Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week 8 NFL Picks and World Series Talk

Shame on you for befriending Cardinals fans, first and foremost.

Agreed on Game 6. Horrible start, with a dramatic ending. It was definitely one of the more exciting games I can recall watching, but "Greatest Game Ever" or even "Greatest Game 6 Ever" seems to be hyperbole.

I'm sick for the Rangers though. To be one pitch away from sealing the deal two separate times, and to come up short both times has to be tough. I think this is one of those times where you'd rather lose Game 6 14-4, then to keep watching the replay of Nelson Cruz butchering the play for that ball off the wall. They had their chances, but some bad calls by Ron Washington did them in. The biggest mistake I recall is letting Colby Lewis bat with the bases loaded. Yes, there were two outs but with all the errors in that game, I let a pinch hitter come in and at least try to plate a run. That's the one that will always stick out to me.

Still, this is one of the better postseasons that I remember. Though, I can't decide if that's because I've probably watched more of it than I have in recent years. I don't know if I watched more games and that's why there seemed to be more good games, or if the games were actually better and that's why I watched. Either way, I will miss baseball. Buster Olney reported that Cincinnati will begin listening to offers for Joey Votto so this should be an interesting offseason.

I caught a glimpse of the Wildcats during their Blue-White scrimmage the other day. Not one lick of defense was played, but I have to say I'm impressed. Terrence Jones looks like a man on a mission. He was noticeably bigger, but didn't seem to lose any agility. He finished with 52 points, 16 boards and 6 assists and his new bulk appear to give him a matchup advantage over just about anyone. He started strong last year and then tailed off, but decided to come back to school to improve his game. So far he looks fantastic. Freshman PG Marquis Teague looked for his own shot a little much, but did get to the line 10 times, knocking down 9. Big man Anthony Davis appears to be legit. He had 27 points, 13 board, 4 steals and 4 blocks. I heard a scout describe him as what would happen if "Tyson Chandler went to college." While I don't see that comparison, it's not a bad thing. He's smoother than Chandler. One one play he blocked a layup, gathered the loose ball and took off down court crossing over a defender before hitting a trailing teammate for a layup. The third star recruit this season Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 21 points, 10 boards and 7 assists. I can't put too much stock in this game because again, with the amount of defense being played I think I could have dropped a cool 15 points. Doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for the season though. Not one bit.

Glad you enjoyed Rubber. It's a move that seems like it shouldn't work but does. One of my favorite scenes is where the guy dies from eating the poison and screams, "This should have been you!" at the old man. Cracks me up.

Baltimore over Arizona- I think we can stop with the "Baltimore is the class of the AFC" talk. Losses to Tennessee and Arizona will do that to you. Flacco appears to be regressing, but this seems like the type of game where he'll go for 300 yards/3 TD's and people will forget about how bad he is.

Carolina over Minnesota- Cut Ponder some slack. He was being mentored by Donovan McNabb, for crying out loud. With this game, among others, I've noticed that teams are going at "shutdown" corners an awful lot this season. It seems Revis/Woodson/Asomugha and the likes are getting a lot of passes thrown their way, when last year it spoken law that these guys should be thrown at under no circumstances. Not surprisingly, Woodson and Revis are #1 and #2 in the league in interceptions. Is this the trend now? With the league being so pass oriented you'll have to take chances against the best even if they keep burning you?

Houston over Jacksonville- I don't feel all that confident about this pick. By the way, can you imagine how hyped every Jacksonville home game would be if they had drafted Tebow? 7-8 thousand fans on their feet all game long. Madness.

NY Giants over Miami- Bill Simmons (I know, I know) wrote an article this week ranking the quarterbacks in the NFL. In this article, he proclaimed, " Eli Manning is one of the best eight quarterbacks right now by any calculation." I don't know how I feel about that, though I should have stopped reading right after he named the "superduperstars" of the league "The Tom Brady Division."

New Orleans over St. Louis- Did you know Jimmy Graham played basketball in college? I had no idea. Apparently, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez did as well. Apparently, going up for a pass is similar to going up for a rebound. Apparently, I hate NFL analysts.

Tennessee over Indianapolis-If they do the NFL top 100 players again next season, where do you think Manning ranks? I think his ranking actually goes up. If Manning really cares about his legacy, he calls it quits right now. The "what-ifs" will propel him into a stratosphere he never could have reached even if he came back and had another 4-5 strong years.

Denver over Detroit- Call it a hunch. Von Miller and his goggles get after Stafford with that bum ankle. Tebow makes some comically bad throws, but makes enough plays to win.

Buffalo over Washington- Congrats to Fitzpatrick for getting that $60 million extension. Never thought I would type those words. It sounds bad, but considering Donovan Mcnabb just signed a 5 year/$79 million extension last year, you could do a lot worse than giving $60 million to Fitzpatrick, a guy that has improved noticeably the past three or four years.

Cincinnati over Seattle- We're better than the Seahawks, but the game being in Seattle worries me. I'm hoping Jesus Whitehurst gets the start, but either way I think we minimize our mistakes enough to get the victory. I would say our record is warranted, and I'm a little disappointed the record isn't better. Our two losses are by a combined 7 points. One against San Fran, who appears to be a solid team. The loss to Denver still bothers me though. The schedule has been cake thus far, but we did knock the Bills from the ranks of the unbeaten. We don't turn the ball over very often (6 giveaways), we play good defense (2nd in the league in opponents yards per game) and we've had an easy schedule. Sometimes its that simple. The second half of our schedule is tougher (2 against Baltimore/Pittsburgh) but there are still some winnable games left (St. Louis, Arizona, Cleveland).

San Francisco over Cleveland- Braylon Edwards shares teary eyed embraces with his teammates after this one. Or doesn't. Whatever. I don't really care about this game.

Pittsburgh over New England- I see Mike Wallace having a big day against that secondary and Pittsburgh getting the win at home.

Philadelphia over Dallas- Not sure what to make of this one. It could be a fantastic game, or an extremely sloppy one. Demarco Murray could have another big day against this defense, but it won't be enough.

