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Friday, November 21, 2008

NFL Week 12 Picks

So I got to reflecting this week, which can sometime be a bad thing, and I realized it's been a few weeks since I laid any non-football knowledge on ya. Well fear not, my friends. Before I get to this week's picks, here are a few tidbits from the sports world that have kept my brain churnin over the last 2 weeks...

Enjoy, and don't worry. I still picked the games, I'm still sick at doing it, and after last week's brilliance, you'd be a fool at this point to even consider betting against me. At least that's this one man's opinion...

Read on...



*Dustin Pedroia was named 2008 MVP this week, but as usual, the announcement didn't come without controversy...


First, there was Dallas Morning News and Texas Rangers beat writer, Evan Grant (that's him below with Don King...ha!), who didn't even put Pedroia on his ballot. A ballot, mind you, that requires the voter to select their top 10 choices. Naturally, people in the media, especially in Boston, wanted to talk to Grant, and at the very least, get a handle on his train of thought. So Grant came on WEEI's "Big Show", attempted to explain himself, but came off more as a disgruntled old coot who had better things to do than worry about who he was gonna vote for. OK, so he's just an idiot. Not like that's news from a group that gave Rafael Palmeriod a Gold Glove after a season where he was primarily a designated hitter, but still it's always disenchanting to hear it...


And it gets better. After Grant and his thought process were ripped to shreds by Glen Ordway and his cast of merry men, a little research discovered that not only was the guy a huge Ted, but that he was defending an argument that even he didn't believe. Low and behold, Grant's column from September 20th was dug up, a column in which he laid out one by one, his top 10 choices for American League MVP. #1? Kevin Youkilis, who Grant had #1 on the actual ballot he submitted. But #4? Why it was none other than Dustin Pedroia! And over the next two weeks, from September 20th to when his ballot was due, all Dustin did was bat .455 with a homerun and 9 RBI. Translation? Grant flat out forgot about Pedroia when filling out his final ballot, and is now scrambling to find legit reasons as to why the winner, and recipient of 16 1st place votes, went from 4th, to at least 11th on his ballot, in a span of less than 15 days.


The other school of thought about Petey's MVP comes from respective ESPN baseball man, Rob Neyer...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3710934&name=Neyer_Rob


Cliff Notes: Chase Utley was just as good if not better than Pedroia, and he finished 14th in the NL MVP race. / Pedroia got a lot of pub and hype because he's so damn small...


My take? I would have voted for Youk based on his versatility, but I would have had Dustin #2 over both Mauer and Morneau. In my eyes, seeing as the Rays were so balanced, the MVP had to come from the Red Sox. And while I would have voted for Youk, I think either he or Pedroia were more than deserving. Did Petey get some extra votes because he's small and scrappy? Yeah, probably. But since when is that unfair? Correct me if I'm wrong, but guys like Griffey and A-Rod always got votes because of their freak athleticism, right? And last time I checked, being a freak athlete is no more an advantage to being a baseball player than it is being a tiny bastard with a big heart, and an even bigger swing...

Got work, Dustin. You deserve it, and it always feels good when an award this prestigious makes its way back to Red Sox Nation...


*Mike Mussina is calling it quits according to ESPN.com, and you can be 100% sure that a few years down the road he will NOT be entering the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. At 39, he tallied just 1 20-win season in his 18 years as a pro (this year), didn't win a single World Series (not 100% his fault, but still) and will be viewed by many Yankee and baseball fans alike as a guy who failed to deliver on his promise after signing a huge free agent contract in the Winter of 2000. Simply put, the Moose was good, just not good enough to get into the Hall. He'll be remembered as a guy that just missed, but even his good nature and consummate professionalism won't be enough to overcome his lack of eye popping stats, and big game performances...


*I heard on the radio the other day that the Bruins are in 1st place, and really looking every bit as good as their early results would indicate. Well after perusing the Pac 10 basketball standings, it turns out they were correct (that is until Michigan beat 'em). Little early for it to matter if you ask me, but I'm just happy that these rabid fans on the East Coast are finally starting to give college hoops it's due. Good for you, you frauds...


