Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week 4 Picks and NBA Rankings

Congrats to Homer Bailey for the no-hitter last night. I caught the last couple innings of it and enjoyed every minute. I've heard an argument that Bailey should be the game 2 starter for the playoffs, as he has pitched considerably better on the road. The premise is that Latos-Bailey open up on the road in Games 1 and 2, before Cueto opens up at home for Game 3. I dig it.

Currently watching Geno Smith destroy Baylor. At the moment, he's 43/49 for 635 yards, 8 TD's, 0 INT's. And he has thrown a number of absolute beauties today. Thank goodness Baylor's defense is enjoying the show just as much as I am.

The NBA just finished ranking every player in the league, 1-500. To no one's surprise, LeBron James was #1. Also, to no one's surprise, Eddy Curry was #500. Both NBA champs. Go figure. I've made it known that I believe Dwight Howard is the 2nd best player in the league, but I have no issues that ESPN ranked him 3rd, behind LeBron and Durant. My issue lies with 4th and 5th, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose, respectively. I believe Chris Paul is right where he belongs. I do not believe Derrick Rose is right where he belongs. I won't say too much now, because I'm in talks with a friend/fellow writer/Rose fan about doing a guest blog post where we argue Derrick Rose against Chris Paul. I'm looking forward to it.

I didn't see the Packers-Seahawks debacle live, but the replays left me just as confused. Enough has been said about it, so I won't go into it but I truly hope this doesn't come back to bite your Packers.

Pick time.

Atlanta over Carolina- I'm with you. I don't think Atlanta is as good as people think they are, but they are handling their business. They did it against three subpar teams, but 3-0 is 3-0. They make it 4-0 here.

New England over Buffalo- If Spiller/Jackson were healthy going into this, I'd have no issue picking Buffalo. Both are looking questionable so I think the Pats get the victory.

Minnesota over Detroit- I won't say I'm driving the Christian Ponder bandwagon, but I've got a nice window seat. Not that I watch a ton of Vikings games, but everytime I saw him, he seemed to make an incredible play or two before doing something bonehead. You figure he starts to level out on the bonehead plays, like throwing the ball out of bounds or just taking a sack. I think he has another solid day here.

Texans over Titans- VERY fascinated by Chris Johnson's rushing stats this season. He's currently on pace for 240 rushing yards this season, on 176 carries. Surely, he's got to breakout for 45 or 50 yards, right?

Kansas City over San Diego- Kansas City beat a bad team. San Diego got spanked by a good team. What I'm really trying to say here, is that I have no interest in this game.

San Francisco over NY Jets- You think Santonio Holmes sees Sanchez and Tebow warming up before the game and has the urge to try to tear his own ACLs?

Seattle over St. Louis- Only because I can see the "You think the Seahawks weren't ready to come out strong after a week of criticism? Think again!" headlines now.

Green Bay over New Orleans- I argued that Green Bay is pissed after Monday night and destroys New Orleans. A coworker argued Green Bay is hanging their heads after getting screwed and gets shocked here. He's wrong.

Arizona over Miami- The hit on Vick was scary. I haven't seen a lot of the Cardinals yet, but I've heard great things about that defense. No reason to assume they won't keep it up here.

Oakland over Denver- I remember a Monday Night game where Carson/Chad took on Peyton/Harrison as the heirs to the throne. Now Carson is semi-washed up and in Oakland. Peyton appears to be fully washed up and in Denver. Chad is out of work and his mind. Marvin Harrison has had his name mentioned in multiple shootings. Time flies.

Cincinnati over Jacksonville- A little worried about Dalton's pocket presence. At times he looks a bit shaky, though there isn't really any pressure coming. Nonetheless, he has stepped up and made some nice throws that I didn't see from him last year. This is the start of a stretch of winnable games for us. It will be a nice test.

Washington over Tampa Bay- The Redskins have to stop running the option with RG3. It's for his own good. The six yards they pick up on the pitch are not worth the abuse he's taking, when defenders hit him no matter what he does. Also, I'm on board with Dameshek concerning Griffin's name: Instead of going with "Griffin III #10" on the jersey, he should have went with "Griffin #3", right? Or even better, the full name, a la Isiah Thomas! "Robert Griffin #3" is a snazzy jersey.