San Diego over Kansas City- Rivers gets the win but his woes continue in a 4 TD/3 INT type of day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

World Series, NFL Picks


For some unknown reason, I am Facebook friends with a lot of St. Louis Cardinals fans (and also with Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but that’s another story for another day).  After game 6, my feed blew up with a lot of, “Greatest game ever,” and “What a fantastic game.”
Here’s the thing: it was an exciting ending, with lots of drama and lots of scoring.  Any time a World Series game ends on a walk-off home run in extra innings, it’s an exciting ending.
But a good game?  No.  There were 5 errors in this game.  Five errors.  In a World Series game.  Two of the Cardinals three errors were absolutely horrendous: Holliday dropping the ball after colliding with Furcal, and Freese dropping an easy pop-up to third (while the ball was in the air and Freese was camped out under it, Buck said, “Routine pop-up…not that there’s anything routine about anything tonight,” then Freese dropped it.  Make fun of Buck all you want, but that was a fantastic call).  It was a really sloppy game.
But the biggest gaffe was reserved for Nelson Cruz.  Somehow, in no-doubles defense, Cruz let a ball get hit past him (his attempt to catch the ball was terrible.  His eyes were half closed, and he just kind of jabbed his glove in the general direction of the ball.  He missed it by at least 6 inches).  If he had caught the ball (which he should have), the game is over, and the Rangers win the Series.  Instead, it was a 2-run, game-tying triple in the bottom of the 9th
Combine that with Ron Washington twice having his pitcher bunt into a hard-charging defense (one of those resulted in a double-play), and you have an extremely sloppy game.  I’ll give you that it was an exciting ending.  But I will not say that it was a good game.
Of course, all of that is forgiven and laughed about if the Rangers win tonight (and I think they will).
One final note: the more I see of Chris Carpenter, the more I hate him.

As I talked about in my last post, I was in DC last weekend and I was able to go to the Red Wings/Capitals game.  A game in which the Wings started their back-up goalie (Ty Conklin), and their defense looked exhausted or lazy (or both).  The result was a 7-1 Caps win that felt over before the first intermission hit.  I had a good time, and there were a lot of Wings fans there, so that was cool.  While waiting for the Metro, we started talking to a girl in a Wings jersey, and her boyfriend in a Caps jersey.  She said she was going to start a “Fire Ty Conklin” petition.  While I think that was a bit harsh (seriously, the defense was extremely porous), I think I would still sign the petition. 
It’s never fun to watch your team get the crap kicked out of them, but I’m glad I went. 

I watched Rubber this past week, and I did a quick review of it on my horror movie blog.  Short review: I think I liked it.  I laughed at a number of parts, which is really all I wanted.  So I guess it was a success.

The Packers are on a bye this week, so I don’t have a ton invested in the games this weekend.  Plus, there just don’t appear to be a lot of good match-ups.  Oh well.  The picks don’t stop.

Baltimore over Arizona
Do you remember how both of us have been saying that Flacco is not really a great quarterback for a while?  It seems like people are finally starting to agree with us.  I haven’t watched a ton of Ravens games this year, but, when I’ve seen them, he looks horrendous.  It’s not just that he’s overthrowing guys on the long routes…he’s also overthrowing guys on the short routes.  He has been remarkably inaccurate.  Of course, Kolb hasn’t looked great, either, and the Ravens defense is better than the Cardinals.  I can see Ray Rice getting back on track after having a terrible game last weekend, and the Ravens getting out to a big lead on the Cardinals.

Carolina over Minnesota
Never have I heard so much praise over someone who didn’t complete 50% of his passes.  Did Ponder look good at points?  Yes.  Did he look terrible at other points?  Yes.  So, basically, he looked exactly like I thought he would look (which is to say, very inconsistent).  And I thought Cam Newton would look even worse.  I guess I look pretty stupid sometimes.

Houston over Jacksonville
Is the Jaguars’ defense really that good, or do they just make every team they play look as boring and sloppy as they do?

New York Giants over Miami
I don’t really feel like going back to look, but I’m pretty sure I was calling for a Dolphins playoff appearance this year.  Let’s not dwell on this.  Anyway, I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Marshall had a monster day against the Giants secondary and the Dolphins were able to eke out a victory…but it doesn’t seem likely.  I’ll take the Giants, but only by 3.

New Orleans over St. Louis
I’m glad there was a World Series game to watch, because that Saints/Colts game last week got ugly in a hurry, and it didn’t let up.  They won’t put up 62 in this game, but 40+ is certainly on the table.

Indianapolis over Tennessee
I just have a feeling.  Before last week, the Colts never looked awful.  I think they’ll get back on track, Painter will throw for a couple of touchdowns,  Hasselbeck will throw for a couple interceptions, and the Titans will slowly fade out of the playoff picture.

Detroit over Denver
Stafford.  Hill.  It doesn’t really matter too much.  The Lions will put up enough points on the Broncos defense (and Tebow will sail enough passes) that there will be no last-second miracle comeback.

Buffalo over Washington
This has less to do with any belief in the Bills and everything to do with my lack of belief in all things John Beck.

Cincinnati over Seattle
What have I been saying?  The Seahawks are sunk without Tavaris Jackson.
Also, I know you’re a Bengals fan, but do you think they look good enough to warrant a 5-2 record?  I know they’ve been playing terrible teams, but I have never seen them and thought they looked terrific.  Of course, I guess a good, solid defense doesn’t always just jump off the screen.

San Francisco over Cleveland
I kind of feel the same way about the 49ers, actually.  Outside of their pasting of the Bucs, they have never really looked great to me.  But they keep winning, and that’s more than you could say for them last year.  The Browns, however...they just look bad.  I thought they would be decent this year.  I was wrong.

New England over Pittsburgh
Basically because Brady owns the Steelers.  And the Steelers defense isn’t what it once was.  The Patriots should be able to get a running game going, and Brady will be able to shred them through the air.  These games are usually pretty entertaining, so I’m looking forward to this one.

Philadelphia over Dallas
More because Any Reid’s insane record coming off a bye week (12-0) than anything I’ve seen from the team.  The Cowboys should be able to run, but I have a strange amount of faith in Reid here.

Kansas City over San Diego
Philip Rivers hasn’t looked great, and the Chiefs are starting to look a little better.  I can see a sloppy, turnover filled game here, that the Chiefs will win on a 4th quarter field goal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

#NBARank

ESPN recently did a ranking for the top 500 players in the NBA. I love this sort of stuff. Just for shits and giggles, let's see how much help the top ten players in the league have.

10. Blake Griffin. One top 50 teammate.

9. Deron Williams. No top 50 teammates but Brook Lopez checked in at #51.

8. Derrick Rose. Three top 50 teammates

7. Kobe Bryant. Three top 50 teammates.

6. Kevin Durant. One top 50 teammate, #15 Westbrook. Though Harden and Ibaka cracked the top 60.

5. Dirk Nowitzki. Two top 50 teammates, and Jason Terry at #55.

4. Chris Paul. One top 50 teammate, #45 David West who is coming off of a serious knee injury.

3. Dwyane Wade. Two top 50 teammates.

2. Dwight Howard. No top 50 teammates. Next teammate on list is Jameer Nelson, #73.

1. LeBron James. Two top 50 teammates.

A few things stand out to me about these rankings:

1. The three guys with the least help (according to this list), Williams, Paul and Howard, can all become free agents after this season. Interesting.

