Sunday, November 30, 2008

A healthy dose of football

200 posts is impressive and somewhere deep inside me, I believe that we'll get noticed and the day will come where we'll be invited to be apart of a killer lineup talking sports. That's right my friend: The Best Damn Sports Show Period will come calling if we play our cards right.

As strange as the Burress story is and how tempted I am to make the "Burress has always had trouble with safeties" joke, I have to defend him. I've always liked him for some reason, even dating back to his days as a Spartan. Maybe its because he overcame an awful name to make something of himself. Yet I digress. In wake of the Sean Taylor and Darrent Williams killings and the home invasion and robbery of Dunta Robinson, I think athletes have a right to protect themselves. This very same thing could have happened in his home. Sean Taylor was at home sleeping when he was killed. Darrent Williams hired a limo to prevent any trouble. Dunta Robinson was in his house watching football when his house was broken into. People should stop being so hard on Burress. If you want to get on him for shooting himself, then by all means do so. But to get on him for living his life and protecting himself, seems to be a bit much.

Onto the picks.

Buffalo over San Francisco- Singletary isn't blaming people like he used to, but I'm still having fun picking random names for him to blame in an imaginary situations.

"Coach Singletary, what happened against Buffalo?"
" Our defense couldn't stop anyone, namely Napoleon Bonaparte. Once he gets a head of steam, you just hope for the best."

Cincinnati over Baltimore- Flacco! Fitzpatrick!
Indianapolis over Cleveland- Indy is making their annual run and Cleveland is stuck with Derek Anderson, weeks after benching him for an unproven Brady Quinn. This situation is kinda like running into an old hookup.

"Hey Derek"
"Hey Romeo"
"You're....looking well these days"
"Yea"
*Awkward silence*

Carolina over Green Bay- GB needs this more, but Carolina also needs this to keep up in that division.

Miami over St. Louis- I can see Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner going wild in this one. What's that you say? Are you sure they don't play for them anymore? Well, never mind then. Dolphins win.

Tampa Bay over New Orleans- Did you know Tampa was 8-3? I had no idea. I was expecting 6-5 ish but I was wrong. They win this one to pretty much end NO's playoff hopes.

NYG over Washington- A bit ironic that Plaxico misses a game after getting shot in the leg almost a year to the day that the same thing happened to Sean Taylor. Washington will play hard for Taylor but the Giants will prove too much.

Atlanta over San Diego- Who won that Michael Vick-LT trade between the Falcons and Chargers? Neither guys are still in the league. Say what? LT is still in the league? Well, never mind then.

New England over Pittsburgh- Enough with this "Trade Tom Brady and build around Cassell" garbage. Enough I say!

New York Jets over Denver- Old gunslinger against a young gunslinger. I predict a combined 17 INT's in this game.

Oakland over Kansas City- I look at both of these rosters and wonder why both teams aren't better. Sigh.

Minnesota over Chicago- I still think Minny wins this division and a big day from Peterson today will help them get there.

Houston over Jacksonville- Why is this the Monday Night Game? Before any of the past 2 or 3 seasons, have you ever thought, "Man I'd like to see the Jags and Texans duke it out as Hank Williams Jr. wails in the background!"? No, you haven't.

UK lost a tough game to Tennessee in which Randall Cobb was yanked for Mike Hartline of all people. We have to be the worst 6-6 team I've ever seen. After starting 4-0 against cupcakes, we went 2-6 in conference play. I hate to say it but Randall Cobb hasn't been the same since that Georgia interception. I thought he'd use it as fuel to take his game to another level, but it appears he's playing scared. He's just a freshman and still has time to bounce back but I'd really hate to see one play derail such a promising career. This whole season has been strange. How strange? Randall Cobb is second on the team in passing, rushing, receiving and punt returning. This is not high school people. Our leading receiver, Dicky Lyons, hasn't played since October 11. In the last game of the season Tony Dixon and Cobb, took over the #1 and #2 spots at leading rusher. The previous leader, Derrick Locke, hadn't played since October 18. Thank goodness the UK Basketball season has kicked off!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Brilliance of Burress

Somewhere in all this hubbub we missed the fact that we have eclipsed 200 posts. Have people been reading? Probably not...but it's still pretty impressive.

The "Burress accidentally shoots himself in the leg" story is automatically in my top-ten favorite stories of the year. Here's my question: why doesn't every athlete employ someone in their posse whose only job is to say, "Why don't you go see a movie instead of going to a night club?" It seems like every time something crazy happens with an athlete, the words "outside of a night club" always pop up.

I'm sitting here, watching Florida dismantle Florida State, and I just saw the new LeBron/Nike commercial. Why does Lil Wayne show up in that commercial? Does Nike sponsor him, too?

For some reason I haven't grasped, my entire post got deleted before I could post it. So, instead of making my picks with comments, I'm just going to make my picks. Sorry.

Buffalo over San Francisco
Baltimore over Cincinnati
Cleveland over Indianapolis
Green Bay over Carolina
Miami over St. Louis
Tampa Bay over New Orleans
Washington over New York Giants
Atlanta over San Diego
New England over Pittsburgh
New York Jets over Denver
Oakland over Kansas City
Minnesota over Chicago
Jacksonville over Houston

I read Simmons article. If he's right, and LeBron is leaking all this information in order to weaken all the other teams, it may be one of the smartest things an athlete has ever done to win a championship.
But I really don't want to hear about "LeBron to the Knicks" for the next 2 years. I really don't think I'll be able to handle it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just a few notes

I forgot to mention it but the quotes by Marinelli and Childress killed me. What's going on in that division? If we can get Singletary in there somehow, we'd have the most insanely coached division since...ever. The most insane division ever.

A few picks. This has to be the least excited I've ever been about Thanksgiving football ever. Two good teams play two awful teams. One mediocre team plays another mediocre team. Not to mention this weeks Monday Night game is Jacksonville vs. Houston. Feh.

Titans over Lions- Why? Why do the Lions keep getting to play here? I don't know any Lions fans. The Lions have been playing a bit more competitively as of late, but the Titans are looking for revenge. This won't be as close as the score will indicate.

Dallas over Seattle- Seattle too has looked better lately but as has Dallas. T.O. is mildly interested in the season again and I see another big game from him. How's that Roy Williams trade working out?

Philadelphia over Arizona- This could be the best of the bunch, and that's not a good thing. McNabb has to go crazy here. Has to, or its over. It being the Eagle's season and his career as an Eagle. Warner was sacked only once against the Giants. I don't think he'll have the same success against an equally dangerous team at rushing the quarterback.

Bill Simmons wrote about an intriguing theory today that I hadn't thought of. What if LeBron's people are the one's fueling the stories that he wants to leave town? Perhaps his gang is whispering in the ears of contenders to clear cap space for 2010, and therefore sabotage the next 2 seasons. This makes it easier for LeBron to get a title within the next two seasons. The Pistons are 4-5 since Iverson began suiting up making the Celtics potentially LeBron's only threat. His team is playing better this year and as Simmons' wrote, they could still bring in a player or two. How great would that be if the Knicks have tons of cap space in 2010, but have to waste in on Steve Nash and Ray Allen, also free agents that year?

Have a good Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another shameful Monday Night game...

Green Bay looked awful last night. I figured Green Bay's secondary would be able to slow down Drew Brees but man was I wrong. I keep wanting to think that Drew Brees is overrated and every time I watch him he proves me wrong. Two 70 yard scores and a surprisingly good game by a surprisingly effective Thomas helped New Orleans pull away. What happened to your boys?

This week I will again eliminate two teams, one from each division, as contenders in this league. These are teams with viable shots to make the playoffs but recent performances lead me to believe they will get blasted in their first playoff game, assuming they even make it. For the AFC, it goes to the Denver Broncos. What a shame it is that they've been playing terribly and still have a 2 game lead in the division. A better team like the Ravens or Colts is going to get left out because someone has to win that AFC West division. They could have all but put away the division with a win over the lowly Raiders, but instead chose to make JaMarcus Russell look Roethlisberger-esque, going 10-11 and riding a good running game to an easy win. Maybe next year Broncos. For the NFC, I was ready to give this to the Panthers after losing to the Falcons but had a change of heart. The Green Bay Packers are the choice. I figured the game would be a high scoring one, and I even thought that would favor Green Bay because of Jennings, Driver and a superior defense. I was wrong. Brees picked your gang apart and Jason "Toast" David, even got in on the fun with two interceptions. Of GB, Chicago and Minnesota, GB has the easiest schedule, but they are also a game back. I don't know why but I still think Minnesota emerges from this division.