NY Giants over Philadelphia- I have no idea what Mike Vick's offensive line has against him. But it's going to get him killed. He's getting murdered out there and it's not because of his reckless running. It's because they can't hold a block to save their lives. Enter the Giants defensive line.

Dallas over Chicago- This kills me.

Week 4 Picks

I missed doing my picks last week, mainly because I'm lazy.

I probably don't need to voice my displeasure in the ending of the Monday Night Football game from last week, but I will a little bit, anyway.
I was not a happy man.
I know there were bad calls on both teams, but the Packers really got boned in that game.  And it wasn't just the last play (although there were two terrible calls - well, one bad call, and one bad non-call - on that play alone).  There were two huge calls in their last two drives that kept the Seahawks in the game.
With the Seahawks in their own territory, MacMillan intercepted a pass by Russell Wilson.  But a bogus roughing the passer penalty wiped it out (Walden was in the process of tackling Wilson as the ball was released).
A defensive pass interference penalty was called on Shields.  Shields had perfect coverage on Rice.  In face, Rice pretty much tackled Shields, so it should have been offensive pass interference.  That was a 25 yard penalty on a first-and-15 for the Seahawks.

Of course, there was also a play where Greg Jennings got a helmet-to-helmet hit 25 yards down the field while running a route.  He retaliated, and the call was offsetting personal foul penalties.  No word on the blatant illegal contact.

The argument I keep hearing is, "Well, the Packers should've made more plays so that it didn't come down to the final play."  Yes.  That's true.  Their offense wasn't firing on all cylinders (especially in the first half, when they gave up 8 sacks).  Yes, they should have been up by more.  But, on a timing offense, it's hard to get going when the receivers are getting mugged 10 yards downfield on pretty much every play.  Should they have gone to the run a little sooner?  Yes.  But the Packers were robbed on that game.  The only consolation I have is that pretty much the entire country (outside of some people in Seattle) agrees with me.

One final note: if the NFL would have come out and said something like, "We screwed up.  That was a blown call.  We're sorry, but we're not overturning the the results of the game," I would completely understand that.  But they were more concerned with trying to back their replacement officials than an apology.  I have no respect for Goodell or the league.
I also have no respect for Golden Tate, Pete Carroll, or anyone who insists that Tate caught that ball.

I was planning on going back and watching a bunch of games during the week, but that game left a bad taste in my mouth, an I couldn't bring myself to watch any football this week.

I'm glad to have the real officials back, but I hate that the Packers drew Jeff Triplette for the game this week.  If there was one official that could be replaced, it's Triplette.  That guy is awful.

A couple baseball thoughts before I get to my picks.  The Tigers are fighting their way to the playoffs.  They're up 1 game with 5 to play.  That's a good position to be in, but I'm still nervous.  With a race this tight, this time of the year is extremely stressful.

And a big up to Homer Bailey on his no-hitter last night.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see any of it.

To the picks!

Atlanta over Carolina
I don't think the Falcons are the world-beaters they have looked like so far.  But they still look like a pretty good team, and the Panthers do not.

Buffalo over New England
The Bills are not a consistent team, but there are weeks when they look amazing.  This will be one of those weeks.

Minnesota over Detroit
Still not a believer in Ponder, but he'll have another good game here against a less-than-stellar Lions secondary.

Houston over Tennessee
The Texans are the most boringly good team in the league this year.

San Diego over Kansas City
The Chargers got absolutely waxed last weekend by the Falcons.  They'll want to take that loss out on someone.  And the Chiefs are a good team to take that out on.  Jamaal Charles isn't going to light up the same way he did last week.

San Francisco over New York Jets
I kind of want to watch this game, just to watch Sanchez get destroyed.

Seattle over St. Louis
From what I've seen, both of these teams have good defenses and pretty terrible offenses.  But the Seahawks have a healthy Marshawn Lynch, and the Rams have a banged-up Steven Jackson.

