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Friday, December 07, 2007

Who the Hell is Anthony Smith??

STEEL-ING THE SPOTLIGHT?
It's finally here. Pittsburgh/New England. Steelers/Pats. The game all the nay-sayers have been pointing to as the best chance for the Pats to lose, and the game all Pats fans are pointing to as the final road block to a perfect regular season. The number one pass defense in the league, against the best passing attack since the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf." No need to build this one up any more, right? Well, that is unless your Steeler safety, Anthony Smith. Earlier this week, Smith came out and guaranteed a Steeler victory this week, saying that he had made similar remarks in the past and was "used to winning" big games. Really? You're used to winning big games, huh? Well call me ig-nant, but I can't remember you playing in a single "big game" while going 17-30 as a player at Syracuse, nor do I really recall you playing any sort of crucial role in your 28 career NFL starts. I'm not against opposing players trying to get the Pats all riled up, but for a role player like Smith to do so, and to make it sound as if he's done this a million times, just looks foolish. I was close to not taking the Pats this week, but seeing as I hate the Steelers, and this dumb ass has provided a little bulletin board material, I feel perfectly comfortable taking my boys, and the 10 points.

Next up, I'm taking the emerging Jacksonville Jaguars against the QB-less Carolina Panthers. I know what you're thinking, "How can you call the Jags 'emerging' when they are coming off a loss?" Well, if you watched the game against the Colts last weekend, then you have a good idea of what I mean. David Garrard (on my fantasy team) has been near perfect since his return from injury, and I expect much of the same this week against a Panther team that has very little play for. Look for Maurice Jones Drew (or MJD as his homies call him) and Fred Taylor to run wild over the once feared Carolina D and control the clock until the game is out of reach. Vinnie Testaverde is too old, and the Jags too focused, for this one to go any other way. Then again, the Panthers do play in the NFC South....Screw it. Jags roll...

With my next pick, I'm going against one of my own "Cardinal" rules, and that's picking against the Seahawks at home. No, it's not because they are playing the "Cardinals" (puns everywhere!), it's just because I don't totally buy that Seattle is good enough to beat anyone by the 7 points they are being fronted against Arizona. Arizona has already beaten Seattle this season, and despite the fact that it was like 2 months ago that they did so, I like that experience to keep the Zona boys in the game this time around. Warner, Leinhart, it doesn't really matter to me. It's strictly a gut feeling and an awkward hatred for Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselback that's forcing my hand in this one. Somethin' about guys that look like Grimace and losers that sell soup just gets under my skin. Call me sensitive...

While my next pick does reflect slightly on my Fantasy Football hopes for this weekend, it's not without some factual basis as well. For my upcoming first round match up, I felt I needed a new kicker to spice things up, so I decided on Tampa Bay's, Matt Bryant to get the job done. Bryant and the Bucs are traveling this weekend to play a Houston Texan team that will be trotting out the legendary Sage Rosenfels at quarterback, and I have to say I love Tampa's chances. Rosenfels aside, the Texan defense is giving up close to 25 points a game, and their biggest weapon, WR Andrew Johnson, will have to match up against All Pro Ronde Barber (you know, the one that isn't a gay mouthpiece for morning TV) and that vaunted Tampa-2 defense. Houston was a good story at the start of the season. but at this point they're just runnin' on fumes. Can't name 5 Buccaneers? Don't sweat it! They still got this one by 10+ points...

And my final game of the week finds the Minnesota Vikings looking to kick the hapless 49ers right in the teeth, and send the 9ers/Patriots jetting towards the top of the 2008 draft. With every 49er loss, the Pats look to stick it to the NFL for docking them their own first round pick because of "spygate," and I really like the Vikes chances of helping them out. Like I said last week, the Vikings are great at dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage, and that should prove far too much for San Fran to handle. Look for rookie of the year front runner, Adrian Peterson, to run wild, and look for this one to never be close. Hope on the Love Boat, kids. Vikes in a blowout...


Bonus Alert: I've hit on all my over/unders this year (kiss of death right there), and I feel this one is as good a lock as any of them. St. Louis is traveling to Cincy this weekend, and the fact that these defenses are giving up a combined 52+ points a game gives me more than enough reason to take the over. It doesn't hurt that the St. Louis offense is "healthier" than it has been all season, and has averaged more than 25 points per game in their last 4 games either.


