Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything

You know what I hate more than guys high fiving after missed free throws? Defensive backs high fiving after an incompletion even if he had nothing to do with the incompletion. Doesn't matter the circumstance. Whether the ball sails 10 yards over the receivers head, the WR slips, runs the wrong route or drops the ball, or there is a questionable interference call, it never fails to crack me up when the DB, usually Antonio Cromartie, high fives his buddies like his coverage had any effect on the incompletion.

Tell me you read about LeBron James and his thoughts on contraction this week. LeBron dropped another gem on us all with his, " I had no idea what the word ‘contraction’ meant before I saw it on the Internet". How did LeBron possibly tell people that Ms. LeBron was about to give birth to his children?

"Doc, this is LeBron. Something wrong with my girl, man. I think she going into con...vulsions?"

Speaking of LeBron, did you know Kanye was at "The Decision"? I found out this week and had a good laugh. It all makes perfect sense now.

LeBron: "I don't know if LeBron should do this Ye`. LeBron thinks it would hurt a lot of feelings in the Cleveland metropolitan area."

Kanye: "Do that shit."

*Kanye begins dancing maniacally and hitting the "Look at ya!" sample on his sound machine*
I like to think that's exactly how it went down.

With the recent Suns-Magic trade, it's time for another update on Super Cool Beas. Beasley is averaging 22 ppg, 6 rpg on 48% FG and 44% 3P on the season. He has scored at least 25 points in a game seven times this month. He turns 22 years old in two weeks. The 34 million dollar man
Amir Johnson is still chugging along in Toronto. He's played more than 25 minutes in a game eight times this month. 9 points, 6 boards a game and he's now losing minutes to first round pick Ed Davis. Money well spent. The Suns are in even worse shape. Since the trade for Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye has moved to PF, Hakim Warrick has moved to the bench. He hasn't hit 15 minutes in a game since the trade. 18 million bucks down the drain.

I've since lightened my stance on the roster overhaul Orlando underwent for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't expect Gilbert Arenas to openly welcome coming off the bench. After a brutal start, Gil has had some solid games. He initiates offense off the bench and has the versatility to close games out at SG. I also didn't realize that he was born in Tampa and had been trying to
come to Orlando for years. Of course, the homecoming angle was played up for Vince Carter too. GM Otis Smith is more of a father figure to him, than an old friend from Golden State allegedly. I'm still not a huge fan of the deal, but I'm more hopeful than I was on the day of the trades. Turkoglu and Richardson have been coming on lately. Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson have played very well in Rashard Lewis' absence. JJ Redick has caught fire since the trade and Dwight has really locked down. He can focus on rebounding an defense now, because with a lineup of Howard-Bass-Turkoglu-Richardson-Nelson or Howard-Turkoglu-Richardson-Arenas-Nelson, he no longer has to get the offense going. Only now, he has the moves to do so when called on. It's still early, but I do like the way this team is playing and that's more than I could say a couple of weeks ago.

You mentioned Marvin Lewis calling out Chad and starting young guys a little too late. That's th
e theme of the Marvin Lewis era. Carlos Dunlap has 8 sacks in his last seven games. Imagine how many he'd have if he started getting regular playing time before Week 8. The Bengals as a team had all of six sacks after week 8. The defensive line had two of those. The team was 2-5. Why wasn't Dunlap playing earlier? Jerome Simpson had a great game against San Diego last week, the top ranked pass defense in the league. In the past two games, Simpson has had 8 catches. In the previous three seasons, he had 1 catch. Again, what was stopping him from seeing the field before? Bernard Scott has 30 touches in the last 4 games. We won two of those games. He had 36 touches combined in the previous 11 games. We won one of those games. Lewis' reluctance to play young guys with the season out of hand is beyond me. This isn't the first time it's happened but I hope it is the last. I appreciate Marvin Lewis stringing together some solid seasons and picking up a couple of division titles, but I hope this Sunday he coaches his last game as a Bengals head coach.

This Sunday also ends the T.O. era in Cincinnati. I must admit...I enjoyed it. The drops were (11 in 13 games), but that was to be expected. I saw a guy that still has something left. I saw a guy that would actively block for a 2-10 team. He correctly pointed out how all of the Bengals problems start at the top with owner Mike Brown and the team was allegedly threatening to deactivate him for the final three games of the season if he hadn't hurt himself. I can see TO popping up somewhere just year, but I couldn't imagine where. Oakland, maybe? The team has an option on Chad that I'd like to see them pick up and then trade him if the contract allows it. This team needs to start fresh. I'd love to get Kevin Kolb and dump Palmer, but the Eagles are reportedly looking for two first round picks for him. Good luck with that, Philly. With the way Carson has
looked recently, I wouldn't be entirely opposed to bringing Palmer back next year and letting him play a full year with Simpson-Caldwell-Shipley-Gresham as his options. I'd still draft a QB early in the draft to let him sit for a year, but Palmer has showed he's not quite dead yet.

