Pages

Friday, December 05, 2008

NFL Week 14 Picks


Ahhh, the holidays. They truly are a mixed blessing...

On one hand, I got to go on a 5 day food/booze and friendship bender, which is always a good thing. But on the other hand, it's this busy time of year that can cause even the most diligent of journalistic prodigies like myself to suffer from a little slackin' on their pimpin'...

Well my good friends, fear not. It's been nearly 10 days, but I'm back, sobered up, and ready to unleash all that's been building up in my resin coated brain over the past week and a half.

And seeing as it's the holiday season, and I've had such a great time reuniting with long lost relatives and friends from yesteryear, I figure there's no better place to get this post started than on the most personal of personal levels...

Thanksgiving High School Football...



Now if it weren't enough that just 2 days previous Attleboro High had ended it's 15 year Thanksgiving drought to North Attleboro High, there were some older Attleboro alumni, with more facial hair than football experience, that were looking to settle another score that dated back a few years and also involved yet another of AHS's bitter rivals...

(FYI: I typed "Attleboro High School" into Google images, and got this picture of Bobby Brown being arrested outside of AHS last year...So I'm usin' it...)



There we were. Seven graduates from Attleboro High School, and 6 graduates from Bishop Feehan High School. It was the 3rd Annual "Turkey Bowl". A game of football played by kids who specialized in everything from cross country, to golf, to basketball when they last wore school colors, but took time out once each year to do battle in what's rapidly turning into this country's true "national pastime"...

Now coming into the game, Feehan held a 2-0 series edge, and by all accounts, had very little trouble obtaining either victory. I say by all accounts, because this, my friends, would be the debut performance of yours truly. And what better way to make my presence felt, than taking over the reigns at QB, for a team that in two years had not even so much as sniffed a W?..

Well needless to say, my impact was felt from the get go. Now I'm not trying to claim that I alone was the reason Attleboro was able to capture it's 1st Turkey Bowl title, but some keen observations and plays I made early on in the game really helped pave the way for what would end up being a convincing 72-56 victory...

Struggling to find open receivers against the Feehan 1 deep zone, a few times early on I was flushed from the pocket and forced to run. On one play in particular, I scrambled up the field, and as Astin described it "truck stuck" my good friend Pat Loew on my way to a 1st down. Once I was over the fact that I may have just separated a good friend from his spinal column, a thought came to me. "If they couldn't stop me whenever they blitzed, there was no way in God we were gonna stand any chance in Hell against their much more mobile QB". That was it. Our blitzing days were done...

But as expected, just like in the NFL, this game became a study in copycat-ism. After all, since the QB could only run if he was blitzed, and the snapper was made to stay on the line of scrimmage, dropping back an extra coverage man was a much smarter play than risking it with a blitz. So, once Feehan moved back into the 2 deep coverage as we had done, I decided, and with immediate support and agreement mind you, to start running the ball right down their collective Bible thumpin' throats. They were faster, but we were bigger. And best of all, we had the secret weapon in the backfield...

The H-Train, ladies and gentleman. Josh Houle is his name, and the kid is built straight up like a cannonball. He's fast, he's strong, and he's got that "I'm runnin' through you" mentality that makes him harder to bring down than Tom Sizemore at cough syrup convention. Flag or no flag. I mean let's just put it this way. I sat out quite a bit on defense, but had he been on the other team, I would have been sitting out even more...

Houle was runnin' the pill. We were using that to work some great play action. Life couldn't have been better. And the funny thing was, that's where the copycat tactics ended. Despite the fact that we had exposed their 2 deep scheme, and the fact they were flat out faster than we were, they refused to make any sort of effort to consistently run the pill, or bothered to put another man up on the line of scrimmage to defend against our running game. Fine by us. We sat back in our zone, playing 6 on 4, and made it tough as all Hell for them to move the ball down the field. That was it, really. Mix in a few great grabs of my wobbling passes by my boys Jim and Scottie D, and there you had it...

It was your typical Disney-esque story where the dumb kids from the public school used street smarts and common sense to wipe the floor with the wicked smahht kids who were always used to winning. OK, maybe not to that extreme, but it was great to help Attleboro claim it's first win of the series. And most importantly, and I can say this with all honesty since we won, a good time was had by all, and we can't wait to play again next year...

And by "play", I mean smoke those fools again...


Red Sox Update
See, this is the reason I need some sort of daily column. I've been telling people for weeks that the best bet for the Red Sox would be to offer Jason Varitek salary arbitration, but until recently my idea was widely panned and ridiculed my most of those that consider themselves in "the know". Ahhhh, either way. This "hot stove" is just getting warm, kids. And with moves for Lowell, Teixeira, Lugo and God knows who else still very much on the horizon, this off season should have plenty of news to keep even the most news hungry sports hound busier than an impotent man at a 40 girl orgy...wait a second...