Green Bay over New Orleans
I didn't think the Saints would miss Sean Payton that much.  It's hard to believe they're looking 0-4 right in the face.

Arizona over Miami
The Cardinals defense looks legit.  Did you see the hit they put on Vick last week at the end of the half?  I'm surprised he got back up.

Oakland over Denver
Peyton will be sitting at 1-3 with 1 good game under his belt.  Yup...that sounds about right.

Cincinnati over Jacksonville
Dalton over Gabbert.

Washington over Tampa Bay
The Bucs have a terrific run defense but a terrible pass defense.  Griffin will absorb his share of hits today, but he should have a big day in the air.
Also, can the announcers stop all this "Robert Griffin the third" nonsense?  Just call him "Griffin".  That's completely fine.

Philadelphia over New York Giants
At some point, I have to assume the Eagles will stop looking terrible.  Might as well be here.

Dallas over Chicago
Romo over Cutler.

I realize not a ton of thought went into these picks.  My brain is not quite working, and, like I said, I didn't catch up on any of the games over this past week.  I'll bring my A game next week.  Promise.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 3 Picks

Reds are officially in the playoffs. Might clinch the division today. But at the same time, we might not though. Best wishes to Dusty Baker who has been in the hospital with an irregular heartbeat.

UK-Florida is about to kick off, and I'm almost certain that we're about to die for Will Muschamp's sins.

I forgot to mention it, but I really enjoyed your take on that Jags/Vikings final play with the All-22 film

Pick time.

Bears over Rams- I think the Bears win, but it's a close one. That Rams d-line should be able to get some pressure on Cutler, and I'm hearing that Forte is probably out. Still, I think Marshall/Jeffrey are too big for the Rams DB's and Michael Bush has a decent day filling in for Forte.

Bills over Browns- That Browns defense is solid. Meaning CJ Spiller might not run for 18 yards per carry against them. 9 or 10 YPC should do it. Bills win.

Cowboys over Buccaneers- Two teams coming off of disappointing losses. For the record, I don't really have an issue with what Tampa Bay did on the final player last week against the Giants. In a one score game, anything can happen and the way the story was being reported, I thought the Bucs defense hopped the line and frog splashed Eli Manning repeatedly. Much ado about nothing.'

Lions over Titans- That Titans line is opening no holes. Enter: Detroit's defensive line. This could get ugly.

Colts over Jaguars- I think Luck feasts here. I've seen bits of him in the preseason and from last week, and he just looks the part. His progressions are smooth, his footwork is good and he doesn't look nervous or mechanical at all. He picks these Jags apart.

Dolphins over Jets- Reggie Bush is playing some damn good football right now, and was one of probably two or three Dolphins players that came off well from "Hard Knocks". I think he has another good day here, and Tannehill screws up less than Sanchez.

49ers over Vikings- It  goes without saying, but San Francisco has been the class of the league so far. That defense is so sound, and they'll gladly take a field goal after field goal. San Fran getting up 9 points feels like any other team getting up 14 points. Alex Smith has also looked very good thus far. I think he has another nice day here.

Saints over Chiefs- I wouldn't be completely surprised to see the Saints lose here. They just don't look good. I haven't seen a bit of the Chiefs this season, but I do know that Romeo Crennel is still coach. Ill take New Orleans, please and thank you.

Bengals over Redskins- Offense looked a lot better last week. Defense still abysmal. That Redskins crowd should be hype for RGIII's home debut, but I think the loss of Orakpo/Carriker really show here in their first week without both. Dalton hasn't looked comfortable in the pocket this year, and hopefully he will have some time to stand tall without the Skins breathing down his neck. I also like AJ Green to have a big day against D'Angelo Hall.

Eagles over Cardinals- Let me just say that Michael Vick played one of the better games I've ever seen from him last week against Baltimore. I can't think of a game where a quarterback took more shots than that Bal-Philly game last week. He was getting hit on running plays and plays where the whistle was blown before the ball was thrown! And he never got antsy looking for somewhere to run. He stayed in the pocket and made his reads before being obliterated. I'm hearing a lot of Cardinals picks for this game, but I think Philly puts together a complete game and wins comfortably.

