and I don't know that I agree with them. I think LeBron chose Cleveland in part to grow with a flock of young guys. He does the heavy lifting now so that in a couple of years, he doesn't have to. Love is great, but he's missed 96 games in the last three seasons. I'm not a huge Waiters fan, but I wouldn't trade him for space to sign a 38 year old and a 34 year old. I understand the East is wide open this season, but if the Cavs pace themselves I think they can own it for the next several seasons. I let this season run, and pick up what I need as I need it.

New York Knicks re-sign F Carmelo Anthony: 5 years, $122 million

I wanted to see Melo in Chicago for basketball reasons, but I understand completely why he took the loot. This is his chance for a big score, and boy did he cash in. Melo may have had his best overall season last season. Melo is 30 now so the Knicks should be able to get a couple of good years in, but I would not want to be paying a 34, 35 year old Carmelo Anthony upwards of $25 million dollars. The beauty of this all, is that I don't have to. The Knicks do. So good for them.

Miami Heat: re-sign F Chris Bosh 5 years, $118 million
                       re-sign G Mario Chalmers 2 years, $8 million
                       re-sign C Chris Andersen 2 years, $10 million 
                            sign F Luol Deng: 2 years, $ 20 million

Like Melo, I wanted Bosh to switch teams for basketball reasons. A Howard/Bosh/Parsons/Harden/Beverly lineup in Houston would have been fun to watch, but again I understand why Bosh took the cash. He likely jumps from the third option from Miami to the first, with LeBron's departure and Wade's health. Do you want a 30 year old Chris Bosh as your first option? Probably not, but you could do a lot worse. He's a big that can shoot threes, neither of which will diminish in time so this contract shouldn't age too badly.

Like the Deng signing. $10 mill a year for a guy one year removed from back to back all star appearances is more than fair. I could do without bringing back Chalmers/Birdman for those prices. It probably depends on what Wade ends up signing for, but I think Miami would have been better served throwing a max offer sheet at a guy like Eric Bledsoe. $9 mill a year for Chalmers/Andersen or $15 mill a year for Bledsoe? Greg Monroe wouldn't be a bad pickup either. Maybe Detroit lets him walk as a solution to their Drummond/Smith/Monroe issue. I think I'd rather take a chance on a young guy like Monroe/Bledsoe than three vets like McRoberts/Chalmers/Andersen, even though the money is around the same. To be fair to McRoberts, he signed before LeBron skedaddled. I'd be tempted to break my verbal commitment if I was them but $23 million is $23 million and Miami is still Miami.

Chicago Bulls sign F Pau Gasol: 3 years, $22 million

I like this deal. A lot. Gasol averaged a 17/10/3.5 last season on a terrible Lakers team and even at 34, I think he showed he still has some gas left in the tank. I like this move because of the versatility it gives the Bulls. While Gasol has been spending more and more time at center as he ages, I think the defensive scheme the Bulls have will allow him to play more PF. He can play PF alongside Joakim Noah, or C with Taj Gibson at PF. Either way, the Bulls will always have another big to protect him defensively. He's also an excellent passer for a big and he and Joakim Noah immediately make up the best passing frontcourt in the league. Solid move.

Washington Wizards sign F Paul Pierce: 2 years, $11 million

Huh? I thought it was written in stone that Pierce was headed to Los Angeles to reunite with Doc Rivers? This move came out of left field, but I like it. Pierce fills the hole at SF that Trevor Ariza's departure made, and he showed in Brooklyn that he can play some small ball PF. This will come in handy when Nene misses his annual 20 games. Pierce gives them another option for John Wall to kick it out to and a guy that can create his own shot. More importantly, his two year deal keeps the Wiz competitive now and keeps cap space open for 2016 when they will surely try to bring Kevin Durant home. This move also allows them to slowly trickle a few more minutes to last years #3 pick Otto Porter, as Pierce is best suited playing 25-30 MPG. Problem is, Porter may be best suited playing 0-5 MPG.