This week in extremely depressing pictures:

I'm with you on Greinke to the Brewers. I wanted Cincy to snag him and I hate that he's in the division, but I love that he went to a small market team that will appreciate him. I like what Milwaukee is doing. They have Prince Fielder for one more year and Greinke for two. They know that chance of Fielder re-signing in Milwaukee is between 0 and 0, so why not go for it all this year? The Cardinals and Reds haven't gotten that much better this offseason. Greinke and Yovani Gallardo at the top of the rotation. Weeks, Hart, Braun, McGehee and Fielder in a contract year scoring runs. A city that will show their love for a good team. Milwaukee could do big things this year.

Pick time.

Atlanta over Carolina- Atlanta had so, so many chances to win that Saints game and couldn't do it. They'll destroy the Panthers here, but that has to be disheartening for them heading into the playoffs.

Steelers over Browns- Doesn't seem like Pittsburgh has 12 wins. I knew they were having a good year but, as you mentioned, they haven't looked as good as expected since Roethlisberger came back.

Lions over Vikings- I enjoyed Joe Webb against the Eagles, but Detroit has won three in a row and Suh and company will make it a long day for Webb.

Chiefs over Raiders- At first, I thought the Chiefs would rest their guys with the division locked up but I believe they have a small chance at locking up a first round bye, if the Steelers stumble.

Dolphins over Patriots- The Dolphins are really good on the road. The Patriots have nothing to play for.

Buccaneers over Saints- I think the Saints will win, but I want the Bucs to win. Freeman, Blount and Williams are all heating up and I think they could be a tough out in the playoffs.

Bills over Jets- Jets have nothing to play for. The story about Rex Ryan and the video of his wife's feet cracked me up though.

Bengals over Ravens- Palmer has won 9 of his last 12 against Baltimore. I don't know what it is but he turns it up for Baltimore.

Broncos over Chargers- If San Diego couldn't get up to play Cincy last week with the playoffs on the line, I can't imagine Tebow will bring some effort out of them. Additional note: I would also endorse Kyle Orton as the 2011 Bengals quarterback.

Packers over Bears- Rodgers has really turned it on lately. Chicago is playing for a first round bye. This should be an outstanding game. If the NFL wanted to flex a game to primetime, this is the game. Not the Seahawks- Rams.

49ers over Cardinals- Not one Cardinals quarterback has a QB rating over 70, yet Larry Fitzgerald still cracked 1,000 yards. He'll hear none of Steve Smith or Woody Moss' complaints. By the way, I loved the link you sent to the Tennessee radio station. There is no doubt in my mind, that was Randy Moss' voice. None whatsoever.

Giants over Redskins- Do you realize Eli Manning is on pace for over 4,000 yards and 30+ touchdowns? He must be an elite quarterback! What's that you say? He's thrown 24 interceptions this year? Oh....nevermind then.

Jaguars over Texans- Feh. The Jags had a chance to end the Colts reign and gave it up.

Rams over Seahawks- Even that loud Seattle crowd can't help Charlie Whitehurst pretend to know what he' doing out there.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

NFL Picks

Well, we're getting towards the end of the season.  The Packers, rough though their year has been, control their own destiny.  With a win over the Giants this week and the Bears the following week, the Packers will be in the playoffs.

New England over Buffalo
The Bills gave the Pats a pretty tough game earlier in the season.  I don't think that will happen here.

Chicago over New York Jets
Given how the season started, I find it odd to be typing this...but I trust the Bears more than the Jets at this point.

Cleveland over Baltimore
I think the Browns have one last big upset in them.

Tennessee over Kansas City
It's not a stretch to think the Titans can win this game, seeing how they looked last week.  The Chiefs will lose.  The Chargers will win...and this division title will go down to the final week.

San Francisco over St. Louis
The Niners, currently sitting at 5-9, can win-out and make the playoffs.  How sad is that?

Miami over Detroit
I'll take the Dolphins in a 14-10 game.

Jacksonville over Washington
I'm still hoping for a Colts stumble down the stretch, and the Jags to take the division.  It starts here.

Oakland over Indianapolis
The Raiders will run all over the Colts...which is what the Jags should've done last weekend.

Houston over Denver
The Texans should win this by a wide margin.  Of course, the Texans were supposed to contend for the division this season.  Not everything falls the way it's supposed to.

San Diego over Cincinnati
I like that Marvin Lewis is calling out Ochocinco and starting some young receivers.  It's happening waaaaay too late in his tenure there, but I like it, anyway.

Green Bay over New York Giants
The fight for the wild card starts in earnest right here.  I predict a big Packers win.

Tampa Bay over Seattle
As much as I would love to see the Bucs lose this game, I just can't see it happening.  Because the Seahawks are terrible.

Philadelphia over Minnesota
The Vikings are terrible.  The Eagles are on a roll.  Why on earth would they flex this game?  It'll be over by half time.