UK has won two straight since starting the season 0-2. Huzzah! Gillispie finally deemed it appropriate to get the ball to his best player on a consistent basis. Against Longwood last night, who started 4 guards and a 200 pound forward, Patrick Patterson had a field day. 28 points, on 12-15 shooting, 4-4 from the line, 12 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks. We've played three teams that play extremely small, yet this is his first great game of the season. He HAS to get the ball more. Gillispie finally switched up the lineup, but it wasn't the move I was hoping for. He started Darius Miller over Ramon Harris. Miller struggled with the start, while Harris did well coming off the bench. Watching Miller, I could have told you he's best suited coming off the bench. He's a good all around player and can score on most second units with ease. Harris does well starting and I can't really see why he'd need to come off the bench. The change I was looking for was sitting Michael Porter for DeAndre Liggins. Liggins didn't exactly help his case with 3 assists and 4 turnovers, but he did hit two 3's. Porter had only 2 assists but only one turnover in his minutes. Next up is Kansas State who has 6 players averaging double digits. If this team is anything similar to the one I watched Michael Beasley play with last year, we should win easily. Then again, you can never assume wins with us anymore.

The BCS picture is getting clearer and clearer. Alabama and Florida will surely decide who plays in the National Championship. As we discussed, we both think it will be Florida. You think it will be close, but I think Florida can win this handily. Alabama beat LSU by 6, Kentucky by 3 and Georgia by 11. Florida beat those same schools by 30, 58 and 39 respectively. However Bama did beat Ole Miss, who Florida lost to. Still, I don't think Alabama has the offense to keep up.

Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, as I predicted, but I picked a close game. Oklahoma slaughtered Texas Tech. I'm really rooting for a Oklahoma-Florida National Championship at this point. but I'm not getting my hopes up and the BCS will trick us again and somehow get USC in the title game.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Wisdom of Marinelli

I don't know how I forgot this, but I'd also like to add it to one of my favorite quotes of the year.

When asked by a reporter how it feels to be 0-10, Rod Marinelli responded, "I'm not 0-10. You're 0-10."

You know what? That is my favorite NFL quote of the year, and I don't think anything will be able to beat it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Picks

Before I get to my picks, I'd like to point out one of my favorite quotes this year. That would be Brad Childress, referring to himself as "190 pounds of twisted steel and rompin' stompin' dynamite." Brad Childress. This guy.


I love it.

Cleveland over Houston. I know that Cleveland has talent, but I'd be a lot more comfortable picking them if Romeo Crennel wasn't coaching them. If Houston has a chance in this game, it's because of Steve Slaton.

Tampa Bay over Detroit. It'll be closer than it should be.

Kansas City over Buffalo. I don't think I've taken Kansas City yet this year. Tyler Thigpen doesn't look terrible, and the Bills are reeling.

New England over Miami. The "Wildcat" won't work nearly as well as it did last time, and Cassel will have a much better game. Shut it, Joey Porter.

Baltimore over Philadelphia. I'll never understand the Eagles, and I don't feel comfortable picking them against a semi-competent team. If they have a shot, it's at confusing Flacco with their defense.

Dallas over San Francisco. When Dallas wins this game, people will start talking about the difference that Romo makes in this offense, while completely glossing over the fact that they beat the 49ers.

Tennessee over New York Jets. I'm sorry, I just don't see the Jets winning this game. While we're on the topic, I'm really looking forward to the 0-11 Lions beating the 11-0 Titans on Thanksgiving.

Chicago over St. Louis. I have nothing to add.

Jacksonville over Minnesota. The Jags shore up their run defense and get their offense going. It won't be pretty, but they'll get a win here.

Oakland over Denver. Denver's offense has a terrible day, and the Raiders offense does just enough to win.

New York Giants over Arizona. Unlike you, I believe that Warner is handling pressure better this year than in any year I've seen him. They'll still lose, though.

Atlanta over Carolina. I don't know why...I just feel it.

Washington over Seattle. So, the Redskins offense has to get going in this game...right?

San Diego over Indianapolis. Oh, how I'm waiting for another 6 interception game from Manning. I don't think it'll happen, but it sure is fun to think about.

Green Bay over New Orleans. The Packers' defense will play better than the Saints' defense, and that will be the deciding factor here. We're looking at a pretty big game from Rodgers here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just a few picks for today...

I think Oklahoma is the better overall team but I wouldn't mind seeing Texas Tech win just because I enjoy watching them play more. I think the winner of this game meets Florida in the National Championship and I think Oklahoma would give them a better game. Oklahoma 45, Texas Tech 38.

Pittsburgh over Cincinnati- I know I never pick against Cincy, but something is telling me that Pitt wins a game that starts close, but then the Bengals blow it. Our inept offense gives Pitt numerous opportunities to score, squanders yet another solid game by our defense and we lose 27-10. I could be wrong.

Cleveland over Houston- If they only could get out of that division and keep Matt Schaub healthy, they could do some damage. Until then Sage Rosenfails gets bested by a surprisingly competent Brady Quinn.

Dallas over San Francisco- Dallas wins, as this week San Fran blames its offensive woes on the unsavory character that was Adolf Hitler.

But seriously...

Dallas is really going to miss Felix Jones. Barber was getting big carries with Romo out with the understanding that he'd get some rest when Jones came back. Now he's not coming back and I can't see Barber staying healthy running as hard as he does.

Tampa Bay over Detroit- I'm tempted to pick Detroit and if this game was in Tampa, I probably would. Why does it seem that every time I see Calvin Johnson's stats they are something like 3 catches, 147 yards? Does he not run intermediate routes, or do they just go for the end zone every time?

Tennessee over NYJ- Everyone is picking the upset but i can absolutely Favre tossing three picks to that D and the Titans winning a close one.

Kansas City over Buffalo- The Bills are shook. They are making the mistakes of a team not quite ready to contend. Tyler Thigpen continues his audition to prove the Chiefs do not need to blow a draft pick on Matthew Stafford.

Chicago over St. Louis- The Bears win a boring game to stay afloat in a consistently inconsistent division.

New England over Miami- Belichick has probably been working on the game plan for this game since that 28 point loss to the Fins earlier. Cassell! Pennington! Come and get it!

Minnesota over Jacksonville- The Jags let Cedric Benson carve them up. Adrian Peterson is a little better than Cedric Benson.

Philly over Baltimore- I know they just tied us in an awful game but I can still see them handling this Baltimore. I'll never the Eagles.

Denver over Oakland- We're just one game closer to Al Davis relieving all coaches of their duties.

Carolina over Atlanta- This could go either way, but Carolina needs to get some breathing room here at the top of the division.

NYG over Arizona- Warner plays great...as long as he's not pressured. This week he meets the team with the most consistent pass rush in the league. I don't see this ending well for Warner.

Washington over Seattle- Shouldn't Seattle just call it a year in terms of sports? Just pack it in and get ready for next year. Not that it will be much better.

Indy over San Diego- How could I have forgotten to add LaDainian Tomlinson to my list of "Stars that parade as nice guys, but are really jerks"? My apologies LaDainian. It won't happen again.

Green Bay over New Orleans- Green Bay looked good last week, and even if Reggie Bush plays, he won't be 100 percent. GB wins.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Billy G and Pacman

OK, so I was a tad off with my UK-UNC prediction. I was right in the fact that UNC didn't pressure the ball as much as VMI. They didn't have to because we were more than willing to turn the ball over on our own. 28 turnovers is unacceptable, but we did it to ourselves. UNC played good defense, but most of the turnovers were self imposed. Passing the ball when teammates weren't looking and throwing the ball off the backboard made up a good bit of our TO's. Hard to say it but we actually got better play from our PG's in this game than we did in the VMI game. Porter had 4 assists and 4 turnovers, compared to 1 assist and 5 turnovers against VMI. Liggins had 7 assists and 4 turnovers, compared to 5 assists and 7 turnovers against VMI. I said Patterson would need a good game, and he had one. 19 points, 11 boards and 2 blocks. The problem was that no one got him the ball until it was too late. He made his first 7 shots and finished the game 8-11, yet he only got the ball when the game was all but over. Unacceptable. Not to mention he had 0 turnovers. This was probably because he didn't see the ball much, but also because he is the best passer on the team. He makes quick decisions with the ball and gets the ball to teammates in favorable positions. I only wish others would do the same. Meeks had 19 and 7 boards, but did so on 5-20 shooting and with 6 turnovers. He tried to do too much and it showed. You can't blame him though because no one else was doing much of anything. Next up, we have a game agaisnt Delaward State, which should be an easy win but after VMI, we have no easy wins. They don't have a player over 6-7 so I'm guessing they will try to emulate VMI's blueprint. There's no reason Patterson shouldn't get at least 15 shots this game.

