Monday, November 30, 2009

Dwyane, Dwight and LL Cool J

Did you happen to catch any of the Bengals game? It was a boring game but the best part of it all was between Ian Eagle and Rich Gannon, who were calling the game. Eagle was reading some CBS promo involving LL Cool J and the conversation went like this:

Eagle: LL Cool J, Ladies Love Cool James. What do you know about that Rich?
Gannon: "Rock the Bells" was a good one. I like old school LL Cool J. You know how I get down.
Eagle: Oh I know how you get down. Believe me, I know.
* Awkward silence*

It was fantastic.

Concerning Jason Campbell, can you really call him a bust? He was a late first round pick and the only QB's picked ahead of him were Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers. His career QB rating is in the 80's, he's never had a season of more interceptions than touchdowns and his career completion percentage is in the 60's. You say he's only effective when throwing short passes but who does he have to go long to? Moss and Randle-El are in their 30's and were never #1 receivers to begin with. The guys around him on offense can't stay healthy and his offensive coordinator is always changing. I'm not saying Campbell is a world beater, but he's in the last year of his deal and I can absolutely see him going to a place like Carolina next year and succeeding. You brought up Shaun Livingston but that was a completely different story. Strikes one, two and three against his career were the facts that: He came out of high school, point guards take longer to develop and a devastating knee injury robbed his main gift, his athleticism. I'm actually surprised he's still in the league.

Vince Young had another great game yesterday. He's showed he can manage a game our outright win it as he did yesterday against the Cardinals. I am concerned that he may be getting the big head that helped lead to his decline last season. I read an article talking about how last week after a victory against Houston, not once did Young mention his teammates in their role in the win. This week while his teammates flocked Kenny Britt in the endzone, Young went off to the sidelines to preen for the crowd. Nobody ever said you had to be humble to be a great quarterback, but it's something I'll keep my eye on.

In another edition of "Man I'm getting old", Barry Larkin's name has recently come up on the Hall of Fame Ballot. I mention this because he is my favorite baseball player of all time and there's not a close second. I don't know if Larkin is a first ballot guy, but looking at some of the names on the list, he may be able to sneak in. He was a 12 time All Star, has a World Series ring, a MVP and a few Gold Gloves (He'd have more if it wasn't for that bum Ozzie Smith). He was the captain of one team for years, and being identified with one team seems to help a guy get into the HOF easier than guys who bounced around. He learned Spanish during the offseason to better communicate with his Hispanic teammates! Who does that anymore? I had the privilege of meeting he and his brother when I was 7 or 8 and they were both very nice (Fun Larkin fact: Barry was offered a football scholarship at Notre Dame and a baseball scholarship by Michigan. His older brother was an All-American basketball player at Xavier. Another brother played pro baseball with the Reds for a while. His oldest brother was the captain of Notre Dame's football team in the 1980's. Why don't they make families like that anymore? It seems like you rarely hear about amazing athletic genes like that anymore). He meant a lot to the city of Cincinnati and I'm really hoping the voters do the right thing and put #11 in the HOF.

I said with Steve McNair situation and I'll say it again: There is too much information being released about the Tiger Woods car crash. First I heard he was in a serious accident. Then it was revealed the accident was minor and he would recover. That's all the public needed to know, but of course it wasn't all we found out. Now we find out he was laying in the street falling in and out of consciousness and was mumbling incoherently. His wife was crying over his body as 911 was called. Now the 911 tape has been released! It's too much I say! Now I hear rumors that the facial injures were inflicted by his angry wife after confronting him about his womanizing. Then I hear he was out at 2:30 in the morning on his way to catch some Black Friday sales, which is laughable. It's bad enough a family has to deal with the prospect of being torn apart due to adultery, and now everyone with a television knows every single detail to it. All we need to know is that he was in a minor accident and that he'll be fine. Only Woods, his wife, the neighbor whose property he landed on and the police need to know the particulars. It's just too much.

Last week Dwyane Wade gushed about the possibility of playing with Dwight Howard. Ok, maybe gushed is overstating a little but I got excited. Maybe he sees how much harder the game is without a great center underneath. Maybe he wants to stay in Florida without staying in Miami. Maybe he just wants to stick it to Shaq. Whatever the case, I welcome Dwyane with open arms. Acquiring him would rank highly on the best things to ever happen to me, then again Ken Griffey getting traded to Cincy is #1 on that list. It's certainly improbable, but not impossible. Miami would probably not want to help a division rival, but they could at least get something for him instead of losing him for nothing. I've already worked out the kinks of the deal: Dwyane Wade and maybe James Jones as a cap filler, to Orlando for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and a #1 pick. Not a great deal, but you get the three things you want when you trade a superstar: Young talent (Gortat), expiring contracts (VC's contract has a team option after next year) and draft picks. What a sight it would be.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

'96 Packers vs. '09 Vikings and NFL Picks

First things first: this Vikings team as good, but I don't think they were anywhere near as good as the '96 Packers team (I actually just had a conversation about this on Tuesday).  The defense allowed the fewest points in the league, while the offense scored the most.  The defensive line featured Reggie White, Gilbert Brown, Sean Jones (an absolute beast), and Santana Dotson.  Bernardo Harris and George Koonce were in the linebacking corps.  Craig Newsome, LeRoy Butler, Tyrone Williams, and Doug Evans in the secondary.  The offense had Favre (of course) as quarterback.  The running game was the two-headed attack of Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett.  We had Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks, Don Beebe and Andre Rison as the wide receivers, with Mark Chmura and Keith Jackson as the tight ends.  Not to mention Desmond Howard as the return man.
Those are all good names...but they're still just names.  I have gone back and re-watched a number of games from that season, so I can say this with a healthy amount of authority: that '96 Packers team would beat this year's Vikings team, and they would beat them by at least 10 points.  People forget how good that Packers team was.  The defense was killer and the offense was unstoppable.  I know the Vikings have a good team this year, but there's no doubt in my mind that the Packers would win that game.  If you watch some games from that season, you would agree.

Picks:

Green Bay over Detroit - We'll win this game...but I do have some concerns about it.  The Lions are coming off a very exciting win over the Browns (the end of that game was terrific).  Add that to this being a Thanksgiving game, and they'll be playing extremely hard.  Meanwhile, the Packers struggled in the second half to the 49ers and, in the process, lost Al Harris and Aaron Kampman for the season.  We'll miss Kampman, but we should be able to fill that position without a whole lot of trouble.  But losing Al Harris hurts.  Do you know who came in for him after he went down last week?  Jarrett Bush.  Ouch.  Still, we should win this game by double digits.

Dallas over Oakland - The Cowboys have struggled the past couple of weeks, but they'll put it back together for this game.  I don't foresee a blow-out, though.  The final should be something like 21-14.

Denver over New York Giants - Just a feeling that the Broncos will start clicking on offense again.  Also a feeling that the Broncos will put enough pressure on Manning to turn him into an absolute mess.

Atlanta over Tampa Bay - Matt Ryan turns it back around.

Miami over Buffalo - Owens got going last weekend, which is nice for the Bills.  Still, I can't see the Bills stopping Miami's running game, especially on a week-and-a-half of rest.

