The Big 3-0
Annnnnd I'm back. Now if you were shocked by the fact that I didn't already have a post earlier this week, then what happens next might shock you even more. I still haven't commented on the Pats/Colts game, and while it might be a football Friday, I'm leading off with the Boston Celtics. That's right. The Mean Green. The Big 3. Or maybe even PGA, if you're down with the whole "brevity" thing. I know, I said I wasn't gonna be all up on the C's bandwagon, because I didn't think they were actually good enough to win it all. Well, 3 games in, I still don't think they will have what it takes come playoff time, but damn are these guys fun to watch! After only three games (all Celtic wins), we've already seen a game winning 3 from Ray Allen, a myriad of great passes and blocks from Kevin Garnett, and continued steady play from Paul Pierce, who can now actually show off his skills as a passer as well. Not to mention, all the alley-oop dunks and 3 pointers any basketball fan could possibly want! A lot of people thought that this team might need some time to blend together and get used to each other, but apparently that learning curve was about as shallow as the Menendez family gene pool. Granted, it's only been 3 games, and maybe not against the absolute best competition, but everyone from the Big 3, to Perk and Rondo, to the new bench guys like Posey and House have been contributing, and clicking on all cylinders. 77 points in the first half against Denver? Amazing. And best yet, it was fun to watch. I hope these guys can stay healthy, and keep entertaining us all season long, because I have a feeling they are headed for a big time letdown in the playoffs. Let me put it this way. If it looks like the Suns, and plays like the Suns, then expect the same results as the Suns when it comes to the playoffs. Whatever. Let's cross that bridge together when we actually get there. For now, just getcha popcorn out, and be ready to be screaming like the AND 1 guy for the next 5 months...OH BAAABY!! Or in the words of Celtic's radio man, Cedric Maxwell..."QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!"
Glad I got that out of my system. Now, I turn my attention to last week's Patriots 24-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in what was dubbed, The Game of the Century, or Super Bowl 41 1/2. For once, a game actually game pretty damn close to living up to the hype, which nearly gave me a heart attack at first, but made the game that much more enjoyable in the end. As for analysis. The easiest way to sum up that game, is to say the Colts had plenty of chances to put the game away, didn't, and gave Tom Brady just enough room for error and time to fashion a nice comeback. On their first 3 drives of the game, Indy should have come away with at least 17 points, but instead found themselves trailing 7-6. Right then and there I said that was their chance, and if they lost, they could point to the very start of the game as the reason. Forget the Reggie Wayne dropped pass, Matt Light's two personal foul penalties, and the myriad of bogus calls that went against New England, this game was lost by the Colts in the first quarter, and won by the Pats in the fourth. They kept it close enough, so that in the end Tom Brady could make the plays to get them a well deserved win. Now, it's onto the bye week, before a showdown with the suddenly invigorated Bills and the much anticipated battle with the Shittsburgh Steelers. Almost half way to 19-0, baby!...which leads me to this...
Former Miami Dolphin head coach, and current steak slanger, Don Shula, said in an interview this week that should the Patriots run the table and go 19-0, an asterisk should be placed next to their accomplishments because of the whole video tape incident. I happen to not agree with that statement, if anything I say you would have a better argument if you wanted to put an asterisk next to the other 3 Super Bowls, but that's not where I have a problem. What I find disturbing, is that Shula's suggestion of using an "as-ter-isk", has basically outed most of the national media as a bunch of FRAUDS who don't know how to use or pronounce the word asterisk! I've heard everything from "asterick" to "asteris", even a few "asterixs" and "astriss". It's AS-TER-ISK. "AS" as in ASS. "TER" as in PE-TER. And "ISK" as in WHISK. Say it with me now. AS-TER-ISK. Good! Now go out today and use it. And when you hear people saying it wrong, make sure to correct them, and if possible, demean them and rob them of any sort of dignity or stature in the process. Example: You overhear a coworker saying "as-ter-ix". Go up to him/her and say the following...