Meanwhile, in the great state of Minnesota, Tubby Smith sits at 3-0. Say what you want about Tubby, but his teams always played defense. What gets me is the fact that I still hear people blaming Tubby for this season's woes. They say Gillispie is failing because of Tubby's players yet the team would be even worse without Tubby's players. Meeks, Stevenson, Harris and Patterson are all Smith recruits. Patterson is often credited to Gillispie but was close to committing to Tubby Smith before he left. Minnesota got themselves a good coach and an even better person to lead their program.

Pacman Jones is back in our life and not a moment too soon. The ridiculous fines and notoriously poor officiating were boring me. I'm glad to have the razzle dazzle that is Pacman Jones back in my life.

I don't know if you caught it or not by David Fleming has a great article about how athletes are protecting themselves after the deaths of Sean Taylor and Darrent Williams.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A tie? What the what?

I like Donovan McNabb but you have to know that. You just have to. Perhaps this explains his shortcomings in the clutch. The thing that gets me is that if they were playing with college overtime rules, they'd still be playing. Both offenses looked awful. I want to be mad the Bengals didn't win that one after a great defensive showing, but I can't. The Eagles threw all day when Westbrook cut have made us pay on the ground. Our offense was just as impotent, but we all know this. Fitzpatrick isn't going to make anyone pay: McNabb could have and should have. I'm just proud to say the Bengals haven't lost in three weeks.

I have to give credit to the Bengals D for a great performance. They were thrown on 58 times by a Pro Bowl QB, yet he completed only 28 and was picked off 3 times. He also lost a fumble on the day. I have to credit Cedric Benson as well. He runs harder than any back I've seen in the league this season, bar Marion Barber. Seriously. If we only had a decent line, he'd put up great numbers and I'd like to see him back next year for the right price. The last hat tip of the game I give is to the man that invented the QB rating system. Every backup in the league owes this man a portion of their contract. Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a QB rating in the 80's three of the past 4 games. I guess the rating doesn't factor in holding the ball too long for game changing sacks, overthrows that could have led to direct touchdowns and inability to execute short slants and screens even though that's what you've been doing all day. I can't wait for Matt Cassel to cash in this off season with a deal worth $10 million per.

Tyler Hansborough, also doing his part to bring back the name Tyler, is out for the UK game tonight. I'm going to go ahead and call the upset. I know we just lost to VMI. I know this. But VMI plays an nontraditional game with basically 5 guys on the court that can dribble and shoot the three. UNC plays a more conventional game so the threat of any player shooting from deep, is not as eminent as it was with VMI. They'll play more of our style, and won't pressure the ball as much because they don't have 5 guards out there. I think Liggins should start. Babying wont cut it. You have to throw him into the fire and let him learn. Ty Lawson will blow by Michael Porter with ease, but Liggins is lengthy and could cause him some trouble. I see Patterson bouncing back with a big performance as well as another good game from Meeks. 89-82 Cats.

I still can't tell you who's contending in a wild NFL season, the only thing I can do is cross teams off the list. I'll attempt to eliminate potential contenders each week. This week is the Eagles from the NFC and Bills from the AFC. Neither team was a serious threat, but each had potential to get in the playoffs. Both play in tough conferences and both eliminated themselves this week with shoddy play against inferior teams. The Eagle's had chance after chance to score on the Bengals but couldn't even get in range for a Akers field goal. The Bills let an awful performance by Brady Quinn beat them in a game they needed. Both are banished from my contenders.

I honestly can't tell you why Shaq was so upset, but I'm a Shaq guy so I'm sure it was justifiable. Perhaps he reminisced of the days when he could have slid back quick enough to send that shot into the third row. I really don't think he had any ill intention behind. He's just too strong. During the Rockets-Suns fight, he pushed five grown men with a slight shove. He's no bully, but I'll tell you who is: Kevin Garnett. From the fight with Bogut to the yelling at Jose` Calderon for seemingly no reason. I've never been the biggest KG fan because I've always felt he was overrated, especially compared to Duncan. I began to feel bad for him as he wasted away in Minnesota and played the humble guy role perfectly. Then he got to Boston and began popping his jersey after beating inferior teams and yelling for no reason. One more outburst like this Garnett, and I'll have to add you to the likes of Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant as guys who play nice for the media but are really jerks. You're on thin ice Garnett. Thin ice.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Video Round-Up



Can we just kick it off with that?
How ridiculous is that? "I didn't even know a game could end in a tie." He's been in the league for 10 years. He was in the league the last time a tie game occurred. How did he not know that there was such a thing as a tie game? I've heard a couple people say that he was probably joking. I've seen McNabb joke. This was not a joke. He really didn't know. Add that to the fact that he still hasn't learned a thing about time management (although Reid is also to blame for that) and I'm just not sure what he's doing out there.

Did you see any of that Packers game, though? They looked terrific. Their defense looked great, and their offense kicked it into gear against the Bears yesterday. Their running game looked better than it has all year, and their passing game looked sharp. Rodgers did throw one pretty bad interception (a properly placed ball would've gone for a touchdown), but it didn't hurt them at all. At 5-5, they're now tied for the division lead. We still have a good chance to win this.

There was a 13-13 tie in the Bengals/Eagles game, and a 11-10 Steelers win over the Chargers. How exciting.

Have you seen this?



Here's my question: why was Shaq so mad? That's an obvious ejection. I know it looked like he may have been going for the ball, but he caught Stuckey with a forearm, in the air, and knocked him to the ground from about 5 feet up. They'll call that a Flagrant 2 every time...especially since he barely touched the ball.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

JT and the NFL...

I did watch the UK game and have but a few notes on it.

-Hours before the game I read that VMI led the nation in steals and and I believe scoring last year. At this point I realized, we were going to lose this game for reasons I will get to later.

- Patrick Patterson is the best passer on the team. Normally it is a good thing to have a big man that can pass, but not when he is your best passer. He took only 4 shots last night, of which he hit 3, because he has no one who knows how to get him the ball. I saw him make a number of good passes, that if he had someone to make to him, he could have easily went for 20 points as VMI's biggest starter was 6'7, 205.
-Jodie Meeks scored 39 points and was the only reason this game was as close as it was. Yet I can't help thinking he could have hit 45 easily if he had a point guard to get him a ball where he likes it.
-Michael Porter is not the point guard for this team. I could have told you this before his 1 assist, 5 turnover game. He also had a teammate, I believe Patterson under the basket during a fast break. He took the shot instead of rewarding his big man. He is not the point guard for this team.
-Deandre Liggins is not the point guard for this team...yet. He had 7 turnovers in his first collegiate game, but also had 6 points, 7 assists, and 5 boards in less than 30 minutes. He went to the basket which is something we despearely need. He's not ready yet, but he will be.
-We play UNC at UNC this Tuesday. This sounds like trouble but for the past few years, despite their high ranking, we've always played them well. I see this year going the same.
-We need a point guard. That's basicallly what I'm trying to say to you.


Denver over Atlanta- I know Atlanta is looking good but if Cutler is half as good as he thinks he is, he has to make a statement against this team. San Diego is pretty much trying to hand them the division.

Cincy over Philly- I know Philly destroys bad teams. I know this. But I think we keep this surprisingly close and wait for McNabb and Reid to choke in the 4th quarter.

Green Bay over Chicago- I think if Chicago wins this game, they also take the division. If GB wins, I think Minnesota wins the division. I can't explain it.

Indy over Houston- I think Sage Rosenfels is going to be involved. Indy takes this one.

Kansas Ciy over New Orleans- Tyler Thigpen is doing his part to bring the name "Tyler" back to prominence. Rock on brother.

Miami over Oakland- I'm just waiting for Al Davis to start calling plays. I can feel it. It's going to happen.

NYG over Baltimore- Flacco has been playing better but he hasn't faced the likes of that Giant defense. The Unibrow's good run stops here.

Minnesota over Tampa Bay- Damnit. The week I forget to do picks, Peterson has a great day. Can Jackson really be worse than Frerotte at this point?