Atlanta over New Orleans
If this game is anything like the first time these teams met this year, this should be a terrific game.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

NBA & NFL

I was wondering where you stood on the Magic trades.  As it turns out, you stand exactly where I thought you would.  I can see some of these moves working in their favor in the short run, but over the next few years?  Yeah...I don't know what happens.
Speaking of trades...
I see the Brewers got Greinke.  Good for them.  I've never had a problem with Milwaukee, and I've always liked Greinke.  When the Brewers got Sabathia for half a season, they treated him like a king.  Well, they have Greinke for a few seasons now.  He'll rule that town.  Sure, I'm excited to have him out of the Tigers division, but I'm also excited that he's going to a team that will really appreciate him.  I hope the Brewers make the playoffs in the next couple of years.

A few NFL thoughts before I get to my picks.
I hear you on the "Matty Ice" thing.  For one, it's a stupid nickname.  Just awful.  Also, announcers and writers are picking awful times to use it.  They brought it out after that Tampa game.  "Matty Ice did it again...led them back from a 10 point, fourth quarter deficit."  Okay, but that's not really what happened.  Yes, the Falcons were down 10 in the 4th.  But they somehow fail to mention that Weems had a ridiculous kickoff return for a touchdown.  So, by the time ol' Matty Ice got the ball again, they were down 3 with around 5 minutes left to play.  As a quarterback, you can't lead your team back from 10 down when the kick returner gives you 7 of those points.
Ditto the Green Bay game.  Yes, he made some nice throws down the stretch...but, due to a terrible Packers coverage unit and a personal foul penalty heaped on top of it, he only had to drive the Falcons a little over 20 yards with about a minute on the clock.
Look...I kind of like him.  He's better than I thought he was.  But he's not Joe Montana.

Now...head injuries.
I've been hearing a lot of, "Rodgers should have slid...he would have avoided that concussion."  I agree that he needs to learn how to slide, but I doubt it would have saved him.  I've seen Rodgers slide and take worse hits than that (with nary a flag thrown).  Should he have slid earlier?  Yes.  He had the first down by at least 5 yards. But I can't blame a guy for wanting more yards.  So he dove a little late and took a couple hits...one of them to his head (anyone who says he got the concussion by his head hitting the ground didn't see the play).  Was it an illegal hit?  Didn't look like it to me...but if that was Manning (or, hell, even Cutler, after that ridiculous call on Suh), you better believe it would've been penalized.
As for the rule that you can't go back in the game after any concussion symptoms, and you have to pass a series of neurological tests before you're allowed back into next week's game...
Preposterous.  Here's what we're breeding: a coach who sends a thug onto the field and goes headhunting.  Say you sign a back-up linebacker...a hard-hitter who doesn't really have a ton of talent.  What's to stop a coach from sending him on a blitz, then hitting the quarterback in the head as hard as he can.  Will he be penalized?  Absolutely.  15 yards.  He'll most likely be fined (judging from what we've seen, somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000-$50,000).  They'll deal with it.
An example.
Say you're playing the Patriots.  At some point in the first quarter, you throw this at Brady.  Boom.  Concussion.  Out for the game.  They get 15 yards.  Well, you've just knocked out their main weapon.  Instead of facing a red-hot Brady, you're facing Hoyer...for the majority of the game.  A 15 yard penalty and a $25,000 fine is nothing compared to stealing a game from the Pats in the heat of a playoff chase.
Is it right?  Absolutely not.  But you're crazy if you don't think coaches are already looking at this.
By all accounts, Rodgers was fine during the week...but the Packers are playing it safe this week (partly because they don't want to face the league saying they don't care about their players).  They're starting Matt Flynn against the Pats, in a game we have to win.  I hate these rules more every day.

Onto the picks:

Cincinnati over Cleveland:
I don't know why, but I just feel it this game.  Trouble in Cincy this week...I have a feeling they'll take out their frustrations on the Browns.
Side note: did you know that Palmer is on track to throw for more then 4,000 yards this year?  Has there ever been a more misleading statistic?

Dallas over Washington:
I kind of like this Cowboys team.  Actually, I think it's less the Cowboys and more Kitna.  Sucks that Dez Bryant went down for the year.  He was exciting to watch, and I think Kitna-to-Bryant could have been a great combination for the rest of the year

Houston over Tennessee:
Great game on Monday night...yet the Texans still found a way to lose.  Sucks for them.  I'm still trying to figure out what's going on in Tennessee.  It's like they're not even trying anymore.
Please tell me you saw this.  Basically, people think that Randy Moss called into a radio talk show and bashed Jeff Fisher on the air under the name "Woody".  I want this to be true.

Jacksonville over Indianapolis:
Please Jacksonville...make this happen.  Beat the Colts.  Jones-Drew...run for 250 yards.  Defensive line...destroy Manning.  You've done it once this year.  Do it again.  Please...knock the Colts out of the playoffs.

St. Louis over Kansas City:
With a Chiefs loss here, the Chargers are tied for first place in the division.  Raise your hand if you're surprised.  Yeah...I thought so.

Miami over Buffalo:
Yeah, they looked terrible in a win over the Jets last week.  But they still won.  I have a feeling they'll beat the Bills here.