Cincinnati over Cleveland - In their last meeting, it took the Bengals until the final minute of overtime to beat the Browns.  This one should be close, but the Bengals should pull away a bit in the fourth quarter.

St. Louis over Seattle - That's right...I'm taking Kyle Boller.

Carolina over New York Jets - I trust DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart more than I trust Mark Sanchez.  It's as simple as that.

Philadelphia over Washington - But it will be close.  (A word about your "I'm not convinced that Jason Campbell is a bad quarterback" thought.  What will finally convince you that he is?  The only time he's been effective is when he can complete short throws.  Take that away from him and he can't do anything.  He has a strong arm, but he's ridiculously inaccurate when throwing more than 20 yards.  He has no pocket presence.  Every year I hear, "This is the year Campbell turns it around.  He looked great in training camp."  At what point does "as-of-yet unrealized potential" become "bust"?  I suppose you can ask Shaun Livingston about that if you want to.)

Houston over Indianapolis - A couple of weeks ago, the Texans came within a shanked field goal of taking the Colts into overtime.  This time?  There will be no such need.  The Texans will take control early and won't let up.

San Diego over Kansas City - The Chiefs beat the Steelers last weekend.  That's nice.  They won't be so lucky against the Chargers.

Jacksonville over San Francisco - The 49ers defense looked good early in the season.  I'm not sure what happened, but Maurice Jones-Drew should be able to run all over them, while Garrard will have a nice day, as well.

Minnesota over Chicago - I have a feeling that, at some point, the Bears will put it together and become a good team.  The later it gets in the season, the less likely that seems.

Tennessee over Arizona - Vince Young is looking really good.  The Cardinals will either be starting a recently concussed Kurt Warner or a less-than-effective Matt Leinart.  I'll take Young, thank you very much.

Baltimore over Pittsburgh - The Ravens won't get swept by the Steelers this year.  I just don't see it.  Flacco will find some holes in the secondary, and that will be enough.

New England over New Orleans - I don't know why.  I have a pretty strong feeling that the Saints will win...but they have been struggling a bit lately.  The Patriots aren't the team they used to be, but they'll do enough to win this game.  It should be a lot of fun to watch.

Have a great Thanksgiving...I'm assuming you're back in Georgia?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bird Day Picks

A little late but I have to weigh in on the Bengals loss to Oakland. A terrible showing from us on all accounts. First, our offense was too conservative. We jumped to a 14-0 lead because our passing game was working well, then we pretty much tried to run out the clock from the second quarter on. The running game was reasonably effective considering Benson was out, but we kept running Bernard Scott inside when his specialty us turning the corner. We also gave Larry Johnson only two carries, despite the fact that he's had some great games against the Raiders in the past. Hell, he had his best game this season against the Raiders. Second, our defense was awful, namely our pass rush. We didn't sack Gradkowski once. We didn't hit him at all and he picked us apart. Bruce Gradkowski picked us apart. Third, our special teams effort was abysmal. A shanked 37 yard field goal and Andre Caldwell's fumble late in the 4th quarter killed us. Just a train wreck overall, and I can't say that I'm the least bit surprised.

I stumbled onto an article from before this past NBA season that talked about how Orlando was torn between trading for Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady this offseason. Never thought I'd say/type the words but I'm glad we went with Vince Carter. Didn't we already try the Tracy McGrady route? Didn't he already half-ass it on the court? I don't know if he ever admitted to dogging it like Carter did, but he didn't have to tell me. I saw it for myself. It's like Lamar Odom coming out and saying, "You know, I haven't always given 100 percent during games." We know Lamar, yet I digress. What other superstar plays in 67 games but only wins 21 of them, as McGrady did in his last season in Orlando? Then he whined his way out of town and we really thought about bringing him back???

Did you catch the Monday Night game? That was my first real look at Vince Young since he regained his starting job and man did he look good. He looks completely different than the VY from a couple of years ago. He isn't forcing balls, he keeps his head upfield and even seems a little more reluctant to scramble, but in a good way. He even threw a beautiful deep ball which was promptly dropped. With their offense, I don't even know if the Titans need a legit #1 receiver. Of course it would help, but a good line, and backs/tight ends are much more important with VY at the helm. Surely he looked decent in practice, so how can Jeff Fisher justify sitting him for so long?

Jimmy Clausen was sucker punched by an irate fan at a restaurant. I don't know or care who started it but it's times like these that I wish athletes could respond like normal people. I wish that Clausen could have fought back without it following him for his entire career. It's easy to punch a local hero in a public place when you know he's not going to punch back. Clausen is about 6'3, 225, and a good athlete so he could have legitimately chased down the culprit and evened things up. But of course, he'd be plagued for the rest of his playing career as a trouble maker. When will the white man be able to catch a break in this country?

Kentucky has a big game with Tennessee this Saturday and for once it looks winnable. It's at home, Tennessee is struggling and Morgan Newton is really hitting his stride. If we don't win this one, it could be awhile because Lane Kiffin will surely get decent recruits down to Knoxville in the coming seasons. A win Saturday would make the Cats the absolute worst 8-4 team I've ever seen in my life. Here's to Saturday.

Now for some picks.

Packers over Lions- The first of three awful Thanksgiving games. Tough break losing Kampman and Harris for the season. That fight for the playoffs just got a little tougher but the win streak continues here. The Lions showed some fight last week but the Pack handle this one easily.

Cowboys over Raiders- I can only hope the Raiders put up a good fight and prove they are at least decent. Of course this means, they'll get slaughtered.

Giants over Broncos- To complete the bad game trifecta. I really see the Giants winning that division and the ailing Broncos provide little resistance.

Bengals over Browns- I can see a blowout and a bunch of "Where was this Bengals team last week?" stories. Damn Bengals.

Bucs over Falcons- Ryan has 14 turnovers in his last 7 games. I don't know if Michael Turner will be back but I'm playing a hunch. Bucs win a close one.

Dolphins over Bills- Ricky Williams looked great last week and I can't see the Bills stopping him here. Is Marshawn Lynch still among the living?

Seahawks over Rams- Bulger is out for the season so Boller gets the start. You've heard about the last time a St. Louis starter got hurt and his backup took over haven't you? No not Kurt Warner, I meant Ryan Fitzpatrick. This one will end similarly. By the way, Keenan Burton tore his patella tendon last week and is out for the season. Best wished for a speedy recovery to him.

Panthers over Jets- There will be interceptions galore to be had in this game.

Eagles over Redskins- I'm still not convinced Jason Campbell is a bad quarterback. I'm not sure when his deal is up, but I would like to see him on an above average team. I don't think he's that bad.

Colts over Texans- Surely the Colts will throw a game if they get close enough to 16-0. Their last 6 games are Houston, Tennessee, Denver, Jacksonville, NY Jets and Buffalo. All of those are completely winnable, even though VY has always played Indy well. Don't they have to throw one once they get to 13-0, especially if New Orleans is still undefeated.

Chargers over Chiefs- Maybe the Chargers take the first month of every season off because they can. It's never come back to hurt them, so why not start slow? They've started 2-3 the past three seasons and won the division two of those years with this season likely making it three.