Carolina over Detroit- Culpepper retires again after this game. You heard it here first.

St. Louis over San Fran- Who can Singletary blame this week? I can see it now.
" Coach what happened to the team today in the redzone?"
"Our inefficiencies in the redzone can be blamed on one man and one man only...Genghis Khan."

Arizona over Seattle- Arizona continues their ascent to be the most mediocre division winner this decade. Congrats.

Tennessee over Jacksonville- After the Jags faced the Cleveland-Cincy-Detroit trio and came out 1-2, I can't pick them. I just can't.

Pittsburgh over San Diego- I wonder who will play LT and Shaun Alexander in the made for TV film, " I hit 30 and my knees absolutely died."

Washington over Dallas- I agree with you to an extent on Campbell, but he's doing whats asked of him so well. Messing with success seems to be dangerous at this point in the season. If they can get Portis healthy, they can still make the playoffs. I hate to think of it but I wonder would this team still be playing this hard had they not lost Sean Taylor the way they did.

Buffalo over Cleveland- I think the Browns quitting two straight weeks goes the opposite way and they play terrible as Buffalo tries to keep up in a surprisingly competitive division.

Just watched UK lose a close one to Vanderbilt. Cobb again threw an INT late in the game to pretty much end it. He didn't look as disappointed as he did last week which is hopefully a sign of his maturity, but still it worries me a bit. We have to go out with a bang against a struggling Tennessee team next week. We may be the worse 6 win team I've seen in a long time.

Also, why in the world is Randall Cobb still returning punts? He's the starting quarterback! This isn't high school, its the toughest conference in the nation. If I'm playing UK and see the starting QB returning punts, why don't I take a penalty to blast Cobb on a punt return? I'd much rather take the 15 yards and see Hartline taking snaps.

I don't know if you saw this weeks SNL but Justin Timberlake came out of nowhere to perform in 2 hilarious skits. One involved an impression of Michael McDonald, which I'm always for, and one involved him in high heels dancing along side Beyonce`. Good stuff.

Kentucky Loses to...Who?

And here I thought that something was wrong with my eyes when I saw the score, "Kentucky 103, Virginia Military 111." Crazy. Did you watch the game?

On to the NFL picks (while Billy Gillespie cries into his beer):

Atlanta over Denver. I know that Cutler threw for 400+ yards against the Browns. But I also believe that Atlanta's defense is better than that, and that Atlanta's offense can outscore Denver's. This should be a pretty fun game to watch.

Philadelphia over Cincinnati. If there's one thing I know about the Eagles & McNabb it's this: they do a fantastic job of beating lesser teams, while struggling mightily with teams on their level. Expect a big day from McNabb here. (Oh, and by the way, Andy Reid is looking fatter and more unprepared every week.)

Green Bay over Chicago. The Packers need to stop the run. With Orton playing hurt, we need to force him to throw the ball and not let Forte run all over us. Also, Rodgers needs to learn when to let go of the ball. It's like watching Ben Roethlisberger back there.

Houston over Indianapolis. I know that Indy is playing better now than they were earlier. But I also know that Houston is no pushover, and they should've won the last match-up by multiple scores. I can't tell if this is an actual pick or just wishful thinking...but I like to think it's the former.

New Orleans over Kansas City. The Saints' offense is too good to lose to the Chiefs...right?

Miami over Oakland. With the way both of these teams are playing, I expect Miami to be up by 2 touchdowns in the first half. I have no interest in watching this game.

Baltimore over New York Giants. In the Giants 1 loss this season, Manning looked terrible and their defense got walked all over by the Browns. The Ravens have a better defense than the Browns, and Flacco seems to be getting better just about every week.

Tampa Bay over Minnesota. You know how everyone is talking about Gus Frerotte, game manager? Well, after Peterson gets shut down in this game and Frerotte is forced to throw 30+ times with 4 interceptions, no one will be talking about that anymore.

Carolina over Detroit. I'm rooting for Detroit to win this game, but I'm just not seeing it happen. Delhomme looked awful last week, so the Lions may have an outside chance...but it's waaaay outside.

San Francisco over St. Louis. Bleh.

Arizona over Seattle. Double-bleh. Two NFC West match-ups in one day? Who signed off on that idea?

Tennessee over Jacksonville. I can see a close game here, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Jacksonville win this one. But, as it is, I'll probably take the Titans until they lose.

Pittsburgh over San Diego. This isn't quite the match-up that it looked like it would be before the season started. I'm getting less impressed with Roethlisberger every week, but I still think they pull this game out.

Washington over Dallas. People seem to think that rusty, fumble-prone Romo with a pinkie in a splint is all this team needs. Sorry to disappoint you, but they need a lot more than that. While we're here, I would like to make a point about Jason Campbell. He's playing better, and his consecutive pass attempts without an interception was pretty impressive...but it seems like they're telling him, "Just go out there and don't turn the ball over." Look, turnovers are bad. I know this. But you can't let a fear of turnovers stop you from trying to make plays. There are only so many times you can dink and dunk with little 4 yard passes before your offense just stagnates...as Washington's has recently. At some point the coaches need to tell him, "Just fire some downfield into quasi-tight coverage. It's not the end of the world if you throw an interception." I know Campbell as a gun...I'd just like him to use it a bit more often. With Portis' injury, they really need Campbell to step up and make some big plays.

Cleveland over Buffalo. Brady Quinn looked pretty impressive against the Broncos last week, and I think the entire Browns team will be fired up over the "we quit against the Broncos" talk that's been going on. Add that to Buffalo's recent struggles, and I think the Browns will pull this out. I still can't believe that this is the Monday Night game, though.

And I would like to add this to one of the most ridiculous stories of the year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hey guys! Did you see that? Marion Barber just scored a touchdown on a play YOURS TRULY just called!

I'm fully aware of the Hawks being undefeated because a good friend of mine sends me a text everyday to remind of the fact and update the record. To his credit, he is the only true Hawks fan I know so he's earned it, but I can't think they are going to keep it up. First off, without Childress they are dangerously thin. If any starter gets hurt a significant amount of time, it will make things hard. Oh wait a minute, Josh Smith just went down for a few weeks. I expect them to come back to Earth over the next few weeks starting with the Celtics tonight.

The Magic are worrying me a bit though. We're 4-3 and while our losses aren't that bad, they are noteworthy. We lost the opener to the Hawks, who look good now, but they beat us by 14. The Hawks shouldn't beat us by 14 under any circumstances. We lost to Memphis on a last second shot by Rudy Gay, but it never should have been that close. We also lost to Portland, who is a good team. The part that scares me is that we wasted a 35 point effort by Turkoglu and a 29-19 game from Dwight Howard. Rashard Lewis is shooting less than 40 percent from the field and free agent signing Mickael Pietrus has been a bust. He's averaged 13 points in only about 25 minutes a game but he was brought in for his defense. In 7 games, he has given up:
25 to Joe Johnson on 55% shooting
17 to OJ Mayo, not bad but he only took 11 shots
31 to Kevin Martin on 55% shooting
17 to Ben Gordon off then bench
16 points, 11 boards and 8 assists to Andre Iguodala
14 to Deshawn Freakin Stevenson
27 to Brandon Roy.

Money well spent Orlando. Not to mention we have no bench after Redick proved why he's been on the bench for 2 years and rookie Courtney Lee has looked flustered. Keith Bogans has proved to be our only decent guy off the bench and that does not bode well for us.

Am I a believer in Rose? Yes and no. Yes he's looked great thus far, and much better than I expected for his first few games, but I can't help but think of other point guards who came out after one year of college and the only "successful" one is Stephon Marbury. Granted the main reason for Marbury's demise is the fact that he's crazy as hell. Rose appears to be a good enough guy so I doubt that will happen but playing in his hometown won't help him. He's putting up good numbers but the team is losing and I don't see that changing soon. They have to get some better personnel around him because he's not winning with Drew Gooden and Tyrus Thomas as his big men. Maybe they can sign and Ben Gordon and get something for Kirk Hinrich because his success is hinged to the people around him.

Singletary appears to know what he wants and who he wants around him and makes no bones about calling out those not on his side. I think there has to be a little tension between he and Martz. Martz has been a head coach, and was a successful one for a while, yet he was passed over for the job by Singletary. That has to eat at him a little bit. There's only so many people Singletary can blame and I'm a little afraid to see the press conference where he turns the blame to himself. Things could get ugly.

