Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6 Picks + Kentucky Combine

Gotta show some love to the 5-1 Wildcats of Kentucky football. Things looked grim after a terrible start against Louisiana Monroe, but they reeled off 45 unanswered points, including two pick sixes and two touchdowns of 55+ yards. Next week the Cats head into the Bayou for a night game at LSU, and the schedule doesn't get much easier after that. Still, being one game away from bowl contention after only winning four combined games in the last two seasons feels good.

While we're talking Kentucky, I have to mention the NBA combine...I mean, televised practice Kentucky teamed up with ESPNU to televise this past Friday. That's right. I watched a team of college kids practice for two hours on Friday afternoon and I'm not ashamed AT ALL. I'm clearly biased, but I loved it. 90 NBA scouting members from all 30 teams filled the gym to watch the Cats run through a "regular practice". They also took their own measurements of players, so there shouldn't be any "Alex Poythress measured an inch shorter than listed. How will this affect his draft stock??" around the end of May. It was a controlled setting so it's hard to draw conclusions, but I still managed to pick up a couple. Imagine that.
  • Everyone is in great shape. Dakari Johnson dropped 25 pounds and it showed. He looked noticeably slimmer and looked much better getting up and down the court.
  • The Harrisons looked good. Andrew consistently beat the full court pressure of Tyler Ulis, and showed much more hustle defensively. Aaron may be the winner of the combine though. Word is, he measured around 6'7 (taller than the 6'5 I had seen him listed at ), has his vertical north of 40 inches (great news for a guy not considered an elite athlete by any means) and his shot seemed to fall with some consistency.
  • Karl Towns can really shoot. Not shoot for a big man, he can SHOOT. He nailed 78 shots in the 5 minute shooting drill, and has legit 3P range.
  • Great to see Willie Caulie-Stein and Trey Lyles on the court after they missed the Bahamas tour with injuries.
  • Tyler Ulis is going to be very good.
Now for what you really came here for. Terrible picks!

Titans over Jaguars- I'm hoping Zach Mettenberger gets the start here. Locker is still battling injuries and Charlie Whitehurst is still Charlie Whitehurst. I wanted Cincinnati to draft Mettenberger late in the draft this year and was bummed to see us go with AJ McCarron over him. I've got an eye on Mettenberger for this reason.

Bucs over Ravens- The Bucs have been on the road three straight games, and put up good efforts in the last two. They beat the Steelers two weeks ago, and lost to the Saints in OT last week after blowing an 11 point lead in the 4th quarter. I think they hold on here and knock the Ravens to 3-3. I like the limited bit of what I've seen from Mike Glennon and a Ravens defense that gave up 400+ yards last week in Indianapolis doesn't scare me.

Broncos over Jets- Geno may not be the answer in New York, but neither is Mike Vick. I don't think he gives the Jets a better chance in the short term or the long term. I rock with Geno right into a 3-13 season and top 5 pick next year. Then we get a chance to put Jameis Winston in New York media. Fun.

Vikings over Lions- It's looking like Teddy Ballgame is back for the Vikings. Which means Christian Ponder won't be playing. That's enough for me to go with Minnesota here. More than enough. 

Patriots over Bills- Jim Schwartz requesting to be carried off on the shoulders of his players and then seeing his wish come true is the story of the year in the NFL. More than Ray Rice. More than Peterson. It's Jim Schwartz requesting to be carried off on the shoulders of his players after a week 5 game that saw his team go one game above .500.

Bengals over Panthers- The injury bug is relentless. AJ Green is out with a reaggravation of turf toe, No Marvin Jones who was supposed to play last week. Tyler Eifert is still about a month away. Kevin Zeitler will probably miss this week too. The good news is that Vontaze Burfict is expected to start after missing the last two games. The Panthers have a terrible run game, which is great because we have a terrible run defense. Their line is terrible and Newton is a little banged up, so I'm hoping he has to drop back 50 times and we can get some good shots at him. On the flip side, that Panthers defense has been a far cry from last season. They haven't been able to stop the run or pass consistently, and I think that bodes well for us. I expect a lot of Gio/Hill, and wouldn't be surprised to see Gio line up at WR as a way to get both on the field at the same time and minimize the time that Tate/Sanzenbacher sees at WR. Put this next bit in stone: There will be a play where Jermaine Gresham has Luke Kuechly in a one on one situation and embarrasses him. Maybe he pancakes him on a block. Goes over top of him for a catch. Trucks him. Something to make you say, "Gresham isn't that bad". Then he's going to mess it up. He'll get called for holding after a 48 yard Gio run. Or drop the pass he shook Kuechly free to catch. And you'll say, "Tyler was right". Just you watch.

Browns over Steelers- The Browns have a great offensive line, Hoyer is doing exactly what they need him to do and they have a healthy Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate to throw in the mix. They win a low scorer over the Steelers after winning the turnover battle 2-0.

Packers over Dolphins- If Aaron Rodgers looks the way he has the past two weeks, it's going to be some time before I pick against the Packers again.

Chargers over Raiders- Cruel.

Seahawks over Cowboys- I'm tempted to pick the Cowboys here, and if this was in Dallas, I probably would. Romo and Murray are playing extremely well right now and that defense is getting by somehow. The Seahawks just got the best pro game I've seen out of Russell Wilson, and were only up 7 points with a little over 3 minutes left to go against Washington on Monday night. This should be a great game and I'm hoping for a lot of Dez vs. Sherman.

Cardinals over Redskins- Logan Thomas is not a good quarterback. He wasn't last week. He wasn't in college. The Redskins defense isn't a dominant bunch, but they should be ashamed of themselves if Thomas completes over 50% of his passes here and they dont come away with at least two turnovers.

Bears over Falcons - Ugh. The local game here. I don't really care who wins because I see both of these teams finishing 8-8 or 9-7 and just missing the playoffs. Both have "franchise QBs" who aren't quite franchise QBs, dynamic duos at WR and little else. The Bears defense is better, but they haven't shown it in the last two weeks. Though to be fair, there wasn't a defense alive stopping Rodgers in that game two weeks ago. I don't trust that Falcons defense and I damn sure don't trust that Falcons offensive line.

Giants over Eagles- The Eagles needed two TDs last from D/ST to beat a 1 win Rams team by six. Three D/ST TD's the week before composed all of their 21 points against the 49ers. The week before that, a kickoff return TD proved the difference in a 3 point win against Washington. Three weeks, six touchdowns from the Eagles defense/special teams. Maybe they are a historically great bunch at getting the ball in the endzone. Or maybe the wheels come off here with no D/ST touchdowns and things get ugly against a division rival that has won three straight games by double digits. I'm betting on the latter.

Rams over 49ers- I'm going with the upset. The Rams are at home. They've lost their last two games by a combined nine points. Austin Davis has been playing better by the week. On the flipside, the Eagles turned the ball over four times last week and didn't score a single point on offense, and San Fran only won by five points at home. The Rams have allowed the least passing yards per game in the league, and I can see them getting hold of an errant Kaepernick pass or two. 27-19 Rams. Call it a hunch.

Baseball predictions: Anyone but the Cardinals, God. Anyone at all.

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