Falcons over Chargers- It falls on deaf ears here (and maybe it should because they won), but the Falcons should have won that game by more than six points. Three first quarter interceptions, all in great field position, puts any team in position for the blowout. Especially, any team with Super Bowl aspirations playing at home on Monday Night Football. Falcons fans are setting themselves up for more disappointment with this team.

Texans over Broncos- I've seen quite a few stats about how Peyton Manning owns these Houston Texans. Never has it been mentioned that Manning feasted on the Texans during their expansion years, and that these aren't your Grandaddy's Texans. And this aint your Granddaddy's Peyton Manning, as made painfully clear last Monday night.

Steelers over Raiders- Need the Raiders to keep losing to set us up with a nice second round pick for next year's draft. Thanks again, Hue Jackson!

Ravens over Patriots- Baltimore looked better than they are against Cincy. And a little worse than they are against Philly. The Patriots however,, may have legitimate concerns with the way they looked against Arizona. Hoping for a Patriots win, for division standing purposes, but I don't see it happening.

Packers over Seahawks- And the wack Monday Night games begin. I understand this was probably supposed to be a "Matt Flynn takes on Green Bay!" storyline when this game was scheduled. I get it. But it's in Seattle, so it's not even like he's going "home" to play the Pack. Also, he's Matt Flynn. Also also, he's not starting. Packers win big.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jaguars/Vikings: Final Play

This is my first attempt at looking at the All-22 film.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I hope to get better at this as I go on.

For my first attempt, I decided to look at the final play of the Jaguars/Vikings game.  We know how it ended: 4th and 3 in overtime, and Gabbert throws a deep pass down the right side of the field into double coverage.  He overthrows the pass.  Game over.  Vikings win.
But what else was out there?  Could he have gone somewhere else with the ball?  That's what I wanted to find out.

I will present you with 2 images: the first one is what we see pre-snap.  I drew the routes that that each receiver was going to run.  As you can see, there will be 3 deep routes and 2 short routes.

In this second image, we see what the defense looks like as Gabbert is getting ready to throw.  (I circled the potential receivers in red, and the receiver he actually threw to in yellow.)  The pocket is collapsing around him, but he could probably step up to the right to buy a little more time.  There appears to be a linebacker spying him in the middle of the field, so it's doubtful he'd be able to run for the first down.  The receiver he threw to is double-covered, but none of the other receivers get much separation.
The running back that lined-up on Gabbert's left runs a route in the flat.  As you can see, he is currently short of the first down marker.  There is a linebacker (circled in blue) who is watching that route.  Even if Gabbert had thrown to him, it's doubtful he would have been able to turn and pick up the first down without the linebacker bringing him down.
The running back that lined-up on Gabbert's right got tied up with a blocking assignment.  As a result, his route developed a little late, and he had not yet turned around by the time Gabbert was ready to throw.  He also had a linebacker draped all over him.
The other two receivers appeared to run fly routes.  Despite both of them being in man-to-man match-ups, neither one was able to achieve any separation.

My conclusion:
Gabbert could have stepped up in the pocket to buy a little more time.  Perhaps one of the receivers could have broken off their route and picked up the first down.
But really, this was a terrible play to run on a 4th-and-3 in overtime.  Maybe run a crossing pattern?  A couple slants?  A couple 4 yard outs?  If you're going to run a 5 receiver route, it would make a little more sense to keep 3 or 4 of them as short routes that would pick up the first down, especially when Gabbert isn't known for his deep ball.
Gabbert could have played this a little better, but the coaches did not put him in a position to succeed with this play call.  I'll put the Jaguars failure to succeed squarely on the shoulders of the offensive coordinator in this instance.

My other conclusion:
I love having access to the All-22 film.

This was fun.  I hope to do more of it in the future.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Week 2 Picks

I was on the run last weekend and didn't have time to get my picks in. I was on the run this Sunday and didn't get to see a whole lot of the games (thanks again for the hospitality). But I am ready this week to connect on 55-60% of my picks. Let's get to it.