Has there ever been a season where more coordinators, College or Pro, are being relieved of their duties mid season? The Dallas Defensive coordinator first and now Tom Cable taking over offensive play calling from Greg Knapp. It's only a matter of time before Al Davis demands to call plays himself. You know its going to happen. Charlie Weiss also assumed play calling duties himself. I just wonder what coordinators stripped of their duties do on the sidelines. I'm sure the Dallas DC is in charge of getting Wade Phillips his Ritalin after every first down, but for the rest of the game I'm sure he just twiddles his thumbs.

Basketball and More Crazy Singletary

So the Pistons won last night, with Iverson going for 30/9. I think they'll start winning pretty consistently in the not-too-distant future. Once everyone gets used to each other they'll be a fantastic team. I can see Iverson averaging 22/7 a night, which is pretty good production from your point guard, especially when there are a couple of other fantastic scorers on the team. He made a number of great passes last night, so that's encouraging. Yes, I think this will all go well.

LeBron went for 41 points...again. That's 3 games that he's scored exactly 41 points this season. Is he shooting for a specific average? He's currently shooting 46% from the floor and hitting 77% of his free throws. Those aren't bad. The scary thing is that he can get better. He was a maniac last year, and I don't see it letting down until he has averaged 55/12/11 in a season. It could happen. In the meantime, the Cavs are 6-2 and have won their last 5 games. If it turns out that his supporting cast is good, this team could do some serious damage this year.

Unbeaten teams: Lakers and Hawks. I'm not surprised by the Lakers...but the Hawks?! They made the playoffs last year, but that was only because the East was so weak. I kind of figured they'd fall off a bit this year. Granted, it's a long season, and a great start doesn't mean they can sustain it for 82 games, but they look impressive so far, with Al Horford stepping up his game considerably from last year, which is pretty impressive.

Are you a believer in Derrick Rose?

NFL:
I'm glad you share some kind of bond with Nick Collins. He's been extremely impressive this year. Actually, the entire Packers secondary has been fantastic. Woodson is having one of his best years ever. People seem to think that he's lost a step, but he can stay one-on-one with any receiver in the league...or, at the very least, with every receiver he has faced this year. He was injury prone in Oakland, but, when healthy, he's one of the best corners in the league. Al Harris came back earlier than expected from his injury, and he's looking good, too. Bigby is also back, and, while he looks a little rusty, I know he'll round into form again.
I'm a little concerned about our linebackers, now that Barnett is gone for the season. I'm a big Hawk fan, and I've been impressed with Poppinga and Chillar for the most part, but I can't see anyone stepping up into Barnett's role. It's certainly going to be tough, but I think we'll beat Chicago this weekend, with good ol' Rex behind center.

Seriously...what is going on with Singletary? Did you hear his postgame press conference? It's like listening to the ramblings of a mad man. He strings together incomplete thoughts like an art. There was a time when he stammered for about 3 straight minutes...and he never really said anything. He's passionate...you can get behind that. But I have no idea what he's talking about half the time.
His most recent story is about the end of the Cardinals/49ers game (which was strangely entertaining, by the way). Apparently, neither him or Martz knows anything about video replay. They claim that no one told them that, after the review, the ball was spotted at the 2 1/2 yard line...not the 1 yard line, like they thought. Says Martz, "We were trying to spike the ball. Had we been allowed to spike the ball, none of that would have happened." Why were they not able to spike the ball? There were still 4 second left on the clock...more than enough time to spike the ball. Plus, they got a crazy amount of time to set up for that final play while the refs were reviewing the previous play. You're telling me that two people who have been coaching in the league for years didn't look at the replay on the screens and say to themselves, "Well, it looks like Gore is down at the 2...we should change our play." I was sitting at home watching that game and I could see that he was down at the 2. If anything, it just shows how inept that coaching team is.
The refs should've told them where the ball was supposed to be spotted, but either Singletary or Martz should've realized that Gore was down a little further back than they originally thought, and should change the play. Then Singletary said, "I've been told that I should probably go ahead and call the league, but it's the last thing I want to do right now. I don't need to hear that, 'Well, that's on us.' I don't really need to hear that, in my mind, because they're not going to change anything. The game's still gone. So, in my mind, I'm going to let it go."
Guess what, Singletary? That game isn't on the officials. It's on you. If anyone on that sideline knew a thing about time management, perhaps that game would've ended differently. It's not their fault you didn't realize Gore was down at the 2, just like it's not their fault that you wasted 20 seconds for no reason in particular on the final drive. Step up and take responsibility.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Throwing the ball underhanded is absurd...unless your name rhymes with Frett Barve...

It's obvious that Rodgers crime wasn't throwing the ball underhanded. The crime was throwing the ball underhanded without being named Brett Favre. When Favre does it, it's considered cute and creative. When any other QB does it, its an absurd play and ridiculous mimicry of Brett Favre. I remember one play where Carson Palmer threw it underhand for a couple yards gained and the throw was described as a "questionable" throw. How is avoiding a sack, and in Rodger's case a safety, questionable? I'm with you. That was a terrible call. That was a big loss for the Pack as it puts them to last in the division (The Lions don't count. They just don't.) They are down but certainly not out. This weeks game against Chicago could very well decide the division winner. If Rex Grossman is involved in anyway, all bets are off.

Another quick Packers note. I didn't see much of the Pack-Vikings game but I did see Nick Collins pick six. It appears that every time I flip to a Packers game, Nick Collins is intercepting a pass and looking for the endzone. I have no proof for this but I swear to you that I have flipped to the Pack game at random times and witnessed his INT for a TD yesterday, the one against the Colts and the one against the Lions. Every time I think the same exact thing as soon as he intercepts it: "That's a touchdown." I can't explain the telepathy Nick Collins and I share, but I'm a little scared. I keep thinking if I pitch some paper towel into my shopping cart, Nick Collins is going to barrel out of the Bounty and take my paper towel to the house.

For the fifth straight game, Carson Palmer will sit out. I really wish he would go ahead and get Tommy John surgery or whatever he needs to do to get well for next season. I hear his injury isn't as severe as first thought, so he's going week to week, but why risk it? We play the Eagles this week and I can see Fitzpatrick's face now as the Eagle's blitz him from every possible angle.

You know, I thought we had finally gotten rid of the Colts after their shaky start. Now they have 2 straight wins against New England and Pittsburgh, which isn’t nearly as impressive now as it would have been in any other year. They sit at 5-4 with a favorable schedule. Their next 5 games are the Texans, Chargers, Browns, Bengals and Lions. We’ve been hoodwinked all along! They planned Manning’s surgeries so they’d have a slow start and hit their stride just as their schedule dips. The downside to this is the Colt’s wild card berth and likely victory over a weak New England or Baltimore team and we hear the “The Colts are back!” stories. The upside is Peyton’s inevitable 4 INT game against the Titans in the playoffs followed by him bitching out his teammates on schedule. I can’t wait.


The NFL...Where Shortened Lifespans Happen

I would like to start with what is, quite possibly, my favorite story in the NFL this year, followed by my thoughts on the Packers game.

I have never been a Joey Porter fan. Is he good? Yeah...I guess, but there are a number of current players that are better than he is. If he were as good as he says he is, he would have 40 sacks, 500 tackles, and 15 defensive touchdowns a year.
That being said...
My favorite story this year involves him and Matt Jones. As you have talked about already, Joey Porter questioned why Jones hasn't been suspended by the league for being found with cocaine in his car. It's a valid question, and one I have wondered myself. Why are people being fined and suspended for perfectly legal hits, yet Matt Jones was found cutting up coke in his car, and he hasn't missed a game?
So Jones, hearing Porter's comments, says something to the effect of, "Maybe he likes sitting around and thinking about guys all the time." That kills me.
Of course, you also have Brandon Marshall saying that Porter has "popcorn muscles", to which Porter (and the rest of us say", "What does that even mean?!"