Detroit over Tampa Bay:
Because the Packers desperately need some teams to start losing.

Arizona over Carolina:
Or Carolina over Arizona.  Who cares, really.

New Orleans over Baltimore:
Flacco went on the radio this week saying that he's an "elite quarterback".  Yeah...and I'm the King of Spain. Look...I don't hate you, but you're not as good as everyone (including yourself) says you are.  Your offensive weapons have been severely upgraded, and you're still wildly inconsistent.

Philadelphia over New York Giants:
The Giants played the Eagles extremely well in the last game...and still lost by 10.  I can see them holding down Vick early, but the Eagles will make enough big plays to win.

Atlanta over Seattle:
The Falcons have been a good, steady team.  They beat the bad teams.  The Seahawks are a terrible team.  I know it's in Seattle, but I have a hard time figuring out how the Seahawks could win this one.  Maybe if they knock out Ryan, Turner and Snelling...but even then I doubt it.

Pittsburgh over New York Jets:
Partly because I think the Steelers are better (although their offense has not looked great lately), but mostly because I want to see Sanchez slumping his shoulders on the sideline.
How isn't this a bigger story.  The Steelers went 3-1 without Roethlisberger.  Their quarterbacking was not terrible through those game.  Roethlisberger comes back, and their offense looks worse.  Sure, he makes some plays, but he also just seems "off".

Oakland over Denver:
McFadden runs for 150+ yards and at least 2 touchdowns.  Again.

Green Bay over New England:
I truly believe we can win this game.  The Pats look great...but our defense is better than you might think.  We'll force some turnovers, and Flynn will make a handful of good plays (he wasn't great last week, but he did lead a couple fairly good drives.  With an entire week of practice with the first team, I think people will be surprised by how good he looks).

Minnesota over Chicago:
Sure, some of this goes back to "the Packers really need teams to start losing".  But I also have a feeling that the Vikings will step it up in this outdoor atmosphere, and Cutler will be back (once again) to his interception throwing ways.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Otis Smith strikes again!

Maybe you've heard by now but the Orlando Magic have recently dismantled the team and started anew. Today we traded Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas and in a separate deal, Marcin Gortat, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, cash and a first round pick went to Phoenix for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark. Wow. I will say that I think we upgraded our talent in these trades, but I don't know how they will work out.

I'll start with the Lewis- Arenas deal. For all his shortcomings and how frustrating it was to watch him at times, I will miss Rashard Lewis. He had a great first two years in Orlando and hit a lot of big shots for us down the stretch. His last two years have been a disaster and that salary makes him an easy target for criticism. Still, it's not his fault Otis Smith offered him a ridiculous amount of money and that age caught up with him (He's in his 13th season). I don't know how much he has left but I do wish Sweet Lew well in Washington. As far as the Arenas part is concerned, I don't like it and I don't get it. We needed someone that could create shots for himself and others....efficiently. Gilbert does both, but neither particularly well. He creates plenty of shots for himself, but he's shooting 39% from the field. He's averaging 5 assists per game, along with 3 turnovers. I don't see how this move makes us better in any way. Add in the knee issues, the gun incident and the contract and I don't know what the hell is going on. As bad as Lewis' contract was, there was only two seasons left after this one. Gilbert's has three after this year. This appears to be a deal made because Otis Smith and Gil are old friends from Golden State. I'll get to Otis Smith later.

I like the Phoenix trade more than the Washington one, but that's akin to asking me whether I'd rather be stabbed or shot (I guess I'd choose stabbing. Shooting seems so impersonal. Yet I digress). I will miss Marcin Gortat and am glad he will get a chance to play more minutes. I watched him work his way from an unknown second rounder, to random end of the bench guy to one of the best backup centers in the league. I think he'll do great in Phoenix. I'm not a huge Pietrus fan because of his incredibly low basketball IQ, but he will be missed. He was our best perimeter defender and could easily get hot from three point land. Now we are left with a combination of Quentin Richardson and Hedo Turkoglu to guard the LeBron James and Paul Pierces of the world. Great. My ire for Vince Carter had slightly diminished this season as he did appear to be giving an effort more on defense and on attacking the basket. Still, I won't be sad to see him go. I am glad to see Jason Richardson arrive. I've enjoyed watching him since his days at Michigan State, I think you can count on him not to fold in big games and he expires after this season so he's playing for one last payday. I don't like reacquiring Turkoglu. He was already on the decline when he was still with us. He tricked Toronto into giving him 53 million and later admitted to dogging it in an attempt to get traded. He got his wish and is now in the middle of a dreadful year. Maybe being back in Orlando will get him back to his 2007 form but I'm not counting on it. Also, he had his best run with Rafer Alston running the point. Now he's playing with Jameer Nelson AND Gilbert Arenas. His best skill is his ball handling and now he's fighting two shoot first PG's for possession of the rock. Again, I just don't see how this makes us better. Earl Clark is a bum and I don't like us giving up a first rounder in this deal either.