Packers over Bears- A DYNAMITE selection for a Thursday night game. It goes without saying, that I'm a big fan of having a Thursday game every week. I think the Packers bounce back here, but it won't be easy. I haven't written about it, but I think Cedric Benson is done. We didn't have the greatest run blocking line last year, but he just didn't have the burst to hit holes like he did in prior seasons. Maybe the threat of Rodgers will get him some decent lanes, but I can't see him offering much in the way of a starter. Jay Cutler with some legit weapons should be fun. I think this is going to be a great game.

Bills over Chiefs- I don't think the Jets score 48 points ever again, so I'm not too worried about the Bills. I still don't think they're that good, but they won't need to be here. I don't see it with the Chiefs. I think that Bills d-line has a good day here and Buffalo wins comfortably.

Bengals over Browns- Yikes. That Monday Night game got out of hand quickly. We were getting it together going into halftime and then the wheels came off. Defense looked atrocious, Dalton looked shabby at best and the defense was terrible. I was very pleased with AJ Green, Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Andrew Hawkins. That's about it. We're not as bad as we looked on Monday. I think the Browns are as bad as they looked on Sunday.

Vikings over Colts- Another long day for Andrew Luck with Jared Allen breathing down his neck. To no one's surprise, Adrian Peterson is a different species from the rest of us. I think I'm a bit higher on Christian Ponder than a lot of people are and think he has another good day here.

Texans over Jaguars- This won't be much of a game. Still baffled by Maurice Jones Drew holding out and then coming back with nothing to show for it. Way to stick it to the man, Maurice.

Raiders over Dolphins- Normally "Hard Knocks" has you thinking a team is ready to go 16-0, or 15-1 at the least. Not the case here. The Dolphins are terrible in practice and will be terrible this season. Fun fact: The Dolphins starting quarterback (Tannehill), was the starting wide receiver on my college fantasy football team two years ago. Probably a bad sign for the Dolphins.

Patriots over Cardinals- No interest in this game. Zero.

Giants over Bucs- I find it hard for the Giants to look as bad as they did two weeks in a row. Though a 24-17 Bucs win and a ton of "What's wrong with the Giants?" headlines with a befuddled Eli shown in the backdrop wouldn't surprise me either.

Philadelphia over Baltimore- Philadelphia plays to their competition and I'm getting a feeling they come out gangbusters here. Baltimore looked great in the second half, but I don't think they can sustain that type of ball. They looked like a very beatable team in the first half against Cincinnati.

Cowboys over Seahawks- A lot to like with the Cowboys this year. Carr/Claiborne help that secondary and Demarcus Ware is terrifying. Seahawks got... Braylon Edwards?

Redskins over Rams- Clearly the Rams got a king's ransom for the right to RGIII. How soon until they regret that? Say they had the chance to trade Bradford for one first rounder and a mid rounder, then just took RGIII. Are they in better shape?

Steelers over Jets- The "Start Tebow!" bandwagon begins here with two interceptions and a lost fumble by Mark Sanchez.

Titans over Chargers- If nothing, the Titans offense should be decent to watch, no? I can see a couple of games where Locker/Johnson/Britt are cooking on all cylinders and hang like 40. Then follow it up with 9 points. I think they score a lot of points here.

49ers over Lions- The old Handshake-Gate Bowl. That 49ers defense is so solid. It seems like they never miss tackles, they never drop interceptions or get caught out of position. This doesn't bode well for a Lions team that needs Calvin Johnson to go crazy here for a win.

Broncos over Falcons- The Falcons bandwagon is jam packed. For my own sanity, I hope the Broncos get a win here to level the expectations of the people of Atlanta for a Matt Ryan led team.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Week 1 thoughts, Week 2 picks

Before I delve too deep into football, it should be noted that the Tigers are currently beating the White Sox 8-2 in the bottom of the 8th.  A win here brings the Tigers to 1 game back in the division.  A win tomorrow would tie them for the division lead.  C'mon can do it.
As I type that, Youkilis hit a 3-run home run.  8-5.  Shut this down.  Now.

Okay.  Football.