*Of that same ilk, a friend of mine made a case the other day that Paul Pierce was the early front runner for the '08-'09 NBA MVP award. Right. And the Patriots were the front runners to win last year's Super Bowl. You're point??...

The Truth is the man, don't get me wrong, but it's when people bump their gums about that, and then in the next breathe complain about pre-season college rankings that makes me wonder how on Earth some people even manage to make it out of bed in the morning without stepping in the shit they ooze from every single orifice...

Oh, and if you really wanna talk NBA, then talk about this. Talk about bangin' it from way downtown!...

*Golfer JP Hayes took his own PGA Tour card away this week after turning himself in for using a non-sanctioned ball on just ONE shot during his qualifying round in PGA Tour Cue School. Now I get that golf and those that play it hold themselves in high regard as the only sport where the players police themselves, but come on, man. Hayes had already penalized himself 2 strokes for using the wrong bean (some sort of Titleist prototype). Why did he have to call up the PGA 2 days later and straight DQ himself? Truly puzzling...

Oh, and if this is just an attempt by Hayes to get himself some free publicity as golf's "good guy", then that's truly pathetic....


*The Boston Red Sox clubhouse is now a Coke Free zone after they traded Mr. Crisp to the Royals this week for some bullpen help. The trade makes sense, and helps sure up a weakness from a year ago, but more importantly signals that Theo and the Trio are ready to start makin' moves, and takin' names. Here are some potential moves to keep an eye out for in the upcoming weeks as the Hot Stove really heats up...

-Salary Swap: Word is Dontrelle Willis and his huge contract could be headed to Boston in exchange for Julio Lugo and his big contract. A crappy left handed pitcher for a crappy short stop? Yeah, that's a deal I make 7 days a week, and twice on Friday. What? Sunday is for football. I don't have time to be making that move twice that day...

-I'm still under the impression that the Sox are just driving up the price for the Yankees on starting pitcher, AJ Burnett. His health, the money he wants, and his track record of streakiness just don't seem to fit the M.O. of Epstein and the Sox front office. Then again, they did take on JD Drew, who by the way is now the highest paid player on the team. What a country...

That's not to say, mind you, that the Sox aren't looking for top end pitching. I know their rotation seems set, but they've been careful in years past to make sure they've had more pitching than they've needed, and I expect that trend to continue not only this season, but as long as this current 4some is running things...

You want more news on the Sox, just check out the Extra Bases blog right here...

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/

As long as you can get past the fact that you know Maz, Cafardo and Kilgore are all trying to remove Amelie Benjamin's sweater with their eyes, then I think you'll enjoy the breaking news and insight that the folks at the Globe have to offer. Hot damn. Just somethin' about a girl in glasses that loves baseball. Gets me all hot and bothered....Now get in the clubhouse and make me some Big League Chew would ya? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....


*Some things I've been slacking on of late include my College Hoops coverage, and keeping you all updated on my fantasy football progress....

Well my fantasy team is 8-3, 1st in the standings, and poised to take the regular season title and make another run at the Super Bowl. Only problem, is that this week I play one of my good friends. Not only does he sit at 7-4, with a chance himself to move into 1st, but he's that classic fantasy guy that has no freakin' idea what's goin on. Doesn't stop him from winning year after year, but it gets to the point where if the person you're losing to doesn't even know what they're doing, then what's the point? As I said on my league message board, it's like playing Memory against an Alzheimer's patient. But then again, my boy doesn't even know where the message board is...

As for college hoops? My top 10 will be back next week, and I'll even start giving you the heads up again on big games to watch for each and every week. Remember. College hoops is my specialty. And if you think I got shit on lock now with football, then you're gonna think I'm Nostra-freaking-damus when it comes to breaking down the boys on the collegiate hardwood...


*And one last thing. I saw Dana Jacobson wearing a red skirt, and kneeling next to Magic Johnson, and two names quickly came to mind. Monica Lewinsky, and Sal Fasano. Now there's a girl that was picked last in pickup football games for all the right reasons...