As usual, if you really need to stay up to date on the latest comings and goings in Red Sox Asian...I mean Nation. Make sure to check out the Red Sox Blog on Boston.com. I have a link set up on the right side of the page...


...Oh and for the record, I'd like to add Edgar Renteria to the Isiah Thomas' "you won't believe the compromising photos I have of (insert name)" club. 2 years and almost $19 million for the freaking San Fransisco Giants?!? Even Barry Zito thinks that's fucked up...


Patriots Update
Allow me to be blunt. Not "a blunt" mind you, but rather the phrase that refers to being honest and direct, at the risk of being curt...

The Patriots are an "average" team...

That's it. They can score with most teams, and they can defend against some, but when it comes to playing elite teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers, this year's version of the 3 time Super Bowl champs just do not have the fire power on both sides of the ball to be competitive on any sort of consistent basis. They're caught, from game to game, in what's been a season long limbo between "good" and "contender". One minute they look like world beaters against a hapless team, the next, they're struggling against defenses that won't even compare to the onslaught come playoff time. They're sitting right on the edge. They could be division champs, they could snag a wild card and they could miss the playoffs. Oddly enough, none of the results would surprise me, and all of them would be easy for me to justify...

For me, the math is simple. Good or "great" teams, teams that can realistically have championship aspirations, are that way because of their ability to perform in the most crucial moments of any given game. The Patriots? Well, thanks to a less than pedestrian secondary and the lack of all around linebacker play, they've managed to become increasingly proficient at sucking in all those crucial moments. I mean, third down defense? Red zone defense? Pivotal moments that were once the shining point of a "bend but don't break" defense, have now become without question, the unit's biggest flaw...

And yes. Maybe with a healthy Tom Terrific at the helm, these weaknesses may not have been exploited, and merely exposed. But the world I live in, the world "we" live in, is a world where Matt Cassel runs the ship, and in that world, due to no fault of Matt's mind you, the offense dominance and efficiency just isn't all quite there. That in turn puts more pressure on the defense, and allows the Pats to become extremely vulnerable to any playoff bound team worth it's salts...

So with no real D to speak of, and just a pretty good offense, this year's Patriots are headed smack dab down the middle of the road. I see no reason why they're going to get any better, I see no reason why I should have faith that they can make a miraculous Super Bowl run, and I see no player on the field that's going to step up and single-handedly pull this defense to the places it needs to be in order for this team to truly compete. Then again, it's when you don't see it comin'. Those are the wins that are always the best...

Eh...Here's to hopin', I guess. Hopin' the Pacts can pull one out of their ass, and hoping against all odds, that I'm actually wrong on this one. Ha! Now there's a thought...



And while we're talking about the "average", allow me to one more time, for the record, ask the question "Why is it that people think Matt Light is so good?" And how come every time he gets abused by opposing defensive ends, many members of the media simply make the excuse that he "has trouble with speed rushers". Huh? I mean this isn't some 4th rd pick from the '06 draft we're talkin' about here. This guy gets paid like a franchise left tackle, is treated like a franchise tackle, yet I seem to be one of the only ones that's consistently pointing out how overrated this guy is! Am I missing something? I watch the games. I pay attention. And week after week, just like the Pats themselves, Light folds like a lawn chair in the face of any sort of real competition. PLEASE! Tell me what the Hell I am missing here!! I mean I'm seriously beginning to wonder. If I;m so wrong about Matt Light, then what else am I way off base about. Damn, son. This could get scary...



Garden Party

I figure since they play in the same building, I'll give both the Celtics and the Bruins the same due attention. But before I do, allow me to break down to all you newcomers exactly how I feel about what I consider this state's two bastard sports franchises. Well, OK. Maybe the Bruins are the bastard, and the Celtics are the once prodigal son, that now lives in their parents basement. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway...


The Celtics: I love basketball, but I hate the NBA. And before you get on this whole "Well the Cetlics sucked and then you went to Syracuse and they won, so you're by default a college hoops fan" thing, let me stop you. I've been a rabid college hoops freak since I was 12, which is rare, mind you, seeing as there were no allegiances in my household to any one particular team, I didn't grow up in a college hoops hot bed, and as far as sports went at the time, there weren't exactly a ton of "out of region" college hoops games on TV this side of March. Oh, and when you don't live in a college hoops hot bed, the only decent out of region games you get, are traditionally played by Notre Dame, Duke and North Carolina, it makes it even more strange that I ended up being a huge fan of Big XII and SEC hoops before I even had my driver's license (which is a good thing, with Eddie Sutton around 'n all)...