"Hey TJ Douchmanzadeh. I'm gonna put an "asterix" on my foot, and stomp it into your mouth if you keep saying it wrong. And on your grave there will be an "ASTERISK" saying *this guy was a huge tard, so he had to go. The world is now a better place. So either keep your mouth shut, or try only to use 2 syllable words. You're an insult to the English language, you Ebonic whore!"
That should put those losers in their place. Or possibly get you fired, one or the other for sure...
Now, onto the real bidness at hand...
Coming off a 3-2-1 week, I'm really looking for a big statement this weekend. So, where better to start than with the team I was just chattin' about, the Indianapolis Colts. Indy travels to the on again off again Chargers, eager to lay the smack down after letting one get away against New England. The logic here is simple. The Colts are the second best team in the NFL, and seeing as the Chargers are no longer in any one's top 5, you take the Colts, and the points, even on the road. Joseph Addai is every bit as good as Adrian Peterson, who torched the San Diego D for a league record 296 yards last week, and Peyton Manning is just a tad better than whatever barely warm body the Vikes trotted out at QB. A big loss here could send Norv Turner, LT and crew into a tailspin, but a hard fought loss could still leave some playoff light at the end of their turbulent tunnel.
From Indy, I bring you to the battle of the NFC's two best teams right now, the Cowboys and Giants. A lot of people will tell you the Boys are still the team to beat, and while I don't totally disagree, I'm taking the G-Men and the 2 points in this one. The Giant running game has been stellar of late, and Eli Manning has got to be itchin' to bounce back from his poor performance in rain soaked London. And who better to do it against than one of the leakiest pass defenses in the entire league. The best shot the Cowboys have, is to get a lot of pressure on Eli. Otherwise, he'll be able to sit back and pick them apart. For the Cowboys, I know they have all the weapons in the world on offense, but I just get the feeling they are kinda holdin' on by a thread right now. Maybe not the best choice of words, but when I watch that team I just get the feeling a mini implosion or brain cramp game is in their near future. Romo was able to bail himself out after all mistakes against Buffalo, but I don't think the Giants will be as forgiving. I expect a high scoring game with at least 4 turnovers, and whoever has 3 of them, will come out with the "W." My money is on the G-Men...
Well, as long as I'm taking one home underdog, I might as well stick with it. After all, it's not a trend I mind following in the least. Home teams have a built in advantage, and my rule of thumb is, whenever one team isn't clearly better than the other, take the home squad every time. Granted, this isn't a fool proof strategy by any means, but I think it applies well in this match up. The Bears are traveling to Oakland this week, and the Raiders are three point under dogs. Do I think the Raiders are any good? Nah, not really. Then again, neither are the Bears. They're last in the North, they just lost to the Lions, and their always crappy offense is higher in rank (26) than their usually staunch defense (27). Chicago is a mess, and at least the Raiders have something they feel they are building towards. OK, I'll admit, you shouldn't really take the "state of the team" into all that much consideration on a regular basis, but sometimes it's nice to say to give yourself a little extra confidence. Don't ask me how they do it, but I like the Raiders to cover, and flat out win...
Next up, we have the Green Bay Packers, a team that has treated me almost just as good as the Pats and Colts this season. In this match up, I really like the Pack's chances of shutting down rookie phenom, Adrian Peterson, or at least slowing him enough to come away with a comfortable win. The Vikes are going to try and control the clock with AP and Chester Taylor, mostly because they have no passing attack, and this should pose little trouble for the Packer D. I know the Minnesota offensive line is the best when it comes to run blocking, and they ran over a pretty good Charger defense last week, but this isn't at home, and this isn't the Chargers. The Pack should have more success offensively than the Vikings, and simply put that will be the difference in this game. Sounds like idiot logic, I know, but trust me, I know of what I speak. The Packers are a top 5 NFL team right now, and the Vikings aren't. Pack and the points. Hmmm...sounds like "Pats and the points," doesn't it? Coincidence? I think not...