Packers...
Remember when I said that this was the game our offense would get back on track in this game? Apparently I meant the opposite of that. Just a terrible looking offensive game. It'd be tempting to blame this on Rodgers, but it's not all his fault. In fact, I lay the blame directly on the coaching. We started out by running the ball, and running it fairly well. Grant was getting into a little rhythm, and holes were opening all along the offensive line. When that happens, what do you do? Why, start passing, of course. The Vikings pass-rush looked better than they've looked all year. Granted, Rodgers didn't look fantastic, but they kept dropping him back 5-7 steps, and he was throwing on the run with a man on him all game.
Halftime. As bad as we looked, we were only down 4 points. We were going to make some adjustments, right? Some more running, some quick passes, some screens...something?
Nope. Obviously, whatever the offense was doing was good enough for McCarthy. Rodgers was holding the ball for way too long...that was definitely a problem. But a bigger problem was not making a single adjustment for the second half. The only reason we were in that game was because we had an interception return for a touchdown AND a punt return for a touchdown in the second half.
The Vikings went ahead on a run by Peterson (who we couldn't stop yesterday), but we still had a shot at a field goal. On third-and-7, in position for a 55 yard field goal, what did we do. Try for the first down to get a little closer for the game-winning field goal? Or wait...there's a better idea. Let's throw a quick, 3-yard pass to a covered Donald Driver, making the winning field goal a 52-yarder. I know Crosby can hit them, but that's still a tough kick.
Kicks sails a little wide. Game over. Packers lose by 1.
Did I mention the two safeties? I found a video of them. The second one was legit...Rodgers ran backwards into the end zone and got caught by Jared Allen. But the first one? Well...watch this horrid looking video.



Did you see what happened there? Rodgers dropped back, had the ball stripped from his hand, recovered it in the end zone, and flung it in the direction of a receiver. Flag. What was the call? Illegal forward pass. Why was it illegal? You got me. It's not like he shoved the ball forward while it was on the ground. He picked it up and threw it underhand. Was it because the throw was underhanded? Quarterbacks do that all the time.
Apparently, after the game they said it was actually intentional grounding. If that is the case, I'd like to know how you can call intentional grounding when there is an open receiver in the area. Go ahead...watch the video again. You will see the ball land about 4 yards from the receiver.
That's 2 free points for the Vikings. 2 points. We lost the game by 1 point. That is one of the worst calls I've seen in a season full of them. What is this, the NBA?

Oh yeah...and we have the worst punter in the league. Here's the selling point on Derrick Frost: He may not kick the ball far, but at least it's low enough so the other team can get a good return. Thanks Frost...you've taken 5 years off of my life.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

If ever there was a need for a playoff...

Sorry I forgot to make my picks. Some good games this week but no real shockers. I would make a pick for the Monday Night Game but it's Arizona-San Fran so I don't even know how much I'll be watching. I do have a vested interest in this game. I am currently up 32 points on the last undefeated team in my fantasy league and he still has Boldin to play. A 32 point game from a WR seems unlikely until I remember that Boldin himself had a 32 point game in Week 2. Singletary will put on the pads himself if he even gets close. Isn't that Singletary's only way to top the "I'm taking off my pants now" routine he did in his first game? If the 49ers are down big at the half I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear Suzy Kolber announce, "Not since Crazy Legs Hirsch in 1919 has a coach donned the pads during a game. Until tonight. I'm here with Coach/LB Mike Singletary..."

Penn State is out and now the Title Talk gets interesting. Alabama and Florida appeared to be headed for a fantastic SEC Championship game. Texas Tech plays at Oklahoma this week in a game that appears to be headed for ESPN Classic already with the way Tech has been playing. I'm no bandwagon jumper but I really like this Teas Tech team. They can score at any given time and they seem to actually enjoy each other's company and have an affinity for the coach. I heard some talk today saying that if Florida wins the SEC title, which seems to be a lock with the way they've been playing lately, that Alabama will face our old friends the Buckeyes of Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Part of me wants to see this so OSU can be dominated yet again by a superior team from a superior conference, but part of me wants Penn State to be that team dominated by a superior team in a superior conference. It's a shame that in the Big 12 South division alone are 4 top ten teams in Teas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. This means the Big 12 Title will be whichever of those four teams survives to manhandle Missouri. Would it be too much to strike that from the record this year and let the best two teams duke it out? I'd love to see it TT-UT rematch, but instead will get treated to a likely Texas Tech-Missouri blowout.

I have to wonder if Obama is serious about getting a playoff in college football instead of the BCS. If ever there was a need for a playoff, it's this year. how great would an 8-team playoff be with these games, based off of the current BCS standings:

#1 Alabama vs. #8 Penn State- Penn State fights to prove it's lone loss was a fluke against the BCS' top dog in Bama.

#2 Texas Tech vs. #7 Utah- The Battle of the 10-0 teams. The battle of two teams not traditionally known for their college football prowess. I know they aren't playing the schedule Tech is, but 10-0 is impressive in any conference.

#3 Texas vs #6 USC- Our old friend USC makes an appearance to attempt to get back into the Title game against a Texas team with an outside shot to do the same.

#4 Florida vs. #5 Oklahoma- This could be better than the championship. Oklahoma with one loss to #3 Texas and Florida playing lights out since their loss could make this a classic.

To hell with the Oxi-Clean Sugar Bowl presented by Old Spice, or whatever its called, with a potential lineup like that.

UK lost a tough one Saturday. This one hurt more than the Florida game. Really. In the Florida game it was over before it started and we knew we couldn't win about halfway into the first quarter. This game we were in it for the entire game. We fell down 14-0 but bounced back due to Randall Cobb. I was at the game and I promise you that UK ran 5 plays all game long. A FB dive, a short screen, the option, the quarterback keeper and a short play action play. Yet Georgia could not figure it out for the life of them. Cobb rushed for 3 TD's and made the throws he had too, until the very end when he threw an interception to end the game. A defensive lineman made a one handed grab which happens once in a...actually I've never seen it happen. It wasn't a bad throw, I just don't think Cobb could see. He's a short guy and the pocket collapsed and he couldn't see so he hoped he could get it to the running back. He didn't. Game over. Either way this game will define Cobb. He fell to the ground in tears right after throwing it, but I like that emotion. He can go one of two ways: This game will break his confidence and he will second guess every snap he ever takes or he will use this as fuel. He will end the QB controversy and reak havoc on the SEC for the next 2-3 years. I'm betting on the latter. He's about 5'11, 185, and was running right into Georgia defenders. He's got heart and I can see this being the turning point in a potentially epic career.

Onto the NBA.

In Iverson's debut he was outplayed by Rajon Rondo in a loss to the Celtics. Eek. He took just 11 shots, but hit only 4 of them and was outscored and outassisted by Rondo. Granted it was only one game but the Celtics are really the only team Detroit has to play well against. You could argue Cleveland and Orlando, but the Celtics are who the road to the title goes through. New team jitters? Maybe. I see a big game from AI soon.

The Spurs are 1-4 and without their perimeter punch of Ginobili and Parker for at least a month. Yet they shouldn't be worried. Tim Duncan has averaged a 26-11 through the first 5 games with Parker. Now that he is without him, all bets are off. The team will stay above water with Jacques Vaughn at the point and the corpses of Michael Finley and Bruce Bowen, because Duncan is that good. The team will struggle at first and Duncan will hear the, "See? He's not better than KG. He's just had better teammates than KG" stories, and unfairly so. Duncan is better than KG and doesn't have to beat his chest or scare his teammates to prove it. He lets his play do it and he will do so over the next month or so.

NFL Picks

First off, I'd like to give a big up to Iowa for beating Penn State. Now, if Florida wins out (including a win against Alabama), I'd say they're pretty much guaranteed to make it to the National Championship game. The way they're playing, I don't think that's asking too much.

NFL Picks...really quick.

New Orleans over Atlanta. This should be a fun one to watch.

Jacksonville over Detroit. It doesn't matter who is playing quarterback...I don't see the Jags losing to two winless teams in back-to-back weeks.

Green Bay over Minnesota. I can really see the Packers offense get rolling in a big way in this game.

New York Jets over St. Louis. This is either going to be a 3 point game or a 21 point game.

Tennessee over Chicago. Grossman start!

Miami over Seattle. As of last year, this no way I would make this pick.

New England over Buffalo. The Patriots didn't look great last week, but I think they'll come back here.

Baltimore over Houston. Flacco! Rosenfels!

Carolina over Oakland. They're talking about being unsure as to whether Russell will start or not. The way he's playing, would you want him rushing back?

San Diego over Kansas City. It'll be closer than it should be.

Pittsburgh over Indianapolis. So long, Indy.

New York Giants over Philadelphia. I just don't see Philly winning this one.

Arizona over San Francisco. Outside of the wacky stories of what Singletary may do during halftime, I have absolutely no interest in this game.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You know I like to make it rain, right?