Jacksonville over San Fran- With personalities like David Garrard and Mike Sims-Walker on the team, how does this team struggled to sell tickets? I like Garrard and Jones-Drew because they look like short, fat guys out there. There's still a spot in the league for me.

Titans over Cardinals- If Warner is healthy, this is all moot but I don't think he is. A head injury for a guy that's had a few can be serious. I'd like to see Young-Leinart one last time. Seriously. Leinart might not be in the league next year.

Vikings over Bears- On Dameshek's new podcast, they talked about the 97 Packers vs. 09 Vikings and made a very good case that this is actually the best team that Favre has ever been on. Thoughts?

Ravens over Steelers- I need Baltimore to steal at least one from Pittsburgh to give us some breathing room. Nevermind the fact that if we beat the Raiders, we'd have a 2 game lead and tiebreaker over Pittsburgh. Damn Bengals.

Saints over Patriots- The Patriots can be thrown on. Drew Brees likes to throw it. The Patriots secondary is suspect. The Saints have a ton of receiving options. The Saints have a respectable running game. The Patriots have Laurence Maroney. Give me New Orleans.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week 11 Picks and a skinny Paul Pierce?

I hear you on the Granderson situation. The point with Hairston was a good one and in a way I kind of feel sorry for Yankees fans. When the Jeter/Posada/Rivera/Petite crowd retires, they won't really have any players that they've grown old with. There is always such pressure to bring in the next big player that they don't develop talent, they acquire it. Their farm system is barren because of all the trades they've made. I look forward to watching Votto/Phillips/Bruce grow together much as you look forward to Granderson/Verlander/Porcello grow together...at least until the Yankees come and raid our respective cupboards.

As soon as Rashard Lewis comes back, Jameer Nelson goes out with another injury. Fantastic. After have arthroscopic knee surgery, it will be another 4-6 weeks before we get to see this team as it was supposed to be. We beat Boston last night without him, and it was my first real look at the Celtics this season. 2 things jumped out at me about Boston: First, Paul Pierce isn't fat anymore. He's lost some weight and looks quicker than I've seen him in years. Second, KG isn't KG anymore. I had suspected this would happen, but I wouldn't know until I saw it with my own eyes. Even then he's still a good player, but he can't do all the little things that made KG who he was. I couldn't be happier. Thank goodness we've got a guy with some fire to him like Vince Carter to keep the team motivated.

In watching Orlando play, I haven't been alone in noticing that they often look disinterested. It reminds me of those Piston's teams from a couple of years ago who think they can coast when they want and turn it on at any time. If Orlando had actually won the championship last year, maybe I'd feel a little better with us half-assing it, but we didn't. We weren't even close. I really hope this doesn't last long.

Dallas over Washington- Dallas looked bad last week against Green Bay. The Skins cure what ails them and Dallas keeps their hopes at winning the NFC East alive. By the way, why are the Dallas Cowboys from the state of Texas, in the NFC East?

Detroit over Cleveland- Stafford! Quinn! I actually need Cleveland to win this game because the more wins they have the stronger the Bengals schedule looks. Too bad Cleveland is terrible.

Green Bay over San Francisco- I'm not completely sold on Green Bay making the playoffs just yet, but if that defense plays the way it did against Dallas, the Packers season is far from over.

Pittsburgh over Kansas City-The Steelers are without Polamalu so the Chiefs could pull out a...who am I kidding. Pittsburgh wins an easy one.

New York Giants over Atlanta- The Falcons continue their descent and the Giants begin their rise back to the top of the NFC East. Matt Ryan has looked bad these past couple of weeks. I believe his decline began when Steve Young declared that Ryan was having the best sophomore season of all time, after the New Orleans game. Maybe Steve forgot about Dan Marino throwing for 5000 yards and leading his team to the Super Bowl or Ben Roethlisberger winning the Super Bowl in their second seasons. Whatever.

New Orleans over Tampa Bay- New Orleans will win, but this one will be much closer than it should. Freeman has the Bucs playing well and the Saints have looked shaky lately.

Jacksonville over Buffalo- I can only hope the Bills printed up this week's tickets with a background image of a scowling Ryan Fitzpatrick palming a football and the words "The Time Is Now" or something of the sort, hanging over his head.

Indy over Baltimore- I was all ready to pick against Indy here until Baltimore played Cleveland. They got 14 points quickly on two plays only the Browns could make. I don't think Indy makes those mistakes.

Minnesota over Seattle- I keep hearing people say, "It's almost time for Favre to meltdown" but I think that's unfair this year. I'm not saying it won't happen, but he hasn't had any signs of it thus far. He doesn't have a multi-interception game to his credit this year and is doing exactly what they need him to do.

Arizona over St. Louis- Hmmm, do I start Warner at St. Louis or Palmer at Oakland? I think I go Warner. Apparently there's some bad blood there, even though Warner has had success since he left and the Rams have been mostly mediocre. Whatever.

New England over New York- Belichick is about to go overboard to prove he hasn't lost a step after the Colts game. I expect New England to deliver some old fashioned whippings to close out the season.

Cincinnati over Oakland- The trap game of all trap games. We're coming off two straight emotional victories and Ced Benson is dinged up. Oakland has finally benched Jamarcus Russell for Bruce Gradkowski. Not a huge upgrade, but he did beat us a couple of years ago in a game the Bengals were easily expected to win against the Buccaneers. I don't think we make that mistake again, but I'm definitely worried about this one.

San Diego over Denver- The Chargers are hitting their stride and the Broncos are falling off. I don't care who wins their division, but I need the Broncos to make the playoffs. I demand the Bengals get another crack at them.

Philly over Chicago- Has there ever been a case where extending a persons deal within their first year of service works out well? Cutler and Charlie Weis come to mind immediately but I know there are more examples.

Houston over Tennessee- I can't lie: I think this is going to be a really good game. Houston has a little more to play for at this point, but the Titans won't go down without a fight. Is it time to possibly anoint Chris Johnson 1b to Adrian Peterson's 1a of best backs in the league? CJ has had to face 9 in the box all year yet still leads the league in rushing and has great hands out of the backfield.

At some point college football has to either cut the number of bowls, or raise the minimum number of wins to seven. The number of bowls and undeserving teams is much too high. People whine about sub .500 teams making the playoffs in basketball, or 8-8 teams winning their NFL yet are OK with 6-6 teams making bowls. Even if this means my beloved Cats miss out on a bowl this year, so be it. I'd rather see 20-25 good bowl games than 34 so-so ones, like there are now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Granderson and NFL Picks