Last pick this week, before my bonus over/under that is, is Jonny "touchdown Jesus" Kitna and the Detroit Lions over Kurt "interception Jesus" Warner and the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions are starting to make me a believer, at 6-2, and it seems like for the first time in forever, this might not be a Lion team that falls apart. They can take a big step towards not collapsing this week against a Cardinal team that's lost 3 in a row. Arizona has been in all 3 games they've lost, as I expect them to be around in this one, but I just don't like their chances of hanging with Detroit for 4 quarters. Touchdown Jesus, make believers of us all! Hallelujah! (Oh and no pressure boys, but the loser is going to Hell, and doesn't get to eat any Communion wafers for the next 6 months...Let's get it on!)
For my over/under spectacular this week, I'm going with the OVER in the St. Louis/New Orleans game. I keep wanting to pick the Saints, but I'm still not 100% convinced that they've turned the corner. And I wanna pick the Rams, too, because I liked them before the season, and just feel they have to be due. Well, since I haven't had the stones to take either of them in recent weeks, I'll fulfill all my hopes and desires by taking them both to run up the score on each other to the tune of more than 46 points. Hey, St. Louis did it for me against Cleveland, so I don't see why they can't get it done with the Saints as well. And yes, I know Reggie Bush is a little dinged up, but trust me, if I'm half as right as I think I am, that really shouldn't matter...
Week 10 Picks
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) @ San Diego Chargers
New York Giants (+2) vs Dallas Cowboys
Oakland Raiders (+3) vs Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers (-6) vs Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions (+1) @ Arizona Cardinals
*New Orleans Saints vs St. Louis Cardinals OVER 46
Seattle Seahawks (-10) vs San Fransisco 49ers
*I don't like taking almost any team not named New England or Indy when they are 1o point favorites, but I really think the Niners are that bad right now.
Last Week: 3-2-1
Overall: 31-21-4 (.590)
NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Ohio St. (-15) vs Illinois
(2) LSU (-36.5) vs Louisiana Tech
(4) Oklahoma (-38) vs Baylor
Oklahoma St. (+6) vs (5) Kansas
(7) Missouri (-19.5) vs Texas A&M
Maryland (+6) vs (8) Boston College
(9) Arizona St. (-9) @ UCLA
(10) Georgia (-2) vs (18) Auburn
(11) Virginia Tech (-6) vs Florida St.
(24) California (+4) vs (12) USC
(13) Michigan (-2.5) @ Wisconsin
(14) Hawaii (-17.5) vs Fresno St.
(15) Texas (-6.5) vs Texas Tech
(16) UCONN (+6.5) @ Cincinnati
(17) Florida (-6.5) @ South Carolina
(19) Boise St. (-24) @ Utah St.
Wake Forest (+9) @ (20) Clemson
(21) Alabama (-5) @ Mississippi St.
Arkansas (pick) @ (22) Tennessee
Miami (+3.5) vs (23) Virginia
(24) Kentucky (-3.5) @ Vanderbilt
Last Week: 10-7-3
Overall: 101-82-6 (.550)
*Three ties in one week is an awful lot. Then again, they probably would have just been 3 more losses. Oh well, at least I held my winning percentage steady at .550 this week, which is about as impressive as a hooker tying a cherry stem into a knot in her mouth. Curious enough to give a look, but not exciting enough to make you pay...
One final note for the week. While in New York City this weekend, I heard an announcer say with a straight face to an analyst "Can you handicap the field for us, today." Problem you ask? They were talking about the wheelchair division of the NYC marathon. Way to stay classy, New York. There is no truth to the rumor, however, that a Brooklyn Italian in a wheelchair was overheard during the race trying to pass people and yellin' "Hey I'm disabled here! You stinkin' piece of braciole!"
Make sure to check me out next week, where I'll be giving my NCAA and NBA season previews, and also take a look at the Red Sox plans and actions so far this off season. Until then, keep on keepin' on, and don't let the pimpin' get in the way of what's really important...tha pimpin'!