Now for Otis Smith, who has quietly been a terrible GM for most of his tenure. He inherited Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson. His first major move was giving 118 million dollars to Rashard Lewis when no other team would give him more than 60 mil. Hiring Stan Van Gundy was a good move, but it only came after the Billy Donovan fiasco. He hedged the bets of a team fresh off of a Finals appearance to Vince Carter. He had an owner willing to spend whatever on a contender, yet ended up going over the luxury tax for JJ Redick. I like Redick, but you go over the tax to sign Lamar Odom and Ron Artest as LA did. Not for JJ Redick. He thought Chris Duhon was worth 15 million dollars. He thought Marcin Gortat and his 12 minutes a game were worth 33 million dollars. He drafted Daniel Orton without exploring the full extent of his knee injuries. He's terrible. I would have fired him after the Rashard Lewis signing because that one is unforgivable. Now he's traded for an old friend in Arenas because sometimes "good people make dumb decisions." I don't like the Arenas deal at all, but I really don't get the timing of it. That trade would have been available until the trade deadline just because Washington wants to get rid of him. Why not see how the Phoenix trade worked out first? A Nelson-Richardson-Turkoglu-Bass-Howard lineup isn't too shabby. Now we have two point guards, in Nelson and Arenas, and no backup center. I'm going to have to assume that there is another deal to be made. A starting backcourt of Nelson-Arenas is a defensive disaster. I can't see either one taking to the bench well either. Malik Allen is the current backup for Dwight Howard. With Dwight's knack for getting in foul trouble, I don't like this one bit. We're also nearing the Dwight Howard countdown as D12 can opt out after the 2011-12 season (along with Chris Paul and Deron Williams). The word is that Dwight was unhappy with his teammates and all but demanded change on the roster. I think Dwight had full approval of these deal, much like I believe LeBron approved/vetoed any deals his last two years in Cleveland. Still, if these moves don't work, Dwight doesn't have to deal with them. He can sign elsewhere. We'll be stuck with Arenas, Turkoglu and Duhon much like Cleveland is stuck with Jamison, Varejao and Mo Williams. I don't think I can take an hour special of Dwight sitting down with Bob Costas and deciding to take his talents to Oklahoma City.

Pigskin.

Browns over Bengals- I was ready to pick us for the first time in months, until the Browns announced Colt McCoy was getting the start. Our pass rush did look promising last week, but Palmer is abysmal. I'd love to see LeFevour get some snaps, but it will never happen.

Cowboys over Redskins- Not that Haynesworth hasn't been an ass, or that McNabb hasn't sucked this year but Shanahan has butchered this season with poor decision after poor decision. Rex Grossman?!?

Texans over Titans- Not only is Moss getting blanked on the catches this season, but last week he wasn't even targeted! Forget about Don Hutson passing him on the all time list of WR's, I'm considering putting Don Beebe over Moss at this point.

Jaguars over Colts- I think the Colts will win but I'd love to see the Jags get this victory and take that division.

Rams over Chiefs- I cannot trust Brodie Croyle. I will not trust Brodie Croyle.

Bills over Dolphins- You think the Bills aren't happy to play in Miami this week? Career day for Fitzpatrick. I'm thinking 180 passing yards and one, maybe two touchdowns.

Eagles over Giants- Don't know why but Mike Vick claiming he'd like to own a dog again one day cracked me up. I was shocked to see that the Giants have 9 wins.

Bucs over Lions- Tempted to pick the Lions here, but I think Freeman gets it done.

Cardinals over Panthers- Under no circumstances will I watch any part of this game.

Saints over Ravens- Does Ray Rice still play in the NFL?

Falcons over Seahawks- Can we wait until the Falcons win a playoff game before we start throwing the "Matty Ice" around?

Raiders over Broncos- Won't lie: I'll be checking for the Tebow debut. You and I are among the camp that Tebow can be a successful QB in the NFL with the right pieces around him. He doesn't have those pieces right now, but I am curious to see how he does.

Jets over Steelers- In the past two weeks I've seen the following on the bottom line: Bob Sanders out for the year, Yao Ming out for the year and Troy Polamalu could miss rest of regular season. Does ESPN even type those up anymore or just keep them on file like for whenever a President dies?

Patriots over Packers-A shame Rodgers isn't suiting up but I don't know that it would have mattered with the way New England is playing.

Bears over Vikings- I'm excited for the Joe Webb era. I'm all for young guys getting their feet wet over tired veterans getting one more shot.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jay Bruce and Picks

I've been thinking this for a while but would you ever start a Cal Ripken/Brett Favre type streak? Have they ever ended well? I know it's quite a feat to start that many games in a row and it's impressive to be that dependable for so long, but those streaks never end well. They go on a lot longer than they should and end up hurting the team, the way Favre's appears to be now and Ripken's did with those Oriole teams.