Week 14 Picks
New England Patriots (-10) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars (-10.5) vs Carolina Panthers
Arizona Cardinals (+7.5) @ Seattle Seahawks
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) @ Houston Texans
Minnesota Vikings (-8.5) @ San Fransisco 49ers

St. Louis Rams @ Cincinnati Bengals OVER 47

Monday Night
Atlanta Falcons (+5) vs New Orleans Saints

*Last week, my backwards logic helped me pick the winner in an NFC South game, so I'm goin' with it again. I think New Orleans is better, and I just know Reggie Bush is gonna do his best to spoil my fantasy playoff run with a big Monday night, but those are the exact reasons I'm takin' the Dirty Dog Fighters. It's the NFC South. Up is down. Black is white. And bad is good. Atlanta takes one last death gasp before the end of the season, and the Saints go marching towards an off season full of "what the Hell happened's"....


Last Week:
4-2-0

Overall:
46-31-4 (.593)

Now, on to college hoops. It's been over a week since my last poll, but very little has changed. Powerhouse teams like UNC, Kansas and UCLA are starting to round into form, while up top 10 newcomers like Washington St. and Butler are trying to prove that they belong. For one, the Washington State Cougars have been very impressive in the early going, forcing me to temporarily halt my hatred for everything Pac 10. Here's a look at the rest of of my rankings, where Calipari and the Memphis Tigers still reign supreme...


College Hoops Top 10
1. Memphis (7-0) 1
2. North Carolina (8-0) 2
3. Kansas (8-0) 3
4. Washington St. (8-0) 4
5. UCLA (7-1) 5
6. Georgetown (6-0) 6
7. Butler (9-0) 9
8. Indiana (7-1) 8
9. Texas (8-0) NR
10. Duke (8-0) NR

just missed: Oregon, Tennessee, Louisville, Marquette

dropped: (7) Southern Illinois; (10) USC

*Tell me if this is weird or what. Both Southern Illinois and USC narrowly fell out of my top 10 this week after losses, and both narrowly fell out of the national top 25 polls this week as well. The difference between me and those other polls? I don't try to kid myself by saying just because teams like Clemson, Michigan St. and Pittsburgh are winning and are usually good, that they somehow deserve to be ranked in the top 25. Games this early in the season do little to tell us how good a team is this season, and is usually more a reflection on how good they may have been at the end of last season and during the summer. Trust me, when all the shots have been fired, and all the battles fought, it will be my top teams that are left standing, while these other top 25 FRAUDS will be stuck in the basement of their respective conferences. Perfect example. Check this excerpt from ESPN.com's Power 16 Poll, in which the UCLA Bruins fell from 1 to 7 after their loss at home to Texas.

I don't know anyone who thinks UCLA is only the seventh-best team in the country, but such are the vagaries of polling. If D.J. Augustin's shot/pass/heave is six inches in any other direction, the Bruins would still be No. 1.

See. By "vagaries of polling," they mean, "old guys who feel the need to drop teams simply because they lose." That's just the way the world works, I guess, it's just not the way I chose to go about things. As for the actual ball being played on the court, Memphis is still far and away the most talented team I've seen this season, and I'm still waiting for something to tell me otherwise, but here are a few "sleeper" teams to keep an eye on while we make the mad dash toward March...


Providence College Friars (5-3)
*PC has been plagued by two things the past several years under coach Tim Welsh. 1) underachievement and 2) inconsistency. Providence can never seem to beat the team's they should on a regular basis, while at the same time never being able to push themselves over the top for big wins against top notch opponents. Sure, it's tough playing in the Big East, but with returning stars like Geoff McDermott, Weyinmi Efejuku (Way-Me F-eh-jew-koo), and Brian McKenzie, it's probably this year or bust for Timmy and the Friars. If they can dance their way into the big tourney this year, you'll have to like their chances with good guard play, tough 2-3 zone defense, and a great swing player like the 6'8" McDermott that can help glue it all together.....oh....and the day after I wrote this, Providence promptly went out and pulled a...well...Providence. Fell behind big to South Carolina, came storming back, and lost in the final minutes on some Efejuku missed free throws. Way to go fellas...


Rhode Island Rams (9-1)
*OK, so maybe the first two sleeper teams reside within 40 minutes of my house, but that doesn't mean I'm playing favorites. Head coach Jim Baron has a team led by his son, Jimmy, pointed towards an Atlantic 10 title and a "likely" NCAA birth. Little Baron, along with senior forward Will Daniels, are combining for over 33 points per game and shooting better than 37% combined from downtown.

Check back next week for more picks, and updates on other college hoops teams. Maybe even a few teams that don't play their home games in Rhode Island....


Oh, and if the Pats actually needed motivation to win this week or from here on out, I give you the main reason they need to go undefeated. To shut up former Miami Coke Head/'72 Dolphin, Mercury Morris, and his freakin' mouth. There's a reason we hadn't heard from your dumb ass in the last 30+ years, and if New England keeps winning, it better be another 30 before we hear it. And then it better only be when the Miami Dade police pull you're beaten corpse from the Everglades after a run in with Michael Irvin and his "cousin." We're comin', Merc. And we're bringin' Hell with us!!!!!

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