*It's a shame that the headline "BUSH SAVES NEW ORLEANS" doesn't have anything to do with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but hey I voted for the other guy. As for Reggie and the Saints, they are heading to Dallas this Sunday night for the game of the week. Both teams are are 2 games up in their respective divisions at 8-4 and have won at least 2 straight. I like the Saints a lot in this match-up, not necessarily to pull the road upset, but to keep it within a TD for sure. Hell, if Reggie scored 4 last week, I bet he can expose the Dallas secondary for at least one more this week. People may have questioned a few times this year if he actually was the real deal, but after last week, everyone has stopped wondering. He may only have 368 yards rushing at 3.1 a carry, but he is on pace for almost 100 catches and 800 yards receiving. I think it's safe to say New Orleans is pretty happy with the way things are working out. As for the rest of my picks this week, I'm going with 3 road teams again. Usually not a good trend for me, but I like the karma I got going picking against both the Raiders and the Texans. I love the argument that the Raiders #1 ranked pass defense can slow the Bengals and Ocho Cinco, who's averaging 150+ yards per in his last 5. When your team sucks, teams don't need to pass on you. Fewer attempts, fewer yards, leads to the "best" pass defense. That, or the "worst" team in the NFL that's not in a dirty auto-worker hell-hole. There I said it. And in case you're wondering why I didn't pick the Pats this week, it's not because I'm losing faith. Fact is, the Pats always struggle in Miami (only 2-2 in their last 4 meetings, one win in OT), and with the way the Phins have been playing lately (4-1 in last 5), I'd be surprised if they aren't in for another close one this season.*
Week 14 Picks
San Diego Chargers (-7) vs Denver Broncos
Indianapolis Colts (-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints (+7) @ Dallas Cowboys
Tennessee Titans (+1) @ Houston Texans
Cincinnati Bengals (-11) vs Oakland Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals (-11) vs Oakland Raiders
St. Louis Rams (+6.5) vs Chicago Bears
Last Week: 2-3-1
2006 Season: 39-34-6 (.532)*
*Monday Night: 8-6-0 (.571)
Boston Red Sox: Shocker. Manny appears to be staying. Francona says he wants him, and Theo can't seem to find "fair value" out there for him, so it looks like he'll spend another season wizzin' in the Monstah. Good. I mean none of us like his attitude, but what are you gonna do? Let Manny be Manny for two more years and we might even score another ring, you never know. And while the talk of moving ManRam may have dominated the Winter Meetings, other moves the Sox actually did make have me worried sick. Mistake #1: David Jonathan Drew (apparently he's also dyslexic?) finally made it official and signed for $70 million over 5 years. I've already said how I feel about this guy (see: lazy, huge puss, etc.). I agreed with letting Johnny Damon go, but it's not looking good that we wouldn't give him 4 years $52 mil with the loot we just shelled out for Nancy Drew. Everyone who's anyone contends this guy can't play under the pressure of the Boston market, but Theo disagrees. We'll see if Mr. Epstein is right, or if this move is looked back on as the one that led to his second Gorilla suit exit. I'd bet on the latter. Moving on. Mistake #2: Julio Lugo signs for 4 years and $36 million. As a Sox fan, I still am awaiting an explanation as to why Alex Gonzalez wasn't brought back for '07 and beyond. The man played the best defensive shortstop ever seen in the Bean, and probably one of the best of all-time not to earn a Gold Glove. I don't wanna hear how he didn't provide enough offense either. Lugo himself is only a .278 career hitter and sports career highs of .295, 15 HR, 75 RBI, with none of those coming in the same season. While Gonzo is never going to hit for average, at least he has shown potential for pop with 18 HR and 77 RBI in '03 and 23/79 in '04. Give him time and I'm sure he would have become a more productive hitter in the AL to go along with that stellar D. Oh yea. And for all you thinking Julio Lugo is a young guy (Frosco likes to use the logic that "people think just if you played on the D-Rays, then you must be a young guy"), he's 31, 2 years older than Gonzo. I guess the shortstop saga is just destined to continue. Speaking of drawn out sagas... Mistake #3: We are less than a week away from the deadline to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Scott Boras is sending out signals that no deal will get done. I tend not to believe a lot of things I hear in the media during negotiations like this, especially when it comes from Scott Boras, but I gotta say things aren't sounding all that encouraging. I don't know why people assumed Daisuke would take #2 starter money after the Sox bid $52 mil just to talk to him. And now with the market going insane, (Ted Lilly 4 years $40 mil, Gil Meche 5/$55 and Vicente Padilla 3/$34) Matsuzaka only has more leverage. I don't even blame the guy. When middle of the road bums like Meche, Lilly and Padilla are scoring $10+ mil per year deals, why shouldn't he get at least that? My take is, if you're going to pay all that money to talk to him, just get the deal done. I mean what's worse, making that bid and then not signing him, or overpaying? The kid looks legit, so let's get the deal done. If he sucks, then he sucks. But hey we've come this far, so let's pay the man and find out what we got. And finally Mistake #4: Moving Jonathan Papelbon to the starting rotation long before finding a solution at closer. Don't get me wrong, I think moving Pap to the rotation is a great move, but only if there's someone capable to replace him. Where's the veteran to at least help challenge Manny Del Carmen and Craig Hansen? Buzz is the Sox have a shot at Octavio Dotel if he doesn't go to KC, but also that Eric Gagne is asking for way too much money. Theo admitted this week that he has a horrible track record when it comes to the bullpen. While we're all glad he can admit when he's wrong, I'd also like to hear a new plan of action. I guess all the confusion is just par for the course up at Fenway these days, because nobody can seem to figure out what this team is doing.
Boston Bruins: Hey, hockey may still be for bearded losers and Euro-trash, but I like to give credit where credit is due. After stumbling out of the gate at 4-7-2, the B's are 10-3-0 in their last 13 games and have pulled to within one point of a playoff spot in the East. I mean, we all know they will get booted in the first round even if they somehow make the playoffs, but hey it's nice to entertain the kids with a few marks in the W column now and then.
Boston Celtics: I'm still awaiting my copy of Glen Rivers' doctorate degree. In the meantime, things seem to be getting even worse (yea I didn't think that was possible either) for the 5-12 Boston Celtics. When Kendrick Perkins is saying "It seems like we have too many chiefs and not enough Indians", you know you've got serious issues. Not just because your players are speaking out against the team to the media, but also because their analogies are so bad they make Anna Nicole Smith look like a Rhodes Scholar. Not enough Indians? How bout, "Too many Docs, and not enough nurses?" Just a thought. Personally, I think it's more the fact that there's too many Mormons, even though there's only one. Danny and Glen both need to go, and the sooner the better. I'm not saying that alone can turn this franchise around, but there aren't too many guys in the league that are doing poorer jobs than them. Let's just hope the front office acts soon before Zeke becomes available. LARRY! PLEASE COME BACK AND SAVE US!!!