The Reds signed Jay Bruce today to a 6 year/51 million dollar deal and I couldn't be happier. The option in the 7th year gives us a chance to keep Bruce until he's 30 years old. He really turned it on during the last half of the season, plays great defense in right field and legitimately wants to be in Cincinnati. Hopefully we can lock up Votto sometime soon. On the flip side, the manager of the team is still Dusty Baker. The same Dusty Baker that dropped this gem when asked about Aroldis Chapman: "He has No. 1 starter stuff. But he has, like I said, No. 1 bullpen stuff, too." What the hell does that mean?

If you haven't already, watch Blake Griffin play whenever you can. It seems like this happens once a game.



I miss college football already. Pick time.

Bills over Browns- Jake Delhomme will not win three straight games. I won't believe it.

Packers over Lions- Kind of hard to believe this Lions team is 2-10. They have some decent pieces. They play hard. Shaun Hill/Drew Stanton haven't been terrible and Suh is an animal. Yet they are just one game up on a Panthers team that doesn't play hard or have very much talent.

Giants over Vikings-I look for Favre to take a few snaps and then take a seat to watch Tavarris Jackson get thrashed.

Steelers over Bengals- Feh.

Bucs over Redskins- I have no sympathy for the Redskins with this Haynesworth deal. None. He told you before the season he was going to be a dick this season. They didn't listen.

Falcons over Panthers- Everyone talks about what a bad break Larry Fitzgerald caught in Arizona with his quarterbacks. Steve Smith doesn't want to hear it.

Jaguars over Raiders- The Jaguars keep chugging along. I'd love to see them win that division but I don't see the Colts going away just yet.

Saints over Rams- The Rams have had a nice season and seem positioned to run the NFC West for the next couple of years, but their last 4 games are nothing nice. I think a loss here all but hands the division to....the Seahawks?!?

49ers over Seahawks- More so because I trust the Seahawks less on the road than I do Alex Smith in his first game in over a month.

Patriots over Bears- I agree with you. These Patriots are fun to watch. The Jets are overrated, but still a good team and they were dismantled by the Pats. I wouldn't be surprised to see another convincing win here by New England.

Jets over Dolphins- I remember a time when Chad Henne was considered an up and comer. Gas was a nickel a gallon and you could leave your front door unlocked during the day.

Broncos over Cardinals- Traded the two best players on his team and managed to lose 17 of his last 22 games. Josh McDaniel will be the 2011 head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Chargers over Chiefs- Only because of Cassel's appendectomy. If he was healthy, I think they all but lock up the division with a win. Brodie Croyle is scheduled to get the start which should get the Chargers one game closer to KC in the standings.

Eagles over Cowboys- I really like this Eagles team. I wonder if they'll be able to keep thriving because they live for the big play, but they keep coming up with it. They are hitting their stride and have a relatively easy schedule to close out the year. Jon Kitna is playing well but I think this game gets out of hand quickly.

Ravens over Texans- Why are people so surprised Joe Flacco had two big mistakes late in that Pittsburgh game? That's what Joe Flacco does. He has improved over his past couple of years, but when the Ravens need a play to be made, he can't make it. How he continues to get hyped is beyond me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Picks

Sorry man...getting this in late, so I don't have much of a chance to respond to your stuff.  A quick response:
Sorry the Bengals suck.
Did not catch the Heat/Cavs game, but LeBron going off for his best game of the season was a foregone conclusion.  I know at some point the Heat will put it together, and it should be a sight to behold.
Agree on the Arroyo thing.  Sure, he's been good for you all...but there are so many young pitchers waiting in the wings.  Why give Bronson more years?
Gil to Orlando?  Doubt it will happen.  For your sanity, I hope it doesn't.

My favorite new show on TV is The Walking Dead.  So far, the bulk of it has taken place in Atlanta.  Fantastic show.  Check it out if you can.  The season finale is tonight.

New Orleans over Cincinnati:
The Bengals will keep it close in the first half, but will run away with it in the second.  Palmer will pad his stats in the 4th, once the game is over.

Chicago over Detroit:
The Bears are actually looking like a real football team.  At some point, Cutler will start throwing interceptions again...but it won't be today.  And, even if it is, I don't see Stanton beating this defense.

Green Bay over San Francisco:
We're hoping for a blow-out win to wash that Falcons game out of our memories.  Also, we want to claim our third coach in four weeks.

Jacksonville over Tennessee:
I would love to see the Jags win the division this year.  It's a longshot, but they're tied for the lead right now, and they currently hold the tiebreaker over the Colts.

Kansas City over Denver:
Have you actually sat down and looked at the Chiefs schedule this year?  Ridiculous.  They're not a great team, but they should end up in the playoffs, which means they'll win 4 games next year.

Miami over Cleveland:
I like Chad Henne.  I dislike Jake Delhomme.  Easy as that.

Buffalo over Minnesota:
I realize that the Vikings won last week.  But they beat a dying Redskins team by 4 points.  Not the statement win you're looking for, Leslie.

New York Giants over Washington:
But this could really go either way.  I'm (obviously) not a fan of the Redskins, but the Giants are ridiculously inconsistent.