2. Enough with the Derrick Rose doesn't have enough help argument.

3. Jameer Nelson checked in at #73, and you could argue that's a little high. He check in ahead of Demarcus Cousins, Jrue Holiday, Andre Miller and Jamal Crawford. I'd take any of those guys before Nelson. Jason Richardson, the next ranked Magic player at #79, is a free agent and therefore not technically a Magic player. The lack of help Dwight has is appalling.

4. According to this, three of the top six overpaid players in the league suited up for Orlando last season. I hate Otis Smith.

5. I think Blake Griffin is a bit too high, but I can't really argue with the rest of the top ten. I thought Kobe would be higher off of name, but it's nice to see people realize he has taken a step back.

6. I will harbor no feelings of ill will if Dwight Howard teams up with Chris Paul or Deron Williams next year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Carson Palmer Trade and NFL Picks

I couldn't be any happier about the Palmer trade. It's not possible. I was expecting Carson to be traded sometime after the season for a fourth round pick or so. I would have been happy with that. A first rounder and a guaranteed second/potential first rounder was a complete surprise. Jay Cutler went to Chicago for two first round picks, but he was 25 years old and coming off a 4500 yard/25 TD season. Palmer is about to turn 32, coming off a 20 interception season and hasn't played a game in almost 10 months. I can't imagine the value he provides exceeding the value those picks could have given Oakland. Carson can't get the ball downfield like he used to, and I'm not sure how that helps a team with speedsters like Heyward-Bey/Ford/Moore playing wideout. To be fair, the AFC West is weaker than the AFC North and Darren McFadden is the most talented RB Carson has had (though Rudi Johnson was no slouch). I do wish Carson well though. The good times, namely that 2005 season, outweigh him quitting on the team to me. Still, I've watched that guy make bad decisions and sail passes for the last three years. I think he's done. Best case scenario is Oakland takes off this season and wins a playoff game, which would give us the first rounder in 2013. They then tank the following year making that first rounder in 2013 a high one.

I'm not ready to forgive Mike Brown for years of ineptitude, but this was an excellent deal. Someone has gotten in his ear and convinced him that a great deal is worth more than trying to prove a point. I hate to jump to far ahead, but I got chills when I heard the deal because it seems that moves like this are ones that can turn franchises around. The team has even drafted well lately picking up Green/Dalton/Guard Clint Boling this year and watching them all contribute. Gresham/Dunlap/Shipley/Atkins came from last years draft. Andre Smith/Maualuga/Michael Johnson and Kevin Huber are contributing from the 2009 draft. Andre Smith has played surprisingly well this year, and held Robert Mathis without so much as a tackle this past week. I haven't completely ruled out Mike Brown messing this up, but I am extremely hopeful.

I know they just beat your Tigers, but I'm hoping like hell the Rangers win it all. The Cardinals are "little bitches. All of em." Word to Brandon Phillips. I also have a soft spot for teams that lose in the championship series and then make it back the next year. I can barely stomach losing a big video game. I can't imagine losing the championship series, making your adjustments to make it back the next season, and then losing again. Also, the Cardinals are bitches.

Sounds like good times in DC. Have a blast, my man.

A recent Dwight Howard interview came out and I think that all but confirmed the fact that he is leaving Orlando as soon as he gets a chance. I wish Dwight would just stop talking. There is only one way to interpret answers like, "There's more you can do in a bigger place." He's leaving, which is fine. Just stop dragging it out. Stop talking. No amount of "I love the city but..." statements will save you from the backlash. I was under the assumption that if the NBA missed the entire season, contracts would be frozen and Dwight would have one more year before he could opt out in Orlando. Not the case. Contracts run by year, not by season, so if the entire season is locked out, then Dwight Howard has played his last game in an Orlando Magic uniform. Feh.

Picks

Chargers over Jets- It seems like normally the Chargers are 2-3 at this time every year, but still extremely dangerous. Now they seem relatively harmless, even though they sit at 4-1. Agreed on Revis. He's physical, no doubt. But, as you mentioned, a good bit of that contact is illegal but never gets called.

Bucs over Bears- I love this video. I'm not exactly sure how Mike Martz keeps his title as "offensive guru." I'd like the Bucs a lot more if they had traded for Brandon Lloyd. Then again, I could probably say that for a dozen or so teams.

Carolina over Washington- Cam Newton's pocket presence has been fantastic. The Panthers aren't very good, but I love watching them just because of him. John Beck? Not so much.

Detroit over Atlanta- Amazing story about Jerome Harrison finding out about his brain tumor because of the pre-trade physical. The bigger question though, is why would anyone trade for Ronnie Brown?

Seattle over Cleveland- And not one minute of this game will be watched by me.

Denver over Miami- Though it does seem a bit like he is being set up to fail, I'm still (moderately) excited for the Tim Tebow era. If the Dolphins defense looks as lazy as they did against the Jets, Tebow and the gang could have a big day.

Tennessee over Houston- Chris Johnson has 250 total rushing yards this season. He goes got 215 here. He has to break out one of these games...doesn't he?

Kansas City over Oakland- I was ready to pick the Chiefs over the Raiders even if Palmer was starter. I'm REALLY ready to pick them now that Kyle Boller will get the start for Oakland.

Pittsburgh over Arizona- I asked Fitzgerald your question. He had his driver roll down the windows of his Bentley so his publicist could reply, "Pretty damn good."

Green Bay over Minnesota- I think Green Bay should have traded Matt Flynn this week. With the trade market for quarterbacks the way it is, they could have gotten a second round pick, cash considerations and Michael Bush from Oakland. Ponder has a decent day here...statistically. The Pack gets an early lead, which lets Ponder rack up some garbage time stats.

Dallas over St. Louis- I heard some talk this week (from Mike Lombardi, maybe?) that the Rams wouldn't hesitate to trade Sam Bradford if they ended up with the first pick/Andrew Luck. Are we that sure of Luck? He looks legit, no doubt, but it would appear to be another step back for the Rams.

New Orleans over Indianapolis- I could take Curtis Painter a lot more seriously if he didn't look like an unkempt Mr. Hudson.