Thanks for the Floyd video. It only leads me to wonder this though: Mayweather seems to be a fan of making it rain and having a good time, yet he hasn't been arrested once. Maybe he should put on a seminar for the Pacman Jones' of the world. "Making it Precipitate: That Means Rain Pacman" brought to you by Money Mayweather.

D'Angelo Hall was cut by Al Davis in an attempt to shakeup your roster. Really? He’s the one holding the team back from greatness? Not Javon Walker who nearly got himself killed this offseason? Or a quarterback that can’t complete 50% of his passes? What about the head coach who insists his team practice touchdown dances? While Hall has been disappointing compared to the monster contract Davis gave him before the season, he is still a solid corner. He is being targeted a lot because on the other side he has a top 5 corner in the league in Nnamdi Asomugha. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the Bengals pick him up, assuming a corner with a massive ego wouldn’t mind playing nickel DB for a 1-8 team.

Just when I was getting low on my fix of Joey Porter, here he comes speaking ill of not one, but two (2) athletes. The Brandon Marshall comments seemed out of line but he’s right on with his comments on Matt Jones. Jones was caught with cocaine and hasn’t paid a dime. Porter’s been fined more for running his mouth. Is Goodell suggesting that getting hooked to coke isn’t nearly as bad as speaking out against authority? Or “playing too rough” as Hines Ward was fined for? Makes no sense. I don’t understand you Goodell.

Just a few thoughts on the young NBA season.

Hate to jump the gun here but LeBron James is hitting 78 percent of his free throws this year, including going 28-31 in his last two games. We could be “this” much closer to it being all over.

Never thought I’d say it but I actually feel bad for Stephon Marbury. All he wants to do is play ball and have extramarital sex in SUV’s outside of Madison Square Garden. Is that too much to ask? Can a man live his life? But seriously, I know he doesn’t have the best reputation with coaches but isn’t the point of a new coach to wipe the slate clean? It appears he’s being punished by D’Antoni by the way he’s treated past coaches. If he doesn’t want to play him, fine. Then trade him or release him because he’s done nothing negative under D’Antoni’s reign. I can’t imagine having Marbury glued to the bench every game is really helping team chemistry, or even teaching Marbury a lesson because he’s getting 22 million this season. I could actually see him helping a team on the verge, like Miami. He’s in the last year of his contract so they get his best and if he doesn’t work out, they let him walk at the end of the season. He’s an instant upgrade over Mario Chalmers and gets Wade off the ball so much. He could fetch New York a good player because lots of teams will want that expiring contract.

More on the Iverson trade. At first, I initially thought Denver lost terribly but have reconsidered. I simply forgot how good Carmelo Anthony is, and can be. He’s 24 years old and has a career scoring average of over 24 ppg. He’s averaged at least 25 a game over the past three years with Allen Iverson and Andre Miller playing the point. He averaged 29 a game only two years ago, and last season he set career highs in shooting percentages and rebounding. This season he’s cut his hair and claimed he’ll devote himself to playing defense. Not to say cutting one’s hair is an automatic sign of success to come, but I won’t put it past him. He’s bested LeBron in high school. One a championship with an average team at Syracuse and I’ll argue to the death that he should have won Rookie of the Year over LeBron a few years ago. His offense is lethal and now he has a true point guard setting him up. He’s motivated and has a good point guard around him. I can easily see him winning the scoring title. LeBron is always a threat but Mo Williams will cut in his coring a bit. Kobe is also a threat but he’s still trying to pull the “I’m a team player” wool over my eyes. I can easily seeing Carmelo averaging over 30 a game this season. And he’s still only 24.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Iverson, Billups, Mayweather

We talked about this today, but I thought I'd go on record.
I'm all for the Iverson trade. Here's what we get: a one-year rental on one of the best players in the league. Will it work out? Maybe. If it doesn't, we'll still make the playoffs this year, and his contract comes off the books at the end of the year. If it does, we get a great player to go with a great team. As you mentioned, he's an underrated passer, and could really do some damage with the players the Pistons already have. Also, he's in a contract year. He always plays hard, but this is going to be his last big payday. I'm sure he has a little something extra he's been saving for this.
I was a big Billups fan...but his stats were declining, and he seemed not to care about playing hard anymore. He was perfect for the Pistons, but I think his time was at an end. We've got Stuckey waiting in the wings, and it would be a shame to have him on the bench while we waited for Billups contract to run out in 3 years.
Plus, with Iverson and Sheed's contracts up at the end of the year, we're primed to be a major player in the free agent market in the next couple of years...including the famed free agent boom of '10, featuring LeBron, Wade, Melo, Bosh, etc. Oh...it should be fun.
Not to be overlooked here, but Denver got themselves a pretty good point guard in Billups. Sure, he's slipped a little, but he'll definitely provide some defense and leadership at the position, which is something Denver has sorely needed the past couple of years. I don't think this will get them out of the first round, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. They will need to find someone to replace him in the next couple of years though...but you could do a lot worse than to have a rookie learn from Billups.

Here's your video...enjoy.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Follow me and I'll show yall my sombrero collection...

I hear you on not letting the defense slack off after success. The Bengals did the same thing, to a lesser extent yesterday. In the first half, we got great pressure on Garrard and even if we didn't get the sack, he was on the run or on the ground. Jonathan Joseph made a couple great breakups and the rest of the secondary was following suit. In the second half, we got content and decided to lay off and let them get small completions. I don't know if coaches are aware of this, seeing as its new information and all, but whether you give up one 50 yard play, or five 10 yard plays, its the same thing. You could actually argue that five 10 yard plays is better down the stretch when you're looking to kill some clock. I don't get why you'd let the offense off the hook and pretty much beg them to make a comeback.

8-8 could potentially be on the Horizon for the Bengals but I know better. There's no way we're going to play a better half of football, sans Palmer, than we did in the first half of that game. Fitzpatrick made some great throws and made plays with his feet. Benson looked great and ran harder than anyone has for us all season. Chad finally got involved. The defense looked great and the fans were into it. Everything came together perfectly and I still don't see us winning more than 3 or 4 games. Still, I am ecstatic for this one. 1-8! Who-dey!

I did read the Goodell article and was a bit confused. First, where is Wilfork's wife getting these exclusive camera angles that the commissioner of the entire league doesn't have? Second, like you said, if he didn't hit him, why fine him? As a warning? It's senseless, as is much of Goodells reign.

Iverson to your Pistons. Thoughts? I have to believe that Chauncey Billups is somewhere in his room crying right now. He has to leave a great team that played to his strengths and covered up his faults, and go to a team in a tougher conference where it appears to be each man for himself. Iverson has to be thrilled. I'm very interested to see how this works. Iverson is an underrated passer and has never had weapons like this around him. I want to see if he can play the point, or if he'll stay gunning. I do have to admit an Iverson-Wallace appears to be a triple threat of sorts: Capable on the court, comedic for the media and dangerous in the streets. I'm excited already for this era. I really think this team challenges Detroit. A Wallace-Maxiell-Prince-Hamilton-Iverson starting five with Stuckey coming off the bench is scary. They'll miss McDyess' consistency most in the playoffs, but the regular season should be interesting. Also, how does a first time head coach in Michael Curry, handle Iverson and Wallace, should he get complacent?




Here's the awkward Tiki Barber covering the Giants after their Super Bowl Victory video I promised you. There are so many great moments but the best is when Tiki points out that Eli had been criticized by many. Um, like yourself Tiki? Weren't you the one pointing fingers? Enjoy. I know you will.

Football Frustrations

Here's one of my all-time most frustrating things to watch in a football game.
When a team's defense is absolutely handling the other team's offense for the majority of the game by bringing pressure and challenging their receivers, only to stop doing it at the end of the game, deciding instead to sit back and try to guard against the big play.
The Packers did exactly that at the end of the Titans game, and that's one of the reasons they lost. The Titans have Kerry Collins at quarterback, and their biggest threat at receiver is either Gage or McCareins. The Packers had Harris and Bigby back for the game, and their secondary had been playing great all day. The Titans needed to get their passing game in gear for a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation. With less than two minutes on the clock, they were inside their ten yard line. Pass, pass, pass. The Packers secondary were giving huge cushions to the Titans receivers, allowing them to catch 15 yard out patterns, then tackling them out of bounds. Bironas was able to attempt a 47-yard field goal for the win...but it clanged off the upright.
Reprieve...but the Titans got the ball to start overtime.
Surely the Packers wouldn't do this again...right?
Same exactly defensive strategy, this time ending in a 41 yard game-winning field goal. Game over.
I know the Titans are a good team. If they weren't, they wouldn't be 8-0. But the Packers had a chance at that game, and their defensive strategy blew it for them. I just don't understand.