OK, enough is enough. It's football season after all. And after last week's brilliance, I can't blame you if you're foaming at the mouth to get this week's latest gems...

Ahhhhhhhhh.....

Week 12 Picks
New England Patriots (+2) @ Miami Dolphins

92.9

Yes, it's a fine Boston area radio station, but it's also a number that should scare the living tar out of any Patriots fan that has hopes of their squad making the playoffs...

Last year that exact # represented Tom Brady's QB rating, the 4th best of all time. This year? Why it's the QB rating, overall, of all the quarterbacks that have lined up against the Patriots D...

Bad news for my home team, for sure. But if you think I'm picking against them in a crucial division game like this, you got another thing comin'. You gotta think Belichick's got the Wildcat figured out this time around. And while the Pats D has been struggling and is missing a few key pieces, the Dolphin offense isn't exactly the juggernaut that it appeared to be a few weeks back either...

Besides. I got some buddies goin' down to Miami this week for the game. So we got that goin' for us, which is always a good thing...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5) @ Detroit Lions

Starting Jeff Garcia over Brett Favre last week nearly cost me a fantasy victory, but this week the 23rd ranked Lion pass defense should help put my mind at ease...

The Lions and the auto industry. Both in the shitter, and both from Detroit. Coincidence? I think not. Just remind me not to take any stock tips from the Ford family...

New York Jets (+5.5) @ Tennessee Titans

I was tempted to take the under in this game, but the more I thought about it, the more I like the J-E-T-S, Bretts, Bretts, Bretts...

New York played last Thursday, giving them 3 extra days of rest and preparation. Not to mention the fact that in a strength vs strength match up, the Jets have more of the auxiliary pieces to finally topple the league's last unbeaten. The Titans love to set the tone by running the ball, and the Jet resurgence this year can be directly attributed to Kris Jenkins and the d-line's ability to stop the run and force teams to pass...

It may sound like a broken record, but if all goes to plan, we should find out once and for all this week if Kerry Collins is going to be the QB that can lead the Titans to a Super Bowl, or if he's the one aspect of their attack that's holding them back...

Philadelphia Eagles (+1.5) @ Baltimore Ravens

First and foremost, last week's tie is exactly the reason I don't trust Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb further than I can projectile vomit a disgusting Philly cheese steak. I mean, really. Philly is the only place I know that's not a trailer park, a homeless shelter or a frat house where "Cheez Whiz" is considered the secret ingredient that makes a particular meal oh so great...

But I digress. The saying "it's better to keep your moth shut and let people think you're an idiot, than open your mouth and remove all doubt", could not be more appropriate when describing D-Mac's comments following the Eagles' tie against the Bengals. OK, so he didn't know the rules. Not exactly reassuring, but I guess somewhat understandable. But then to say not once, but twice, that not only did you now know, but that you don't think it's a big deal?...

That's how people get run out of town, my friend. And seeing as this isn't the first incident, don't be surprised if this is the off season where the other shoe finally drops...

Kansas City Chiefs (+3.5) vs Buffalo Bills

The Chiefs don't suck anymore, no thanks to Herm Edwards. And the Bills are coming off a tough loss at home on Monday night. Pretty simple math on this one...

New York Giants (-3) @ Arizona Cardinals

Good news for the Giants: They're the defending Super Bowl champs, and most pundits think they, not the Titans, are currently the best team in football...

Bad news for the Giants: At this point last year, the team that won the Super Bowl wasn't even an after thought when it came to picking the league's best squad...

Translation: Kurt Warner loves Jesus, but Jesus loves the Giants

Yeah, I'm ill at translating...

Atlanta Falcons (-1) vs Carolina Panthers OVER 42.5

I was just tellin' a friend of mine that I can never predict what goes on in the NFC South. That's why I'm taking the OVER, and hoping that my bad luck within the division is only confined to picking against the spread. Chances are it's not, but here's to hopin'...

Washington Redskins (-3) @ Seattle Seahawks

Apparently now that Matt Hasselbeck is back at the helm, the boys in Vegas see it fit to give Seattle the homefield respect they've had over the past decade. They did play well in a physical game last week against Arizona, but two weeks in a row for this bunch still might be a little too much to ask...