Baltimore over Jacksonville- Seriously? On Monday Night?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tigers and NFL Picks

I'm sitting here watching game 1 of the World Series.  It's a damn shame I'm not watching my Tigers.  Up until game 6, they gave the Rangers all they could handle.  It was a depressing ending to the series, but there's something about a blow-out that just kind of leaves you numb.  A close game leaves me stressed out.  But a game like that...there's nothing you can do but be depressed about it.  There's no one play that could have made a difference.  A blow-out like that is tough to watch, to be sure, but it leaves you with less questions rattling around after the game.  There are no alternate scenarios.  No "What Ifs".  Just sadness.  It's awful to watch, but, ultimately, I think it's easier to deal with.
Also, I stopped watching around the 7th inning, sat on my back porch, and kicked back with a cigar and a class of bourbon.  That helped things a little, too.
One thing is for sure: after watching the Rangers, the Tigers definitely need an infusion of speed.

I'm writing this a bit early this week, because I'm leaving for DC tomorrow.  I'm going to catch a Red Wings/Capitals game on Saturday while I'm out there.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Before I get to the picks, let's talk about your Bengals for a second.  That Palmer deal was highway robbery, and it sets the Bengals up for what could be something terrific.  They already have a young, talented team, but now, with a couple first round picks in the next draft, and a couple second round picks in the following draft (which could be a first rounder, if the Raiders make the playoffs this year), they have a real shot to build a team that could contend for a while.
I can see it working out for the Raiders, too...but it's a smaller chance of success.  It's possible that Palmer never really fully recovered from his elbow injury, and that this time away is exactly what he needed.  If he can just be a decent quarterback for a couple of years, with that running game, the Raiders could be in a position to contend for the next few years.  If, however, Palmer looks like he has the past couple of years, then the Raiders are sunk.  That is simply too much to give up for a QB who hasn't been great for a few years.  Especially considering the Bengals weren't planning on trading him during the year, and probably would have only gotten a single second round pick (if that) during the offseason.
Of course, as a Bengals fan, I know you're thinking, "How can Mike Brown screw this up?"

To the picks:

San Diego over New York Jets
The Chargers haven't looked great, but the Jets have looked pretty bad.
Also, I watched the entire game on Monday.  I know Revis had some good plays, but Brandon Marshall absolutely abused him.  That's nothing to be ashamed of...Marshall is quite a bit bigger than Revis.  But still, the announcers felt compelled to defend him.  I don't understand.
One more Revis note: that guy gets away with more illegal contact than any DB I've seen.  It's ridiculous.  He is constantly hitting/grabbing receivers past the 5 yard mark.  They really need to crack down on that.

Tampa Bay over Chicago
The Bears looked great against the Vikings.  I'm not a huge believer in the Bucs, but I do believe that their defensive line will be able to get pressure on Cutler.  Of course, I believed Jared Allen would do terrible things to Cutler.  What I'm saying is, I don't know much.

Carolina over Washington
Call me crazy, but I'll take Cam Newton over John Beck.

Detroit over Atlanta
Yes, the Lions can be beat.  Get pressure on Stafford, and try to minimize the damage Calvin Johnson can do to you (besides Johnson, the Lions receivers really don't look great...and Stafford's stats to receivers other than Johnson aren't great).  But the Falcons won't be able to get pressure, and I don't think they can take away Johnson.

Seattle over Cleveland
Because the Browns look terrible, and the Seahawks slightly less terrible.

Denver over Miami
The Dolphins looked great at times this past week, and awful at others.  I'm banking on that same sort of performance here.
I feel a little bad for Tebow.  Directly before his first start of the season, the Broncos traded away their best receiver.

Houston over Tennessee
The Texans should be able to run, and Schaub will have a couple big plays.

Oakland over Kansas City
From what I understand, Palmer will actually be starting in this game.  I can see this being a game where he only attempts around 15-20 passes, and they just keep feeding the ball to McFadden/Bush.

Pittsburgh over Arizona
Coming off the bye, Kolb will throw for 200 yards, 1 TD, and at least 2 picks.  How are you feeling about that contract extension, Fitzgerald?

Green Bay over Minnesota
The Packers beat the Rams by 21, and they looked like they weren't even trying.  They're on an entirely different level this year than they were last year.  It's been amazing to watch.  I'll be on my way back from DC during this game, so I won't be able to see it.  But I'd be surprised if they don't pile up massive points on the Vikings.

Dallas over St. Louis
The Cowboys hung with the Patriots last week.  The Rams weren't even close to the Packers.  I'll take the Cowboys by a lot.

New Orleans over Indianapolis
At some point, the Colts will win a game.  They have too much talent not to.  But they won't here.
Here's a question, though: what's up with Drew Brees?  He threw 22 interceptions last year (a career high), and already has 8 through 6 games this year.  Is he trying too hard?

Baltimore over Jacksonville
Yeesh.
The only thing that will be interesting in this game will be to see if Flacco can complete 50% of his passes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rodgers, NBA, Tigers and Picks

In response to your Rodgers question a couple of posts ago:
I heard Theismann say that on the podcast.  I don't know...it seems like hyperbole to me.  I mean, Rodgers is playing the position about as well as it can be played right now.  As far as guys playing right now, I'd take him over anyone.  He can do it all.  He really has been having an amazing season.
However...
I can't say that he's the best to ever play.  Maybe one day we'll be able to say that about him...but not now.  It is way too early in his career to start throwing out stuff like that.  Plus, it's a different era for quarterbacks.  It wasn't all that long ago that defenses were pretty much allowed to maul receivers, provided the ball wasn't in the air.  That makes things a lot harder for a quarterback, especially when running a precise timing route.  Defenses have less power than they used to, and that is leading to bigger numbers for quarterbacks.
Again, nothing against Rodgers.  I love Rodgers.  And, like I said, he's the best quarterback in the league right now.  But I think you need more than just a few years to start proclaiming someone "the best ever".
About Favre...I think this is an instance where his later years are clouding his past accomplishments.  In his prime, Favre was a force.  He had an amazing arm.  We always hear about his "gunslinger mentality", but he wasn't always like that.  Or, if he was, he was good enough to complete the pass.  Look at Rodgers now: he makes some risky throws, but he doesn't throw many interceptions (this year, he has 14 TDs against 2 INTs).  Last year, he had 28 TDs against 11 INTs.  Now, look at Favre's 1996 season (the year they won the Super Bowl).  He had 39 TDs against 13 INTs.
I know that numbers don't tell the whole story, but still.  It's a good starting point.  Also, keep in mind that Favre used to be pretty quick.  Not fast, but he could run for yardage if he had to.
I hesitate to say that Rodgers is playing better than Favre ever has, because Favre really was amazing.  It's just that his later years tend to make people gloss over the great years he had.