You asked what would bother me about Granderson going to the Yankees.  You made some good points: "He's have a legit chance to win a World Series and it would definitely raise the profile of a good guy that's been flying under the radar of most casual baseball fans.  Would you rather see him go to the Red Sox and become a terrible person by osmosis?"  Good points...but I still would not be okay with it, and here's why:
The Yankees and Red Sox represent all that is wrong with baseball.  The Yankees had a payroll of over $200 million last year.  There were two marquee free agents last year: Sabathia and Teixeira, and the Yankees grabbed both of them by outspending everyone else.  Sabathia was well-liked in Milwaukee.  They would have loved to have had him back, but they couldn't compete with the contract the Yankees were able to offer him.  That's obnoxious...but that's not even the worst part.
A trade that happened near the deadline perfectly describes why I hate the Yankees.  Jerry Hairston Jr. was playing in Cincinnati (as you know).  When he wasn't injured, he was a great player.  I have watched a lot of Reds games over the past couple of years, and I would put Hairston near the top of their position players.  Brandon Phillips is their best player, with Joey Votto coming in second.  I'd put Hairston near them...definitely in the top 5.  He can play a number of different positions, and he can play them all extremely well.  He's quick, and he always hustles.  A good guy, and a good player.  Is he one of the best players in the league?  No...but he was great for Cincinnati.
Near the deadline, the Reds traded Hairston to the Yankees.  He immediately went from one of the best players on the Reds to a situational player for the Yankees.  He went from being a player that was loved in Cincinnati to a player that was barely used in New York.
And that's what the Yankees do.  They take good players from other teams - players who are loved on their team and in their city - and turn them into bench players.  New York fans don't love Jerry Hairston Jr, and they won't love Curtis Granderson.  They may be glad he's there in certain situations, but that's it.
At the moment, I hate the Red Sox worse than the Yankees...but that tide may be turning.  I cannot abide my favorite player being turned into a situational player.

Apparently 50 Cent and Marv Albert don't like each other.

Can you believe we're in Week 11 of the NFL already?  Crazy.

Dallas over Washington - The Cowboys will take out all of their offensive frustration from last week on the Redskins.  Sorry Washington...this won't be pretty.

Detroit over Cleveland - After watching the debacle that was the Browns offense last Monday night, I'm pretty sure they won't win another game this season.  And the Browns won't even have Cribbs this week.  This game will be terrible.

Green Bay over San Francisco - That was quite a show the Packers defense put on against the Cowboys last week.  I think that game signaled that the Packers defense is finally putting it together.  They'll need to stop the run to win this week...and they will.  From here on out, we'll see great defense from the Packers.

Pittsburgh over Kansas City - The Steelers are mad about the game last week.  The Chiefs are terrible.  Huzzah!

New York Giants over Atlanta - The Giants are coming off of their bye week.  I still don't think they're a good team, but I do think their defense will show up in this game.  It should be close and low scoring, but the Giants will pull it out.

New Orleans over Tampa Bay - The Saints are hurting on defense, so this game could be closer than it should be.  But Josh Freeman will make a couple of mistakes, and that will make a big difference.

Jacksonville over Buffalo - Fitzpatrick is back in at quarterback, and the Bills have a new head coach.  The Jags have been looking pretty good over the past couple of weeks.  Sorry Fitzy...this won't be your week.

Baltimore over Indianapolis - I don't know why...but I just kind of feel it.  The Ravens will have a throwback defensive game and Flacco will have a good day against the Colts secondary.

Minnesota over Seattle - Not even close.

Arizona over St. Louis - This game is being billed as, "Warner returns home."  It should be billed as, "Why, for the love of God, would you watch this game?"

New England over New York Jets - The Jets beat the Patriots earlier in the season...but that was before Sanchez forgot what team he was throwing to and Rex Ryan wasn't blubbering like a girl.  The Pats are mad, and the Jets are falling apart.  Patriots win big.

Cincinnati over Oakland - The Raiders have a chance to pull an upset here...but I'm not buying it.  I do like that they're starting Gradkowski this week, though.

San Diego over Denver - Before the season, I predicted an 8-8 season for the Broncos.  After this game, they'll be sitting at 6-4.  That prediction looks pretty good right about now.  (A short note to the Chargers: please, for the love of my fantasy team, run some plays for Sproles.)

Philadelphia over Chicago - I don't see Cutler throwing 5 interceptions, but I don't think he'll play well.

Tennessee over Houston - The Vince Young train keeps right on rollin'.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Larry Johnson, Stacks Jacks AND Ron Artest!

What shows our respective squads put on yesterday. I picked against my boys and I've never been happier to have been proved wrong. The Bengals went out and handled their business and all but locked up the AFC North. With the Patriots loss, which I'll get to later, we're in sole possession of the #2 spot in the AFC. The Packers pretty much kept their season alive yesterday by beating one of their main rivals for a playoff spot in the Cowboys. That Packers defense looked great yesterday and if they can keep it up, I wouldn't be surprised to see them be a very dangerous Wild Card team. The Pack have San Fran, Detroit and Baltimore up next, meaning they could go 3-0, or 2-1 at the worst. Cincy has Oakland, Detroit and Cleveland at what couldn't be a better time. If we're serious about making some noise in the playoffs, we don't look past any of these opponents and win these 3 games by a decent margin. For the first time in 4 years, I have some genuine hope about the playoffs!

Some bad news in the Bengals game was that Cedric Benson went out with a strained hip. With the number of carries he had, it was bound to happen. Bernard Scott filled in admirably and hopefully Ced's injury is nothing serious. I was sure he'd be back next week at Oakland until I read that the Bengals have all but signed Larry Johnson. Yes I have already talked myself into the signing, thanks for asking. First, he's signing for the veterans minimum...and it's prorated. If he speaks out against a reporter or feels so inclined to hit him a wo-man, he's cut. Second, as much as I love Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard, I wouldn't feel comfortable giving either of those guys 25 carries. Larry Johnson has at least done it before. Third, our line is superior to Kansas City's and LJ is similar to Benson: He'll find a hole and hit it. That's all we need from him. Fourth, the last castoff running back we signed turned out pretty well. Fifth, the thought of LJ, Chad and Chris Henry hitting downtown Cincinnati cracks me up and should be the inspiration for an epic documentary. Welcome aboard LJ.

What do you make of that Colts-Pats game? Through the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Pats were handling the Colts just as you and I predicted. Then Belichick went Crennel on us and made the decision to go for it on 4th down. Of course if it works, he's a genius but giving Peyton Manning 2 minutes and 30 yards to go is never a good idea. Not to mention he wasted 2 timeouts before the 2 minute warning so that even if Indy scored quickly, Brady would have nothing left to mount a comeback. Is Peyton changing his image in your eyes as a choke artist? What would it take?

Our old pal Stacks Jacks is on the move. Golden State sent he and Acie Law to Charlotte for Raja Bell and Vlad Radmanovic (Remember when that guy used to start for the Lakers? Me neither). I must admit, this is a good deal for Charlotte. A lineup of Ray Felton, Captain, Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw and Tyson Chandler doesn't sound half bad. Of course Jackson will be playing for Larry Brown so who knows how that will work out. The Bobcats are in the same division as Orlando, so I'm hoping for the bad, bad things to happen.

Finally, the day is here. Tonight Rashard Lewis comes back from his 10 game suspension. Orlando went 7-3 over the 10 games, but Lewis' presence was sorely missed. Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass filled in well for him, but they are still learning an unfamiliar system and they battled injuries which left us terribly thin up front. Shard is known for his offense but his return will really help a struggling defense. Stan Van Gundy said it best when he talked about how nobody will ever mistake Lewis for a great defender, but he knows the system, he knows where to be and he has no problem telling a teammate where they should be. Even with Lewis and Anderson returning (from a sprained ankle), the team still isn't at 100 percent. Jameer Nelson and Marcin Gortat are feeling the effects from the flu and it is unknown if they will play against Charlotte tonight.