San Diego over Oakland:
For a couple of weeks, I had hope in Oakland.  Now they're falling back, while the Chargers are surging once again.  Sorry Raiders...maybe next year?
A pet peeve of mine: early in the season, announcers/columnists like to talk about "must-win" games.  They love to talk about, "If they don't win this game, goodbye playoffs" in Week 4.  They did it (again) with the Chargers this year.  Have we learned nothing?  They start off slow, then make a late season surge and make the playoffs.  Let's stop with the "must-win games" very early in the season.

Seattle over Carolina:
Oh, look!  The Seahawks win this week!  What a great coaching job Pete Carroll has done.

Atlanta over Tampa Bay:
It'll come down to the 4th quarter, but the Falcons will win this.  By the way, after watching that game last week, I'm starting to believe in Matt Ryan.

St. Louis over Arizona:
We all knew the Cardinals would be bad this year, but I had no idea they would be this bad.

Dallas over Indianapolis:
I like the way the Cowboys have been playing.  I don't like the way the Colts have looked.  I love seeing the terrible body language of Manning.  Bring on the slumped shoulders and throwing teammates under the bus.
A Colts note: I read an article praising Ron Rivera for the defensive game plan he put together last week.  They talked about how they rattled Manning: show a blitz in pre-snap, then fall back in coverage.  Don't show blitz in pre-snap, then bring the heat.  I'm not taking anything away from Rivera, but Bill Belichick did that years ago.  I remember when the Pats beat the Colts 20-3 in the playoffs, they used this same tactic.  "Now everyone will know how to beat Manning," I said.  "His days are over."  But no one really used that anymore. It's ridiculous.  You have a surefire way to beat Manning, and you don't use it?  Does no one watch tape?  So, my hats off to Rivera...and I hope some people actually sit up and pay attention this time.

Baltimore over Pittsburgh:
I haven't been a fan of how Pittsburgh has looked ever since Roethlisberger has been back.

New England over New York Jets:
I love watching the Pats in this post-Moss era.  They run the ball.  They have a deep threat in Branch, but a ton of guys to dump the ball off to who can make plays after the catch (Welker, Woodhead, Edelman).  They have a handful of tight ends capable of making plays.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bronson, Bengals and Picks

I've never been closer to quitting a team than I am with the Bengals. You know that I'm no bandwagon fan. I wouldn't be jumping ship to another team. I'm just tired of the incompetence. I've stuck with them through 2, 3 and 4 win seasons. I've stuck through them with the eras of Akili Smith, Scott Mitchell and Gus Frerotte. I've stuck with them though we haven't won a playoff game since I was a toddler. I endured because I thought things would change and how sweet it would be when they did. I now realize that they won't. Even when owner Mike Brown dies, he will probably keep it in the family leading to another reign of terrible ownership. Mike Brown employs no general manager. Neither do Al Davis or Jerry Jones but despite their misguided attempts, I honestly feel like they think the moves they make as acting GM are going to improve the team. Brown is just looking to keep costs low. Just note how the Bengals annually have one of the thinnest scouting departments in the league. The coaching staff needs to go, yet Brown makes no moves. Can you think of another head coach that has made it almost 8 years with a losing record and no playoff victories? I can't. Marvin Lewis stays because no respectable coach would put up with Brown's nonsense. Any coach worth a damn wouldn't put up with his owner sitting in on every meeting and having the final call on decisions he knows nothing about. I haven't forgotten about last seasons division title, but they are few and far between because sustained success won't come to Cincinnati until Mike Brown sells the team or passes away. Neither of which seem like they will ever happen, much to my chagrin.


I don't know if you caught it but the Heat-Cavaliers game/LeBron hate was astonishing. The "Akron hates you" chant got a chuckle out of me. The constant shots of Dan Gilbert looking pissed courtside crack me up. LeBron joking it up with the Cavaliers during timeouts seems strange, but whatever. One thing I've noticed is that LeBron's game doesn't seem to have evolved. For the last couple of years, he and Dwight Howard have been the main two "If that guy gets _________, watch out!" Dwight has noticeably expanded his post game and his points per game are at a career high and Orlando is tied for first in the Eastern Conference. LeBron is still an outstanding player, but I can't say that he's gotten a lot better in a couple of years. His jumper is still hot and cold. His post game is nonexistent. He's shooting 44% from the field this season which is criminal for a guy that can get to the rim like he can. Maybe none of it will matter. All he needs is that jumpshot to go down enough to keep guys honest and he's done it thus far. I can't say I'm happy to see the Heat struggling because it's still far too early to write them off, but this team just doesn't look right. Wade and LeBron look awkward playing together. Bosh needs to be force fed to get going. Without Mike Miller, there is no spacing and Udonis Haslem's injury makes a thing frontcourt even thinner. Everyone knew they would take time to build chemistry, but this team just doesn't look right. Not yet.

While we're on hoops, can the "Arenas to Orlando?" talks please die a horrible death? They keep appearing every couple of months and it makes me nervous. GM Otis Smith and Gil got close in Golden State and there have been talks for many years of him trying to bring Gil to Orlando. This current Orlando squad isn't winning a championship and adding Gilbert and is contract wouldn't help.