I'm with you on the NBA lockout.  I was really excited about this season.  But I'm not overly broken up about it.  I think that's mainly because the general consensus about this lockout was that it would be a surprise if there was a season this year.  Most people were saying that before the NBA Finals were even over last year.  "I'd be surprised if there's a season next year."  So it's not that I'm indifferent about it, but I kind of expected this.  I'm disappointed, but it's not like we didn't see this coming.
I'll tell you this, though: every time I see a quote from David Stern, I scowl a little bit.  He just seems like such a weasel about it all.

Game 6 of the Tigers/Rangers series starts in about 30 minutes.  It's been a tough series from my standpoint, but it's been a good series.  I give the Tigers the edge tonight, with Scherzer going up against Holland.  The Tigers have been hitting a little better, and I think they'll be able to throw some runs up early, and tack a few more on as the game progresses.  That sets up Game 7 tomorrow, which should be terrific.
A piece of advice for Leyland: don't pitch to Cruz unless you absolutely have to.  I've never seen a guy hit the way Cruz has been hitting this series.  It's insane.
Also...here's a question for Leyland about Game 5: why announce to the Rangers (and the rest of the world) that Benoit and Valverde wouldn't be pitching in the game?  It worked out pretty well (Verlander was able to pitch deep into the game, and Coke was able to close it out...if only by a sliver), but still.  Seems like a terrible tactic.  Of course, I could say that about a lot of things Leyland has done this year.

NFL pick time:

Detroit over San Francisco
This past Monday was the first time I really saw the Lions this year.  They looked terrific.  The defense looked dominant (although that was partly aided by the terrible Chicago line, but still), and the offense looked explosive.  They should win this game by at least a touchdown.
Still, I can see their problems.  Stafford looks exactly like I remember him at Georgia: he'll make some big plays, but he'll also overthrow guys quite a bit.  In this past game, he was even underthrowing some guys on comeback routes.  However, just like at Georgia, the announcers will always cover for him.
Also, when you're throwing to Calvin Johnson, you're going to look better than you normally do.  Culpepper knows a thing or two about how a receiver can make you look good.

Green Bay over St. Louis
I think this will be close through the first half (the Rams defense isn't terrible), but the Packers will pull away in the second half.  I can also see the Rams moving the ball a little in the first quarter.  Of course, this could just be me being paranoid.

Carolina over Atlanta
I'm with you on this.  I think the Panthers will be able to pile up yardage throughout the game against this defense, and the Falcons offense won't be able to keep up.  Also, like you, I think the Lloyd-to-Carolina trade absolutely needs to happen.

Cincinnati over Indianapolis
The Bengals defense has looked too good so far to let Painter do much of anything.  I think he'll have a decent game, but it won't be enough.

Buffalo over New York Giants
Eli throws at 3 picks for the second straight week, and your boy Freddie Jackson goes bonkers.

Pittsburgh over Jacksonville
I'm with you on this.  The Steelers don't look great, but the Jags look awful.  Just dreadful.

Washington over Philadelphia
I can see this being one of those "DeAngelo Hall takes some stupid chances but ends up with 3 picks" type of games.  Also, I refuse to pick the Eagles against a team with a good running game until they prove they can stop someone.

Baltimore over Houston
I would have picked the Ravens regardless, but the loss of Mario Williams and Andre Johnson make this pick a lot easier.

Oakland over Cleveland
People can say, "They're winning this for Al Davis," all they want, but that doesn't change the fact that they're playing a flawed Browns team.

New England over Dallas
Romo should put up huge numbers here, especially with Austin and Bryant back and reasonably healthy coming off the bye.  But I just can't see them winning this game.

New Orleans over Tampa Bay
Coming into the season, I wasn't as high on the Bucs as most people seemed to be.  Still, I did not see that beat down at the hands of the 49ers coming last week.

Minnesota over Chicago
But only because I think Cutler may be dead by halftime at the hands of Jared Allen.

Miami over New York Jets
I don't know why, but I just have a feeling that this is a "Matt Moore plays a terrific game," type nights.

I'm Brandon Marshall and I'm out of my mind.

The consensus seems to be that no one cares about the NBA lockout, because pigskin/playoff baseball seem to be holding down the fort. This man disagrees. I do love football season, especially when the Bengals are feisty, but basketball is probably my favorite sport. The cancellation of the first two weeks hurts my soul, because the players and owners still seem to be miles apart in terms of reaching an agreement. Like you, I had been checking for Simmons less and less but when I saw he wrote a piece on the lockout, I decided to check it out. It was a good read. I can't remember the last time I said that about a Simmons piece.

We've had some great baseball games lately, especially in the Detroit/Texas series. I'm thinking each series goes seven, but I couldn't tell you who wins either. Ive still got my hopes up that T-Plush will get a chance to do T-Plush things before this thing is said and done.

From the man that gave us the phrase "popcorn muscles", Brandon Marshall has now made it his goal to get thrown out of this week's game before halftime. I think that means it's time for NFL picks.

Panthers over Falcons- The Panthers need to jump all over Brandon Lloyd, especially if it's true that all Denver wants for him is a fifth round pick. I think this week Carolina stops coming close, and finally gets the win over an Atlanta team that is regretting the Ghoulio Jones trade already.

Bengals over Colts- I have a bad feeling about this game, but I'm hoping we can get out to an earlier lead to take the game out of the hands of Freeney/Mathis and put it in the hands of Painter.

Lions over 49ers- I think Alex Smith comes crashing back to Earth here. This one could get ugly.

Packers over Rams- Has a "28-7 at the end of the first quarter" feel to me.

Bills over Giants-A brutal watch for the first three quarters before a fantastic ending.

Steelers over Jaguars- I still don't have a good feeling about Pittsburgh. Jacksonville is terrible though. It's early, but I don't see it with Gabbert.

Eagles over Redskins- If not now, then when? This team is too talented to keep losing the way they do. Then again, I kept saying that about last year's Bengal squad.

Raiders over Browns- By far, the highlight of Al Davis' passing was the guy on NFL Redzone calling a Oakland TD last week and saying, "You know Al Davis is loving that one...wherever he is". Killed me. Don't look now but Darrius Heyward-Bey is on pace to shatter all his career highs this season.