So, with that out of the way, it's not that I have a beef with the Celts, it's just I don't like the style of ball that the player's in the league play. It's too much one and one, most of the time, and every time a team finds defense just long enough to make a title run, all the pundits and analysts make it seem like that particular coach reinvented the freaking wheel. It's just not my style. I'm a college hoops guy. I watch just enough of the NBA to make sure I still know more than the average fan (not too hard) and to keep myself up to date on one of the country's biggest sports...

Also. I think Doc Rivers is an idiot. According to Danny Ainge, Doc, or Glen as I like to call him, was brought in to held him build a young team. He was supposed to specialize in basically training young players and helping them mature. Then, after years of sucking ass by both Danny and Glen, Ainge handed the good doctor the best lineup in the NBA, and the rest is history. Now Glen is the next Phil, and every conveniently forgot how with the sucky players, the ones he was supposed to be grooming, Rivers made it blatantly obvious that he couldn't even coach his way out of a wet paper bag...

I'm not biter about their recent title. I just don't see "winning", and the fact that a team plays 41 games in my home state as reason to wet myself every time they take the floor...

To sum it up. I don't like Doc, I don't like the style of play in the NBA, and I don't like the Celtics. Well, at least not any more than any other worthless NBA squad...



The Bruins: Unlike the NBA, I actually like watching the game of hockey being played, I just despise the NHL. I mean simply put, the only thing that league has proven to be good at over my lifetime, is making piss poor decisions, and then refusing to acknowledge that they've ever made any mistakes. They over expanded, they suck at promoting themselves, and the average fan has a better chance of picking the winning Powerball numbers, than picking one of their team's biggest stars out of a Minnesota police lineup...

..and yeah, anyone that plays the bulk of their games on a channel called VS, pretty much speaks for themselves...


OK, so with all that out of the way. All I really wanted to say here, was that both these teams are doing really good right now, and I could NOT really care less. There I said it...


Now it's onto a real league, and some games that some of you might actually be able to find on your TV. Here are the latest picks, hot off the press. Enjoy...


Week 14 Picks
New England Patriots (-4.5) @ Seattle Seahawks

Remember what I said about being average? Well Seattle sucks, so feel free to take the Pats...

...Oh and QB Matt Hasselbeck used to be a ball boy for my man Scott Zolak. I'm not sure what implications that might have on the game, I'm just sayin'...

How's this for a trend? There have been 8 games this year where 2 NFC South teams have played against each other. In said games, the home team is...wait for it...8-0.

New Orleans Saints (-3) vs Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers (-3) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Monday Night)




Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) vs Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are dinged up, and the Steelers are just hitting their playoff stride. If last week's pummeling of the Pats in Foxboro was any indication, this week should go a long way towards bringing all those Cowboy bandwagon re-jumpers back down to earth a little bit...



Denver Broncos (-7) vs Kansas City Chiefs

Here's another trend for ya. The Broncos have won the last 7 meetings with the Chiefs when playing at home, and 21 of the last 25 overall when the two meet in the Mile High City...

Oh, and the Broncos would be facing their 4th straight home loss if they dropped this one, a feat no Denver team has pulled off since 1990...

KC is 1-7 since beating Denver at home in week 4, with their lone win being a 20-13 triumph last week against the hapless Oakland Raiders...

These are all trends I like, and against a team I love to bet against. Next!...


Indianapolis Colts (-13) vs Cincinnati Bengals

The Colts may not be "back" in the traditional Peyton-to-Marvin sense of the word, but they're back enough to lay a world class smackdown on the Cincinnati Bungles. If this one's close, that means there was a terrorist attack before halftime. Only Osama can stop 'em now...



Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers OVER 45

Both offenses are clicking. Snow or no snow, this is destined to be a shootout...


Miami Dolphins (+1) @ Buffalo Bills (@ Rogers Centre in Toronto)

This is what we call, a "karma" game...

The one advantage you figure the Bills would have against the Dolphins, in early December, is totally negated by the fact that the game is being played in Toronto's Rogers Centre. Despite the petition put forth by some Buffalo faithful, the home of the Blue Jays will have their roof closed, making the game feel more like a tilt on South Beach than a messy slopfest in the wintry Hell that is western New York...

So there it is. Buffalo fans already have a built in excuse, so this one's all but in the bag. Trust me, those fans know bad news when they see it comin'. They are after all, the best dynasty ever...according to Central Americans...


Minnesota Vikings (OFF) @ Detroit Lions

Ask yourself. If the Florida Gators were playing @ Detroit, and favored by 6...who would you pick?

Yeah, that's why this one is off the board...

Freebie!!..

I'd tell you to "go fuck yourself", Detroit. But seeing as you're doing such a good job of that on your own, I'll just say thanks...