With my glorious subscription to NFL Game Rewind, I'm trying to go through and watch every single game of the week (the condensed versions, of course.  They're only about 30 minutes long).  My goal is to watch every game, jot down a few thoughts about each, then dive into a few plays a little deeper (with the help of the All-22 film).
I've only watched about half the games so far this week, and I haven't had a chance to look at the All-22 film yet.  But I'm getting there (I even have a handful of plays picked out that I want to look at).  It's an experiment.  Like all experiments, I'm sure it's doomed to failure.
As I watch the games, I'm posting some of these thoughts on Twitter.  For the record, my Twitter account is comprised of horror move quotes and football thoughts.  You're welcome.

A few thoughts about last weekend's games:

The Packers lost, which was sad.  Not overly sad, because the Niners are a really good team, and they were definitely the better team, but still pretty sad.  I always hate starting the season with a loss, even if that loss was to a good team.  The defense wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be, but I think a lot of that was due to miscommunication.  They'll get better as the season goes on.  I hope they're better for this week, because the Bears put on quite a show this past week (well, after their initial few drives, that is).

Sorry about your Bengals.  I only saw the second half of that game, and I'm pretty sure that was the wrong half to watch.  Remember what I said about the Ravens defense possibly slowing down?  Yeah...that didn't really look like the case on Monday.  I guess as long as they have Ngata, the loss of Suggs may not kill them.

The Jaguars/Vikings game was actually quite a bit better than I thought it would be.  Gabbert and Ponder both looked relatively good.  I was more shocked with Gabbert.  Ponder showed moments of competency last year.  Gabbert showed none of that.  But he looked really good against the Vikings.  He seemed to fall away a bit when the rush got there quicker than he thought it would, but he looked a ton better than he did last year.  Really confident throws.  He really fit the ball into some tight windows all throughout the game.  I was really impressed.
One of the plays I plan on looking at is the final play of the game.  4th and 3, and he chucked the ball downfield into double-coverage.  I'm curious as to whether there was anyone open underneath.  I guess I'll find out soon.
Also, I'm pretty sure one of the announcers called him "Gaybert" at one point.

The Raiders special teams was atrocious.  Who knew a long-snapper could be so important?  It must have been nice for the Chargers to be on the other side of that for once.
Palmer really impressed me.  He looked really good.  A lot of zip on the ball when he needed it, and touch when he needed it.  He moved around quite a bit, and was accurate out of the pocket.  He completed 69.6% of his passes (32/46) for 297 yards, 1 TD and no INTs.  Those numbers could be better, but his receivers seemed to have bricks for hands.

Last but not least, the Seahawks and Russell Wilson.  Pete Carroll does realize that most preseason defenses are vanilla, right?  Sure, Wilson looked great against a series of straight defenses.  But against a real live NFL defense?  That's another story.  He looked awful.  The two phrases I heard the most were "pass tipped at the line" and "overthrows his receiver", both signs of a short QB (my favorite argument against short quarterbacks is, "Hey, Drew Brees is short."  Russell Wilson is no Drew Brees).  They can try to get him out of the pocket a little more to minimize those problems, but he just didn't look good no matter where he was on the field.  A couple nice runs.  A few good throws.  But, for the most part, he looked inaccurate for the majority of the game.  Even his 1 touchdown pass was helped out by great field position (Leon Washington returned a kickoff to the Cardinals' 24 yard line).  He may improve.  But I wouldn't be surprised if he was replaced by Flynn by week 7.
Suck on that, Simmons.

One last thought.  Chris Berman was terrible.  That man should never be allowed near a booth again.

Enough of my yammering on.  To the picks!

Packers over Bears:
I talked about the Packers above.  What I didn't talk about was the fact that, while Rodgers struggled a bit (he threw an interception at the worst possible time), he still put up some pretty good numbers (68.2% completion, 303 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT) against one of the best defenses in the league.
Granted, Chicago has a pretty good defense, too, and they looked good against the Colts last week.  The Bears offense struggled a bit to start (and that's saying it nicely), but once they got rolling, they didn't stop scoring.  But they won't put up 41 points here.  Lately, they seem to play close, relatively low-scoring games against each other.
The Packers have won the last 4 meetings.  Let's make it 5, eh?