Ravens over Texans- That Schaub interception last week was hideous. Here's to hoping he puts a couple more up for grabs for my man, E. Reed.

Patriots over Cowboys- Should be a great game, especially with Miles Austin suiting up. Again, before the season there was a solid chance this would be a good game. Why are the Dolphins-Jets facing off on Monday Night? If there is any doubt, shouldn't you just look at the quarterbacks? Henne-Sanchez wasn't going to be a good faceoff before the season, and now Henne isn't even playing.

Saints over Buccaneers- My goodness. I think I left a bag on the Bucs bandwagon. I can't find that thing anywhere. They looked terrible last week. This week won't be much better.

Vikings over Bears- Cutler was outstanding against the Lions. It's he/Forte, and that's about it. By the way, Forte is on pace for the rare 1,000/1,000 season. Shades of Marshall Faulk! Charlie Garner is rolling over in his grave.

Jets over Dolphins- I will watch this game intently until Brandon Marshall makes his move. After that, who cares?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Brewers/Cardinals and Week 5 Picks

My God, will someone put the Wildcats out of their misery? In a 54-3 loss to South Carolina this afternoon, UK put up the following stats: 2-13 on third down conversions, 4 completed passes the entire game, 6 first downs the entire game, 6 turnovers, 0.7 yards per pass. Morgan Newton is trying out there, but he's just not very good...and his supporting cast is even worse. Please make it stop.

On the flip side of UK athletics, John Calipari is taking full advantage of the lockout. I love hearing about what star is on campus. In the last couple of weeks I’ve heard/seen pictures of LeBron, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Derrick Rose being in town. All good players and all have no ties to Kentucky other than Coach Cal. The man knows how to make the best of a bad situation.

Color me excited for a Brewers-Cardinals series. I think Brewers-Phillies probably would have been better ball, but think the Brew Crew has a better shot of advancing against the Cardinals. Add in the division rivalry and Zach Greinke’s recent jabs at Chris Carpenter, and I think this could be a good one. Kudos to whomever decided that keeping a live camera on Nyjer Morgan AFTER he had a division winning hit was a good idea. Hilarity ensued. Now I get T-Plush with another 4-7 games against the Cardinals? I couldn’t ask for much more.

Agreed on Al Davis. They probably already have a guy in house that has been praying for this day the last 12 years. If only Mike Brown do the honorable thing and pass away.

Pick time

Tennessee over Pittsburgh
Roethlisberger has taken consecutive near catastrophic hits below the knees in the last two weeks. Third time is the charm. Titans win.

New York Giants over Seattle
We’ve begun the Bye weeks and the Redskins and Giants sit atop the NFC East. Who knew?

Cincinnati over Jacksonville
I think Dalton-Green have a big day. Cincy has reached such a level of feistiness, that this is the first game all season I will be legitimately disappointed if we lose.

New Orleans over Carolina
I’m in on the Panthers. I’ve glanced at enough advance statistics to know that teams the keep losing close games eventually put it all together. Cam and the boys will eventually start closing…starting next week.

Oakland over Houston
The Raiders are already playing surprisingly well. Now they have the “Do it for Al” chip on their shoulder. I think McFadden runs wild. First, on the gridiron and then, on the ladies of Houston.

Philadelphia over Buffalo
Buffalo can’t rush the passer enough to put the heat on Vick. I like Vick cancelling the radio show he agreed to do. It’s something small, but it shows he is at least trying to focus more on football. This is the type of move he would not have made in his Atlanta days. I think Philly makes a run and it starts with this game.

Indianapolis over Kansas City
The Colts defense has surprised me a little bit. They have really stepped it up. Painter will look a little better this week than he did last week, and they'll do just enough to get past the Chiefs.

Arizona over Minnesota
I’m out on these Vikings. They are abysmal. I think Ponder sees a little time here and gets the job going forward.

Tampa Bay over San Francisco
Looks like I was a year late on my Alex Smith prediction. He has a nice game here, but I think Tampa pulls out the win on short rest.

New England over New York Jets
I heard the words, “I think people are finally realizing Mark Sanchez is not that good.” Anyone just realizing that is an idiot. New England wins big.

San Diego over Denver
San Diego better get this one, because I think Oakland is about to go on a decent run.

Green Bay over Atlanta
Falcons fans really think they will get revenge here. It’s cute. This is something I’ve mentioned at work the past week or so, and the Brett Favre’s ridiculous comments really brought it out of me, but who in the history of football is playing better than Aaron Rodgers is right now? I’m not saying he is the best of all time, but I have a hard time imagining anyone doing it better. I never saw Johnny Unitas or Joe Montana, but at best they could only be matching Rodger’s efforts over the past 12 months or so (even a little longer). He’s better right now than I think Favre ever was. Dameshek and Joe Theismann recently talked about this very same thing and Theismann admitted that Rodgers is probably the purest passer he’s ever seen, and maybe the best ever. I heard a rumor that you enjoy rooting for the Packers of Green Bay. How do you feel about this?

Detroit over Chicago
I’m happy the Lions are doing well but this past week I’ve heard talk that Suh is the best draft pick the Lions ever made. I’m going to need him to play in more than 20 career NFL games before I hear any reasonable defense of such foolishness. Barry Sanders is rolling over in his grave.

Theismann, a decent listen on Dameshek’s podcast, also brought up the point that Tony Romo needs to go. His crippling decisions have no place on America’s team and so on. Doesn’t he make a lot of sense on the Vikings? I imagine the Vikings want to see what they have in Ponder this season, but if they have a top 10 pick in the draft next year, wouldn’t it be worth rolling the dice on Romo? Romo is no spring chicken, but neither are Peterson/Jared Allen and the gang. Give up the first rounder or Ponder/later picks. Whatever. Just seems like a match to me.

New pizza place named Marco's Pizza opened up down here. Pre-tty good. I see there are a couple in Lexington. Worth checking out if you're looking for a decent slice. It's no Puccini's, but still good eats.

Tigers and NFL

I'm sitting here, waiting for the Tigers/Rangers game to come back from a short rain delay.  That win in game 5 over the Yankees was an exhausting game to watch.  So far, game 1 of this series has just been frustrating.  The Tigers are getting baserunners, but they're not knocking any of them in.  In the first inning, they had bases loaded with 1 out...but, because Leyland isn't the best line-up maker you've ever seen, he had Ordonez hitting after Victor Martinez.  So, with the bases loaded, Ordonez hit into a double-play...something that pretty much any Tigers fan could see coming from a mile away.  As of right now, the Tigers are down 3-0.  But, if Verlander was getting that strike on the outside of the plate, it would probably only be 1-0 right now.  He's hitting his spots, but the strike zone has been amazingly small.