I'm no fan of Lane Kiffin but I will give him kudos for booting two of the three players involved in the robbery off of the team. The third player's role is being investigated. Good for Lane. I have a feeling Urban Meyer or someone of the sort would have benched them for a couple of games and hoped the situation would blow over. Maybe Al Davis was wrong about you Lane.





That's just Ron being Ron.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Grab Bag of Blog

I mentioned it to you yesterday but here's a link for the article about the Tennessee players robbing someone outside the convenience store. I've been trying to make sense of this since I heard about it, but I simply can't. There is no reason to do this. Regardless of their upbringing, those guys aren't wanting for anything on campus. I'm not saying Tennessee pays players, but I can assure you that those guys have everything they need and most of what they want. Why stick someone up at a store on campus? Why was the get away car a Prius? Were they making a statement? "We have no problems sticking you up, but we'll be damned if we contribute to the CO2 problem this world is facing?" Allegedly, at least one player was wearing Tennessee football gear during the robbery! Why?!? I have so many questions that will go unanswered. The sad thing is that these guys may miss a game or two and be back on the roster. Meanwhile Dez Bryant and Jeremy Jarmon made honest mistakes and had their senior seasons taken from them.

Speaking of ridiculous penalties, Chad Johnson was indeed fined for his "bribery" attempt. 20,000 dollars. Falcons coach Mike Smith was at the center of a brawl last week and was fined $15,000. Chad, jokingly offered a referee a dollar and is fined $20,000. Mike Smith was doing most of the fighting with a group of players and "only" gets fined $15,000. Absurd.

Have heard about this? LeBron has suddenly decided to change his number from 23 to 6, in honor of Michael Jordan. "Now, if I'm not going to wear No. 23, then nobody else should be able to wear it." That was an actual quote from his highness. I'm adamantly opposed to players changing jersey numbers because its the biggest "Eff You" one can give to a loyal fan. The millions of children with a "James 23" jersey, will now have to beg their parents for the "6" edition. I think any number change is always a big crock to sell more jersey. It worked to perfection for Kobe and it will for James, even more so if that "6" is on the back of a different jersey next season. Even still, there are more things wrong with Bron Bron's proposal. First, Bill Russell and Julius Erving also wore #6. At least pick a number with no Hall of Fame ties. Second, what epiphany did LeBron have to need to change his jersey after his seventh season? Everything MJ had did for the game happened before James entered the league. Why change now? Third, I don't see how the NBA can retire Jordan's number without retiring Russell, Abdul-Jabbar, Chamberlain and Magic's jersey numbers as well. My favorite part of the article is how LeBron tries to tie the number "6" into his reasons as to why he changed it. His second child was born in June after all. It was destined to happen.

Have you seen Sammy Sosa lately? It looks like he died last week. You've been warned.

Kentucky just beat Vanderbilt 24-13 to get their 6th win and make the team bowl eligible. UK killed Vandy on the ground to the tune of 300 yards rushing. The Cats looked sloppy in the first half but really put it together in the second half, thanks to Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb. Cobb had another day of 100 total yards and added 2 touchdowns. Joker Phillips is finally figuring out that Cobb is most effective when he is used the way Florida used Percy Harvin: Get him a couple carries and a couple of catches early and see whats working. Today he was shut down as a receiver but found some room as a runner. He's not quite the player Harvin was, but Cobb also has the added versatility of being able to throw the ball. Get him about 15-20 touches a game and good things will happen. I used to think Cobb's size would prevent him from the NFL, but if the Wildcat craze keeps up, there is absolutely a spot for him.

Now for some picks.

49ers over Bears- One of the worst games this season? Check!

Titans over Bills- The Music City Miracle days are gone for both squads, but I'm riding the VY train until he gives me reason to jump off.

Saints over Rams- Drew Brees has more rushing touchdowns that Steven Jackson. That's all that needs to be said.

Dolphins over Bucs- Despite showing some heart last week, I think the Bucs come back to Earth against a solid Dolphins team.

Vikings over Lions- I like how I've read a few articles saying that Matt Stafford has showed promise. 5 touchdowns and 12 interceptions passes for promise these days?

Jaguars over Jets- I like these Jags for some reason. Couldn't tell you why though.

Steelers over Bengals- As much as it kills me to say it. Both teams are playing great football right now, but the Steelers at their best are better than the Bengals at our best. Yes, as a matter of fact, that was my best attempt at a reverse jinx.

Broncos over Redskins- Portis' concussion last week has me thinking that concussions have to be treated more seriously. Portis was knocked unconscious on the field and couldn't remember the play was got hurt on, yet it took the staff until Thursday to rule him out of the Denver game. I think once a concussion has been diagnosed, the player should be out at least 2 weeks. I think people have been desensitized to the word concussion and gloss over it. I heard someone mention that all concussions should now be referred to as brain bruises. It's basically what they are and sounds more serious than a concussion.

Falcons over Panthers- Matt Ryan has 11 turnovers in his past 5 games, yet nobody mentions it. I'm still not sold on him, but the Dirty Birds do enough to beat the Panthers here.

Chiefs over Raiders- I think I'm going to go with the Chiefs here. As bad as they are, they've only really been blown out once this season. On the other hand, Jamarcus Russell has had the bye week to watch film, look over his playbook and get ready for the Chiefs. On second thought, I'm definitely going to go with the Chiefs.

Cowboys over Packers- A win here could do a lot for the Pack's playoff chances but I can't see it happening. Not this week at least.

Cardinals over Seahawks- Maybe it's just because all the NFC West teams are boring, but it seems like these two play every other week.

Eagles over Chargers- Vick finally gets his legs back...after 10 weeks!

Patriots over Colts- Finally some competition for the Colts. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Indy lost by 2+ touchdowns here.

Ravens over Browns- I could use a Cleveland win here, but I know better.

I hear you on Granderson. It's tough watching a guy from his early years work to become a great player, and then watching him get traded away. I ask you this, why don't you want the Yankees to get him? He'd have a legit chance to win a World Series and it would definitely raise the profile of a good guy that's been flying under the radar of most casual baseball fans. Would you rather see him go to the Red Sox and become a terrible person by osmosis?

Just when you thought the Memphis Grizzlies roster couldn't be stranger, this happens. There's no way the Grizzlies could ship Rudy Gay to Golden State for Stephen Jackson could they?

I leave with this picture of Zach Randolph. It makes me laugh for some reason and hopefully it will do the same for you.

Tigers and NFL Picks

A little story has been developing, far off of most people's radar.  It has been reported on Fox Sports, ESPN, and Sports Illustrated, but not at great length.
The story started that the Tigers, in an effort to reduce their payroll, were open to trading Edwin Jackson.  That's kind of a blow.  Jackson was a good pitcher last year, in spite of fading a little down the stretch.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching him, and had talked myself into watching him and Verlander back-to-back for many years to come.  I am not happy about this, but I can understand it.
The story has been developing.  Now, the Tigers are listening to potential offers for Curtis Granderson.  Now, I know that his average could've been better this year (he finished the year at .249), but he also hit 23 doubles, 30 home runs, and had 71 RBI's.  I also maintain that he is one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.  Beyond that, he's the favorite player of many Tigers fans.  He's a great defender.  He always hustles to first.  Never screams at anyone.  Does a ton of charity work for Detroit.  In short, not only is he a great baseball player, he also may be one of the nicest guys in the league right now.  His salary jumps to $5.5 million in 2010, which is a lot, but he's worth it.  He's the heart of that team.
Potential suitors for Granderson include the Yankees, Cubs, and Angels.  I think I could make my peace (after a couple of years) with the situation if the Cubs or Angels got him.  I wouldn't like it, but I may be able to forgive the Tigers for doing it.  But if he gets traded to the Yankees...I'm just not sure what I will do.
This is a reason I hate sports.

