Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Legend of MKG and Week 17 Picks

Glad you got to take an extended look at Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist today. MKG carried the Cats through the first half and finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds. Davis sat most of the first half but scored all 18 of his points in the second half, to go along with 10 boards, 6 blocks and 3 steals. MKG-Davis are fast becoming two of my favorite Cats ever. They know what they do well and they know what they don't do well. They do a lot of what they excel at and limit the things they aren't so great at. They bust their ass every possession on both ends of the court. I love watching them play. News of a Breakfast Club within the team has made its way public. Everyday MKG would get to the gym early to stretch, hit the weights and take a few shots before breakfast and team practice. At Cal's suggestion, he invited a couple of guys and now has a majority of the team joining him every morning. I love it. It's refreshing to hear, especially when you see a guy like Terrence Jones on the same team. Jones could be the best player in the nation, if he wanted it badly enough. Instead, he checks out of games when things aren't going his way and sulks on the bench. I'm sure you saw Jones get stuffed time after time after going up weak around the bucket. Meanwhile, MKG (giving up 2 inches/20+ pounds) went up strong and either got the bucket, the foul or both. I can't say enough about this guy.

We talked about this, but I think it's worth mentioning again: Is Andrew Luck really that much better of a prospect than Robert Griffin III? I get that Luck has the ideal size and ability to pretty much run his own offense. Still, with the NFL becoming a passing league, I think the scheme/offensive coordinator a guy works with in the NFL can be just as critical to his success. Look at the early success of Cam Newton and Andy Dalton. Both have offenses that allow them to work to their strengths. Look at Tim Tebow. That offensive system was pretty much rebuilt on the fly with Tebow installed as a starter. I do think that Luck will be a nice NFL QB, but I hear rumors that the Browns are looking to trade the picks acquired in the Julio Jones trade and move up for a QB. I'm terrified that QB might be RGIII. More so than it being Luck. I just think in this evolving league, things evolve together. With quarterbacks proving to be more critical to a team's offense, pass rushers will counter and prove to be just as important to a team's defense. When you've got young guys like Jason Pierre-Paul and Aldon Smith making an impact early in their careers, you need a QB that can move. Luck can get himself out of trouble, but I don't like his chances if he goes to the Colts and has the likes of Mario Williams breathing down his neck. I just think of a top 10 team with some pieces like Miami or Kansas City getting Griffin and becoming interesting immediately, while Luck has a subpar line and an aging Reggie Wayne to throw to in Indianapolis.

Pick time.

New Orleans over Carolina- New Orleans barely beat Carolina the first time around, but NO has gotten it together since their week 5 meeting and are still trying to get the #2 seed in the NFC. Cammy Cam does have a slight chance to go over 5,000 total yards though. I think this one will be a 45-28 type of game.

New England over Buffalo- I thought New England had the #1 seed locked but no so. They lock it up here early enough to sit Brady the fourth quarter. Shoutout to CJ Spiller for picking up the pieces after Fred Jackson's injury and helping Team Drederick Tatum bring home the fantasy pigskin championship.

Minnesota over Chicago- I continue to like Christian Ponder. Chicago fans continue to hate Caleb Hanie.

Miami over NY Jets- Cincy can still get in the playoffs with a loss if the Dolphins take care of business. I think the Dolphins get the win here, against their best interest. They should be playing for a chance to get RGIII.

San Francisco over St. Louis- The 49ers are really good and I still have no interest in watching this game.

Detroit over Green Bay- Hoping to see a couple of Flynn to Cobb touchdowns here as I presume GB rests their starters for most of the game.

Philadelphia over Washington- Washington's another team that could end up with RGII, though for his sake I hope he doesn't wind up there. Cue the "Dream Team Reloaded?" offseason stories about the Eagles.

Indianapolis over Jacksonville- Do you think the Colts fans would prefer Luck and trading Manning BUT they get rid of Jim Caldwell? Or trading Luck for pieces, getting a healthy Manning but a contract extension for Caldwell?

Houston over Tennessee- For Houston's sake, I hope they get something together to end the season on. They've looked pitiful since TJ Yates made fools of the Bengals defense. If Cincy and Houston both win, we get a rematch.

Seattle over Arizona- I'll tell you who doesn't care about this game: Me.

Denver over Kansas City- If this game wasn't in Denver, I'd probably pick Kansas City. It's not. So I won't. Denver locks up the AFC West.

Atlanta over Tampa Bay- Sweet Tebow, the Falcons got drubbed against the Saints. Too bad, the Bucs get drubbed every week.

Cincinnati over Baltimore- I think we get the win for these reasons: 1- The game sold out. The fans will be rocking against a division foe with a playoff spot on the line. 2- We lost by a touchdown in Baltimore the first time we played. AJ Green missed that game. He's healthy now. 3- Andy Dalton had his worst game of the season without Green. He's had 5 TD's-1 INT since that game. Add in that Boldin will likely miss the game and Flacco hasn't been playing well. I think Cincy gets the win and the #6 seed.

Pittsburgh over Cleveland- If I'm Pittsburgh, I rest Roethlisberger for this one...but have him dress Chaz Batch can put enough points on the board to beat the Browns, and if it looks shaky in the second half bring Big Ben in.

San Diego over Oakland- Carson Palmer with the season on the line. Say no more.

Giants over Dallas- Unless Dallas has devised a plan to block Jason Pierre-Paul, or Romo's hand has miraculously healed in a week, I think NY gets the victory.

Thursday, December 29, 2011