I'll tell you what has surprised me so far: I kind of like Terry Francona.  He's a little rough in the booth at times, and he seems to make some of the same points over and over (he keeps saying that a hitter is more dangerous if he can hit to all fields, and he has used the phrase "professional hitter" about a thousand times), but he has had some really good insight.  Buck keeps bringing it back to the Red Sox, but, when Francona is talking about the game itself, I've really enjoyed him.

To the picks.

Tennessee over Pittsburgh
The Titans have been looking good, and the Steelers haven't been.  Their run defense has looked awful this year, and Chris Johnson had his first 100 yard game of the year last week.  He could have a huge day here.

New York Giants over Seattle
Even though they've been decimated by injuries, the Giants are currently sitting at 3-1, with a chance to go to 4-1 after this game.  It's amazing what playing the NFC West can do for your record.

Cincinnati over Jacksonville
Gabbart hasn't looked great so far.  I can see the Bengals forcing a couple of turnovers and winning another close one.

New Orleans over Carolina
I think this is going to be another one of those, "Newton puts up big numbers, but the Panthers still lose," type games.

Oakland over Houston
I can see the Texans struggling a little with the loss of Andre Johnson.  They'll be okay in the long run, but they'll have a hard time adjusting in time for this game.
Here's a question about Al Davis: I know he was an innovator, and a big part of football history...but are the Raiders now better off without him?  I guess we don't know yet who will be taking over the GM position, but couldn't this be a really good thing for that team?  They're already a young team on the rise.  If they are able to get a good GM in place to build around their pieces (rather than taking guys like Heyward-Bey in the first round), this team could be really dangerous in the not-too-distant future.
Obviously I hate thinking about that...but I can't help it.

Buffalo over Philadelphia
I just saw the Fox promo for this game: "Fitzpatrick and the explosive Bills offense go against the Eagles."  Before the year started, that "explosive offense" would be placed before the Eagles.  It's amazing how things change once the season gets started.
Anyway, the Eagles run defense is horrific.  Your boy Freddie Jackson goes off.

Indianapolis over Kansas City
The Colts defense has surprised me a little bit.  They have really stepped it up.  Painter will look a little better this week than he did last week, and they'll do just enough to get past the Chiefs.

Minnesota over Arizona
That Cardinals defense looks terrible.  Peterson will get going.  McNabb will have a good game.  And the Vikings defense will beat up on Kolb.

San Francisco over Tampa Bay
The Bucs are traveling to the West Coast on a short week.  The 49ers, while not great, have been looking better.  Also, I'm still not buying into the Bucs.

[The Tigers game came back on.  Jackson hit an RBI double.  Wilson struggled with his command, loaded the bases, and ended up throwing a wild pitch that scored Jackson from 3rd.  Then, with 1st base open and Ordonez up, they intentionally walked Ordonez to get the lefty-lefty match-up with Avila.  Now there's another rain delay.  So there's a chance that Wilson won't come back out after this rain delay, which means Ogando will be pitching against Avila.  So there will be a righty-lefty match-up, instead.  So that intentional walk to Ordonez may end up backfiring on the Rangers.]

New England over New York Jets
There was a moment at the end of the Jets/Ravens game last week that killed me.  Sanchez dropped back, got the pass off...and immediately dropped into the fetal position on the ground, assuming someone was going to end up hitting him.  That was terrific.
I know the Patriots don't have a great pass rush, but the Jets don't really have a good running game this year, and I think we're starting to see what happens when you put the game in the hands of Sanchez.

San Diego over Denver
Although, with the way they've been playing, it will be closer than it should be.

Green Bay over Atlanta
The last time Rodgers was in Atlanta, he destroyed the team so thoroughly, most of the city decided not to even mention that they had a football team for months.  He has looked unstoppable this year, as well.  The Falcons pass rush still looks awful.  Julio Jones will have another big game, but it won't be enough.  The Packers will demolish this team.

Detroit over Chicago
The Bears will pick Stafford off a couple of times, but the Lions may end up killing Cutler.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Interceptions: Talk About It

I just watched Andy Dalton throw an interception for a touchdown. Only it wasn't an interception. Dalton hit Andre Caldwell on a short pass. It wasn't a great pass, but it got there and Caldwell got two hands on it. As Caldwell was falling to the ground, Bryan Scott of the Bills made a heads up play and just took it out of his hands. (EDIT: After further review, Caldwell lost the ball and Scott picked it up off of Caldwell's feet. Point remains the same.) He took it from him and went 43 yards the other way for a "pick six". Again, the throw by Dalton wasn't perfect but Caldwell had two mitts on it and gave it up. That should go against Caldwell, not Dalton. With all the advanced statistics out, there has to be something that categorizes interceptions and there may already be one for all I know. You could go "At fault interceptions" and "No fault interceptions". You could also pin them to the receiver. "Yea, Brandon Marshall caught 97 balls last year, but he had 9 Faults too". You could even get really specific. I would love to see the following categories:

The Kitna- Happens every week. QB throws a pass and it gets tipped sky high by his receiver or a defender. Defender comes down with it.

The Palmer- An overthrow so blatant that the defenders begin planning how they intend to block for the interceptor, as the ball is still in the air.

The Manning- QB and receiver weren't on the same page for whatever reason. Maybe the WR ran a wrong route, had an option and zigged when the QB was looking for a zag, or maybe the QB just botched the read. This is never the case with Peyton Manning. It is ALWAYS the receiver's fault.

The Rivers- QB has more than likely lead a 12 play-87 yard scoring drive the previous possession. Defense gives up a score right back and leaves the QB 14 seconds to go 80 yards all over again. His last gasp heave towards the endzone is of course, picked off. Also applicable to the halftime hailmary.

The Ed Reed- If a QB makes a good read/throw, but a defender makes an even better play, should the QB get 100% percent of the blame? This one is debatable.

The Sanchez- QB error. Plain and simple. I'll listen to suggestions to rename this "The Romo."

Am I missing anything? You got Bill Barnwell's number?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Week 4 Picks

Without a horse in this race, I'd have to say I'm pulling for the Brewers. After the Greinke trade, you and I both agreed that Milwaukee seemed like a nice enough place and that they would appreciate Greinke, and having a good ball club. Milwaukee all but knew that this would be Prince Fielder's last season in a Brewer uniform, and decided to hold on to him and shoot for it all. Love that move. Maybe you've heard about it, but apparently the Red Sox missed the playoffs. This deprives me the chance to root for whatever team they were matched up. Your Tigers come up next. I'd love to see them knock off the Yankees.