Now to the NFL Picks

New Orleans over St. Louis - This shouldn't even be close, but the Saints are developing a nasty habit of being down by a lot early and having to come back late in the game, even to teams that shouldn't be able to hang with them.  The Rams (with Jackson) have a chance at making this game interesting (in the early stages, at least), but I can't see this game as anything but a blow-out in the end.

Miami over Tampa Bay - The Dolphins have a great running game, and Henne is looking pretty good the majority of the time.  Dolphins by 10.

Minnesota over Detroit.  The Vikings are coming out of their bye week, and the Lions blew a 17-0 lead to the Seahawks last week and ended up losing by 12.  Not even a close game.  Not even for a little while.

Jacksonville over New York Jets - The Jets early mojo has run out, and the Jaguars are playing really well recently.  It'll be close, but the Jags will win.

Tennessee over Buffalo - The Titans have looked good the past couple of weeks, and the Bills are getting Trent Edwards back.  Blech.  Do you remember when Edwards was considered an up-and-coming QB last year?  Yeah...neither do I.

Cincinnati over Pittsburgh - As much as I'm tempted to take the Steelers in this one, I have decided to side with your boys, instead.  The Bengals seem to be the real deal this year, and they know how big this game is for their season.  It'll be a tough, defensive struggle.  But, in the end, the Bengals will prevail.

Denver over Washington - The Broncos have been in a bit of a slump recently, but the Redskins should be able to fix that for them.

Atlanta over Carolina - The Panthers are coming alive behind the strength of their running game, but here's what it comes down to for me: Ryan or Delhomme.  I'll take Ryan.

Oakland over Kansas City - I have no interest in watching this game.

Arizona over Seattle - I also have no interest in watching this game.  Luckily for me...

Green Bay over Dallas - Yeah yeah...I know.  The Cowboys are looking good and the Packers lost to the Bucs last week.  But I have my reasons.  This game is in Lambeau, and, say what you will about the Packers defense (I have), but they do generate a lot of turnovers.  And they're playing against Tony Romo, a quarterback who has become famous for his turnovers.  After the game last week, the coaches will have stressed to Rodgers to get the ball out of his hand quickly.  Packers win...but it should be a close game.  I'm looking forward to it.

San Diego over Philadelphia - The last time the Eagles were in this area was in Week 6, when they lost to the Raiders (and failed to score a touchdown).  The Chargers are looking shaky at times, but they look like they're starting to round into form.  This could be a good game.

New England over Indianapolis - I maintain that the Colts are not as good as they have looked so far this year.  When your "quality win" came over the Texans, you know something is wrong.  I'm not saying the Colts are a bad team...they just aren't as good as they have looked (and they're definitely not as good as everyone is giving them credit for).  The Patriots defense shows up in a big way in this game.

Baltimore over Cleveland - This is the Monday Night game?  Really?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Steve Atwater and such...

In this week's "I'm done with Fantasy Football forever!" space, I'd like to point out that for a second straight week I've left more points on the bench, than my opponent scored with his starters. If it's this frustrating for a fantasy owner, I can't imagine how bad it must be for a real coach/GM. One week you think Mike Sims-Walker is the next elite receiver in the league and the next week he gives you one catch for one yard. It's enough to drive a GM mad! No wonder Al Davis is crazy.

There's been some talk of Mike Vick going to Buffalo. I remember a time when there was talk of TO coming to Atlanta when he and Vick were in their primes. Vick welcomed Owens because he thought he could keep him in check. Now they are both fighting for their next contract. It's really something how quickly things can change in a couple of years.

Orlando lost to Oklahoma City last night, and they deserved to lose by more than the 28 points they lost by. First I'll say, the Thunder are legit. If they play the way they did last night, they will make the playoffs. Easily. They can turn the defensive pressure up because of the great athletes they have, and Russell Westbrook leads the gang. Everyone knows about Durant and the talent they've stockpiled, but unheralded coach Scott Brooks has those guys playing hard. Second, Orlando played uninspired ball. They were down to 8 players last night because of injuries/suspensions but it was obvious they gave up. This team is not defending the way it was last season but it's still way to early to panic because we have yet to have our "real" starting line-up in a game. Thank goodness Cleveland is sucking and taking the attention away from us. By the way, Jamario Moon was supposed to be their lockdown perimeter defender. He's already earning DNP-Coach's Decision's. Fantastic.

What a win for the Bengals yesterday. The Ravens almost always have a good team, but they don't really scare me. I think yesterday's win put Carson Palmer's career record against Baltimore at 8-3. I don't know what it is, but he's ready for whatever they throw at him. Benson looked great, though I'm officially getting worried about how hard he's being worked. He has 33 more carries than any other back in the league and he's on pace for 396 carries. I know he doesn't have a lot of miles on his legs but still. With the way he runs, there is no way he lasts for a playoff run and next season. Then again, his contract is up after next year so maybe the plan is to run him into the ground and cut him loose. I don't think the Bengals are that smart so I hope we can see Brian Leonard and rookie Bernard Scott get some carries to relieve Ced. Chris Henry is out for the season after breaking his wrist in a nasty fall yesterday. Best wishes on a speedy recovery to him. It may finally be chance for last year's second round pick Jerome Simpson to shine. We picked him 3 slots ahead of Desean Jackson and have gotten exactly one catch from him since then. In his defense, we already have 4-5 solid WR's but the fact that he doesn't even dress for games is cause for concern.

Speaking of the Ravens, you know how I know Ray Lewis is THIS close to being washed up? I was watching the game with my old lady when a Raven, Terrell Suggs I believe, made the tackle. Right on cue, Lewis comes out of nowhere to be the last person in on the tackle and the first person up celebrating. She turned to me and said, "Why is that guy celebrating? He didn't even make the tackle." I didn't have an answer for her. There is no answer.

How happy were you to hear that Ty Law joined up with Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins to form an ideal secondary if this was 2001?!? I've heard they are in talks to bring Steve Atwater out of retirement to complete the superfecta!

A loss to the Bucs? The Josh Freeman led Bucs? The Josh Freeman led, Raheem Morris coached Bucs?

But seriously, I feel your pain, to an extent. I know what it's like to watch a talented QB driven to the ground over and over again because of a terrible line. Hang in there fella.

Kentucky hoops played their first game with John Wall and he is the real deal. 27 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds in only 28 minutes of play. He's not the gunner I expected and I was pleasantly surprised at how willing he is to pass. I'm still not buying into the championship coming back to Lexington this year, but if Wall keeps this up, it's certainly not impossible.