An announcing rant:
I heard a number of announcers saying this yesterday, and it needs to stop.
The ball is snapped to a running back or wide receiver (sometimes with the quarterback split out as a receiver), and the announcer proclaims, "It's the Wildcat!"
No...it's not. The Wildcat is an actual formation. Sure, someone besides the quarterback usually takes the snap, but there's something more to it than that. The back lines up in the backfield, taking the snap from a shotgun-like formation. But, instead of having the other backs lined up directly next to him, they are up a little further. It's almost like a punt formation, but the back is closer to the line than the punter.
There were a number of times yesterday when the announcer declared "Wildcat formation," when it was really just a standard shotgun formation with someone other than the quarterback taking the snap.

More Goodell hatred:
Tell me you read this article. Now, I would like someone to explain to me how Wilfork was fined for a hit that never happened. It says that the DVD showed that Wilfork may not have hit Cutler in the head, which is why he wasn't suspended. Well, if he didn't actually hit him, how can he be fined? "Since you almost hit a quarterback in the head, we need your money." That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Can we get rid of the power-hungry Goodell now?

Did you see JaMarcus Russell's stats for the game? 6/19, 31 yards, 1 interception. Accounting for sacks, the Raiders had 10 yards passing. How many problems do the Raiders have right now...and what are the chances that Al Davis hires me to help fix them? I think I have a shot if I change my name to John Madden.

Your Bengals won...8-8 on the horizon?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

You're crazy if you think...

...one outburst knocks Herm Edwards from the throne of Craziest NFL Coach? Hardly.

Get off Mike Singletary, why don't ya? He belittled Davis, a top ten pick who hasn't given them top 10 production in any of his three years there. Not to mention he bears a strong resemblance to Lennox Lewis. It's not like he was belittling a Joe Montana, Steve Young or Jerry Rice type. Guys who have been mainstays of that team and have become synonymous with the...what's that you say? They don't play there anymore? Not even Montana? Hmmm. News to me. With the pants dropping thing, I can't defend him other than saying he does coach in San Francisco, a city known for its...diversity. I'm not saying... I'm just saying.

Here come the picks.

Buffalo over NYJ- I have to believe Buffalo isn't as bad as they looked last week. Miami is no pushover anymore, so I still have faith in them to beat the Jets.

Chicago over Detroit- I have nothing else to say but this: Why in the world do the Lions keep getting the Thanksgiving game? Are you aware that this years Thanksgiving game is Detroit-Tennessee? Who wants to see that game? Damn tradition. Damn it I say.

Cincinnati over Jacksonville- We're due?

Baltimore over Cleveland- With the Wildcat formation making a comeback and Baltimore's new fangled offense, I have to wonder why are these high school formations fooling NFL players? Either way, whatever the gimmick is called, it'll be good enough to beat the Browns.

Green Bay over Tennessee-I pick Tennessee but I could absolutely see Green Bay winning this. As is, I saw the Titans pull this one out, but Collins looks awful setting VY up for a potential return.

Tampa Bay over Kansas City-Tampa's D looked good last week but the O looked awful. Won't matter against KC whose O, D and ST are all lol worthy. That's right, I just used "lol" to describe the Chiefs as a whole.

St. Louis over Arizona- St. Louis has been surprisingly competitive the past few weeks. I think they get the upset.

Minnesota over Houston- I'm cashing in my "Adrian Peterson has a huge day" card here.

Denver over Miami- Cutler has to win this one. His arm is stronger than Elway's for crying out loud!

Oakland over Atlanta- It appears I pick Oakland every week. Not sure why, but I'm not one to mess with tradition...other than the Lions playing on Thanksgiving.

New York Giants over Dallas- This is the week T.O. gets back to him old self. Not the Touchdown scoring T.O., the whiny, "degrade your teammates on live TV" T.O."

Philadelphia over Seattle-First a World Series win, now a victory over THE Seattle Seahawks. Philadelphia continues their week on Cloud 9.

New England over Indianapolis-Just when I was getting sick of this matchup, I'm a bit intrigued again because as you said, neither team is as good as they used to be. Still, Belichick has Mannings number and NE gets the win.

Washington over Pittsburgh- If Pittsburgh could keep Big Ben on his feet, they could do some damage. But they can't so they don't. Not today at least.

Kentucky pulled out what very well could be their last win of the season against Mississippi State in an ugly game. Cobb started and struggled once he realized he had no one to throw to so Hartline came in. Hartline did admirably, but was again pulled for Cobb who finished the game well. I still don't know who the "QB of the future" of this team is, but this team is bowl eligible for this season and that's all I'm concerned about for now.

The NFL's Craziest Head Coach

Mike Singletary has been the head coach for one NFL game. One. He has already belittled his starting tight end in the post-game press conference and dropped his pants during his halftime speech and apparently left them down for about 5 minutes. I know we're looking at a small sample size here, but is it safe to say that he is crazy? I'll be interested to see how the rest of this season plays out. If it turns out that he's just a big ball of crazy, well, I don't think he'll be the head coach of a team again for a long time (unless, of course, he gets the 49ers to start winning on a consistent basis).

I was a little upset by the World Series. I was hoping for a Tampa win in Game 5, so we would at least get a 6 game series. All in all, it wasn't a bad series, and a thoroughly enjoyed the last part of Game 5. That was pretty fun.
In this World Series, Tampa reminded me a lot of Detroit when they made it to the World Series and lost to the Cardinals in 5. They came in with a lot of young players and were heavily favored, only to see their team slip into an offensive slump at the wrong time. It would be nice to see them in the playoffs again next year, but, if they follow the Tigers model, they'll start out hot next year, fall apart in the second half, and won't come close to sniffing the playoffs the next couple of years.

NFL picks:

New York Jets over Buffalo. I don't know...I just feel it. Buffalo fell apart little last week, and the Jets are capable of a big game from time to time. 3 touchdowns, 1 interception from Favre and a big game from Thomas Jones. Jets win by at least a touchdown.

Chicago over Detroit. The Bears win pretty easily. Who knew Kyle Orton would actually turn into a good quarterback?

Jacksonville over Cincinnati. After the Jags lost to the Browns last week, I was tempted to take the Bengals here. But I can't. I think the Jags will bounce back and play a good game here.

Cleveland over Baltimore. The Browns have looked pretty inconsistent, but they've played a couple of good games in a row, and I can see them doing just enough to beat the Ravens.

Green Bay over Tennessee. The Titans have a great run defense, but the Packers have a great passing offense and are coming off of their bye. The Titans have a great running offense, and the Packers have a spotty running defense. But they've looked better the past couple of games, and they should get both Al Harris and Atari Bigby back in the secondary, allowing them to put more defenders on the line. This should be a pretty good game.

Tampa Bay over Kansas City. Tampa wins easily. (I said the same thing about the Jets last week, and look how that turned out.)

Arizona over St. Louis. Kurt Warner wins in his homecoming, and the St. Louis fans give him a standing ovation, completely forgetting all those times they booed him after fumbling the game away on a number of occasions.

Houston over Minnesota. Thanks for playing, Vikes. Get ready to fire up the hype machine again next year.

Miami over Denver. Miami takes advantage of Denver's shoddy defense. Expect a big running game to go with a decent game from Pennington.

Atlanta over Oakland. Until Russell can consistently complete 50% of his passes, I'll have a hard time taking the Raiders.

New York Giants over Dallas. I imagine this game will be closer than expected, but I just can't see the Cowboys (with either Johnson or Bollinger) winning this game.

Philadelphia over Seattle. Philly wins big...and I have no interest in watching even a minute of this game.

New England over Indianapolis. Do you remember when this was a marquee match-up? We now get to watch Matt Cassel go up against a suddenly washed-up Peyton Manning. For the record, this game would be a lot more obnoxious to watch if it were on Monday Night Football. If I was forced to listen to Kornheiser babble about Cassel/Brady and Manning all night, I might have to kill him.

Washington over Pittsburgh. In the battle of two teams who have been unimpressively winning, I'll take the Redskins.

I'm pretty excited for the Florida/Georgia game a little later today. I will, of course, take the Gators, and I'll take them by 10 points.

"We're talkin' football...."