I hear a lot of people picking Florida over Bama tonight. I don't see it. Their defense should be able to contain Rainey/Demps and make Brantley chuck it around. Eek.

The Wildcats submitted another piss poor performance today. Make it stop.

Detroit over Dallas- I think Calvin Johnson has a monster day against that secondary. You mentioned DeMarcus Ware and it's a shame you don't hear more about him. I usually hear Clay Matthews name when talking about elite pass rushers, and rightfully so, but Ware is a monster and I rarely hear anything about it.

Carolina over Chicago- I don't like that Chicago team one bit. I see at least one play where Cam Newton breaks a Julius Peppers tackle, scrambles around and throws a 60 yarder on a rope to Steve Smith.

Buffalo over Cincinnati- Buffalo always beats us. Usually we're terrible-decent and they're awful when we play, and they always beat us. This time they are on rise and we're in the pits. I like to imagine Carson Palmer watching the game at home and hoping Fitzpatrick and Dalton suffer catastrophic injuries.

Cleveland over Tennessee- Kenny Britt may have been the most valuable player on this team, CJ included. I have no idea who the Titans #2 receiver is. Nate Washington? Yancy Thigpen? Hell, I don't know.

Minnesota over Kansas City- Kansas City showed a little fight last week, but Jared Allen has a field day here.

Washington over St. Louis- Washington isn't terrible. This much I know to be true. I think St. Louis is better than they have showed this far, but not by much.

New Orleans over Jacksonville- Gabbert will fare better in non-monsoon weather. Not much better.

Houston over Pittsburgh- Pittsburgh has no running game and average receivers. This one could get of hand quickly.

Philadelphia over San Francisco- Alex Smith has had a surprisingly solid year thus far. I think this game comes down to him needing to make one play. He won't make it.

NY Giants over Arizona- John Clayton is on the edge of his seat during this battle of """""elite"""""" quarterbacks.

Atlanta over Seattle- Atlanta will crush the first bad team they face this season. This will get Atlanta fans hope sky high before Green Bay crushes their dreams next week on primetime television.

San Diego over Miami- Don't you remember how great Norv Turner was with those early 90s Cowboy teams? How dare you question him.

New England over Oakland- I think this one is close for about a half. Then New England stretches the lead and wins comfortably.

Green Bay over Denver- There will be nothing "Shoot-out"-esque about this one. GB big.

Baltimore over NY Jets- Put me down for one Ed Reed Pick Six.

Tampa Bay over Indianapolis- Painter has a decent outing here, but it won't be enough.

MLB Playoffs, NFL Picks

Do you smell that?  That's the MLB playoffs.  Well, only one game so far.  I was really excited (as were a lot of people) to see Verlander vs. Sabathia last night.  We got 2 innings of Sabathia, and only 1 inning of Verlander.  So that kind of sucked.  I guess tonight we'll see Fister vs. Nova, starting in the bottom of the second inning, with the score tied 1-1.  The way Fister has been pitching, I feel good about the Tigers chances.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the end of the regular season.  I had all four relevant games pulled up at the same time, and it was glorious.  Watching the Red Sox lose to the Orioles, then seeing the Rays walk-off against the Yankees just a couple of minutes later was glorious.  I was rooting for a couple play-in games, but this could not have worked out any better.  That was the best (non-Tigers related) baseball night that I can ever remember watching.

Who are you going to be pulling for in these playoffs?  Any way I can get you to hitch your wagon to the Tigers?

Before getting to the NFL, let's talk college for a second.  Florida is playing Alabama tonight.  I'm hoping that it will be a good game...but I can't shake the feeling that Alabama is a much better team.

Now, for the NFL picks.

Dallas over Detroit
This is the Lions loss that they should have picked up last week.  I expect Ware to have a massive game, and that will be the main difference.

Chicago over Carolina
I really don't trust either team, but the Bears have a better defense.

Cincinnati over Buffalo
The Bengals defense isn't terrible, and I think they'll be able to hang some points on the Bills.  Of course, if the Bills put up 35 points in this game, I may actually have to start believing in them.

Tennessee over Cleveland
Do you remember all the talk about Colt McCoy before the season started?  How he was getting ready to take the next step in his development?  That wasn't really accurate.

Minnesota over Kansas City
Because the Vikings are slightly less than terrible, while the Chiefs are an absolute train wreck.

Washington over St. Louis
The Rams defense has looked good at times, which may give them a shot here.  Their offense, however, looks remarkably terrible.

New Orleans over Jacksonville
This won't be pretty.

Houston over Pittsburgh
The Steelers just barely got past the Colts last week (and, if Painter had completed that pass down the sideline, they would have won).  I'm not sure what's going on in Pittsburgh, but they haven't looked great yet.  I can see this one going down to the wire.

San Francisco over Philadelphia
That 49ers defense looks good.  They'll knock Vick around a little bit, then they'll knock Kafka around a little bit more.  The Eagles run defense is terrible.  I can see the 49ers hitting hard on defense and keeping it on the ground on offense and winning by 10, while the entire city of Philadelphia pretends the only team playing that day is the Phillies.

Arizona over New York Giants
Kolb forgets about his terrible day last week and torches the Giants secondary by hooking up with Fitzgerald for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Seattle over Atlanta
The Falcons have not been looking good so far.  I'm not a believer in the Seahawks, but they always seem to play better at home.  Between this game and the Braves collapse, you may want to leave Atlanta for a few weeks.

San Diego over Miami
But I'm not feeling overly confident of it.  They're winning early in the season, which is a nice departure, but they're looking far from great.  Which leads to this question (which I ask someone every year): how does Norv Turner still have a job?

Oakland over New England
The Patriots defense is not looking great (what else is new?).  The Raiders just destroyed the Jets on the ground last week.  I can see a repeat scenario here.

Green Bay over Denver
If we're looking at a shoot-out here (like I've seen some people predict), I will take Rodgers over Orton every single time.

Baltimore over New York Jets
If the Ravens play like they did in weeks 1 & 3 (and not like they did in week 2), they'll win this one easily.

Tampa Bay over Indianapolis
It looks like the Curtis Painter era has begun.  I think he'll be fine.  Not this week, but down the line.  He seemed to be nervous last week.  As he calms down, he'll get better.  (As far as I know, I'm the only person who believes in Curtis Painter.)