The football Cats beat up on Eastern Kentucky in a game UK needed. Randall Cobb got some well deserved rest after carrying this team for the majority of this season. Quarterbacking, running the ball, being the leading receiver and returning punts and kicks will wear a guy down. Morgan Newton looked great and is really improving. He'll go on the road this weekend to Vanderbilt for the most important game of his young career. The Cats are 5-4 and have games left at Vandy, at Georgia and against Tennessee. They need one more victory for a bowl bid and their best chance is against a struggling Vandy squad. A good game here could mean the end of Mike Hartline's career as a starter, even when he gets healthy.

The Allen Iverson era in Memphis lasted all of three games. Is anyone surprised?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NFL Picks

Glad you dug Wale.  It's going to be one of those albums that gets better the more I listen to it.  I've listened to it around 3 times so far, and I really like it...but I don't love it yet.  It'll get there.
Thanks for posting that cypher.  Wicked stuff.

Let's get to the picks:

Atlanta over Washington - Unless the 'Skins get their act together, they may not win another game this season.  They look absolutely terrible, with no hint that they're getting better.

Arizona over Chicago - The Cardinals were embarrassed last week by the Panthers.  They'll have a good game this week, and Cutler will throw a couple of picks.

Cincinnati over Baltimore - Coming off their bye week and into a big game, the Bengals will be ready.  The Ravens looked good last week in knocking off the Broncos, but the Bengals are motivated and rested.  They know what this game means.

Houston over Indianapolis - This is the year.  The Texans started off a bit sluggish, but they're finally starting to put it together.  In this game, the Texans will emerge as a threat in that division (no one else is rising to the occasion).

New England over Miami - The Patriots have looked good in their past couple of games...but they've played against terrible teams.  The Dolphins record doesn't exactly show it, but they're a pretty good team.  The Patriots will have some trouble in this game, but they'll end up winning by 10 points.

Green Bay over Tampa Bay - I remember when this game was a huge rivalry.  No more.  In fact, when a team is as bad as the Bucs are this year, they don't have any rivals, mostly because everyone feels sorry for them.  The Josh Freeman era starts in Tampa...and the Packers win in a blow-out (by the way, it's kind of funny that everyone made fun of Gruden for his quarterback carousel...yet Raheem Morris is on his third starting quarterback this year).

Jacksonville over Kansas City - Garrard has a good game.  Jones-Drew has a great game.  Larry Johnson sits in a bar by himself and cries.  Everybody wins.

New Orleans over Carolina - This could be a big game for DeAngelo Williams, which will make this game closer than it should be.  Or Delhomme could throw a couple of early interceptions and take the game out of Williams' hands altogether.  If I was John Fox, I wouldn't ask for Delhomme to throw any more than is necessary.

Seattle over Detroit - This game will be closer than most people are saying it will be.  Why?  Because the Seahawks just aren't very good.

San Francisco over Tennessee - Vince Young will keep this game close.

San Diego over New York Giants - The Chargers seem to be rounding into form (finally).  The Giants seem to be falling apart.  This game may well be over by halftime.

Dallas over Philadelphia - The Cowboys are looking good.  The Eagles are, too, but I just think the Cowboys look a little better.  This could be a great game.

Pittsburgh over Denver - The Broncos finally lost, so I can pick against them.  This will be a low-scoring game, but the Steelers will pull it out in the fourth quarter.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wale` among other things

Roy Williams is really filling in TO's shoes nicely. Not the being a perennial Pro Bowler part, the mouthy malcontent part. He's dropping passes and now calling out Tony Romo at a pace that would make Owens jealous. Say what you will about TO, but at least he was a Pro Bowler before he began mouthing off. This story actually gets me thinking about old #81 though. Romo seems like a good enough guy, but this is the second WR to say that he favors receivers in two years. TO's play is slacking this year but he hasn't complained a bit. Maybe, just maybe TO isn't that bad of a guy. This is a hard concept to grasp seeing as how many are still reeling from the fact that Kobe may actually be a decent guy and Shaq was the bad guy for all those years. If it comes out that A-Rod or KG, or anyone on the Celtics for that matter, is actually a decent person, I'm done with sports.

Speaking of A-Rod, does this World Series change your view of him? Unlike another great player who struggled in the playoffs in Peyton Manning, Rodriguez actually contributed to his team winning the World Series. He cooled off in the WS, but was lights out through the rest of the playoffs. I was actually a bit concerned that he may get the WS MVP as a bit of a lifetime achievement award, the way Peyton did. Does this change your view of him? Does this make him a candidate for best player of all time when it's all said and done? Do you think he'll get his half A-Rod-half centaur pictures altered to include a World Series ring?

Orlando lost a terrible game to your Pistons the other night but I'm not too concerned. Of course, I would have rather it had been any team other than the Pistons, that night was a fluke! We were without Pietrus, who surely would have kept Stuckey in check. Vince Carter came back too early on that ankle and it showed on both ends. Dwight had maybe his worst game as a pro due to foul trouble and a bum shoulder. I'm not going to say the fix was in as the home team Pistons shot 38 free throws to our 16 but something was up. Kwame Brown went to the line more than anyone on our team not named Dwight Howard. Still Orlando bounced back last night with a 22 point victory over the previously undefeated Suns. His numbers won't show it but Dwight's offensive game is coming along. He scored 25 points in 23 minutes last night, including 17 in the third quarter to help put the game away. He couldn't do that last year and may finally be developing that "I can keep us in this game single handedly" frame of mind. He's hitting 65% of his field goals (Up from 57% last year) and 65% of his free throws (59% last year). He's had games of 7-8 and 14-16 from the line, both in victories. His hook shot looks better than it did a season ago and he's working a lot quicker than he was in the past. Last year he'd get the ball and wait for everyone else to set up so he could survey the defense and go to work. This year he gets the ball and goes. At times he operates too quickly, but he's still getting himself an extra couple of buckets a game by catching his man off guard. He still needs to work on his attitude though. He has three technicals already and is earning a reputation as a crybaby among the refs. It doesn't matter too much now, but in the playoffs it could hurt.

It only took one game for Allen Iverson to complain about coming off the bench. One. I would love to be inside that locker room just to see the interaction between Iverson, Zach Randolph, Hasheem Thabeet and OJ Mayo. Of all the terrible moves Memphis made along the years, here's one I haven't heard them getting killed about: Why take Hasheem Thabeet when you have Marc Gasol? First, Thabeet's ceiling is probably Sam Dalembert and his floor is..well, Hasheem Thabeet. Young Gasol is averaging 18 and 12 on that team. He's only getting 9 shots a game between Mayo, Randolph, Gay and AI hogging shots and he's still getting 18 a game! Why waste the 2nd overall pick on a backup center when you have a good young center?

Worried about the Red Wings yet, or is it too early to call it?

I listened to the Wale you sent me and really enjoyed it. There were a lot of features on the album, but none were really overwhelming. It's very easy to listen to and I don't remember thinking "I can't wait until this song is over" once. My favorites were probably "Pretty Girls", "Mirrors" and "Beautiful Bliss". Thanks for the heads up on him.

I leave you with the BET Cyphers I mentioned the other day. The one I'm embedding is Mos Def, Black Thought and Eminem and is outstanding. There are two others that I recommend highly. The first is mediocre until Joe Budden comes in and the second features our old pal Wale.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Picks and Fantasy Talk.