A basketball related pet peeve of mine: When a terrible free throw shooter goes to the line late in the game, misses the shot and the broadcasters claim the pressure got to him. If Kyle Korver goes to the line with 4 seconds left and bricks two you can play the pressure card. If Dwight Howard goes to the line with 4 seconds left and bricks two, I don't think the pressure got to him. He's just not a good free throw shooter. He's bad in the first, second and third quarter. He's not going to magically get better in the fourth.

The White Sox just gave Adam Dunn four years, 56 million dollars and the fast track to becoming the home run king. Taking him out of the field and letting him DH/play first base + a hitter's park in Chicago + Dunn having 354 homers and only being 31 years of age= 2020 Hall of Famer Adam Dunn accepting his plaque with a .242 career average, 3000 strikeouts and 707 home runs. Can't wait.

The Reds just agreed with Bronson Arroyo on a 3 year, 35 million dollar extension. I'm not a fan of this move. I was all for picking up his option for the 2011 season. I wouldn't have minded extending him for a lower price, the way we did with Scott Rolen. I know he has been a lock for 33 starts and 200 innings a year for the last 6 seasons, but he just had a career year at 33 and I think we're paying for that. How long can a guy, that never had overwhelming stuff to begin with, keep that up? Not to mention, we still have somewhat of a logjam at starting pitcher. Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey, Mike Leake and Travis Wood have all proven to be capable starters. GM Walt Jocketty insists that Aroldis Chapmans place is still in the rotation. That's why I think you pick up the 2011 option and see how the young arms do, and then thank Bronson for the memories after the season and go to 2012 with the young arms. This makes me wonder if Jocketty has a trade up his sleeve. One of the young arms + Yonder Alonso could bring in a nice piece to play left field, or be the main ingredients of a deal for a star pitcher. I'd love to get in on a Justin Upton or Zach Greinke trade, but can't see either happening. I'm very interested to see what Jocketty has planned this offseason.

I'm watching the Auburn-SC game now and I love watching Cam Newton play. I haven't been legitimately excited to watch a National Title game in a while but I'm hoping for Auburn-Oregon. Oregon is a blast to watch as well, with Darron Thomas and LaMichael James running wild. And then I get to watch the Wildcats compete in the O'Charleys Soup and Salad Bowl. What a great year for college pigskin.

Picks. Let's get it done.

Saints over Bengals- Who cares?

Bears over Lions- I keep thinking the Bears are worse than their record and the Lions are better than their record. Sooner or later, I'll realize I'm wrong.

Packers over 49ers- Tough break for Frank Gore and San Fran. Still, I think Anthony Dixon will fill in admirably after Brian Westbrooks annual concussion.

Jaguars over Titans- Has any elite WR ever been contained/shut down/blanked as much as Randy Moss? I get that Moss has had a crazy year and Rusty Smith is hardly an elite quarterback, but it's a contract year but he's had 6 games this year with 2 catches or less. I know Moss has always been kind of a boom or bust type of guy, but damn.

Kansas City over Denver- The Chiefs don't lose at home. The Bronco's don't win on the road. That was easy.

Miami over Cleveland- If McCoy was playing, I'd pick Cleveland but he's doubtful. I wouldn't count on Jake Delhomme winning two straight games.

Bills over Vikings- Hated to see Steve Johnson drop that ball last week in OT. Loved seeing him blame God over Twitter for it. Hysterical.

Giants over Redskins- Eli has 6 games of at least two interceptions this year. Their best running back can't hold on to the ball. Their top receivers are injured. They'll still beat the Skins by double digits.

Chargers over Raiders- Rivers is coming off his worst game of the season...a game where he completed 83% of his passes and beat the 8th greatest player of all time by 22 points. Not a Rivers fan, but the guy is dynamite.

Colts over Cowboys- I smell a Manning 5 touchdown game coming here and those MVP talks
heating back up.

Rams over Cardinals- Bradford appears to be legit. To keep that Rams team headed in the right direction, don't they have to deal Steven Jackson? He isn't having a great year, but he's still on pace for 1500 total yards. He's 27 so I think he'll still have reasonable trade value. By the time Bradford hits his stride, he'll be closer to 30. Isn't the move to deal him for draft picks to get some receiving help?

Seahawks over Panthers- Feh.

Buccaneers over Falcons- If God really wants to make amends for greasing Steve Johnson's palms last Sunday, he'd give us Philly @ Atlanta at some time during the playoffs.

Steelers over Ravens- Kind of hard for me to believe the Ravens are 8-3. Maybe it's because they are one of the teams the Bengals beat so I can't take them seriously. Either way I expect to hear about how much these teams hate each other and how violent these games get roughly 44,000 times. James Harrison should just bring $25,000 in cash to the game with him for his inevitable fine.

Patriots over Jets- The same way I feel a 5 TD game for Manning coming, I feel a 4 interception day coming for Sanchez.