Sincerely,
Your #1 Dirty Poor Out of Work Detroit Lion Fan
Mel Gibson


I hope you got that Family Guy reference, but if you didn't here are some simpler things for you to enjoy. Oooo, they're spreads!!...


Chicago Bears (-6) vs Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans (-13) vs Cleveland Browns

New York Giants (-7) vs Philadelphia Eagles

New York Jets (-4) @ San Fransisco 49ers

Arizona Cardinals (-14) vs St. Louis Rams

Baltimore Ravens (-4) vs Washington Redskins



Last Week: 3-0-0 (Top Picks: 3-0-0)

Overall: 105-67-5 (.607)

Top Picks: 56-32-3 (.632)


I could lie and say I'm pissed I didn't get to post the rest of my picks last week, but I'm not gonna. I think outside of my 3-0 on Thanksgiving, I went something God awful like 4-8-1. I'm obviously not counting those vomit inducing picks in my overall record, because seeing as I didn't post them, I have thus built myself in some sort of convenient loophole. Also at this time I would like to reserve the right to add wins to my record retroactively if I "totally said that one team was gonna win, but didn't write about it", and that team actually does win. I figure 3 witnesses will be enough to satisfy my conscience...


To give credence to the BCS, to bitch about at as if it mattered, would be playing right into the hands of the greedy sponsors and Athletic Directors that set this mess up. They purposely created a system whose #1 purpose was to create media attention, and year after year they've succeeded by producing matchups that leave the common, logical, and most passionate fans scratching their heads. Simply put. The Emperor is naked, and he's laughing his ass off, loving every second the public wastes trying to decide if he actually does have on some sort of chic, translucent suit. It's really gross. And until the "right" teams get wronged by the system, the powers that be won't even consider a different course of action...

So the best option, and the only option as I see it, is to cease even acknowledging that this whacked out, perverse system is even in place, and treat the upcoming bowl and championship games as we would have normally before the BCS even became part of the average sports fans ever expanding vernacular. They're just games. Games played in a sport that has no "real" way of crowning a unanimous champion, and in a sport where that's exactly the way they'd love it to stay. It's a sad, sad state of affairs, but at least for me, I've decided to cut my losses. You know the saying "I ask for the power to change the things I can, deal with the things I can't change, and have the ability to tell the difference bwtween the two?" Well I'm sure I just fudged the saying up a bit, but you get the picture. I can't change it, so I'm movin' on. And if you love college football, and value your sanity, I suggest you do the same...

That being said, in my perfect world, the winner of the SEC title game would square off against the rematch winner of an OU/Texas battle. It's not perfect, but nothing short of an 8 game playoff ever will be. Dammit! See, it took me about 5 seconds, and I'm already back to taking not so subtle journalist shots at the BCS! Well screw those rich bastards. Let's make some money for ourselves!...


NCAA Top 25 Picks
(1) Alabama (+9.5) @ (2) Florida

(4) Oklahoma (-16) vs (19) Missouri

UCLA (+35.5) vs (5) USC

Buffalo (+14) vs (12) Ball St.

Hawaii (+8) vs (13) Cincinnati

Virginia Tech (+1) vs (18) Boston College

(23) Pittsburgh (+3.5) @ UCONN


Last Week: 7-4-1

Overall: 134-82-7 (.617)

You'll notice I counted my picks from last week even though I never posted them. Again. That's just how I roll...


Fantasy Update
Overall: 9-4-0, 1st place

This Week: Bye

Allow me to preface what I'm about to say by telling you that I am most certianly NOT crying pour with a loaf of bread under both arms...

To be completely honest, I have no real idea how I won my league's regular season, and of the 6 teams in the playoffs, I would at best consider myself the 3rd favorite to walk away with the substantial championship moola. And that's with a first round bye! Last year, I came into the playoffs 9-4-1 as the 3rd seed, and walked away with the title. But that team was stacked, and just hitting it's stride. This team? Well let's just say I'm keeping my fingers crossed...


OK kiddos, that's it for me. Make sure to check out my college hoops Top 10 on the right side of the page, and test out the new "gadgets" (Google' word, not mine) I've added to the page. It's all in an effort to help better your Rooch Nation experience, so if you don't take advantage, I don't wanna hear your bitchin'. Besides, it's the best I can do while Frosco is busy "working" up in Talahassee. Not sure how much work he can get done when he's sleeping in a hammock, but that's really something you'd have to take up with him...

Thanks again to all of you I saw over the past week that wished me luck and gave me props. I truly appreciate all of your support and I hope you all keep on having a happy holiday season...

Gobble, Gobble and Ho Ho Ho...

Go 'Cuse...

100...

0 comments:

Post a Comment