Cleveland Browns (-3) vs Houston Texans

Could Romeo Crennel actually be on his way to saving his job? Ehhhh. Well at least for one more week...

Dallas Cowboys (-10) vs San Fransisco 49ers

Joe Montana is not walking through that door, fans. Joe Montegna, maybe. And maybe Mike Singletary's bare ass. But not Joe Montana...

Look for the Boys offense to be on full display, and for the "experts" to pull all sorts of muscles in the aftermath, jumping right back on the Cowboy bandwagon...

And let it be known right now that I call 5's on the spot nestled tightly between Jessica Simpsons more than ample Rocky Mountains. Hey, if her dad thinks they're great, who am I to argue?...



Minnesota Vikings (+3) @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Two teams headed in opposite directions. At least David Garrard has that Crohn's Disease commercial loot to fall back on...


Chicago Bears (-8) @ St. Louis Rams

I'm not sure what happened to the Chicago defense last week in Green Bay, but I'm gonna go ahead and guess that they won't pull a repeat performance this week in the 'Lou...

Besides, even if the Packers did create a "blueprint" to break down the vaunted Chicago D, I doubt the Rams have the ability to decipher that sucker if you spotted them a spotlight and a magnifying glass...

Denver Broncos (-9.5) vs Oakland Raiders

You think anything would give Mike Shanahan more pleasure than kicking Al Davis in his withered prune pouch, while the aging owner struggles through one of the worst seasons in franchise history? I don't...

That and I just wanted to use the term "withered prune pouch" in regards to Al Davis...

Indianapolis Colts (+3) @ San Diego Chargers

I'm still a believer that the Colts are for real, and I'm still not sold on Philly Rivers and the inconsistent Charger offense. San Diego may have their backs up against it at 4-7, but that desperation doesn't make up for talent. This is NOT college, and this is NOT homecoming...

Norv Turner, meet Romeo Crennel...


Monday Night
New Orleans Saints (-2.5) vs Green Bay Packers

Reggie Bush could be making his return, but even if he doesn't, I always have to take the Saints at home on Monday night. All it took was one time for Mikey Vick and the Dirty Birds to screw me, and now I'll never make the same mistake again...


Last Week: 10-4-1

Overall: 91-63-4 (.589)

Top Picks: 42-28-2 (.597)

Just for the record, I gave myself a tie in the Pittsburgh/San Diego game that ended 11-10. Just because the refs had money on the game and decided not to call that last game a touchdown, doesn't mean I'm gonna go ahead and count it as a loss. Cheatin' bastards...


Now on to the slate of college games.

There may not be as many, but what they lack in volume, they more than make up for in importance. The Pac 10, Big XII, Big East and the Big 10 all have big games this weekend with BCS implications, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like the standings will more or less be in tact, even after the madness has come and gone...

I know, I know. You wanted some upsets. But what can I tell ya...

Money is good, and that's what I'm tryin' to make ya. So take these picks, shut your mouth, and only open it again the next time you see me. Ya know, to thank me, and possibly send a few extra pieces of green paper in my direction...


NCAA Top 25 Picks
(2) Texas Tech (+7) @ (5) Oklahoma

(3) Florida (pick) vs Citadel

(7) Penn St. (-14.5) vs (17) Michigan St.

(8) Utah (-5.5) vs (16) BYU

Nevada (+8) vs (9) Boise St.

(10) Ohio St. (-20) vs Michigan

(15) TCU (-18) vs Air Force

(18) LSU (-4) vs Mississippi

(19) Cincinnati (-4.5) vs (20) Pittsburgh

(21) Oregon St. (-2.5) @ Arizona

(22) Maryland (-1) vs Florida St.

NC State (+12) @ (25) North Carolina



Last Week: 14-4-0

Overall: 127-78-6 (.616)


OK, kids, that's all for me...

Tune in next week for my Thanksgiving picks...

Gobble, Gobble...1000

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