Kansas City over Buffalo
Remember what I said about Buffalo last week?  Can you just forget about that?  I don't think they're as bad as they looked last week as a team (I think the defense will be better), but I do think Fitzpatrick really is that bad.  Maybe we'll get to see Tavaris Jackson soon?

Carolina over New Orleans
The Panthers will get their running game on track, and they'll edge the Saints.  That takes New Orleans to 0-2.  Their record will be blamed on Payton being gone and all the distractions they've had, but it's really just due to their defense being really bad.

Cincinnati over Cleveland
As I stated, I don't think the Bengals are going to be very good this year.  But I don't think they're nearly as bad as they looked this past Monday.  Against the Browns, they'll look like a fantastic team.
I watched the Browns game.  Man...Weeden looked really, really bad.  Granted, his stats kind of speak for themselves (34.3% completion, 118 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT), but I think he was actually worse than that.  To his credit, one of those picks was off the hands of his receiver.  But that's about the only nice thing you can say about him.  He went 12/35, and a lot of those misses were throws he should've made.  These incompletions weren't a matter of Weeden trying to fit passes into tight places.  There were a number of passes that were going to a wide open man, and he just missed them.  Everything was high.  Maybe it's just nerves.  Maybe he'll get better.  But I doubt it.

Minnesota over Indianapolis
I know Peterson isn't quite 100%.  But he looked really good last week.  He'll be the difference in this one.

Houston over Jacksonville
The Texans looked like they were on cruise control last week and they still won by 20.  The Jaguars look better than I thought they would, but they won't win here.

Oakland over Miami
I detailed how impressed I was with Palmer.  I did not talk about how bad I thought Tannehill was.  But let it be known than Tannehill is really, really bad.  Not that it's unexpected, but still.  Really bad.  I cannot stress this enough.  Combine that with the lack of receivers on the Dolphins, and this game will be ugly.

New England over Arizona
Kolb came in and led the Cardinals to victory last week.  It looks like Skelton is down for at least a few weeks, so Kolb is the starter here.  The Cardinals defense is pretty good, and they should be able to slow down the Patriots.  But they won't be able to slow them down enough.

Tampa Bay over New York Giants
I don't love the Bucs, but that defense looks legit, and their offense should be just good enough to get past the Giants.

Baltimore over Philadelphia
How many turnovers does Vick have here?  I'll put the over/under at 5.

Dallas over Seattle
I really liked what I saw out of the Cowboys.  I did not like what I saw out of the Seahawks.

Washington over St. Louis
Griffin looked outstanding.  A large part of that was due to the gameplan taking the Saints by surprise, and making them off-balance all game.  They don't have that advantage here, but I still think he'll do enough to win.  Also, Stafford gave the Rams 3 interceptions last week (with one of those going for a touchdown, and another one of those taking a touchdown away from the Lions), and they still lost.  I do not have much faith in the Rams offense.

Pittsburgh over New York Jets
I don't think the Jets were as good as they looked last week.  Pittsburgh got outplayed last week, but their defense will look a lot better with Ryan Clark and James Harrison back.  At least 2 Sanchez interceptions will give this game to the Steelers.

Tennessee over San Diego
Just a hunch.

San Francisco over Detroit
The 49ers look good.  The Lions look sloppy.  Stafford throws 4 INTs or gets injured.  Or both.

Atlanta over Denver
Two teams that are getting a lot of hype.  Two teams that aren't nearly as good as they looked.
I was surprised how good Manning looked.  He seemed to compensate for his loss of arm strength pretty well.  But I don't expect that to last all season.  He'll wear down, and teams will learn to deal with his no-huddle again.  I think that game on Sunday is the best he'll look all season.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Do you smell that?  That's football.  It's back!  That also means more regular posting from yours truly.  I got lazy, but football forces me to write at least once a week.  I gotsta get my picks in.