I decided to join two NBA fantasy leagues this year. I can't win a fantasy football league to save my life, but I usually do well in B-ball, so why not double up? One squad I handpicked myself and the other was an auto pick draft. Rather than moving players up and down the rankings for hours, I figured I'd just let the computer give me who it gives me. Here are my rosters.

The one I picked myself:
Devin Harris
Aaron Brooks
Jamal Crawford
Monta Ellis
JR Smith
Eric Gordon
Leandro Barbosa
Danny Granger
Boris Diaw
Anthony Randolph
Pau Gasol
Brook Lopez
Greg Oden

The one the CPU picked for me:
Steve Nash
Monta Ellis
Jameer Nelson
Jason Terry
JR Smith
Kevin Durant
Tayshaun Prince
Danilo Galinari
Tim Duncan
Marreese Speights
Carlos Boozer
Spencer Hawes
Al Harrington
Andrea Bargnani

Not gonna lie: I think I like the one the computer gave me better. I don't know what that says for my drafting skills but whatever.

Kentucky lost a game it should have won last night. That's the second homecoming loss at the hands of Mississippi State that I've seen in ridiculously cold weather. Anthony Dixon ran all over the Cats to the tune of 252 yards and 2 TD's. The Bulldogs defense shut down Randall Cobb, and hence the Cats, better than any team not named Florida. Cobb finished with 10 touches for 49 yards. I'm now convinced that the UK playbook consists of roughly 7 or 8 plays. There's a sweep left, sweep right, QB keeper, HB counter and another sweep. OK, so that's not quite 8. Whatever. It's tough to say whether we would have won if Hartline would have played because Morgan Newton has a talent for extending plays with his legs that Hartline could never do. Hartline has also learned to get rid of the ball quickly if a play is breaking down, which is something Newton struggles with. The team is now 4-4 with four games left and a 6-6 is probably the best we could hope for.

Now for some NFL picks.

Indy over San Fran- I do agree that Indy isn't as good as they are getting credit for, but I don't think the 49ers will be the team to expose them. Maybe the Texans will next week.

Houston over Buffalo- Schaub! Fitzpatrick! This one could be an old fashioned shootout...for Houston.

Chicago over Cleveland- I have no opinion on this Bears team. We looked better than we are against them last week and they looked worse than they actually are. If they are so much as a decent team, they easily handle the Browns.

Dallas over Seattle- Any chance Romo has a flashback of fumbling the extra point from the playoffs a couple of years ago and completely melts down? Here's to hoping. By the way, that sound you heard was TJ Houshmandzadeh already complaining for the ball. It really is no coincidence that without him Chad is back to being himself and the Bengals are in first place. Meanwhile TJ is yet again the second WR on a terrible team. Addition by subtraction is the name of the game.

Detroit over St. Louis- I know we talked about Tampa Bay going potentially winless but what about St. Louis? After this, they have New Orleans, Arizona twice, Seattle, Chicago, Tennessee and Houston. Unlike the Bucs, the Rams don't even try. Unless they beat the Titans, 0-16 could be lurking.

Denver over Baltimore- I'm completely over the Week 1 loss to Denver, until it costs us a playoff spot at the end of the season. I'm over it because the Broncos have the Ravens this week and the Steelers next week and I need them to win. Badly.

Miami over New York- The Dolphins come out ready to play after blowing that game against the Saints last week. They made Brees look average so I'm guessing they'll be ready for Sanchez.

Philly over NYG- Don't you talk about Eli Manning like that. This guy is a game manager and he's EARNED those guys respect! And he makes 100 million dollars so take that! Also, has the game gotten that much faster in 3 years or is Mike Vick that much slower? He looks like Vlad Guerrero out there trying to turn the corner.

Jacksonville over Tennessee- Good to have VY back in our lives. It's really unfortunate that the Titans and Raiders don't meet this year. Young! Russell! Are YOU ready for some football? These guys certainly aren't!

San Diego over Oakland- Oakland benched Jamarcus Russell last week! How dare they! The comedy world demands J Russ start for the rest of the season.

Arizona over Carolina- Maybe Romo doesn't have bad playoff flashbacks, but hopefully Jake Delhomme will.

Minnesota over Green Bay- You know, after our conversation the other day, I tried to think of a scenario with my teams like the one you went through with Favre. You threw out Carson Palmer, but I've got another. It would hurt if my childhood hero turned my franchise around and then split town. He had some success in another city and that's fine because I've always had love for him. Then he demands a trade to get back in the same conference to get back at his old time. Then he repeatedly blasts the guy that took his place as well as an old coach. Well that part never happened for Favre but it did with Shaq. If Favre starts blasting Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy they way Shaq blasts Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy, would you hate him then?

New Orleans over Atlanta- This game will be a good one because the Saints capitalize on mistakes and the Falcons rarely make them. Still, I think NO pulls out the win.

PS-Here's a little something to start your week with: An apology letter from Tom Cable to his first wife for abusing her. No, seriously. My favorite part is "Ever since that day I hit you I've felt like we haven't been as close..." Do yourself a favor and check this out.

NFL Picks

Sorry for my absence.  School and whatnot.
Here we go.

San Francisco over Indianapolis - I just have a feeling about this.  Alex Smith has a big game, and the world sees that the Colts aren't as good as everyone seems to think they are (of course the talking heads will still say something like, "The Colts had a down week, but they're still near the top of the power standings.")

Houston over Buffalo - A three game winning streak for the Texans?  What?  This should be a close game, but the Texans are just a better team than the Bills (that kind of feels weird to write).

Chicago over Cleveland - But due to 3 Cutler interceptions, this game will be closer than it should be.

Dallas over Seattle - The Miles Austin train will run over the Seahawks.  Blow-out.

Detroit over St. Louis - The Lions are coming off their bye week, and they just look better than the Rams this year.

Denver over Baltimore - I am actually leaning towards the Ravens on this one, just because I can't see them losing 4 games in a row.  Still, I think I'll take the Broncos until they lose.

New York Jets over Miami - The Jets defense will handle the Dolphins' running game better this time around.

Philadelphia over New York Giants - The real Eli Manning is reemerging...and he looks like the mess we all knew he was.  Throw that Eagles blitz at him, and he may very well wet his pants.

Tennessee over Jacksonville - Welcome back, Vince Young.  He'll do just enough to win (but it won't be pretty).

San Diego over Oakland - The Chargers have been struggling on offense all year.  Last week, it looked like they finally put it together.  Sorry Oakland...this won't look like your week 1 match-up.

Arizona over Carolina - Blah.

Green Bay over Minnesota - The game everyone is talking about.  It should be a good one.  The Packers' offensive line is looking better.  They're opening holes for Grant to run through, and they're protecting Rodgers.  On top of that, Rodgers is getting the ball out of his hand quicker than he was earlier in the season (thanks bye week!).  It will be close, and it will come down to the 4th quarter.  But Favre will make at least one crucial mistake in the second half, and that will be the difference.  I'm excited (yet a little sad) about this game.

New Orleans over Atlanta - This team is not all Brees.  Their defense is looking good, and their running game is solid.  They will be tough to beat.