One complaint before the season starts.  I already didn't like the whole "Let's start the season on a Thursday" thing, because I get all amped up for football, watch one game, then have to wait a few days before the rest of the games start.  But now it's worse.  A Wednesday?  That's ridiculous.  I'll watch this letdown of a game, then have to go Thursday-Saturday with no NFL in my life.  What kind of cruel joke is this?  I'll get you for this, Goodell.

To the picks!
[It should be noted that I'm writing this in an apartment in Cincinnati with Fiona Apple playing over the speakers.  "Anything We Want" is one of my favorite songs of the year.]

Dallas over New York Giants
I know I shouldn't do this, what with it being a primetime game and Romo usually playing these games with two hands on his throat, but I just have a feeling about this one.  Dez Bryant is going to have a huge game.  Since it's the first game of the season, Miles Austin won't be playing on shredded hamstrings, DeMarco Murray will still have his knees, and Felix Jones will get about 10 touches, which should be his limit.  The defense will be better than it was last year.  I'll take the Cowboys by 10.

Chicago over Indianapolis
The Bears would have made the playoffs (and probably would have made some serious noise in the playoffs) if Cutler and Forte hadn't gone down.  They'll be good this year, even if Urlacher doesn't play.  The Colts should be better than they were last year, but that means something like 5-11 instead of 2-14.

Philadelphia over Cleveland
Weeden has a decent game, but it won't be enough.  I think the Eagles are coming out of the gate hot this year, and will cool off as the season goes on.  This could easily be 38-10.

Detroit over St. Louis
I'm not a big believer of the Lions this year, but I don't really have to be here.  They'll handily beat the Rams.

Houston over Miami
I understand why the Dolphins cut Chad Johnson.  But wasn't he their best receiver by default?  Seriously.  Check out their depth chart.  It's going to be brutal this year.  And that's if they had a halfway decent quarterback.  Instead they have Gabbert 2.0 running around back there.  A good defense can only cover up so much.

Atlanta over Kansas City
Julio Jones is going to spend the first 4 weeks of the year being incredible, then spend the rest of the year dealing with bum hamstrings.

Jacksonville over Minnesota
Man.  This is a pretty rough QB match-up, eh?  Gabbert vs. Ponder?  Yeesh.  I'll take the team with a healthy top tier running back.

Washington over New Orleans
Griffin will look terrific, and the defense will be able to slow the Saints offense just enough.

Buffalo over New York Jets
How excited am I to watch the Jets have a miserable year?  Very, very excited.  Sanchez is terrible.  Tebow is terrible (but can at least run).  Their defense will be solid, but not great.  Meanwhile, the Bills should be at least a decent team.  The defense should be better than it was last year, and I can see the offense being pretty good.  From what I hear, Fitzpatrick was dealing with broken ribs at the end of last year.  If that was really the problem, he should be at least a serviceable quarterback this year.

New England over Tennessee
I'm looking forward to Locker throwing for 350 yards while completing 45% of his passes.

Packers over 49ers
This should be a fantastic game.  I can see this being fairly low scoring, but the Packers will pull it out with the help of a couple Alex Smith interceptions.

Seattle over Arizona
How long before Russell Wilson is replaced with Matt Flynn?  Week 7?  Either way, he doesn't need to be great here.  The Seahawks have a good defense, and the Cardinals have a terrible offense.

Carolina over Tampa Bay
With the defense healthy, the Panthers should be able to win this.  The Bucs aren't as bad as they looked last year, but I can't see them winning this one.

Pittsburgh over Denver
Have you seen Peyton throw?  He looks awful.  He had decent numbers in that 49ers preseason game, but he can't get anything on his throws.  It's only a matter of time before the secondary starts jumping those and breaking up/interception a ton of his passes.  And by "a matter of time" I mean "this week".  If you've never had a strong arm, you learn to work with it.  But, if you've had a strong arm your entire career and now suddenly can't get anything on your throws...well, that's harder to deal with.  Provided he stays healthy all season (and I don't think he will), I can see him throwing 20+ interceptions.

Baltimore over Cincinnati
Sorry man.  I just don't think the Bengals are going to be very good this year.

Oakland over San Diego
I am not a believer in Carson Palmer, but I am a believer of a healthy Darren McFadden.